I am not a fan of the Lebanese “Riz Bi Halib” (rice pudding with milk); yet my husband really likes it.
I prepare it from time to time, yet I feel it’s a bit boring, more of a newborn dessert ( despite you shouldn’t be giving your newborns dessert with such loads of sugars).
Anyways, last week I passed by a pantry shop near our house in a village called “Mar Chaaya” in Mount Lebanon; and bought Pumpkin Jam. I never did it at home, but it’s quite a delicious jam.
It was shinny with a very nice orange color. So thought of, why not adding it on the Riz Bi Halib and see how it’ll taste. And that what I did, with a sprinkle of crushed walnuts. Why walnuts? Well, that what I had at home, but pistachios would have looked much more appetizing. The end result was superb, the taste, the look, everything.
So I am sharing the recipe, in case you would like to explore!
N.B: You can find Pumpkin Jams in pantry shops, or just ask around, maybe someone still prepares it at home.
- - 1/2 cup Egyptian rice (small roundish rice)
- - 2 cups water
- - 6 cups milk
- - 2 tbsp sugar (some add up to one cup, but what for?)
- - 2 tbsp corn flour
- - 1 tsp orange blossom water
- - 1 tsp rose water
- To decorate
- - Pumpkin Jam
- - Crushed walnuts or preferably pistachios
- 1. Boil the rice with 2 cups of water (until it's soft, don't let all the water evaporates)
- 2. In the meantime, mix the rest of the ingredients and bring to boil (milk mixture)
- 3. Add the cooked rice with its water to the milk mixture and boil until it starts thickening up (mix occasional to prevent the rice pudding from sticking to the bottom & sides of the cooker/sauce pan)
- 4. Poor in serving cups, cool and refrigerate (cover the cups with a nylon sheet to prevent the tops from drying out)
- 5. Just before serving add a few pieces of pumpkin jam and sprinkle with walnuts or pistachios
- 6. Serve
Today we’ll be having a collaborative post with Christele Daccache, a nutritionist, yoga instructor and blogger at Health ‘n’ Horizons; on the importance of breakfast and snacks for school aged children and young adults. Christele offers at-home nutrition counseling for families in Jeddah, KSA where she helps them adopt a healthier lifestyle through a complete nutrition management program that suits their specific needs with kitchen makeovers, guided grocery shopping tours, and more. If you haven’t checked Christele’s awesome blog already, I invite you to. I am sure you will enjoy her writings and advice as much as I do!
Why is Breakfast Important?
Breakfast is one of the most important meals especially for school aged individuals (children and teens). As the term “BreakFast” shows that during breakfast we “BREAK” the “FAST”. Meaning, disturbing the sleeping night fast in the morning with a balanced diet, and that is essential for a healthy body.
Studies have shown that breakfast has an important effect on behavior, learning and overall school performance. On the other hand, it may help control weight and reduce the risk of weight related diseases, because when the child eats breakfast he/she will not feel hungry earlier during the day and more kely to eat less fat foods during breaks.
On the other hand, children who do not eat breakfast are often bad-tempered, impatient with bad attitudes toward school with less energy during the day. That in turn affects the child’s concentration and school performance ability.
As a conclusion, it’s very important to make breakfast a repetitive continuous behavior for ourselves and our children.
Now you might say: But we have a hectic lifestyle and no time to make breakfast for ourselves even. We say, nowadays we all have a hectic lifestyle; thus why not prepare the basic ingredients beforehand to make the “on the go” process fast, healthy and easy.
A balanced breakfast contains a source of carbohydrate, protein and fats along with vegetables and fruits.
To make it easier for you, we will share with some simple breakfast recipe ideas.
Breakfast Recipe Ideas
– Labneh Sandwich with a Banana
– Light Cheese Sandwich with an Apple
– Zaatar and Labneh Sandwich with Vegetables
– Broccoli Mini Omelets or any type of vegetable omelet (made in the shape of a muffin)
– Milk, Cereals and mixed nuts (that’s for the weekends)
– Stress-free overnight oats recipe
Part 2: The Importance of Snacks
Snacks can be nutritional disasters if children are having sugary drinks, chips and all-they-can-eat candy, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Good planning and some tricks can help you make sure your kid is snacking the right way.
