Spicy Chai & Banana Cinnamon Smoothie

Spicy Chai & Banana Cinnamon Smoothie

Hello Everyone! We’re kicking off the Year on Amcarmen’s Kitchen, and for the month of February, with sumptuous recipes that pays tribute to one of the most popular health foods on Earth. Known, as the Banana, the curved yellow fruit is one of the most widely consumed fruits in the world for good reason. Other than its ability to aid in regulating blood pressure due to the amount of potassium present in bananas, they are also known for helping with asthma, reducing the risk of developing childhood leukemia and help combat cancer, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, lower blood glucose levels and improve blood sugar, and many more health benefits that can be found over on Medical News Today.

I stumbled upon tonight’s recipe while I was browsing through Pinterest, in search for creative and innovative recipes to test out myself for the upcoming year for Amcarmen’s Kitchen. What initially attracted me to this recipe is the idea of adding chai tea leaves to an already delicious Banana & Cinnamon Smoothie. The original recipe can be found over on Gimme Some Oven, where the author Ali talked about why choose between having tea or a smoothie when you can have both? A brilliant idea by the way as my Banana & Cinnamon Smoothie definitely amped up in taste and flavour with the addition of Spicy Chai tea leaves from Twinings. Our local grocers didn’t have regular chai tea so I had to go for the spicy chai – nonetheless it was just as flavoursome as regular chai with an added kick to it to really boost the overall taste of the smoothie. I’m definitely keeping this recipe up my sleeve whenever I feel like a hit of protein to my breakfast/brunch mornings.

Spicy Chai & Banana Cinnamon Smoothie Ingredients

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME  | SERVES 3

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 large bananas, peeled and broken into thirds or quarters
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup plain yoghurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tea bag Twinings Spicy Chai tea leaves

Optional:

  • 1 tsp maple syrup (if you’d like a sweeter smoothie)

Note: Feel free to make this smoothie completely vegan-friendly by substituting the milk out for almond milk and omitting the plain yoghurt out by adding an extra quarter cup of almond milk.

METHOD

  1. Add all the ingredients to a blender and pulse until smooth.
  2. Serve immediately, topped with a few extra slices of banana if desired and some ground cinnamon.

Spicy Chai & Banana Cinnamon Smoothie

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Tropical Mix Smoothie

Tropical Mix Smoothie

Hello Everyone! Once again, time really has flown by! I can’t believe that it’s already the end of March and we’re already a quarter into the year. I wish I could say the same for each passing day I spend in the office. It was only just recently where I started to feel that everyday is like a Monday, and that weekends do not exist – even Sunday does not feel like a Sunday anymore. Everyday is Monday. Haha, I’m so pessimistic; but no, seriously, just last week I was convinced that the afternoon of Wednesday was already Thursday, and that the next day would be Friday. I was rushing to get all my work done that was due for Friday, only to realise a little later that is was still only Wednesday. Sigh. I think I briefly mentioned this is last week’s post too – yes, still not over it haha!

Anyway rant aside! Nothing exciting has happened since my post last week besides the night that we (my colleagues and I) went wax (yes, not ice) skating. I was a bit sad to find out that the rink was not actually ice, but I was also slightly a little bit relieved because I find it easier to skate on wax than ice. I nearly made a no-fall record for myself, until my colleague Grace dragged me down with her. Other than wax skating, I managed to complete my meat free week that ended on Easter Sunday! This weekend I’ll be hanging out with some of my high school buddies whom I have not seen in forever! We’ll be watching Belle the Musical (Beauty & The Beast), but as usual, before the weekend comes it’s going to be all about work work work work work.

Happy days are here as sweet Philippine mangoes are finally in season! And because of that, I cannot resist a refreshingly delicious tropical smoothie that just screams Summer is here! Mangoes alone tastes so good, and that is one of the reasons why people often forget that mangoes are actually quite beneficial to our health, however, there are a few cautions to take into consideration especially if you have some allergies that can cause a reaction to consuming mangoes. First of all, research has shown that antioxidant compounds in a mango fruit has been found to protect against colon, breast, leukaemia, and prostate cancers. Other than that, mangoes contain high levels of fibre which helps to lower cholesterol levels.

