Donate to our Healthy Yums Cafe

We would like to eventually open a cafe dedicated to healthy eating and living. You could help us towards this goal! If you think you like what you see on our website, and would like to one day sit in a jazzy cafe eating our culinary creations, please feel free to donate to us, and remember, no donation is too small! :o) And if you make a significant contribution, we'll be more than happy to name a dish after you. Goodness knows we always have trouble naming our cooking :o). Thank you!

Banana cream chocolate brownie cake

We recently celebrated a birthday with an old friend of mine, and I decided we should bring a healthy birthday cake to the dinner celebration.

I thought of combining our healthy cheesecake recipe with our wholegrain brownies...and Mr. Green and I put our heads together and came up with this...

We played around with our usual brownie recipe to use margarine instead of oil, and much less of it too! We also added plain natural yogurt (low in fat, calories and a good source of protein and calcium) to add moisture to the brownie cake. A typical brownie recipe would use about a cup of butter and we used 1/3 cup of margarine instead :o).

Texture was brilliant. Rich and chewy just the way we like it :o).

As for the middle layer, we used cream cheese, silken tofu and banana with a little lemon for taste :P. I know it might sound icky but seriously, it makes it creamy, and it's much healthier than using all cheese!

Without telling people there was tofu in it...the dinner party seemed very receptive to it. A few even really, really liked it, especially the brownie part.

The minute we admitted to the tofu...people started smacking their lips together and swearing they could taste it :o).

It's psychological, I tell ya. Next time...we're not telling!


Malaysian fruits and sugar consumption

Mr. Green and I apologise for the month or so hiatus. Our lifestyles are pretty much nomadic right now which makes regular programming on this blog a bit of a challenge :o).

Mr. Green and I love fruits. Apples and bananas are two fruits we eat on almost a daily basis if we have access to them. Blueberries is another heavy favourite, and seedless green grapes if they look fresh and green :o). When we travel, we also try to sample as many local fruits as we possibly can.

Here's the jackfruit, native to South Asia and Southeast Asia:

The jackfruit is undoubtedly the largest fruit that I've ever come across. The fact that it can get to up to 40kg (~88lbs) is just mind-boggling. The edible bits looks like it's slimy but isn't. It has an almost meaty texture but don't be's sweet. According to this, it is low in saturated fat (as most fruits are), cholesterol, sodium and is a good source of Vitamin C and manganese.

Here's another Southeast Asian fruit for you, the snakefruit or salak:

The snakefruit tastes sour and a little sweet and is a little crunchy to bite into. Definitely one of my favourites.

Someone once warned me that Southeast Asian fruits are high in sugar and carbohydrates. I never took the warning very seriously as natural sugar from fruits (fructose), is different than refined sugar (sucrose). You shouldn't really avoid high sugar fruits, which are still low in calories and very high in nutrition.

According to this, consuming refined sugar or sucrose drives the sugar levels in your blood to high levels extremely fast while fructose is broken down more slowly which gives your body more time to react to the sugar consumed.

So how much sugar can you consume?

Some experts or nutritionists say about 40g per day or 10 teaspoons (4g in one teaspoon). Some prescribe to the 10 percent rule, which means 10% of your daily calories can come from added sugars. If you know what your daily calorie intake is, 10% of that can come from added sugars and there are about 4 calories in 1g of sugar.

So if your daily calorie intake is 1800, your added sugar intake can be 180 calories which corresponds to 45g of sugar or 11 teaspoons.

11 teaspoons sound like a lot, huh? Especially when you picture shoving 11 teaspoons of table sugar into your mouth. But think again, added sugars here means all the refined sugar you consume daily, which means everything from sugar in your coffee or tea, that slice of cheesecake post-lunch, to sugar content in your morning cereal. Morning cereal. I used to love Post's Cranberry Almond Crunch cereal...and a serving of it delivers 15g of sugar already. Three servings of Post a day and you're over your suggested daily intake.

So 40g of sugar is actually pretty easy to exceed unfortunately. And let's not even begin to discuss weight gain from having too much sugar :o). That just leads to a lot more health problems and issues (heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure to name a few) :o).

Reduce your sugar intake, today!


Baked Leeks Pasta with Chicken

A friend asked me recently if we could come up with any recipes using leeks. So I looked online for some ideas, and came up with this recipe,


Wholegrain pasta
Chicken stock
Soy milk (unsweetened)
Grated low-fat cheddar
Pine nuts (optional)
A little bit of low-fat margarine

Lightly saute some cut up chicken in low-fat margarine until cooked. Add in chopped leeks and continue sauteing. Add some chicken stock and cover. Let cook for a while. Add a bit of soy milk and let cook for a while. Pour into a baking pan with pasta and sliced mushrooms. Cover the top with grated cheddar cheese and add some pine nuts. Bake in the oven until pasta is cooked. Top with sliced olives and serve.

