Recipes: Beef Fried Rice

In my family, fried rice is traditionally a dish you prepare when you have lots of left-over bits that you don’t know what to do with. It’s a dish you prepare on the fly with minimal thought given to it. This particular fried rice dish, however, was entirely intentional right down to the rice prepared.

Beef fried rice

Ingredients:

  • 2 rice bowls of rice cooked in beef stock (Campbell’s Real Stock works just fine)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 100g of bean sprouts
  • 100g of baby spinach leaves
  • 100g of white mushrooms, sliced
  • 200g of beef, sliced
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp ground garlic
  • dash pepper
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • dash of red wine

Method:

  • In a bowl, add cooked rice with pepper, garlic, ginger and soy sauce. Mix well. Set aside.
  • Stir fry the beef and add red wine. Add bean sprouts, spinach and mushrooms. Drain the liquid.
  • Add a little more oil and add in the egg.
  • Once the egg is mostly cooked, stir in the rice. Cook a little longer until everything is thoroughly mixed.
  • Remove from heat and serve.

How did it turn out? Very well. Even DH couldn’t complain about this one…

Chicken Soup for the Cold

Me: Chicken soup is supposed to be good for a cold.
DH: You mean it’s good for the soul?
Me: Haven’t you heard? Chicken soup is touted as a home remedy for cold and flu.

I hadn’t really dug into the legitimacy of the chicken soup remedy but I figured it was time to dig a little deeper. As it turns out, there really are some good reasons why we should take chicken soup when we’ve got a cold.

Here’s what a bowl of chicken soup does for your cold:

  • Clears congested sinuses –
    • hot fluids dilate the blood vessels, increase blood flow, and allow the mucous to flush out and relieve the congestion.
    • improves the function of the cilia (tiny hairs in our noses) that trap and clear out contagions.
    • chicken contains carnosine which reduces inflammation in the upper respiratory tract by stopping the migration of white blood cells.
  • Helps fight the cold by providing hydration – chicken soup contain salt and water which are great for hydration.

Science has begun to support what mothers have understood for centuries. The heat, salt, and hydration provided by chicken soup may actually fight the cold virus (NIH, 2012). Laboratory studies have shown that ingredients of a chicken soup with vegetables could kill viral cells and prevent the growth of new ones (Rennard, et al., 2000). The soup may also provide an anti-inflammatory effect in the upper respiratory tract that helps soothe symptoms (Rennard, et al., 2000). Unfortunately, the benefits of chicken soup appear to be limited by how quickly the soup leaves the body (Babizhayev, et al., 2012). – Healthline

Sources:

What are the Key Ingredients that Provide its Wholesome Benefits?

According to BBC Good Food, you need to include these ingredients:

  • Onions, garlic and vegetables for phytonutrients
  • Chicken bones which contain gelatine, glucosamine and chondroitin in the joint tissues.

Chicken Soup Recipes

So what chicken soup for the cold recipes can you keep up your sleeves? The “ABC Soup”  recipe which contains chicken, onions, carrots, tomatoes and celery which sounds like it fits the bill pretty well. If you want to up the ante, you could add some ginger. Although there is currently insufficient evidence to support these claims, ginger has a long history of being associated as a natural remedy for coughs, sore throats, nasal congestion, tummy upset, and headaches (which are all symptoms you might experience with a cold).

There are also more chicken soup recipes that you can find from Home Remedies for Life. If you’re not up for making your own chicken soup, not to worry, Dr. Stephen Rennard, a pulmonary expert at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, found that even canned chicken soups work, too.

The Benefits of Honey from Thailand

The healing property of honey is due to the fact that it offers antibacterial activity, maintains a moist wound condition, and its high viscosity helps to provide a protective barrier to prevent infection. Its immunomodulatory property is relevant to wound repair too. The antimicrobial activity in most honeys is due to the enzymatic production of hydrogen peroxide. Mandal and Mandal, 2011.

Honey is well known for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and touted to be one of nature’s best, all-round remedies. While some of these claims have tested out in the laboratory, there are still many questions regarding its real-world benefits. About the only two indications of honey that have demonstrated clinical efficacy is its use for wound dressing and, to a lesser extent, coughs.

Honey for Wound Healing

Fifty-nine patients with wounds and ulcers most of which (80 per cent) had failed to heal with conventional treatment were treated with unprocessed honey. Fifty-eight cases showed remarkable improvement following topical application of honey. – Effen, 1998.

