Composting for Dummies

Since moving to our new place, we’ve been having so much fun experimenting with many different ways to maximize the space we now enjoy.

One of our many projects was to build a composting bin/station. We started the first experiment by simply putting up a net enclosure and using the one third rule. That being building a compost pile with one third of browns (dead leaves), one third of greens (fresh lawn cuttings) and one third of fruit/veggie waste . This was convenient as we just threw the composting materials in, but over time, because we stay in a impossibly hot & humid country, the whole thing started to smell. Bad.

photo 1

Hence we were prompted to experiment with a bin. We bough a cheap trash bin with cover, and drilled holes into it for water and light. We added the same materials in it and tossed it once in a while. It worked great, although a bigger bin would have been ideal. I suspect if it was tossed more often, the resulting end product would have formed quicker. But hey, we are normal people who unfortunately have to go to work so I’m easy on these deadlines. :)

After a few months, the compost looked like that. We’re letting it cook for a while more until it breaks down into smaller bits, and we’ll feed them to the garden.

photo 3

Composting is a great way to turn waste into gold for your garden / crops. It costs practically nothing but does wonders for your plants. In our backyard, we have a row of papaya trees, the first tree in the picture is closest to the compost bin and was exploding with fruits because the compost “tea” was trickling into the soil. All the trees were planted around the same time and was cultivated under the same conditions.

papayatree

Try it and let me know how it worked for ya!

 

A New Frontier

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Earlier this year, D-man and I made a prodigous new year resolution. We resolve to start becoming vegans. Yes you heard me right, vegans.

This was a big deal for us, well for me at least. You see while I love my veggies and have no problems forsaking meat, I love cheese. An obscene amount of love for cheese. Too much cheese. Ok you get it.

We’ve always tried to cut out meat from our meals, for health and ethical reasons, but becoming vegan meant a lot more of cutting out dairy and any animal by-products. Now being Asian, and especially in a foodie paradise city like Singapore, it is positively difficult to find vegan food substitutes in the markets and shops, and even a bigger challenge to find vegan dishes on the menus of most non-vegetarian restaurants. When you hit the jackpot and finally find them, it usually punches you in the gut with a whopping price tag.

Hence, we’ve turned it into a good thing by eating mostly at home. Over the next few posts, I’ll be updating pictures, and hopefully step by step recipes when I have the time and patience to type them out in details. One of the things I’ve learnt about vegan cooking is that you really need to be creative and experiment with the different types of available ingredients. The other learning curve I took is to not have expectations that the vegan substitutes will taste like the real stuff. Dude, a vegan sausage will never taste like the real deal no matter how many thousand types of seasoning you put in it.

If you’ve started on the vegan passage, I would love to hear about how you coped and what changes were there to your now wonderful, cruelty-free life.

 

 

Cabbage Is More Beneficial Than You Think

Fresh Organic CabbageMany of you may not like cabbage, but please read the article below. It may change your perspective about this humble vegetable.

Image by New Talent Modelling via Flickr

Cabbage

What’s New and Beneficial About Cabbage

Cabbage can provide you with some special cholesterol-lowering benefits if you will cook it by steaming. The fiber-related components in cabbage do a better job of binding together with bile acids in your digestive tract when they’ve been steamed. When this binding process takes place, it’s easier for bile acids to be excreted, and the result is a lowering of your cholesterol levels. Raw cabbage still has cholesterol-lowering ability, just not as much as steamed cabbage.

Read More…

 

WHFoods Recommendations

You’ll want to include cabbage as one of the cruciferous vegetables you eat on a regular basis if you want to receive the fantastic health benefits provided by the cruciferous vegetable family. At a minimum, include cruciferous vegetables as part of your diet 2-3 times per week, and make the serving size at least 1-1/2 cups. Even better from a health standpoint, enjoy cabbage and other vegetables from the cruciferous vegetable group 4-5 times per week, and increase your serving size to 2 cups.

