Garbanzo and Soy Pancakes

20130609-104440.jpgThis is a neat way of making those calories count at breakfast. With two kids about to head into teenagery – one recently just got there – (and little DNA assistance for them to gain some altitude), I try to pack as much protein into their meals as I can! (more…)

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June 9, 2013. Tags: , , , , . Breakfast, Brunch, Health, Nutrition. Leave a comment.

Oatmeal and Pumpkin Waffles (with Almond Whip and Fresh Pear)

Waffles-oatmeal-pumpkin-pear 3The best way to get your kids up for breakfast on a Sunday is to have a routine of pancakes or waffles going!  If they haven’t already jumped into your bed demanding one of the above (and this applies only to tweenage and older kids)(because the younger ones would have been up and jumping on your head from the crack of dawn), the delicious aromas wafting up into their bedrooms will rouse them pronto.

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January 27, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , . American, Breakfast, Brunch, Health, Nutrition. 2 comments.

Oaty Banana Waffles

Wholegrain banana waffles with whipped cream and blueberries

The luck of the draw in a rota of regular Sunday breakfast picks fell to waffles this past weekend (with the other two regular items being pancakes or the more exotic upma). These waffles were tweaked from my favorite and ludicrously easy recipe, full of heart healthy scrumminess, and which the kids adore so much that a certain parent may be awoken from her single lie-in of the week in order to produce the wretched delicious thing. I like to think of the wholegrain flour and oatmeal (not an ounce of bleached flour in these babies) as washing away the clogging effects of naughty add ons such as whipped cream. Maple syrup, hailing organically from a tree trunk, being not naughty in the least 😉

  • Oats (aka oatmeal), 1 cup
  • Whole meal or whole grain flour, 1 cup
  • Eggs, 3, separated
  • Bananas, 2 large and very ripe (1 cup), mashed at last minute
  • Buttermilk or milk, 1 cup
  • Vanilla essence, 1 tsp
  • Salt, pinch of
  • Optional – chopped walnuts, 1/2 cup, for banana-nut waffles
  • Optional – half tbsp of agave nectar
  • [Baking powder, 1/2 tsp  – optional. Only needed if one is rubbish at egg-white whisking]
  1. Whisk the egg yolks
  2. Add milk, whisk till combined
  3. Add vanilla and pinch of salt
  4. Add oats, give it a whirl with handheld blender or whisk
  5. Add flour. Needs a bit more elbow grease at this point
  6. [If adding baking soda, sieve it into the flour several times first]
  7. Mash the bananas with a fork, fold into batter and mix
  8. In separate bowl, whisk egg whites till stiff
  9. Fold into batter in one-third portions
  10. Give preheated waffle iron a spritz with Pam spray
  11. Ladle about 3/4 cup of batter into the middle (or whatever amount fills, when cooked, all the wee squares on the griddle)
  12. When done, serve warm with fresh berries, fresh whipped cream and maple syrup 🙂

July 22, 2012. Tags: , , , , . Breakfast, Health, Kids Cuisine, Nutrition. 1 comment.

Why WW’s New Plan May Kick Atkins’ Derriere

Weight Watchers’ new PointsPlus plan is one I reckon that will wipe the floor with the oversized clothing of its competitors.

The dieting regime, which was embraced with fervor by Americans and the world in 1997, awards points to different sorts of food, with each dieter having to stick to a certain number each day in order to lose, or maintain, weight.

Three days ago, I signed up for WW’s new plan online, after a four-month stint on steroids for an inexplicable allergy sapped me of energy and left me looking like the GoodYear blimp. (more…)

December 8, 2010. Tags: , , . American, Asian, Health, Nutrition, Stories. 7 comments.

Cara Cara Orange and Blueberry Salad with Crystallized Ginger

I am in luck, with Cara Cara oranges being available freely at Costco (8 pound bag for under $6, is that a bargain or what?). They are going in everything these days, side salads, fruit salads, smoothies, muesli, cakes, muffins, and next week, I’m scooping the flesh out of halves of Cara Cara and setting jelly in them (aka Jell-O) for my younger son’s birthday.

We have fruit salads for dessert on week nights and it’s often challenging coming up with something new and interesting. For this one, which serves two, combine slices of banana, two large handfuls of blueberries, one Cara Cara orange and small chunks of crystallized ginger. Here’s another salad I made a few weeks ago with these lovely oranges, which are less acidic than regular oranges, and have a reddish flesh.

Have you been buyings lots of oranges this winter? Where are they ending up? Do tell!

January 27, 2010. Tags: . Desserts, Fruit, Nutrition, Salads, Superfood. 4 comments.

Strawberry and Cara Cara Orange Salad with Basil

So I’ve started the year off with two healthy posts. Let’s see how long this lasts before cake begins to assert its upper hand! Cara Cara oranges, which are grown in California’s San Joaquin Valley (and sold by Sunkist), are tantalisingly juicy, sweet, low acid and have a beautiful grapefruit-red flesh, which lent itself happily to the creation of this vivid and refreshing salad. I didn’t need further reason to pick this fruit but it’s nice to know it’s packed with vitamins A, C and fiber, along with foliate, potassium and antioxidant lycopene. In fact, the oranges and strawberries were so sweet, I did away with the original plan of a balsamic reduction as a dressing, instead just sprinkling the salad with a light dusting of icing sugar, purely for aesthetic reasons. The only herb at hand happened to be basil, which was just as well – it was the perfect touch. Feel free to substitute the sugar with stevia, or nothing at all.

