HEALTHY IN A HURRY: Everything-but-the-kitchen-sink Tuna Sandwich

As the editor for Project Made Real, it’s my ‘job’ to come up with healthy recipes that can help you guys in your quest for a healthier lifestyle by eating well and nourishing your bodies. I’ve been trying to share more healthy recipes, but I haven’t had much time to experiment with proper recipes (those that actually involve heat, you know, the oven/stovetop). Nonetheless, I still found some time to create a healthy meal for myself, so I thought I would give you all some ideas for those days when the thought of turning on the stove is far from appealing.

(As seen on Project Made Real’s website)

Eating healthily doesn’t always have to be expensive, you know. This simple, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink recipe uses ingredients that you will probably already have on hand!

Sometimes, all you want is an easy meal that can be thrown together without having to fuss around with pots and pans. Well, for me at least, speed is a very big thing, cause I’ve been really busy living on campus and have barely had time to try out new recipes 😦 In fact, cooking has been out of the question, especially since I have a catered meal plan. Can’t wait to play around in the college’s pantry once things have settled down.

Well, to sound more atas, I would call this a deconstructed tuna sandwich. But actually, it’s only deconstructed since there was so much tuna I couldn’t possibly fit it nicely into a sandwich. So an open-faced sandwich it was!

Here’s what you need: (Serves one)
1 125gram can of tuna chunks in water
Lemon juice
1 diced tomato
Some diced onions
Dash of Tabasco
Ketchup (to your liking)
Mustard (to your liking)
Pepper to season

Steps:
All you have to do is mix everything together in a bowl, and serve it alongside with two slices of bread.

Personalise it:
I just added whatever ingredients I had on hand, but you could always switch things up by…
-Swapping the ketchup and mustard out for any condiment of your liking (mayonnaise works too if you’re a tuna mayo kind of person)
-Adding Greek yogurt and sliced grapes add an interesting twist to this otherwise savoury dish
-Replacing the tomato with diced bell peppers for more crunch
-Making two open faced sandwiches, and topping each with a slice of cheese before toasting it in the oven. Tuna melts anybody?
-If you’re going for mayo, trying adding in a hard-boiled egg, and a dash of white vinegar and you get the best of both worlds. (Egg mayo and tuna mayo)

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This recipe, like all my recipes, are super easy to make, and healthy too! Healthy eating on a budget is possible 🙂 I don’t give the exact measurements for the condiments/seasonings cause the fun lies in adding whatever amount you like to suit your tastebuds. The ingredients are just there as your base, you get to enjoy the process of designing your own masterpiece.

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Tuna is loaded with protein and healthy fats, and will keep you full for a longer time. Also, by adding in diced vegetables, you get a nice change in texture and all the benefits of the nutrition and fiber. Tasty and quick, you can’t ask for more ;P

Enjoy!

HEALTHY IN A HURRY: Peanut Butter Banana Bites

Head on over to Project Made Real for the full post featuring my favorite couple: Peanut Butter and Bananas.

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PB Banana Bites:
1 Banana
2 Tbsp Peanut Butter

1. Slice up the banana into thin rounds.
2. Sandwich globs of peanut butter in between to make mini peanut butter banana bites.
3. Freeze and enjoy as a delicious dessert!

Want to get crazy? Try dipping the PB Banana Bites in melted chocolate before freezing them. You’ll get a healthy dessert in no time!

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Well there you have it. A super simple, super quick recipe to satisfy your sweet tooth! Now your bananas will never go to waste since you can easily chop them up and make this grab-and-go snack ahead of time.

Wacky idea? Throw them into the blender with a cup of milk and another tbsp of peanut butter if you like and you have a deliciously rich and creamy PB banana milkshake. Delish!

Healthy in a Hurry: Oatmeal-on-the-go Bars

photo (89) How many of you can’t be bothered to wake up a little earlier to have breakfast? How many of you shun the idea of food in the morning?

I’ve heard way too many times of friends and family who skip breakfast simply because they find it too tedious to prepare something to eat, or have no food readily on hand.

