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Monday, March 2, 2015

Cooking with my new SEED Electric Lunch Box SD-967 (Vacuum Seal Version) plus recipes!


Meet my new kitchen gadget - SEED Electric Lunch Box (shortened to ELB) SD-967 (Vacuum Seal Version)! My older SEED ELB is an SD-937 that looks like below:

Organic millet porridge.

I prefer to use an electric lunch box to cook my little one's daily meals because I like the steam-cook method. I feel that nutrients should be more intact if food is steamed. However, I'll use the gas stove to cook certain dishes that need stir-frying. If I'm making baked dishes, I'll use the oven. For soups and stews with bigger portion, I'll use the slow cooker.

Breakfast on the top tier.

I like the two-tier feature of this electric lunch box. I can steam-cook two dishes at one time. For example, I can cook porridge for my little one's lunch and dinner at the bottom tier and his breakfast on the top tier.

Lunch & dinner at the bottom tier.

Below are dishes that I recently cooked for my toddler.


Creamy Sweet Potato & Apple Oatmeal

Ingredients:
(Serves 2 meals) 

1/2 cup rolled oats, soaked overnight, drained & rinsed
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup water
1 small organic sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 small apple, peeled and chopped

Put everything into the steel container of the electric lunch box. Turn on power and steam-cook for about 30 minutes.



Wild Rice & Red Lentil Stew

Ingredients:
(Serves 2 meals) 

2/3 cup wild rice, soaked overnight, drained & rinsed
3 tablespoons red lentil, soaked overnight, drained & rinsed
About half a fist-size amount of minced pork
A handful chopped English spinach
A handful frozen baby green peas, thawed
A handful chopped young leek
3 cherry tomatoes, halved
Water, enough to cover ingredients

Put everything into the steel container of the electric lunch box. Turn on power and steam-cook for about 45-50 minutes.


Spinach & Pork Wild Rice Stew

Ingredients:
(Serves 2 meals) 

2/3 cup wild rice, soaked overnight, drained & rinsed
About half a fist-size amount of minced pork
A handful chopped Chinese spinach (bayam), blanched with hot water
1 medium dried Shittake mushroom, soaked overnight, washed and cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons wolfberries (goji berries), soaked, drained & rinsed
Water, enough to cover ingredients

Put everything (except spinach) into the steel container of the electric lunch box. Turn on power and steam-cook for about 30 minutes. Add in spinach and cook for another 10 minutes.


Assorted Veggies Soup

Ingredients:
(Serves 2 meals) 

1/2 cup zucchini, cut into cubes
1/2 cup orange sweet potato, cut into cubes
1/2 cup Russet potato, cut into cubes
1/2 cup radish, cut into cubes
1 cup pork broth

Put everything into the steel container of the electric lunch box. Turn on power and steam-cook for about 20 minutes.


Zucchini, Potato, Leek, Pork & Pasta Stew

Ingredients:
(Serves 2 meals) 

About half a fist-size amount of minced pork
1/2 cup zucchini, cut into cubes
1/2 cup Russet potato, cut into cubes 
1/2 cup young leek, cut into slices
1 cup uncooked pasta (I used ORGRAN's safari vegetable pasta) 
Water, enough to cover ingredients

Put everything into the steel container of the electric lunch box. Turn on power and steam-cook for about 30 minutes.


Zucchini, Carrot, Leek, Pork Stew with Safari Pasta

Ingredients:
(Serves 2 meals) 

About half a fist-size amount of minced pork
1/2 cup zucchini, cut into cubes
1/2 cup carrot, cut into cubes 
1/2 cup young leek, cut into slices
1 cup precooked pasta (I used ORGRAN's safari vegetable pasta)
Water, enough to cover ingredients

Put everything (except pasta) into the steel container of the electric lunch box. Turn on power and steam-cook for about 30 minutes. Then, stir in the precooked pasta and cook for another 5 minutes.


Sweet Potatoes & Spinach Macaroni Soup

Ingredients:
(Serves 2 meals) 

About half a fist-size amount of minced pork
1/2 cup orange sweet potatoes, cut into cubes
1/2 cup purple sweet potatoes, cut into cubes 
1 cup English spinach, roughly chopped
1 cup uncooked macaroni
Water, enough to cover ingredients

Put everything into the steel container of the electric lunch box. Turn on power and steam-cook for about 40 minutes.


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Assorted Pasta with Ricotta, Fish & Peas


Assorted Pasta with Ricotta, Fish & Peas

I'm introducing a new cheese to my 18.5-month toddler. It's called ricotta cheese - a soft Italian curd cheese made from whey, which is drained and then lightly 'cooked'. It's light and creamy with a slightly grainy texture and delicate flavor. Due to ricotta's low fat content, I add unsalted butter into this dish.

