Roasted Chicken with Honey Lemon Glaze (蜜糖柠檬汁烤鸡)

This honey lemon glazed roasted chicken is my latest experiment in using the oven for roasting meat besides vegetables. Where I grew up, oven pretty much is used for storage instead of cooking.  Since I’ve been in America for so long, I figured I would use the oven once in awhile to create some dishes that combined Eastern and Western flare.

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2 Leg Quarters Serve 4 servings, Each serving : 245 kcal, 19 g protein.

Ingredients:
2 medium size chicken leg quarter (trim off excess visible fat)
1 cup teriyaki chicken marinade
1 teaspoon of white pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon of turmeric powder

Glaze Ingredients:
1 lemon (grate the zest, squeeze the juice from a half lemon and set aside)
1 tablespoon honey

Instructions: 

  1. Combine all the chicken marinade, white pepper, garlic powder and tumeric powder in a large zip lock bag.
  2. Poke 5-6 holes on the chicken (skin side up), then add the chicken quarter into the bag and shake well until both quarters are evenly coated. Let it marinade for 1 hour in the refrigerator (lay both quarter flat and flip the bag after 30 minutes to ensure even marination on both side).
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C), arrange the marinated chicken skin side up on a baking pan and bake it for 45-60 minutes.
  4. Remove the roasted chicken from the oven, let it sit for 5-10 minutes.  Combine honey and lemon juice and heat it up on low heat for 1-2 minute or until you see the honey started to bubble.
  5. Pour the glaze over the roasted chicken and garnish with lemon zest or lemon slices.

 

 

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Nutrition During Breastfeeding

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Nutrition during lactating period is very similar to the needs while you are pregnant with several exceptions of needing lots of fluids for hydration and higher caloric requirement for milk production. It is important to remind yourself not to lose too much weight while you are trying to establish your milk supply during the first 3 months after birth. There’s no special diet to be on while you are breastfeeding. The goal is to eat a balance and variety of foods to get adequate nutrients you and your baby needs.

EAT WIDE VARIETY OF FOODS
As you already know, you will need additional 500-700 calories per day when you are exclusively breastfed. On average you probably require between 2300-2500 calories daily when you’ve decided to breast feed. Eat a variety of foods includes good protein sources, fruits/vegetables, whole grains, dairy and good fats. I felt like I was in famine during the first 6 months of breastfeeding. Snacks frequently on healthy snacks in between meals and get adequate rest to help promote good quality milk supply.

There are some food/herbs that are consider galactogogues (food that help milk production), but is it always necessary? The answer is NO. Your body is amazing in recognizing the supply and demand. You just have to be patient and trust what your body can do. Eating a healthy and balanced diet will provide you the necessary nutrients to continue a healthy lactation journey.  If you suspect you have low milk supply, check with your local lactation consultant before trying out home remedies yourself. The problem could be improper latch on, incorrect fitting of breast shield, or pump defects.

DRINK FLUIDS & MORE FLUIDS
If you imagine yourself producing 32-40 oz of milk daily, that means you needed to replenish the fluid loss in your body in addition to what your basic requirement are. So drink and hydrate yourself with lots of water, fruit infused water, milk, soups and juice (limit to two cups per day due to high sugar content).

BONE HEALTH
Calcium continues to be equally important here during breastfeeding. Calcium requirement remains at 1,000 mg for women ages 19-30 and 1, 300 mg per day for teenage girls during lactation. So, make sure you eat plenty of high calcium foods so that you don’t end up developing osteoporosis later on. Continue your calcium supplement if that’s the best way you can get your calcium intake. Remember, food first then supplement if needed.

STILL NO ALCOHOL & CAFFEINE 
Recommendation has stated moderation consumption of alcohol (12 oz beer, 5 oz wine) and caffeine (2 cups per day) does not cause major harm to the baby. But, it still carries a certain risk factors. So, this will be up to your discretion as to whether you would like to drink or not. If you asked me, I would have said don’t do it. Alcohol and caffeine can pass through breastmilk. Alcohol in breast milk can cause baby to be drowsy and if you were to drink, wait for couple hours after and pump then discard the milk. Feed your baby fresh milk from earlier pumping session if possible. Caffeine in breast milk on the other hand can make your baby restless, fussier than usual and jittery. Most new mom are advised to stop drinking caffeine when their baby exhibit any of the above symptoms.

