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Posts Tagged ‘fruit

Gratitude exercise: write a letter / post about a gadget / an appliance that benefits your life

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I am grateful for my blender.
Blender is a versatile small appliance that everyone who loves home made, healthy, and delicious food must have.

Herein, I write a post to describe how my blender has benefited and brought joy to our lives.

Dear blender

Thank you for being so efficient in providing my family with delicious and healthy food.

We have enjoyed so numerous healthy and delicious items.
Papaya milkshake
papaya banana milkshake
banana chocolate milkshake
strawberry banana milkshake
avocado chocolate milkshake
avocado coffee milkshake
honeydew milkshake
They taste so delicious, preservative-free, 100% natural, and healthy (I normally do not add additional sugar like commercially available juices).

Puree for baby (ideas for recipe here)

Next, I plan to try use blender to make soup (Oh! how I miss those hot / warm soup of 2007-2009).
The following recipes are designed on my mind (no testing done yet) as inspired by other recipes.

PUMPKIN SOUP
1. cook / the followings in a pan / pot / rice cooker / slow cooker:
# pumpkin
# meat / pork rib and/or dried scallop
# 1 clove garlic, minced
# 1 onion, chopped
# pepper to taste
# thyme, chopped / ginger / cinnamon / Rosemary
PS: I may also saute the garlic, onion, thyme / ginger with olive oil / sesame oil.
2. Then blend in small batches (e.g. 1 cup / time) / use hand blender.
3. To make the soup creamier, add milk.
4. Garnish with fresh parsley / coriander.

SWEET POTATO SOUP
Same as pumpkin soup, just replace the pumpkin with sweet potato

CREAMY BAYLEYS MUSHROOM SOUP
Use low heat to saute mushroom in little olive oil.
When the liquid is released from the mushroom, add Bayleys and cream / oat.
Transfer the mushroom into a pot of boiled meat / ribs.
Bring to boil. Add milk.
Add pepper to taste.

More ideas …
barley soup
pear soup
add carrot to sweeten to soup

Tips:
for your safety, use bottle brush to wash to prevent the blades from accidentally cutting any of your finger.

Written by blueroselady

October 10, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Where else besides restaurants and hawker centers can we eat in Singapore? Someone’s home through PlateCulture

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I used to be adventurous in my food consumption: gulping everything edible (though I am not highly carnivorous) until my pregnancy, confinement and breastfeeding restrict my choices of food. Please don’t get me wrong.

These experiences (that I am grateful of) have widen my horizons and allowed me to embrace a new passion in food, its benefits on health, and simple cooking. I even take a course on cooking for children from Coursera.

These days, I love home-cooked meals.
I also try to minimize eating MSG-infested food served in restaurants and (some) hawker centers.
Sometimes, I feel thirsty after dining in some restaurants / food courts / hawker centers. Have I become so sensitive to MSG and excess salt?

Now, I choose to savor (instead of hastily consume like in the past) my food and constantly learn creative ways related to food and health.

Recently, I learned about PlateCulture through Anh-Minh Do of Tech in Asia. PlateCulture, a Malalysian-based start-up (founded by Audra Pakalnyte and Reda Štarė of Lithuania), is like Homedine in US and Cookening in Europe.

So, I started browsing the hosts listed by PlateCulture.

I am particularly interested by Healthy Chinese Food with Herbs hosted by Sara K of Damansara, Kuala Lumpur. Like Sara, I love pandan leaves and ginger.

Here are 4 inspirations from her (mixed with my past experience):
(1) I plan to incorporate traditional Chinese medicine principles into my cooking.
For example,
On a hot day, have a bowl of green bean soup.
On a cold day, have a bowl of red / azuki bean soup.
(2) Freshly squeezed orange juice with no water or sugar added, is indeed a simple pleasure of life.

(3) I often cook steamed fish (salmon with sesame oil or white fish with ginger), perhaps I should also try cooking foil-wrapped steam herbal chicken.