I cannot emphasize the importance of eating breakfast. It helps to kickstart your metabolism, and also helps you to focus better throughout the day. Don’t think of it as extra or unnecessary calories, some studies have shown that people who eat breakfast are actually slimmer than those who skip breakfast!

For all you breakfast-skippers and sleepyheads, this recipe is dedicated to you guys. All you have to do is grab it and eat it, since the recipe can make several portions at once!

Here’s a recipe for deliciously healthy oatmeal bars which can be made in advanced and frozen for up to 4 months. These oatmeal bars can be tweaked to your flavour preferences, and are perfect for a grab-n-go breakfast if you pack them into little ziploc bags. These bars are so simple to make, and you can literally add in anything that you have on hand, even chocolate chips if you need some to get you going in the morning!

Oatmeal-on-the-go Bars (inspired by Weelicious)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups milk (any kind of milk, not flavoured milk though) 
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup raisins + dried cranberries (any dried fruit you like)
  • 1/2 cup almonds (any nuts of your choice)
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 3 tbsp honey or agave (sweetener of choice)

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees celsius/375 F
  2. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, stirring the dried fruits and nuts in at the end
  3. Pour the oatmeal mixture into a 7×11 baking dish lined with baking paper (no mess!)
  4.  Bake for 30 minutes or until thickened and golden.
  5.  Cool, cut into squares and serve or store in ziploc bags.
  6. After the bars have been fully cooled, you can pack them into individual servings in small ziploc bags to pack in the freezer. About 3-4 bars in each individual bag. These will keep for up to 4 months!
    Before consuming them, allow to defrost in fridge for 24 hours.
  7. Refrigerating the bars will make them last up to 5 days.

I even did a Tropical version of these bars previously, if you are interested in that sort of stuff. (Cue mangoes and goji berries –  little bursts of sunshine and happiness). What’s more, all the ingredients are easily available, something I took into consideration when I was experimenting with this recipe. So really, you have no excuses. 😛

These bars are also great as a portable snack and I personally enjoy them served with some yogurt as well (You should try this if you have more time for a sit-down breakfast)
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Bon Appetit!

RECIPE: Tropical Oatmeal Bars (Oil-free and Sugar-free)

I was never a fan of baked oatmeal aka boatmeal. I guess I never really liked the texture of baked oatmeal compared to the chewy creamy goodness of a hot bowl of oatmeal. But, ever since I’ve tried Weelicious Oatmeal-on-the-go Bars, I’ve never looked back. I’ve made her recipe so many times, since they make the perfect grab-and-go breakfast, and they even keep for up to 4 months in the freezer!

After dabbling around in the kitchen, and perfecting my own version of healthy oatmeal bars, I’ve finally come up with my own recipes — these healthy goodies you are about to be introduced to. This batch of oatmeal bars were my best creation yet, they even received a seal of approval from my dad!

These bars taste and look brilliant, if I may say so myself. The vibrant red goji berries add to the tropical vibe, while the sweetness of the mango transports you to a lovely summer day lazing by the beach.

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Close your eyes. Oh wait don’t. If not you won’t be able to read this.

After you’ve made these, close your eyes when you taste them. You’ll experience something like this:
The tantalizing smell of cinnamon wafts across the living room. The bars are ready! You leap up and hurry to the oven, opening the oven door carefully to release the hot steam. Ahh, browned to perfection. Better take it out of the oven to cool. Yes, great, it’s cool, now slice it up quickly. Snap a few quick photos. No, no time for that. Let’s just dig in.

On first bite, you taste the sweetness of the dried mango the moment it makes contact with your tongue. Mmmm. Then the chewiness of the baked oatmeal gets to you. Just like a candy bar. The sweet goji berry is determined not to be forgotten, and the rich flavor bursts through the oatmeal like mini fireworks. Oh, it’s not over. The sweet mango is back again, complementing the goji berries this time. You smile. You’re back on the beach, one hand holding a freshly opened coconut as the cool sea breeze blows across your face. Ahh. Sheer bliss.