I use two kinds of pasta - ORGRAN's safari vegetable pasta and EDEN's organic small vegetable shells (photos below). I love the combination of fish and peas. The ricotta cheese adds a delicate flavor and the colorful pastas are so esthetically pleasing!

Carbs, protein (from fish), fiber, vitamins, fats - I guess my little one is having all the nutrients that he needs to grow! :)


Ingredients:
(Serves 2 meals)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup precooked tenggiri fish flakes
A handful of frozen green peas, thawed (I used Wattie's frozen baby peas) 
2 tablespoons ricotta cheese (may be substituted with 1 tablespoon cream cheese)
1/2 cup cooked assorted pasta (can use any pasta your little one likes)
Water

How to:

I heat up olive oil in a frying pan and stir fry the fish flakes until fragrant.

Note: I precook the fish by pan-frying. Once fried and cooled down, I remove the meat from the bone and mash them into flakes with a spoon.

Then, I add in green peas and just enough water to prevent the fish from drying up. Simmer for a few minutes and stir in cheese and pasta. Give everything a good stir until well combined and off the heat.

Leave to cool to desirable warmth and serve your little one. :)

ORGRAN's safari vegetable pasta.

Cow, horse, rooster, lamb, pig.

EDEN's organic small vegetable shells.

These colorful pastas are so esthetically pleasing!


Friday, February 27, 2015

Home remedies for common kids sicknesses (fever, flu, cough, sore throat, diarrhea)


I'm pretty sure all moms know what common kids sicknesses are: fever, flu, cough, sore throat, stomach flu, diarrhea, Roseola, hand-foot-mouth-disease (HFMD), chicken pox. So far, my 18.5-month old little one has had all except HFMD and chicken pox.

About home remedies, after reading up information from fellow mommies in FB groups, I believe every household should have at least these three must-have items ready in their pantry:

1. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
2. Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO): Read up about VCO's health benefits
3. Raw Honey e.g. Manuka Honey (UMF >10)

Other good to-have ingredients include lemon, garlic, small red onions, ginger.


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Disclaimer: When in doubt, you should always consult your child's pediatrician before attempting home remedies. Every child is different and might react differently to the ingredients in the home remedies. Please do your own research well. 


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Fever

From MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: Fever is the temporary increase in the body's temperature in response to a disease or illness. A child has a fever when the temperature is at or above one of these levels: 38°C measured in the bottom (rectally); 37.5°C measured in the mouth (orally); 37.2°C measured under the arm (axillary).

Fever is an important part of the body's defense against infection. Although a fever signals that a battle might be going on in the body, the fever is fighting for, not against the person.

Note: Do follow your motherly instincts. If you think you should send your child to his pediatrician or ER, please do so. Home remedies are only recommended for very mild fever in order to sooth the child, not to combat underlying causes of the fever.

This is the guide that I always follow. Go to the clinic if your child:
  • Is 3 months or younger and has a rectal temperature of 38°C or higher
  • Is 3 to 12 months old and has a fever of 39°C or higher
  • Is 2 years or younger and has a fever that lasts longer than 24 to 48 hours
  • Is older and has a fever for longer than 48 to 72 hours
  • Has a fever of 40.5°C or higher, unless it comes down readily with treatment and the child is comfortable
  • Has other symptoms that suggest an illness may need to be treated, such as a sore throat, earache, or cough
  • Has had fevers come and go for up to a week or more, even if these fevers are not very high
  • Recently had vaccination

Here are some home remedies for fever that I learned from fellow mommies.

#1: Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)

ACV reduces fever quickly because its acidity helps to draw heat from the skin.

Add 1/2 cup ACV to lukewarm (NOT cold) water in a baby bath tub. Soak in this bath solution for 5-10 minutes. I usually do this twice a day - late morning and early evening.

Soak a washcloth in a mixture of one part ACV and two parts tepid water. Wring out excess solution and place it on your forehead and tummy. Change the cloth when it becomes warm. Repeat as often as required until fever reduces.

Soak socks in a mixture of one part ACV and two parts tepid water. Wring out excess solution and wear the socks. Change the socks when they become warm. Repeat as often as required until fever reduces.

#2: Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO)

Drink neat, 1 teaspoon 3-4 times a day.

#3: Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated

Example: plain water, fresh coconut water, barley water, clear broth.


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Flu & cough

Here are some home remedies for flu & cough that I learned from fellow mommies.

#1: Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) + raw honey

Mix 1 tablespoon ACV and 1 teaspoon raw honey in a cup of warm water. Drink 3-4 times a day. This remedy is NOT suitable for babies below 1 year old.

#2: Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO)

Drink neat, 1 teaspoon 3-4 times a day.

