Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Mia Bakes: Protein Cheesy Pancake

I have no idea why, but these days I have a sudden craving for pancakes and frankly speaking, those pancake mixes are a total rip-off, and with 2 new bags of  1kg protein powder sitting in my kitchen cabinet, so why not make myself some protein pancakes?

So let's get over with the ingredients so we can get started!

For 1 serving of two pancakes, you'll need:

1 scoop protein powder
(I used unflavoured My Protein Total Protein, 30g)
20g all purpose flour
(you can also use wholemeal flour if you prefer)
50ml milk
1 small/medium egg
1 tsp stevia (for taste)
1/4 tsp baking powder
your choice of cheese
(I used a combination of sliced cheddar and shredded mozzarella)
Optional:
Ham (as topping)

First, mix all your dry ingredients and wet ingredients (except for cheese) in a large mixing bowl until JUST combined. If you wish to have extremely cheesy pancakes, you may fold in few handful of shredded cheese into the batter, but I'll prefer to have mine the grilled cheese sandwich style, so I didn't. 

So on a lightly greased pan, drop half of the batter in and move your pan around slightly to get the batter to spread into a nice and even circle. Cook on one side until you see bubbles appearing on the uncooked surface and remove it from the pan first (be careful not to "mess up" the uncooked surface) and proceed with cooking your 2nd pancake. 
For the 2nd pancake, flip it once you see bubbles appearing on the surface, and then place in your cheese (as much or as little as you like) and lay the 1st pancake over the top, cooked side down onto the cheese. 
Cover the pan with a lid and let it cook for another 2 minutes on low. Then, flip the pancake-sandwich around and cook on the other side for another 2 minutes, pressing down on the pancakes it cooks, or until you see the melted cheese oozing out from the sides. 

Plate your pancakes and top it up with some ham or bacon!


Other for the ham (processed meat), this protein pancake is actually pretty healthy and calorie-friendly. 

A serving of two pancakes (without cheese) will only set you back by 272 kcals and giving you 33g of protein! Adding the cheese (1 slice cheddar and about 10g of shredded mozzarella) will push the calories up to 333 kcals, but with almost 40g of protein!

For all you pancake lovers out there trying to increase your protein intake, this will be a super simple, quick and easy recipe for you!
Do try this out and let me know how it turned out for you. 

Till then,
Mia Foo

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Wellaholic Cosmeceuticals: W+ Protective Day Cream (SPF 50++) [Sponsored]

Gone are the days whereby we need exposure to the sun for our body to make vitamin D because it's not found naturally in most foods, for many foods are now fortified with vitamin D during the manufacturing process today. While the immediate danger of exposure to too much sun will be sunburns, the actual serious threat of the sun is that it is the major cause of skin cancer. And as according to what doctors believe, most skin cancers can be avoided by preventing sun damages.

Heading outdoors? You better get that sunscreen and layer it up!



W+ Protective Day Cream with SPF 50++ (50gm) - $69
A high-performance formula that contains both physical and chemical actives to help protect the skin from UVA/UVB rays. For all skin types, especially pigmented skin. 



I like how the packaging comes with a combination of a twist-up and pump dispenser, which makes dispensing of the product much easier and hassle-free. 
But I need to pump it almost 50x for the 1st squirt of product to come out. Was a little worried that I might have ended up with a faulty pump dispenser at one point. 


The product has a very unique scent that is both "citrusy" and minty, and extremely pleasant to the sense and feels somewhat invigorating. 
The product has a consistency that's right smack in between a cream and a water-gel type, very spreadable and quick to set over the skin with no oily or tacky after-feel.


And because this product is both a physical and chemical sunscreen, do expect a certain degree of "whitening effect" should you pile it on, and also refrain from using flash photography unless the glorious white-cast is the effect you're going for in your photos. 

Just a side note: The stamp is so cute! It's a neko-chan! <3

And so is their pillbox, which not only comes in the shape of a giant tablet, but also in one of my favourite shade. 

