Friday, January 1, 2016

Iherb Top 15 Healthy Must Buy

Apologises for the inconsistency in my on and off blogging !I'd been trying to juggle a lot of things on my hand but I'm back once again.

I always try to have a balance between good food (mainly arteries choking) and healthy food (that don't always taste good). Over the years, I realized that healthy food can taste good too, especially after reading "Eat This, Not That!". I usually get my health groceries from and it is by far one of the most reliable website I had ever used.

Iherb, based in US, carries one of the largest selections of high-quality nutritional products in the world. I like to order from Iherb for the following reasons:

1) Shipping is pretty cheap - $4 shipping via Singpost  for items that weigh up to 14 pounds (6.35kg) and value up to $200 and it only takes approximately 1 week for the goods to arrive.

2) The items are well packed. So far, I have not received any damaged goods: always in excellent condition. However, do check your items when you receive your box. In cases where you received any damaged goods, you can always take a picture and receive a refund.

3) Transparent information. The nutritional values is all clearly stated on the website - such as the ingredients, calories (yes!), fats, protein and so on... The expiry date is also clearly written down so there is no uncertainty.

If you plan to buy from Iherb, do check out my following "Top 15 list of healthy snacks and meals"!

1) Nature's Way, Organic Coconut Oil, 16 oz (454 g)

I discovered coconut oil a few years back. You will be surprised by recent research on the many benefits of coconut oil such as:

  • Weight loss - Coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) which can increase energy expenditure - meaning you burn more calories. One study in 2009 reveals that women who consumed 2 tablespoon of coconut oil daily for 12 weeks did not gain more weight and also had a reduction in the amount of abdominal fat. Read more here: Authority Nutrition and Dr Oz.
  • Moisturising effects. When applied to skin and hair, coconut oil improve the moisture and lipid content of the skin.
  • Reduces heart diseases. - Coconut oil contains about 50% lauric acid, which prevents various heart problems like high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.

2) Now Foods, Real Food, Certified Organic Popcorn, 24 oz (680 g)

I love popcorn. Popcorn itself is a healthy snack but the ones in the market are always packed with sugar and butter such as caramel popcorn, maple syrup popcorn. Why not make your own popcorn? It is totally fun to make and not to mention much healthier and cheaper.

Check out the 30 recipes on Greatist to make your own healthy flavoured popcorn. 

I like to pop mine with some nice coconut oil. Now foods organic popcorn allow you to eat a large bowl of popcorn (using 1/4 cup kernels) for only 110 calories. How's that?

3) Bob's Red Mill, Organic Steel Cut Oats, 24 oz (680 g)

I stopped eating oatmeals after I discovered steelcut oats. Oatmeals never kept me full for breakfast. I was always hungry a couple of hours later after eating but steelcut oats last me till lunch time. The reason being: Steelcut oats are unprocessed oats which has a higher contain of fibre and protein. Read more on the benefits of steelcut oats here: Livestrong

One down side of steelcut oats is that it takes a longer time to cook. - Around 20 minutes but trust me it is worth the time. Very delicious to eat together with trail mix and fruits or Pb2 peanut butter. (No.7 on this list)

4) Tree of Life, Original Almond Beverage, Unsweetened, 32 fl oz (946 ml)

If you drink milk, you might want to try almond milk. I like the unsweetened version because too much sugar spikes your insulin level and slows down fat burning process. If you like it sweet you can order the original pack. A cup of the unsweetened almond milk is only 40 calories.

I also like to make myself some overnight oats with almond milk. Check out the recipe here: Katheats

5) Sun Warrior, Classic Protein, The Ultimate Raw Superfood Protein, Vanilla, 35.2 oz (1 kg)

Sunwarrior protein powder is made with brown rice and I like it because it mix well with water. I prefer the vanilla flavour and consumed it as a post workout shake blended with almond milk, berries and bananas. Very nice and refreshing! Check out more recipes here: Bodybuilding

6) Mrs. Dash, Tomato Basil Garlic Seasoning Blend, 2.0 oz (57 g)

Mrs Dash has an excellent range of seasoning that are all 0 calories and salt free. (Too much sodium causes water retention and makes you look bloated.) Mrs Dash uses natural spices and herbs to enhance the taste of meat/soups. I love to use the Tomato Basil Garlic seasoning in my carrot soup. Some of the flavours include: Southwest Chipotle, Fiesta Lime, Lemon Pepper and Garlic and herb.

