• 30Nov

    Ever since I became a SAHM and have been cooking and deep freezing food quite a bit, I have always wondered how long frozen cooked food can be safely eaten. I also always wonder if it is safe to wash meat (bought from the market) first before putting them into the freezer. Now that I am doing quite a bit of deep freezing of Baby’s food, I wonder if the cooked food can be thawed and refrozen without cooking. Again I did a Google search and found this information:

    Technically freezing keeps food indefinitely. It won’t ever be dangerous to eat no matter how long it stays in the fridge however the quality diminishes. It gets freezer burnt and just isn’t tasty anymore. I would say six months tops. For meats I would invest in one of those new Handi-Vacs by Reynolds. They are about $8.99 at the grocery store and they vacuum seal your plastic bags. This will make your meats last even longer.

    The following information source is from the Food Safety and Inspection Service, Consumer Education and Information, obtained from Yahoo Answers UK and Ireland:

    Q. What foods can be frozen?
    A. Almost any foods can be frozen. Some exceptions would be eggs in shells and cans of food. However, once the food is removed from the can, you may freeze it.

    Q. How does freezing keep food safe?
    A. Food stored constantly at 0°F will always be safe. Only the quality suffers with lengthy freezer storage. Freezing keeps food safe by slowing the movement of molecules, causing microbes to enter a dormant stage. Freezing preserves food for extended periods because it prevents the growth of microorganisms that cause both food spoilage and foodborne illness.

    Q. Does freezing destroy bacteria and parasites?
    A. Freezing to 0°F inactivates any microbes — bacteria, yeats, and molds — present in food. Once thawed, however, these microbes can again become active, multiplying under the right conditions to levels that can lead to foodborne illness. Thorough cooking will destroy bactera.
    Trichina and other parasites can be destroyed by sub-zero freezing temperatures. However, very strict government-supervised conditions must be met. It is not recommended to rely on home freezing to destroy trichina. Thorough cooking will destroy all parasites.

    Q. How can freezer burn be prevented?
    A. Freezer burn is prevented through proper packaging. It is safe to freeze meat or poultry directly in its supermarket wrapping but this type of wrap is permeable to air. Unless you will be using the food in a month or two, overwrap these packages. Use airtight heavy-duty foil, plastic wrap or freezer paper, or place the package inside a plastic bag. Use these materials or airtight freezer containers to repackage family packs into smaller amounts or to freeze food from opened packages. If a package is torn or opened while in the freezer, it is still safe to use. Overwrap or rewrap it.

    Q. How can quality of foods by retained when freezing them?
    A. Foods frozen at the peak of their quality emerge tasting better than foods frozen near the end of their useful life. Store all foods at 0°F or lower to retain vitamin content, color, flavor, and texture.

    Q. Should meat and poultry be rinsed before freezing?
    A. No, it is not necessary to rinse meat and poultry before freezing.

    Q. Can food thawed in the refrigerator be refrozen without cooking?
    A. Yes, although there may be a loss of quality due to the moisture lost through defrosting. After cooking raw foods which were previously frozen, it is safe to freeze the cooked foods. And if previously cooked foods are thawed in the refrigerator, you may refreeze the unused portion. If you purchase previously frozen meat, poultry or fish at a retail store, you can refreeze if it has been handled properly.

  • 27Nov

    The other day, my hubs bought a pack of expensive Emborg Dutch Gouda cheese. After eating just a couple of slices, I noticed small spots of greyish mold sprouting out on the sides of the cheese. I was horrified as I had just eaten a slice of the cheese. That evening, we returned it to the mini mart where we bought it from and got a replacement pack. Before I took the new pack of cheese home, I scrutinized the cheese and did not see any mold. The next day and 1 slice of cheese eaten, again I noticed tiny spots of hairy mold sprouting out on the cheese. And again off we went to the mini mart to show the moldy cheese to the shop keeper. This time, I took another type of cheese – Cheddar cheese but of the same brand. Thankfully, there was no mold this time round. My hubs and I ate the cheddar cheese slice everyday to quickly finish off the pack, for fear of mold sprouting again. After these 2 incidents, we vowed never to buy Emborg Gouda cheese again.

