Sunday, 19 December 2010

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Healthy Danish Pumpkin Bread/Græskarbrød/丹麦健康南瓜面包 [Dān mài jiànkāng nán guā miàn bāo]

Makes 2 loaves of bread

Ingredients:
- 1 cup or 250ml lukewarm water
- 1 cup or 250ml buttermilk or milk or water
- 50 g yeast
- 1 egg (optional, if not using egg, add another 100ml of water)
- 1 TBS salt (optional)
- 1 TBS cane sugar or honey (optional)
- 1 TBS olive oil (optional)
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder (optional)
- 500g Hokaido pumpkin
- 500g graham flour
- 500g wholewheat flour (fuldkornshvedemel)
- 400g wheat flour (hvedemel)
- 100g organic pumpkin seeds
- 100g walnuts (valnødder) (optional)
- 100g raisins (optional)
- 50g walnuts (valnødder) (optional)

Directions:
1. To make pumpkin puree, preheat oven to 170°C. Wash and cut pumpkin into half. Remove seeds and pulp. Place in an oven-proof flat dish face down and bake for 45 minutes until tender. Mash with fork.

2. Mix water and yeast together in a mixing bowl.

3. Add in sugar/honey, oil and salt.

4. Toast the pumpkin seeds on the pan (optional).

5. Stir in pumpkin puree, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, wheat germ, graham flour, wheat flour and wholewheat flour.

6. Knead it well into dough by hand or with a hand-mixer (it must be flexible and not too sticky) and cover and set aside the dough for approx. 60 min. in a warm place to rise.

7. On a baking tray lay with baking paper, use half of the dough to form buns by using a spoon (can make about 24 buns) and the other half of the dough to form into a bread. Then cut a slit in the middle of the bread with a sharp knife.

8. Set aside for 30 min.

9. Brush the bread and buns with milk or egg white and sprinkle them with some pumpkin seeds (optional)

10. Place the tray in the middle of a pre-warmed oven and bake for 15 mins. for the buns or 45 min. for bread at 200°C in a pre-warmed oven.

Tips:
1. If you are making the bread for babies, you do not have to add the salt, sugar and nuts. Normally for J, now that he is a toddler, I add nuts to it. I also normally add in raisins to give it a natural sweetness instead of sugar.

Storage:
Cut the bread into slices and store them in a freezing plastic bag in the freezer. It can last for 8 weeks in the freezer. Just take a slice out and toast it in the toaster to warm it up and serve :-)

Nutritional Value:
The orange colour of pumpkin tells us that it is rich in beta-carotene, an important anti-oxidant that the body converts to vitamin A. It also contains vitamin C, potassium and calcium.

Pumpkins contain some of the best nutritional compounds ever. They are highly loaded with Vitamin A and beta carotene. Beta Carotene is one of the plant carotenoids that when eaten and digested, turns into Vitamin A in the human body. Beta Carotene may reduce the risk of cancer as well as heart disease. It also may be responsible for combating or putting off the degenerative effects of ageing.

Pumpkins are also good sources of potassium, protein, and iron. Pumpkin seeds also contain a good amount of protein and iron so eating the seeds does provide some nutritive value. We don't recommend that you offer your baby or toddler pumpkin seeds however. Pumpkins are wonderfully low in fat, low in calories but high in fiber.

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Additional Information:
Pumpkin bread is a good way to use up left-over pumpkin. Daddy and J loves bread and we have some left-over baked pumpkin, so I decided to make pumpkin bread yesterday.

There are many ways of making pumpkin bread. Most of the recipes in English from the internet are more suited to be called pumpkin cakes than bread, as they call for a lot more sugar, oil and eggs in the ingredients than the Danish way of making pumpkin bread. This recipe is a Danish way of making pumpkin bread from a combination of Danish internet search engine sites. The simplest Danish recipe does not require any milk, egg or olive oil, but I have decided to add these in to increase the nutritional value for J. For young toddlers, they also need more fat than adults, thus I have decided to include olive oil. If you are allergic to milk, egg or nuts, just omit these ingredients.

References:
http://www.hjerteforeningen.dk/index.php?pageid=27&rid=1781

http://arla.dk/opskrifter/Graskarbrod/

http://hotstart.dk/opskrifter/ViewRecipie.aspx?id=27

http://www.wholesomebabyfood.com/

Friday, 17 December 2010

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Pho Bo Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup/Vietnamesiske Nudlersuppe med Oksekød/越式牛肉汤面 [Yuè shì niú ròu tāng miàn]

The Pho beef noodle soup I made today

Serves 4

Preparation & Cooking Time: 1.5 hour (for pressure cooker) or 4 hours for normal cooking

Ingredients:

The broth:

- 500g beef bones
- 2 beef shanks (Osso bucco)
- 500g beef tenderloin, cut in thin slices
- 2 onions, halved, unpeeled
- 1 clove garlic, unpeeled
- 4” ginger, halved length wise, unpeeled
- 5 star anise
- 5 cloves
- 1 cardamom
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 TBS fennel seeds
- 1 TBS of coriander pods (optional)
- 3 litres of water
- 1 tsp sugar (optional)
- 1 tsp cooking oil (to char the ginger and onions)

The raw beef:
- 400g beef tenderloin, cut in thin slices (easier to cut if it is slightly frozen)

The rice noodles:
- 400g dried rice noodles/sticks
- Enough water to cover and boil the noodles
- Dash of salt

The soup bowl:
- A handful of cooked rice noodles
- 1 handful mung bean sprouts
- 5-8 slices of raw beef
- 2 stalk of spring onions, chopped
- 1 piece of lime cut
- 2-3 slices of chilli (optional)
- 1 handful of mint leaves (optional)
- 1 handful of cilantro (optional)
- 2 tsp fish sauce (optional)

Directions:
1. Put the beef tenderloin in the freezer for at least 15 minutes. In this way they will be cold and it would be easier to slice them thinly when you take them out.

2. Char the ginger and onions on a pan on the stove.

3. To make the broth, in the pressure cooker, add water, ginger, onions, the spices, bones, beef shanks and cook for 30 minutes after the pressure cooker has reached pressure. (To save energy, if you are using electric stove, you can turn off the heat 10 minutes before and just let the pressure cooker sits on the stove until it reaches 30 minutes. ) If you are using an ordinary pot, simmer under low fire for 3 hours.

4. To prepare the noodles, bring to boil water sufficiently to cover the noodles, add noodles and salt and wait for 3 minutes. Thereafter, strain off water and set aside.

5. Take out the beef tenderloin from the freezer and cut them into thin slices.

6. Line your soup bowls beside the stove and fill half of each bowl with rice noodles, mung bean sprouts, slices of raw beef, spring onions and chilli.

7. While lining your soup bowls, bring to boil the broth and pour 2-3 ladles of soup into the soup bowl. The hot broth will cook the raw beef slices.

8. Serve immediately and garnish with cilantro and mint leaves if desired.

Tips:
1. If you make with beef shanks using the pressure cooker, it will be very tender, and you can scoop some of it into the bowl with the noodles.

2. I like to add a teaspoon of garlic oil into the noodle soup, as it gives it a nice fragrant.

3. If the amount of work looks overwhelming to you, you don't have to make the preparation all at one go. You can also cook the beef broth in an automatic electric cooker overnight.

4. If you have a toddler who doesn't like beef, you can scoop out some of the broth and add cod fish and serve the soup and the cod fish with the rice noodles.

Nutritional Value:
The 5 spices used in this soup is very beneficial for health. The star anise seeds are an excellent source of many essential B-complex vitamins such as pyridoxine, niacin, riboflavin, thiamin. Pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) helps increase GABA neuro-chemical levels in the brain.
The spicy seeds are great source of minerals like calcium, iron, copper, potassium, manganese zinc and magnesium. Potassium in an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure. The star anise is also contain good amounts of anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamin-C and vitamin-A.

Fennel seeds are concentrated source of minerals like copper, iron, calcium, potassium, manganese, selenium, zinc and magnesium. Copper is required in the production of red blood cells. Iron is required for red blood cell formation. Zinc is a co-factor in many enzymes that regulate growth and development, sperm generation, digestion and nucleic acid synthesis. Potassium in an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the powerful anti-oxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase.

The seeds indeed are storehouse for many vital vitamins. Vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin C as well as many B-complex vitamins like thiamin, pyridoxine, riboflavin and niacin particularly are concentrated in the fennel seeds.