Wellaholic also carries other skincare products in their premium cosmeceutical line, that are manufactured locally and registered with HSA in line with the ASEAN Directive and Cosmetic Legislations for cosmetics that come in contact with the skin. For more information, visit their website at https://www.wellaholic.com

You can also check out my review of their awesome ProHydrolase Whey HERE

Till then,
Mia Foo

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Mia's Recipe: Biscoff Brownies

If you haven't heard of Lotus Biscoff biscuits, then you have not lived! These small caramelised babies are one of my favourite kind of biscuits.
And how about marrying these yummies with brownies? 
More yummies, up for it? 

Let's get over with the ingredients so we can get started. :)

For a 12 servings in a 8 x 4 loaf tin, you'll need:

120g castor sugar 
(or replace with baking stevia to cut calories)
2 small eggs
45g all purpose flour
17g unsweetened cocoa powder
113g unsweetened baking chocolate 
(this is exactly 1 whole bar of Hershey's baking bar) 
100g unsalted butter
75g semi-sweet/dark chocolate chips (I've used 60% cocoa)
60g crushed biscoff biscuits

optional:
biscoff spread (as a drizzle)
(you can use smooth or crunchy, as little as as much as you like)

So first up, melt your baking chocolate and butter in a pot (or ban-marie if you prefer, but with the butter, you really do not need to) over low fire until they're totally melted and well combined. Then, set them aside to cool.
In a clean bowl, beat your eggs on high until they turns frothy, before you add your sugars in 3 additions, beating on high until the mixture more than doubles in volume, turns pale yellow and very thick (ribbon stage). 

Double check that your butter-chocolate mixture is not hot before you add them into the egg mixture, folding gently (I prefer to "fold" using a whisk instead of a spatula) until just combined, before sifting in the flour and cocoa powder. Fold until most of the lumps are gone (you need not fold until well combined yet) before adding in the crushed biscoff and chocolate chips and then finally folding until just combined. Pour the mixture into your lined/lightly greased baking tin and give it a few taps to knock out any air bubbles. 

Melt up a few tablespoons (or more if you prefer) of biscoff spread in either a microwave or ban-marie until they're of a more flowy consistency and drizzle them as thinly or thickly over the brownie mixture before sending brownie batter into the oven set at 160 degree Celsius for 25 to 30 minutes. 


I left mine in the oven for about 2 to 3 minutes past the 30 mark as I prefer my brownies to be less moist and fudgy (I've weird taste, I know). 


Obviously, I could have done way more crushed biscoff (note to self) and perhaps omit the chocolate chips AND reduce the sugar slightly (they were still a little too sweet). 

The baked biscoff spread "crust" on the top of the brownie was a really nice, sweet touch to the otherwise plain old rich-chocolatey brownie. But it also added a lot of sweetness in the flavour, so do remember to tone down on the sugar and chocolate chips if you're to pile on the biscoff drizzle. :)

Till then,
Mia Foo

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

I Got Flowered by FARM Florist Singapore

I got flowered!

It's always something to gush about whenever you receive flowers at your doorsteps, isnt it?

Farm Florist Singapore is the new kid on the floral block, offering something for every individual. Farm Florist Singapore believes that be it budget, lack of variety, lack of trust or any other reasons, it should never get in the way of our attempt to make someone's day amazing. It is the mission of Farm Florist Singapore to be our trusted floral partners, and to help us put a smile on the face of that someone we care for.
Farm Florist Singapore has curated a good variety of hand bouquets that are suitable for any recipient and occasion. And to add a cherry on top, they offer next day delivery too, free of charge!

And this is what they've sent me!
-credits to https://farmflorist.com-

Farmer's Choice - $59.90
6 premium and fresh red roses, with fresh eustomas, assorted greens and wrapped in kraft paper and rustic ribbon.


Eustomas are also commonly known as Lisianthus or Prairie Gentian, and the floriology of this blossom means a number of amazing qualities:

A long and happy life
Contentment and peace with what you already have
Appreciation for peace and joy in your life
Heartfelt emotions towards someone else
Friendliness and congeniality
Portraying an air of charisma and charm
Admiration for a supportive or loving friend
Sweetness and kindness towards others and yourself
The desire to be more outgoing.

And wrapping the flowers in kraft paper is also right up my alley. Just love the simple and slightly rustic the brown paper gives to the bouquet as a whole. 