    The question I have in mind is, is mold on cheese harmful if eaten? After all, cheese is a fermented food. I did a google search and found this information:

    The cheese you buy in the store probably had mold on it at one time before it was packaged. As cheese ages or ripens, mold grows on the outside just as it does at your house or mine. Aged cheese is allowed to mold naturally. It is what gives cheese that sharp taste and if you eat blue cheese, the blue part is mold. If you get mold on your cheese block, just cut off a thin layer of cheese till the mold is gone and throw the moldy part in the trash. If you get mold on shredded cheese, its a total loss because its impossible to get that mold off. If you eat the mold, it isn’t harmful, just don’t eat a lot of it. This same mold on cheese is where the drug penicillin (an antibiotic) was formed from.
    The answer is: not dangerous at all.

    However according to The University of Missouri Extension “If the surface is moldy, scraping it off does not make it safe. While some molds are not harmful on cheese, there are types of mold that produce a toxin (a type of poison) that may cause serious health problems. Even if mold growth is just starting to appear, the amount of growth below the surface could be enough to be dangerous. Cheese showing mold growth should be discarded or returned to the distributor. No one should ever sniff mold because of the possibility of sending mold spores into the respiratory tract and perhaps causing serious illness. This is especially important for individuals who are allergic to mold because it could cause a severe reaction. ”
    The answer is: It’s possible and not worth the risk.

    Who has a more definite answer on whether it is safe to eat cheese that has turned moldy but with the molds scraped off?

  • 25Nov

    I love eating bean sprouts, lightly cooked ones as they are crunchier and sweeter this way.  Ipoh bean sprouts are the best in the world.  They are fat, crunchy and really sweet. I also like adding raw alfalfa sprouts to my bowl of veggie salad but have stopped eating raw alfalfa after reading an article on the dangers of eating raw sprouts. I found out recently that eating raw or lightly cooked sprouts can be harmful.

    Here’s a an interesting article by FoodSafety.gov on eating sprouts:

    Do sprouts carry a risk of illness? Like any fresh produce that is consumed raw or lightly cooked, sprouts carry a risk of foodborne illness. Unlike other fresh produce, seeds and beans need warm and humid conditions to sprout and grow. These conditions are also ideal for the growth of bacteria, including Salmonella, Listeria, and E. coli.

    Have sprouts been associated with outbreaks of foodborne illness? Since 1996, there have been at least 30 reported outbreaks of foodborne illness associated with different types of raw and lightly cooked sprouts. Most of these outbreaks were caused by Salmonella and E. coli.

    What is the source of the bacteria? In outbreaks associated with sprouts, the seed is typically the source of the bacteria. There are a number of approved techniques to kill harmful bacteria that may be present on seeds and even tests for seeds during sprouting. But, no treatment is guaranteed to eliminate all harmful bacteria.

    Are homegrown sprouts safer? Not necessarily. If just a few harmful bacteria are present in or on the seed, the bacteria can grow to high levels during sprouting, even under sanitary conditions at home.

    What can industry do to enhance the safety of sprouts? In 1999, the FDA provided the sprout industry with guidance on reducing the risk of contamination of sprouts by harmful bacteria. The FDA and other Federal and state agencies continue to work with industry on detecting and reducing contamination and keeping contaminated sprouts out of the marketplace.

    What can consumers do to reduce the risk of illness?

    * Children, the elderly, pregnant women, and persons with weakened immune systems should avoid eating raw sprouts of any kind (including alfalfa, clover, radish, and mung bean sprouts).
    * Cook sprouts thoroughly to reduce the risk of illness. Cooking kills the harmful bacteria.
    * Request that raw sprouts not be added to your food. If you purchase a sandwich or salad at a restaurant or delicatessen, check to make sure that raw sprouts have not been added.

  • 22Nov

    The other day while I was on my way to pick my gals up from school, a lady in a car waved to me. I couldn’t see her face clearly and I waved back at her. I thought she was a friend of mine whom I couldn’t recognize. She then drove her car towards me, stopped the car, wound down the window and then passed me a leaflet. She told me that she distributes goat’s milk. I was astounded. That lady looked rich, she drove an expensive MPV and she was aggressive in marketing her goat’s milk, so much so that she would stop someone on the road to pass her a leaflet.