The picture shows the dish without pine nuts. I think pine nuts roasting with the cheese on top would be a nice touch to this dish. The olives give it a slightly salty taste to the otherwise sweet (due to the leeks). Our chicken stock was also homemade and remember to use wholegrain pasta!

Mmm mmmm. I never thought to try a leek recipe before this. But I was intrigued when it was suggested. I do like the taste of leek, which isn't as strong as a raw onion, but light and sweet. I also kind of like the look it gives the baked pasta :o).

Leeks are really quite the healthy vegetable. According to The World's Healthiest Foods, it's a good source of manganese, vitamin C, iron, folate and vitamin B6. Research has shown it to be very good at stabilising blood sugar, lowers the risk of ovarian cancer for women, reduces bad cholesterol and reduces the risk of prostate and colon cancer. The only safety precaution that needs to be taken when eating leeks is that it has a measurable amount of oxalates, which when becomes too concentrated in body fluids, can crystalise and this becomes a problem. Those with existing (and especially untreated) kidney and gallbladder problems are adviced to avoid the leek.

Fresh leeks can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Once cooked, they become highly perishable and can only keep for two days in the refrigerator. Happy cooking!


Mr Green gets creative with the oatmeal raisin cookies

Mr Green felt like oatmeal and raisin cookies the other night. For some reason he made them spherical instead of flat and round. Mr Green...why?


Mr Green's cheesecake

I don't know what he did really. I just know it was good, and he reduced as much fat as he could using reduced fat options. He also chose to use digestives for the crust instead of graham crackers.

We could have made it healthier though. A few months ago, we made cheesecake using soft silken tofu instead of cream cheese. We flavoured it with fresh pumpkin and it really did taste like a pumpkin cheesecake, only without all the fat. We got the idea from a recipe that substituted cream cheese with tofutti, a soy-based cream cheese. We figured soy-based? Why not just use Japanese silken tofu which was readily available at the local grocery store...worked like a charm :o).

I'll let Mr Green add on to this when he feels like it.


Chicken satay

We apologise for the past one-week hiatus. The reason being there's an upcoming major event that requires quite a lot of our time in preparation. I'm not quite sure when we'll be returning to our normal transmission but I'm going to try my best!

We had chicken satay for dinner the other day. Satay is a very popular Southeast Asian dish of meat slivers on sticks or skewers. In Malaysia, it's usually beef or chicken served with peanut sauce and a side of rice cubes, cut up cucumbers and onions. We didn't have much ingredients to work with, so we basically just had the chicken satay without the sauce or sides.

Marinade for the chicken
Finely chopped garlic
Some soy sauce
A little bit of curry powder (hence the yellow from the turmeric)
A little bit of olive oil (this also prevents the chicken from getting dry during grilling)

After marinating, grill in oven until cooked. This usually takes about 8-10 minutes or so.

Pretty simple, eh?

Now if you wanted to make the peanut sauce, here's a cheat version using peanut butter instead of fresh peanuts.

Firstly, saute some 2-3 shallots, 1 clove of garlic, chili powder (the Asian kind) or chili paste, 2 tbs curry powder in 2 tsp of olive oil. Once fragrant, add some lime juice, 1 tbs light soy sauce, 3 tbs crunchy peanut butter (get the all natural kind without preservatives for a healthier option) and about 3/4 cups of unsweetened soy milk. Cook until preferred thickness.

Remember to choose lean chicken meat!


Healthy creamy shrimp pasta with feta cheese

The first time we tried this recipe was about five months ago. The local grocery store where we were at back then sold this fresh, creamy french feta cheese. One day, we happened to mix it with some pasta and other things, and it simply melted into a cream sauce-type thing.

We wanted the same effect tonight, but the only feta available at the stores here is the crumbly type in oil. So we heated up some soy milk, threw in some herbs, and crushed the (5% fat) feta into the milk. Then we threw everything else into that, and basically got the above result.

What went in?

Mushrooms, chopped chilies, tomatoes, lightly sauteed garlic in olive oil (fresh garlic gives it too much bite and spice), green olives, shrimp, spinach, and wholegrain pasta.

I maintain that creamy pastas do not have to have a lot of fat in it :o).

Tip of the day: We like to keep and use the water that we cook our pasta in. Mr Green likes to drink it. I'm not opposed to that, but I prefer to use it as a sauce thickener, or sometimes, a sauce in itself. Tonight we used it to thicken the soy milk-cheese mix. When I'm using a tomato-based sauce, pasta water can be used for the same purpose. Or brown rice water. I've read that restaurant chefs also use pasta water in their cooking. The thicker, the better. So don't throw away your pasta water, help save the world's water, today!