(4) Sara wrote "Dinner at home is often accompanied with relaxing traditional/new-age music with aromatherapy". Sometimes I do listen to classical music while enjoying my simple home cooked dinner, perhaps I should try traditional / new-age music too.

For PlateCulture-listed kitchens in Singapore (as of October 2013), the cost ranges from SGD 30-70 per person, which is quite expensive for our standard.

Normally, we will only spend around $15-$20 per person on our once-a-week restaurant dining. Sometimes, we are pretty happy eating at shop houses without air conditioner, and it costs us only $5++ (less than $10) per person. Many times, my husband and I will share a cup of coffee.
I do not care if people say that I am cheapskate, we do so simply because I could not take too much caffeine (but I love coffee!);
it is more about one of my values of being frugal and sustainable (environmentally friendly and not wasteful).

Of course, I understand that home kitchens (like those promoted by PlateCulture) are not professionally run restaurants. It is the interactions with the hosts and the newly formed relationships that matters, which are absence from dining in restaurants.

I really look forward to more affordable home dining experience in Singapore offered by PlateCulture!

Written by blueroselady

October 9, 2013 at 6:37 am

How to prevent and overcome constipation? 4 natural easy ways

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Constipation is bad because waste matter that is stuck in the colon for too long has been known to release bacteria and other harmful contaminants back into the bloodstream.
Constipation affects both adults and children.
Being a mother, I have been checking regularly that my baby passed motion daily.

Here, are tips to prevent and overcome constipation.

Drink (plenty of) water.
W for Water, as I recall telling my baby while bathing him.
To keep hydrated, it is important to not only drink plenty of water but also minimize and (if possible) avoid alcohol and caffeine-containing beverages like coffee, tea and soda.

Eat more fiber,
e.g. beans, whole grains, brown rice, nuts, oatmeals, crunchy vegetables.

How much fiber do we need daily?
men: 38 grams
women: 25 grams

Types of fiber:
(1) soluble fiber
(2) insoluble fiber

Soluble fiber is present in beans, peas, oatmeal, nuts, seeds, apples, pears, strawberries, and blueberries.

Insoluble fiber is present in whole grains, barley, couscous, brown rice, nuts, seeds, carrots, cucumbers, zucchini, celery, green beans, dark leafy vegetables, raisins, nuts, grapes, and tomatoes.

Soluble fiber is associated with lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, regulating blood sugar, and a lower risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Insoluble fiber helps keep you regular, prevents constipation, and reduces the risk of diverticular disease.

Exercise
Prolonged lack of inactivity causes constipation, so let’s exercise together!
I prefer gentle exercise like walking or swimming. It has been ages since the last time I swim! The last time perhaps was at Girton College, Cambridge.
Bonus:
The posture of kneeling and resting your body on your hands (屁股功) can help to create the urge to pass motion.
My mother is a strong advocate of this exercise and has helped a relative to overcome her constipation by practicing such a posture.

Too busy to answer the natural call to visit the loo?
Ignoring the urge to have a bowel movement causes constipation, so do not delay bowel movements.

To summarize, to prevent and overcome constipation:
1. drink water
2. eat fiber
3. exercise
4. Do not delay bowel movements

Written by blueroselady

October 7, 2013 at 3:37 pm

Inspiration from Nick Vujicic

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I was changing at Bishan MRT station when I decided to have a dinner at Bishan so I did not have to fight to get into the train during peak hour.

After my dinner, I visited the Popular book store where I found a book Give Me a Hug by Nick Vujicic.

The book was meant for children, yet the messages are universal across ages. I love it so much and made a mental note that this is going to be one of the must-read books for my children.

I also love the illustrations on the book (by 芝麻羔Dreamergo),
the use of brown paper.

Listen to Nick and other panellists talking at the World Economic Forum

In every situation you are, there are people worse than yours.

What keeps you going? Faith

Be thankful for what you have.

Your values are not determined by how rich you are or your jobs or status.