Fennel seeds have many health benefiting volatile essential oil compounds such as anethole, limonene, anisic aldehyde, pinene, myrcene, fenchone, chavicol, and cineole. These active principles in the fennel seeds are known to have antioxidant, digestive, carminative and anti-flatulent properties.

Fennel seeds are rich source of dietary fiber. 100 g seeds provide 39.8 g of fiber. Much of this fiber is metabolically inert insoluble fiber which helps increase bulk of the food by absorbing water throughout the digestive system and easing constipation condition.

In addition, dietary fibers bind to bile salts (produced from cholesterol) and decrease their re-absorption in colon, thus help lower serum LDL cholesterol levels. Together with flavonoid anti-oxidants, fiber composition of fennel helps protect the colon mucus membrane from cancers.

Fennel seeds indeed contain numerous flavonoid anti-oxidants like kaempferol and quercetin. These compounds are indeed function as powerful anti-oxidants by removing harmful free radicals from the body thus protect from cancers, infection, aging and degenerative neurological diseases.

Cloves are an excellent source of manganese, a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K and omega-3 fatty acids and a good source of calcium and magnesium.

Cinnamon is an excellent source of manganese and a very good source of dietary fiber, calcium and iron.

Seasoning a high carb food with cinnamon can help lessen its impact on your blood sugar levels. Cinnamon slows the rate at which the stomach empties after meals, reducing the rise in blood sugar after eating. It is also helpful in lessening inflammation.

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Additional Information:
It is winter time now with heavy snow fall today... makes me crave for a hot bowl of noodle soup to keep warm.
I normally don't like food containing five-spice as I find the flavour too domineering, although the five-spices are believed to have a lot of health benefits. However, somehow five-spice just fit so well in Vietnamese beef noodle soup. It enhances the flavour rather than overpowering it.

My Significant Other normally doesn't like noodle soup, but this is the only exception. J loves the noodle soup, but he doesn't like beef so much, so I added cod fish, which is easier to eat, to his bowl of pho noodle soup instead. The cod fish also enhances the soup.

The best pho bo noodles I have ever tasted was in Paris' Chinatown. My parents came to visit me in Copenhagen for the first time in 2005 and we went for a trip to Paris. My father had a bowl of the pho bo noodles and fell in love with it. He was back in Copenhagen last year when J was born, and was looking around for the Vietnamese pho bo noodles soup. But there are very few Vietnamese restaurants in Copenhagen, and none near our place. None of the Vietnamese restaurants in Copenhagen serve pho bo as good as the one we tried in Paris. This year, we were back in Paris with my Significant Other and J, and it was the first noodle soup that my Significant Other gives a thumb up. Next year, when my parents visit me, I will be able to make my father his favourite pho bo beef noodle soup myself :-)

References:
http://steamykitchen.com/271-vietnamese-beef-noodle-soup-pho.html

http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/fennel-seed.html

http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/beef-pho/Detail.aspx


Close-up


The Pho beef noodle soup we had this year in Paris


This is the Pho beef noodle soup my parents had in 2005 in Paris

This is how the restaurant looks like in Paris' Chinatown

Thursday, 16 December 2010

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Heritage Education: Introducing the Singapore Flag to J


I mentioned in my earlier post that being a cross-cultural family, it is my responsibility to teach J heritage education. After introducing the Singapore National Anthem and the National Pledge, introducing the National Flag is next on the list.

When?

As early as possible during toddlerhood, so that the Singapore Flag would not be a stranger to the child, but something he is already familiar with during his childhood.

It should, however, be introduced at the appropriate developmental age. For example, J is currently very interested in moon and stars. He would point us to the moon in the sky and say “måne, måne” – moon, moon in Danish. He would also point us to the stars on the carpet, etc. and say “xing xing” – stars in Mandarin. I decided to seize the opportunity to introduce him to the Singapore Flag, which comprises of moon and stars.

How to make it fun?

• For Baby:

1. Hang the Singapore Flag above baby as a mobile.

2. Sing the Singapore National Anthem as part of bed time routine's lullaby.

In the early days, it is said that babies are best exposed to high contrast and bright colours such as white, black and red colours. The Singapore flag is blessed with to be with solid white and red colour with graphic star and moon. You can place the Singapore flag like a mobile above the baby, and sing The Singapore National Athem as a lullaby for baby.

• For Toddler:

1. Sing through song "There are 5 stars arising" when introducing the Singapore Flag:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=He86OrIx4lo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UaCrITxZn0U&feature=related

Lyrics:
There's a new moon arising, out of the stormy sea
Youthful and bright and bearing hope, and tranquil as can be
Reach out for the moon above, savour freedom, truth and love
There's a new moon arising, out of the stormy sea

There are five stars arising, out of the stormy sea
Each is a lamp to guide our way; a lamp for all to see
Reach out for the stars above, savour freedom, truth and love
There are five stars arising, out of the stormy sea

There's a new flag arising, out of the stormy sea
Crimson as the blood of all mankind, yet white and pure and free
Reach out for the flag above, savour freedom, truth and love
There's a new flag arising, happy and proud are we

2. Describe the colour to the toddler and ask the toddler what the colours are.

3. Show the toddler the moon and the stars in the Singapore Flag and make hand-signs.

4. During drawing session, I bring in the Singapore Flag and draw it for him.

• For Pre-schooler:

1. During colouring sessions, print a few copies of the Singapore Flag here and include it in the colouring session.

2. Make the Singapore Flag with playdough.

3. Explain the meaning of the symbols in the Singapore Flag using puppets - a puppet for the moon introducing itself and what it represents, a puppet for the stars introducing themselves and what they represent.

For the Child:

Introduce the history behind it - how Singapore rose from the stormy sea of the past... one of the poorest countries in the world in 1960s to what it is today... from being a majority population of illiterate coolies (labourers)... to being top 5 in the latest PISA 2009 chart... from bloody racial riots... to racial harmony and One Singaporeans.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvvhY6DtfZs&feature=fvw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piF_2PQSkBM&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyuXN8ZVQ-U&feature=related

Symbols of the Singapore’s National Flag:

The Singapore’s National Flag consists of two colours, red and white, in equal horizontal sections and in the top left canton is a white crescent moon beside five white stars within a circle with the meaning as follows:

The red colour symbolises universal brotherhood and equality of man.

The white colour signifies pervading and everlasting purity and virtue.

The crescent moon represents a young nation on the ascendant.

The five stars stand for the nation's ideals of democracy, peace, progress, justice and equality.

Additional Information:

Much as I spend time introducing J to the Singapore Natioanl Anthem, the Singapore Pledge and the Singapore National Flag, technically J is not a Singaporean. This is because he is not a Singapore citizen.

When J was born, I agonized over this decision, as I would have to register him within a year of birth for Singapore citizenship. After much consideration, I chose not to. It is not because I did not want him to go through National Service (NS). In fact, I wish he would have a chance to experience NS, as this is one of the best way to get to know Singapore, his motherland, his fellow Singaporean heartlanders.

It is because both Singapore and Denmark do not recognize dual citizenship, which means that J will be forced to make a choice between being a Singapore citizen or a Danish citizen, when he turns 18 years old.

To require him to make such a choice would be equivalent to asking him to choose between his mother or father. I don't want to subject him to such agony, and thus I have made that choice for him - from birth.

So why am I spending so much brain juice, time, energy and money (it costs us a lot of money to make it a point to go to Singapore every year) teaching him the Singapore National Flag, teaching him English, Chinese and occasionally Singlish?

I was at a loss of how to make such a "either-or" decision, until a very wise friend told me, "Elaine, ties with a place is dependent on people and not on a piece of paper. Your commitment to communicate with J about his Singaporean heritage is the most important thing to keep him emotionally attached to Singapore". I will always remember her words.

Yes, J is every bit a Singaporean and a Dane. Both Singapore and Denmark are his motherland and fatherland. Technically, he is not a Singaporean, but in soul and blood relations, he is every bit a Singaporean. And in my heart, he will always be a Singaporean AND a Dane. Both Singapore and Denmark are our countries.

I still harbour the hope that one day... maybe one day... both Singapore and Denmark would recognize dual citizenship, and welcome their son with open arms. But even if it does not happen, I will still go on with my perseverance in heritage education.

References:

http://vs.moe.edu.sg/national_symbol.htm

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

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J Summary (21M10D) - Missing mommy

This week mommy has to work overtime. Today, Daddy told me that J came home from daycare and went straight to look for me around the house, calling out "mor, mor". When he couldn't find me, he burst into tears. Daddy rang me on the mobile and pass the receiver to J. He smiled a lot. He burst into tears and was really sad, when we hung up the phone.

