Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Z for zucchini for #AtoZChallenge: zucchini bok choy stir-fry recipe

Zucchini, also known as courgette / 夏南瓜, is a summer squash. A funny poem about zucchini and summer entitled Attack of the Squash People by Marge Piercy goes:
"And thus the people every year
in the valley of humid July
did sacrifice themselves to the long green phallic god
and eat and eat and eat.
They're coming, they're on us,
the long striped gourds,
the silky babies, the hairy adolescents,
the lumpy vast adults like the trunks of green elephants.

Recite fifty zucchini recipes!
Zucchini tempura; creamed soup;
sauté with olive oil and cumin,
tomatoes, onion; frittata;
casserole of lamb; baked topped with cheese;
marinated; stuffed; stewed;
driven through the heart like a stake.

Get rid of old friends:
they too have gardens and full trunks.
Look for newcomers:
befriend them in the post office,
unload on them and run.
Stop tourists in the street.
Take truckloads to Boston.
Give to your Red Cross.
Beg on the highway:
please take my zucchini,
I have a crippled mother at home with heartburn.

Sneak out before dawn to drop them in other people's gardens,
in baby buggies at church doors.
Shot, smuggling zucchini into mailboxes, a federal offense.
With a suave reptilian glitter
you bask among your raspy fronds sudden and huge as alligators.
You give and give too much, like summer days limp with heat,
thunderstorms bursting their bags on our heads,
as we salt and freeze and pickle for the too little to come."

Zucchini contains useful amounts of folate / folic acid (24 μg/100 g), potassium (280 mg/100 g) and vitamin A (384 IU [115 μg]/100 g). 

While looking for star anise (for sea cucumber recipe) at Bishan NTUC Fairprice Finest, I came across yellow zucchini - products of Malaysia. Since it has been produced regionally, I asked myself, "why not try a new dish with zucchini?"

zucchini bok choy stir-fry recipe by ServicefromHeart

For #AtoZChallenge on 2014 April 30 Wed, I lovingly present a recipe of zucchini bok choy stir-fry.

zucchini bok choy stir-fry recipe by ServicefromHeart
Dear loves it, he describes zucchini as being slightly similar to aubergine / eggplant.

Servings: 2
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 7 minutes or until crispy tender

♥ 1 zucchini (夏南瓜), washed & julienned
♥ 2 bok choy (小白菜), washed & cut
♥ 5 cherry tomatoes (樱桃番茄)
♥ 1 tbsp olive oil (橄榄油)
♥ 1 tbsp peanut butter (花生酱)
♥ 1 knob ginger (), minced
♥ 5 cloves garlic (蒜头), minced
♥ 1 tsp dried shrimp (虾米), minced
♥ 1 tsp DOM Bénédictine (法国廊酒)
♥ pepper (胡椒粉) to taste

1. Wash & cut zucchini & bok choy.
2. Sautee ginger, garlic, dried shrimp with heated olive oil until fragrant.
3. Add zucchini, peanut butter, DOM, pepper.
4. Add bok choy & stir-fry until cooked.
5. Garnish with cherry tomatoes.

zucchini bok choy stir-fry recipe by ServicefromHeart

♥ If you buy green color zucchini, Choose bright green color one with a max length of 25-30 cm. Larger ones may be bitter.
♥ May I also suggest an easy recipe of zucchini soup with meatballs?

zucchini bok choy stir-fry recipe by ServicefromHeart

Check also our other #5minutemeal recipes.

With love,

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Y for yogurt for #AtoZChallenge: classic yogurt salad recipe

Friends and people in Turkey, Greek, Eastern Europe, India have commonly enjoyed classic yogurt salad. I have to acknowledge Rani, an Indian stall, for inspiring me to include the classic salad as a frequent dish item in our family meals, starting in late 2013. Baby Ren's Daddy loves it a lot.

classic yogurt salad recipe by ServicefromHeart

Hard-working students, ambitious career professionals, and multi-tasking mothers love how very fast and easy this recipe is to prepare.

For #AtoZChallenge on 2014 April 29 Tue, I lovingly present a recipe of classic yogurt salad by ServicefromHeart. 

Servings: 2
Preparation time: < 5 minutes

♥ 1 Japanese cucumber
♥ 1 red onion
♥ 5 tbsp low-fat plain / Greek yogurt
♥ 1/2 tsp black pepper
♥ 1 tbsp fresh cilantro (coriander), finely chopped

Other optional ingredients:
♥ carrot
♥ tomatoes
♥ blueberry
♥ sesame seeds
... over 100 salad ingredients!

1. Peel the Japanese cucumber, onion and chop into bite-size chunks.
2. Mix with yogurt and pepper.
3. Garnish with cilantro.
4. Serve immediately or put into the fridge before serving. It will taste better!

classic yogurt salad recipe by ServicefromHeart

♥ For variations, substitute cilantro with 1-2 tbsp fresh parsley or 1 tbsp fresh dill (莳萝) or 1 tsp fresh mint (薄荷).
♥ If you have more time, after chopping cucumber, put into freezer for up to 30 minutes or until just starting to freeze for crunchier cucumber.

Check also our other #5minutemeal recipes, especially for salad

With love,

Monday, 28 April 2014

X for XO for #AtoZChallenge: easy XO fried rice recipe

XO stands for eXtra Old for cognac - a variety of brandy liquor - that has been stored for a minimum of 6 years (from 2016 onward, a minimum of 10 years).

Cognac, named after the town Cognac in France, must be twice distilled in copper pot stills and aged at least two years in Limousin or Tronçais oak barrels.

Since brandy has been used for:
♥ cake & pie toppings
♥ steak sauces
♥ soups such as onion soup
♥ Christmas pudding
♥ XO fish head bee hoon (thick noodle) in Singapore 
May I recommend using XO cognac for simple home-cooked dishes like fried rice? 

XO fried rice by ServicefromHeart
Since I was using leftover rice for baby Ren - which I purposely cooked softer, my fried rice was slightly soggy.

For #AtoZChallenge on 2014 April 28 Mon, I lovingly present a recipe of XO fried rice by ServicefromHeart.