Working with what you have: Fried rice

Haven't been grocery shopping in a while, and so there really wasn't much to work with in the cabinet tonight. There was brown rice, olives and eggs. Oh, and an apple.

So I thought, an apple...fried rice with egg. Why not :o).

I didn't even have garlic or onions to work with, so what I did was cook an egg with hardly a teaspoon of olive oil, threw in some chopped chilies, and a chopped up green apple. I let that cook a while, not too long, though, I still wanted some bite in it. Then I threw in already lightly panfried chicken, olives, and lastly the rice...with a little bit of fish sauce for taste.

It came out pretty well, actually. The apple gave it a slightly sweet taste, and the fish sauce was just the right touch :o)

Mr. Green butts in: The few times healthyyums wants to cook and actually does it she totally exceeds all expectations. This was just one instance - and it turned out great! I'm not a big fish sauce fan, but it really made this dish!


We can't get enough of pizza...really, we can't

Pizza was on tonight's menu. Again. This time Mr. Green attempted a thick crust type of pizza pie. It certainly did look more like a pie. Don't you think? Curried chicken as the main topping! YUM!

If we opened a pizza place, would you buy pizza from us? :o)


Beet Cookies

Let it be known that this blog is not all about successes in the kitchen. In fact, if anything this blog is about failures because healthyyums and I are always looking to experiment and improve on our recipes. So for as many successes as we have there are about twice as many failures. Such is the case with the newest experiment, beet cookies.Remember my oatmeal-raisin cookie recipe? Well I decided to try adding a half a cooked beet to the mix and evaluating the result. However, I didn't follow my own recipe very well, and it seemed to me that the cookie dough was too dry. I began to add soy milk and mix, but I forgot that oats tend to disintegrate under too much mixing (especially in the presence of liquid) and I ended up with what can best be described as purple oatmeal. This I divided up and put into the oven.

The good news is that I couldn't taste any beets! The bad was, well, everything else. I haven't completely abandoned the beet cookies idea, but I'm definitely going back to the cutting board.
P.S. - I might just be crazy, but do these cookies look like animal faces to anyone else?!? Completely accidental...


Sweet and sour chicken

This is an overdue entry of mine. Sometime last week, I wanted something Asian and spicy for lunch, and I decided to make sweet and sour chicken.

I chopped up some onions and garlic and lightly sauteed them with very little olive oil (you can use just about a teaspoon if you're using a non-stick pan) until fragrant. Then I added some chopped tomatoes and let that cook for a while to give it a little sour taste, then I added sambal oelek in place of fresh chili (which I can't seem to find out here) to make it a sauce and also to give more of the right kind of sour taste (right kind meaning the kind that I like :P). I also added just a little bit of honey for the sweet part of this dish.

Meanwhile, I baked some chicken I had marinated in curry powder and a little bit of soy sauce. We never deep fry anything, and always chose to bake or grill instead. To keep the meat from drying out while baking, just drizzle a little bit of olive oil before putting it into the oven. You end up using much less oil than deep frying, and it won't be greasy but tender and juicy :o).

After cooking the chicken, just pour the sauce over the chicken, and there you have it! Sweet and sour chicken...slurp. I served this with some brown rice and fresh spinach on the side.

Note: If you haven't noticed, we hardly use any beef in our cooking. This is because we feel that chicken is a healthier meat. According to experts, you're only supposed to have red meat once a week. The rule of thumb when it comes to red meat portioning is generally the size of your palm.

Mr. Green butts in: YUM! I absolutely loved it!


Wholegrain banana brownies (with beets)

Did you just do a double take on the title of this entry? :o) Sorry folks, no mistake there. Wholegrain banana brownies...with beets.

If you read my last posting on brownies, you'll remember that I like to use applesauce when baking low-fat brownies. This time however, we had some really ripe bananas that needed eating, and you can substitute pureed banana for butter (or applesauce) I figured, why not!

Then I remembered that we had some beets in the fridge thanks to Mr. Green's current beet-craze. I decided to get on board with that, and we mashed some beets and banana together into a

So I used that for my brownies, and substituted honey for sugar (using much less than the recipe calls for since the honey we have seems to taste sweeter), popped it into the oven, and hoped for the best!

Verdict? Not too bad. I definitely prefer applesauce over banana though, because you can really taste the banana in baking. The beets? Well I could hardly taste it and somehow the brownies were sticky and chewy just the way we like 'em. It could have probably used a little more honey, but all in all...I'm pretty surprised it worked out so well :o). Who would've guessed beets could be hidden so well in brownies? And I really liked the fact that we added some nutrition to this :o). Yums!


Banana, Honey and Beet Jam... Wait, what?