7) Bell Plantation, PB2, Powdered Peanut Butter with Premium Chocolate, 6.5 oz (184 g)

If you are a fan of peanut butter, this is the perfect substitute with lesser calories! It taste just like peanut butter and 2 tablespoon of the goodness is only 45 calories. In my opinion, the version with the premium chocolate enhances the nuttiness. Add it in your breakfast oats or protein shake and you are good to go. Very addictive!

8) Navitas Naturals, Raw Chia Seeds, 16 oz (454 g)

Chia seed expands 10 to 20 times in water over time and makes you feel full. I like to add them in my protein shakes and almond milk oats. It also contains a high amount of fibre, protein, magnesium, calcium and other minerals that are beneficial for heath.

9) Sambazon, Organic Freeze-Dried Acai Powder, 90 g

Acai is a superfood that is high in antioxidants, amino acids and omega fatty acids which help slow the ageing process by boosting immune and metabolic function and removing destructive free radicals from our bodies. I like to add 1 scoop (3g- 20 calories) of acai powder to my plain yogurt. It tastes yummy.

10) Walden Farms, Pancake Syrup, 12 fl oz (355 ml)

This is a dream come true. O calorie, fat free and sugar free pancake syrup. Instead of drizzling the sugary maple syrup or pancake syrup, try this! It taste as good as the real deal without the unhealthy sugar.

11) Quest Nutrition, Protein Bar, Chocolate Brownie, 12 Bars, 2.12 oz (60 g)

One of my all-time favourite snack. Quest Bar makes one of the best tasting protein bars packed with a lot of protein and very little sugar. It has a large variety of flavours such as Cookies and Cream, White Chocolate raspberries, Cinnamon roll, Coconut cashew, Peanut Butter, Lemon Cream Pie and so on. Highly additive protein bars. 

12)Nutiva, Coconut Flour, 1 lb (454 g) - Gluten free

Instead of eating usual high calories pancakes with pancake mix, I like to make my own coconut pancakes. Check out the recipes here: Paleohacks

Blogilates  also shared her Coconut Quesadilla on Cheapclean eats.

13) Bare Fruit, Crunchy Cinnamon Apple Chips, 2.2 oz (63 g) - Gluten free

I like to snack a lot so here's another one. Each pack contain 4 apples. These cinnamon apple chips are very crunchy and delicious. It also comes with no added sugar (only natural sugar) and no preservatives. 

14) TerrAmazon, Raw Organic Cacao Nibs, 6 oz (170 g) - Gluten free

These cacao nibs in yogurt taste great. Thet are very crunchy like cereal and I like the slight bitterness of cacao that makes the yogurt nutty. These nibs are high in antioxidants, fibre and potassium. 

Not to mention, they make you feel better! - One of those unique neurotransmitters released by cacao is phenylethylamine. This “love drug” releases endorphins giving us alertness, contentment and a better sense of well-being. - Read more on  Lifehack.

TerrAmazon is one of the cheapest brand on Iherb with great taste.

15) Go Raw, Organic Super Cookies, Chocolate, 3 oz (85 g) - Gluten free

Last but not least, let me end off with yet another snack. These super cookies are so good. It has a mild chocolate taste, topped with coconut and sesame seeds. A great source of fibre and it is also low in calories. - 18 pieces of cookies for 160 calories.

Finally if you find my post useful, please use my code to get $5 off your first purchase! I'll greatly appreciate it. 

If you have any awesome products you are using do leave a comment below and share it with everyone. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Seoul Garden Hot Pot - Somerset

Location: 8 Grange Road, #B1-08 Cathay Cineleisure Orchard S239695

Opening Hours: 12pm – 10:30pm

I didn't know that Seoul Garden started a Hotpot chain until my friends brought me there. We shared out hot pots to try out everything. Great news for all my Muslim friends - Seoul Garden Hotpot is certified Halal.

Kimchi Mandu Hotpot - $10.90

Choose between two kind of soup bases - Kimchi/ Miso

We picked Kimchi. Generous amount of mandus to be found. Filled with chopped prawns and minced chicken. The kimchi broth is pretty rich, not those diluted soup from some shabby food stalls.

Kimchi Chicken Hotpot - $11.90 + $1 (Upgrade to Kimgaru rice)

Okay seriously guys, just give that $1 already. The Kimgaru rice is addictive. Fragrance of the sesame oil and seaweed makes the rice appetizing. Usually I would have some leftover rice but these are so good I finished it all.