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I rarely use flash, but it was late at night when I baked this, and the lighting was horrible. Not all was lost though, since the flash really helped to bring out the colour of the mangoes and goji berries. I mean, look at how those little gems are studded all over the oatmeal bars, they are like sunny jewels buried in the sand.

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My favorite way to eat these are cold, right out of the fridge. That’s when they are chewy and cool, almost like a dessert. If you freeze them, be sure to take them out to thaw in the fridge 24 hours in advance so that you can taste the flavours.

oatmealbars

Tropical Oatmeal Bars
Makes 18-24

Ingredients

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups milk (any kind of milk, not flavoured milk though) 
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup goji berries 
  • 1/2-3/4 cup dried mangoes (chopped up)
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 3 tbsp honey or agave (sweetener of choice)

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees celsius/375 F
  2. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, stirring the dried fruits in at the end
  3. Pour the oatmeal mixture into a 7×11 baking dish lined with baking paper (no mess!)
  4.  Bake for 30 minutes or until thickened and golden.
  5.  Cool, cut into squares and serve.
  6. After the bars have been fully cooled, you can pack them into individual servings in small ziploc bags to pack in the freezer. About 3 bars in each bag. These will keep for up to 4 months!
    Before consuming them, allow to defrost in fridge for 24 hours.
  7. Refrigerating the bars will make them last up to 5 days.

Switch things up!

  • Sub the dried fruits with any other dried fruits of your choice
  • Add a mashed banana in for added sweetness and moisture
  • Throw in an additional 1/2 cup – 1 cup of some nuts, seeds, dessicated coconut, chocolate chips… anything you like really!
  • Add some peanut powder or black sesame powder to make it even more flavorful
  • More honey or agave can be added to suit your tastes

These bars are so healthy (Oil-free, butter-free, sugar-free and can be lactose-free and gluten-free if you make the necessary substitutions) there is no reason not to make them. They are ideal for lunchboxes too. Pack a couple of these with some veggies sticks + hummus and some fruit and you’ve got a good lunchbox for your fussy eater. Even a glass of milk with these would make a nutrition packed breakfast to kickstart your day!

Hope you liked this recipe 🙂

HEALTHY IN A HURRY: Overnight Oats

Overnight oats are probably a foreign concept to many of you. After all, most of my friends can’t even stand cooked oatmeal, (a mushy brown bowl of bleagh to many, but I say otherwise), who would even dare to consider the prospect of eating oatmeal…*gasp* cold, straight from the fridge?

Well, whaddya know? I gave it a try 2 years ago, and fell in love with it. I’m only sharing it with you all now, since it never once crossed my mind that other people might like to partake in this healthy discovery!

It is by no means a replacement for a lovely bowl of hot oatmeal, these two are world’s apart, but this is delightful for breakfast on a hot stuffy morning. In fact, in tastes best after a workout!
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The possibilities are endless with Overnight Oats. After many rounds of experimenting with various recipes, I’ve finally found a basic recipe that guarantees me the right texture and taste. The picture above is what it looks like at night, before the oats soak up the liquid.

The photo below is what it looks like the next day!

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I like to add a little splash of ice cold milk on top to wet the oatmeal more, before I give it a good stir. The texture should be like the photo below, thick and creamy, like chinese porridge or congee.

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Sometimes, when I have a nearly empty jar of peanut butter, I make my overnight oats in that peanut butter jar instead. It is the bomb. There is nothing better than reaching into the bottom of the peanut butter jar to dig out the last few spoonfuls of rich peanut butter. It takes breakfast to a whole new level.

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Overnight oats are, unfortunately, extremely un-photogenic. It’s hard to make a jar of oat mush look good, but I assure you, contrary to its looks, it tastes divine!

photo (83)I even made a batch in a Bear jar today! Yum yum in my tum tum.
It’s actually quite ugly in this jar, makes the poor bear look like it has a disease.