Other than the usual Roses and Eustomas, Farm Florist Singapore also carries other type of flowers like Peony, Baby's Breath (check out their Rainbow Drizzle, it's so cute!), Carnation, Eryngium, Hydrangea and even Wild Flower.

All of their images are photographed in their mini studio and are 100% real, using only the freshest of flowers. So there's no worries of having your recipient receiving a bouquet of flowers that's doesn't have the slightest resemblance to what you've carefully chosen for the occasion. 

Their flowers also come with a surprise discount code for all their recipients to get a 10% discount off their next purchase. It's like a wonderful idea of passing the goodwill on, yes? 

Farm Florist Singapore is also very generous to offer all my lovely readers a 15% discount coupon to be used on any of their lovely, reasonably priced flower bouquets. 

Just enter MIA15 upon checkout to enjoy the 15% discount!

For more information on Farm Florist Singapore and to check out their range of lovely bouquets, visit their website at https://farmflorist.com/
Do also show their FB and IG some love! 

Till then,
Mia Foo

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Hokkaido Travelogue: Day 4 - Sapporo

And of course, my 4th day in Hokkaido started with....

Coffee.

Though nowhere as good as those Mt. Rainer's ones, but still something you can't find in Singapore. The taste is typical of a Starbucks coffee though. Just sweet.

Anyway, we had 3 major attractions packed for the day with no convenience of the car (it's all on the metro/bus at sapporo) and so we headed out early at around 8 plus in the morning for Moerenuma Koen. Getting to the park from the hotel was easy enough. Just hop onto the Toho subway line towards Fukuzumi and alight at Kanjo-Dori Higashi Station and change to bus #69 or #79 Chuo Bus at the bus terminal and get off right at the park's entrance.

There will be a bike rental shop right at the entrance, and you may rent a bike if you wish. The park is HUGE! 


 


Not sure if this park will be colourful during the "right" season, but it was rather quiet, peaceful and filled with greens while we're there during the "off-peak" season of late May/early June. 

And of course, the chilly weather calls for yet another milk soft serve!

And you can't leave the park without snapping a shot on THIS pathway in the park. 

Moerenuma Park is opened daily from 7am to 10pm. For more information, visit their website HERE.


And to get to our next attraction on our itinerary (for lunch), we headed to the park's west entrance and took bus #61 from Okadama Koukou stop straight to Sapporo Beer Museum (Hakubutsukan). There's two different bus routes stopping at the SAME stop, so do take note of the direction and the bus's corresponding arrival time. They will be RIGHT ON THE DOT, so you won't need to worry about boarding the wrong bus because you cannot decide if the bus that turns into the stop is serving the route you wish to go. 


The main point of this attraction is actually NOT the hakubutsukan, but the Bier Garten that is located right beside the museum. At the Bier Garten, you can find about 4 or 5 different buildings that each house a different restaurant/cafe providing different kind of food. But since the BF and I were both starving by the time we reached, it's definitely gonna be Genkis Khan (BBQ)!


The interior of the restaurant can get pretty smokey, so you might want to prepare for yourself some hair mist or body mist to get rid of the BBQ smell after you're done with lunch. 

And of course, you can't do without beer at the Bier Garten, right? Nobody cares it's mid-afternoon. Everyone gets a pint. Well, almost

Ittadakimasu! 

Although not the most pocket-friendly meal (but not exorbitant either, don't worry), you definitely have to give this a try when you're at the bier garten. DO NOT TRY TO SAVE ON THIS MEAL. Go save on other stuff, but not these meats!


Looking very gleeful with a tummy full of meat!



Well, to make our trip a little more "worthwhile", we did check out the museum, and also grabbed a drink and "cheese testing platter" but I have to say, if you have other attractions to rush to, just skip the museum altogether. 

The next attraction to check off on our itinerary was probably the highlight of the day, Shiroi Koibito Park! The initial plan was to take a 25 minutes walk from the kakubutsukan back to Bus Center Mae Station and take the Tozai Line to Miyanosawa Station, and the park should be a 10 minutes walk away. But since the bus stop right at the hakubutsukan looked way too tempting, and there's chuo bus service that brings us to another subway station (albeit not on Tozai Line I think, but still we can always switch the lines midway), we decided to take the less calorie-spending way of getting to the park. 