Putting your happiness in temporary things (e.g. career) only creates temporary happiness.

80% of stories of pinnacles of Nick’s life are other people’s stories. Everyone has a story to share.

If I do not have a family, I can be a family for someone else.

@~@

After doing house chores at kitchen, I rewarded myself with freshly squeezed orange juice which is surprisingly sweet (It was the last one out of 5 oranges that I bought last Thursday, but the first 4 were sour).
We love pleasing surprise and I am grateful for today.

Written by blueroselady

August 20, 2013 at 4:50 pm

Smoke haze in Singapore. 14 tips on how to survive haze / severe air pollution. Her dream home needs to meet 6 criteria

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In summer 2013,
air pollution from forest fires in Indonesia’s Sumatra island has choked Singapore.
To make the condition worse, El Niño which tends to produce very dry weather conditions in the region, appears to intensify the effects of the fires in Indonesia.

PSI = Pollutant Standards Index.
PM 2.5 = A reading for airborne particles with a diameter of 2.5 microns or less – small enough to deeply penetrate the lungs.

PSI Value & Air Quality Descriptor according to NEA:
0 – 50 : Good
51 – 100 : Moderate
101 – 200 : Unhealthy
201 – 300 : Very unhealthy
Above 300 : Hazardous

On 20 Jun 2013 1 PM, the 3-hour PSI Reading was 371 in Singapore.

A friend of mine mentioned that the city looks apocalyptic.

In Beijing in January 2013, the PSI reached the range of 470-490.
Lung cancers are soaring in Beijing.
A friend who works in China shared that many people, if they can afford it, want to get out of China, due to the environmental hazard : pollution.

The U.S. AQI only goes up to 500.

The 19th century London was notoriously known as the foggy city.
The hazy / bleak / fog everywhere London was too distant for me to recall of London.
In my lifetime (the 21st century), my memory of London has been positive (but I do not live there long enough).

Here are tips on how to survive living with haze:

1. Spend less time outdoors.

2. If you have to go out, wear N95 mask, wear hat / carry umbrella, carry a bottle of water.
When you feel a tingle in the throat or start coughing, a drink of water can be helpful.

3. Before you go out, close all your windows and ventilation outlets.

4. Wash your face, rinse your mouth, and clean your nasal cavity, shower when getting indoors.
Blow your nose in a piece of tissue, you will see black particles in it.

5. Children & older adults should remain indoors and keep activity levels low.

6. Close your windows when the condition is severe.

7. If you use air-conditioner, make sure your apartment has enough oxygen.

8. Keep plants with broad leaves at home to absorb dusts. Place a wet mat beneath your doors.

9. Use air purifiers with HEPA filter.

10. Smoke less. Avoid smokers.

11. Eat more fruits, vegetables. If necessary, take vitamin C.

12. Drink more water, milk (especially if you suffer from dry throat). Stay hydrated. Drink at least 2 litres of water a day.

13. Avoid / minimize alcohol / coffee.

14. Go somewhere unaffected for holiday. My husband’s friend D has brought his family for a holiday in Bali.

15. If the haze / air pollution is a constant problem, consider migrating.
A friend who was born in Indonesia,
S shared with me about the criteria for her dream home which I found interesting.
S wants to move to places like New Zealand, Australia, or Canada,
where the air quality (and presumably the living conditions are better).
She told me that once when she was in Toa Payoh, a Hong Kong expatriate shared that Hong Kong people who migrated to US / Canada are relatively richer than those who migrated to Australia / NZ due to higher fund required for the former.

Here are S’ criteria for her desired home:

1. 2nd floor and above, but not too high floor (she was concerned about earthquake & window safety for her children).

2. Why not ground floor?
Bungalows often consist of only ground floor (if not 2-storey high).
S shared with me her experience living in a ground floor house where she suffered annually from the flood (and the risk of electricity through water).