XO fried rice by ServicefromHeart
Colorful rice grains of mixed white, red, brown rice

Serving: 1
Preparation & cook time: < 15 minutes

♥ 1 bowl pre-cooked rice, dried & chilled
♥ 2 tbsp olive oil
♥ 1 tbsp sesame oil
♥ 2 cloves garlic, minced
♥ 1 slice ginger, minced
♥ 1 tsp anchovies powder
♥ 1 tsp dark soy sauce (kecap manis)
pepper, to taste
♥ 1 tbsp spring onions, chopped
♥ 2 tbsp XO cognac
♥ 1 egg
♥ 4 scallops (optional)
♥ 1 carrot, diced (optional)
♥ 1 stalk celery, sliced (optional)
♥ 1 tbsp peas (optional)

1. Heat oil using high heat to stir fry garlic and ginger until fragrant.
2. Sauté vegetables (carrots, celery, peas)
3. Add scallops. After a side is cooked, turn them over.
4. Add rice, pepper, anchovies powder, dark soy sauce. Stir to mix well.
5. Coat with sesame oil and XO for a shiny look. 6. Stir thoroughly.
7. Garnish with spring onions.

1. Use cold and dry cooked rice. You want to use firm rice grains because they are easier to separate while stir-frying them. This choice is important to prevent your fried rice turning out soggy or mushy. To remove moisture, you can either (A) air freshly-cooked rice and then refrigerate the rice for a minimum of two hours or (B) use leftover rice from the night before.

2. Use medium to long grain rice such as medium grain of jasmine rice. Choose the sturdy grains that don't clump together when fried. Avoid short grain sushi rice or glutinous rice, which is softer and tends to stick together.

3. To acquire the smoky, slight burnt flavor, use high heat: a blazing hot pan / wok if possible. Add sufficient amount of oil to prevent your fried rice ingredients from sticking to the surface of pan. While the heat to stir fry our home-cooked version of fried rice may not be as hot as restaurants' ones, we can pre-heat our pan with a lid before adding ingredients.

4. To ensure thorough mixing of flavors and aroma, cook 1 to 2 servings at a time.

5. To have a crunchy texture, include vegetables like celery or long beans as ingredients.

6. For a stronger taste, you can pre-infuse your oil with ginger and garlic overnight.

7. To prevent the fried rice from turning out mushy or soggy, I prefer to separately cook the egg into a sunny side up or an omelette that can be thinly stripped to garnish on top of the fried rice.

Check also our other #5minutemeal recipes.

With love,

Saturday, 26 April 2014

W for wolfberry for #AtoZChallenge: easy spinach soup with wolfberries recipe

Wolfberry is also known as goji berry (枸杞), desert thorn, or matrimony vine. When my eyes feel tired from staring too much into laptop, I remember Mom's advice to have some wolfberries. They are versatile ingredients for tonic soups, porridge or congee, or herbal tea.

Wolfberries go well with a variety of dishes, simple ones include spinach soup.

In Southeast Asia, we often have spinach soup cooked with 3 different kinds of eggs: normal egg, salty egg, century egg. Home-cooked version of thin and clear spinach soup can be egg-free and simpler.

For #AtoZChallenge on 2014 April 26 Sat, I lovingly present a recipe of easy spinach soup with wolfberries by ServicefromHeart.

easy spinach soup with wolfberries recipe by ServicefromHeart

Serving: 2 as a side dish
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 8 minutes

♥ 1 packet spinach: sharp spinach (苋菜) or round spinach (菠菜)
♥ 1 tbsp anchovies / ikan bilis / ikan teri, rinsed
♥ 1 tbsp wolfberries
♥ 1 honey date (optional)
♥ 3 sticks imitation crab meat

1. Bring water to boil with anchovies and honey date to acquire salty and sweet tastes, respectively.
2. Before boiling, add wolfberies and imitation crab meat.
3. Meanwhile, wash thoroughly spinach.
4. After boiled, add spinach. Stir. Be careful not to overcook.

easy spinach soup with wolfberries recipe by ServicefromHeart

♥ It is best to consume this meal immediately. Mom warned not to eat left-over spinach dishes. Why? Spinach is rich in nitrate(which is reduced to nitrite) and Fe2+ (oxidation of Fe2+ results in Fe3+).
♥ Rinsing and soaking wolfberries are also important to remove pesticides and fungicides. 

Other recipes that I love:
♥ Nirmala Ganesh's spinach soup at Lil Spice & Lil Stir
♥ Wiffy's Chinese spinach in superior broth at Noob Cook

Check also our other #5minutemeal recipes.

With love,

Friday, 25 April 2014

V for vegetables for #AtoZChallenge: homemade vegetable & fruit soak for washing

Do you grow your own fruits & vegetables? If yes, I am really envious of you. For many of us who rely on commercially produced fruits & vegetables, there are concerns of pesticide residues found on the skins of many fruits & vegetables.

homemade vegetable & fruit soak for washing by ServicefromHeart

The Dirty Dozen chart put out by the EWG (US-based Environmental Working Group) lists the fruits and vegetables most impacted by chemical pesticides and fertilizers.

Image is a courtesy of Cybele Masterman @ Blah Blah Magazine

Watch Video
Dr. Sanjay Gupta tours a grocery store to show us which foods have the highest levels of pesticide residue.

While the soft skins of fruits are edible and contain nutrients, I often peel them away. 

In the past, I just used water to clean our fruits & vegetables before consuming. Now, I try to wash more thoroughly using homemade wash, thanks to vinegar & salt.

In brief, wash - peel - wash - cut into bite chunks - eat.

homemade vegetable & fruit soak for washing by ServicefromHeart
Colorful vegetables and fruits always make us happy!
homemade vegetable & fruit soak for washing by ServicefromHeart


Vinegar is typically 4-18% acetic acid by mass. Table vinegar tends to be more diluted (4% to 8% acetic acid).

PRO of vinegar:
♥ have antibacterial and anti mold properties.
♥ The acetic acid in vinegar can effectively kill mycobacteria, even highly drug-resistant strains (PMID: 24570366)
♥ remove clogs from drains. Agnes has used vinegar to remove stains from toilet bowl.

Please be careful:
Acetic acid is a strong eye, skin, and mucous membrane irritant. Concentrated acetic acid is corrosive, please use dilution with water.


homemade vegetable & fruit soak for washing by ServicefromHeart

For #AtoZChallenge on 2014 April 25 Fri, I lovingly present a recipe to make homemade vegetable fruit soak:

♥ 200 ml white vinegar (白醋)
♥ 800 ml filtered water (过滤水)

1. Add water to a large stainless steel pot with a lid. The lid helps to minimize the irritant nature of vinegar.
2. Add white vinegar following a ratio of 1:4 for vinegar:water. Stir to mix.
3. If the vegetables or fruits float, swirl them around.
4. Soak duration varies. For green vegetables & lettuces, 5 minutes. For delicate fruits (e.g. strawberries, blueberries), 5-10 minutes. For others (e.g. broccoli, bell peppers), do not soak for more than 30 minutes to minimize the loss of nutrients.
5. Gently scrub & rinse well. Use a colander if possible.  
6. Air dry for a while before storing them in the fridge. Wet vegetables will not last long, alternatively use clean kitchen cloth towels to wipe. 