And it's just so that there's a direct bus service from the bus terminal beside the subway station, that brings you directly to the theme park! 

I believe most of us will try to first map out the route to take using googlemap while planning the itinerary and I strongly suggest you do another quick check on googlemap while you're out and about in Japan as chances are you'll get a much quicker, more convenient route via their very extensive and reliable bus service instead of wholly on the subway and foot. 

Although I have no idea what's the direct link to cats, but it seems like the theme of cats also makes up a vital part of the park. You're supposed to follow the cat paw prints on the floor to to complete your self-tour of the park. 

You can also sign yourself up for a cookie-making workshop and bring back the cookies you've baked. But the staff here aren't very fluent in English (they do have Mandarin speaking service staff though) so do take that into consideration.


There's a cafe on the 1st floor (if I've remembered it accurately) selling cooked food like curry rice, and also another cafe at the top floor selling very yummy looking sweet treats!


While you're here, I'll highly recommending trying their dark cocoa drink. Do remember to add in a few drops of the orange liquor for a more yummilicious flavour. 


And of course before you leave the park, head over to the store at 1st floor and spend all your money away! Haha, just kidding! But seriously, every single edible product that's for sale is just so damn delicious.

Shiroi Koibito Park is open daily from 9am to 6pm.
For more information, visit their website HERE.


And while walking around in the park, I spot this hamburger shop on the opposite side of the road and we decided to pop by for a quick meal. 


And when you see hamburger in Japan, do not expect to get meat patties sandwiched in between two buns. Usually, their hamburgers are just the meat (beef & pork combined) patty. And since I couldn't eat beef, I went for some yummy chicken! 

And after filling our tummies with some flavourful and tender meat, we retraced our footsteps (with a lot of help from googlemap, of course) back to Odori/Tanukikoji Shopping Street area.


Couldn't help but took a photo of their safety barrier. It's Chopper! There's Hello Kitty, and many other cute animals as well! If only we get such cute safety barriers in Singapore too. 


And because the 10 degree Celsius rainy weather was just too cold for us, we jumped into a random ramen shop located beside the shopping street for our 2nd dinner meal of the nice.
Though not the best ever ramen you can get, and with noodles a little too hard for my liking, at about half the price you'll usually pay for a bowl of ramen in Singapore, this is almost twice as good!

So this basically marked the end of our Day 4 in Sapporo, do stay tuned for Day 5! :)

Till then,
Mia Foo

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Mia's Recipe: Healthy Applesauce Chocolate Muffins

Well, I should be putting up my Day 4 of my Hokkaido trip travelogue, but I have to say, travelogues is a b*tch. Anyway, it's going to be up real soon, so do stay tune! 

Meanwhile, let's look at some healthy sweet treats!
Craving for some chocolatey sweetness but not the ridiculous amount of fats or calories? 
Let me share with you my trick - APPLESAUCE! 
Yes, you can replace butter with just applesauce (doesn't work for every kind of baked goods though) and get equally yummy baked goods at just a fraction of the calories! 

So let's get over the ingredients so we can get started. 
For roughly 12 muffins, you'll need:

65g all purpose flour
60g wholewheat flour
42g unsweetened cocoa powder
200ml plain greek yoghurt
1 large egg
130ml unsweetened applesauce
60ml raw honey
80g baking stevia blend (or castor sugar)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract

optional:
(as much or as little) chocolate chips - I've used about 90g and thought I should have used MORE

You should add more if you're following my level of sweetness for the muffin batter. Otherwise, increase sweetness of the batter (100g sugar and 80ml honey) and add less of the chocolate chips or skip it totally. 

This is pretty much a one bowl recipe, or two, if you do not wish to sift your dry ingredients. Because cocoa powder is always quite lumpy, you would really have to sift out the lumps OR give it a good whisk in a bowl before adding it into the rest of the ingredients for your batter to mix well. So yeah, 1 bowl with sifting, or no sifting with two bowls, take your pick. 

Anyhow, add all of your wet ingredients into a bowl and mix until well combined, before sifting/adding in the dry ingredients and fold until you do not see huge lumps of flours (but not yet fully mixed) before adding in the chocolate chips and folding until JUST combined. You DO NOT want to over-mix your batter.
Then, distribute the batter equally into 12 muffin cups/tins and make sure they're UNLINED but coated with non-stick cooking spray or some oil. This is how you get your muffins to "climb" up as they bake and give you the cutesy muffin top. Otherwise you'll just end up with cupcakes, and that's no fun.