3. Her home must have a bomb shelter, based on her experience living in Singapore, where flats have a bomb shelter that also serves as a store room. An alternative is to have multi-storey with an underground / basement.

4. Entire flat must be well-equipped with air-conditioner, although she mentioned that she would not switch them on daily, as she is aware of the consequences of air-conditioner on our protective ozone layer. The air-conditioner fixtures are meant to survive for severe haze episodes.

5. To have fridge & freezer in her room (so that she can have access to her food).
Perhaps, a well equipped studio apartment (not too spacious) will be easier for her to manage.

6. Yes, but S also wants to rent her rooms for additional income, so she needs a spacious home, unless it is hard to get tenants.

Related:
http://donghuan.wordpress.com/2012/02/25/my-first-day-back-in-china-and-tips-on-how-to-survive-beijings-dirty-air/
http://spotlightxoxo.wordpress.com/2013/06/20/skin-care-tips-during-the-haze/

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Written by blueroselady

June 20, 2013 at 9:47 am

Dear baby, welcome to the highly competitive world! Being creative is better than being competitive

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Dear baby

Do you know that there are courses out there that keep on telling Mommy “teach your baby or toddler [insert any of these: to Read / Math / Music]”? To accelerate the rat race, the advertisement goes “You can start when your baby is 3 months old.”

Yes, Mommy started to teach you things that Mommy thinks as necessary, such as praying, sign language, idioms, texture exercise, mirror exercise to increase self-worth / self-love and awareness of body parts, vowel exercise. You responded by happily producing sounds that Mommy still does not understand: baby language.

When Mommy told a friend, he said that Mommy is highly . competitive. However, Mommy thinks that it is good & essential to introduce you the joy of learning early in life. Since you received a lot of (second-hand) toys and was given a few new toys, Mommy will not buy you any toys. We are a frugal family and Mommy wants to save for more important things for your, e.g. healthy fruits & vegetable. However, Mommy shares with you the joy of our world through play in the nature (including parks / beaches / hills / mountains / lakes) enforced with powerpoint slides to help you remember the words, beautiful books, shopping groceries in the supermarkets / markets (Yes, the markets are your playground).

Sometimes, Mommy wonders if Mommy if a competitive person. Recently, Mommy learned from Uncle W that being creative is better than being competitive; and Mommy thinks that Mommy is a creative, instead of a competitive person. Do you know what are the differences between being competitive and being creative? Mommy will write another post in the near future.

Since you are my dearest, Mommy aspires to gives you only the Best that Mommy can afford to nurture creativity, independence, and happy learning in you since your early days.

In fact, Mommy acknowledges that Mommy learned and shared a lot to you through voice notes about many lifelong skills while being pregnant with you. That perhaps explains why you are a happy baby, as observed by Aunt Flower who helped to care for you when Mommy was too weak to carry you around.

Mommy wants you to grow in a happy, healthy, harmonious baby, toddler, child, and then adult. They said it takes 10 years to grow a tree, 100 years to nurture a human being (十年树木,百年树人).

Mommy happily takes on this challenge. Mommy feels that while nurturing you, Mommy also benefits because Mommy has a chance to learn new things that Mommy did not learn as a kid, and re-learn beautiful things that Mommy has experience.

May your life be abundant with joy, happiness and generosity.

Love,
Mommy

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Written by blueroselady

March 31, 2013 at 7:18 am

Recipe of home-cooked puree for baby : 12 fruit puree + 7 vegetable puree

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If I have to work every single day of weekdays,
for each weekend,
I plan to prepare 1-2 fruit puree & 1-2 vegetable puree.
Then,
I feed few portions to my baby immediately,
and freeze the rest.

My preferred puree:
must be nutritious.
must be easy & quick to prepare.

Follow the 4 day wait rule when introducing a new food to baby – offer your baby the same new food for 4 days to test for allergies to that food.
This applies even when you are making homemade baby food. Never introduce more than 1 new food at a time when first beginning solid foods.

