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Butternut Squash & Sesame Seed Creamy Soup
Total Time: 30 min Yield: 6 servings

It is almost Thanksgiving again. The orangey color is filling the air up before white Christmas comes round the corner. A big pot of hot soup definitely will prewarm our family and friends in this holiday season!


What's in the pot?
4 cups of butternut squash, cubed
1 handful of chopped walnut
2 tbsp of white sesame seeds
2 1/2 quarts of boiled water
Sea salt to season

Steps:
1. Heat up a pot over medium heat. Add in butternut squash and walnut. Sauteed the squash until caramelized. Add in sesame seeds and sauteed for another minute.
2. Add boiling water into the pot and cover with lid. Bring the ingredients to boil then turn to medium-low heat and continue to cook for another 15 minutes.
3. Turn off the burner and allow the soup to cool before blending until creamy.
4. Reheat the soup and season with salt before serve.

Tip:
This soup can be premade a day in advance to save cooling wait time.




Recipe Courtesy of Liz Phang

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Thai Basil Tofu Medley
Total Time: 20 min Yield: 1 serving

The basil leaves in grocery stores usually come in a package and they wilt quickly. Loosely store them in a sealed container helps to prevent wilting.

What's on the plate?
12 oz of fried tofu cubes (cut tofu into 1-inch cubes)
1 red bell pepper, julienned
1 orange bell pepper, julienned
1 handful of snow pea
3/4 cup loosely packed fresh Thai Basil leaves
1/2 tbsp of cooking oil
1 tbsp of sesame oil
1 1/2 tbsp of tamari soy sauce
1/2 tsp of hot chili pepper, optional, alternate according to individual preference.
1/4 cup of water

Steps:
1. Heat a pan over medium-high heat.
2. When the pan is heated, add cooking oil, then add snow pea to cook for about 1 minute. Add bell pepper and stir-fry until caramelized, then remove the ingredients from pan.
3. Combine Tamari soy sauce, sesame oil, hot chili powder and water in a small bowl and mix well. Pour into the pan and add tofu. Fold the sauce and tofu together. Continue to cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes.
4. Add basil, bell pepper and snow pea. Turn off the stove when basil begins to wilt. Serve.

Tip:
Remove the 'strings' of the snow pea allows it to be tender.




Recipe Courtesy of Liz Phang

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Basil Fried Rice
Total Time: 20 min Yield: 1 serving

What's on the plate?
1 cup of leftover rice
7 - 8 whole brown mushrooms
1 red bell pepper, julienned
3/4 cup loosely packed fresh Thai Basil leaves
1 tbsp of cooking oil
1 tbsp of sesame oil
1 tbsp of tamari soy sauce
1/2 tsp of hot chili pepper, optional, alternate according to individual preference.
1 tbsp of water

Steps:
1. Heat a pan over medium-high heat.
2. When the pan is heated, add 1/2 tablespoon of cooking oil, then add mushrooms and stir-fry until caramelized.
3. Combine Tamari soy sauce, sesame oil, hot chili powder and water in a small bowl and mix well. Pour over caramelized mushroom. Fold the sauce and mushrooms together. Continue to cook over medium heat for about 1 minute.
4. Add rice and fold the ingredients together. When the rice is evenly coated and begins to dry, add bell pepper.
5. Add Thai basil. Turn off the stove when basil begins to wilt. Serve.

Tip:
1. When making fried rice, overnight rice always tastes better compare to freshly cooked rice because it is drier and less mushy.
2. Gently press the rice with a ladle or shake the rice well in the food storage container to break up the rice lumps before cooking.
3. Sprinkle water if the rice turns out too dry while cooking.




Recipe Courtesy of Liz Phang
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Green Life - The Unexpected Beauty
2 Photos - View album

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Hot Chocolate
Total Time: 2 min      Yield: 1 cup

I was looking up for organic cocoa powder for baking and found two different packagings - 1lb and 5lbs. Comparing the price and the purpose of usage, I decided to pick up the 5lbs packaging. Thus, I found that even though I was baking quite frequently, it wasn't easy to use up a bulk size package of cocoa powder as fast I thought.

When I was asking around to see if anyone would like some cocoa powder, a friend who also loves baking suggested me to use them to make hot chocolate. I always thought that making hot chocolate with cocoa powder was never right after a few attempts. However, after I changed the proportion of ingredients, I started to fall in love with homemade hot chocolate again. The pureness of organic cocoa powder flatters the palate and comforts the stomach early in the morning these days.

What 's in the cup?
1 tbs of organic cocoa powder
1 tbs of organic raw sugar cane sugar
1/4 cup of water
3/4 cup of grass fed cow's milk

Steps:
1. Pour water into a small pot, whisk in cocoa powder and sugar.
2. Bring the pot over medium heat until boiled.
3. Stir milk into the pot and turn off the burner when bubble begins to form.

Tip:
Overheated milk affects its taste and texture.