This evening at bed-time, I went downstairs to fetch the nursery rhyme book. J thought that I have left, and tears just rolled down his eyes. When I returned, we had a great time reading and singing the book, Daddy, Mommy and J. For the first time after so long, he actually sat still and listen until I finished the rhymes.

It was just so amazing just how someone could adore me so much. J made me feel like I am the most popular person on earth - for him. I should enjoy this while it lasts.

These few days, J had been crying with lots of tears when we left him at daycare. Daddy could feel that J was sad, because we didn't spend enough time with him and he was at the daycare for a long time. That made us sad too.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

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What to do when another child bullies yours?

7 ways to deal with bullying between toddlers:

1. Tell your son to say to the other child, "That isn't nice. That hurt" 

This allows your child to state his frustration and voice out for himself, allowing the children a chance to resolve the conflict situation themselves. This gives the other child an opportunity to learn to apologize.

I have made a separate post on more to teach your kid to say with confidence and grace:

http://momlearnings.blogspot.com/2014/10/how-to-deal-with-bully-at-kindergarten.html

2. Use distraction

When you see conflict brewing, distract them by playing loudly with another toy or breaking into song.

3. Use "we" instead of "you" to correct the other child

Find a nice way to correct the other child, if you absolutely need to. Say, "no, we don't hit buddy", or "we have to take turns and share". Say, "it is not nice to push, but we can all play with it together". Don't say, "it is wrong of you to hit."

4. Help the children to cooperate

For example, if it is a matching game, and the other child pushes yours away, say, "it is not nice to push, but we can all play with it together". Then have the other child find one animal and your child find the other and make it a game for two. Go on like that for about 5 minutes. At the end, ask, "isn't it fund to share and play together?". Most likely the other child would say yes!

5. Encourage good behaviour

When your child's friend does manage to do something nice such as sharing a toy, tell him how much you appreciate his friendliness.

6. Suggest another location for playdate

Toddlers are more apt to feel fidgety and act out in small areas i.e. living room. Moving to a large open space such as a park or playground may help, as they can burn off excess energy and social frustrations withotu stepping on each other's otes, and there won't be any toys to fight over.

7. Take a break from the playgroup as a last resort

You aren't teaching your child anything by asking him to cope with a child who's mean to him. If the situation persists, your decision to separate the children might open up a dialogue between you and the other parent that could pave the way for a more long-term resolution.

2 basic rules to live by (if you can!):

1. Never tell another parent how she should raise her child.
2. Never discipline a child who's not yours

References:
http://www.babycenter.com/404_should-i-discipline-a-child-who-is-acting-aggressively-towar_11609.bc

Saturday, 11 December 2010

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J Summary (21M6D) - J listened with 100% attention to the Singapore's National Anthem & the National Pledge

This evening after lights-off, I sang the Singapore's National Anthem and the National Pledge as lullabies at bed-time, and also recited them as nursery rhymes. I was amazed to see how J listened with so much attentiveness and with prolonged attentiveness. He had never paid so much attention to anything before... (such as the Tang dynasty poems that I so much hope that he would!) as he did today to the Singapore's National Anthem and National Pledge. I wonder how long this would last.

This gives me yet another idea - I should start reciting the Tang dynasty poems in darkness at bed-time in order to get full attention from J, as there is no other distractions around.

It gives me yet another idea: I should also start reciting bible verses to J in darkness.

This method requires memorization as I could not read in darkness, and thus I have to commit everything to memory. I am also amazed at how motivated I am to memorize them for J.

I am going to add this idea to my previous post: What to do if your toddler doesn't like books or nursery rhymes?

P.S.: I felt a lump in my throat as I sang the Singapore's Anthem and the National Pledge to J that I just managed to contain my emotions and tears. Strangely, this had never happened to me when I was living in Singapore. Perhaps I am romantisizing about Singapore... but I do am truly aware of all its imperfections... Being away from home does perhaps make the heart fonder...

Oh J, how as a toddler, you always bring comfort to mommy, when mommy is far away from home...
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How to encourage lights-off at bed-time?



Use glow-in-the-dark stickers to make lights-off fun.
J always protests when it is time for lights-off at bed-time. To make it exciting for him to look forward to lights-off, we put up glow-in-the-dark stickers on the ceiling above his crib.

Actually it was my mum who bought the stickers from Singapore and brought it to Copenhagen for us, when J was born. I am so thankful to my mum for it, and I can't wait to tell it to her, "mum, I have implemented your idea." She would be very pleased that I have remembered to put them to use :-) Years from now, I hope that J would remember this, that the stickers were from his granny.
 
Glow-in-the-dark stickers are also sold in Denmark in BR Toy Shops.
 
The novelty of this solution would wear off, but it would still provide a cozy time during lights-off time at bed-time.
 
Note:
I won't suggest this for babies, as I think it would most likely be disruptive to their sleep.

These glow in the dark stickers are also available from Amazon:

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How to effectively encourage good behaviour in your toddler?

One very effective method is to PRAY with the child

I realize that J is paying more attention whenever we pray in the morning to say grace for breakfast, lunch and dinner and at bed-time. This is because the audience is not just God alone, but J too. J is very eager to hear what good things we have to say about him. I notice that J would smile whenever he hears me mentioning good things about him in the prayer. It is funny and very rewarding to watch. It also shows that he understands a lot about what is being said.

And I realize that it is having positive impact on his behaviour, and that J will reaffirm the good behaviour more.

What to pray for?

Pray for ONE good thing the child has done

Find one good thing that your child has done and share it with God in your prayer. In doing so, you are indirectly praising your child. If J has done something praise-worthy for the day, I will mention it in the prayer.

For example, I will say, "Dear Jesus, thank you for giving us such a well-behaved child, who remembered to clear his plate after dinner this evening."

If J hasn't done anything praise-worthy for that day, but slept well without waking up during the night. I will say, "Dear Heavenly Father, thank you that J has been so good in sleeping through the night".

Other Benefits:

1. Effective moral training

Ever since I started this, I notice also that J is very eager to pray together. So it makes moral and godly training easier.

2. Training on listening skills

As mentioned above, J began to listen more attentively to what is being said.

3. Training on language skills

As a result of listening skill learned, the child's language's skills also improve.

4. Good for building strong marriage

My best friend Jannie reminded me to always remember to find one good thing to praise our spouse. This is also good to use on my Significant Other:-)

Note:
If you have not known Jesus, and want to know more before trying to pray, I just want to share that knowing God in my life is the best thing that I have experienced. In all life's challenges, including parenting, God is there to walk beside me, giving me wisdom, renewing my strength and carrying me through in all circumstances. I am just so filled with thankfulness to God.

The Bible says in Romans 10:9 "If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved."

If you would like to believe in Jesus and accept Him into your life as your Lord and Saviour, tell it to God and He will definitely do so.

God's Word from the Bible promises in Luke 11:9:

"So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."

God promises in Jeremiah 33:3:

"Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know."
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J Summary (21M6D) - Reminding Daddy & Mommy to say grace for breakfast

J joined us for his second breakfast this morning. We were busy preparing it and when we were ready and about to eat, he stopped us before we started, handsigned "pray" and said "dao gao, dao gao" meaning pray pray in Mandarin, say grace to thank God for food. That's so sweet. J is setting a good example for us to follow. And oops... from now on, our "big brother" is watching us!!!

I decided to buy more plastic toy food for J second-hand from the DBA. I just bought some yesterday, and this morning, J laid out his plastic pizza on the tray of his high chair, a toy cup, and a plate and asked to be seated so that he could "eat" the pizza.

Friday, 10 December 2010

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Heritage Education: Teaching J the Singapore's National Anthem & the National Pledge in a fun way


When I thought of using the toy drum to solve the problem of J banging on the table/tray during meal time, it led to another idea. The toy drum is actually a fun way to introduce J to the Singapore National Anthem. The rythm of Singapore's National Anthem is very well-suited to the drum.

As a cross-cultural family, I have the responsibility of sharing with J his heritage from both sides. As with trilingualism language development, I believe in starting early with heritage education, and what best age to introduce it, than during toddlerhood?

When I was young, we learned the Singapore's National Anthem in school (but in a rather boring way though). J would not have the chance.

Learning heritage does not have to be boring. Teaching him the Singapore's National Anthem while beating the drum adds an element of fun. Reciting the Pledge is boring, but singing it out makes it more fun. I will start incorporate it into the bedtime lullaby and bedtime story-telling.

Now I just need to have the discipline to begin heritage education and follow through with it right here from home :-)... which is not easy...

