Saturday, October 29, 2011

Happy Halloween!!!

I want to wish my readers a Happy Halloween!!  Have a safe and fun time trick-or-treating!!  And keep the kids warm!

These spider cookies are very easy to make.  All you need are some round shape cookies, thin pretzels, Nutella/ peanut butter (I used Nutella) and mini M&M or raisins for the eyes.   Take one round cookie, spread it with Nutella/ peanut butter as a glue, then top with 8 broken pretzels as legs.  Spread the other half of cookie with more Nutella/ peanut butter, glue it together.  Take one M&M or raisin, dip with some Nutella/ peanut butter and glue it on top of the cookie as eye, finish the other eye.  There you have it!  Evy took this as her afternoon snack at school and she had a fun time eating it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Korean Style Spicy Chicken (韩国辣子鸡)

This is one fingers licking good chicken!  Spicy, sweet and sticky, it will beg you to have more.  Very suitable for any party that you are throwing or bring it to a potluck party.  I believe it would be a hit!  I took a short-cut on this as I had some leftover fried chicken wings and drumettes.  If you don't have the leftover store-bought fried chicken wings, just make your own.  Marinate the wings and drumettes with salt and pepper.  Coat it with corn starch or corn flour and deep-fry in hot oil until cook.

As for the sauce, if you like it spicier, you are welcome to add the Korean red pepper powder or substitute it with cayenne pepper powder.  That would be an extra kick for you!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sardines Fried Brown Rice (沙丁鱼炒糙米饭)

Sardine?  Have you been eating enough of this?  I certainly not!  But I would love to include it more into our diets.  Sardine in tomato sauce or spicy tomato sauce is very popular in South East Asia, I remembered my mom cooked it for us pretty often, according to her, it was packed with calcium and thus good for our bone.  Sardine is actually another power food because not only it's good to our bone, it's good to our heart and overall health as well.  It has the most concentrated sources of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which have been found to lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels.  It's an excellent source of Vitamin B-12 (promote hearth health), Vitamin D (aid in calcium absorption), phosphorus (strengthen bone matrix), selenium (antioxidant), protein and niacin (vitamin B3).

You can also buy sardine packed in water or olive oil.  I just preferred it packed in tomato sauce, tastier to me.  Anyway, for this recipe I recommended one packed in tomato sauce as the flavor goes well with the chili sauce.  If you don't have chili sauce, you can substitute it with ketchup.  This is definitely one bowl of healthy and nutrients packed brown rice!  Hope you enjoy this as much as we did.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Dried Bread Snack

Before picture

I had a thing for dried bread.  I remembered when I was little, my mom used to buy the dried bread that was hanging at the back of a motorcycle from our Indian bread delivery man.  I remembered liking it and like my mom, I loved to dunk it in coffee.  I published my recipe before in 2005, in which I spread it with butter, top it with sugar and even Milo before baking.  This time, I made it healthier without any added butter nor sugar.  It really made a healthy and crunchy snack.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Bibimbap/ Korean Mixed Rice

Bibimbap is a Korean mixed meal or mixed rice, either serve warm or cold.  Usually consists of few banchan (Korean side dishes), raw or fried egg, beef (or pork/chicken) and mixed with gochujang (Korean red pepper paste), sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds.   "Dolsot Bibimbap" is mixed rice in a hot stone pot.  The stone pot will keep the rice warm.  I had some leftover from the Korean meal that I prepared earlier so I made bibimbap out of it.  I didn't add any gochujang, sesame oil or sesame seeds because my banchan and the dak-galbi already flavored with those.  

Mixed well together

It did not look too appetizing when mixed together but it was delicious!  To me, the vegetarian bibimbap that consists of all the veggies side dishes, mixed with gochujang, sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds is actually quite healthy.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Godiva Coffee

This post is part of a Foodbuzz Tastemaker program with Godiva Coffee.  I received two bags of Godiva Coffee's latest seasonal flavors - Pumpkin Spice which is featuring here and Caramel pecan Bark, which is available nationwide for a limited time only.