This particular health benefit caught my attention, and it’s that mangoes helps in diabetes. I would think that it would spike sugar levels because of it’s insane sweetness, but apparently the fruit has a relatively low glycemic index (41-60) so moderate quantities will not increase sugar levels. The mango leaves though, help normalise insulin levels in the blood.  The traditional home remedy involves boiling leaves in water, soaking through the night and then consuming the filtered decoction in the morning.  To read up more on the health benefits of mangoes, click here.

Now as mentioned, there are some cautions to look out for when consuming mangoes:

  1. If you have a latex allergy, a reaction is possible, particularly green mangos. This reaction develops because of anacardic acid.
  2. Mango peel and sap contain urushiol, the chemical in poison ivy and poison sumac that can cause an allergic reaction in susceptible individuals.
  3. Mangos are ripened by some dealers using calcium carbide which can cause serious health problems (one more reason to buy organic).  If you do have inorganic mangos, do wash them properly before consuming or soak overnight in water.

Tropical Mix Smoothie Ingredients

PREP TIME <5 MINS | COOKING TIME | SERVES 3

INGREDIENTS

  • 3-4 pineapple slices
  • 2 bananas, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 ripe Philippine mangoes (or any other sweet mangoes), peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 cup coconut water
  • Juice of 1 large orange

METHOD

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender, and pulse until combined. If the smoothie is too thick, add more coconut water. If it is too thin, add more fruit and/or ice if needed.
  2. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Tropical Mix Smoothie

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Kale Piña-Cavado

Kale Piña-Cavado

Hello Everyone! So last week was a little hectic, and today is no different as well. I’m currently back in Brunei; I arrived at 4 in the afternoon, and tomorrow I’ll be back in office – sad times. I had a great week in Singapore, though I wouldn’t call it a rest and relaxation kind of holiday. I was out and about most of the time, exploring, café hopping, eating, playing with dogs, and many more activities which included the shedding of calories for my wallet. Anyway, so from my previous post I mentioned that I was going to go to the River Safari with my sister – and we did! It was a lot of fun seeing a lot of aquatic animals, especially Kai Kai and Jia Jia the Giant Pandas!

The following day, Pam, my sister, and myself started our morning at a café known as Boufé. The food was delicious and it reminded me so much of the brunches that I had when I was back in Sydney. I’m really sad that Brunei doesn’t have that kind of brunch that I’m after – or maybe there is, it’s just that I haven’t had the time to explore the new/existing cafés in Brunei. Anyway, after that we headed straight for the Dog Café (also known as We are The Furballs or WTF) to play with the cutest dogs ever! If you want to see photos of this, you can head on over to my personal Instagram account, @amcarmen.

After the weekend, things slowed down a little bit as I did most of the shoppings that I needed to do, and went to the places that I had planned on going to. The only last thing that I did was co-host a dinner party with a high school friend for our other high school friends, one of which I had not seen since we finished IB and headed of for university (which was 5 years ago!). One of our friends is a vegan so, my friend, Miao, and I took up the challenge to whip up some yummy vegan dishes. Both of us had never cooked up a vegan dish before so we were both quite excited to see how it would turn out. I remember at one point when Miao was making her Spiced Cauliflower Soup, she tasted it and didn’t seem like she was blown away with it. She then asked me to taste it, and as I was tasting it, she said:

“Something’s missing, but I don’t know what. I don’t think it needs anymore herbs because I think it’s quite balanced already… Or maybe it’s because it’s vegan?”

