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Health & Wellness

Health & Wellness
Health & Wellness



Lemon & Honey Roasted Chicken

Lemon & Honey Roasted Chicken

I bought Donna Hay's book, Simple Essentials - Chicken, and decided to cook one of her many chicken recipes for this week's IHCC potluck and Kitchen Flavours' Cookbook Countdown #1. :)

Recipe adapted from Donna Hay, Simple Essentials - Chicken.

(Serves 2)

1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons honey1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and cracked black pepper

1 yellow onion, cut into wedges
2 chicken thighs
1/2 lemon, sliced
1 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves

How to:

1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Lightly grease a baking dish.

2. Mix lemon juice, honey, olive oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl.

3. Place onion wedges, chicken thighs, lemon slices, and dried rosemary in the greased baking dish. Brush the chicken generously with the honey mixture.

4. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Serve with pasta or rice. (I serve with buttered orzo.)

I love that crispy baked chicken skin.
A once-in-a-blue-moon indulgence. :)

Walloped this with a side of buttered orzo.

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

I'm also linking this post with Cookbook Countdown hosted by Kitchen Flavours and Emily's Cooking (Makan2) Foray.


Chili con veggie

Chili con veggie

The first IHCC potluck of 2016 is here! Woohoo! I want to cook something Jamie Oliver's for my toddler's lunch and his Kerryann's chili con veggie looks good! According to Jamie, this easy veggie chili recipe is full of good stuff and makes the perfect midweek vegetarian meal for the family. It sure does!

I learned from Deb that United Nations has declared 2016 to be the "International Year of the Pulse". Pulses, also known as grain legumes, are a group of 12 crops that includes dry beans, dry peas, chickpeas, and lentils. They are high in protein, fiber, various vitamins, and amino acids.

In this bowl of chili con veggie, I use a combination of dried red lentils, red beans, green beans, black beans, kidney beans. So there you go! A bowl of nutrients-packed lunch to fuel my little one's growing stature! :)

Recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver's Kerryann's chilli con veggie.

(Serves 2)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 medium leek, finely chopped
1 medium celery rib, finely diced
1 small carrot, finely diced
1 tablespoon paprika powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 cup organic mixed beans & lentils (dried red lentils, red beans, green beans, black beans, kidney beans), soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
2 & 1/2 cups vegetable stock
Salt & pepper (optional)

How to:

1. Preheat oven to 200°C. 

2. Heat up oil over medium heat in a deep oven-safe pot. Add onions, leek, celery, and carrot. Cook, stirring, until softened. Add paprika powder, ground cinnamon, and dried oregano. Stir until combine and add a splash of water to thin out the mixture.

3. Stir in lentils, beans, and vegetable stock. Season with salt and pepper (if using). Bring to a boil, then transfer the whole pot into the oven. Bake for 60 minutes. Then, reduce heat to 180°C and bake for another 30 minutes. Serve warm.

I need to restock my pantry with more pulses soon because I'm doing my part as an individual to promote the 2016 International Year of Pulses. The easiest way is by including pulses more often in my daily diet and weekly meal planner. This is gonna be very fun, healthy fun! :)

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


Strawberry Buttermilk Shortcake - #breakfastseries

Strawberry Buttermilk Shortcake

January is ending. Soon. So soon. I haven't been baking any dessert for the longest time ever. A lot of things happened, thus the impromptu hiatus. Last month's miscarriage and this month's stressful TTC (trying to conceive) journey are wrecking quite a scene in my otherwise uneventful life.

To date since 1 January 2016, I have made a pizza, stuffed French toasts, pancakes, and parfaits; but these didn't require real baking. So, I want to bake something special to re-start my passion for baking for the year 2016. When Zoe's, Joyce's, and Lena's Strawberry Shortcake blog posts showed up on my news feed, I knew I have to join them.