STOP OBSESSING ABOUT YOUR WEIGHT
I understand as a women, we always wonder: “When will I be able to lose my baby weight?” Gaining maternal fat storage is important because the fat storage is being used up for milk production after birth. Remember that it took you 9 months to gain all those weight, it will take equally as long about 9 months to one year to lose it all gradually as well. Light to moderate exercise 4-6 weeks after delivery is acceptable. If you had a C-section, you’ll have to wait even longer depending on how your wound heals, always check with your OB/GYN. Rapid weight loss of more than 2 pounds per week has been shown to significantly affect the milk supply of a breastfeeding mother.

LIMIT DAIRY, SPICY, GASSY FOODS ? 
You only have to limit dairy, spicy or gassy foods if your baby is experiencing more spit up and gassy than normal. Eating a variety of foods will actually expose your baby to different flavor from your milk, which in turn can help foster better eating behavior when they are ready for solids at around 6 months old.

If your baby’s stool has blood tint to it, he/she maybe allergic to the milk protein in your diet. Consult the baby’s pediatrician and ask for a blood test. You’ll then have to eliminate all dairy products from your diet milk/protein allergies were confirmed.

 

Garlic & Ginger Clams (上汤蛤俐)

This clam dish is one of my favorite as a child growing up in Malaysia.  I was a little homesick, so decided to make this to curb my homesickness plus it’s perfect for a cold winter day to slurp up the clams and its delicious broth. The original recipes would called for some Thai chilies to give it a kick, but I modified it so that my young tot can enjoy it as well.

This is the first time my baby tried clams, she wasn’t a fan but did eat a few and was more fascinated by the shells than its flesh. She does however, enjoy the broth very much when it is mixed in with her rice. Hope you all enjoy it !

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Serves : 2 servings,   Each Serving : 108 calories  11 gm protein.

Ingredients: 

2/3 pounds Manilla Clams
One 2 inches thick ginger – thinly sliced (you can used more or less depending on your taste)
6 cloves of garlic – chopped
1/4 cup White Wine or Rice Wine
2 cups Water
1 stalk green onion – chopped small
1 tablespoon of red peppers – diced small for garnish
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1/2 teaspoon of sugar
Dash of white pepper powder

Salt or soy sauce to taste (Optional – I didn’t use it at all)

Instructions

  1. Wash and brush clams slightly and then soak them in salt water solutions ( 4 cups water  + 1 teaspoon of salt ) for 20 minutes. Drain clams using a strainer and set aside.
  2. Heat up cooking oil in a wok or large skillet (12 inches), add in garlic and ginger, stir fry until smell the fragrant (about 15-20 seconds).
  3. Add in all the clams and stir fry for about 30 seconds, add in the white wine/rice wine, continue to stir the content for about one minute. Add in all the water and cover the wok or skillet and let the content come to a boil (about 3 minutes).
  4. Open the lid and check the status of the clams, it should have open slightly. Stir the content couple times so that the heat is evenly distributed.  Cover the pot again and let it simmer for about 5-8 minutes.
  5. Make sure all the clams are open. Tossed the one that didn’t. Finally add in a dash of white pepper powder, diced red peppers and chopped onions. Dish up and serve immediately.

 

Shellfish Safe for Babies too ? Oh Yes !

Can baby have shellfish ? Of course, as long as your child is not at high risk for shellfish allergies (as in you and your partner and families doesn’t have shellfish allergies) then try to introduce the shellfish to your babies diet once they have developed a good chewing and swallowing skills (8-9 months onward is usually safe after most complementary foods has been introduced, and as long as proper textures is provided).  American Academy of Pediatrics indicates that you no longer have to wait till one year old to introduce seafood shellfish and crustaceans.  If you still aren’t sure, check in with your child’s pediatrician for advice.

So, where should you start ? Try clams, it has a milder taste compared to all the other shellfish such as oyster and mussels. Plus, clams has many good nutrients that are good for your child’s development.

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Clams are a good source of following nutrients:

PROTEIN
We already know protein is important as it’s a building blocks of all of our body cells structure.  Adequate intake of protein will help maintain our muscle mass and it’s important to help in children’s growth and development.