Other tips that I love:
♥ DIY Fruit and Vegetable Wash by Mary Younkin @ Barefeet in the Kitchen
♥ DIY Homemade Vegetable Wash/ Preserver by Kearna @ Fabulessly Frugal
homemade fruit vegetable spray by ServicefromHeart
♥ Do not soak mushrooms because they absorb water. Use a brush & invert the cap to remove dust & dirts under running water.

homemade vegetable & fruit soak for washing by ServicefromHeart

Check also our other #5minutemeal recipes.

With love,

Thursday, 24 April 2014

U for udang for #AtoZChallenge: udang tim DOM (steamed DOM prawns)

Hello seafood lovers! Spending my early years in Indonesia - an archipelago with 18,307 islands*, I grew up loving seafood greatly. We had them fresh and relatively inexpensive as compared to landlocked regions. 

* according to a 2002 survey by National Institute of Aeronautics and Space of Indonesia (LAPAN).

Udang is an Indonesian name for prawn. Initially, I wanted to prepare wasabi prawn but changed my mind as its recipe requires deep frying. Our little kitchen has no separation from our living room, so I agree not to deep-fry anything, as it will cause the couch and living room floor turning oily.

Quoting Plato, "necessity is the mother of invention," I am motivated to think of ways to prepare delicious prawn dish without deep frying.

For #AtoZChallenge on 2014 April 24 Thu, I lovingly present a recipe of udang tim DOM / 法国廊酒蒸 / steamed DOM prawns.

steamed DOM prawns by ServicefromHeart


DOM Bénédictine (法国廊酒) is a Made-in-France medicinal herbal liqueur beverage (1) developed in 1510 in a Benedictine monastery in Abbey of Fécamp, Normandy, France, and later (2) rediscovered by Alexandre Le Grand in 1863. 

DOM stands for "Deo Optimo Maximo" ("To God, most good, most great") and is a commonly used abbreviation at the beginning of documents of the Benedictine Order. Aspiring like the highly dedicated manual & intellectual work of the Benedictine monks for God, we sincerely hope to produce delicious and nutritious meals with optimum and maximum love for our loved ones.

While the exact recipe of this 40%-alcohol liqueur is a closely guarded secret hitherto, we know that it is distilled in antique hammered copper pot stills and aged in oak barrels for four months. 

Nowadays, the ingredients include 27 ingredients. The list includes herbs and spices such as angelica, hyssop, juniper, myrrh, saffron, aloe, arnica & cinnamon.

When I just delivered baby Ren, I was given several bottles of DOM. The generations of our parents and grandparents believe that luxurious DOM helps mothers to recover from childbirth, especially during confinement. Thank you for such a gift with over 500 years of tradition! 


Servings: 2
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes or until prawns are cooked

♥ 6 large prawns (known as shrimps in US)
♥ 3 cloves garlic (蒜头), minced OR 1 small knob ginger (), sliced
♥ 1 tbsp sesame oil (麻油)
♥ 1 tsp DOM Bénédictine (法国廊酒)
♥ 1 tsp salt ()
Below are optional:
♥ 1 tsp wolfberries / Goji berries (枸杞子), washed & soaked
♥ 1 tsp light soy sauce (kecap asin)
♥ 1 tsp coriander / cilantro (胡荽叶) / parsley (香菜), finely chopped

1. Trim the head and tail end of the prawns using a pair of scissors.
2. Devein both back & under sides using a tooth pick.
3. Soak deveined prawns in salted water (to enhance the texture) for 10 minutes, drain & rinse.
4. Place ginger / garlic at the bottom of bowl, prawns on top of ginger. 
5. Sprinkle DOM and sesame oil on top of prawns.
6. Steam at high heat until prawns cooked & turn orange (check once in a while to prevent overcooking). Cover bowl with aluminum foil.

steamed DOM prawns by ServicefromHeart

Check also our other #5minutemeal recipes.

With love,

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

T for tomato for #AtoZChallenge: chopped tomato salad recipe by ServicefromHeart

For #AtoZChallenge on 2014 April 23 Wed, I prepare an easy chopped tomato salad recipe. Hope you enjoy it!

Tomato is rich in lycopene, a powerful natural antioxidant, which is good for our health. Tomato consumption is potentially beneficial to reduce cardiovascular risk associated with type 2 diabetes.

Servings: 2
Preparation time: < 5 minutes

♥ 6 ripe plum tomatoes, diced
♥ 2 scallions, cut into rings
♥ 2 tbsp sesame oil
♥ 2 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
♥ 1/2 tsp black pepper

1. Mix vinegar, sesame oil, black pepper in a bowl.
2. Chop tomatoes and scallions. Mix with the dressing.

This simple and light healthy salad recipe is inspired by the recipe of chopped tomato salad with scallions from the book 500 salads by Susannah Blake (page 68). Thank you!

♥ Try also variations by substituting scallions (daun bawang) with basil leaves (daun kemanggi).
♥ Serve this salad with garlic bread or a bowl of hot soup.
♥ Always use ripe tomatoes to avoid any potential plant toxicity. Normally, I discard the green leaves.

Check also our other #5minutemeal recipe.

With love,

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

S for strawberry for #AtoZChallenge: strawberry macaroni salad recipe

Strawberries -- succulent and sweet -- are one of baby Ren's favorite. Adorned with only less than 8 front baby teeth, he has enjoyed strawberries since he turned 8 months old. We introduced a little piece of his finger size, then two little pieces, then a strawberry, which is cut into little pieces, few days later 2 strawberries and he always wants more! Since strawberries are an excellent choice for getting vitamin C, flavonoids, folate and fibers, we are happy that he appreciates strawberries. 

strawberry macaroni pasta salad ServicefromHeart

I love preparing baby tomatoes, also known as cherry tomatoes or grape tomatoes, as one of our salad ingredients. They come handy for little fingers, who love practicing pincer movements in a path of becoming future prolific guitarists or mechanics or surgeons. We also love salad as a warm meal, all rich colors, tastes and textures mixed in a bowl or a plate.