Another important factor to make sure you get the muffin top, is the baking temperature. First, bake your muffins at about 220 degree Celsius for about 5 minutes (and you start seeing your muffin top forming) before lowering the oven temperature back to 190 degree celsius and baking for another 15 minutes or so or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. 


You would probably want to bake your muffins using such tins instead of baking them in standalone silicon cups (like in the background) as not only those baked in silicon cups do not "climb" as high, the muffin top also OVERFLOWED as they formed, giving me some really ugly muffins. 


Having the side extensions of the tin will help to hold up your muffin top and give you really nice and even overhanging top like so. :)

With 90g of the chocolate chips, 1 muffin will set you back by just 110 kcals and if you add more stevia and honey and omit the chocolate chips altogether, it would be just 82 kcals! Where else to find such a diet-friendly treat? 
And do note that this is a diet-friendly treat, there is absolutely NO butter in this recipe and while applesauce (and greek yoghurt) can help to give you soft and moist muffins, they cannot give you the buttery, rich fragrance of a standard bakery muffin. 
So, try to manage your expectations alright? 
It's so low in calories! What else can you wish for, right?

Till then,
Mia Foo

Friday, 25 August 2017

#fitnessfriday - Wellaholic Prohydrolase Whey Protein [Sponsored]

Quoting Dr. Spencer Nadolsky, the doctor who lifts, "Protein is King".

Proteins are the main building blocks of our body, and makes up an important component of almost every cell in the body. Other than being an important building block of our bones, muscles tissues, cartilage, skin, and blood, protein is also found in our hair and nails. Almost everything important, yes? And having said that, we can even conclude that life will not be possible without protein. Along with fats and carbohydrates, protein is a macronutrient, which our body needs in relatively large amounts to function normally. However, unlike its two macro-counterparts, our body does not store protein.

Most official nutrition organisations recommend a fairly modest protein intake of about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, and this would be the bare minimum we all should be taking each day in order to not die remain functionally healthy (if there's such a term). However, if you're fairly active, looking to lose weight (or rather, fats), or hitting middle age, the amount of protein you should be getting daily would jolly well be much higher than just that miserly 0.8g/kg body weight. 

Here's a simple calculator to get a very rough gauge of how much protein you should be aiming for each day. As a fairly active woman (I walk almost 2000 steps and burns 130 kcals every single time I visit the washroom, and also hits the gym after work 4x a week), I target to hit about 134g of protein each day. And I've NEVER manage to accomplish it solely just based on whole foods. 
Let me work this out for you by quickly listing the amount of protein you get from basic, whole foods that I usually enjoy eating. 

1 large hardboiled egg (50g) - 6g
100g chicken/pork - 27g 
100g fish - 22g
100g tofu - 8g
100g baked beans - 6g
100g edamame - 11g
100g vegetables (kale, broccoli, spinach etc) - about 3 to 4g
100g fruits (banana, guava, strawberry) - <1g to <3g
1 slice wholemeal bread - 3 - 4g
1 cup (195g) brown rice, cooked - 5g 
200ml Marigold's HL milk - 10g

And so with my usual carbs-heavy diet, even with mindful eating (of trying to choose higher protein alternatives), I could barely even hit 100g of protein intake based on whole foods. 


And I'm glad to say my #eatclean-but-still-need-to-eat-134g-of-protein life got so much easier when I found Wellaholic WX ProHydrolase Whey.