These indulgent flavors are inspired by Godiva's most popular chocolates and crafted with high quality, medium-roasted, 100% Arabica beans for a rich, smooth taste.  Check out their website for exciting new ideas and recipes for serving up your fall-inspired coffee or incorporate it into your fall festivities.

I am sharing here a method that Malaysian loved in their coffee.  I used a fat-free condensed milk here (you don't have to use fat-free) and you can add half and half to make it richer.  This Godiva's Pumpkin Spice coffee is rich and smooth with a hint of pumpkin, really reminded me of fall and fall festivities.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

My Experience with Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism, a medical term that was unfamiliar to me until recently.  When I went for my yearly physical check up at my OB/GYN office, I would request her to get me some blood tests done, such as cholesterol and glucose.  I asked her whether there was any other test that she could do for me and she suggested a thyroid (TSH) test, which I gladly accepted.  The result of my first thyroid test was on the high end of normal based on the chart but since I looked fine and my cholesterol and glucose tests came out normal, my OB said I probably shouldn't be worried about it and just go back for a follow up test in 3 months.   Since she phased it like that I didn't do much to change.  Then, about 2 months down, I started to gain weight, even though I had been killing myself at the gym.  So, I started to do a little more research on hypothyroidism (under active thyroid) and started to take my BBT (basal body temperature) every morning upon waking up.  The normal BBT should read 97.5'F and above.  If you were measured consistently below 97.5'F, from 2nd day of your menstrual cycle up to 5 days later.  You might be suffered from hypothyroidism (low metabolism).  My BBT temp. were consistently lower and in addition to gaining weight, I started to feel sore joints on my hands and legs (I thought it might be due to my stair master and track mile exercises that I did in the gym).  My hands would feel cold to the touch even though my daughter's hands were warm to the touch. I started to think I might have hypothyroidism!!!  Even though I didn't have most of the other beginning symptoms.

My Ob/Gyn office called me for the follow up blood test 3 months later and I went.  The blood test was much higher than my previous one (much higher than the normal range) and she referred me to see my family doctor.  I started to get serious about this and did a lot of reading on the web.  I came to a conclusion that my diet was messing up my thyroid!  First let me explain what is thyroid.  Thyroid is a small butterfly shape gland (under Adam's apple) in your throat that makes hormones called thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) that your body needs.  These hormones help control the function of almost all of your body's cells, tissues, organs such as heart, brain, and skin.  The thyroid stores iodine from food and uses it to create T4 and T3.  Not enough T4 made will signal your pituitary gland to release more Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). Therefore, high TSH equal to low T3 and T4 which means under active thyroid or hypothyroidism.  Under active thyroid also means low metabolism.  To learn more about hypothyroidism, symptoms and causes of hypothyroidism, read here and here.  Some of the common symptoms are unexplained weight gain, swollen face, hair loss, constipation, irregular period, heavier period, memory loss, joint pain, brittle nails, and fatigue.  After reading a lot of the articles, I came to the conclusion that I had iodine deficiency, even though it was common around the world but very unlikely in the U.S.  Why?  Because I stopped using iodized salt 4-5 years ago when I switched to kosher salt and sea salt because Food Network chefs use these salts in their shows.  Little did I know that my body was screwed by watching the Food Network and all the food magazines out there that listed kosher/sea salt as the salt used instead of iodized salt.  Another reason was I mostly cooked at home and in Asian cooking, we used a lot of soy sauce, oyster sauce, bottle sauces and fish sauce instead of salt.  And all these sauces were not supplemented with iodine.  My table salt was sea salt without iodized and the cooking salt that I used was kosher salt without iodized (I found out that you can actually buy iodized kosher and sea salt now, so please do so if you want to use kosher salt and sea salt, go check your label).  I hardly eat crustacean (shrimp and crab) and egg yolk and I didn't supplement with multivitamins and minerals.  So, where the heck was I going to get enough iodine in my diet? 