Chicken slices are tender. Other ingredients include mushrooms, zucchini and glass noodles. 

Kimchi Bokkeum Bap - $11.90 + + $1 (Upgrade to Kimgaru rice)

Okay the final verdict is Kimgaru rice is a must try here. Bokkeum Bap was filled with seaweed and kimchi and chicken.

Baby octopus, Nakji - $4.90

It tasted like the usual nakji but not as sweet as those sold in the sushi section of Fairprice. Very small plate of banchan. Not very worth it in my opinion.

Cold cinnamon tea - $3.30

At first the cinnamon taste was too strong for me. The ginger made it slightly spicy. 

However after eating the hot pot, my tongue was numb and I can't feel anything so it turned out fine. Still, it is not a pleasant cup of tea.

Seoul Garden Hot Pot is not that fantastic but they serve decent food and provide fast service. It is a shame they don't serve free flow banchan (side dishes) No queue here during dinner time on a weekend so it is a good place to pop by when everywhere else is crowded.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Ah Yat Abalone Restaurant - Bugis

Location: Hotel Grand Pacific #01-06, 101 Victoria Street, 188018 (Opposite of Bras Basah complex)

My friend and I bought the Groupon deal which cost $45 for 2 pax (Weekday Lunch buffet) inclusive of GST.  (but excludes the order of peanuts, towel and Chinese tea) 

Important things to take note: 

1) Leftover food is chargeable at $5 per 100g and no takeaways are allowed.
2) Reservation is required 
3) Groupon mobile verification is required before the start of buffet
3) Additional payment of $10 nett for peanuts, towel and Chinese tea even if you don't want it.

When we arrived at the place, we were guided to the upper level of the restaurant for the buffet.

Buffet starts 11.15am - 3pm (last order at 2.30pm) We arrived at 11.30am on a Wednesday in the restaurant and there weren't a soul to be found. (except the servers) The crowd started pouring in later around 1230pm.

Peanuts, a pot of tea and wet towels. ( We chose Pu Er Tea)

After all the charges, it cost $27.50 nett per pax for a weekday lunch buffet. We chose from the list of items available on the green sheet and passed it to the server.

Century Egg and Pork Congee

Starting with a bowl of hot porridge to warm up the stomach. This is a small bowl, like those soup bowls from the hawker centres. It is actually better that one not to have all the carbs filling up the stomach. Pretty average tasting though.

Deep-fried Crispy Dumpling with Salad

One of my favourites. Big juicy prawns with hot crispy skin dipped in mayonnaise. Highly recommended.

"Ah Yat" Steamed Shrimp Dumpling

This taste like the usual Har Gow I always have. Big prawns.

Steamed Crystal Dumpling With Chives

The glutinous skin is a little too thick for me but still hot and juicy. Love the chives.

Steamed Custard and Salted Egg Buns

This is a must try. Very rich and well balanced salted egg custard. Not too sweet nor salty and the buns are soft and fluffy. Sadly, I only ate one basket of buns because it fills me up too much.

Steamed Dumpling in Chilli Oil

Loved these babies. The chilli oil is good.

Steamed BBQ Pork Bun - Char Siew Bao

Ordinary Char Siew Bao with thick skin. Very filling.

Baked Mini Egg Tart

The crust is too thick, soft and tasteless. Egg custard filling tasted more like sugar. A big nono for me. 

Steamed Rice Sheet Roll with Shrimp - Chee Cheong Fun

I think Ah Yat really serves good prawns. Anything with prawn in it is good here. Smooth Chee Cheong Fun with appetizing sauce.

Steamed Fish Roe Siew Mai

Finally a decent Siew Mai with real filling! I really dislike Siew Mai with minced up fillings with unidentifiable taste. Fresh chunks of prawn and pork within so it is really worth the try.

Steamed Pork Ribs With Black Bean Sauce

Pork ribs are served with chunks of yam. 

Steamed ShangHai Dumpling

This basket of Xiao Long Bao is disappointing. The pork filling is mushy and watery. Why would you place a slice of carrot under it? Maybe it is just me but I tasted better from Canton Paradise so this is not that fantastic at all.