VITAMIN B12 
B12 is an essential for DNA and nerve cells formation. It is also an important vitamins to help prevent anemia. How much B12 you require is based on your age. According to National Institute of Health (NIH) the requirement for young infants (Birth to 12 months = 0.4-0.5 mcg/day), children age 1-8 (0.9-1.2 mcg/day), children age 9-13 (1.8 mcg/day), Teenager and adult are the same at 2.4 mcg/day. Pregnant and lactating women needs slightly higher intake at 2.6-2.8 mcg/day.

ZINC
Zinc helps with our immune system, reproductive health, wound healing and cell formations. It is required for proper taste and smell too.

SELENIUM
Selenium is a trace elements that plays an important role in DNA synthesis and protection from oxidation damage and infection. Research has shown that selenium can help with certain cancer prevention, brain function, thyroid and heart disease.

OMEGA-3 Fatty Acids
DHA and EPA are the two commonly known Omega-3 fatty acids that helps with heart disease. How? It helps lowering the triglycerides level in the blood stream.  DHA is an important nutrients to help with brain development, especially in growing children.  It is also believed to help with Alzheimer’s and dementia as well.

Based on USDA nutrient database, a pound of clams with shell would yield about 2 oz meat that contain:

Energy 84 calories
Protein 15 g
Fat
(Omega-3 Fatty Acids)
1.1 g

222 mg

Carbohydrates 3 g
 Minerals/Vitamins
Zinc  1.6 mg (20% RDA)
Calcium 52 mg (6% RDA)
Selenium 36 mg (52% RDA)
Phosphorus 192 mg  (20% RDA)
Manganese 0.6 mg (28% RDA)
Potassium 356 mg  (10% RDA)
Vitamin B 12 56 mg ( 922% RDA)
Vitamin C 12 mg (20% RDA)
Niacin 1.8 mg (10% RDA)
Riboflavin 0.2 mg (14% RDA)

How to Clean Clams?

Cleaning clam doesn’t require a lot of work. Once you’ve purchase clams from reputable sources (reputable fish market to get the fresh one) you’ll need to soak them in some salt water solution to make the clam spit out the sand and impurities – so called “Purging clams”. Most US retailers already pre-purge their clams, and you can still do it at home for a precautionary step just because I really hate biting into clam that has sands as it will ruin the taste and eating experience for sure.

How to cook Clams ? 

You can steam, boiled, sauteed, broiled, baked, stir fry and/or use it to make soups.  For young babies, you just make sure to chopped it small or minced it  cause clams tends to be chewy in texture.  Check out my clam recipes here.

Caution : 
Any seafood and shellfish consumption does carry a certain level of risk to exposure of environmental toxin (E.coli, Norovirus and also bacteria that can cause hepatitis A). Therefore, always always buy from reputable sources. Shellfish always have to fresh until it’s cooked. It should be shiny, closed (well sealed), no cracks, and smells like the sea. If you smell the fishy odor, likely it’s no longer fresh.

DID YOU KNOW ?
Clams are actually sustainable foods !

Based on Seafood Health Facts organization, Clams represent one of our nation’s most sustainable seafood resources. Natural production remains strong and exceeds demand, and farmed production is improving and expanding. The ocean based resource of surf and mahogany clams is managed under a Surf Clam–Ocean Quahog Management Plan and the resource is healthy. Other clam species are primarily harvested in state waters (up to 3 miles from shore) and are managed by state fishery management programs. Clams are a good example of a sustainable resource because they are dependent on clean and healthy waters, and are effectively managed at the local level. They are an important part of a healthy ecosystem because their active filtering can help improve or maintain water quality.

 

Kale (羽衣甘蓝)- Vegetable Powerhouse

Most American’s diet is lack in fruits and vegetables.  The most common vegetables that they eat is carrots, lettuce, potatoes, corn, tomatoes. How sad is that ? Healthy eating habits starts from a young age and if you weren’t exposed to all the other wonderful cruciferous out there, maybe it’s not your fault and maybe it is. So, while you are trying out new foods yourself, let your kids join in the fun food experiment together.

Let me introduce you to Kale, a cabbage family vegetables that provides the most nutrient dense in one single cup of leafy greens.  The vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in kale are beneficial for heart disease, cancer, bone, digestive, eye and skin health.

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My few favorites Kale recipes are Kale Chips, Kale Stew and Kale Salad.  Older babies and young toddler probably will do well with the kale stew where it’s soft and easy to chew. Older toddler over 2 years old would love the crunchy textures of the kale chip (much better compared to potato chips if you ask me). As for yourself, try the kale salad, keep an open mind and you’ll be surprise how delicious they can be if you paired the salad with grilled salmon or steak.