I laughed out loud at that comment! Maybe it was just because it’s lacking a lovely chicken broth base or oils from fried up bacon as its base – but nonetheless, the soup was still pretty amazing. Good job Miao! For mains, I cooked up a Chunky Butternut Squash Wholegrain Spaghetti with Sundried Tomatoes and Sage Leaves. Again, we had a hefty laugh at the table when Ann (our vegan friend), filled her plate with the pasta, sundried tomatoes, and sage leaves. She then started to mix it and was about to take a bite until Miao’s boyfriend, Robin, pointed out that she was missing the Butternut Squash sauce. We laughed out because she thought that it was some sort of agilo olio. It was funny, but I guess you’d have to be there to understand the extent of the humour. Lastly, we ended the savoury with a delicious No-bake Blueberry and Orange “Cheesecake”.

Okay, I apologise for a super long post, so I guess I will keep this part short. I think I may have added too much kale, or not enough pineapple because the kale was really overpowering the taste of the smoothie. Kale has a lot of vitamins and also contains powerful antioxidants that help protect your immune system and fight against certain cancers. If you want to read more about the health benefits of kale, please click here. Now, you may substitute kale for spinach if kale isn’t readily available where you are; I know that it’s not very cheap to get kale here in Brunei since it’s air-flown in from Australia. Before you scroll down to the recipe, don’t forget to check out the original over on Delicious by Dre.

Kale Piña-Cavado Ingredients

PREP TIME <5 MINS | COOKING TIME  | SERVES 3-4

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 & 1/2 cups kale, stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 2 ripe avocados, pitted and flesh removed
  • 1-2 cups fresh coconut water
  • 1/2 medium-sized pineapple, chopped

METHOD

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a blender in this order: avocado, pineapple, kale, and 1 cup of coconut water. Pulse a couple of times to mix up the ingredients in the blender a bit and then blend on high for about 30 to 60 seconds. Add more coconut water if needed to reach your desired consistency.
  2. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Kale Piña-Cavado

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Blackberry, Pineapple, & Spinach Smoothie

Hello Everyone! First of all, I apologise that it has taken me this long to be able to edit this part of the post. If you do not already know, I had a flight to catch on Wednesday evening to Singapore. Upon arriving in Singapore at about 7:20pm that evening, I headed straight for the hotel to drop my things off, and then quickly headed back out again with my sister for a very late dinner. After dinner, we shopped for a bit, mainly to buy some water and a comb since I forgot to pack mine. We then said our goodbyes at the train station and headed in opposite directions. I didn’t get back to my hotel until about 10:30pm, maybe 10:45pm that night, and I hadn’t prepared my usual Wednesday post. Nevertheless, I quickly got it up because I am very particular about getting my posts up on its scheduled day – I just haven’t shared it on my other social media pages because I wanted to write this part out properly.

So yes! I am in Singapore until this coming Wednesday 9th March. I’m here to do some important errands, and of course to have some rest and relaxation from work, and of course to do some shopping! Aside from that, it’s my sisters birthday as well (March 04). We’ll be celebrating by going on a River Safari all day Saturday, and then spending the Sunday café hopping with my friend Pamela. I also have plans to meet up, cook, eat, and catch up with some friends from high school so that should be fun!

Anyway, so before we race on to the recipe, please check out the original over on Way Fair. I replaced the milk with coconut water for a diary-free option, and coconut water is filled with electrolytes and potassium, which are two nutrients your body craves when expending lots of energy. It’s low in calories, fat, and sugar meaning that this is the liquid-base you want when working out. In addition, blackberries contain a handful amount of vitamins such as vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C, E, and K. Blackberries also include calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, and zinc. They are a good source of amino acids and essential dietary fibre without offering any harmful cholesterol. If you’d like to read up more on the health benefits of blackberries, click here.