Hopefully years from now, when he grows up and visits Singapore, he will recall with fondness mommy singing the Singapore's National Anthem and National Pledge in a cozy, "hyggelig" way as an integral part of his childhood.

Singapore - J's "Mother's-land".
The next project is to teach J the Danish National Anthem. It will also be a chance to teach myself :-)

Here is a video demonstration of the melody:


Here is the lyrics of the Singapore's National Anthem:

Majulah Singapura

Mari kita rakyat Singapura
Sama-sama menuju bahagia
Cita-cita kita yang mulia
Berjaya Singapura

Marilah kita bersatu
Dengan semangat yang baru
Semua kita berseru
Majulah Singapura
Majulah Singapura
The English translation:
Come, fellow Singaporeans
Let us progress towards happiness together
May our noble aspiration bring
Singapore success

Come, let us unite
In a new spirit
Let our voices soar as one
Onward Singapore
Onward Singapore

Come, let us unite
In a new spirit
Let our voices soar as one
Onward Singapore
Onward Singapore
The Singapore's Pledge:
We, the citizens of Singapore,
pledge ourselves as one united people,
regardless of race, language or religion,
to build a democratic society
based on justice and equality
so as to achieve happiness, prosperity and
progress for our nation.


我们是新加坡公民,
誓愿不分种族、言语、宗教,
团结一致,
建设公正平等的民主社会,
并为实现国家之幸福、繁荣与进步,
共同努力
The Danish National Anthem:
Der er et yndigt land,
det står med brede bøge
nær salten østerstrand :
Det bugter sig i bakke, dal,
det hedder gamle Danmark
og det er Frejas sal :
Der sad i fordums tid
de harniskklædte kæmper,
udhvilede fra strid :
Så drog de frem til fjenders mén,
nu hvile deres bene
bag højens bautasten :
Det land endnu er skønt,
thi blå sig søen bælter,
og løvet står så grønt :
Og ædle kvinder, skønne mø'r
og mænd og raske svende
bebo de danskes øer :
Hil drot og fædreland!
Hil hver en danneborger,
som virker, hvad han kan! :
Vort gamle Danmark skal bestå,
så længe bøgen spejler
sin top i bølgen blå

Literal translation of the Danish National Anthem:
There is a lovely country
it stands with broad beeches
near the salty eastern beach
It winds itself in hill, valley,
it is called old Denmark
and it is Freja's hall
There sat in former times,
the armour-suited warriors,
rested from conflict
Then they journeyed forwards to their enemies' injury,
now their bones are resting
behind the mound's menhir
That country is still lovely,
because the sea waves so blue frolic,
and the foliage stands so green
And noble women, beautiful maidens,
and men and brisk swains
inhabit the Danes' islands
Hail king and fatherland!
Hail every a Dane-citizen,
who works, what he can
Our old Denmark shall endure,
as long as the beech reflects
its top in the blue wave



http://home.pacific.net.sg/~linachoo/singapore3.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Majulah_Singapura

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singapore_National_Pledge

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Der_er_et_yndigt_land

http://www.gingerbreadmum.com/2014/08/singapore-national-day.html

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What to do if your toddler insists on banging the table during meal time?


We don't allow banging on the table during meal time. It is loud, disrespectful and bad manners. I have told J, "no, no, no", but he insisted on banging. I comtemplated giving him a time-out, yet I don't want to hamper his development with learning about banging. But yet I don't want to give him the idea that it is acceptable to bang the table/tray of his high chair. This thus vexed me for a couple of weeks.

Yesterday morning, I suddenly thought of an idea. I gave J a drum to beat to, when he started banging the tray of his high chair at breakfast this morning. I also explained to him that it is not acceptable to bang the table/tray, but that it is acceptable to beat the drum. It worked! He listened and was willing to stop banging the table/tray :-)

We began to sing and beat the drum, and he began to think that it is more fun to "beat" the drum, than to bang the tray/table. If he start banging the table, I will stop singing.

I began to hand him the drum at every opportunity e.g. potty time, etc. This is because once the novelty is lost, J will no longer be attracted to banging the table.

The Toddlerwise book teaches the general principle of substitution. With substitution, an equally desirable experience is offered similar to the original one that caught J's attention. I just couldn't think of a good substitution in this situation for the last 2 weeks, but I am glad I now managed to :-)

Thursday, 9 December 2010

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Garlic Oil/Hvidløg Olie/大蒜油[dà suàn yóu]

Ingredients:
- 5 cloves garlic chopped
- 150ml cooking oil

Directions:
1. In a small sauce pan, heat cooking oil, add garlic and fry until golden and fragrant.
2. Garnish it with food immediately or pour into an air-tight container for storage.

Serving Ideas:1. Add a teaspoon to garnish your Chinese noodle soup.
2. Toss it with some steam vegetables.
3. Add a teaspoon to any sauce you are making.

Storage:
Can store for a long time in an air-tight container in the fridge.

Nutritional Value:
The sulfur compounds in garlic are perhaps its most unique nutrients. There are literally dozens of well-studied sulfur molecules in garlic, and virtually all of them have been shown to function as antioxidants. In addition, many provide us with anti-inflammatory benefits. The very presence of sulfur in some many different garlic compounds may also play an important role in our nourishment.

Additionally, garlic is an excellent source of manganese. It is also a very good source of vitamin B6 and vitamin C. In addition, garlic is a good source of protein and thiamin (vitamin B1) as well as the minerals phosphorus, selenium, calcium, potassium, and copper.

Garlic is also claimed to help prevent heart disease (including atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure) and cancer. In fact, countries where garlic is consumed in higher amounts, due to traditional cuisine, have been found to have a lower prevalence of cancer. Animal studies, and some early investigational studies in humans, have suggested possible cardiovascular benefits of garlic. A Czech study found that garlic supplementation reduced accumulation of cholesterol on the vascular walls of animals. Another study had similar results, with garlic supplementation significantly reducing aortic plaque deposits of cholesterol-fed rabbits. Another study showed that supplementation with garlic extract inhibited vascular calcification in human patients with high blood cholesterol.

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Additional Information:
Native to central Asia, garlic is one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world and has been grown for over 5000 years. Ancient Egyptians seem to have been the first to cultivate this plant that played an important role in their culture.

This is almost a must have, as it is a quick and easy way to spice up or even rescue any plain dish. This is also something I can make in bulk and keep it in the fridge. The Chinese use this a lot in the cooking and as a tasty garnish to soup and vegetables.

I usually don't measure, but as a general guide, 2 tablespoons of cooking oil for every clove of garlic.

References:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garlic

http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=60

http://www.bestveganguide.com/garlic-nutrition.html
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J Summary (21M4D) - First time asked for diaper to be changed & tidying up messy rooms

First time asked for diaper to be changed

Last night, we heard J crying in the early morning about 5am. That's 1 hour earlier than his usual wake time, but the crying didn't stop and I went into his room. He was standing on the crib facing the door. Thought he had a nightmare, and took him out of the crib to hold him, but he wanted to walk. He led me to the bathroom. I realized that he wanted his diaper changed. When I put him on the changing station, he pointed straight to the stock of diapers, confirming again my guess. He had made a lot of pee, but this was the first time that he felt uncomfortable enough about it that he wanted it changed.

After changing the diaper, he made the hand sign for "eat" and said "zhao can" - breakfast in Mandarin. Thus, we started today very early with breakfast. He ate a hearty breakfast with 6 cubes of mixed beans and grains cereal and 2 banana. It could be that he had Chinese noodle soup for dinner last night - the half-Danish tummy didn't get full enough with noodle soup!!!

Today after dinner, J made the first move to throw the used kitchen towel into the bin without me asking. I was so pleasantly surprised. He also brought the cup to the kitchen sink willingly when asked.

Cleaning up

J made a mess of the bathroom and the bedroom with toys when Daddy took him for bed-time last evening and for this morning. I was almost sad when I entered the bedroom and depressed over my parenting failure for the past week. I should take all these in my stride, but some days are difficult.