To sum it up, I think the dim sum buffet is value for money only if you can eat a lot to make your $27.50 worthwhile. Servers are pretty friendly and efficient. (maybe because we were the first) I'll definitely recommend trying the Deep-fried Crispy Dumpling, Salted Egg Custard Bun and Steamed Fish Roe Siew Mai.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Bread & Hearth - Keong Saik Road, Outram Park

Bread & Hearth serves artisan bread baked daily, fresh out of the oven! One good thing to know is there are no preservatives were used in process. Although the b

I tried some of the food from Bread & Hearth over a span of 2-3 weeks so I decided to do a compilation of the food I tried.

Located at 18 Keong Saik Road, 089125.

This place can be a little hard to find if you never been around the area.

Nearest MRT: Outram Park, Exit H

Opening hours - Daily 8am - 930pm.

Good variety of breads, tarts, puddings and viennoiseries available.

Devil's Food Cookie - $3.80

I love the cookies. Rich dark chocolate flavour cookies with crushed walnuts. These cookies have a hard outer layer and a chewy center. Very addictive.

Their coffee menu are above the counter so look up for the prices!

Latte - $5 a cup.

Bread & Hearth mixes their own coffee blends and their coffee has a rich nutty flavour. I also love that fact that the coffee is not sour at all (I hate sour coffee). It really does complement the breads and pastries well like they mentioned. The hot coffee are served with a piece of financier cake - sponge cake with shredded coconut filling. Yum.

Bacon Egg Mayo (Pain De Campagne) - $9

My favourite sandwich here. Anything with bacon goes! This rustic bread has a crackly crust and a slightly chewy interior filled with bubbles. Pain De Campagne contains 20% dark rye flour. The dark bread has a kind of fragrance that I really like. The bread is drizzled with olive oil and layered with cheese, bacon strips, lettuce and egg mayo. A very flavourful sandwich.

Lemon Chicken Sandwich (Herbaceous Ciabatta) - $7

This has a crispy crust and a chewy interior and it is much softer than pain de campagne. The aroma of the herbs goes well with the lemon chicken. The bread is also drizzled with olive oil and the basil in the sandwich adds another kind of fragrance to it.

Ham and Cheese Sandwich - Jambon Fromage (Pain Au Tomate) - $8

If you ever order the Jambon Fromage just go with the default baguette. I chose pain au tomate bread which is sour because of the sundried tomatoes and on top if it, mustard is used as a spread here. You can imagine how this is more sour than it should be.

Matcha Orange - $2.80

The bread are toasted when you dine in. If you are having takeaways, do request for the bread to be warmed up. (It just makes the bread 10 times tastier) The warm matcha bread has a crispy crust and a chewy interior. The bread is pretty dense and there is a subtle green tea aroma lingers in the mouth. The citrus orange peel is a pleasant surprise. 

Lemon Meringue Tart - $6

Real lemon juice are used to make the lemon filling. I think the different flavour is well balanced. The sourness of the soft lemon filling with the sweet meringue on a mildly sweet, thick buttery crust.

I purchased some viennoiseries and breads back home. Their breads can be only be kept till the next morning (no preservatives) so it can last till breakfast.

Pear Danish (Pain Au Poire) - $3.20

I love viennoiseries. 

Basically viennoiseries are bread that has laminated dough (a lot of layers) and the most common viennoiserie is the croissant. This one comes with sweet custard and pear slices. Sweet.

Butterhorn - $3.50

I really like this one. Sugar coated, crispy and showered with a lot of caramelized bread crumbs on top! A little messy to eat because it is very crispy and flaky.

Pizza puff- $6.50 Not the ordinary cheap pizza bread. Love the layered crust, topped with pineapples, capsicums, onions, mushrooms and cheese on top. Mildly sweet and salty. 

Croque Monsieur - $4.50

I find this one pretty ordinary. Cheese on the top and more grilled cheese and ham in the middle. I guess if you like grilled cheese and ham then this might be the bread for you.

Viennese Chocolat - $2.80

This is a soft and fluffy white bread with lots of chocolate chips. I expect it to be super sweet but surprisingly it tasted only mildly sweet and I was told that they used dark chocolate chips for this.

Overall, I think they serve excellent coffee and good bread. This place gets pretty crowded during brunch hours but is a good and quiet place to chill in the late afternoon/evening/night on a weekday. They provide free public wifi only when you check in via their facebook page.

Great news is that they do not have service charge and there is a 10% discount for UOB cardholders for dine in.