Recipe Courtesy of Liz Phang
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Kaya: Coconut Jam
Total Time: 1 hour & 15 min    Yield: 13 oz 

Kaya is a coconut fruit curd made from a base of coconut milk, eggs and sugar. It is popular in Southeast Asia countries. It is often served as fruit spread on buttered toast or as a sweet topping.

What's in the jar?
4 large eggs, beaten and strained
10 fl oz coconut cream
4 oz rock cane sugar
2/3 teaspoon sea salt, optional

Steps:
1. Place all ingredients in a pot over lowest heat. Constantly stir in a clockwise direction for about 1 hour until the mixture gets thicken.  
2. Turn off the burner. Let the jam cool before jarred.

Tip:
Coconut jam making requires patience and mindfulness. 'Overheating' the mixture and uneven stir curdles the mixture and can easily result in a jam failure. If experience a few tiny lumps, fix it by blending the jam to smoothness. 



Recipe courtesy of Liz Phang
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Fried Crispy Ginger 
Total Time: 15 min

Crispy Ginger can be mixed in rice, noodle or steamed vegetable. 

What's in the jar?
1 hand-sized organic Peru ginger, thinly sliced
3 tablespoon cooking oil
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
Salt to taste, optional.

Steps:
1. At medium heat, add oil into a heated pan. 
2. Add sliced ginger when the oil is heated. Stir-fry the ginger at medium heat for about 3 minutes. Separate the ginger with a spatula to prevent ginger slices from sticking together. Turn to low heat. 
3. Remain in low heat to prevent burn. Stir-fry constantly until the ginger shrinks and turns crispy brown.  
4. Add sesame oil and salt. Turn off the burner.

Tips:
Peel on or off? It depends on personal preference. The peel was left on because fresh organic ginger was in used. 



Recipe courtesy of Liz Phang
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Breakfast time! 
Total time: Less than 10 mins   

Warm breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The many benefits of choosing the right breakfast include nutritionally complete diet, weight control and performance improvement. 

Take a few moment to enjoy breakfast every day. 10 minutes of breakfast helps charge the body and mind like a mini vacation and energize the day. 


What's on the plate?
2 slice of natural sourdough bread
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 tablespoon strawberry preserves
2 tablespoons real butter
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
1 teaspoon ground flax seed meal

Steps:
1. Toast the bread lightly to warm it up.
2. Top the warm bread with butter, one slice with peanut butter, flax seed black sesame seeds, and the other with strawberry preserves. Serve. 

Tips:
1. Read food label of the product purchased. Bread made with unbromated and unbleached flour makes the body healthier. According to studies, potassium bromate is a flour 'improver' and it demonstrates a potential link to cancer. 
2. Use food preserves made with natural sugar. Adjust the amount of usage according to its sugar content.



Recipe courtesy of Liz Phang 
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Yogurt On The Go

What's in the jar?
1/2 cup  yogurt
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup strawberries, hulled and cut into small pieces
1/2 cup organic chocolate rice crispies
A few pieces of raw/toasted walnuts and pecans
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of maple syrup/honey (optional)

Steps:
In a dry and clean jar, scoop yogurt into the bottom of the jar. Add maple syrup. Layer or substitute to other ingredients and color the jar according to individual preferences. 

Tip:
1. Yogurt is a fermented dairy product. According to studies, when sourced from grass-fed cows or goats, its nutrition including probiotic that helps to improve the digestive system is maximized. Additionally, grass-fed cows roam freely and eat grass, shrubs or other edible plants they find in their environment - HAPPY COW, HAPPY MILK.
2. FRIENDLY REMINDER: Consume homemade yogurt parfait exposed to fresh produce out of the fridge according to its freshness.



Recipe Courtesy of Liz Phang
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Strawberry Balsamic Preserves
Total Time: 40 mins    Yield: About I jar, 13 oz

Strawberries are in season!

What's in the jar?
1 lb organic strawberries
2 tablespoons pure cane sugar
3 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Steps:
1. Hull the strawberries and cut them into small pieces. Put them in a pot. 
2. Add lemon juice. Press the strawberries down and let them stand for 10 mins.
3. Add sugar to the pot. Bring the mixture over medium heat. When the ingredients start to boil, reduce to low heat. Cook slowly for 30 mins. 
4. At the meanwhile, water bath empty jar 10 mins for sterilization purpose. Remove the jar and lid from the pot. Let them cool and dry. 
5. Return to the strawberries pot. When the preserves set to gelling stage, add balsamic vinegar and stir slowly for another minute. Turn off the burner. Ladle hot jam into the jar and leave 1/4 inch of headspace. 
6. Wipe the jar rim and close tight with the lid. Put the jar in a pan filled with a 1-inch height of boiling water. At medium heat, boil the jar until a pop sound is heard. Remove the jar from the pot and allow to cool for 24 hours. The vacuum-sealed process helps the unopened jar to preserve longer. Refrigerate after cooling.

Tip: 
1. Please refer to USDA guidelines about sterilization of canned products. Homemade preserves without additive or preservative have shorter storage life.  
2. For safety purpose, always use tongs, other cooking utensils or holders when processing.



Recipe courtesy of Liz Phang
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