For babies of 6-8 months, steam the fruit if possible.
Why? for easier digestion.
Note: Do not cook banana, avocado.

To thicken puree, add CEREAL.
To thin puree, add BREAST MILK / formula milk / water.

Steam first then blend, instead of blend first then steam.
Cook the food, let it cool a bit, toss it into a blender or food processor and puree away.

General directions
:
# PEEL, core and CUT hard fruit (e.g. apple, pear) into slices/chunks
# STEAMing is better than boiling. Steam for 5-10 minutes / until soft. Alternatively, you can bake http://wholesomebabyfood.momtastic.com/bakebabyfruits.htm
or blanch. I prefer steaming.
# MASH : use blender.
For soft food, e.g. banana / avocado / kiwi, use fork to mash.

@~@ APPLE PUREE
Vitamins: A, C, Folate
Minerals: Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium
Steam? YES
May turn brown [cooked] – freeze in slices for a nice teething reliever [raw]

@~@ AVOCADO PUREE
Vitamins: A, C, Niacin, Folate
Minerals: Potassium, Phosphorus, Iron, Magnesium, Calcium
1 ripe avocado
Steam? NO
May turn brown when pureed – best frozen in halves with a bit of lemon juice [raw]

How to select an avocado?
select a dark green color with bumpy texture.
the internal flesh color : green that gently transforms into a buttery yellow around the pit.

@~@ BANANA PUREE
Vitamins: A, C, Folate
Minerals: Potassium, Phosphorus, Selenium, Magnesium, Calcium
Steam? NO
May brown when pureed – best way to freeze, cut in half, wrap then freeze [raw]

@~@ BLUEBERRY PUREE
Vitamins: A, C, K, Folate
Minerals: Potassium, Sodium, Phosphorus, Iron, Magnesium, Calcium
Note: for 8 months old onward.
Steam? YES
Allergy caution? Blueberries are not related to strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. Those “true” berries may be mild to highly allergenic.
Buy ORGANIC please!
Freeze well whole or pureed – may thaw to a watery consistency [raw or cooked]

@~@ KIWI PUREE
For 10 months old & older.
Vitamins: A, C, K, Folate
Minerals: Potassium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Calcium
Ingredients: 1 ripe kiwi
Steam? NO
May be gritty/watery when thawed [raw]

@~@ MANGO PUREE
Vitamins: A (1262 IU in one cup.), C, E, K, Folate
Minerals: Potassium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Calcium, Sodium
Steam? YES
Comment: I will introduce mango puree later due to its acidity.
May be gritty/watery when thawed – best frozen in chunks [raw or cooked]

@~@ MELON PUREE / ROCK MELON / HONEYDEW / WATERMELON
Vitamins: A, C, K, Folate
Minerals: Potassium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Calcium
can steam? YES
For 8 months old & older.
May be gritty/watery when thawed – best frozen raw in chunks [raw or cooked]

@~@ PAPAYA PUREE
Vitamins: A, C, Folate
Minerals: Potassium, Calcium
must ensure that the papaya is fully ripened
Steam? YES
We can also mix papaya into chicken and rice for a tropical chicken dinner.Freezes well, may be gritty/watery when thawed -freeze in chunks [raw or cooked].

@~@ PEARS PUREE
Vitamins: A, C, Folate
Minerals: Potassium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Calcium
2 ripe pears (Bartlett, Red or Comice).
Steam? YES
May turn brown – freeze well but may be gritty/watery when thawed [raw or cooked]

@~@ PLUM PUREE
Vitamins: A, C, Folate
Minerals: Potassium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Calcium
5 ripe plums.
Freeze well, may be gritty/watery when thawed [raw or cooked].
@~@ PEACH PUREE
Vitamins: A, C, Folate
Minerals: Potassium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Calcium

@~@ PUMPKIN PUREE
Vitamins: A (12230 IU in 1 cup.), C, K, Folate, Niacin.
Minerals: Potassium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Calcium, Iron.
1 medium sized sugar/baking pumpkin (about 5-7 pounds).
Freezes well [cooked].
How to buy pumpkins?
Look for smaller pumpkins with few blemishes that are heavy & has intact stem. Avoid pumpkins that have soft spots.