Read More…

cabbage

Red Cabbage

While green cabbage is the most commonly eaten variety of cabbage, we highly recommend trying red cabbage because of it added nutritional benefits and its robust hearty flavor. We don’t think you will be disappointed. The rich red color of red cabbage reflects it concentration of anthocyanin polyphenols, which contribute to red cabbage containing significantly more protective phytonutrients than green cabbage. Interest in anthocyanin pigments continues to intensify because of their health benefits as dietary antioxidants, as an anti-inflammatory, and their potentially protective, preventative, and therapeutic roles in a number of human diseases.

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Health Benefits

Cancer prevention tops all other areas of health research with regard to cabbage and its outstanding benefits. More than 475 studies have examined the role of this cruciferous vegetable in cancer prevention (and in some cases, cancer treatment). The uniqueness of cabbage in cancer prevention is due to the three different types of nutrient richness found in this widely enjoyed food. The three types are (1) antioxidant richness, (2) anti-inflammatory richness, and (3) richness in glucosinolates.

via Food of the Week: Bok Choy

Anti-Inflammatory Benefits

Without sufficient intake of anti-inflammatory nutrients, regulation of our inflammatory system can become compromised, and we can experience the problem of chronic inflammation. Especially when combined together with oxidative stress, chronic inflammation is a risk factor for development of cancer.

via Food of the Week: Bok Choy

Cardiovascular Support

You can count on cabbage to provide your cardiovascular system with valuable support in the form of cholesterol reduction. Researchers understand exactly how this process takes place. Your liver uses cholesterol as a basic building block to produce bile acids. Bile acids are specialized molecules that aid in the digestion and absorption of fat through a process called emulsification. These molecules are typically stored in fluid form in your gall bladder, and when you eat a fat-containing meal, they get released into the intestine where they help ready the fat for interaction with enzymes and eventual absorption up into the body. When you eat cabbage, fiber-related nutrients in this cruciferous vegetable bind together with some of the bile acids in the intestine in such a way that they simply stay inside the intestine and pass out of your body in a bowel movement, rather than getting absorbed along with the fat they have emulsified. When this happens, your liver needs to replace the lost bile acids by drawing upon your existing supply of cholesterol, and as a result, your cholesterol level drops down. Cabbage provides you with this cholesterol-lowering benefit whether it is raw or cooked. However, a recent study has shown that the cholesterol-lowering ability of raw cabbage improves significantly when it is steamed. In fact, when the cholesterol-lowering ability of steamed cabbage was compared with the cholesterol-lowering ability of the prescription drug cholestyramine (a medication that is taken for the purpose of lowering cholesterol), cabbage bound 17% as many bile acids (based on a standard of comparison involving total dietary fiber).

via Food of the Week: Bok Choy

Conclusion is to eat a well rounded plant based diet.

…and there are people who really love cabbage.

 

How can I forget to share a recipe with you.

Some interesting facts about cabbage:

Traditionally, wild cabbage was used as an aphrodisiac.

Cabbage Quote:

Training is everything. The peach was once a bitter almond cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education. – Mark Twain

You Are What You Eat: You Should Never Skip Breakfast

News Picture: Skipping Breakfast a Recipe for Heart Disease, Study FindsWell by now, we all should know that breakfast is the most important meal for the day and that is why you should never skip it. Studies have shown that, skipping breakfast may cause heart diseases. Read below to find out more.

Image by: ᔥSkipping Breakfast a Recipe for Heart Disease, Study Finds

Men who skip breakfast have a 27 percent higher risk of suffering a heart attack or developing heart disease than those who start the day with something in their stomach, according to a new study.

ᔥSkipping Breakfast a Recipe for Heart Disease, Study Finds

That is why we should always eat a nutritious, high fiber breakfast.

For example, breakfast skippers are 15 percent more likely to gain a substantial amount of weight and 21 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, earlier studies have reported.

ᔥSkipping Breakfast a Recipe for Heart Disease, Study Finds

Obesity is the cause of heart disease.

Younger men tend to skip breakfast more frequently than older men, the investigators found, which leads to another possible explanation. “It may be in line with the fact that these are men who are rushing out to stressful jobs and not eating along the way,” Rimm said, noting that stress is bad for heart health and is associated with negative lifestyle choices such as drinking or smoking.

ᔥSkipping Breakfast a Recipe for Heart Disease, Study Finds

The next time if you are rushing out to work without breakfast, think twice. It may cause more than you know.