I shall not hold you back any longer, without further ado, the recipe:

Basic Overnight Oats
1/3 cup baby oats
2/3 cup milk of choice
1 tbsp chia seeds
1-2 tbsp peanut butter (the more the merrier)
1 mashed ripe banana (at least half a cup worth, it’s fine to have more)

Directions
1. Simply combine the above ingredients, with PB at the bottom, followed by the mashed banana, baby oats, chia seeds and milk. Give the mixture a good stir and leave it in the fridge!

That’s all there is really. You can spread the PB around the base of the jar/container so you won’t eat an entire glob, but otherwise, you can’t really go wrong with overnight oats.

You don’t even have to follow the order I gave, that’s just my personal preference, which I feel gives the best mix.

Now, here comes the fun part…making it your own. (The basic recipe is just a plain canvas for you to decorate, go on…unleash the artist in you!)

Mix it up!

Here are some of my ideas for add ons or exchanges:
1) Use chocolate milk instead of plain milk, and you’ll get a decadent chocolatey dessert for breakfast
2) Add on more fruits of your choice to the basic recipe (berries, apples, mangoes, anything!)
3) Use nutella instead of PB to up the decadence.
4) Top your overnight oats with your favorite cereal/granola in the morning
5) Add a tablespoonful or two of milo powder/black sesame powder/matcha powder/coffee powder to flavor your oats just the way you like it.
6) Add dashes of cinnamon or nutmeg for a more festive feel.
7) Add honey to make it sweeter, if you find the sweetness of the banana not enough for you
8) Throw in some nuts and dried fruits for some crunch and chewiness. Texture explosion!
9) Top your overnight oats with another spoonful of nut butter (yes, generosity never killed anyone) for an even nuttier delight
10) To make it more like a dessert, top it with M&Ms, cookies, chocolate chips or your favorite chocolate bar for a treat.

These are just a few of my suggestions, but feel free to go crazy and add anything you want. You aren’t limited to one choice… you can mix and match. For example, if you have some serious chocolate cravings, go ahead and add some hazelnuts, nutella and chocolate milk into the mix, and voila! A nice bowl of chocolate dessert for breakfast. Go wild, have fun!

Hope you enjoyed this recipe! There’s nothing more convenient than grabbing a jar of deliciousness on your way to school. It’s the perfect start to the day.

#antoliyacooks : January

One of my New Year Resolutions was to cook once a week, so I thought it would be a brilliant idea to share what I’ve cooked at the end of each month! By doing so, I’ll be keeping myself accountable, and also giving you guys ideas on what to make.

I started off January with these really simple, and quick dishes. You know, just warming myself up. I’m still learning, and honestly, I have so much to learn, so do give me your feedback, tips, and recipe suggestions so that I can improve myself! (Contact me at foogo321@gmail.com for just about anything! Even if you just want to say hi.)

WEEK ONE
friedrice
Simple Fried Rice
There isn’t a recipe for this, it’s so simple, you literally just add whatever you have at home. I kicked off the new year with the perennial classic home-cooked dish – Egg Fried Rice. All you have to do is cook rice (obviously) and dice up whatever ingredients you want to add in (frozen veggies, prawns, luncheon meat, anything!). Cook all the individual ingredients separately, and put them in small bowls so that you can toss them in easily. When you’ve cooked all the ingredients, add everything back into the wok, add the rice and stir to mix well. Add the eggs and stir, ensuring that all the rice is well coated in the yellow goodness. Season with soy sauce and salt and pepper to taste.

It’s really that simple! If you like it spicy, add some chilli flakes as well. I was considering adding charsiew sauce into the mix, for a sweetish charred flavour, but decided against it cause the rest of my family may not be accustomed to it. There’s always next time!

By the way, apologies for the atrocious lighting, I made this for dinner, and you know how the lighting is.

WEEK TWO
chocolatecookies

Mini-Chocolate Dipped Viennese Cookies
You’ve seen these babies before in my earlier post, when I shared the recipe. It was well worth the extra effort to pipe these cookies, cause they look so much prettier. The piped lines make the cookies look classier than normal round cookies. I would make these again! In fact, my family is already asking for these again, so looks like it is time to get down and dirty.

