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Thanksgiving Healthy Dessert – Whole Stuffed Pumpkin with Custard

For those who are interested in making a special dessert for Thanksgiving, here’s a good one – The Stuffed Pumpkin Custard!! I found the recipe online from Vandetta Williams, but I modified the recipe a little. If you want to see the original recipe, click here.

Here’s my version. I used fat free half and half and raw honey instead of heavy cream and molasses. I also skipped nutmeg. Those are the main difference between mine and the original one. I have made it twice so far. It’s very delicious and I think the ingredients that I used were just fine!

This recipe is easy to make. It’s tasty and fun to eat. It also looks very cute on the dinner table! If you happen to have one of those small pumpkins, Definitely give it a try! You and your family will love it! :)

Ingredients

  • 1 pumpkin, ~3lbs
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 1 cup of fat free half & half
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 tbsp. butter in tiny cube

Directions

  • Wash, dry and cut the lid off the pumpkin. Remove the seeds and save for baking later (Great snack!)

  • Mix together the eggs, half & half, brown sugar, honey, cinnamon and ginger
  • Strain the custard mixture to ensure a nice, smooth consistency. Fill the pumpkin with the custard mixture and dot with the butter.
  • Cover with the pumpkin lid and place pumpkin in a baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the mixture has set like custard. ( For my 3 lb pumpkin, it took 2.5 hours. For 1.8 lb, it took 1.5 hours)

Yield: 3-4 servings

Enjoy!!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! <3

YY

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Fish Health and Nutrition

Fish is a good source of protein. Unlike meat, fish is low in fat such as saturated fat. It is the primary source of omega 3 fatty acid. Fish also provides varying amounts of minerals such as magnesium, selenium, iron, calcium, zinc, phosphorous, and potassium and vitamins such as A, D, E, K, B2, B6, B12, and niacin. It is recommended to eat fish at least 2 times ( 2 servings) a week as part of a healthy diet because it helps to keep our heart healthy.  Each serving is 3.5 oz cooked or about 3/4 cup of flaked fish.

Caution on Mercury

Fish contains trace amounts of methylmercury which is an environment contaminant. In a large amount, all forms of mercury are toxic to our nervous system. Therefore, it is better to avoid fish that is high in mercury when we plan our meals.

Here’s a list of fish in different mercury level categories:

LEAST MERCURY
Enjoy these fish:

Anchovies
Butterfish
Catfish
Clam
Crab (Domestic)
Crawfish/Crayfish
Croaker (Atlantic)
Flounder
 
Haddock (Atlantic)
Hake
Herring
Mackerel (N. Atlantic, Chub)
Mullet
Oyster
Perch (Ocean)
Plaice
Pollock
Salmon (Canned)
 
Salmon (Fresh)
 
Sardine
Scallop
 
Shad (American)
Shrimp
 
Sole (Pacific)
Squid (Calamari)
Tilapia
Trout (Freshwater)
Whitefish
Whiting

Continue reading

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Apricots and Pistachios Quinoa Salad

Here’s an easier and faster Quinoa recipe. I found this on the same website (CookingLight), but I modified it a lot and created my own version. It’s so deliciousssss. I love it so much! Here’s what I used for my quinoa salad:

Apricots and Pistachios Quinoa Salad

Apricots and Pistachios Quinoa Salad

Serving size: 4
Preparation time: 20 – 30 minutes

Salad:

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • Pinch salt
  • 4 cups organic spring mix
  • 15 dried organic apricots, quartered
  • 3/4 cup pistachios
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper

Dressing:

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • Organic balsamic vinegar

Preparation

  • Combine water, quinoa, and salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes. Drain the quinoa mixture through a sieve over a bowl.
  • Combine quinoa mixture, spring mix, apricots, pistachios, cilantro, and black pepper in a large bowl. Enjoy!

Nutrition

Apricot is high in fiber and vitamin A. It’s also a source of many minerals and vitamins such as potassium, iron, vitamin E, Niacin, and Vitamin B6. Pistachio is high in fiber, protein, good fat such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat, and many minerals and vitamins such as copper, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium, Vitamin B6, and thiamin.

This dish is loaded with fiber, nutrients, and deliciousness. Try it out or create your own favorite quinoa salad! Let me know how do you like it. :D

Please Follow and Stay Healthy!