    I gave the leaflet a reading and after reading it, I am now quite tempted to let Baby try goat’s milk.

    According to the Journal of American Medicine, “Goat’s milk is the most complete food known.” It contains vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, trace elements, enzymes, protein and fatty acids that are utilized by your body with ease. In fact, your body can digest goat’s milk in just 20 minutes. It takes 2-3 hours to digest cow’s milk.

    Goat’s milk is a very good source of calcium and the amino acid tryptophan. It is also a good source of protein, phosphorous, riboflavin (vitamin B2) and potassium. Perhaps the greatest benefit of goat’s milk, however, is that some people who cannot tolerate cow’s milk are able to drink goat’s milk without any problems. It is not clear from scientific research studies exactly why some people can better tolerate goat’s milk. Some initial studies suggested that specific proteins known to cause allergic reactions may have been present in cow’s milk in significant quantities yet largely absent in goat’s milk.

    Goat’s milk can sometimes even be used as a replacement for cow’s milk-based infant formulas for infants who have difficulties with dairy products. Unfortunately, goat’s milk is lacking in several nutrients that are necessary for growing infants, so parents interested in trying goat’s milk instead of cow’s milk-based formula for their infants should ask their pediatricians or other qualified healthcare practitioners for recipes and ways to add these important and vital nutrients. For older children and adults, however, goat’s milk can be an excellent calcium-rich alternative to cow’s milk as, in addition to calcium, it contains many of the same nutrients found in cow’s milk.

    Goat milk is as close to a perfect food as possible in nature. Its chemical structure is amazingly similar to mother’s milk. It is a complete protein containing all the essential amino acids without the heavy fat content and catarrh producing materials of cow’s milk.

    The nutrient composition of goat milk is very different than that of cow’s milk. In addition to containing 13% more calcium than cow’s milk, goat milk also has 25% more vitamin B-6, 47% more vitamin A, 134% more potassium and 350% more niacin. Goat milk is also higher in chloride, copper and manganese and contains 27% more of the essential nutrient selenium. Goat milk contains none of the controversial Bovine Growth Hormone (BGH).

    Is anyone feeding their toddler with goat milk? How does it taste and does it taste like cow’s milk?  I am gamed to let Baby try it.  Hopefully she likes it, so that I don’t have to painfully spoon-feed her with formula milk powder three times a day again.

  • 21Nov

    We used to eat iodised table salt but have been eating sea salt ever since a surgeon friend of ours advised us to substitute table salt with sea salt. We soak our veggie using the cheapest possible fine salt though (those 50sen a packet ones). We also boil eggs using cheap fine salt. Boiling eggs with salt will enable the shell to be removed easily from the egg.

    Sea salt refers to the unrefined salt that is obtained by evaporating sea water collected in man-made pools near a protected shoreline. The major difference between table salt and sea salt is in their mineral composition. Table salt, that is refined by industrial processes, is stripped of most of the minerals that are present in it when it is extracted from natural sources. Due to this reason, table salt is 99.9% sodium chloride as compared to sea salt, which contains only 98% of the compound. The remaining 2% is made of around 80 important minerals like iron, sulfur, and magnesium. It is due to this reason that sea salt tastes a little different from table salt and also has a higher number of benefits as compared to its more refined counterpart.

    Sea Salt Benefits

    * Sea salt benefits the circulatory system by regulating irregular heartbeats and high blood pressure. If taken in moderate amounts, sea salt has been found to be effective in reducing the incidence of heart diseases and heart attacks.

    * One of the various health benefits of sea salt is clearing of sinus cavities. Sea salt is a strong natural antihistamine. After drinking a glass or two of water put a little bit of sea salt on the tongue. This provides relief from asthma. It is also useful in clearing lungs of mucus plugs and phlegm.

    * Sea salt helps in extracting acidity from the cells of the body, specially from those in the brain. It also helps the kidneys to remove excess acidity from the body and excrete it through urine.

    * Sea salt helps in maintaining proper balance of electrolytes in the body. This strengthens the immune system and increases energy levels in the body. This is specially helpful for athletes.

    * Sea salt improves transmission of information between nerve cells. It is important for proper functioning of the nerves and helps them in processing information received by brain.

    * As it is a powerful antihistamine, unrefined sea salt prevents muscle cramps. It also helps in improving muscle tone and strength.