There have been many published reports describing the effectiveness of honey products in wound healing. In laboratory studies, Manuka honey has been shown to provide antibacterial action against a broad spectrum of bacteria and fungi, including S. aureus, P. aeruginosa MRSA, and VRE. Sood et al., 2014.

Honey for Coughs

In a study by Cohen et al., 2012, children who received two teaspoons of honey, 30 minutes before bed, coughed less frequently during the night.

Manuka Honey Trumps All

Probably the most important factor to be aware of is that not all honey is made equal. Some honeys provide greater benefits than others. According to Professor Molan (Honey Research Unit at the University of Waikato) honey made from the flowers of the manuka bush, a native of New Zealand, has antibacterial properties over and above those of other honeys (BBC News).

“In all honeys, there is – to different levels – hydrogen peroxide produced from an enzyme that bees add to the nectar. In manuka honey, and its close relative which grows in Australia called jellybush, there’s something else besides the hydrogen peroxide. And there’s nothing like that ever been found anywhere else in the world.” – Professor Molan

The extra something that Manuka honey contains has been designated UMF (Unique Manuka Factor). Not all manuka honey contains this special property, therefore it is important to look for the name UMF.

“Staphylococcus aureas is the most common wound-infecting species of bacteria, and that’s the most sensitive to honey that we’ve found. And that includes the antibiotic resistant strains – the MRSA – which is just as sensitive to honey as any other staphylococcus aureas.” – Professor Molan

See also: Honey – its medicinal property and antibacterial activity

Thai Honey

We were in Chiangmai recently where we visited the Thepprasit Honey Shop and I noticed their literature on the health benefits of their honey (included below). I’m not exactly sure where they got their information from (I couldn’t verify the sources online) but I thought I’d record them down for future reference. We usually add honey as a natural sweetener for our smoothies, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try out some Thai honey. If these benefits really are true, all the better for us.

Thepprasit Mature Honey

Collected from scaled honey comb, it is unprocessed and has not been modified for colour, moisture or taste. It has a fragrant taste from local flora in the Golden triangle mountains of Thailand.

Honey from thailand

  • Benefits: Relieves sore throat, chronic cough, mouth or stomach ulcers, external ulcers, insomnia.
  • Usage: Mix with warm or cool water to drink, take alone, or apply to affected area.
  • Storage: 3 years in room temperature; no refrigeration required.

Multiflora Bee Pollen

Bee pollen is flower pollen that bees collect for food. Because bee pollen is the reproductive spore o the plant, it is incredibly dense with plant nutrients. The phytonutrients found in bee pollen include bioactive compounds like enzymes, bioflavonoids, phytosterols, and carotenoids. Bee pollen also contains free amino acids, fatty acids with a good proportion of Omega 3’s, naturally chelated minerals, and whole vitamin complexes.

Benefits:

  • Dietary balance – correct deficient or unbalance nutrition, vitamin supplement, enhance muscle and skin well being.
  • Regulating intestine / constipation.
  • Menstrual problem
  • Prostate problems, reduce frequency of night time urination.
  • Sinus
  • Incretion disorder symptoms, e.g. hair loss

Usage: Take one tablespoonful (10 grams). Dissolve in hot or warm water, or mix with honey. For relief of sinus, inhale the steam before drinking.

Warning:

  • Begin with a small dose and work up to larger quantities.
  • Should not be consumed by persons allergic to bee pollen.

Storage: Store in a dry and cool place; avoid sunlight.

Fresh Royal Jelly

Royal jelly is produced by Worker bees as food for the Queen bee. The royal jelly diet allows the Queen bee to live more than 30 times longer than a normal bee and lay up to 2000 eggs a day. Royal jelly is a highly concentrated healthy food substance containing vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B8, B9, B12, C, Biotin, Inositol and Folic Acid), minerals (Nickel, Chromium, Phosphorus, Sulphur, iron, Manganese, Sodium, Potassium, and many trace minerals), and 30 amino acids.

Benefits:

  • Strengthen immunity, stamina, and well-being.
  • Boost metabolism, recovery from illness, faster healing.
  • Enhance growth and development of children.
  • Promote fertility.
  • Anti-aging – increases mental alertness, memory, enhances skin tone, relieves post-menopausal symptoms.
  • Balances blood pressure and lowers cholesterol level.
  • Diabetes: controls blood sugar levels.