Our W+ ProHydrolase Whey contains 26 grams of whey isolate fortified with ProHydrolase which provides up to 3 times more protein absorption and up to 55 times more Amino Acids in the bloodstream compared on other leading protein enzymes. With ProHydrolase Whey Advanced, you can reduce your serving size without any real loss of protein compared to an equivalent serving of a conventional product without ProHydrolase.
-credits to wellaholic.com-


At 26g of protein per 33.5g serving, the WX Prohydrolase Whey is about 78% protein, which is a pretty impressive yield. Best of all, it is sweetened with stevia and contains less than 1g of sugar. 1 serving of 26g protein will only "cost" you 120 kcals that is actually pretty negligible unless you're on an extreme caloric deficit diet of perhaps less than 1000 kcals, which you shouldn't

As we already know, not all proteins (supplement) are created equal. And as of now, we can conclude that the internet has came to a consensus that whey is the best choice of fast-acting, anabolic protein shake you can go for as a pre or post workout supplement, unless of special dietary requirements. And yet, the equation does not end here. Not all whey are created equal. 
While I'm not choosing sides for the battle between WPC (concentrate) and WPI (isolate), and would prefer to think that each has their own benefits, WPI has always been the "better" option, mainly for its quicker absorption, higher protein content and negligible (or no) lactose content as compared to WPC. Thus, this is extremely important for individuals who are lactose intolerant, or those on a caloric-restrictive diet who wants to get the most protein out of their calorie intake. 


And of course, since it's whey protein isolate we're talking about here, WX Prohydrolase Whey has got your BCAAs (branch chain amino acids) and EAAs (essential amino acids) covered. 
As we all know, proteins are made out of smaller molecules called amino acids and while some of these amino acids can be produced by our body, there's also some that we can't and need to get them from our food sources. And these are our EAAs. 
As for BCAAs, they act as nitrogen carriers, assisting our muscles in synthesizing other amino acids. BCAAs also stimulate production of insulin, which allows blood sugar to be taken up by our muscle cells and used as energy source. Most importantly, BCAAs is also anti-catabolic (prevent muscle breakdown), helping our body to retain our lean muscle tissue. This pretty much means that BCAAs is very important for those cardio-bunnies on a caloric-deficit diet. 
You really wouldn't want to burn your muscles instead of fats. 


And as the product name goes, what sets this apart from the usual protein powders, is the addition of the digestive enzyme ProHydrolase. A recent clinical study has shown that taking whey and ProHydrolase together provided 20% more amino acids than taking whey protein itself.

Ideally, for whey protein to help promote muscle growth, it should be broken down to the tetra-peptide level within 90 minutes to be absorbed and used by the body. Larger protein fragments cannot be absorbed and thus becomes food for micro flora in the large intestine, creating digestive discomforts like bloating and cramping, which is easily confused with lactose intolerance. 
But do note that there is no lactose present in whey protein isolate, so if your "lactose intolerant" symptoms persist even after switching from whey protein concentrate to whey protein isolate, it might have been peptide sensitivity all along. 

ProHydrolase, when taken together with a whey protein supplement, encourages pre-digestion of the protein, hence allowing release of the full content of the EAAs for building muscles and improving muscle recovery. The pre-digestion also ensures formation of smaller peptides, thus reducing the issues of peptide sensitivity. 

And lastly, the factor that is both subjective and yet of utmost importance; the taste. 
No protein is a good protein when you can't even stomach it, right? 
Unlike many of the protein powders in the market, which tends to be really sweet with either tons of added sugar or sugar substitutes, WX Prohydrolase Whey didn't seem to have gone crazy with the stevia. Having cocoa powder listed as the 2nd ingredient right after WPI also looked extremely promising to me (in case you didn't know, ingredients are always listed in descending order of predominance by weight). 
And it didn't disappoint! I usually mix it with 1 serving of HL milk (200 ml) and it taste like legit chocolate milk/iced cocoa. The first few sips even tasted a little dark (like dark chocolate) before the sweetness of stevia kicks in. On days I wish to save up on that additional 100 kcals from milk, I'll mix the powder with iced water and it still taste pretty okay as well, albeit the distinctive chemical aftertaste of stevia might be more prominent in this case. 
This product is also super blendable, and you can easily mix it up in a cup with a spoon (no need for a shaker at all) and enjoy your protein drink totally lump-free. 


WX Prohydrolase Whey comes in Chocolate & Vanilla flavours and is retailing for $79 per pack of 744g (about 22 servings) on Wellaholic right HERE.

Wellaholic also carries other awesome fitness supplement in their premium fitness range, manufactured in the USA, in an FDA-certified facility with over 30 years of manufacturing experience. For more information, visit their website at www.wellaholic.com/

Till then,
Mia Foo
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