I have made a tub of Ellie's DIY Whole-Grain Buttermilk Pancake Mix from her latest book, You Have It Made: Delicious, Healthy, Do-Ahead Meals. So, I use this mix to make my shortcake.

(Makes 11-12 two-inch round biscuits)

1 & 1/2 cups Ellie's buttermilk pancake mix (recipe from here)
1/4 cup molasses sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup (57g) cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
200ml whipping cream
1 cup fresh strawberries, cut into slices

How to:

1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with baking sheet.

2. Mix pancake mix, molasses sugar, and baking powder in a bowl. Cut butter into flour mixture with a pastry cutter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Pour in milk and vanilla extract. Stir until the mixture starts to form a dough.

3. Turn out dough onto a surface dusted with flour. Gently knead 3 or 4 times and pat into 3/4-inch thickness. Use a round cookie cutter to cut into round biscuits. Place them on the prepared tray.

4. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool completely before assembling the shortcake.

5. Mix the strawberries slices with 1 tablespoon molasses sugar and refrigerate for about 30 minutes until their juices come out. When it's about time to serve the shortbread, whip the whipping cream until you get stiff peak.

6. To assemble, spread whipped cream over one biscuit and top with strawberries slices. Serve immediately.

The motion of patting the dough and cutting them
into round biscuits is really therapeutic. :)

Best eaten immediately after, or while assembling.

They are so pretty! And I'm so happy!

Have you tried making shortcake using pancake mix? I know it sounds unconventional, but I think you can give it a try. :)

I'm linking this post to the event, Bake-Along #91: Theme - Strawberry Shortcake organized by Joyce from Kitchen Flavours, Lena from Frozen Wings, and Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids.

I'm also linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) for this week's theme, You Have It Made!


Life snippets with my 29-month toddler

I've been trying my best to provide hands-on activities for little man. At 29 months (2 years + 5 months), he's a little ball energy. He needs lots of activities, or he will go crazy from boredom. I'm no expert yet and there's much room for improvement.

Top left: His toys in one corner of our living room. We don't have a special room for him, not yet I guess.

Top right: Sticker book helps to keep him occupied a fair bit. Well, I just gotta spend some time peeling stickers off the floor after he's done. Lol.

Bottom left: I have prepared some DIY busy bags for him earlier on. Here's what I have done.

Bottom right: The aftermath!

Most of the time, he will still be bored after playing with his favorite Hot Wheels cars and Duplo blocks. So, his papa comes out with this idea of creating a "cave" for him from a table and a huge blanket.

A mini laundry basket makes a great idea for him to stuff mini pom-poms through the holes. Well, this idea works for the first 12-15 balls before he decides to pour the entire bag of pom-poms into the basket from the top. T_T

When it's the papa's babysitting time, he will introduce new "manly" hobbies such as this color-changing Hot Wheels car.

You can never go wrong with outdoor playgrounds! This is one of the best ways to exhaust their energy. We usually avoid indoor playgrounds in shopping malls because those are really breeding grounds for germs.

When the boy becomes clingy and wants to be carried all the time, a ring-sling comes in handy. This ring sling is made by a local business owner, NeezaNeedles.

Some quotes that resonate with my current state of mind.

To be happy, we must not be too concerned with others.

For once, stop thinking about what could go wrong and think about what can go right.

Life is not a competition. Find the stuff that makes your soul sing and be your own uniquely beautiful self.

God will always provide. It just might look different than what we had in mind.

#extendedbreastfeeding #breastfeedingbeyondinfancy #29months #thingsmykidsays
Posted by on Friday, January 22, 2016


Muesli Parfaits - #breakfastseries

Muesli Parfaits

This week's IHCC is about making Ellie Krieger's make-ahead meals. When I think of make-ahead meals, a few recipes come to mind: overnight oats, breakfast casseroles, granola, pancakes, and a lot more! I have just bought 1kg of good quality frozen blueberries, so I guess I will make some parfaits for breakfast.