    * One of the many advantages of sea salt is that it regulates blood sugar level in the body. Hence it is specially useful for diabetics.

    * Sea salt helps in regulating sleep. It is a natural hypnotic that acts as a soporific. Drinking a pinch of salt added to warm water before going off to sleep can induce deep sleep.

    * Sea salt health benefits include better absorption of food in the body by the intestinal tracts.

    * The minerals in sea salt are known to be good for skin. Sea salt baths are a popular treatment to cure infections like psoriasis. Dead sea salt has been found to be specially useful for this infection. Of the many advantages of Dead Sea bath salt is that it cures the symptoms of tendonitis and osteoarthritis.

    * Sea salt is also used in the cosmetic industry, mainly a natural exfoliant or scrub. Its high mineral content also finds it a place in the manufacture of skin care products and foundations. Sea salt crystals may also be used to make antiperspirants and deodorants.

    * The various minerals present in sea salt gives it a certain flavor that is valued by many chefs. Sea salt is often used in French and Thai cuisine. Chefs use sea salt as a crust for baked potatoes.

    It is true that sea salt benefits are numerous. This often leads people to sprinkle sea salt generously in their food causing excess sodium load on the body. This may harm the body instead of benefiting it. In case sea salt is included in the diet, it should not substitute more than half the table salt intake. In all, the total sodium consumption should be kept below 2,400 milligrams per day.

    What type of salt do you eat?

    Article extracted from www.buzzle.com/articles/sea-salt-benefits.html

  • 19Nov

    Last night, we had a very scrumptious soup. My mil double boiled abalone with some lean pork, Chinese wolfberries and ‘toong choong choa’ or cordyceps. That pot of soup cost a fortune as 2 of the ingredients used were really expensive – the abalone and the cordyceps.

    Cordycep is a type of fungus mushroom. The fungus mushroom is a product from a type of fungus which parasites upon the larvae of the Chongcao bat moth and forms a fungus/larva composite body which takes five to seven years to complete its life cycle!  I never knew that cordycep is a type of fungus.  All the while, I had thought that it is a kind of root, just like ginseng because it tastes very much like ginseng.

    Due to its scarcity and high price, cordyceps were once reserved exclusively for the Emperor’s Palace in China. For generations, cordyceps have been considered the premier agent in the Chinese culture for:

    * helping the body build strength, endurance and stamina.
    * offers energizing support to people experiencing fatigue.
    * aids the upper respiratory tract and promotes healthy lung function.
    * supporting male potency and female vitality.
    * supporting the kidneys.
    * helping the body maintain proper blood viscosity.
    * Has properties similar to those of ginseng.

    The other day while I was at a Cosway outlet, I saw cordycep pills on the display shelf. I was really tempted to buy a bottle for myself and my 2 older gals since all of use were having cough and phlegm. My mum who recently developed asthma (yes, she only developed asthma at a ripe old age of 60+ years old!) has been popping cordycep pills and her asthma is now under control.

    Cordyceps show good results in fighting against cough, chronic bronchitis and asthma, since it relaxes bronchial walls and has anti-inflammatory properties.

    Enhancing and strengthening of the immune system. Cordyceps is supposed to increase the number of the Natural Killer Cells, which are responsible for the body defense against viruses and bacteria. Some trials show that the fungus works effectively in the leukemia stricken individuals.

    Improving sexual function in men and increasing libido by stimulating the production of sex hormones. Cordyceps may also be a means for fighting female infertility.

    Building muscles and improving physical performance. Those Chinese athletes, who use Cordyceps, tend to show better results than the other sportsmen.

    Providing anti-aging and fatigue reducing effects. The fungus works as an antioxidant and increases cellular formation, especially in the elderly patients. It also promotes more restful sleep, soothes the nervous system, and reduces anxiety, thus working as a sedative.

    Improving the respiratory function.

    Enhancing cellular oxygen uptake. This benefits all the body systems, giving them more energy and vitality.

    Benefiting vascular system by improving circulation, regulating blood pressure, and strengthening the heart muscle.

    Protecting liver and kidneys. Cordyceps improves blood flow to these organs (as well as to the others), which results in their better activity and ability to fight the diseases, including Hepatitis and chronic kidney disease.