According to USDA nutrition database, one cup of raw kale (67 g) contains :

Energy 28 calories
Protein 2 g
Fat 0.40 g
Carbohydrates 5.57 g
Fiber 1.1 g
 
Minerals/Vitamins
Calcium 137 mg     (14% RDA)
Iron 2 mg          (10% RDA)
Phosphorus 42 mg        (6% RDA)
Magnesium 59 mg        (16% RDA)
Potassium 302 mg      (6% RDA)
Manganese 0.5             (25% RDA)
Copper 0.2              (10% RDA)
Vitamin A 2077 IU     (69% RDA)
Vitamin C 87 g           (147 % RDA)
Vitamin K 547 mcg    (684%RDA)

There is also some fear circulating in the internet regarding Kale and other cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, bok choy, cauliflower, collard greens, brussels sprouts, rapeseed, turnips, watercress) that lead to hypothyroidism. So far, there’s no research to back this up, at least in human studies. Only one case reported where an 88-year old women developed a severe hypothyroidism when she consume about 1.5 kg/day of raw bok choy for several months.  That’s a lot of raw vegetables !!!  In theory, yes it could happen if you consume a lot of of them raw (for example: vegans and people that juice everyday) and also living in an area where iodine is lacking.  So, cook it before you eat it and also throw in some high iodine food such as seafood and seaweed in the mix of your diet.  Variety and moderation is always your best friend.

Caution:
If you have kidney problems or is on blood thinning medication,  Kale is not the vegetables for you because it is high in potassium and Vitamin K which could provides adverse effects in combinations of the medication that you are currently taking.

Fruited Oatmeal Square ( for Baby & Toddler)

My daughter loves to snack and I’ve been buying the packaged mighty bar or nibbly fingers from Plum’s Organic and Ella’s Kitchen. They really come in handy during hungry meltdown when I picked her up from work, or when we were going on trips/outings. There’s some draw back though,  1) price — can be expensive if buying it all the time, 2) crumbs — quite annoying to clean up the mess in the car.

So, this week I’ve decided to try making a homemade bar that is nutrients dense, softer in texture and doesn’t leave tiny crumbs for the little tots to munch on.

I’m not much of a baker and I really hate measuring things. I would much prefer cooking when I can just throw a bunch of ingredients together and enjoying the flow of creativity as I go. But, as a mother and wanting my kid to have variety of healthy snacks, I ventured into the baking world. The first batch was a failure as I thought cooking the oatmeal probably will cut the baking time in half…emmm, that turned out to be quite the opposite. And the product reminds my husband of a bowl of cold oatmeal glob.

Second time, I changed out some ingredients and modify several steps and the bar turns out better but still not quite to my satisfaction. Though my little one thinks is delicious and chow down three squares right away. So, my guess is this bar probably will be a hit among 12+ months to 2 year-old. It’s soft, easy to chew (with or without teeth) and doesn’t stick inside the mouth.

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Serves : 10-11 servings
Calories : 55 calories, 1g protein, 1g fiber, 2% iron, 8% Vitamin C.

Ingredients:
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon honey

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350ºF  or 175 ºC.
  2. Mix rolled oats with applesauce and milk, fold in blueberries and dried cranberries. Add in the honey and stir content until well mixed.
  3. Transfer content into a small baking pan (8×6). Spread out evenly and pressed it down.
  4. Place into oven and bake for 30-35 minutes. Then cut into 2×2 square.

Postpartum Nutrition Care for Mothers

 

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I often give advice to new mother to remember in taking good care of themselves first before they care for their newborn. I know that the maternal instinct is to focus all your energy on your baby, but the truth is mother’s health comes first. Your baby will gets plenty of love from you and everyone else. Whereas, you, will feel neglected at times, and can easily lead to the postpartum blues or worse case scenario– postpartum depression. If you are not physically or emotionally healthy, your baby will be affected physically and emotionally as well. Therefore, ask for help, rest and sleep when your baby is sleeping, and utilize your friends to bring you food. Yes, you’ll hear that over and over again.

So, let’s focus on good nutrition care after your delivery, whether you’ve decided to breastfeed or using formula. Remember that if you choose to breastfeed, your caloric requirement will increase on an average of 500 calories per day and more if you are feeding multiples.