YY

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Meet Quinoa

Let’s Cook II

Quinoa [keen-wah] is a whole grain, native to South America. It’s somewhat similar to other grains such as rice but it cooks faster and is high in protein. It is also a good source of fiber, minerals such as magnesium, iron, phosphorous, and zinc, and vitamins such as folate, thiamin, B6, and riboflavin. Since it has more protein than other grains, it is a good choice for vegetarians. Quinoa is small, ivory in color, and bland in flavor. You can use it in soups, salads, on its own as a side dish, and in any dishes that call for rice.

I found a very appetizing quinoa recipe on cookinglight.com posted by a Registered Dietitian. Since I have most of the ingredients, so I decided to give it a try. I have made some changes. For example, I cooked the shrimp in a saucepan instead of grilling the shrimp because unfortunately I don’t own a grill. I also used a whole avocado instead of 1/2 cup. If you are interested in the original recipe, feel free to visit the website.

If you feel that it requires too many ingredients for this recipe, don’t worry, I will try some easier and faster quinoa recipes in the future. :)

Spicy Shrimp with Quinoa Salad

Spicy Shrimp with Quinoa Salad

Serving size: 3-4
Preparation time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup uncooked quinoa
  • About  1lb shrimp, peeled and deveined

Shrimp Marinade

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Pinch paprika
  • 2 Garlic cloves, chopped and diced

Quinoa

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 Garlic cloves, chopped and diced
  • 1 cup water

Quinoa Sauce Mixture

  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon raw honey
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 cup canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 diced peeled avocado

Preparation

  1. To make shrimp marinade, combine lime juice, olive oil, chili powder, cumin, black pepper, paprika, and garlic cloves in a medium bowl. Add shrimp; toss well. Marinate in refrigerator 15 minutes.
  2. To cook quinoa, rinse and drain quinoa. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion to pan; sauté 2 minutes. Add garlic cloves and quinoa; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add water; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 13 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Cool.
  3. To make quinoa sauce mixture, combine lime juice, olive oil, cumin, salt, and honey in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Add quinoa mixture, tomatoes, chickpeas, and avocado; toss gently.
  4. Stir-fry shrimp in a saucepan for a few minutes until they change color. Discard marinade.
  5. Top each serving with shrimps. Garnish with cilantro (optional).

What else for dinner? Maybe Something to drink..

Banana, Kale, and Almond Milk Smoothie

Kale Smoothie

  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 3/4 cup kale leaves
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey

Hope you like the post. Please follow and stay healthy!

YY

Source:
1. Cookinglight.com Spicy Grilled Shrimp with Quinoa Salad - Sidney Fry, MS, RD
2. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
3. American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide
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Peaches are in Season!

peach

Peach Nutrition

  • A good source of Vitamin C.
  • A source of vitamins such as Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Niacin, Riboflavin, Folate, Thiamin, and Choline.
  • A source of minerals such as potassium, calcium, iron, phosphorus zinc, copper, and magnesium.

What does vitamin C do for you?

  1. Protects you from bruising
  2. Protects you from infection
  3. Helps keep your gum healthy
  4. Helps heal any cuts and wounds
  5. Helps produce collagen
  6. Helps your body to absorb iron and folate from plant sources of food
  7. Works as an antioxidant to neutralize free radicals (Protect body cells)

Taste the Rainbow
Fruits and vegetables come in a variety of colors. Fill your plate with colorful fruits and vegetables every day as they have tons of health benefits. Peaches are in the yellow/orange and white/tan/brown color groups.

Color Group Health Benefits Examples of Fruits and Vegetables
Yellow/Orange Help maintain heart health, vision health and healthy immune system Peaches, nectarines, apricots, cantaloupe, yellow tomatoes, carrots, yellow peppers, wax beans, yellow summer squash
White/Tan/Brown Help maintain heart health and cholesterol levels that are already healthy; may lower risk of some cancers White peaches, white nectarines, bananas, casaba melon, rutabaga, tamarind, garlic, lotus root, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots

smilepeach

Peach: I am delicious, juicy, and healthy. Eat meeee!

Please Follow and Stay Healthy!

YY

Sources:
1. SuperTracker Nutrient Data
2. American Dietetic Association Complete Food & Nutrition Guide
3. California Department of Public Health Harvest of the Month: Peach
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Pre-Menstrual Syndrome and Diet

premenstrual syndrome
Photo Credit: Gwen Vazquez - urbanewomen.com

Thank you for Ms. O’s question about Premenstrual syndrome and Diet.