Usage:

  • Adults – 1 teaspoon (5 grams) at a time.
  • Children – 1/3 teaspoon at a time.
  • Take one to two times daily.
  • For Facial Mask: Apply on face and rinse off about 20 minutes later. It will help to moisturise and protect against wrinkles. Patch test for allergies before use.

Warning:

  • Royal jelly has a slightly sour, sweet, and spicy taste.
  • Begin with a small dose and work up to larger quantities.
  • Individuals with asthma or allergies should consult their doctor’s opinion before consumption.

Storage:

  • Freezer – 2 years
  • Chiller – 2 months
  • Polyfoam – 2 weeks.
  • When mixed in 1:10 ratio of royal jelly to honey, it can be stored for about 1 year at room temperature.

Propolis

Propolis is a resin collected from plants and trees. It is used by the colony to coat the area within the hive, creating a sterile environment. It contains tree resin, essential oils, waxes and bioflavanoids. The antioxidant properties of bioflavanoids help to maintain a healthy immune system and can be used for both consumption or external treatments.

Benefits:

Propolis has antibiotic properties which may be effective for:

  • Ulcers, eczema skin fungus, acne.
  • Stomach and intestine disorders.
  • Fever, cold and throat infection.
  • High cholesterol.

Storage: 3 years in cool and dry conditions.

Organic Snakeroot Honey

Thai Snakeroot is a tropical white herb grown in the mountains. It produces a light coloured honey that gradually becomes deeper in colour. It is used by the Thai people as a herbal honey for:

  • gastric and smooth muscle contractions
  • promote appetite and tone digestive organs
  • promote arterial action, diaphoresis, and diuresis

Organic Mikania Honey

Honey from thailand

Mikania cordata (Thai: kee-gai-yang) is a wild herb that is found in the secondary jungles and wastelands of Thailand. It has a light amber colour and flavour. The Mikania plant is believed to have the following herbal benefits:

  • antibacterial and antifungal properties
  • good for nasopharyngeal infections
  • used as an antidote to treat venomous stings and bites.

Recipes: Spaghetti and Meatballs

Pasta recipe from G1’s cooking class that he made and ate!

Meatballs

Ingredients:

  • 250g minced pork
  • 250g minced beef
  • 4 tbsp of bread crumbs
  • 3 tbsp of parmesan (or another type of cheese)
  • 1/2 an onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • a pinch of black pepper
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped

Method:

  • Mix everything together in a large bowl and place in the refrigerator for a few hours.
  • Shape the mixture into balls and bake them in the oven at 180C for 5 to 6 minutes.
  • Add the juice from the meatballs to the tomato sauce (recipe below).

Tomato Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 carrot
  • 2 onions
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tins of peeled tomatoes
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste

Method:

  • Chop the carrots, onions, celery and garlic, and place them into a large pot.
  • Cook on low to medium heat until soft and brown.
  • Add tomato paste, bay leaf, and oregano. Mix well.
  • Add the tinned tomatoes; squash the tomatoes with a spoon.
  • Add salt, pepper, and sugar and mix well.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

  • Cook some spaghetti following the instructions on the packet.
  • Add the meatballs to the tomato sauce. Serve over the spaghetti.

Super Easy Thai Green Curry

I’m pretty fond of Thai Green Curry but not too fond of the spice so I was pretty pleased to discover that Dancing Chef makes a lovely Green Curry paste that isn’t too spicy for my tastebuds. I like Dancing Chef because they offer a range of products that are free from MSG, preservatives and artificial colouring. Best of all, it’s really, really quick and easy to prepare.

Thai Green Curry

Instead of the usual long beans and brinjal, I used green beans and ladies fingers:

  • 1 packet of Dancing Chef Green Curry Paste
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 50ml water
  • green beans
  • ladies fingers
  • 500g chicken fillet

Add curry paste, water and coconut milk into a pot and bring to the boil. Add chicken and vegetables and simmer until the chicken is cooked through. Serve.

G1 and I have give it our hearty approval. Well, okay, I really like it, and G1 likes it enough to eat it again. G2 is still not really into curry. DH says it’s okay, but he prefers the regular curry. Sigh… You can’t please them all – they complain that you never make anything different, but when you do, they prefer the stuff you usually make anyway. Just. Can’t. Win.