Just at my lowest moment, something sweet happened... J remarked "Oh" when he saw his messy bedroom, and went straight to put back all the toys into the basket. After praising and thanking him for picking up his own toys, J went back to the bathroom to collect the plastic food toy one-by-one back to his bedroom and place them on his desk. Thus, J spent the bed-time routine today picking up toys, and only played a little later. He was happy that I read him a book towards the end. So it all ended well in the end. God knows just how much I could take. At the down moment, just want to thank God for the sweet encouragement from J that came just at the right time. I know it doesn't always happen this way, thus I really thank God for it.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

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Chinese Stir-fry Choy Sum/炒菜心[chǎo cài xīn]

My mum's recipe

Serves the whole family together with other dishes Chinese style, or serves 2 if stand alone

Preparation & Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:
- 1 bunch of choy sum
- 5 dried mushrooms or fresh shitake mushrooms sliced (if using dried mushrooms, must soak for 30 minutes first)
- 2 tablespoons of cooking oil (don't use olive oil, as olive oil cannot take high temperature exceeding 200 degree celsius)
- 1-2 cloves of garlic
- pinch of Himalayan sea salt
- pinch of pepper
- Sprinkle of water
- Handful of frozen shrimps (optional)
- 1 tsp oyster sauce (optional)

Directions:
1. Wash, rinse and cut choy sum into 2 inches.

2. Heat cooking oil in wok until hot and fry chopped garlic until golden brown

3. Add in mushrooms and stir-fry until fragrant.

4. Add in choysum and frozen shrimps stir-fy until cooked.

5. Add in water, oyster sauce, salt and pepper.

6. Dish out and serve immediately.

Nutritional Value:
Choy sum is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium; it is low in sodium and high in fiber, which helps to regulate the digestive system. It is low in calories.

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Additional Information:
Chinese cabbage was first recorded about the 5th century AD and has never been found in the wild. It is thought to have been a spontaneous cultivated cross between pak choi and the turnip. Taken to the East Indies and Malaysia by Chinese traders and settlers in the 1400s, Chinese cabbage was found in the Chinese colony in Malacca. By 1751, European missionaries had sent seeds back home, but the vegetable was considered little more than a curiosity. Another attempt at introduction was made by a French seedsman in 1845, but the supply became exhausted and the seed was lost. In 1970, the first large-scale commercial crop was produced by the Israelis and distributed in Europe. About the same time, it was marketed in the US as the Napa Cabbage, named after the valley in California, where it was grown and now moderately popular in North America.

When I was a child, this is a very frequent dish that my mum served. Thus, when I make this dish, I think of my mum and my childhood, having home-cooked food and choy sum. It is not easy to get choy sum in Denmark, thus I don’t make it very often. I only make it when I make my once a quarter trip to the Chinatown. My mum cooked choy sum often, because she said that it is very cheap and very nutritious to eat deep green Chinese leafy vegetables. Thanks to import from Malaysia, our hinterland, choy sum is very cheap in Singapore, relatively compared to western vegetables like broccoli. Thus, even up to today, my family in Singapore cannot afford to eat broccoli as often as choy sum. It is the opposite way around for me in Denmark. I am very fortunate to have a very wise mother. She would always save the best leaves part for us and eat the stem part. She is ever so self-sacrificial, even until today.

References:
http://www.cherryfarms.co.uk/choisum.html
http://www.innvista.com/health/foods/vegetables/chincabb.htm
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Chinese Minced Pork Noodle Soup/Kinesisk Hakket Svinekød Nudelsuppe/猪肉汤面 [zhū ròu tāng miàn]

Adapted from Rasa Malaysia

Serves 2

Preparation & Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:
- A handful of Chinese noodles (200g fresh noodles or dried rice noodles)
- 100-150g of minced chicken or pork (traditionally this dish is made with minced pork, and I use the lowest 3-7% fat content type)
- A handful of frozen vegetables e.g. broccoli florets, carrots, etc. (traditionally this is not part of the dish, but I have added this to enhance the nutritional value of the dish)
- A handful of frozen shrimps
- A handful of mung bean sprouts (optional)
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- 1000ml water (or you can use the water from steaming vegetables or chicken for baby as stock)
- Dash of salt and pepper

Garnish:
- 1 clove garlic chopped and 2 TBS cooking oil
- Chopped spring onions
- Chopped fresh chilli for garnish (optional)

Directions:
1. In 2 separate pots, boil some water for the noodles (about 300ml) and some water for the soup (about 1000ml).

2. Meanwhile, chop garlic, spring onions and chilli.

3. When the water for the noodles boil, throw in noodles and let it boil for 2 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water (to prevent it from sticking) and set aside in a soup bowl.

4. Meanwhile, to make the garlic oil, in a separate small pot, heat oil and fry garlic until fragrant.

5. When the water for the soup boils, add in the minced meat and boil until it is almost cooked (about 3-5 minutes depending on the type of meat you use). Then add in the frozen vegetables and frozen shrimps. These cook really fast - probably 1-2 minute. Then add the bean sprouts.

6. Add salt, fish sauce and pepper and turn off heat.

7. Scope the noodles into 2 soup bowls, add the soup and top it with 1 tsp of garlic oil each.

8. Garnish with some spring onions and fresh chilli (optional) and serve immediately.

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Additional Information:
This is the famous Singaporean/Malaysian Chinese “Bak Chor Mee” and this modern version is quick and easy to make, because I use frozen vegetables and frozen shrimps. It is also healthier than those served in the food courts in Singapore. It can be served in soup or dry (noodle and soup separately).

You can use any kind of Chinese noodles to your liking. But unless you use home-made noodles, it is healthier to use dried rice noodles. Today, I use a combination of the dried rice noodles and vermicelli and J loves it!

I usually save the water from the vegetables I blanch, steam or cook, when I prepare baby food for J. This water is full of nutrients and I call it the "vegetable stock" water. I will "re-cycle" the "vegetable stock" water when I make soup the next day, etc. In this way, I save water and get the maximum water from vegetables. If you have a baby or a toddler and are making your own baby food like I do, you may like to do the same :-)

If you are not using stock, you can add prawns or frozen shrimps to make it sweet and savoury. You can’t do without the garlic oil. It is the ingredient (and the minced pork) that gives the character (a nice flavour and frangrance) to this dish. To save time, you can make the garlic oil in advance in bulk easily by frying garlic with oil in a small sauce pot as shown below:




Garlic Oil
I made this for dinner this evening and J loves it (even with the chopped chilli on it!) That’s my boy, I am on my way of training him to eat spicy food… ha ha… J ate everything – the rice noodles, the meat, the broccoli (except the carrots).

I must say, I am impressed with this, it is really delicious, thanks to Rasa Malaysia, who brings me "back" to Singapore, right here from Copenhagen, so that I can indulge in this dish and introduce it to J. You can find the link to the original recipe from below reference.

References:
http://rasamalaysia.com/rice-noodle-soup-bee-thai-bak/

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

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How to get your carefreeness back?

How to get your carefreeness back?

Recently, I noticed that my carefreeness has disappeared… and in place of it, there seems to be a feeling of heaviness, a feeling of insecurity, a feeling of wanting to please others, a sense of being unsatisfied… I can’t quite put a finger to why I am feeling this way.

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Homemade Granola Bars with Wheat Germ & Brewer's Yeast/Hjemmelavet Honning Musli/格兰诺拉麦片糖果 [Gé lán nuò lā mài piàn táng guǒ]


Ingredients:
- 5 cups of your preferred grain such as rolled oats, rolled spelt, rolled wheat or rolled barley (I use 4 cups oats and 1 cup spelt flakes)
- 1 cup clear honey or maple syrup ( I use a mixture of both)
- 3½ TBS hazelnut butter or almond butter (I use hazelnut butter for the “Nutella”-like fragrance)
- 1 cup of your preferred/mixed seeds such as sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds
- 1 cup of your preferred/mixed nuts such as almonds, pecans or walnuts, chopped
- ½ cup wheat germ (optional)
- ½ cup flaxseeds (optional)
- 1 tsp brewer’s yeast (optional)
- ½ vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Directions:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.

2. Mix all of the dry ingredients together (except brewer’s yeast) and bake it in the oven for 10 minutes until lightly toasted. Let it cool completely

3. Mix all the wet ingredients (honey, maple syrup, vanilla and hazelnut butter).

4. Add brewer’s yeast to the toasted granola when it is cooled.

5. Drizzle honey mixture over toasted granola and mix everything evenly.

6. Scope the mixture into a flat oven dish with baking sheet and pat everything down so that it is nice and compacted.

7. Bake for 10 minutes until surface is golden brown.

8. Take it out of oven and when it is semi-cooled and still soft enough to cut, gently cut into bars.

9. Once completely cooled and hardened, separate the bars and store them in an air-tight container or kilner jar for at least 2 weeks.