WEEK THREEphoto (82)Weelicious Oatmeal-on-the-go Bars
I’m no stranger to this recipe, I’ve made it at least 3 times before, and I loved it every single time. I’m in the process of tweaking the recipe, to make it a little more Singaporean, so stay-tuned for a recipe 🙂 My favorite mix for this oatmeal bars is the blend with dried blueberries and dried cranberries. I love the sweetness and tartness that comes from those two dried fruits. Like the fried rice, you can really add any dried fruits and nuts that you love, and even add in extras like black sesame powder, if you’re a fan of black sesame, like I am.

WEEK FOUR
honeyjoysHoney Joys
I had no idea these were called Honey Joys. I always thought these were called honey cornflake cups or something simple like that. Haha. Apparently these treats were created in Australia? Well, I’m glad they have found their way to Sunny Singapore. I’ve made these time and time again, but this round, the sweetness level was perfect. Perhaps it was because not all the sugar dissolved fully. If you’re interested, I used this recipe, but reduced the sugar slightly. It made about 40 mini cups for me (although the recipe states that it makes 24)

Sheperd’s Piephoto 4 (94)Honey joys aren’t exactly considered cooking, since you just need to melt stuff and stir them together. So, I made Sheperd’s Pie as well! I loosely followed this easy recipe from BBC GoodFood, but chose to add in an extra yellow zuchinni for colour. I also replaced the tomato puree with a fresh finely diced tomato.

photo 5 (76)I was quite pleased with how this dish turned out, even though mashing potatoes are a pain. If I had mushroom soup on hand, it would have made the perfect side dish. Imagine spooning some creamy mushroom soup on top of the Sheperd’s pie to create a flavor explosion. Mmmmm.

So far so good! I’ve managed to cook once a week for January. Fingers crossed that I’ll be able to keep this up in the coming months, even as I start working and go off to university in the later months.

HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR 😀

Ooh, I just thought of something fun. I should create a link party so that everyone can join in the fun and link up what they’ve cooked at the end of each month!

Do email me if you are interested 🙂
If I get enough interested folks, I’ll look into setting up a link party.

BREAKFAST SERIES: Peachy Chia Oatmeal (ft. Goldilocks and the 3 bears)

Well, it certainly has been awhile since I posted in the Breakfast Seriesso what better way than to start the morning with a post about breakfast?

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Today’s special feature includes Goldilocks and the three Bears. Its funny how I never realised that the bears in the story were eating oatmeal as well! In my case, I topped my Peachy Chia Oatmeal with three Teddy Grahams, so I guess that makes me Goldilocks!

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Of course, you’ll look much happier than these bears after you make this recipe.

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Now, I know many of you are turned off by the idea of oatmeal. The first thought that comes to mind is probably mushy, brown tasteless goo.. or baby food as my friend put it. Well, by adding fruits, topping it with honey, or even stirring an egg in, oatmeal can be really yummy! I used to hate oatmeal when I was younger, taking ages to finish a bowl of it. I dreaded the mornings when I was greeted by a steaming bowl of.. blechh.

But now? I look forward to oatmeal for breakfast! Rolled oats taste way better than instant or quick oats cause they absorb the liquid to form plumper grains, rather than turning into unappetizing mush. My ultimate favorite would be egg white oatmeal with honey. Peanut butter and banana is not a bad combination with oatmeal too! Whatever it is, its about mixing and matching until you find your favorite flavor.

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Oatmeal is loaded with nutrients and is bursting with fiber and protein. On a cold and rainy day, there is nothing more comforting than sitting down with a steaming bowl of oatmeal that will start your day right and keep you nice, warm and full.

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Yes, yes, I hear you. The recipe, get to the recipe!!

Well, just one more thing… I used a little trick from Chocolate Covered Katie to make my bowl of oatmeal seem larger. Well, actually I first saw this trick on Courtney’s blog  and I was intrigued by it. One thing I love about eating healthy food is that you can eat more.

