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Health & Wellness

Health & Wellness
Health & Wellness



Gazpacho (Gordon Ramsay's recipe)

I was watching Gordon Ramsay's Ultimate Home Cooking Season 1 (Episode 7) on TV and one of the recipes that caught my attention was the stunning Gazpacho soup.

Gazpacho is a cold soup made of raw vegetables, usually with a tomato base. So, on this day, the last day of August, the very last day of blog-hop Cook Like A Star - Gordon Ramsay, I make Gazpacho! Just in time! :D

Recipe adapted from here.

(Serves 4)

Note: My modifications in orange.

6 ripe vine tomatoes, finely chopped
1 fat garlic clove, peeled and finely crushed
1 (small) red pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
1 (small) yellow pepper, deseeded and finely chopped
1 small red onion, peeled and finely chopped (omitted)
1/2 cucumber, peeled, deseeded and finely chopped (I use 1/2 Japanese cucumber, with seeds intact and finely chopped)
Juice of 1 lemon, or to taste
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
300ml chicken stock
300ml tomato juice
1 large handful basil and tarragon leaves, chopped (I used 1 teaspoon of mixed dried herbs)
Dash of Tabasco sauce
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Good quality olive oil, to drizzle
Croutons, to serve

How to:

1. Put all vegetables in a large bowl and sprinkle over some salt and pepper. Mix well.

2. Pour in chicken stock and tomato juice to cover, then stir in mixed herbs and a dash each of Tabasco and Worcestershire sauce. Cover with cling film and chill for at least four hours to let the flavors meld. (I leave it to chill overnight in the fridge.)

3. Drizzle with olive oil and croutons scattered on top before serving. Serve cold.

A medley of brightly colored vegetables!

Ready to be chilled.

Power-packed with antioxidants!


This post is linked to Cook like a Star (Gordon Ramsay) organized by Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids, Yen from Eat Your Heart Out and Mich from Piece of Cake.


Banana Ji Dan Gao

Banana Ji Dan Gao 

Ji Dan Gao, literally translated, means egg cake. I have this Ji Dan Gao recipe from my mother-in-law. :) I add some bananas because I love the lovely aroma of bananas.


(Makes 6)

2 eggs (I use medium eggs)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar (I use molasses sugar)
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I use virgin coconut oil)
2 & 1/2 tablespoons condensed milk (I use 2 tablespoons)
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 small banana, peeled and sliced

How to:

1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Lightly grease a 6-hole muffin pan.

2. Lightly beat the eggs in a large bowl. Add sugar, milk, oil, and condensed milk. Mix until well-combined. Set aside.

3. Sift flour and baking powder into the wet mixture from step 1. Mix until just combined. Batter will be slightly runny.

4. Spoon batter into prepared muffin pan. Top each hole with 2 banana slices.

5. Bake for 25-30 minutes until top is golden brown.

Ready to go into the oven.

Done after 30 minutes!

Moist and delicious! Serve warm with cold yogurt.


This post is linked to the event, Little Thumbs Up (August 2014 Event: Flour) organized by Zoe (Bake for Happy Kids), Doreen (My Little Favourite DIY) and hosted by Diana (Domestic Goddess Wannabe).


What to do when Aunt Flo visits while you're still breastfeeding?

Aunt Flo returned when my baby turned 11 months. Was I surprised? Not entirely. I know her return is imminent; it's just a matter of time.

When will the first period return?

A few factors:
  • How frequently the baby is nursing;
  • How often the baby is supplemented with bottles;
  • If baby takes a pacifier;
  • How long the baby is sleeping at night;
  • If solids have been introduced; and
  • The mother's own individual body chemistry and the way it responds to hormonal influences associated with breastfeeding.

Any time the stimulation to the breast is decreased, especially at night, menstruation is likely to return soon after. As baby nurses less frequently, prolactin (milk-making hormone) levels fall, reproductive hormones rise, and fertility returns, i.e. period returns.

The main thing is this: the more frequent you nurse your baby at your breasts (day and night), the later Aunt Flo returns. In my case, I nurse my baby whenever I'm with him. He's not bottle-fed at home and he never uses the pacifier. At night, he wakes up every 2-3 hours to nurse.

I returned to work when he was 3 months plus; he started on solids when he was 6 months old; my period returned when he turned 11 months. Not too bad, although I secretly hope the red tide never returns for as long as he's still breastfeeding. Hahaha! By the way, I'm still breastfeeding although he's officially a one-year-old tot. :)

What might happen when Aunt Flo returns?

The most important thing to remember is that the return of period does not mean the end of breastfeeding. The milk does not sour or "go bad" when you are having a period. The milk is no less nutritious when you are menstruating than when you are not.