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Additional Information:
I am very blessed to work in a wonderful office with really sweet colleagues supplying cakes and chocolates on the bar literally EVERY DAY, sometimes even up to 3 times a day! It is like working in a chocolate factory :-) I love chocolates. Thus it is terrific for me, but it also means I have to fight real hard the daily temptation to keep the waistline. Having really enjoyed making my own granola, I thought, “Why not make my own granola bars?” And on days when I succumb to temptation, I would simply pull out one nutritious granola bar instead, and limit myself to just one :-).

The difference between making granola and granola bars is the use of nut butter in granola bars. The nut butter helps it stay in shape. And dried fruit is not used in the bars because it tend to burn in the oven, if you add them.

I would have preferred to use solely maple syrup, as it tastes best, but it is very expensive, so I use a mixture of honey and maple syrup, but sometimes, just honey.

References:
http://www.thedailygreen.com/healthy-eating/recipes/chewy-granola-bar-recipe
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Banana Ice-cream/Banan Is/ 香蕉冰淇淋[xiāng jiāo bīng qí lín](

Idea from Kim Nielsen

Ingredients:
- 1 ripe frozen banana *
- A handful of cashew nuts or walnuts (optional)

* When you freeze banana, remove the skin first. Frozen banana taste siimilar to ice-cream. So it is a good way to "save" over-ripe bananas.

Directions:
Blend all ingredients and serve immediately or pour into popsicle container and freeze for minimum 2 hours

--------------------------------------------------------
Additional Information:
End of this month, J's daycare is going to have a once a year "Plant A Seed" day, where each child will plant a seed, and at the same time be treated to an ice-cream, which they can later use the ice-cream stick to write their name and stick beside their plant.

I have been cracking my brain on how I could delay the introduction of ice-cream into J's life as long as possible, now that he is in day care and exposed to the world.

Then I thought of making my own "ice-cream" as substitute. It doesn't have to taste like ice-cream, as long as it looks like one. Just the good thing about this recipe is that it does taste very much like ice-cream. I bought the ice-cream sticks from a hobby store. Thus, J gets his healthy ice-cream, along with the ice-cream stick, like all the other children and can join in the fun on the planting day :-).

References:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQ38aII6Kjc
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Egg-free Japanese Azuki Red Bean Ice-cream/Japansk Røde Bønner Is/红豆冰[hóng dòu bīng]


Picture:
Top row: Step 1, 2 and 3
Bottom row: Step 4, 5, 6 and finished product

Make 600ml ice-cream, serves 4-6

Ingredients:
- 1 cup (240ml) low-fat milk (1.5% fat)
- 1/3 cup (150ml) whipped cream (36% fat)/piskefløde
- 1/4 cup (60ml) maple syrup or (45g) brown sugar
- 1 cup (240ml) red bean paste
- 1 fresh vanilla bean (optional)

Directions:
1. Place a bowl in ice-water and let it cool down.

2. Pour whipping cream into the bowl and whip the cream with a hand-mixer until it turns thicker.

3. Pour milk into a container, add in vanilla and brown sugar, and stir until dissolved or blend in mini baby blender for 30 seconds.

4. Stir in red bean paste.

5. Add the mixture to the whipping cream and gently stir the mixture while keeping the form as it is (it doesn’t have to be even at this moment).

6. Pour in the mixture into the ice-cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. The mixture will gradually become smoother in the ice-cream maker. It will take about 20 minutes and it is ready to be served. If you like the ice-cream firmer, place the ice-cream in the freezer for an extra 1 hour.

References:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ramzEoBjcV4

http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Azuki-Bean-Ice-Cream
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Not-too-sweet Japanese Azuki Paste/Japansk Røde Bønner Mos/红豆酱[hóng dòu jiàng]


Ingredients:
- 2 cups washed red beans
- 1⁄4 cup sugar
- Water
- Pinch salt (optional)

Directions:
1. Soak red beans overnight and rinse.

2. Boil under low heat with water just covering the beans for 1.5 - 2 hours until beans are cooked and tender and the water fully absorbed (however, make sure you check that the water doesn’t dry out before the beans are cooked and burn the pot. If so, adjust by adding more water)

3. Puree with blender. If you like it chunky, puree half of it in a blender and mix it together with the rest.

4. Mix in the sugar. Adjust accordingly. When making for diabetic people or babies, take a portion out and reduce the sugar even further. But if you prefer it sweeter, add more sugar as desired.

5. Serve it hot or cover and refrigerate until you are ready to use it to make red bean ice-cream. I like to leave mine overnight in the fridge for the sugar to be absorbed thoroughly, but you don’t have to.

Nutritional Value:
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=3995362&id=705043347&saved#!/photo.php?pid=2520935&id=705043347
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Additional Information:
Azuki is the Japanese name given to red beans. Red bean is used widely in Japanese, Chinese and Korean desserts. And many of the red bean desserts (ice-cream, cakes, etc.) call for red bean paste (tsubushi-an) as an ingredient. Making red bean paste is like making puree baby food (shhh, don’t tell the Japanese that!) That’s how I learned to make red bean paste – by making puree food for J when he was a baby :-)

Commercial azuki bean paste can be tooth-achingly sweet and contains preservatives. Making your own unsweetened bean paste gives you the flexibility to adjust the sugar amount depending on taste preference. Here is a very simple recipe to make red bean paste. It can be enjoyed on its own though with a splash of milk or cream and a cup of green tea.

References:
http://www.applepiepatispate.com/japanese/sweet-azuki-red-bean-paste/

http://japanesefood.about.com/od/japanesedessertsweet/r/greenteaice.htm

http://japanesefood.about.com/od/japanesedessertsweet/ss/makinggreenice.htm

http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Azuki-Bean-Ice-Cream

http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-adzuki-beans.htm

http://www.justhungry.com/2006/06/notsosweet_tsub.html
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Vanilla Ice-cream/Vanilje Is/香荚兰属冰淇淋[xiāng jiá lán shǔ bīng qí lín]


Make 550ml ice-cream, serves 4

Ingredients:
- 400ml low-fat milk (1.5% fat)
- 150ml whipping cream/piskefløde (36% fat)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup or 45g brown sugar
- 1 vanilla bean

Directions:
1. Place a bowl in ice-water and let it cool down.

2. Pour whipping cream into the bowl and whip with a hand-mixer until it obtains a yogurt like consistency.

3. Pour milk into a container, add brown sugar and vanilla and blend the mixture in a mini baby blender for 30 seconds.

4. Add the mixture to the whipped cream and gently stir while keeping the form as it is (it doesn’t have to be even at this moment).

5. Pour in the mixture into the ice-cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. It will take about 35-45 minutes and it is ready to be served. If you like the ice-cream firmer, place the ice-cream in the freezer for an extra 1 hour.

References:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ramzEoBjcV4
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Chocolate Pudding/Chokolade Puding/巧克力布丁 [qiǎo kè lì bù dīng]


Ingredients:
- 1 ripe avocado
- 4 dried dates
- 2 TBS chocolate powder or carob powder (without caffeine, suitable for kids)

Directions:
1. Simply blend all ingredients in a mini blender until the mixture is smooth & creamy and serve.

Tip:
You can top it with fruits to make it more colourful.

Shelf Life:
Keep well for 2-3 days in the fridge.

References:
The Raw Food Coach
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Mocha Pudding/Mocha Kaffe puding/摩卡咖啡布丁[Mò chá kā fēi bù dīng]


Ingredients:
- 1 ripe avocado
- 4 dried dates
- 1 tsp Nestle instant coffee powder

Directions:
1. Simply blend all ingredients in a mini blender until the mixture is smooth & creamy and serve.

Shelf Life:
Keep well for 2-3 days in the fridge.

Note:
This sweet treat is not for kids, as it contains caffeine.
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Home-made Chocolate/Chokolade/巧克力 [qiǎo kè lì]

Preparation and Cooking Time: 1 minute

Indgredients:
- 1 tsp of real pure cacoa nibs
- 1 handful of real hazelnuts (10 - 12)
- 1 tsp of organic hazelnut butter
- 1 dried date

Directions:
Mix together and blend in a mini-blender for a few seconds. Enjoy your “homemade” and healthy chocolate.

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Additional Information:
After making my own chocolate drink, I was thinking... hey, why not try to make my own chocolate. I didn’t think that I will succeed, but no harm trying. This was my first attempt and it was one of those few times that I hit it right right away! Thus, I hurried to type down the proportions before I forget. It doesn’t look as nice as the commercial chocolate, but it tastes just as good and way healthier, without any food preservatives. Now I can snack on my chocolate without feeling too guilty :-)
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Matcha Green Tea Latte/Macha Grøn Te Latte/绿茶拿铁[lǜ chá ná tiě]



Preparation and cooking time: 1 minute

Indgredients:
- 1 TBS Matcha green tea powder
- 1 dried date
- 1/4 cup of cashew nuts
- 1 cup of fresh skimmed or low-fat milk

Directions:
Mix together and blend in a mini-blender for a few seconds. Pour into glass and serve or drink directly.