Coriander, also known as cilantro, Chinese Parsley, contains antioxidants and anti-bacterial chemicals. Coriander is stronger than parsley in fragrance, and I love it with Hainanese chicken rice in Singapore. This meal will be the first one in which I introduced coriander to baby Ren. It is funny to see a finely-chopped coriander piece on his cheek, while he points indicating he wants more of his meal.

For #AtoZChallenge on 2014 April 22 Tue, I lovingly present a recipe of strawberry macaroni pasta salad by ServicefromHeart. This recipe is inspired by a strawberry aficionado-in-making, baby Ren!

strawberry macaroni salad recipe by ServicefromHeart

Servings: 2 (2 adults + 1 toddler)
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 5-8 minutes

♥ 175 g dried macaroni pasta
♥ 1/2 tsp salt
♥ 8 cherry tomatoes, quartered
♥ 1 water apple
♥ 1 tbsp fresh coriander, finely chopped
♥ 1 tbsp sesame oil
♥ 1 tbsp olive oil
♥ 1 tbsp sesame seed
♥ 1/4 tsp pepper
♥ 1 clove garlic, minced
♥ 1 lettuce 

1. Gently whisk dressing of garlic, pepper, oil, coriander, sesame seed. Stir until smooth.
2. Cook macaroni pasta in boiling salted water according to package instructions*. 
3. Meanwhile, wash thoroughly lettuce, strawberries, tomatoes, water apple. Cut them into bite chunks (toddler-size).
4. When macaroni pasta is ready, drain and immediately combine with dressing.

* It takes 5 minutes to reach al dente, but I cooked longer so the macaroni would be softer for toddlers.

♥ For better fragrance, lightly toast sesame seeds over medium heat. For toddler recipe, I skip this stem to minimize too much heat in the meal.
♥ Since this recipe is intended for a toddler, the taste is mild. If you want stronger taste, you can use higher quantity for dressing ingredients. ♥  Some people may be allergic to strawberries, check with doctors if white-fruited strawberry cultivars (without Fra a1 allergen) are okay for them.

strawberry macaroni salad recipe by ServicefromHeart

Other recipes that I love:
♥ Bridget's sweet strawberry pasta (Bake at 350)
♥ Kevin Lynch's strawberry and avocado spinach salad in raspberry balsamic vinaigrette at Closet Cooking
♥ Ali Ebright's avocado strawberry spinach salad with poppy seed dressing at Gimme Some Oven 

For faster-to-ready meals, see also our other #5minutemeal recipes.

With love,

Monday, 21 April 2014

R for rice for #AtoZChallenge: steamed rice with peas wolfberries cheese recipe

Since my childhood, I have paid special respect to farmers worldwide, they are my heroes and heroines. My kiddy picture of farmers are grown-ups who brave the hot suns and cold rains, endlessly bending their bodies to plant paddies so that we can have a bowl of rice on our dining table for every meal. I love drawing such a scene for my drawing class assignments, with a backdrop of blue mountains, dancing coconut tree and the yellow orange sun. Not to forget a little hut (pondok) where the farmers can take a rest.

 steamed rice with peas wolfberries cheese recipe by ServicefromHeart

For #AtoZChallenge on 2014 April 21 Mon, I lovingly present a recipe of steamed rice with peas wolfberries cheese by ServicefromHeart.

 steamed rice with peas wolfberries cheese recipe by ServicefromHeart

Serving: 2
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes (depends on your rice cooker)

♥ 3/4 cup white rice grain
♥ 3/4 cup frozen garden peas
♥ 1/4 cup wolfberries
♥ 1 slice cheese

Note: use rice cooker cup for measurement.

1. Rinse garden peas and wolfberries. Soak to thaw and makes puffy, respectively.
2. Rinse and gently rub rice grains.
3. Add rice grains and water in 1:2 ratio into rice cooker pot. Add peas and wolfberries.
4. Once rice is cooked, quickly transfer the rice cooker pot out.*
5. Add a slice of cheese. Quickly cover the pot lid to melt the cheese. After 1 minute, gently stir the rice.

* I am using an antique rice cooker, this step is to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Check also our other #5minutemeal recipes.

With love,

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Q for quinoa for #AtoZChallenge: warm nutty quinoa recipe with avocado and tomato

Quinoa is high in protein and lacks gluten, which makes it a wonderful choice for vegetarians, vegans and people with gluten intolerance.

warm nutty quinoa recipe with avocado and tomato by ServicefromHeart

The quinoa that we eat are actually quinoa seeds. They appear in red, black or commonly yellowish white (ivory). They are also high in magnesium, iron, phosphorus & dietary fiber. Every 100 g of cooked quinoa contains relatively high amount of (0.24 g) of amino acid lysine (Lys / K), with positively charged (basic) side chain in its biochemical structure. Lys is essential for tissue growth and repair.

Quinoa is also a source of vitamins B2 (riboflavin) and B9 (folate). Riboflavin may help reduce the frequency of migraine attacks through improving the cellular metabolism. Folate is essential for formation and development of new and normal body tissue.

Quinoa - affectionately referred to as the gold of Incas - originates from the Andean region of Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia and Peru, in Latin America. The Incas referred to quinoa as mother of all grains.

In 2013 International Year of Quinoa, The United Nations General Assembly paid special recognition to Andean people of Peru who have prepared "a future sown thousands of years ago" through knowledge and practices of living in sync with mother nature. Harmonious living is one of our values, and I am happy to support such an ancient superfood. Yes, quinoa is listed as one of the superfoods for brains in the book 365 ways to boost your brain power by Carolyn Dean, Valentine Dmitriev, and Donna Raskin. It appears that quinoa is potentially good for our children to learn better, our parents and grandparents to minimize risks of dementia and Alzheimer's diseases, and ourselves to do better work.

For #AtoZChallenge on 2014 April 19 Sat, I lovingly present a recipe of warm nutty quinoa meal with avocado and tomato by ServicefromHeart. While you prepare this meal or enjoy it, listen to El Condor Pasa (If I could). Our favorite versions include the one by Simon & Garfunkel. 