HYDRATION
Fluids, fluids and more fluids. Even though when you are experiencing edema (swelling), it is still important to keep hydrating yourself to pull the fluids back into cells and excrete through urine. It is extremely important to get adequate fluids intake especially when you are breastfeeding.  Always keep a 16 oz glass fluids nearby and drink before, during and after feeding.  This could be water, milk, juice, or soups.

HIGH IRON
This is particularly important with the amount of blood loss occurs during delivery, this apply to both natural or cesarean birth. You need to make sure to replenish your iron stores if not, you’ll tend to become weaker due to anemia. Make sure to keep up with good iron intake during this period. Iron sources can comes from meat products, vegetables, fortified grains and beans.  Although, do try to avoid eating foods that inhibit iron absorption together. This is due to the phytates compound (an antioxidant) in food such as whole grains, legumes, nuts, coffee and tea binds to the iron content and reduces its availability for absorption.  So, it is recommended to continue taking your prenatal vitamins post delivery as well.

GOOD PROTEIN
Protein is crucial for strength and recovery especially if you had a cesarean birth. Even though is very common, it is still consider a major abdominal surgery that brings trauma to your body and organs. Protein is needed to heal wounds, re-build muscle and aid in recovery.  Protein also helps you to reach your higher calorie requirement during breastfeeding period.  How much do you need ? It depends on your weight,  it is recommended about 1.1-1.2 g of protein intake per kilogram of your body weight or 0.5-0.55 g per pound of body weight.  For example, a 145 pounds women would need 73-80 gm protein during breastfeeding period.

REMEMBER CALCIUM
The requirement for calcium remains the same as during pregnancy, 1,000 mg daily for women ages 19-50. If you are teen mother, your requirement is 1,300 mg daily. There’s some research indicates of bone loss during lactating period but quickly restore during the weaning period. So, be sure to get adequate calcium intake to support good bone health for both mom and baby. Most women doesn’t consume adequate calcium through foods, therefore, it is recommended to continue your calcium supplement while you are lactating unless you are meticulous and knows you get enough calcium through foods, then supplementation is unnecessary.  Make sure that you choose the products that is made from “calcium citrate”, the best form of calcium that are easily absorbable in our body.

VITAMIN A & C
Vitamin A & C are the essential vitamins for wound healing because they are the building blocks for collagen and cell formations.  If you had a C-section, epiosiotomy or a vaginal tear during vaginal birth, then you better pay attention on getting adequate Vitamin A & C to help with tissue repair and shorten your recovery time.  If you are not sure what kind of foods has Vitamin A or C, think red, orange and yellow colored foods such as pumpkin, sweet potatoes, orange, bell peppers, tomatoes, papaya, strawberries etc.

GOOD FATS
There’s two types of fat: Saturated Fats (bad fats) and Unsaturated fats (good fats).  We need to focus on good type of fats as they are a major source of calories in helping body meeting the caloric intake to help with milk productions. This doesn’t mean you need to go on a high-fat diet, please don’t do that! Research shows that a high-fat maternal diet actually increases the risk of their baby to become obesity later in life. So, eat and choose your fat intake wisely.  Recommended to have a minimum of 3-4 servings of unsaturated fat daily.  What’s a serving of good fat ? 1 teaspoon cooking oil (olive, canola, safflower),  1 Tablespoon salad dressing, 1/8 avocado and 10 small olives.

WHOLE GRAINS
Whole grains foods provide good fiber, vitamins and minerals for your body after childbirth and to give you the foundation of energy usage and to produce good quality breast milk. Eat a variety of whole grains daily, at least 8-10 servings per day.

FRUITS & VEGETABLES
Constipation is a common problem during pregnancy and postpartum. With the increase iron and calcium intake, this can make constipation worse. Making sure to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables to help keeping constipation at bay.  Fruits & Vegetables also provides abundance of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants that are good for your during your recovery period.  Eat a least 3-5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.

FUN FACTS:
Did you know that in Chinese culture, there’s this so called “confinement month” or  “sitting the month” (坐月子). All mother is required to be resting, house bound for 30 – 40 days and she will have a lot of help during that month from her mother, in-laws or a confinement lady to help her with cooking, house chores, taking care of the baby (that’s the good part), and some activities of daily living that are strictly forbidden (not so cool part). I will discuss the “confinement month” in another article if you are interested in reading.