Cinnamon Oatmeal Raisin Pancake

A healthy breakfast provides our body and brain with energy and nutrients after an overnight fast. It improves memory and concentration level and it can also makes us happier as it can improve mood and lower our stress level.

For most of us, morning is the time when we are busy. This situation makes it an easy excuse to place breakfast as our least priority. There was a time that I gave my child cereal every morning. I bought a cereal for emergency purposes but it became a reason for me not to prepare nutritious breakfast. Although I am aware of its low (or no) nutritional value,  I still serve it. My wish to have a relax morning outweighs the importance of serving healthy food.  When I realize that the cereal is not serving its true purpose anymore, I remove it from my supermarket list. I now serve our family french toast or egg but most of the time, I serve bread with homemade peanut butter.

Whenever I have more time (especially during school break), one of the recipe I cook is Cin…

Puffed Rice and Cashew Bites

This recipe was inspired by the rice pops I bought at a supermarket. It is a healthy snack that contains dried fruits, nuts and rice puff.  It was also the time that I was looking for a recipe other than the rice cereal I posted last October.
The tricky part here is cooking the coco sugar. It has to be done at a right temperature and right time. The perfect coco sugar syrup for this recipe is when mixed with rice puff, it can hold them together when you cut it after cooling. This can be done by using the method called "cold water test". The idea is to drop 1/2 teaspoon of syrup into a cold water ( not ice water). Carefully pick up the sugar formed then pressed it between your fingers to know if it holds its shape. This is trial and error. It took me three tries before getting it right.  If you have a candy thermometer, it should reach (130 C/ 250 F) after simmering on medium heat.

3 cups puffed rice
100 grams raw cashew nuts (roughly chop)
dried fruits ( raisins, cherry or …

Chinese Lumpia : Wonderfully Delicious

Chinese new year + Chinese Lumpia = family bonding. I remember having chinese lumpia whenever it is Chinese new year at my Guama's place (grandmother). And I remember my dad making this at home as well. No matter how hard and time consuming it is, we would have lumpia just like our regular dish. 
Our family version of lumpia is very simple yet laborious. It is a mixture of savory fillings which mainly consist of vegetables like cabbage, carrots, baguio beans and garlic leaves (if available). Instead of meat, we add tokwa as protein. We cut them into thin short slices, cook the vegetables one at a time, place them all together in a large pot and simmer for about an hour. You read it right, about an hour!!
I have been wanting to make this dish but did not have the opportunity. My brothers and sisters have their own family and most of them live out of the country/town. Making Chinese Lumpia is more fun if family members or friends are there to make the process memorable.  The opportuni…

Black Rice Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Black rice, or known as forbidden rice is an ancient grain cultivated in Asia. It has the darkest bran layer of any whole grain rice. It is in this bran layer where most of the minerals, vitamins and fiber are stored.  It contains only around 160 calories but offers a very high amount of flavonoids phytonutrients. It has fiber, substantial mineral content including iron and copper, and it is good source of plant based protein.

Now, why is it called "forbidden rice"? During the times of Ching and Ming dynasty, the forbidden rice was exclusively reserve for royalty and wealthy to ensure longevity and healthy life. The common Chinese people were not allowed to grow or consume this black forbidden rice, thus its unique name which is still being used at present.

Some of the many health benefits of black rice are full of antioxidants, protects heart health, helps detoxify the body, good source of fiber, naturally gluten free grain, helps slow down absorption of sugar in the blood,…

Black Sticky Rice with Coconut and Roasted Pineapple

Nothing beats a homemade dish made with love. I brought this dessert for our Christmas party and they were impressed. They appreciated how much effort I put into it. It looks hard to make so you can deceive your relatives and friends that you spent the whole day doing this. Kidding aside, this is an easy dessert to make for this busy crazy month.
I was not able to find black rice so I use violet rice instead. The contrasting color of black/violet rice with the color of white coconut milk makes this an attractive dish. You may also use white glutinous rice (soak for 6 hours only).

Panutsa/Panocha or solid sugar cane (see image below) can be bought at supermarket. I bought mine at Cash and Carry. "Panutsa is what is known as jaggery - a traditional unrefined whole cane sugar.  It is solid, brown in color and clam-shaped.  It is a concentrated product of cane juice without the separation of molasses and crystals."- coconuter .  Panutsa has many other uses and health benefits, …

Barley Greek Salad

Barley is well known for its stews and soups, yet, there are other uses that some are not familiar with. One of which is salad. Barley in a salad is a wonderful addition as it gives a chewy texture to crunchy vegetables. Mixed with the right dressing, barley salad would be a great dish to add this Christmas season. 

Pearl Barley doesn't really need soaking and will be tender in half an hour, or less. While simmering, start checking at 25 minutes and check every 5 minutes thereafter. If the water has dried up already and the barley has not finished cooking, add more water. The Barley is done if it has double in volume and is soft yet chewy. 

I use rice wine vinegar instead of red wine since I don't have the latter. It is important to use good quality red bell pepper and cherry tomatoes. Its sweetness balances the sourness of wine vinegar and the saltiness of feta cheese.

Barley Greek Salad
1 cup pearled barley
Kosher salt
2 cups yellow and red cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup crumb…

Lentil Stew with Spinach and Potatoes.

I just have to cook this again and share the recipe. I've tried it, tasted it and now I am craving for it. No excuses not to because first, I have left over Feta Cheese which is close to expiration. Second, I have excess Lentils lest I forget. Third, I already bought the ingredients this morning.
This recipe is amazingly refreshing. The combination of Feta Cheese and lemon made this dish a standout. What's good about this is that it can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Rewarm over low heat before serving.
Lentil Stew with Spinach and Potatoes
2 tbsp olive oil     2 large garlic cloves, chopped     3 cups vegetable broth     1 cup lentils     225 grams baby potatoes, cut into half     1/2 tsp. lemon zest     2 tbsp. lemon juice 170 grams (about 8 cups) fresh Spinach, cut into pieces     1/4 tsp cayenne pepper     1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped     crumbled feta cheese, optional
Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add garlic and stir until fragrant. Add vegetable broth and l…