Servings: 4
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

♥ 1 cup quinoa
♥ 2 cups water
♥ 1/4 tsp salt
♥ 1 avocado
♥ 2 ripe tomatoes
♥ 2 tbsp nuts (almond / pistachio / cashew / walnut)
♥ 2 tbsp fresh herbs of basil / parsley
♥ 2 tbsp sesame oil
♥ 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
♥ 1 tsp honey
♥ 1/2 tsp pepper
♥ 1 clove garlic, minced

1. Rinse quinoa thoroughly to remove any toxic saponin.
2. Boil quinoa in salted water over medium heat for  5 minutes. Lower heat and simmer until water is absorbed.
3. Meanwhile, mince garlic, cut avocado and tomatoes into bite chunks. Quickly coat avocado chunks with balsamic vinegar to prevent them from turning dark.
4. After quinoa is cooked, fluff it.
5. Mix warm quinoa with sesame oil, honey, pepper, garlic.
6. Toss the mixture with avocado and tomatoes.
7. Garnish with nuts & herbs.

♥ For better flavor, (1) if you have extra time, before boiling, lightly toast quinoa and nuts separately, until fragrant and (2) boil quinoa in broth instead of water.
♥ Toast over medium or low heat and stir constantly.
♥ Besides using balsamic vinegar, you can also coat avocado chunks with lemon juice.
♥ To fluff quinoa, I prefer using chopsticks - delicate extensions of human fingers. Fork is okay to fluff them too.

Other recipes that I love:
♥ Heidi Swanson's warm and nutty cinnamon quinoa- for breakfast- at 101 Cookbooks
♥ Susan Voisin's quinoa vegetable paella at FatFree Vegan Kitchen
♥ Lydia Walshin's  quinoa salad with tomatoes, feta and parsley at Perfect Pantry
♥ Tara Austen Weaver's China Forbes quinoa  at Tea and Cookies

Check also our other #5minutemeal recipes.

With love,

Friday, 18 April 2014

P for potato for #AtoZChallenge: potato salad with yogurt dressing recipe by ServicefromHeart

Potato is starchy tuberous food that we often enjoy, from french fries to potato soup. Being versatile, potatoes have been used in a wide variety of recipes worldwide. After maize, wheat and rice, potato comes forth as the world's largest food crop.

P for potato for #AtoZChallenge: potato salad with yogurt dressing recipe by ServicefromHeart

The starch of potato is a source of carbohydrate, that fuels our body. For variations in rice-dominating Asian diets, consider serving potatoes as a meal. 

For #AtoZChallenge on 2014 April 18 Fri, I lovingly present a recipe of potato salad with yogurt dressing by ServicefromHeart. Classic potato salad uses mayonnaise and herein we substitute the mayonnaise with nutritious yogurt, especially good for growing children. 

Serving: 2 as a main course, 4 as an appetizer
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

♥ 500 g potatoes (土豆 / kentang)
♥ 1 egg (鸡蛋 / telor)
♥ 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (香醋 / cuka balsamic)
♥ 5 tbsp plain / Greek yogurt (酸奶)
♥ fresh chives (韭菜 / kucai), chopped
♥ 1 scallions (葱 / daun bawang), cut into thin rings

1. Wash potatoes thoroughly. Cook in boiling, salted water for 25-30 minutes or until tender when pierced.
2. Hard boil egg.
3. Meanwhile, wash and cut scallions and chives.
4. Mix vinegar, yogurt, pepper for dressing.
5. Drain cooked potatoes, leave to steam dry.
6. Peel dried cooked potatoes and egg. Cut into bite-size chunks.
7. Gently toss potatoes with dressing.
8. Garnish with scallions and chives.

♥ For variations, substitute scallion with parsley.
♥ Store potatoes in dry and dark place. Do not use the potatoes if sprouts have grown because the sprouts contain toxic compounds known as glycoalkaloids.

If this recipe takes too long to prepare, how is about our other #5minutemeal recipes?

Other recipes that I love:
♥ Danielle Tsi's scallop and potato salad at Beyond The Plate
♥ Luisa Weiss's Ottolenghi's potato salad with yogurt and horseradish at The Wednesday Chef based in Berlin; How is about substituting horseradish with wasabi?
♥  potato battercake of of Xiaomei Pig (小媚猪) at Weekjoy (in Chinese)

With love,

Thursday, 17 April 2014

O for orange for #AtoZChallenge: orange olive recipe

Mandarin oranges (aka mandarines) are sweet, juicy and rich in Vitamin C. Often, during the period of Lunar New Year, we have given and received (exchanged sounds more appropriate here) pairs of Mandarin Oranges or tangerines. They are symbols of abundance and good fortune

orange olive recipe by ServicefromHeart

We love simply eating the Mandarin oranges by peeling its relatively easy-to-peel skin or squeezing them into thirst-quenching 100% orange juice. Besides these options, how to make the bright enthusiastically orange-colored Mandarin oranges more appealing to our taste buds?

orange olive recipe by ServicefromHeart

Black olives are pickled at full maturity. Since fresh olives are naturally very bitter and unpalatable to many people, olives are fermented with lye, brine or packed in salt to remove oleuropein.

orange olive recipe by ServicefromHeart 

My first encounter with black olives was at Pizza Hut in Jakarta. In my childhood, pizza was considered as a treat in my family because it is relatively expensive. Our Daddy and Sister* who are meat lovers, loved our pizza to be topped with more meats, while I appreciated the extra flavors that sliced olives and pineapples added to our pizza.

* She shared some interesting recipes at her Youtube Channel: LukSunshine. When I miss her, I would enjoy watching her videos.

orange olive recipe by ServicefromHeart

For #AtoZChallenge on 2014 April 17 Thu, I lovingly present a recipe of orange olive, that can be served as a snack or a side dish, gently fusing the East and Mediterranean flavors.

orange olive recipe by ServicefromHeart

Let our family member(s) or friend(s), who normally skip fruits, especially sour oranges, enjoy the nutritious and anti-oxidant-rich oranges.

Serving: 2
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes

♥ 2 oranges / Mandarin oranges, diced
♥ 4 black olives, pitted and roughly chopped
♥ 2 stalks celery, sliced and diced
♥ 1 tbsp sesame oil
♥ 3 tbsp plain / Greek yogurt
♥ 1/4 tbsp pepper
♥ 2 tbsp nuts, finely chopped

1. Blanch celery in salted boiling water for about 2 minutes. Refresh in cold water. Drain.
2. Mix oil, yogurt, pepper in a bowl.
3. Peel,pith and dice Mandarin oranges.
4. Toss oranges and celery in yogurt mixture bowl.
5. Garnish with olives and nuts.

orange olive recipe by ServicefromHeart

We can use a type or a variety of nuts for this recipe, and I recommend pistachio for the sweet memory of pistachio gelato in Italy!

Check also our other #5minutemeal recipes.

