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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!