Recipe adapted from Ellie Krieger's Muesli Parfaits.

(Serves 2)

1 cup Greek yogurt
1 cup fresh milk
2 tablespoons honey
1 cup rolled oats
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 cup nuts & dried fruits trail mix

How to:

Mix together Greek yogurt, milk, honey, oats, and vanilla extract in a bowl. Divide the mixture into two mason jars. Top each with frozen blueberries and trail mix. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.

Breakfast is ready in a jiffy!

Those blueberries are so inviting!

Time to dig in!

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) for this week's theme, You Have It Made!


One-cup Pancakes with Blueberries & Cacao Nibs - #breakfastseries

One-cup Pancakes with Blueberries & Cacao Nibs

This week at IHCC, we are cooking Jamie Oliver's recipes. This good looking British celebrity chef has a section on his website dedicated to family food.

One of his family recipes that I just have to make is his one-cup pancakes because I really love pancakes. They are so easy to make, versatile, delicious, and pretty too. Quoting Jamie, "These are the simplest pancakes to make with kids. You don't even need scales to weigh out the ingredients – all you need is a cup or a mug!"

Also, I can basically add anything I like into the batter and garnish with any topping that I fancy.

Recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver's one-cup pancakes with blueberries.

(Makes 8 if you scoop the batter with the measuring set's 1/4-cup scoop)

1 cup wholemeal flour*
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 large egg
1/2 cup blueberries, with extra for garnishing
1/4 cup cacao nibs**
1/4 cup mixed granola, for garnishing
Honey or maple syrup, to drizzle

 * Jamie's original recipe uses 1 cup of self-raising/rising flour. I don't have it in my kitchen, so I substitute it with wholemeal flour (you can use normal plain flour too) and add baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

** Read about cacao nibs versus chocolate chips.

How to:

1. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Add milk and egg. Whisk until smooth. Fold in blueberries and cacao nibs.

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

3. Scoop the batter with the measuring set's 1/4-cup scoop 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 8 pancakes.

5. Stack the pancakes. Garnish with blueberries and mixed granola. Drizzle with honey (or maple syrup) before serving.

Stack, garnish, and serve!

Another view.

Pancakes oh pancakes!

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) for this week's theme, Monthly Featured Chef: Jamie Oliver.


Creamy Mushrooms & Buttered Broccoli

Rotelle Pasta with Creamy Mushrooms & Buttered Broccoli

This week at IHCC, we are cooking Jamie Oliver's recipes. If you don't know who this famous celebrity chef is, I don't know which cave are you living in. LOL. One would definitely know him for his classic good looks, cheeky British humor, simple and tasty recipes, and most importantly, he wants us to eat better.

This time round, I made his creamy mushrooms and brilliant (or buttered in my case) broccoli and serve them with rotelle pasta and fried bacon bits. Dinner was so good. :)

Recipe adapted from here and here.

(Serves 2) 

For creamy mushrooms:
2 tablespoons butter1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small red onion, finely sliced
1 cup gray oyster mushroom
Pinch of salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 small bunch parsley, chopped
2/3 cup cooking cream

For buttered broccoli:
Pinch of salt & freshly ground black pepper1 large head of broccoli, cut into bite-sized chunks
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

For pasta:
2 cups rotelle pasta, cooked & drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
Pinch of salt & freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup fried bacon bits

How to:

1. For creamy mushrooms: Melt butter over medium heat in a frying pan. Add olive oil, onions, mushrooms, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring, until onions and mushrooms are soft. Add chopped parsley and cream. Simmer for about 7-8 minutes, then remove from heat.

2. For buttered broccoli: Boil a pot of salted water over high heat. Once boiling, add in broccoli for about 3-4 minutes. Drain and pour into a bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add butter and toss to coat.

3. Toss cooked pasta with olive oil, salt and pepper. Serve with creamy mushrooms, buttered broccoli, and topped with fried bacon bits.