Okay, so maybe this doesn't sound appetizing to some, but actually it was really good. healthyyums and I were making brownies and as per usual trying different substitutions for margarine. Earlier we tried applesauce and it worked well, but this time we decided to try something different. While healthyyums was busy mixing all the flour, cocoa powder and eggs, I was in charge of the bananas, beets and honey (although the honey was actually supposed to be her responsibility until I convinced her otherwise). I put 1/2 of a cooked beet (still have a few left from the first time I cooked them) through my trusty garlic press and mashed it together with two small ripe bananas. The bananas didn't take long to turn into a smooth liquid, but the beets were somewhat more resistant. I thought that if I mixed 1/2 cup of honey in, it might make them more compliant, but it did nothing to help. In the end I strained the mixture and used a fork to extract all the liquid that I could. What remained in the strainer is what you see spread over a piece of rye toast above. Any trace of beet was masked by the banana and honey flavor (a good thing), the look was spot on for jam and I'm happy to say it was quite healthy. Score!


Beetroot Pasta

After writing my previous post, I was a little disappointed for not doing more with the beets and brussel sprouts. I made up my mind to try something creative, so I took one of my already-cooked beets and made it into a sort of pasta sauce. After putting the cooked beet, uncooked brussel sprouts, and uncooked carrots through a garlic press (hey, I work with what I've got), I poured in some tomato sauce and seasoned with salt, oregano and basil. I was feeling hungry so I didn't cook it at all and skipped even my normal garlic and olive oil routine, which in hindsight probably would've worked well. The result was good, but I used a whole beet (the one's here are quite large) so the ratios were a little off, and a tiny bit of the beet taste remained. Maybe for some that's a good thing, but for me its back to the cutting board! Until next time...


All the vegetables you hate... But maybe not?

If you're anything like me, the mention of beets and brussel sprouts sends a cold chill coursing down the length of your spine. Not to mention the idea of the two together in the same meal - it's my childhood nightmare! However, in the interest of finding a way to make them tasty, I decided to have a meal of them in their most unflavored form in order to get a good idea of what can be added to help them become tasty. First up, the brussel sprout.

Brussel sprouts are basically mini cabbages which means they have an inherit bitterness that must somehow be overcome. In addition, care must be taken not to overcook them because this releases glucosinolate and sinigrin which taste and smell like sulphur. The general rule of thumb is no more than 6-7 minutes of cooking (after this you release the sinigrin). I think I accidently overcooked them (but also mine required some peeling because the outer layers were pretty bad).

I sauteéd them in a bit of olive oil, with some garlic and salt and squeezed an orange over the top (to attempt to overcome the bitterness). It wasn't a complete success, but it tasted okay. I've been doing some research, and many people like to cut a cross into the base of the sprout to aid in cooking, so I'm going to try this next time. Next on the list, Beets!

Beets are wonderful for their health benefits (as with most dark colored vegetables). They are rich in betaine (an amazing nutrient in its own right), folate (vitamin B9), and contain quite a few other vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C) and minerals (Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorous, Potassium, Zinc). In addition, beets have high nitrate content which lowers blood pressure significantly. Cooking beets in most ways is not the best idea because you lose a lot of these nutrients. The only way to keep them from escaping is to bake them unwashed and unpeeled, and then run them under cold water and peel the skin off (it comes of fairly easily with rubbing).

I baked about 5 beets at 200ºC (400ºF) for about an hour and half in a baking dish with the lid on. After this I let them cool a while, and when room temperature I peeled the skin and stored them in an airtight container (except for the ones below which I chopped and served). One thing important to remember with beets is that they have enough sodium already (so no need to salt).

The result of this method was anticlimatic. It didn't taste any different than any way I've had them before. They were firm and juicy (which was good), but the same taste and smell remained (not so good). I don't see much room for improvement serving them by themselves (even though I intend to try) so I'm going to experiment with blending them into a tomato sauce or something that will drown the taste / smell. Remember that when you eat beets you have to brush your teeth within an hour because they will stain. I've read that eating broccoli, spinach or other leafy greens beforehand will form a temporary protective barrier over your teeth.Last, but not least is Kale. I love it actually, but I know some people may not, so I included it on here. I sauteed it with carrots, broccoli, garlic, tomatoes, celery, chopped olives, chopped chilies and then topped it with some feta cheese. I noticed that when I leave out chicken it doesn't taste quite as good (I think the small amount of fat on the chicken adds a very important part of the taste).


Mr Green's chicken soup broth

Mr. Green talked about how he makes chicken soup (or broth more like it since he leaves it on the stove for 12 hours to simmer down) in his last entry on The Moistmaker. He boils chicken with an onion, carrots, broccoli stems and a little bit of salt to taste. He spends quite a lot of time making chicken broth, mostly for my benefit. On a cold, snowy day, I love nothing more than piping hot chicken soup with fresh vegetables for dinner. I also prefer soup over anything else when I feel like something light (low carbs), but nourishing.

