Pumpkin Wild Rice Salad with Miso Dressing

miso dressingHow much do you pay attention when you are eating? Thing is we have so much food around us these days. We eat while working, watching TV, driving, talking on the phone, walking on the street. We are so good at multitasking. Your brain is not engaged in eating. You don’t even know what is going into your mouth. Your arm just moves automatically from food to your mouth like a reflex. No signs of fullness. You need to eat more to feel satisfied. I’ve done that and been there and still do sometimes, unfortunately. I used to shovel down protein bars (evil to your body!) at work because I was “busy”. It was a pathetic excuse there is not even 10 minutes for myself, enjoying my food at work? I’m shaking my head right now. I love eating and I think it should be a healthy and pleasurable experience. Your food needs a full attention. I know it is extremely difficult to change your habit, but I’m sure you all agree with me here we need to eat “mindfully” for the sake of your own health.

miso dressing1Here are some mindful eating tips that I try to stick to. If you have any more helpful tips, feel free to add here 🙂

1. Listen to your stomach. You need to feel hungry before you are eating, but not starving otherwise you tend to overeat. Have a glass of water to see if you are thirsty, not hungry.
2. Choice of your food. Is this going to be good for my body and soul? If a piece of chocolate makes you happy, then go ahead. Enjoy it without feeling guilty.
3. No distractions. We have a house rule. No TV while eating. It should be a couple/family time without distractions.
4. Look, smell and taste your food.
5. Chew your food and put down your fork between bites.
6. Stop when you feel about 80% full. You are not wasting food on your plate though. Keep the leftovers for later or next day. If you are not good at this (me>.<), put less food on your plate or use a smaller plate to control your portion size.
7. This is a bit Korean way, but we say “thanks for the meal” before eating at the table. It is not like a religious thing. We thank for the soil, sun, rain, farmers, etc that brought that food to the table. Be grateful!

pumpkin wild riceIngredients

100g wild rice
2 cups pumpkin, cubed
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp Himalayan salt
a bunch of coriander
1 tbsp sunflower seeds

For miso dressing
1 tsp miso paste (or less if you don’t like strong miso flavour)
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tbsp sesame oil
pepper to taste

Put chopped pumpkin in a large bowl. Add melted coconut oil, cumin and salt into a bowl and toss to combine. Bake them in the preheated oven (180) for 20-30 minutes until cooked. Rinse wild rice and cover with a plenty of water in a saucepan. Bring it up to a boil and simmer on low heat for 40 or until cooked. Drain and let it cool. To assemble, combine cooked wild rice, pumpkin, chopped coriander and sunflower seeds in a large bowl. Pour the miso dressing and toss to combine. Transfer to a serving plate.

My Version of Raw Baklava

Raw BaklavaI don’t know much about baklava. In fact, I’ve seen them around at the Turkish or Greek restaurants, but never tasted it before. Bronze glazed pastry on top, thick nut layer in the middle, strata solid bottom, drenched in sugar syrup or honey or some sort. It looks seriously sweet, but the colour and aroma from pistachio nuts, cardamom, rose water and cinnamon is truly appealing. I wanted to try it. I wanted to make a healthier version – gluten-free, refined-sugar free, butter-free.


50g of pistachio nuts
50g almond meal
20g flaxseed meal
1 tbsp of water
20g chia seeds
6 dates
1 tsp of coconut oil
1 tsp rose water
1 tsp of cardamom
1 tsp of cinnamon
a pinch of Himalayan salt
1 tbsp of raw honey

Mix all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until you get a dough consistency. Pour the mixture into a little container and press with the back of the spoon. Set in the fridge or freezer. After a few hours, take it out of the fridge or freezer and cut into little diamonds. Drizzle raw honey and sprinkle more pistachio nuts over the top. I keep the rest of mine in the freezer and take it out 10 minutes before serve.


Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

When it comes to comforting winter snack or meal, I think of my childhood. Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite veggies. They are golden and sweet when baked. In cold winter days, my mum used to make baked sweet potatoes in the oven. They are wrapped in news papers so that they don’t dry out too much while cooking. After a long long wait about an hour, you open a parcel like opening a present. You have to be careful because of hot, very hot steam comes right out on your face. I just cannot wait to dig in so I don’t even feel my fingers burning, but I know it is best biting into it when it’s hot. Chewy outside but incredibly moist and sweet inside. Very comforting and warming winter snack! Oh, I miss winter in Korea. As simple as can be, these baked sweet potatoes are stuffed with feta, sun-dried tomatoes – the tastes of the Mediterranean. Don’t peel the skin for extra nutrition that sweet potatoes can offer. Sweet potatoes have more vitamin A, vitamin C and more fiber than normal potatoes. The color-related pigments in sweet potatoes (orange, purple) are valuable for their anti-inflammatory health benefits. They are also excellent for your digestion.
Stuffed Sweet PotatoIngredients

2 sweet potatoes
50g feta cheese
1/2 onion
chopped black pitted olives
2 large sun-dried tomatoes
chopped parsley
1 tsp of cumin
1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper
1 tsp of coconut oil
1 tsp of Himalayan salt

Pierce each sweet potato several times and place them directly on middle oven rack. Bake until the sweet potatoes are easily pierced with a knife and cooked through, about 45-60 minutes depending on size. Remove from oven and let stand until cool enough to handle. While the sweet potatoes are baking, make the topping. Cook sliced onion with coconut oil in a pan until caramelised. Mix together remaining ingredients in a small bowl and set aside until the sweet potatoes are done. Slice sweet potatoes lengthwise down the center to expose cooked insides, top with feta mixture and serve.

Baked Oats with Prunes and Grapes

Food obsession is the kind coming out of nowhere, the kind you fall asleep with and wake up in the morning. It takes control of mind and refuses to leave until it has been absolutely satisfied. Oh my food obsessions! I’ve been eating breakfast muffins for months now, then the weather change getting into chilly mornings makes me feel like a bowl of porridge. This baked oatmeal has been dressed up in cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom, adorned with grapes and prunes to start the day with a symphony of aromas and flavors. I cannot wait until next morning to have this again. Or would it be naughty of me having it before bed again?

Oats are generally low in calories and fill up the stomach longer (more so rolled oats, not quick cooking oats), so you will have less food cravings. They’re also high in fibre, protein, but low in fat, and contain plenty of amino acids and vitamins (vitamins E, folic acid, biotin and magnesium, zinc, iron, copper, selenium and manganese). Oats also help to lower bad cholesterol and help to reduce high blood pressure. If you are gluten intolerant like me, make sure you get the organic gluten-free oats since regular oats might contain gluten.

baked oatsIngredients (serves 2)

100g rolled oats
1/2 cup almond milk
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cardamom
1 large egg
grapes and prunes for topping
maple syrup to serve

Mix rolled oats, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom in a bowl. Gently combine egg and milk in a separate bowl and pour into the oats. Stir to combine and transfer to a baking tin. Top with grapes and prunes. Bake in the preheated oven (180) for 30 minutes. Serve warm with a drizzle of maple syrup.
baked oats1

Rice Noodle Salad

Rice noodle salad is something I make on emergency or out of the blue. I pretty much have all ingredients ready in my fridge and pantry. Although it is a relatively easy dish to make, the freshness from veggies and herbs plus a beautiful Asian dressing makes it so special and flavoursome.

Coriander is one of my favorite herbs in Asian dish. Did you know it actually belongs to a carrot family? It is rich in essential vitamins and minerals – Vitamin A, B, C, K, iron, magnesium, potassium and calcium. Your skin loves coriander because it reduces acne and provides protection from eczema, dryness and fungal infections. The rich aroma helps in the proper secretion of enzymes and digestive juices in the stomach, helping your digestion. Good news for women? it helps regulate proper menstrual cycles and reduces the associated pain during period. It also helps to regulate your blood sugar level, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Such a shame I tried to grow them in my garden a few times, but all failed! In fact, I didn’t have much luck with basil and parsley either. I don’t think they like me 🙁 Does anyone have some good tips with gardening?

Rice Noodle SaladIngredients

1 cup of rice noodles
1 stalk of celery
1/2 cup of bean sprouts
1/2 cup of shredded cabbage
1/2 of grapefruit sliced
a bunch of coriander

For dressing
1 tsp of tamari
1 tsp of rice vinegar
1 tsp of chilli flakes
1 tsp of sesame oil
1 tsp of sesame seeds
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the rice noodles in a boiling water for a few minutes until tender, drain, rinse under cold water and set aside. Finely shred cabbage, slice celery, desegment grapefruit and roughly chop coriander. Mix cooked noodles and prepared vegetables in a large bowl. Pour the half of the dressing into a bowl and gently toss to combine. Transfer to a serving bowl and drizzle the rest of the dressing over the salad.