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Turmeric Brown Rice (黄姜糙米饭)

If you look through the prevention and health magazines these days, you would notice that turmeric has always been a spot light as one of the super food.  Turmeric has been said to be antioxidant, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, stomach-soothing (prevent indigestion), reduce blood-clot (protect against the heart), protect the liver from certain toxins, aids in treatment for arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, increase metabolism and so on.  And the active ingredient that provided turmeric with all these health benefits lies in a compound called curcumin.  Turmeric is also high in fiber, iron, potassium, manganese and small amount of folate, niacin, zinc, vitamin B6 and choline. You can read in more detail through this link here.

Turmeric has been used for thousand of years in India and China as a medicinal treatment for certain illness and also in cooking.  In India, it has also been used as dye or coloring.  Therefore, the downside of this spice to me is that it stain.  If you accidentally touch it, it can stain your fingernails, but it will come off after a few days.  If it stain your countertop, try cleaning it baking soda and water solution or bleach or wipe it with Magic Eraser sponge.  If you cook your rice like me with a rice cooker, it can stain your rice cooker as well.

I read that small amount used in cooking should have not much impact as a cure for certain diseases, but I think as a prevention it should be alright.  If you want to take it as a supplement (as with any supplement), you need to consult with your doctor first as turmeric has to be taken in caution with pregnant women, people with gallstones, stomach ulcers, bile duct obstruction, serious heart and liver conditions. 

I have a friend whose mother (who is Indonesian) drink her daily milk with a teaspoon of turmeric powder mixed in.  When I first heard it, I was like that was a great way to incorporate turmeric in your daily diet for prevention but it was not for me as I don't drink milk.  And then while researching on turmeric, I chance upon this recipe, it is a turmeric milk recipe for cough, colds and sore throat!  Wow, isn't it interesting and it is said to be an ancient remedy for treating cough, colds and sore throat. 

As for me, I finally thought of a way of adding turmeric in my daily diet, that is to add it in my brown rice.  In South East Asia, we have a common turmeric coconut rice that is served with chicken curry or rendang.  But I have limit my coconut milk intake due to its high fat content.  So, I gladly omitted the coconut milk so that I can have turmeric brown rice every weekdays.  I normally eat out on weekends.  I think my girls are pretty adaptable, they were fine when I switched to all brown rice, they were fine when I added garlic and ginger in cooking my brown rice and they are even fine with this yellow color turmeric brown rice.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Korean Fish Patties/ Saeng Son Jon

When I saw this recipe in a Korean cookbook that I borrowed from the library, I found it intriguing.  I never thought of adding chopped fish into a pan-fry eggs before.  But after I gave it a thought, actually Chinese also have our version, we called it "Egg Foo Yong", but instead of fish, we used shrimps and BBQ pork.  Since this recipe intriguing me, of course I wanted to see how it would taste like and made it myself.  Chopped fish went so well in fried eggs and this fish patties were actually scrumptious.  But I wouldn't recommend to eat it often as it was a little oily, as with all fried food.  Later I asked my elder girl whether she knew what was in the patties that she loved so much and she had no clue.  After I told her it was fish, she was like ewww.  Well, I didn't know why that was her respond because she is not a fish hater.  I guess if you want to encourage or trick your little fish hater to eat fish, you can make this dish.  Hahaha...

Making an all Korean meal took a lot of work.  So I actually served this with Belacan sweet potato leaves and mint egg drop soup.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Mungbean Sprout MuChim/ SukJu MuChim

Another simple Korean banchan (side dish) that I liked.  When I started to make Korean food, I realized why their food are considered healthy.  They eat lots of banchan which were mainly vegetable either pickled or boiled and seasoned with mainly salt, sesame oil, sesame seeds, red pepper powder, minced garlic and light soy sauce.  As you know, garlic, sesame seeds, sesame oil, red pepper powder are all considered good for us, so I could see generally Korean food is healthier.  This recipe works well with spinach and soybean sprout too.  Just par-boiled the spinach and squeeze the water out before adding the seasonings, but omit the green onion.