    Cordyceps is said to be safe and has no side effects. However, pregnant and breastfeeding women, as well as children are not recommended to use it, since no studies have been conducted on such persons.

  • 15Nov

    One of the fruits that is always stocked up in my fridge is lemon.   I drink freshly squeezed lemon juice or lime juice almost everyday, after my meals.  I love the taste of lemon and lime and feel very refreshed after a drink of freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice (minus the sugar or honey) especially after a heavy or fatty meal.

    A lemon detox diet is effective for both cleansing and weight loss. Consuming anything sour makes the liver and gallbladder purge stored toxins. The liver is especially important for weight loss and overall health. When the liver is filled with toxins, it cannot do its critical tasks in metabolizing fat. So that is why it is essential to keep your liver in top working condition.

    In a lemon detox diet, you use the juice of a fresh lemon in a cup of hot water in the morning. The morning is when our bodies are in a natural cleansing phase, so it is a good time to consume cleansing foods and juices.  The added benefit of lemons in the morning is that your digestive system gets a jump start when it is stimulated by the lemons. Doing this as early in the day as possible will help you digest all meals more efficiently.  You also use either fresh lemon juice or a slice of a lemon in water that you drink throughout the day. In the lemon detox diet, water is a key component. You should drink at least 64 ounces a day.

    Lemon juice provides an added benefit by supplying the body with a good dose of vitamin C.

    Lemons are a common ingredient in many cleansing fasts and diets. The reason they are so effective for weight loss is their cleansing properties. Lemons help flush out the digestive tract and their acidity stimulates digestive enzymes. When the digestive system is clear and functioning properly it eliminates more waste as opposed to storing it all as fat. Still, to achieve any long-term weight loss goals you must eat healthily and exercise regularly.

    Lemons are high in vitamin C. Scientists at Arizona State University have reported that the presence of vitamin C in the cells helps people burn fat while exercising. If you do not consume an adequate amount of vitamin C, it will be harder for you to lose fat than someone who does.

    Lemons in the Morning
    Drink a cup of hot water with three tablespoons of fresh lemon juice each morning when you wake up. An average sized lemon yields about three tablespoons when juiced. Sweeten the drink with raw, natural honey if desired. If you want to maximize weight loss, take a walk after you drink the lemon water. After the walk, eat some breakfast. You will have your metabolism and digestive system up and running by then–and ready to burn calories.

    A note of caution about drinking lemon juice. Regular consumption of lemon juice can erode part of the outside enamel of our teeth as lemon juice is highly acidic. Some healthcare practitioners suggest drinking citrus fruits through a straw to avoid this possible damage to the tooth enamel. Diluting the lemon juice with plain water is also a good idea.

  • 13Nov

    When I am in no mood to cook a proper meal for the kids for lunch, they get to eat green tea noodles with cold cha soba sauce and fried eggs, sandwiches or toasts. As for me, I’ll either eat toasts and sandwiches (which are my favorites) or simple yoghurt with muesli and lots of nuts and seeds.

    Here’s one of my lunches :

    Anlene high calcium mixed berries yoghurt with muesli, cashew nuts, pine nuts and roasted almonds.

    Anlene strawberry yoghurt with pine nuts, cashew nuts and almonds.

    I know some of you will be saying “OMG, what yucky lunch! How can she swallow such stuff?” but I tell ya, it’s a matter of getting used to healthy eating.

  • 11Nov

    Baby C has several tiny black dots on her eye white on both her eyes. I have asked our pediatricians about it and they had all told me that the black dots are like moles and pigmentation and are usually nothing harmful. I have one greyish spot on the white of my right eye too. My maid has one huge greyish spot on the white of her eye too. I have several friends who have these dots / spots on their eyes too. BUT being a hypochondriac and chronic worrier, I am still worried. What if those dots turn out to be something more serious?

    Can you see the tiny dot on the white of Baby’s right eye?  You can click on the picture to have a larger view.

    I did a google search to look for information but there isn’t much information on this condition. I am really contemplating paying a visit to the eye specialist just to get a peace of mind.