With love,

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

N for noodle for #AtoZChallenge: quick-to-cook noodles for breakfast

Since Dear has to go to work in early mornings, our favorite noodles are those that are quick-to-cook, but not instant noodles - which were originally invented by Momofuku Ando (吴百福) of Nissin Foods in Japan.

quick-to-cook noodles for breakfast by ServicefromHeart

For #AtoZChallenge on 2014 April 16 Wed, I lovingly introduce 3 favorite quick-to-cook noodles:
♥ misua
♥ kway teow  
♥ udon


Misua, also known as mee sua / 面线, is a variety of dried salted Chinese noodles that cooks in less than 2 minutes in boiling water. 

A symbol of longevity in Chinese culture, misua - a thin wheat flour noodle, is a humble breakfast for a birthday celebration.

How is about a whole wheat misua for a quick yet filling breakfast?

quick-to-cook noodles misua for breakfast by ServicefromHeart


Kway teow /  粿条 is a flat rice noodle that is commonly used for stir-frying, affectionately known as char kway teow / stir-fried kway teow in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia.

We also love to cook a soup using chilled kway teow for breakfast, it is ready in less than 2 minutes!

quick-to-cook noodles for breakfast by ServicefromHeart


Udon / うどん / 烏冬 is thick wheat flour noodle in Japanese cuisine, that is often served in kakejiru broth with tempura. 

I also love stir-fried udon in soy-based sauce, known as yaki-udon.

How is about a plate of no-fry udon with vegetable soup? Enjoy its recipe & the udon!

I buy chilled udon without any pre-packed seasoning, as a homemade seasoning of sesame oil, honey, vinegar, finely chopped fresh cilantro can be easily made.

Add some quick-to-cook vegetables such as celery or bok choy

quick-to-cook noodles for breakfast by ServicefromHeart udon

Soup / juice / extract from steaming fish can be used as a seasoning for udon or some other types of noodles. Keep the soup in fridge for the next day / morning use. Without the need to warm the cold soup, add in hot boiled noodles and stir immediately.

quick-to-cook noodles for breakfast by ServicefromHeart udon

The water used to boil noodles can be used for hard-boiled egg to save gas / electricity for us.

1. Once noodles are cooked, immediately drain the boiling water into a bowl containing a fresh egg. The temperature of the boiling water matters, it has to be high.
2. Cover the bowl to let the egg sits for at least 10 minutes*.
3. Serve the half-boiled egg with a dash of soy sauce and a pinch of freshly ground pepper.

* I prefer my egg to be more cooked but not fully cooked. 

Other recipes that I love:
♥ misua meat ball, known as almondigas / bola-bola in Philippines; bola means ball in Bahasa Indonesia. How is about trying a MSG-free version of misua meat ball @ Mga Luto Ni Lola (My Grandma's Recipes) by GJ Coleco?
Singapore-style half-boiled egg by Jason Ng @ Feast To The World

Check also our other #5minutemeal recipes.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin ♥

With love,

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

M for matcha for #AtoZChallenge: matcha latte recipe by ServicefromHeart

At a beautiful winter night in Seoul - a cosmopolitan capital of South Korea, the funny guy had a cup of coffee latte and I had a cup of green tea latte.

Allowing hot drinks warming both our palms and throats, while watching and admiring people - beautiful fashionable ladies, couples deeply in love, and young-at-heart elderlies - are indeed one of life's simple pleasures.

Matcha, also known as 抹茶 / maccha / green tea in fine powder, has a history dated from the Tang Dynasty in China between 618-907, when people steamed tea leaves to form tea bricks for storage and trade.

Today, matcha has been used in numerous delicacies, including matcha bread, matcha tiramisu, matcha cupcakes, matcha chocolates, matcha ice cream, ..., and the list goes on!

For #AtoZChallenge on 2014 April 15 Tue, I lovingly present a recipe of matcha latte / 抹茶ラテ by ServicefromHeart.

This recipe is very easy and simple to prepare. Preparing this drink may be faster than stopping and queuing at Starbucks for its green tea latte in the morning rush hours. 

green tea matcha latte recipe by ServicefromHeart

The creamy, sweet and bitter combination of green tea latte is a favorite choice to kick start a day or to take a tea break.

green tea matcha latte recipe by ServicefromHeart

Drinking tea without milk gives me the feeling of peace and tranquility*; drinking tea with milk spreads me and others the warmth of our mother earth.
Have also some snacks. Alternatively, serve the latte with a choice of simple easy-to-prepare #5minutemeal recipes.

* Green tea contains theanine that possibly help to relax our minds & improve cognition.

green tea matcha latte recipe by ServicefromHeart

Serving: 1
Preparation time: < 5 minutes

Ingredients for green tea latte that I love:
♥ 1 tsp green tea powder (绿茶)
♥ 1 tsp honey (蜜糖)
♥ 1/2 mug hot water (热水)
♥ 1/2 mug fresh milk (鲜奶)

1.Add green tea powder to hot water & stir thoroughly yet gently.
2. Add milk and honey. Stir. Enjoy ♥ !

When I run out of green tea powder, I use gren tea bag. Using matcha still gives the best taste.

Other recipes that I love:
♥ Green tea latte with foam by
(1) Namiko Chen @ Just One Cookbook
(2) Stacie @ One Hungry Mama
Matcha vanilla banana smoothie by  Jeanine Donofrio & Jack Mathews @ Love and Lemons, Austin, Texas.

With love,

Monday, 14 April 2014

L for lemon for #AtoZChallenge: lemon-flavored tomato mozzarella salad recipe

Lemon is a versatile Citrus fruit, which is rich in vitamin C.

L for lemon for #AtoZChallenge: lemon-flavored tomato mozzarella salad recipe by ServicefromHeart

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) reminds me on Graduation & friends forever. I am very grateful for all the friendships with wonderful, lovely, inspiring people of diverse age and cultural background. You all have opened my eyes and heart to cherish a simply beautiful life.

"As we go on
We remember
All the times we
Had together
And as our lives change
Come whatever
We will still be
Friends Forever"

For #AtoZChallenge on 2014 April 14 Mon, I lovingly present a recipe of an Italian classic salad of tomato and mozzarella, dressed in lemon juice by ServicefromHeart.

We cherish savoring the wonderful combination of sweet red tomatoes, creamy white mozzarella, and fragrant green basil leaves in Italian restaurants. This classic salad originated from Campania in Italy - affectionately known as Insalata Caprese (Capri-style salad) - can be quickly and easily prepared at our home too.