These temporary changes might happen: nipple tenderness (I don't feel this), temporary drop in milk supply the few days prior to getting your period and for a few days during (yeah, this is annoying!), baby wanting to feed more frequently due to the temporary drop in milk supply (I think so), or baby wanting to feed less, as your baby may detect a slight change in taste during this time (not in my case).

What to do to during temporary drop in milk supply?

Some women experience a drop in milk supply from ovulation (mid-cycle) until the first day or two of the next menstrual period. A woman's blood calcium levels gradually decrease during this period of time, and for some women the drop in blood calcium causes a drop in milk supply. For women who have this problem, calcium/magnesium supplements may be helpful. This practice has also been reported to eliminate most uterine cramping and some premenstrual discomfort such as water retention.

The recommended calcium supplement dosage is between 500mg calcium/250mg magnesium and 1500mg calcium/750mg magnesium (the higher dosage is generally more effective). Calcium dosages this high should not be taken alone, but as a calcium/magnesium (or calcium/magnesium/zinc) combination. Otherwise the calcium will not be adequately absorbed into your body.

The amount of supplement depends on the composition of your diet -- the more animal protein, the more calcium/magnesium needed. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, the lower dosage may work fine for you. Start the supplement when you ovulate, and continue through the first few days of your menstrual period. If periods are irregular, then begin calcium/magnesium at 14 days after the beginning of your last menstrual cycle, or simply take the supplement every day.

Article sources:


Plum Tartlets

Plum Tartlets

I don't usually eat tarts or tartlets because I don't fancy the crumbly, sandy crust texture. Unfortunately (I mean it! :P), Bake-along #67's menu is 'Plum Tartlets', so I use this as an "excuse" to bake my first tarts after avoiding them for so many years.

I decide to use good creamery butter to bake these tartlets so that I don't get that oily margarine residue aftertaste in my mouth. Hopefully, this recipe will save me from my childhood's bad tart memories.

(Recipe adapted from here and Joyce from Kitchen Flavours)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (I bought fresh cardamom and ground into powder)
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
227g unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup molasses sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
6 plums, pitted and sliced
Demerara sugar for sprinkling

How to:

1. Preheat oven to 170°C. Lightly oil a 12-hole muffin pan or two 6-hole muffin pans.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, ground cardamom, and salt; set aside.

3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Add egg yolks, molasses sugar, and vanilla essence; continue to beat until the mixture is light in color. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture in thirds, mixing just until incorporated; be careful not to over-mix.

4. Divide the dough evenly among the muffin holes. Decorate with plum slices in each hole, lightly pressing the slices into the dough with your fingers. Sprinkle the tops with demerara sugar.

5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the tartlets look set and the tops are bubbly and caramelized to a golden brown.

Before going into the oven.

Close-ups. See those lovely demerara sugar granules?

Baked until the tarts are caramelized to a golden brown.

Best served warm.

Time to indulge!

Eat them just like that or serve with your favorite yogurt, ice-cream or coffee/tea. Next round, I might substitute plums with peaches.

I'm linking this post to the event, Bake-Along #67: Theme - Plum Tartlets organized by Joyce from Kitchen Flavours, Lena from Frozen Wings, and Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids.


Pear, Banana & Cinnamon Pikelets

Pear, Banana & Cinnamon Pikelets
I made these cute and delicious pikelets for my one-year old boy's tea-time snack. They are just so cute!

Recipe adapted from here.

(Makes 16 if you scoop the batter with the measuring spoon set's tablespoon)
1 cup self-raising flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons molasses sugar
3/4 cup fresh milk
2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 large ripe banana, mashed
1 forella (blushing) pear, cored, finely chopped

How to:

1. Combine flour, cinnamon, and sugar in a bowl. Make a well in the center. Combine milk, oil, and vanilla in a jug. Add to flour mixture. Whisk until smooth. Stir in banana and pear. Stand for 10 minutes.

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.

4. Cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side. Repeat with remaining batter to make 16 pikelets. Serve with yogurt or ice-cream.

The lumpy (but not too sticky) batter.

Scoop one tablespoon of batter onto hot frying pan.

Cook 4 pikelets at a time.

Flip and cook until browned on the other side.

Ready to be served with yogurt or ice-cream.

Can you see the pear bits?

Packed in my son's snack box.


This post is linked to the event, Little Thumbs Up (August 2014 Event: Flour) organized by Zoe (Bake for Happy Kids), Doreen (My Little Favourite DIY) and  hosted by Diana (Domestic Goddess Wannabe).


Double-boiled pear & ginger - for cough and phlegm

Baby had his first flu when he was 6 months old after a visit to his pediatrician. I guessed he contracted the flu virus from sick kids in the clinic at that time. After browsing through some natural remedies about how to reduce cough and phlegm, I decided to make steamed onion juice.
Half a year later, he has his second flu. Me too. Boohoo. I don't like the taste of steamed onion juice, so this time I make double-boiled pear and ginger.