The chicken broth that Mr. Green prepares can also be used for other dishes. You could add noodles and other meats, garnish it with some cut up lime, beansprouts and chopped chilli to make a soup-based Asian noodle dish like Vietnamese Pho.

Another suggestion is to toast some bread and crush the bread into the soup, kinda tastes like croutons with cream soups.

Or you could add some rice and tofu to the soup and have chicken rice soup :o).



Jerusalem Artichoke Chips

Earlier today I stopped at one of the local chain grocery stores here in Denmark called Netto (translates to Net... not very interesting, sorry) to escape the snow and cold. While there I saw quite a lot of root-like vegetables which seem to be very popular here. My personal opinion of root-like vegetables is one of mostly dislike. Apart from carrots, the occasional potato and ginger (although I think that's more of a spice then a vegetable), I try to steer clear of most roots due to bad experiences as a child (and adult actually). Take the beet for example: The only way I have ever had it is sliced and boiled which is not tasty at all (and I've heard it stains your teeth).

I decided while at the store that I'm going to find a good way to cook these stubborn veggies. So I brought home a 1.5 kg bag of beets and a 750g bag of mysterious roots that looked interesting (I passed up on the parsnips because we cooked those while in the UK over Christmas).

The mysterious root turned out to be the Jerusalem artichoke (commonly referred to as the Sunchoke); a tuber from a certain breed of Sunflower native to certain parts of the US (I had to come all the way to Denmark to find this out). The Sunchoke is a good source of potassium. It is also high in iron, fiber, niacin, thiamine, phosphorus and copper. The consistency has a likeness to that of the potato, but it is crunchier and sweeter with undertones of sunflower seed.
healthyyums found me an easy recipe for Sunchoke Chips which I modified slightly. After washing, I sliced the sunchokes thinly, laid them out on a baking sheet (with a bit of sunflower seed oil), salted lightly, and baked at 200ºC (about 400ºF) for approximately 20 minutes. The results were quite good and tasted very much like potato crisps/chips. I paired it with a bit of the Lucky 5's tomato sauce with great success. I still have quite a few Sunchokes left so I'll be incorporating them into future recipes... stay tuned.

healthyyums butts in: Firstly, I think sunchokes taste something in between a potato and a parsnip. Now secondly, I've discovered a theory online claiming that we can thank the French explorer Samuel de Champlain for the name 'Jerusalem artichoke'. He first encountered sunchokes in Massachusetts in 1605 and thought they tasted very much like artichokes. He sent some tubers back to France, and they started growing them successfully and were sold on Parisian streets. Oo la la! The word Jerusalem was thought to somehow come about from the Italian word for sunflower, 'girasole'. Think of the telephone game and how the word 'girasole' was passed down from ear to ear to ear to its final form of 'Jerusalem'. :o)

According to some, Jerusalem artichokes are also rich in inulin, a carbohydrate linked with good intestinal health (thanks to its prebiotic properties). For this reason, it is a good potato substitute for diabetics becaused the carbohydrates are stored in the form of inulin, which breaks down to fructose, the better sugar for diabetes. However, it can also produce flatulence, so beware.


The Moistmaker

Chicken in Denmark is not overly expensive, but you can save money by buying a whole chicken instead of the pre-cut pieces. One benefit of the extra work involved is that you have plenty of scraps leftover to make a really tasty (and healthy if you cool it and separate the fat) chicken soup broth. I usually throw in a few carrots, an onion, broccoli stems (or celery), and salt to taste. Then I let it simmer overnight with the cover on. In the morning I strain the broth and refrigerate until I can separate the fat. The vegetables I sometimes use elsewhere, but since they've lost most of their nutrients to the broth, its solely for taste.

Today was pretty busy and I didn't feel very creative come dinnertime. I decided to put myself to good use by cutting up chicken and making soup. Slowly my creativity (and hunger) awakened, and although the soup wouldn't be fully ready for a few hours, I decided to make a sandwich. I remember watching a Friends episode (The One With Ross's Sandwich) where Ross gets a special sandwich made for him after every Thanksgiving by Monica. You never get to see the sandwich, but its described as being really large with 3 slices of bread. The thing that makes it special is the middle slice of bread is soaked in gravy, and it is lovingly referred to (by Ross) as 'The Moistmaker'. Anyways, someone eats his sandwich, Ross goes nuts, and is asked to take a leave of absence because of his anger issues.

All of this was going through my head tonight and I figured I'd create my own. Enter the Chicken Soup Sandwich! It all starts with 3 slices of dark rye bread (mørkt rugbrød in Danish), the middle of which is soaked in chicken soup (luckily rye bread is sturdy otherwise I don't think it would work). Underneath 'The Moistmaker' is a layer of grilled eggplant, followed by a bed of fresh spinach leaves, and finally a layer of sliced tomatoes. On top of 'The Moistmaker' are strips of chicken breast and sliced mushrooms (both sautéed in olive oil and garlic). The entire sandwich once assembled is grilled to perfection. The result was quite good and definitely lived up to the hype (although small mouths beware - this one might require some oral stretching).