  • 08Nov

    I have always loved eggs. Eggs are inexpensive, contain the highest-quality protein on the planet and are loaded with small amounts of vital nutrients, including folate, riboflavin, selenium, B12, and choline. At 75 calories a piece, eggs are also a nutrient-dense food that makes a smart and low-calorie contribution to any menu.

    I try to include an egg a day into my kids’ diet. For me, I have been eating an egg a day since aeons ago. A friend of mine who is trying very hard to conceive has been advised by her fertility specialist to consume up to 5 eggs a day!  I have always wondered if there is a limit to the number of eggs that we eat and whether eating too many eggs will have negative effects on our health, especially on our cholesterol level.  I did a google search and the information that I have gathered is EGG-citing :

    New research shows that, contrary to previous belief, moderate consumption of eggs does not have a negative impact on cholesterol. In fact, recent studies have shown that regular consumption of two eggs per day does not affect a person’s lipid profile and may, in fact, improve it. Research suggests that it is saturated fat that raises cholesterol rather than dietary cholesterol.

    1. Eggs are great for the eyes. According to one study, an egg a day may prevent macular degeneraton due to the carotenoid content, specifically lutein and zeaxanthin. Both nutrients are more readily available to our bodies from eggs than from other sources.

    2. In another study, researchers found that people who eat eggs every day lower their risk of developing cataracts, also because of the lutein and zeaxanthin in eggs.

    3. One egg contains 6 grams of high-quality protein and all 9 essential amino acids.

    4. According to a study by the Harvard School of Public Health, there is no significant link between egg consumption and heart disease. In fact, according to one study, regular consumption of eggs may help prevent blood clots, stroke, and heart attacks.

    5. They are a good source of choline. One egg yolk has about 300 micrograms of choline. Choline is an important nutrient that helps regulate the brain, nervous system, and cardiovascular system.

    6. They contain the right kind of fat. One egg contains just 5 grams of fat and only 1.5 grams of that is saturated fat.

    7. Eggs are one of the only foods that contain naturally occurring vitamin D.

    8. Eggs may prevent breast cancer. In one study, women who consumed at least 6 eggs per week lowered their risk of breast cancer by 44%.

    9. Eggs promote healthy hair and nails because of their high sulphur content and wide array of vitamins and minerals. Many people find their hair growing faster after adding eggs to their diet, especially if they were previously deficient in foods containing sulphur or B12.

    Thanks to more recent research, we now know the cholesterol in food has little effect on our blood cholesterol levels. What really affects blood cholesterol is the amount of saturated fat we eat. This means if you need to lower your cholesterol, the most important thing you can do is cut down on the amount of foods you eat that contain saturates, such as fatty meats, full-fat milk, butter, lard, cream, pastry, cakes and biscuits. Eating more fruit, vegetables and foods such as oats and pulses, which contain a type of fibre called soluble fibre can also help to lower cholesterol.

    Thanks to this new found knowledge, the Food Standards Agency doesn’t recommend limiting the number of eggs you eat, unless your GP or a dietitian has specifically advised you to do this. This is great news for slimmers as eggs contain just 85 calories each but are packed with nutrients including protein, zinc, iron, iodine and vitamins A, D, E and some B vitamins (see chart below).

    See, eggs are such a wonderful food that are bursting with nutrients. Forget about your expensive high-protein drink mix, just pop an egg a day and cook it any how you want it  – poach, steamed, hard-boiled, half-boiled, omelette, scrambled, fried, you name it. But go easy on the oil and butter.


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About Me

I am a WFHM with 3 beautiful girls - Alycia, Sherilyn and Cassandra. I quit the job that I love to stay home with my 3 angels as that's what I've always wanted to do. I am a health freak, fitness freak and a clean freak too. I love to eat and live healthily and I want my kids and hubby to do the same too. Apart from being obsessed with good health, I am obsessed with fashion! I own an online store that sells ladies and kids clothing. Check out my online store at Old & New Stuff For Sale

I always believe that your health is your wealth and if you have good health, that's the best gift you can ever ask for from God.

Do check out my other blogs Health Freak Mommy and Health Freak Mommy’s Journal too!

I have been writing product reviews, food reviews / restaurant reviews and product advertorials since 2007. Please email Shireen at shireenyong@gmail.com to inquire if you are interested to place an advertorial or review in this blog.

Thank you!