Nutritional value:
Green tea is known to be very good for health due to its antioxidant properties.

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Additional Information:
I tried to make this for the first time today using my own recipe. And it tasted very nice. I am so happy :-) Yummy, yummy, yummy.

References:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ramzEoBjcV4

http://www.hibiki-an.com/
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Avocado Milkshake/牛油果奶昔[niú yóu guǒ nǎi xī]



Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:
- 1/2 avocado
- 1 cup of fresh skimmed or low-fat milk
- 1 tps of maple syrup or condensed milk or 2 dried dates to sweeten (if not, some sugar will work too)
- 4 ice-cubes (optional)

Directions:
Mix together and blend for a few seconds. Pour into glass and serve or drink directly.

-------------------------------------------------------------------
Additional Information:I was thinking of what to do with the half avocado that was left over after making our salad today. Then I tried to experiment with this self-made recipe and it tasted really good. Thought I better write this down before I forget so it is all ready for me to look up next time.
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Greek Yogurt/Græsk yogurt/希腊酸奶[Xī là suān nǎi]


This makes a quick, easy and healthy breakfast or snack. You can eat it simply with the mashed banana. The mashed banana adds a subtle favour and sweeten the yogurt naturally without added sugar.

If you can't find greek yogurt in your supermarket, just use normal natural yogurt. It will still taste good too, just a little less creamy than the greek yogurt.

Direction:
Mash 1 banana and blend with 1/2 cup of greek yogurt, and ready to serve for breakfast or snack.

Optional toppings:
To give it an extra crunch, you can also sprinkle on sunflower seeds, chopped pecan, almonds or any nuts, granula, blue berries, strawberries, etc. My personal favourite is chopped pecan and blue berries.

Nutritional value:
Compared to normal yogurt, greek yogurt is more creamy and richer in texture, a consistency between that of yogurt and cheese (even for the low fat version), because the whey is removed in the making process. Thus, it is tastier than normal yogurt. Removing the whey makes greek yogurt more concentrated than normal yogurt, and this it is also higher in protein.

Greek yogurt's live and active culture content is much higher than that of regular yogurt. However it should be noted that liquid whey contains cystine, and amino acid that boosts your body's level s of the Cancer-fighting compound glutathione.

So to create variety, you can alternate eating normal yogurt and greek yogurt.

Choose the lowest fat version, for example, the 0.1% fat is available in Denmark.
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Applesauce/Æblemos/苹果酱[píng guǒ jiàng]


You can make your own healthy natural sweetener for use in place of processed sugar in some of the normal cakes’ and desserts’ recipes. Here is one method how using apples:

Ingredients:
- 4-5 medium apples*, peeled and cored
- 50ml water
- Pinch nutmeg or cinnamon (optional)

* use naturally sweet varieties such as Gala, Golden or Red, Delicious, Fuji, Pink Lady, Red Rome

Directions:
1. Peel, core and chop the apples into slices/chunks and place in a saucepan.

2. Pour in water, as little as possible that can still cook the apples.

3. Bring the apples to a boil, then reduce the heat.

4. Cover and simmer slowly until the apple chunks are tender (about 10-15 mins).

DON'T cook the apples to the point where the mixture actually looks like applesauce! Cooking it this long will cause it to be watery and tasteless.

5. Instead, remove the apple chunks from the pan and either puree them or mash them well. Thin with a little cooking water if necessary.

6. The applesauce is ready to be used in cakes or desserts recipe which call for sugar :-)

Tips:
1. Sprinkle with cinnamon or nutmeg and serve warm on its own (or as a soothing treat for teething babies - nice and cold).

Storage:
Freeze well for 8 weeks. TIP: If you are going to freeze your baby's applesauce, DON'T add the spices before you freeze it, because they will lose their flavour.

Note:
Avoid applesauce altogether is your baby is constipated or prone to constipation, because it is very binding and will make the problem worse.

Nutritional Value:
Apples are a good source of dietary fiber and vitamin C. Apples contain a long list of phytonutrients that function as antioxidants and support our heart health. Included in this list are quercetin, catechin, phloridzin and chlorogenic acid. Apples also contain flavonoids, which have repeatedly been shown to help lower risk of heart disease, and also to improve problems with heart disease once it has occurred.

Apples may help maintain good healthy by promoting cardiovascular health by lowering LDL cholesterol and inhibiting LDL oxidation, and reducing the risk of certain types of stroke; maintaining a healthy weight, as part of a low-fat, fiber-rich diet; promoting lung health, by countering the effects of oxidative damage; promoting prostate, liver and colon health, by inhibiting the growth of related cancer tumors; and promoting bone health, by providing a good source of the dietary mineral boron.

References:
http://www.homemade-baby-food-recipes.com/fruit-baby-food-recipes.html
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Dried Dates/Soltørrede Dadler/枣子[zǎo zi]


Nutritional Value:
Although dried dates are higher in calories than fresh ones, dates are loaded with iron, fiber, iron, niacin, potassium, vitamin A, B, calcium, phosphorous, and copper.

They are used to help with constipation, anemia, fatigue, and also a preventive to abdominal cancer.

References:
http://healthmad.com/nutrition/five-dried-fruits-and-theirs-undeniable-health-benefits/
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Raisins/Rosiner/葡萄干[pú táo gān]


Nutritional Value:
Raisins are one of nature’s sweet treats. They provide 70% pure fructose, fat free, cholesterol free, low in sodium, and supply a good source of fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, iron, potassium, and calcium.

Raisins are said to help with bone density, healthy gums and teeth. The key ingredient in raisins is phytonutrients, mainly olenolic acid, protect from gum disease, and cavities. They are also beneficial for your eye sight just as carrots. Use raisins in your oatmeal, or sprinkle on your salad, or in your cooking and baking.

References:
http://healthmad.com/nutrition/five-dried-fruits-and-theirs-undeniable-health-benefits/
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Pumpkin Seeds/Græskarkerner/南瓜子[Nán guā zǐ]


Serving Ideas:
1. Add pumpkin seeds to healthy sautéed vegetables.

2. Sprinkle pumpkin seeds on top of mixed green salads.

3. Grind pumpkin seeds with fresh garlic, parsley and cilantro leaves. Mix with olive oil and lemon juice for a tasty salad dressing.

4. Add chopped pumpkin seeds to your favorite hot or cold cereal.

5. Add pumpkin seeds to your oatmeal raisin cookie or granola recipe.

6. Add some ground pumpkin seeds when you make burgers.

Nutritional Value:
Pumpkin seeds are a very good source of the minerals phosphorus, magnesium and manganese. They are also a good source of other minerals including zinc, iron and copper. In addition, pumpkin seeds are a good source of protein and vitamin K.

南瓜子营养丰富,据说有降血压、治疗慢性病等很多用处。

References:
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=82
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodtip&dbid=35
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Chocolate Smoothie/Chokolade Smoothie/巧克力沙冰雪糕 [qiǎo kè lì shā bīng xuě gāo]


Preparation and Cooking time: 5 minutes

Introduction:
Despite protest from Danish schools, it is getting more and more widespread that parents bring cakes, cookies, ice-cream, etc. to school to celebrate a kid’s birthday. With all these temptations, how can I bring J up to continue to eat healthy? What should I do if he comes home from childcare and ask me for chocolate? I cannot shield him from all the junk food, but I can give him more choices by introducing him to yummy yet wholesome desserts. Thank God, I found this super easy and nutritious raw chocolate recipe and many other yummy delicious dessert recipes that I can easily make in 5 minutes for myself and J to bring and share it with his future friends :-).

This is a really yummy recipe. You have got to try it to believe me!

Ingredients:
- 1 teaspoon of organic pure raw chocolate powder (you can buy on-line from www.therawchocolatecompany.com) or vanilla
- ½ cup of unsalted/unsweetened cashew nuts
- ½ cup of skimmed fresh milk
- 1 sweet dried date

Directions:
Mix all the ingredients into a mini blender to minimise wastage and blend, pour into a glass and enjoy :-)

Tips:
1. Make into ice-cream by freezing it in the freezer.