Peachy Chia Oatmeal
What you’ll need:

1/2 cup rolled oats
1 1/4 cup water/liquid of choice (ie milk)
1 tsp chia seeds
1 diced peach
Dash of cinnamon

Here’s what you need to do:
1) Bring the water to a boil before adding in the rolled oats
2) Once the oatmeal has cooked for awhile, add in the cinnamon, chia seeds and peach.
3) Stir to mix everything up, and then cover and leave it on the stove to set. It may seem like there’s way too much liquid at this point, but trust me, just leave it to set for at least 2 hours or overnight.
4) Just before you want to eat it, just heat it up, and give it a good stir. Feel free to add a drizzle of honey if the fruit doesn’t add enough sweetness for you.
5) Top with anything you like! Teddy Grahams, a spoonful of nut butter, sliced banana, blueberries, jam, the possibilities are endless.
6) Enjoy 🙂

Switch things up!
Here are some other flavor combinations you could try for oatmeal:
Peanut butter & banana
Peanut butter & Jam
Blueberries
Black sesame (I used unsweetened black sesame powder)
Apple pie oatmeal (stir in a diced apple and more cinnamon. Add apple pie spice if you have)
Egg oatmeal (just stir an egg in before serving)

There’s even the savory option:
Soy sauce, spinach oatmeal topped with an egg
Pumpkin and peas oatmeal

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Hope you enjoyed this recipe! Feel free to create the wackiest combinations and let me know how it works out for you 🙂

HEALTHY IN A HURRY: Chewy Fudgey PB-Naner bake.

photo (45)Its time for another recipe!

Chewy Fudgey PB-Naner Bake
Tweaked from the creative gingergirl

Here’s what you’ll need:
2 tbsp oats
2 tbsp flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
Sprinkle of cinnamon
1 small banana (about 1/3 cup mashed)
1 tsp ground peanuts
1 tsp peanut butter

Instructions:
1) Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius. (Or if you’re using a toaster oven like I did, just preheat it)
2) Grease your baking tin.
3) Mix the oats, flour, baking powder and cinnamon together before adding the mashed banana and ground peanuts.
4) Spread it out on your baking tin and bake for 10 minutes. (If you’re using a toaster oven, bake for <10mins)
5) Top it off with the peanut butter while its hot so it can melt nicely. Enjoy while its fresh out of the oven!

Disclaimer: This makes a very small portion.. So I recommend doubling it or even tripling it 🙂

Switch things up!
-You could make a double portion, and layer with PB and Jam.
-Add fruits between layers for bursts of sweet juiciness.
-Throw in some chocolate chips to up the decadence level.

BREAKFAST SERIES: Egg-in-a-basket

Your mum was right, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, no doubt about that. It doesn’t matter if you are a student, an office worker, or a young kid, as long as you are alive and kicking, you should eat breakfast. Well, try to at least. It boosts your metabolism, it gives you energy for the day, and simply starts your day right.

I’m here to help you start eating breakfast regularly, so that you can enjoy the numerous benefits of breakfast. So without further ado, let’s welcome the launch of the BREAKFAST SERIES, with a fun and easy recipe…

Presenting, Egg-in-a-basket! (Pardon the lack of interesting names, I simply could not think of anything appetizing to name this.. Eyeball toast sounds far from appealing, although it does resemble an eyeball :P)

ImageEgg-in-a-basket

Serves one

You’ll need:

2 slices of bread

1 egg

Ham & Cheese

Butter

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees.

2. Take two slices of bread and butter each slice on one side.

3. Cut a hole in one of the bread slices (this will be the top slice)

4. Lay the cheese and ham on the bottom slice, then cover with top slice.

5. Crack an egg into the hole.

6.Bake in the preheated oven for 13 mins.
(The egg may look wobby and uncooked for most part of the baking, but don’t worry! It will turn out runny and delicious when 13 minutes is up)

Switch things up!
To healthify this recipe: use avocado instead of butter.
For a more flavorful substitute: Use pesto to spread instead of butter.
Mix ins to replace ham&cheese: Add mushrooms, peppers, bacon, anything you like!
(Don’t overstack the bottom layer though, or your egg may spill over)