Dinner is served!

I'm linking this post with I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC) for this week's theme, Monthly Featured Chef: Jamie Oliver.


Let’s discuss about miscarriage


Yes, you read that right. Miscarriage.

I'm pretty sure you're asking this question right now: What happened?

Miscarriage happened. What else could that mean? LOL. I'm not gonna go all mushy and heartbreaking and oh-pity-poor-me, so don't worry. ;)

I'll be quoting some good references because they have spoken what I want to say. And... let's do this in a myth-busting style, straight to the point, no drama, no tears, k?

Myth #1 - Miscarriage is rare.

NOT TRUE. Here's the fact: Miscarriage is the most common type of pregnancy loss, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Studies reveal that anywhere from 10-25% of all clinically recognized pregnancies will end in miscarriage. Chemical pregnancies may account for 50-75% of all miscarriages. This occurs when a pregnancy is lost shortly after implantation, resulting in bleeding that occurs around the time of her expected period. The woman may not realize that she conceived when she experiences a chemical pregnancy.

An increase in maternal age affects the chances of miscarriage: [source]
  • Women under the age of 35 years old have about a 15% chance of miscarriage
  • Women who are 35-45 years old have a 20-35% chance of miscarriage
  • Women over the age of 45 can have up to a 50% chance of miscarriage

Also, you will be surprised to learn that quite a number of your friends have had miscarriages. You don't know because they didn't talk about it. Why? Hop over to point 2.

Myth #2 - If you lose your baby, you brought it upon yourself.

NOT TRUE. For the love of God, this misconception has caused great pain to women who have lost their babies. This stigma, taboo, whatever you call it, makes us feel guilty, ashamed, alone. We blamed ourselves. We felt that we had done something wrong. We kept on asking, "Why did it happen? Why me? Why?"

The reason for miscarriage is varied, and most often the cause cannot be identified. During the first trimester, the most common cause of miscarriage is chromosomal abnormality – meaning that something is not correct with the baby's chromosomes. Most chromosomal abnormalities are the cause of a damaged egg or sperm cell, or are due to a problem at the time that the zygote went through the division process. [source]

Sometimes something can go wrong at the point of conception and the fetus receives too many or not enough chromosomes. The reasons for this are often unclear, but it means the fetus won't be able to develop normally, resulting in a miscarriage. It's estimated up to two-thirds of early miscarriages are associated with chromosome abnormalities. This is very unlikely to recur and doesn't mean there's any problem with the mother or father's chromosomes. [source]

"I wish people understood that miscarriages are the flip side of the coin….. If you've had a healthy pregnancy that went full term — you won a lottery. Short of obvious substance abuse and bull riding — your healthy baby is not the result of anything you did or didn't do. As much as you want to think you are in control — you aren't. And the same goes when I lost each pregnancy — as much as I wish I could have been — it was not in my control."

 In short, three points: [source]
  • Nothing you did caused this miscarriage, and nothing you could have done would have prevented it.
  • Even if you had been perfectly still in bed, were totally relaxed, and ate nothing but healthy foods, you would still have had a miscarriage.
  • You will be surprised at how many of your close friends and family members have experienced miscarriage. Share this experience with them.

And this is why I'm writing this post.


My little miscarriage story

First of all, it was an early one, at 4 weeks. I had all the classic miscarriage symptoms when it happened: sudden decrease in pregnancy symptoms, brown spotting that became pinkish spotting, and ended up in bright red bleeding, and of course, the famous miscarriage cramps. That one was no fun although they were no way near labor contractions. LOL.

I felt pregnant for about two weeks, one week before I did the home pregnancy test and one week after that. Then, the symptoms started to die down. I didn't feel hungry all the time anymore, my craving for coffee stopped abruptly, the extreme fatigue I felt every afternoon was gone in a blink of an eye.