On the next posts, I will show you some quick and easy ways to prepare breakfast.

Everyday happiness means getting up in the morning, and you can’t wait to finish your breakfast. You can’t wait to do your exercises. You can’t wait to put on your clothes. You can’t wait to get out — and you can’t wait to come home, because the soup is hot. – George Burns

Breakfast fruit in colorful bowl

Image by Martin LaBar via Flickr

 

How it began

A few people had came to me before and told me of their “magical” experience with childbirth. They claimed that the minute they saw their bundles of creamy joy being put on their chest, they forgot all the excruciating pain and bla bla bla… dah dah dah…

I will not hesitate to tell the truth about my birthing experience too. That it was a horrific one.

I had woken up bleeding in the ungodly hours of the night and alone because D-man was away serving the army. I showered and packed my bag before hailing a cab to the hospital. Upon admitting myself, I was told that I needed an emergency c-section right away due to a complication with my placenta. As the doctor goes on to explain the procedure, I had already zoomed out and was in my mind counting the number of hours I had wasted on researching the benefits of drug-free childbirth, the time and dollars spent on pre-natal yoga, consultations with a doula etc, all just to gear up for the much raved about natural labour.

It would be pure hypocrisy to say I was not disappointed with the method of delivery. It certainly doesn’t help that everyone around you are committed advocates of natural childbirth. But did it made me any less of a mother? Hell no, and my sentiments are shared by all my loved ones.

What I am really saying is…if you kicked the kerb & tripped into the same emotional manhole of blaming yourself for a less than perfect birth experience (whatever that is), it’s ok. Just get up, swear, brush the dirt off yourself and move on. The roses and rainbow are right ahead, and will be personally delivered to you by your very own cherub

3-step Tofu


Mum said this was one of grandpa’s favourite dish, and she loved making it for him because it’s so easy. Besides being so nutritious and full of proteins, I believe it’s the simplest tofu recipe ever. I mean EVER! Don’t you not believe it!

I’ll show you! I’ll show you all!!

Ingredients (serves 3-4)
2 packets of silken tofu, drained of excess water
3 tbs of chopped spring onions
3 tbs of fried shallots
3-4 tbs of dark soya sauce
2 tbs of light soya sauce
1 tbs of oyster sauce (optional)
dash of sesame oil & white ground pepper
a sprig or 2 of Chinese parsley (optional)

Cut tofu into smaller cubes, or not, if you can’t be bother.

Add the sesame oil.

Steam for 5 minutes. Remove from wok and immediately drizzle all the condiments on the tofu. Lastly add all the greens and fried shallots over it.

I took more time posting this than actually making the tofu dish. It’s that fast and simple!

The Cheapest Healthy Dish Ever!


I know many Asian families have their own hand-me-down methods of making this dirt cheap vegetable dish. Bean sprouts are available in most markets / supermarkets and are so cheap its ridiculous. The above sprouts dish costed me a whopping S$1.10 (approximately USD0.75).

While it is a widely consumed veggie, not many people realise how richly nutrient-fied it is, probably due to its humble appearance. Half a cup of raw, uncooked bean sprouts contains 1.2g of dietary fibre, 31.5 mcg of folic acid and 7mg of vitamin C. Folic acid is especially important for expecting mums as it’s deficiency is linked to cleft palates and neural tube defects.

Ingredients
2 large handfuls of fresh, crispy beansprouts, washed
1 piece of firm tofu, cubed
handful of sweet peas
1 tbsp of garlic, minced
3 tbsp of sesame oil
1-2 tbsp of oyster sauce (depending on preference)
pinch of sea salt to taste

Heat sesame oil in a wok or pan. Fry tofu on all sides, then remove from pan. (*life saving tip: always pat dry tofu with kitchen towels to prevent splattering).

With the pan still heated, brown the garlic and throw in the peas and add oyster sauce. Throw in the beansprouts and give it a quick stir, adding some sea salt if you like. Quickly remove from heat to prevent overcooking.

Always remember that overcooking veggies is a criminal offense!

And there you have it. The cheapest healthy food you can get.

PS: I’d love to hear from you your favourite variation of this wonderful veg. Please!