I use one Packham pear (peeled and cut into cubes) and a thumb-sized ginger (peeled and cut into 3-4 broad slices).
Put the pear cubes and ginger slices into a bowl. Add just enough water to cover them. You can add a teaspoon of molasses sugar (optional) if you like it. Then, I add some water into my SEED lunch box's stainless steel pot and put the bowl into it to create the double-boiling effect.

My double-boiled pear and ginger juice is ready in an hour's time. I pour about 2.5 ounces into a baby bottle attached with a feeding spoon to feed my baby. I eat the rest of the pear.

Can you see the baby's little hand in the background? :)

Is it effective? I cook twice (one week apart). After the first round, he still coughs but not as bad. He doesn't cough after the second round.


My boy turns one; me too :)

Luke turns one!

Achievement unlocked! My boy turns one; so am I. :)

The boy and his birthday presents.

The little one enjoyed his first birthday get-together last week.


Quoting this article, "Firstborn children aren't the only ones that turn one. So do new mothers."

And here's the video that goes with the quote. I cry buckets watching it.

So..... how's motherhood for the past ONE YEAR? Well, I've written bits and pieces about it. If you're interested, here they are: Pregnancy, Mommyhood, Baby


The statement above sums it up! Motherhood ain't easy. It's hard to be a working mom. The act of juggling - being a breastfeeding mother, an employee, and a wife - is not a skill that can be learned overnight. Words can't describe how tired I am at times. But the following image does it perfectly.


Thankless careers. Hahaha. To be honest, sometimes I secretly hope I'm still single. :P

On a lighter note...

Guilty as charged. :)


*fist bump*


Mixed Vegetables, Sausages & Cheese Pasta Bake

Mixed Vegetables, Sausages & Cheese Pasta Bake

The little boy's FIRST birthday's brunch is today! And... I make this quick and easy pasta bake! It's called Mixed Vegetables, Sausages & Cheese Pasta Bake.

I use San Remo's Spirals Pasta.

(Serves 6-8)

350g spiral pasta (1 bag)
500g mixed vegetables (1 bag), thawed overnight in fridge
10 sausages, sliced
2 cans Prego Cheese & Herbs sauce (290g each)
2/3 cup milk
Mozzarella & Cheddar cheese, shredded

How to:

1. Preheat oven to 220°C for at least 10 minutes.

2. Boil pasta with a bit of vegetable oil for about 10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

3. Boil sliced sausages in pasta water for about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

4. In a large stock pot, pour in pasta, sausages, and mixed vegetables. Mix well with a spatula. Pour in Prego sauce and milk. Mix well.

5. Transfer everything into a 13"x9" roasting pan. Top with shredded cheese generously.

6. Bake in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes until top is golden brown.

Looks good!

Top with as much cheese as you like!

Bake for 30-40 minutes until top is golden brown.

Done! Ready to be served!

I'm linking this post to the event, Bake-Along #66: Theme - Baked Pasta organized by Joyce from Kitchen Flavours, Lena from Frozen Wings, and Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids.


Zucchini, Potato & Cheese Muffin Loaf

Zucchini, Potato & Cheese Muffin Loaf

Recipe adapted from the book
Breads & Muffins, p. 10.

(Makes 12 muffins or one 7"x7" square loaf)

(A) 1 medium Russet potato, peeled & shredded; 1/2 medium zucchini, shredded & drained

(B) 75g butter, melted; 2 cups all-purpose flour; 3/4 cup corn flour; 1 tablespoon baking powder; 1/2 teaspoon salt; 1 tablespoon muscovado sugar

(C) 2 small eggs; 1 cup milk; 40g Cheddar cheese, shredded

How to:

1. Preheat oven to 200°C for at least 10 minutes. Line a 7"x7" square cake tin with baking sheet.

2. Sift (B) in a large bowl. Add melted butter. Mix until combined.

3. Put (C) in a medium bowl and whisk well.

4. Add (A) into the egg-milk-cheese mixture. Then, pour this wet mixture into the flour-butter dry mixture. Stir until combined.

5. Pour batter into the prepared cake tin.

6. Bake for 45-50 minutes until top is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Leave to cool in the cake tin for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack for further cooling.

Before going into the preheated oven.

Bake for 45-50 minutes until top is golden brown.

Moist and hearty, good with your fav cuppa!


This post is linked to the event, Little Thumbs Up (August 2014 Event: Flour) organized by Zoe (Bake for Happy Kids), Doreen (My Little Favourite DIY) and hosted by Diana (Domestic Goddess Wannabe).

 photo 77951578-1914-4b72-8eda-9e40a91183ac_zps331eb4b4.jpg 

I'm also submitting this post to Cook-Your-Books #15 hosted by Joyce of Kitchen Flavours.