How to store olive oil

Being here in Denmark isn't exactly easy on our bank accounts, so we try our best to really scout around and get the best deals in produce and groceries. Last weekend we had to stock up on olive oil and it boiled down to two options, one option came in a tinted, glass bottle, and the other in a clear, plastic bottle.

Needless to say, the cheaper one was the one that came in a plastic bottle. Beggars can't be choosers, so the plastic bottle it is!

The first thing I did when I got back to my computer was to look up how best to store olive oil. I wasn't very surprised to find that olive oil should be stored in a dark area away from sunlight or heat. Why else would you find costlier brands in dark, tinted bottles? According to a Greek olive oil company, called Panos Ginis, because olives are fruits, olive oil is therefore a fruit juice and should be kept away from air, heat and light.

Sunlight and oxidation cause olive oil to turn rancid and lose its flavour. Stored in a cool, dark place, olive oil should be able to keep for a year. The National Public Radio (NPR) has an interesting article on olive oil and how you should choose it like you would a wine. Of course that does not mean much to someone who doesn't drink (eg me), so I had to read the article to find out that choosing an olive oil is very much based on individual preferences of taste and smell.

Kinda reminds me of the Danilo Manco stand at London's Borough Market (food lovers MUST visit this place if ever you've the chance to). Danilo Manco has got a gorgeous display of different olive oils and vinegars that you can try before purchasing :o).

So back to our plastic bottle of olive oil. I transferred it into the old, dark bottle and stored it away in a cabinet. :o) All is fine in the Healthy Yums kitchen with regard to our olive oil.

Tip of the day: Oils in general have about 120 calories per tablespoon, and contain 1-2g of saturated fat (coconut, palm and cocoa-butter oils are very high in saturated fat. Avoid if possible). Some experts suggest, to keep your daily fat intake down to a healthy level, limit added oils to 1-2 tablespoons a day. While most oils pack in the same amount of calories, plant oils like olive, canola and sunflower are basically monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which can help lower LDL (bad cholesterol). Extra-virgin olive oil also loses its flavour when heated, so keep it for light uses like dressings and drizzling. Canola oil has a high smoke-point which makes it ideal for stir-frying, roasting and broiling. Sunflower oil is good for baking. Mr. Green and I almost always use sunflower oil over butter/margarine or shortening when baking (or applesauce for much, much less fat and more nutrition all around). Calorie-wise they might not defer much. You'd use 14 tablespoons of sunflower oil to replace 1 cup of butter in baking, and you cut the saturated fat content from about 116g to 28g by using sunflower oil. Definitely the healthier option.

Information was compiled from various sources such as Men's Health and


Healthy Whole Grain Crepes with homemade Chocolate Spread

This was a combined effort between Mr. Green and I. Which basically means that I came up with the idea, and Mr. Green executed it :o). He said he felt like something chocolatey and this idea has been on my mind for a while only I haven't really had the chance to try it out so I thought...AHAH, perfect opportunity! :o)

So I suggested a rolled crepe with a thick chocolate spread (or chocolate goo as I like calling it) as a filling. How can this be healthy, you ask? If you make your own spread, of course!

The crepe batter was made with sifted whole grain flour, a little baking powder, an egg, and soy milk (unsweetened, always unsweetened). The chocolate spread...oooh I'm so tickled to share this with you, was made with a mixture of cocoa powder (natural and unsweetened), honey (slightly better than sugar because it's one step less processed) and soy milk. So the only sugar in this concoction was from the honey, and not much was used in the first place!

And it worked! The crepe was beautifully made and the chocolate goo was thick, rich and tasted quite decadent, only we know it really wasn't that bad :o).

And don't forget to use a non-stick pan so you don't have to add any fats to this!

Note: We really do apologise for the quality of our photos. We lost our only camera last November and have been making do with a 3 MP camera phone ever since.


Lucky 5's in the Skunkworks

The last post I wrote, showed two simple ways to serve the Lucky 5's sauce. Since it was a serving for 5 and we're only 2, I saved the rest. At healthyyums' suggestion, I decided to try some different ways of serving the sauce. Today's results were Baked Lucky 5's Macaroni and Baked Lucky 5's Eggplant (or Aubergine depending on what you like). Both topped with a low-fat (6% to be exact) grated cheese that is native to Denmark. It's called Slanke Ost which translates to Slim Cheese. It's very stinky when uncooked, and a bit salty, but becomes quite good when melted. The taste is difficult to describe - somewhere between brie, cheddar, and swiss. At any rate, I will keep you all updated on the Lucky 5's progress (healthyyums seems to think it's missing just a little something yet).