Mozzarella is a semi-soft cheese originally from Southern Italy. Fresh mozzarella is white and high in moisture, hence it is best consumed fast after it is made, preferably by the next day. If we need to buy an imported mozzarella, choose low-moisture mozzarella.

Servings: 2
Preparation time: ~ 5 minutes

♥ 2 ripe tomatoes, sliced
♥ 250 g mozzarella cheese, sliced
♥ fresh basil leaves
♥ 2 tbsp virgin olive oil
♥ 1 tbsp Balsamic vinegar
♥ 1 tbsp lemon juice
♥ 1/2 tsp pepper, freshly ground
♥ 1/4 tsp salt

1. To make salad dressing, mix oil, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, pepper.
2. Slice tomatoes and mozzarella.
3. Arrange slices in small dishes.
4. Sprinkle with dressing.
5. Garnish with basil leaves.

♥ 1 ripe avocado makes a wonderful additional ingredient to this recipe.
♥ To enjoy this recipe as a main course instead of an appetizer, serve with garlic toasts. 

Recipes that I also love:
Meyer lemon pudding @ The Galley Gormet by Nicole
Lemon Macaroon by my sister LukSunshine
Baked Lemon Salmon with Creamy Dill Sauce @ Cooking Classy by Jaclyn
Lemon Pistachio Cupcakes @ A Night Owl by Kimberly

Check also our other #5minutemeal recipe, especially for salad!

With love,

Saturday, 12 April 2014

K for kimchi for #AtoZChallenge: kimchi longan pancake recipe

Hello Korean food fan! Kimchi (김치 in Hangul) is a Korean national dish that has gone global. The most popular kimchi are fremented from napa cabbage, radish, scallion, or cucumber as a main ingredient. My favorite kimchi includes sweet lotus root kimchi, what are yours?

In Singapore, I bought spicy & sour kimchi from NTUC Fairprice. Perhaps one day we can also try the special low-calorie and vitamin-rich version of Korean space kimchi, publicized as starship kimchi, that was designed for the astronauts Ko San / 고산 / 高山 & Yi So-Yeon / 이소연 / 李素妍, the first Korean and the second Asian woman (defined as a female resident of an Asian country) to fly in space.

For #AtoZChallenge on 2014 April 12 Sat, I lovingly present a kimchi longan pancake recipe by ServicefromHeart.

kimchi longan pancake recipe by ServicefromHeart

Thanks to Korean drama series & movies through Korean diaspora, we have been introduced to delicious Korean food.

You can refer to this recipe as partly accidental, yet it brought simple happiness to me and baby Ren who loves it too!

I was given lotus root powder, that I do not know what to do with it. How is about using it to make pancake?

Lotus root is cooling in nature, usually taken during the summer months. Therefore, it can balance the hot and spicy kimchi.

I also need to consume some items that have been residing in our fridge for some days. These include parsley and longan.

The combinations of sweet longan, spicy-tangy kimchi, salty anchovies, and fragrant parsley brings joyful treat to your taste buds.

The texture of longan is also slightly similar to some shrimps that I have eaten.

Parts of this recipe are also inspired by the recipe of green onion pancakes by Holly of BeyondKimchee. In particular, the tips to use cake flour instead of plain flour, so that you can obtain crispier texture of panckage. Later on, I decide to minimize the use of cake flour after realizing that it contains chlorine. 

kimchi longan pancake recipe by ServicefromHeart

Servings: 2
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes

For pancake:
♥ 1/2 cup of plain flour
♥ 1/2 cup of water
♥ 1 tbsp of lotus root powder
♥ 1 egg
♥ kimchi (if you like spicy, add more; else use slight amount)
♥ longan
♥ anchovies (you can also use salt)
♥ pepper
♥ parsley (you can also use green onion / scallion)
For cooking:
♥ olive oil
♥ garlic
For sauce:
♥ 1 tbsp of Thai Fish Sauce
♥ 1/2 tbsp of vinegar
♥ 1 tsp white sesame seeds

1. Mix flour, lotus root powder, pepper, water, in a bowl. Add egg, and re-mix.
2. Add kimchi, anchovies, and peeled cut longan. Mix again.
3. Sautee chopped garlic with 1tbsp olive oil in high heat until fragrant. Cover the frying pan for a while.
4. Turn the heat to between medium and low, add the pancake mixture.
5. Add the pancake mixture onto the frying pan to form a circular or any shape that you want. If you have heart shape stainless steel, your kimchi pancake will look even more romantic!

If you need to prepare a meal faster, please check also our other #5minutemeal recipes, particularly the easy kimchi fried rice.

With love,

Friday, 11 April 2014

J for jiaozi for #AtoZChallenge: jiaozi 饺子 / Chinese dumplings recipe

If the Italians have ravioli, the Chinese have jiaozi dumplings. The versatile jiaozi (饺子) - often wrapped in cornu shapes, are eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Preparing and eating jiaozi are also a tradition to welcome Chinese / Lunar New Year / Spring Festival and other joyful occasions.

For the wedding of my sister in JinTan (金坛), Jiangsu (江苏), China, her in-law family had prepared countless beautifully & uniformly wrapped jiaozi - a symbol of fortune & prosperity.


Before we arrived at Xian - my first visit to Xian, an ancient capital of Chinese kingdoms, Mac Ching told us how she looked forward to having a banquet of jiaozi! She succeeded to set our expectation high.

Chinese dumplings jiaozi recipe by ServicefromHeart

Steamer baskets of jiaozi incessantly arrived at our table in charming presentations of multiple colors, shapes and flavors. 

Chinese dumplings jiaozi recipe by ServicefromHeart

While a meal could be very delicious to the extent that we feel beyond blessed, it was the companionships of dearest friends (hailed from worldwide, thanks to China Synergy Program 2010*) - savoring the jiaozi together that made a dinner unforgettable, imprinted permanently in our hearts and memories.

* It is a great privilege to be a participant of China Synergy Programme; with great privilege comes great responsibility.

"To those whom much is given, much is expected." ~ John F. Kennedy


The Japanese version of dumplings is called gyoza (ギョーザ, ギョウザ). When, I was busy and working hard in California, I once bought some frozen gyoza and packed it with my lunch box. At Urey Hall, La Jolla, I would then heat my lunch box with a microwave*. The gyoza made my relatively meatless lunch box complete!

* Now, I try to minimize using microwave, if possible.


For #AtoZChallenge on 2014 April 11 Fri, I lovingly present a jiaozi recipe.