 

Blackberry, Pineapple, & Spinach Smoothie Ingredients

PREP TIME <5 MINS | COOKING TIME — MINS | SERVES 1

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 cup coconut water
  • 1 cup spinach leaves
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen blackberries
  • 1/4 cup pineapple
  • Handful of walnuts

METHOD

  1. Add all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy immediately.

Blackberry, Pineapple, & Spinach Smoothie Ingredients

Blackberry, Pineapple, & Spinach Smoothie

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Pink Grapefruit Lemonade

Hello Everyone! It’s the last of Juicy January and I’ve got a nice, refreshing drink for you that you can also add a little twist if you want something naughty for all that healthy juicing you’ve (I’ve) been doing for the past month. It was just a normal Sunday morning when I went grocery shopping with my Mom and sister. I saw these lovely, plump, fresh grapefruits on the shelves and Schweppes’ Apple & Pink Grapefruit Mineral Water that I always, or well, most of the time, had in my fridge when I was still studying in Australia, came into mind. So I grabbed these fruits, some lemons, and mint, and decided that I was going to make a Pink Grapefruit Lemonade. When I got around to making them, I realised that I had some strawberries in the fridge that were on the verge of becoming overripe, and so I decided to slice them up and add them to the drink as well.

Grapefruits vary in hue from white or yellow to pink and red and can range in taste from very acidic and even bitter to sweet and sugary. Grapefruits are low in calories but are full of nutrients, and are an excellent source of vitamins A and C. These fruits support clear, healthy skin, can help to lower our risk for many diseases and conditions, and may even help with weight loss as part of an overall healthy and varied diet. To read into more details on how, for example, grapefruits can aid in weight loss, click here.

Pink Grapefruit Lemonade

Mix the juice of one grapefruit together with the juice of a lemon and you’ve got yourself and juice that’s rich in many nourishing elements like vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin A, vitamin E,  copper,  calcium, iron,  magnesium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, protein, and the list goes on. The health benefits of lemons include the treatment of throat infections, indigestion, constipation, dental problems, and fever, internal bleeding, and high blood pressure, while it also benefits hair and skin care. They also help to strengthen your immune system, cleanse your stomach, and it is considered a blood purifier.

Throw in some roughly chopped mint leaves for a fresh, aromatic, sweet flavor with a cool aftertaste. If you happen to have strawberries in your fridge too, or if you actually bought them to try this out, throw them in too for an extra added nutrients and antioxidants, offering a wide range of health benefits that may surprise you – click here for more information.

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME | SERVES 3-4

INGREDIENTS

  • 650ml cold water
  • 1 punnet (125g) fresh strawberries, sliced thinly
  • 1 large grapefruit, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 1 large lemon, juice squeezed
  • 1/2 bunch of mint, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1 tbsp white sugar

Optional:

  • 2-3 tbsp white rum

METHOD

  1. Add the white sugar and boiling water to a large pitcher. Stir until the sugar has full dissolved.
  2. Add the lemon juice together with the cold water, mint leaves, sliced strawberries.
  3. Juice the grapefruit using an electric juicer and then pour into the pitcher. Give it a good stir.

Pink Grapefruit Lemonade

If you’re feeling a little bit cheeky, throw in a few tablespoons of coconut rum (that was the only thing I had available at that time) or just plain white rum, tequila, or vodka – whatever tickles your fancy that is! 🙂 Enjoy and happy juicing!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Cucumber, Green Apple, & Kiwi Juice

Hello Everyone! Before I begin, I just wanted to take this opportunity to say (before I forget that is), that I am not a huge fan of cucumber. Why am I saying this? Well, it’s only because I realised that I posted a recipe last week with cucumber in it and I didn’t mention about this love/hate relationship that I have with cucumber. I actually paused for a bit there when I was trying to decide whether love/hate was the right choice of words – because it’s more hate and not even an ounce of love. I can’t exactly put my finger on why I’m not all that about cucumber, I just know that if I see it on my plate, I won’t touch it. I don’t know if it’s taste, or texture, or whatever else there is to it. I just don’t like it. However, I do realise that when it is cut up quite small and finely, and it is mixed with other foods, then I’ll eat it, but only because I’m too lazy to pick them out one by one *cheeky grin* Yes, so after all that, I still wonder why I’d drink a juice with cucumber in it. Well, I can’t exactly answer that question myself to be honest.