Lucky 5's Baked Macaroni

Lucky 5's Baked Eggplant


What's cooking in the Healthy Yums kitchen...

I've been experimenting lately with easy-to-remember recipes. Many a time I've found myself in a situation where I'm wrist deep in some kind of recipe and suddenly realize that I have forgotten the next step. In order to refer to the recipe, I have to wash my hands, dry them, find the recipe, and then start again. It seems to happen a lot.

To avoid this, I've been thinking up quick and easy recipes that can feed a number of people with minimal stress or hassle. Today, I experimented with a tomato sauce-like recipe that I like to call Lucky-5's. You'll see why shortly. Note that these carrots give to the tomato sauce a lot of the sweetness that usually has to be added in the form of sugar or honey.

Lucky-5's Sauce (serves about 5 people)


5 Large Carrots (washed, and shredded - should make about 500 ml of shredded carrots)
5 Small Tomatoes (washed and diced)
1 - 500g Box of Tomato Sauce (a little less than 500 ml - probably about 2 cups)
5 Large White Button Mushrooms (washed and sliced)
5 - 1/4" slices of Broccoli Stem (washed, and shredded)
50 Spinach Leaves (or approx. 1/2 a large bag, washed and chopped)
5 Small Garlic Cloves (minced)
5 Peri-peri Chilies (sliced) - can be substituted with Sambal Oelek
1 tsp. Basil
1 tsp. Oregano
1 tsp. Salt


Heat on half heat a large (12" diameter or more) pot and once hot add carrots, shredded broccoli stems, garlic, salt and chillies. Stir occasionally for approximately 10 minutes until carrots begin to stick on the bottom. Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, basil and oregano and stir. Allow to just begin to boil, then add chopped spinach. Allow to just begin to boil again, add sliced mushrooms. Serve immediately over pasta, rice, etc.
healthyyums butts in: I thought it tasted better over rice. I suggested that next time, Mr. Green mixes some grated (low-fat) cheese to give the rice a richer taste. For a healthier option, use whole grain pasta and brown rice!


Soft and Addictive Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies

I've been trying for a long time to come up with a really good Oatmeal-Raisin Cookie recipe. The main problem I've been having has involved the hardness of the cooled cookies. I like them to be soft, and have found that the more flour used, the harder the cookies (especially if you are using wholemeal flour). What I like about this recipe is that the cookies come out soft and a little spongy.
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp cinnamon
1/3 cup sunflower oil
1/4 cup crushed plain wheat cereal
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup Oats (quick or old-fashioned)
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350ºF (176ºC). In large bowl mix the following: honey, oil, egg and whisk until homogeneous (sorry, that's the engineer in me talking - smooth). Add baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and crushed cereal, and repeat. Mix in Oats and raisins and use two spoons to place equal sized balls on an ungreased baking pan (I use parchment paper because I don't have a non-stick baking pan at the moment).

350ºF (176ºC) for 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven when the edges are slightly browned (even if you think they may not be done). Makes about 17 cookies.

Some people may not like the cinnamon flavor as much as I do. If this is the case you can cut the cinnamon drastically and use as little as 1/2 tsp. Salt is also optional, however I have found that it makes the cookies really addictive (which is good or bad depending on your needs). The overall preparation and cook time combined, from start to finish, is about 30 minutes. Good luck!


We can't get enough of (healthy!) pizza

When Mr. Green made this pizza, he also kept enough dough for another pie. This time, he made it with baked curry chicken instead of tuna, and minus the broccoli. We had no idea how it would turn out, but we are happy to report that the curry chicken flavour goes VERY nicely with the tomatoes and strong Danish low-fat cheddar. Yippee!


Kale and all its goodness

I usually have more time to cook on the weekends, and I try to cook Asian half the time since Mr. Green is such a maestro at his pastas and pizzas. Today, however, when asked what I wanted for dinner, I said I felt like Asian food and wanted a sambal dish (sambal is a chili-based condiment, popular in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore), possibly with kale. I told him how to whip up a quick dish, and as always, Mr. Green delivered! The kale was cooked just right (not bitter), the sambal was flavourful, and the cut up chilies and tomatoes were just the right touch to the dish (it was interesting to note that the tomatoes managed to give the right amount of sour and sweet to the dish. In Malay cooking, tamarind is usually used for this purpose in sambal).

Kale is probably one of our favourite vegetables (spinach tops the list, hands down). Like broccoli, it's a form of cabbage and we usually either steam, or saute it lightly (like tonight) in order to retain its nutrients (I've been meaning to dedicate an entry to the topic of cooking methods in order to maximise nutritional value, but perhaps some other time). Also, kale is one of those vegetables where the more you cook them, the stronger it tastes. It's probably in your best interest to cook it lightly if you prefer kale not to taste so bitter in the first place.