Chinese dumplings jiaozi recipe by ServicefromHeart

Servings: 40 pieces
Preparation time: ~ half day (I am a beginner, please pardon me!)
Cooking time: 5 minutes or until dumplings are cooked

♥ dumpling wrappers (饺子皮)
♥ water to wet dumpling wrappers
for the filling:
♥ 350g meat (), grounded
♥ 250g shrimp (), grounded
flour* (面粉), e.g. sweet potato flour, corn starch, lotus root powder
♥ 2 eggs (鸡蛋), beaten
♥ 1 firm bean curd / tofu (豆腐)
♥ 2 tbsp sesame oil (麻油)
♥ 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (香醋)
♥ 1 tbsp honey (蜜糖)
♥ 6 cloves garlic (大蒜), minced
♥ 1 tsp ginger ()
grounded white pepper (白胡椒), to taste
salt () / light soy sauce (kecap asin), to taste
♥ 3 stalks scallion (大葱), finely chopped
parsley (香菜), finely chopped (optional)
chives (韭菜), finely chopped (optional)
leek (韭葱), finely chopped (optional)
bamboo shoots (竹笋), finely chopped (optional)
lotus roots (莲藕), finely chopped (optional)
black fungus / wood ear (黑木耳), minced (optional)

* adjust the amount until the filling mixture sticks

1. A faster way to finely chopped vegetables is to use food processor (Pulse mode) in few seconds. Unless you want to have pesto, pulse briefly only and not too many times.
2. Mix all ingredients for filling in a large bowl. Stir thoroughly.
3. Drop a tsp of filling into a wrapper. Fold.
4. (optional) Place dumplings individually on plastic-covered plates. Do not let them stick to each other.
5. (optional) Freeze together on plates. Once frozen, store dumplings in a box separated with plastic so that it will be easy to take them for cooking.
6. In boiled water, add dumplings to cook until they float for 5 minutes.
7. Besides (1) vinegar and sliced ginger sauce, you may also like (2) peanut dip sauce (3) hot chilli oil to accompany jiaozi dumplings. 

Frozen jiaozi dumplings are generous companions for fast-to-prepare noodles, please check our other #5minutemeal recipes.

With love,

PS: This post is also dedicated to my sister and brother-in-law, who both make better jiaozi than me.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

I for ice cream for #AtoZChallenge: strawberry ice cream princess {#ministory}

Ice cream always makes us happy, especially on hot summer days. A frozen yet smoothly textured dessert made of milk or cream, sweetened & flavored with fruits, the making of ice cream requires slow stirring while cooling to prevent large ice crystals from forming.

strawberry ice cream princess {#ministory} by ServicefromHeart

Enjoy a bowl of ice cream bejeweled with generous amounts of fruits.

strawberry ice cream princess {#ministory} by ServicefromHeart

Listen to a beautiful song.
Share a story or ministory to our little friends.
Life is beautiful! 

strawberry ice cream princess {#ministory} by ServicefromHeart  

♥ ♥ ♥

Both baby Ren and I love the song Let It Go from Disney's 2013 animated feature film, Frozen

My favorite version is sung by Lexi Walker. Her beautiful voice is a blend of an innocent little girl & a smart mature young woman.

The original lyric, composed by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez:

"The snow glows white on the mountain tonight
Not a footprint to be seen.
A kingdom of isolation,
and it looks like I'm the Queen
The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside
Couldn't keep it in;
Heaven knows I've tried
Don't let them in,
don't let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don't feel,
don't let them know
Well now they know
Let it go, let it go
Can't hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door
I don't care
what they're going to say
Let the storm rage on.
The cold never bothered me anyway
It's funny how some distance
Makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me
Can't get to me at all
It's time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me,
I'm free!
Let it go, let it go
I am one with the wind and sky
Let it go, let it go
You'll never see me cry
Here I stand
And here I'll stay
Let the storm rage on
My power flurries through the air into the ground
My soul is spiraling in frozen fractals all around
And one thought crystallizes like an icy blast
I'm never going back, the past is in the past
Let it go, let it go
And I'll rise like the break of dawn
Let it go, let it go
That perfect girl is gone
Here I stand
In the light of day
Let the storm rage on
The cold never bothered me anyway!"
♥ ♥ ♥

For #AtoZChallenge on 2014 April 10 Thu, I lovingly present a #ministory of strawberry ice cream princess, inspired by both Frozen and baby Ren, who loves Frozen's song Let It Go and strawberries.

strawberry ice cream princess {#ministory} by ServicefromHeart

During a cold winter, a young beautiful girl has caught cold after spending entire morning working hard outdoor.

When she was about to take a rest inside her tiny hut, which has no fire place, her stepmother shouted at her, "Quick! Make your sister some strawberry ice cream!"

Her sister is actually her stepsister without blood relationship, but the girl loves her sister. She would love to make her sister strawberry ice cream, if possible.

"But mother, where do I find strawberries in these winter days?"the girl gently replied, knowing how unreasonable the order was. 

Her stepmother fiercely replied, "I don't care! Don't come back before you find them!"

So the girl walked out to the mountain. She braved the storms and affirmed to herself, "be the good girl!" like her father's final words before being sent to a war. 

A day passed. Two days had gone. No matter where she looked for, she found no strawberries.

Hungry. Her tummy complained louder than ever, yet she persisted.


Finally, she fell down on soft snow. "Oh ... God! Please don't let me frozen to death," she weakly whispered to the bone-chilling wind.

Fortunately, a bear soon found the girl laying cold and almost lifeless.

He used his furry body to cuddle the girl like a warm thick blanket.

He fed her honey to nourish her body, for many days ... until summer arrives.

The bear brought the girl to a patch of berries, including strawberries. The girl remembered her unfinished task to make her stepsister strawberry ice cream.

After collecting a  basket of succulent strawberries, she bid farewell to the bear, "My savior bear, when will I see you again?"

Inside her heart, she knows that she may not see the bear again.

The bear sincerely pleaded, "Good girl, please marry me and you will see me everyday of your life."

Before the girl replied, the bear kissed her - as red as strawberries - lips, and transformed into a handsome prince.

He was under a spell by a witch whom he angered for challenging her.

The good girl nodded and tears flowed down her cheeks. The prince brought her to his majestic kingdom, where she was crowned as a princess and both live happily ever after.

Every year, the filial good girl makes strawberry ice cream for her stepsister and visits her stepmother. Hence, people also dearly address the good girl as the strawberry ice cream princess!

strawberry ice cream princess {#ministory} by ServicefromHeart

With love,