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Friday, June 27, 2008

Grilled Salmon Salad

Last night we had a very light dinner of grilled salmon salad. I usually partner the salmon with steamed veggies and mashed potato, but for a change we just mixed it with greens.


Grilled Salmon
2 hearts of Romaine
Artichoke hearts marinated in oil
Kalamata Olives

Lemon juice
Lite Soy Sauce
Garlic Powder with Parsley
Ginger Powder
Ground White Pepper

1. Mix the marinade ingredients together, I just eyeball them depending on the amount of the salmon. Marinate the salmon for an hour and grill 2 minutes on each side. Cube.
2. Drain the artichoke and kalamata olives and slice the raddishes.
3. On a bed of lettuce, put all the ingredients and serve with your choice of dressing. My husband prefers Italian dressing while I normally use Thousand Island Dressing.

Food Friday - Frozen Lemons

As my first entry to Food Friday, here is a shot of my frozen lemons. Lemons in US are usually expensive so I buy them in bulk at Costco and freeze the juice in ice trays for later use. Here are some pieces I popped out of the tray and used to marinate the salmon we grilled for dinner.

Friday, June 20, 2008

BBQ Season

Summer will officially start after midnight tonight and bbq season will be making its official debut by then. Here's one appropriate message just for laughs to us women, to remind us of our role in the summer-long cookouts.

After long dragging months of cold and winter, we are finally coming up to summer and BBQ season. Therefore it is important to refresh your memory on the etiquette of this sublime outdoor cooking as it's the only type of cooking a real man will do, probably because there is an element of danger involved.

When a man volunteers to do the BBQ the following chain of events are put into motion:

1) The woman buys the food.
2) The woman makes the salad, prepares the vegetables, and makes dessert.
3) The woman prepares the meat for cooking, places it on a tray along with the necessary cooking utensils and sauces, and takes it to the man who is lounging beside the grill - Beer in hand.

Here comes the important part:

More routine....
5) The woman goes inside to organize the plates and cutlery.
6) The woman comes out to tell the man that the meat is burning. He thanks her and asks if she will bring another Beer while he deals with the situation .

Important again:

More routine.....
The woman prepares the plates, salad, bread, utensils, napkins, sauces and brings them to the table.
9) After eating, the woman clears the table and does the dishes.

And most important of all:
10) Everyone PRAISES the MAN and THANKS HIM for his cooking efforts.
11) The man asks the woman how she enjoyed "her night off." And, upon seeing her annoyed reaction, concludes that there's just no pleasing some women .

And so that's the story of our outdoor cooking life.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Drink Water!

It's been very hot lately and I always crave for ice cold water to quench my thirst. I prefer water over soda, I only drink soda occasionally when I feel like it or when in a party. Here are some useful facts about water that is worth sharing about.

* * * * *

Water makes up 83% of the blood and acts as a transport system, delivering nutrients to the brain and eliminating toxins.

Your brain needs to be fully hydrated so that the circuitry works well and it functions at optimum levels. Water is essential for concentration and mental alertness.

Studies have shown that most people are permanently partially dehydrated. This means that their brain is working considerably below its capacity and potential.

A study by Trevor Brocklebank at Leeds University in the UK discovered that schoolchildren with the best results in class were those who drank up to eight glasses of water a day.
(source: Bill Lucas, Power Up Your Mind, 2001)

Therefore, you should drink at least 2 litres of water every day.

Monday, June 16, 2008

An Intelligent Diet

Boost your brainpower by feeding your brain 'brain foods'. Here are 4 tips for an intelligent diet:

1. Balance your glucose - it provides fuel for your brain. Try to eat carbohydrate foods in the evening as it promotes relaxation and sleep.

2. Eat essential fats - ensure your diet is rich in omega-3 fats found in oily fish.

3. Include plenty of protein rich foods in your diet. Proteins are essential to make neurotransmitters which are vital for the thinking process. Try to eat a protein based lunch to optimise your mental performance and alertness throughout the day.