According to it's wiki page, kale is sweeter in colder climates. I also had no idea that kale had such a huge following in countries like Portugal, Germany, Sweden and Denmark. Apparently, kale is quite the big deal in northwestern Germany, where it's on the agenda of most social clubs to visit a country inn and eat large quantities of kale, sausages and schnapps.

I cannot stress enough how great a vegetable kale is. It is an excellent source of Vitamins K, A, and C, manganese, beta carotene and a good source of calcium, dietary fibre and potassium. And that's just for starters! It's also rich in antioxidants, and is an anti-inflammatory.

The website The World's Healthiest Foods, provides all you need to know about kale. It quotes scientific studies that have been conducted to show health benefits such as how kale combats cancer (ovarian cancer especially), how it helps your body detoxify, it lowers cataract risks and promotes lung health. has been shown that leafy greens rich in Vitamin E slows down the loss of mental functions. I could always use brain food!

I found other kale lovers on the net, such as the following blog, I heart Kale,

It's got tons of vegetarian recipes that I find verrrrry appealing *toothy grin* and will probably try some of them quite soon. Veg-box recipes also has more kale recipes for you-who-are-curious to browse through.

Tip of the day: The World's Healthiest Foods is a non-profit website that provides a lot of information on eating, cooking and feeling healthy.


Healthy Pizza Basics

This is my debut on this blog, even though a few of my recipes have made their way on here already. Today's lesson - Pizza.

When I was in high school I made spending money doing many different jobs, but I moonlighted as a pizza maker where I learned all kinds of things about how to make a really good pizza. I also learned what not to do, and how most pizza places rip off their customers (because they use really cheap ingredients). Without further adeu, its time to impart my knowledge...

The most important thing when making a pizza is to consider the crust and the sauce. Toppings are simple (as they are usually not prepared in any way other than cutting), but its the sauce and crust that make a really good pizza. For most pizza makers these recipes are highly guarded - and for good reason - their livelihood depends on it being a secret. Another thing to keep in mind is to use a pizza screen for thin crust pizza - circulation is everything for dough that is not pre-cooked. Lastly, the thicker your toppings the longer the cook time (this may be obvious).

Sauce should be more sweet. Dough should not be too sweet. If you follow these rules, you'll probably be on the right track. I've made dough sweet before, and it can work, but the sauce dictates a lot, and when you blend sugar or honey with tomatoes, the result is very good. Here is a pretty good recipe for wholemeal pizza dough (although I don't follow it exactly). The problem with using wholemeal flour is that you wind up with dough that is either too sticky or too dry. Because of this I like to go through the rising stages on the sticky side, and then generously flour the mesh to prevent sticking once the baking begins. Remember that wholemeal flour benefits a lot from multiple rises. Do it right, and you should have something that looks like this.
Next is the sauce. I won't give away my secrets (Ayu has already told of the basic ingredients, and I usually make my sauce to my taste anyways), but I will tell you that a thicker sauce, with the right amount of sweet, the right amount of olive oil, and a balanced blend of spices can basically make a pizza. I've made pizza on dough without yeast (just egg, flour and water - which in general I do not recommend), and it worked because of the sauce. I'm sure you can find plenty of recipes for sauces online, but don't be scared to invent your own. It's pretty difficult to mess up beyond repair - if too sweet or spicy, add more tomatoes or sauce. When spreading the sauce, do not spread it too thick. If you do, it may be difficult to eat because the toppings will slide off. A thin, even layer is what we're looking for. I've been experimenting lately with adding chilies to my sauce and have been getting great results.
Next, the toppings. Some people like to put meat at the bottom, but I prefer any leafy greens to go down there to keep the overall profile of the pizza down. Cheese on top helps ensure this as well. Feel free to go crazy at this point and let your imagination run wild (I used canned tuna on this pizza after the chopped spinach, and it turned out surprisingly well). One tendency that I have noticed with most people making pizza, is that they tend to over-cheese because they think it is necessary. I used to do this as well, until college when my best friend introduced me to the concept of cheese-less pizza. I know, it sounds like culinary blasphemy, but since then I've noticed I like pizza a lot more if it only has a small amount of cheese (just to add to the taste, not to be the focal point). I would encourage anyone who is lactose intolerant, or just wants to cut calories to try this as well. You may find, like I did, that you like it better.
The last picture (sliced tomatoes on the top) is something Ayu and I have come to love. It tends to make the cheese underneath softer, and also adds an interesting texture and look to the pizza.

Now is time for baking. As noted previously, the thicker the topping layer, the longer the cook time. I cook pizzas at 220ºC (or 425ºF), on the middle rack, on the convection setting (if you have it on your oven). A pizza like this takes around 20 minutes, and allow it to cool a few minutes before slicing. The finished result should look somewhat similar to the following.
Happy Cooking!