My first son tried pumpkin puree when he turned 8 months old and loved it.

Here are vegetable puree that I carefully choose for my baby:

@~@ ASPARAGUS PUREE
1. remove the woody stems by bending each spear until it snaps – it should snap at the point where the fresh green tip ends and the tougher part begins.
2. steam
3. mash
Freezes well but may be watery when thawed – best frozen in pieces.

@~@ BEETROOT PUREE
Warning: it stains baby cloth.
Freeze well.

@~@ BROCCOLI PUREE
Vitamins: A (4533 IU), C, E, K, Niacin, Folate
Minerals: Potassium, Sodium, Selenium, Phosphorous, Iron, Magnesium, Calcium
wash, then boil, steam or microwave the florets.
Do not feed the stems because they give some babies gas!
Freezes well but may be watery when thawed – best frozen in pieces.

@~@ CARROT PUREE
Vitamins: A (19,152 IU), C, Folate
Minerals: Potassium, Sodium, Phosphorous, Iron, Magnesium, Calcium
Choose large, older carrots – these are actually richer in nutrients than baby carrots.
Freeze well.
TIPS: Do not reserve any left over water to use for thinning out the carrots if baby is under 8 months old as Nitrates may seep into the cooking water.

@~@ POTATO PUREE
Method 1 : peel then boil then mash with fork.
Method 2 : bake then mash with fork.

@~@ SPINACH PUREE
Tips: Do not use cooking water to puree.
Spinach puree MUST be immediately eaten, frozen or stored in the refrigerator. Studies done on spinach and nitrates in particular have shown that with improper storage and preparation, the nitrate levels may actually increase.

@~@ SWEET POTATO PUREE
Vitamins: A (24,877 mg ), C, Folate
Minerals: Potassium, Sodium, Selenium, Phosphorous, Magnesium, Calcium
Bake is more efficient.
can also steam in cubes.
Freeze well.

Although I am not anti ready-made puree,
I may buy them and feed my baby them,
especially for traveling
when I have little / no access to warmer,
but I prefer to prepare home-made puree,
because it is fresher and has less artificial.

Blended brown rice / white rice +  breast milk / formula + any of / combination of : ikan bilis / anchovies + ginseng + lotus seed + prune.
Since these require daily preparation,
if I really have no time in the future as I must go out to earn $ for our family,
I may consider any of these :
# Nestle Cerelac.
# Moon Rabbit Brand Si Sen Brown Rice Powder.


How to freeze home-made puree?

# Let the steamed puree cool down first before freezing.

# Use ice-cube trays with lids.
I think the ice cube tray with lid is a good investment,
we can use it to make fruit puree cubes to be added to yoghurt. To retain the freshness, some people use cling film to go round the ice cube trays to seal out odors (especially if you keep uncooked meat in the freezer); but I do not prefer this method because the plastic may stick to the puree.

# Use Avent cups. Fill in < 100 ml, so we can top up with cereal / breast milk / formula / water. For feeding, can warm the cups with bottle warmer.

# Use cleaned glass bottles* from EYS Chicken Essence / bird nest.

Of course, if I can afford the time to prepare puree daily, I no need to freeze.
I can eat the remaining puree that my baby cannot finish daily.

*Glass that is not specifically manufactured for freezing has the unfortunate ability to crack, leave behind tiny, microscopic shards and fragments and also is prone to bursting.
Baby food jars (e.g. Gerber, Heinz) are not manufactured for freezing or for extreme heating.

How long can frozen baby puree last?
3 months just like breast milk.
But consuming within 1 month is the best for the sake of nutrient retention.

Consider also baby led weaning.

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Written by blueroselady

March 21, 2013 at 9:52 pm

Posted in family, food, motherhood

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