#3: Ginger + lemon juice + raw honey

Cut a thumb-sized ginger into slices and crush them slightly. Boil them in a cup of water. Add 1 teaspoon lemon juice and 1 teaspoon raw honey. Drink 3-4 times a day. This remedy is NOT suitable for babies below 1 year old.



#6: Chinese double-boiled pear (Chinese golden pear or Korean pear)
1 Chinese golden pear or 1 Korean pear + 1 luo han guo + 3 large Chinese honey dates + 2 soup spoonfuls Chinese almonds (north & south) + 600-900ml water. Double boil for 3 hours.

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Sore throat

Here are some home remedies for sore throat that I learned from fellow mommies.
 
#1: Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO)

Drink neat, 1 teaspoon 3-4 times a day.

#2: Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) + raw honey + lemon juice

Mix 1 tablespoon ACV with 1 teaspoon raw honey and 1 teaspoon lemon juice in a cup of warm water. Drink 3-4 times a day. This remedy is NOT suitable for babies below 1 year old.

#3: Homemade popsicles

Mix fresh fruits with plain or Greek yogurt and freeze them into popsicles. Eat as and when needed.

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Diarrhea

Here are some home remedies for diarrhea that I learned from fellow mommies.
 
#1: Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated

Example: plain water, fresh coconut water, barley water, clear broth.

#2: Eliminate dairy products

Especially fresh milk, cheese, and cow's milk-based formula milk.

#3: Eat plain yogurt

Dairy products should be eliminated because they worsen diarrhea. However, yogurt is an exception. Yogurt contains live-cultures, i.e. gut-friendly bacteria that provides protection in the intestines and helps generate lactic acid to flush out toxins.

#4: Eat BRAT food

These are bananas, rice, applesauce (cooked apples), and toast. Clear broth and watery rice porridge are okay too.

#5: Take a course of probiotics after diarrhea is over

A course usually lasts two weeks, with 1 serving a day. Here's my toddler's experience. 


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Feel free to suggest other home remedies that you're using.

Thank you!


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Banana Bread with White Chocolate Chips


Banana Bread with White Chocolate Chips

There's a big bunch of overripe bananas in my kitchen. I always believe that the best way to "get rid" of them is by baking them into a loaf of fragrant banana cake/bread.

Previously I have baked Diana Henry's Best Banana Cake. This round, for IHCC's February potluck, I choose Donna Hay's simple banana bread. For mine, I add white chocolate chips.

Recipe from Donna Hay's website.

Ingredients:
(Serves 8-10)

4 medium ripe bananas (800g), peeled and chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 & 1/2 cups brown sugar (I used 1/2 cup molasses sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 & 1/2 cups self-raising flour, sifted
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

How to:

1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Lightly grease and line a 25cm x 11cm glass loaf pan with non-stick baking paper.

2. Place bananas in a medium bowl and mash with a fork. Add the olive oil, eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract and whisk to combine.

3. Add the flour and cinnamon and mix to combine. Finally, mix in the white chocolate chips. Pour into the prepared loaf fan.

4. Bake for 80 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.


Those white lines are from melted white chocolate chips.

Those white lines are from melted white chocolate chips.


I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) for this week's theme, February Potluck!

Photobucket

This post is also linked to the event, Little Thumbs Up (February 2015 Event: Cocoa) organized by Zoe (Bake for Happy Kids), Doreen (My Little Favourite DIY) and hosted by Grace (Life can be Simple).


This post is also linked to Cook and Celebrate: CNY 2015 organized by Yen from Eat your heart out, Diana from Domestic Goddess Wannabe, and Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids.


Monday, February 23, 2015

Cornmeal & Creamy Corn Pancakes


Cornmeal & Creamy Corn Pancakes

I love pancakes. As always, pancakes are easy and fast to make and they are delicious and pretty too. They make great finger food and snacks for toddlers to munch on.

For a change, I use cornmeal and cream-style corn. The pancakes are heavier and chewier, not as soft and fluffy as conventional pancakes.

 
Ingredients:
(Makes 20 if you scoop the batter with the measuring spoon set's tablespoon)


3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup molasses sugar
1/4 cup fresh milk
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 egg
3/4 cup cream-style corn


How to:

1. In a bowl, mix together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, molasses sugar, milk, butter, and egg. Gently fold in cream-style corn until well distributed.

2. Heat up a frying pan and lightly grease with vegetable oil.

3. Scoop one tablespoon of batter by using the measuring spoon set's tablespoon onto the hot frying pan.

Note: The batter is not as runny and is a bit sticky.

4. Cook until the edges turn brown. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side. Repeat with remaining batter.

5. Stack and serve with maple syrup and yogurt.

Ready to serve.

Drizzle with some pure maple syrup.

Pancakes served with yogurt and maple syrup.


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