Most importantly, my instincts told me I was gonna lost the little fella, especially when the brown and pinkish spotting started. My heart sank. I fought this horrible in-limbo feeling for about a week. I Googled every single day to find out if spotting was normal. But deep within me, I knew this time, it wasn't.

One night, I wept horribly until I couldn't breathe. Now thinking back, that could be the hallmark. Over WhatsApp, my gentle birthing guru told me to Google how to do EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) to manage my emotions. The next morning, I went to see my obgyn who confirmed I was pregnant, 4 weeks old. The sac, the baby's house was 0.83cm. Spotting was still happening, more pink than brown.

That same night, I did one round of EFT and before I slept, I prayed a little, something like telling the Lord I surrender. Then I told the baby, it's okay, I love you, it's okay if you have to go. Something like that, I couldn't remember the exact words I said.

The next day, the cramps started, plus bright red bleeding. I knew baby was gone. But surprisingly, all I felt was peace. I guessed I have accepted the fact and baby could go in peace without me holding on so tightly, causing much grief to him/her and myself.

My road to physical recovery was pretty fast. I didn't need to go through D&C to remove remaining tissues from my womb. They were expelled naturally without complication. The bleeding stopped on the seventh day, as expected.

Emotionally wise, not as fast, but I was doing well. As I'm still breastfeeding my 28-month toddler, I find myself healing emotionally as he breastfeeds. I have a renewed sense of gratitude and love for my little toddler. Luckily I didn't force him to wean off when I found out I was pregnant. If not, I'd have lost both my new baby and my good breastfeeding relationship with my firstborn.

To tell or not to tell?

"It's not an easy topic, or one that slips gracefully into casual conversation, but every time we name it, we add to the growing sense of awareness that not every pregnancy ends in a joyful birth, and increase our understanding of our own biology and limitations. Mine is an ordinary story of miscarriage, truly one of thousands of nearly identical tales of cramps and blood and sorrow. And that is exactly why it's important to tell."

Mine is an ordinary story too. If I never tell, no one will know. But, while I'm definitely have healed emotionally and ready to try to conceive again for a rainbow baby, I would be happy to talk more about my miscarriage. Many women grieve silently, be it miscarriages or stillbirths. For me, although my story is an ordinary one, I've found that talking and blogging about it really helps the most with closure. I don't blame myself for what happened, and I don't feel ashamed anymore that it happened.

Yes, it was painful experience and I pitied myself a lot but I've moved on and weren't particularly haunted by the loss. I'm fortunate to know people who – sometimes quite unexpectedly – turn out to be totally understanding and very supportive.

Most of my friends whom I talked to responded with well-meaning words. Some shared with me their own experiences, which took me by surprise because most of them have two or more beautiful children. It never crossed my mind that they have had miscarriages too. Some will tell me to take care of my body and try again. Some will suggest what food should I take to nourish my body. I'm grateful for them all.

But there were some who said things that were quite unkind, maybe they didn't realize it. For example:

"Oh, what happened?"
Hello! What do you mean by that? Do I need to tell you how much blood came out or did I see the fetus?

"It's the stress. You stress too much. Don't stress."
Don’t tell me not to stress. Day-to-day stress is unavoidable but it can be managed. And I have been managing it very well. Please give me some credit before you tell me I stress too much.

This one takes the cake: "Unplanned pregnancy is it?"
I almost vomited blood. Until today I still don't know what has that got to do with miscarriage. Some people, even if their pregnancy is unplanned, they still get to carry the baby full term and give birth. Right?

When in doubt or if you're taken aback when someone tell you she had a miscarriage, this first response is generally most appropriate: "I'm so sorry to hear that." Then, just keep quiet and let her continue what she wants to say. Those who can talk about their experience, like me, will continue with some details, based on how well we know the person whom who are talking to.

Miscarriage Association has a good article about how to deal with people's reactions.

What happened next?

Next? Stay tuned for my next blog post about TTC (trying to conceive). :)