Premenstrual syndrome is a group of symptoms related to menstrual cycle. PMS symptoms occur about 1 to 2 weeks before your period starts and go away once the menstrual flow begins. The symptoms may include:

Physical signs and symptoms

  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain related to fluid retention
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Breast tenderness
  • Acne flare-ups
  • Constipation or diarrhea

Emotional and behavioral symptoms

  • Tension or anxiety
  • Depressed mood
  • Crying spells
  • Mood swings and irritability or anger
  • Appetite changes and food cravings
  • Trouble falling asleep (insomnia)
  • Social withdrawal
  • Poor concentration

Treatment – Lifestyle

If you have a mild PMS, these lifestyle changes may ease your symptoms.

  1. Exercise regularly
  2. Limit salty, sugary foods, caffeine, and alcohol
  3. Get enough sleep
  4. Don’t smoke
  5. Choose foods high in complex carbohydrates, such as fruit, vegetables, and whole grains
  6. Eat light but frequent meals

Treatment – Alternative Therapies

Certain vitamins and minerals have been found to help soothe some of the PMS symptoms.

Magnesium – May reduce fluid retention, breast tenderness, and bloating. High in boiled spinach, peanut butter, boiled black eye peas, dried pecan, boiled lima beans, whole wheat bread, whole wheat spaghetti.
Vitamin B6 – May improve mood swings, breast tenderness, and headaches. High in fortified cereals, baked potato with skin, banana, Garbanzo beans, chicken breast, lean pork loin, trout, walnuts, and peanut butter.
Vitamin E – May improve appetite and hormone balance. High in fortified cereals, sunflower seeds, almonds, sunflower oil, safflower oil, hazelnuts, peanut butter, corn oil, cooked spinach, and turnip greens.
Calcium with vitamin D – May reduce menstrual pain and water retention. Calcium is High in yogurt, milk, cheese, fortified orange juice, and tofu. Vitamin D is high in salmon, milk, fortified cereals, fortified orange juice, and of course you can get vitamin D from sunlight.

Crampy Lower Abdominal Pain

Lamiya left a comment asking about ways to getting rid of period cramps. Unfortunately, I don’t think there is a way to get rid of this bad guy completely because the condition may be related to the release of a hormone during that time. However, I do found a list of home remedies for cramps from MedlinePlus. I personally tried a few which worked for me (Italic). I hope they help.

  • Take warm showers or baths.
  • Use a heating pad on your lower abdomen.
  • Drink warm beverages.
  • Lie on your side with your knees bent.
  • Do light circular massage with your fingertips around your lower belly area.
  • Keep your legs raised while lying down.
  • Practice relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga.
  • Walk or exercise regularly, including pelvic rocking exercises.
  • Lose weight if you are overweight. Get regular, aerobic exercise.

Let me know if you have tried the other ones and worked. Please Follow and Stay Healthy.  :)

YY

Sources
1. Journal: Pre-menstrual Syndrome and Diet by Bussell G.
2. Mayo Clinic: PMS
3. WomensHealth.gov: Premenstrual syndrome fact sheet
4. MedlinePlus: Painful Menstrual Periods
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Let’s Cook

Craving for deep fried food? Try this crunchy oven-baked chicken. Almost as crispy as deep-fried but a lot healthier!

Cornflake-Crusted Baked Chicken

Ingredients

  • ~2 lbs skinless boneless chicken breast or thigh
  • 3 cups of crushed cornflakes
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degree F.
  2. Remove all visible fat from chicken if chicken thigh is used.
  3. In a small bowl, add oil and whisk the eggs. In a large bowl, mix cornflakes with paprika, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
  4. Dip chicken in egg mixture, then coat with seasoned cornflakes. Transfer coated pieces to a baking tray.
  5. Bake until golden brown and crisp, about 30 minutes.

This is the second time I made this recipe. It’s so delicious and easy to make. More importantly it’s a better option compared to deep fried chicken. Also, you can make your own version by using different chicken parts (bone-in or bone-out) and your favorite spice! If you are going to try it out, remember to let me know how it goes. ;-p

So what else for dinner tonight?

Baked Potato Wedges

I think I may have to bake it a little longer and use more spice. It tastes okay, but it’s not as crispy as I expected. :-/

Sautéed Kale


Kale goody again. I will probably try the kale smoothie next time. :D

YY