2. The nut milk tastes super on its own without chocolate powder or vanilla as well.

3. If you prefer, you can blend with frozen banana to create an rich and creamy instant chocolate banana ice-cream.

4. If you prefer, you can add sliced banana and chopped nuts to make it more chunky.

Storage:
Pour into ice-cube tray and freeze. Take one out for a snack to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Nutritional value:
Raw cacao is one of the richest sources of anti-oxidants, including flavonoids and heart-nurturing polyphenols. It is also jam packed with minerals such as iron, zinc and magnesium. It also contains neurotransmitters like serotonin, which helps keep the feel-good chemicals in your brain active and buzzing for a long time after you've had your chocolate!

Note:
This is not for small kids, as it contains Cacao. You can substitute the Cacao powder with carob powder if you want to serve it to small kids.

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Additional information:
Ice-cream is creamy because it is full of the unhealthy fats and lots of sugar. On the contrary, this simple recipe is made from raw chocolate and skimmed fresh milk, made creamy from the good fats derived from nuts, and sweetened with natural sweetness from dried dates.

Buy only raw chocolates, as most chocolates from the super-market are highly processed with added sugar and chemicals. However, raw chocolate is processed minimally without adding sugar and without using high heat, thus, retaining its nutrients.

I love chocolate and I love ice-cream, and now I don’t have to give up eating chocolate in order to pursue a healthy diet. On the contrary, I can now eat chocolate without feeling guilty – by eating chocolate made from pure raw chocolate and sweeten it with fruits like sweet dates and know that I am actually receiving nutrition into my body, instead of just pure fats.

References:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMdukV-_vhE
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The Kid's Chocolate - Carob Powder/Carobpulver/长角豆粉[cháng jiǎo dòu fěn]


This is a great substitute for cocoa for kids, as it does not contain caffeine or theobromin, but tastes like cocoa. It is thus called the kid's chocolate. It tastes just like Ovaltine, but with a sweet caramel taste to it. Thus, you don't need to add any sugar :-). Basically you can use carob for any recipe that uses cocoa.

Serving Ideas:
1. You can use it for making shakes, grain milks, cakes, biscuits, glazes, puddings.

Carob is naturally sweet and can also be used as a sugar replacement. Carob powder is almost 50% natural sugar and can be used instead of sugar in virtually all bread and pastry products. This includes bread, waffles, cakes, pies, pancakes, cereals (hot or cold), crepes, muffins, etc.

Directions:
Too replace carob for chocolate, simply use the same amount of carob.

Nutritional Value:
Carob is high in protein and contains vitamins A, B, B2, B3 and D. It is also high in calcium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium and contains iron, manganese, barium, copper and nickel. It is rich in calcium, containing 352 mg. per 100 grams, or 1,597 mg. per pound. By comparison, milk -- often regarded as an excellent calcium source -- contains only 120 to 130 mg. of calcium per 100 grams, or 530 to 550 mg. of calcium per pound. Furthermore, carob contains no oxalic acid, as does chocolate, which tends to interfere with the body's ability to assimilate calcium.

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Additional Information:
Carob is a tropical pod that contains a sweet, edible pulp and inedible seeds. After drying, the pulp is roasted and ground into a powder that resembles cocoa powder, but does not have the same flavor and texture of chocolate. The carob tree (Ceratonia siliqua) is a member of the legume (pea) family and it grows in Mediterranean areas. Many scholars believe that John the Baptist lived on carob pods as"the locust bean"in another name for carob. Another biblical reference to carob pods is also probable in the parable of the prodigal son who squandered his inheritance and so became a servant, looking after the pigs."He would gladly have fed on the pods that the swine ate ..."- the pods would most probably have been the pods of the carob trees which would still produce crops in times of drought and famine.

Monday, 6 December 2010

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Sunflower Seeds/Solsikkefrø/葵花籽[kuí huā zǐ]


Serving Ideas:
1. Add sunflower seeds to your favorite tuna, chicken or turkey salad recipe.

2. Garnish mixed green salads with sunflower seeds.

3. Adding sunflower seeds to scrambled eggs will give them a unique taste and texture.

4. Use fine ground sunflower seeds to dust your meats with in place of flour.

5. Sprinkle sunflower seeds onto hot and cold cereals.

Nutritional Value:
Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of vitamin E. They are also a very good source of vitamin B1. In addition, sunflower seeds are a good source of manganese, magnesium, copper, selenium, phosphorus, vitamin B5 and folate.

References:
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=57
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Cashew Nuts/Cashewnødder/腰果[yāo guǒ]



Cashew nuts are very nutritious, and ironically helps prevent weight gain. To lower risk of cardiovascular and coronary heart disease, enjoy a handful of cashews or other nuts, or a tablespoon of nut butter, at least 4 times a week. Buy only the natural unsalted and untoasted ones.

Serving tips:
1. Combining cashews with other nuts and dried fruits makes a healthy snack.

2. Make a healthy chocolate drink out of cashew nuts. See recipe here:
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=3121492&l=ddf4239b77&id=705043347

3. Right before taking off the heat, add cashews to healthy sautéed vegetables, Chinese style

4. Healthy sauté cashews with shrimp, basil and green beans for a delightful Thai inspired dish.

5. Cashews with a little bit of maple syrup make a great topping for hot cereals.

5. Add cashew butter to breakfast soy or rice milk shakes to up their protein content (a quarter-cup of cashews provides over 5 grams of protein) and give them a creamy nutty taste.

6. In a saucepan over low-medium heat, mix cashew butter with some tamari, cayenne pepper, garlic, ginger and water to make a wonderful sauce for fish, vegetables, tofu or rice.

7. To roast cashews at home, do so gently in a 160-170°F (about 75°C) oven for 15-20 minutes to preserve the healthy oils.

Nutritional value:
Cashews are a very good source of monounsaturated fats and copper, and a good source of magnesium and phosphorus.

Storage
Due to their high content of oleic acid, cashews are more stable than most other nuts but should still be stored in a tightly sealed container in a cool place.

Warnings
Cashews are among a small number of foods that contain measurable amounts of oxalates, naturally-occurring substances found in plants, animals, and human beings. When oxalates become too concentrated in body fluids, they can crystallize and cause health problems. For this reason, individuals with already existing and untreated kidney or gallbladder problems may want to avoid eating cashews.

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Additional Information:
Not only do cashews have a lower fat content than most other nuts, approximately 75% of their fat is unsaturated fatty acids, plus about 75% of this unsaturated fatty acid content is oleic acid, the same heart-healthy monounsaturated fat found in olive oil.

Studies show that oleic acid promotes good cardiovascular health, even in individuals with diabetes. Studies of diabetic patients show that monounsaturated fat, when added to a low-fat diet, can help to reduce high triglyceride levels. Triglycerides are a form in which fats are carried in the blood, and high triglyceride levels are associated with an increased risk for heart disease, so ensuring you have some monounsaturated fats in your diet by enjoying cashews is a good idea, especially for persons with diabetes.

When evidence from all four studies was combined, subjects consuming nuts at least 4 times a week showed a 37% reduced risk of coronary heart disease compared to those who never or seldom ate nuts.

Although nuts are known to provide a variety of cardio-protective benefits, many avoid them for fear of weight gain. A prospective study published in the journal Obesity shows such fears are groundless. In fact, people who eat nuts at least twice a week are much less likely to gain weight than those who almost never eat nuts.

Numerous health problems can develop when copper intake is inadequate, including iron deficiency anemia, ruptured blood vessels, osteoporosis, joint problems such as rheumatoid arthritis, brain disturbances, elevated LDL (bad) cholesterol and reduced HDL (good) cholesterol levels, irregular heartbeat, and increased susceptibility to infections. Topping your morning cereal with a quarter-cup of cashews will supply you with 38.0% of the daily value for copper.

Insufficient magnesium can thus contribute to high blood pressure, muscle spasms (including spasms of the heart muscle or the spasms of the airways symptomatic of asthma), and migraine headaches, as well as muscle cramps, tension, soreness and fatigue. Given these effects, it is not surprising that studies have shown magnesium helps reduce the frequency of migraine attacks, lowers blood pressure, helps prevent heart attacks, promotes normal sleep patterns in women suffering from menopausal sleep disturbances, and reduces the severity of asthma. Just a quarter-cup of cashews provides 22.3% of the daily value for magnesium. Everyone knows that calcium is necessary for strong bones, but magnesium is also vital for healthy bones.

The cashew tree is native to coastal areas of Brazil. In the 16th century, Portuguese explorers took cashew trees from this South American country and introduced them into other tropical regions such as India and some African countries. Today, the leading commercial producers of cashews are India, Brazil, Mozambique, Tanzania and Nigeria.

References:
http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=98#descr
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