4. Eat foods rich in vitamins and minerals to 'fine tune' your mind.

5. Drink 1.5 to 2 litres of water a day to keep your brain well hydrated.

6. Oxygenate your brain by exercising and eating little and often. Eat your main meal before 7pm.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Anytime Chicken

I prefer chicken over other meats and I stock up my freezer with it. I get a pack of 6 individually wrapped portions of boneless thighs or breasts from Costco which costs from $12 to $16 a pack depending on weight. It's very economical to buy in huge quantity and just freeze them away for use anytime.

Chicken is a very versatile meat and I can concoct a variety of quick and easy dishes out of it. Few nights back I made Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce. I got this recipe from Food Network by one of my fave chefs Tyler Florence. Its very simple, very easy and all ingredients are the usual things I normally have in my pantry and fridge. I just injected a few twist to make my life easier - like instead of grilling it I just broiled it (after brushing with canola oil) in the oven on high for 10 minutes on each side or until done. I also used a store bought peanut sauce for more convenience, but you can make your own if you have more time to spare.


1 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into strips (Tyler used breasts)

20 wooden skewers, soaked in water 30 minutes

Vegetable oil, for grilling

Peanut Sauce:

1 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons red chili paste, such as sambal
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 limes, juiced


1. Combine the yogurt, ginger, garlic, and curry powder in a shallow mixing bowl, stir to combine.
2. Place the chicken strips in the yogurt marinade and gently toss until well coated. Cover and let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator for at up to 2 hours.
3. Thread the chicken pieces onto the soaked skewers working the skewer in and out of the meat, down the middle of the piece, so that it stays in place during grilling.
4. Place a grill pan over medium heat and brush it with oil to prevent the meat from sticking. Grill the chicken satays for 3 to 5 minutes on each side, until nicely seared and cooked through.

= = = = =

The morning after I cut the leftover chicken into strips and put it in my husband's salad to take to work.


Baby Spinach
Romaine Lettuce
Feta Cheese
Toasted Almonds
Italian dressing on the side

Food For The Brain

The foods you eat directly affects the performance of your brain. It has been proven that by eating the right food, you can boost your IQ, improve your mood, be more emotionally stable, sharpen your memory and keep your mind young.

If you give your brain the right nutrients, you will be able to think quicker, have a better memory, be better coordinated and balanced and have improved concentration.

The three key brain foods to boost your brainpower and keep your brain healthy and your mental processes operating effectively are nutritious food, water and oxygen.

Brain Foods ~ Protein

Protein is found in meat, fish, milk and cheese. Protein provides the building blocks for most of the body's tissues, nerves, internal organs (including brain and heart). Proteins are used to make neurotransmitters and are essential to improve mental performance.

Brain Foods ~ Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates enhance the absorption of tryptophan, which is converted into serotonin in the brain. Within about thirty minutes of eating a carbohydrate meal,, you will feel more calm and relaxed. The effects will last several hours.

Grains, fruits and vegetables are key sources of carbohydrates.

Digestion causes the breakdown of carbohydrates into glucose (sugar) which is the brains primary source of energy. If your glucose levels fluctuate too much, you may experience mental confusion, dizziness and if severe, convulsions and loss of consciousness.

Brain Foods ~ Fat

The brain is more than 60% fat. This is because the brain cells are covered by the myelin sheath which is composed of approximately 75% fat. Fats also play a crucial role as messengers. They regulate key aspects of the immune system, blood circulation, inflammation, memory and mood.

Omega 3 fatty acids are essential to the optimum performance of your brain. Lack of omega-3 fats in your diet can lead to depression, poor memory, low IQ, learning disabilities, dyslexia, ADD and many more mental disorders.

To ensure that your diet is rich in omega-3 fats, ensure that you eat plenty of oily fish like salmon, sardines, trout, tuna, herring, mackerel and anchovies.

Brain Foods ~ Vitamins & Minerals

Vitamins and minerals are essential for the growth and functioning of the brain.

The 'B' complex vitamins are particularly important for the brain and play a vital role in producing energy. Vitamins A, C and E are powerful antioxidants and promote and preserve memory in the elderly.

Minerals are also critical to mental functioning and performance. Magnesium and manganese are needed for brain energy. Sodium, potassium and calcium are important in the thinking process and they facilitate the transmission of messages.