  • cara cara oranges, 2
  • handfuls of strawberries, halved, 2
  • cherries, a few (for colour contrast)
  • basil, a few leaves, sliced into ribbons
  1. Arrange on plate and dust with icing sugar or stevia

January 3, 2010. Tags: . Fruit Salads, Nutrition, Salads. 5 comments.

Summer Cool-Down Drink: Lassi Two Ways


Summer’s finally here – a bit unusual to be saying this in mid-July but the weather’s been a bit dicey with the relentless monsoon rains we’ve had recently (note the vibrant green of the lawn). Yogurt, a staple in our fridge, is the star here in lassi, a beverage made of yogurt, presented sweet or savoury. The latter may not suit the uninitiated but I find it very refreshing.

Mango Lassi

  • mangos, 2, skinned and cubed
  • plain yogurt, 1 cup
  • sugar, 1 tsp (if needed only)
  1. Blend together till creamy and serve

Ginger-Lime Lassi

  • yoghurt, 1 cup
  • ginger, grated, 1/2 tsp
  • zest of lime, 1/2 tsp
  • juice of lime, 1 tbsp
  • green chili, 1/2, chopped
  • coriander/cilantro leaves, a few – to garnish
  • salt, pinch of
  • cummin, ground, 1/8 tsp
  1. Whip the yogurt till creamy
  2. Add all the other ingredients and serve

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July 15, 2009. Tags: , , , . Beverages, Kids Cuisine, Nutrition, Summer. 2 comments.

Lunchbox Star: The Cheese and Chutney Sandwich


Another winner for the school lunchbox and one that easily fits into a picnic basket, too. Both my children have recently requested easy meals they can despatch with haste in order to get to the more important tasks of hanging with friends or hanging on a climbing frame (usually upside down, which can’t be encouraging for any sandwich).

Layer up wholemeal bread with double brie, baby spinach and mango chutney (Trader Joe’s). Slap ’em together and serve with a side of fruit. I saw not a crumb in either lunchbox after school!

Some mums might fret about the choice of cheese, but feel free to substitute low-fat (i.e. flavorless, plasticky) cheddar for it. But moi? I’ll pick the full-fat one myself, thanks very much. It’s not as if we have brie every day or top it off with vats of ice cream at the same sitting.

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June 18, 2009. Tags: , , . Kids Cuisine, Lunch, Lunchbox, Nutrition, One-dish meals. 2 comments.

The Mango: Moist, Majestic and Morish


Mangoes featured very strongly in the early days of Richard’s and my romance, the buds of which were planted in India, from where the fruit originates. Indeed, we all have a soft spot for the fruit and are thrilled that it’s back in season again.

When I grew up in my grandmother’s home in Malaysia, she had a massive, enormously fertile mango tree right in front of her house. Its branches hung low and gracefully, providing welcome shade and coolness, and inviting my brothers and I to clamber upon them and give them the adoration they deserved. As if we didn’t spend enough time there, my grandfather tied a plank swing seat to one of its branches (the kind that would give anyone at Health & Safety a heart attack), and thus were spent the remaining hours of our carefree, childish days.

In the heat of the tropical summer, the tree would be heavily pregnant with fruit, leaving us awash in mangoes for months. My grandmother would give away as many as she could to the delighted neighbours, who were also the recipients of all the other fruit, veg and herbs that grew in Gran’s garden – soursop, jackfruit, coconut, plantain, bananas, papayas, Lady’s fingers (okra), basil, curry leaves, tomatoes.

While she had dozens of recipes for the bananas, plantain and coconut, the mangoes we ate fresh, and immediately. It didn’t make sense to adorn or dilute a fruit so voluptuous, so complete in colour, taste and perfume.

Having said that, my younger son loves homemade mango smoothies or mango lassis nearly as much as he loves the fresh fruit.

My favourite mango is the Alphonso, which is grown mainly in Western India. There’s no match for the perfect sweet yet tangy and firm flesh of this cultivar, along with its citrusy mango aroma and intense yellow-orange colour.

As I have yet to find these mangoes in north America, I am eternally grateful to Costco for regularly bringing in Champagne mangoes from Mexico. The taste isn’t as explosive, but the colour and texture are there, along with the lack of fibrosity that separates a good mango from its lesser brethren. It might behoove you to know the average Champagne mango packs a modest 80 calories, with lots of Vitamin A, C and folate too!

How to cut the mango? This could require a video (another blog entry, another day). Take the fruit and, keeping in mind it has a large seed in the middle, cut a semi-circle off each side. With your knife, make hatches and cross-hatch them so you have little square or diamond shaped segments of flesh (see photos). Hold each half and invert them by pushing the skin upwards. To eat, use a spoon and scoop the squares off. Or just dive in, face first!

For more mango recipes, click here and here.



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June 5, 2009. Tags: , . Asian, Kids Cuisine, Musings, Nutrition, Spring, Summer, Vegetarian. 6 comments.

A Gobbleworthy Turkey Sandwich


My older son has rather keen tastebuds and (thankfully) fancies few lunchmeats. I found this uncured *turkey at Trader Joe’s, which both my children love. It has five recognizable ingredients (turkey, sugar, salt, spices, honey), but no nitrites, nitrates or preservatives.

Best of all, the bird was raised – as all beings free of pneumonia and infections should be – without antibiotics.

Add to the generous slab of turkey some lettuce, tomato, mayo and wholewheat bread and voila, you have another healthy option for the school lunchbox!


*Wellshire uncured turkey ham steak, sold at Trader Joe’s.

(All text and photos or images are copyright protected. Please do not reprint any stories, recipes or photographs without the author’s permission.)

May 27, 2009. Tags: . Kids Cuisine, Lunch, Lunchbox, Nutrition, One-dish meals. Leave a comment.

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