Cucumber, Green Apple, & Kiwi Juice

This combination of Apple + Cucumber + Kiwi helps improve skin complexion. However, after doing some research, I’m pretty sure that this combination of fruits and veggies help in many more ways that just keeping us from ageing:

In my previous post, I mentioned that cucumbers are beneficial in helping one to avoid nutrient deficiencies, especially those that are accustomed to eating a typical American diet. In addition, cucumbers contain an extraordinary amount of naturally purified water and therefore contains a higher quality of water content than that of ordinary water. It is no wonder that cucumbers should be eaten all year long. Yeah – even after all that research and knowing how good cucumber actually is for my health, it’s still a no, with the exception for this juice recipe and the previous one I guess.

Aside from the health benefits of cucumber, pair it with a kiwi or two and you’ve got your hit of vitamin C and E. It is known that two medium-sized kiwis contain a whopping amount of vitamin C (boosting up to about 230% more than the daily recommended about of vitamin C intake), that aids in boosting our immune system, fights the stress away, and helps protect our skin from ageing. It also promotes wound healing and iron absorption for healthy bones, blood vessels, and teeth. Besides the C, there’s also the E which, a kiwi carries a rare and fat-free form of it. This is a potent antioxidant said to help lower cholesterol and boost immunity. I could write a whole essay on the health benefits of kiwis as the list goes on – but I won’t *cheeky grin*

Lastly, we all know the saying “an apple a day drives the doctor away” – but what does it really mean? Well, apples are extremely rich in important antioxidants, flavanoids, and dietary fibre, and therefore may help reduce the risk of developing cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease. I mean, I guess that pretty much says it all doesn’t it? The list of benefits continue on! And here are 15 health benefits of apples.

PREP TIME 5 MINS | COOKING TIME | SERVES 1

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large green apple, quartered and cored
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled and cut into thirds
  • 1 kiwi, peeled and halved lengthwise

METHOD

  1. Juice all the ingredients using an electric juicer. Pour into a tall glass and add ice if you want your juice cold. Serve and enjoy, especially on a hot tropical afternoon for a nice refresher!

Apple, Celery, & Cucumber Juice

Swap out the kiwi and go for a combination of Apple + Cucumber + Celery to help prevent cancer, reduce cholesterol, and eliminate stomach upset and headache. We ran out of green apples, so we used the red ones we had in the fridge – I don’t see a difference in using either, but for me it would’ve just looked visually nicer if the apple was green in the photograph hehehe. Happy Juicing!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Mango Shake

Mango Shake

Hello Everyone! I’ll be keeping today’s post very simple and straight forward as tomorrow I will be doing a special post for two very loved people in my life. What I like about being back in the tropics around this time of the year is that it’s summer and summertime means MANGOES! Once, someone asked me a question: “If you were to be shipped to a deserted island and you could only take 1 item of food with you, what would you bring?” I thought a while about this and I remembered that my final answer was mangoes. The moment I said it, everyone nodded and agreed that it was a good choice; I could tell that their mouths watered as soon as I said it.

Mango Shake

I love mangoes, especially Philippine mangoes. I’m sorry but Kensington Pride mangoes, which are the ones I’ve been buying from Coles during summertime down under, cannot compare. Today’s recipe is very simple, and is definitely much better than what you get at restaurants. I remember the one that I had at Arabela, it was very watered down, and more on ice than mango.

Mango Shake Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 ripe Philippine mangoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 cups ice
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • Mint leaves, to garnish

METHOD

  1. Combine all the ingredients, except the mint leaves, into a blender.
  2. Blend until smooth. Pour into a tall glass and garnish with mint leaves.
  3. Serve and enjoy a refreshing drink in the summer sun!

Mango Shake

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com