Why do kids need snacks?
– Children have small stomachs; they need snacks to keep them going to the next meal – a midmorning snack to keep them focused at school and going till lunch and an afternoon snack to make them go to dinner. However, if the next meal is just within two hours, you wouldn’t want to offer a snack so as not to ruin your child’s appetite.
– Snacks make it easier for children to get all the nutrients they need.
How can you help your kid have the right snack?
Snacking is not equivalent to grazing. You don’t want your children to be eating every hour and they should not be allowed to have snacks in front of the TV or computer screen. They will be more likely to override their satiety signals and gain weight. Plus, you don’t want your children to consume extra calories they are not burning off with physical activity.
– Sit down with your child every week or every month and decide on what snacks to have. They will appreciate being treated as adults and will be more likely to go for nutritious and healthy snacks that they have come up with.
– If your child likes chocolate, include it in the plan occasionally just don’t make the mistake of calling it a treat. You don’t want your child to think there is something special about it.
– Midmorning snacks should be simple and appealing enough to compete with cafeteria junk or whatever other kids are having.
– Afternoon snacks can be a bit experimental. Since they are mostly offered at home, a new fruit or vegetable can be introduced.
– Cutting up fruits and vegetables into fun shapes works well with smaller kids.
What are some good snack ideas?
A snack should be nutrient dense; easy to eat, and low in salt, sugar and fat. You want to steer clear of prepackaged snacks that contain trans-fats, hydrogenated oils, additives and preservatives.
– Fruits are obvious snack foods. They can be served alone or paired with a source of protein: an apple or a banana with a tablespoon of all-natural peanut butter, grapes or watermelon with feta or two slices of halloumi cheese.
– Make your own fruit yogurt without the additives by mixing half a cup of yogurt with slices of peaches, plums or strawberries…
– A handful of dried fruits (apricots, prunes…), nuts (walnuts, almonds, pistachios) and seeds (pumpkin, sunflower).
– Veggie sticks including carrots, cucumbers, peppers … to dip in labneh, yogurt or hummus.
– Homemade baked vegetable “chips”. Forget store brought potato chips. Experiment with zucchini, sweet potato and squash. Cut them into thin circles, toss in a teaspoon of canola oil, add your favorite herbs or spices and bake in hot oven until crispy.
– A small bowl of plain popcorn.
– Half a small bagel or pita bread topped with a slice of turkey, low-fat cream cheese, or low-sugar jam.
– The occasional snacks (once a week): a small chocolate biscuit bar, a snack-sized chocolate bar, or two biscuits or cookies, or a small muffin (homemade is better like this Banana Oat Cake with chocolate or check the ingredient list for the most natural ingredients and serving size).
We hope you enjoyed it! If you have any questions regarding the topic don’t hesitate to connect with us 🙂
Avocado is a fruit rich in Monounsaturated Fatty Acids MUFA “Oleic acid” the good fats that help decrease LDL (the bad cholesterol) and maintain HDL (the good cholesterol).
Despite it’s a fruit, it’s always categorized within the fats group due to the high content of the monounsaturated fats. It’s also a rich source of:
– Antioxidants (protect against arthritis, cancer, heart disease, cataracts, aging etc.)
– Vitamins E
– Vitamin C
– Dietary Fiber
The misconception of “Avocado” is bad and fattening is not actually correct, Avocado as seen above is a rich nutritious food item with several nutritious health benefits, yet always remember, everything in moderation (Check out the references for more details regarding Avocado and weight loss).
We will be demonstrating a couple of simple, fast and easy salty and sugary recipes that are made from an Avocado Base accompanied with Labneh.
Avocado + Labneh
Salty Avocado Dip or Spread
Base + Green Onions + Sesame Seeds
Green Onions + Sesame Seeds
A great Dip with some raw fresh vegetables, tortilla chips and a great Spread for Sandwiches
Sugary Avocado Dip or Spread
Base + Honey + Walnuts
A great Spread for a lovely mini pass-around healthy dessert
For all vegetarians, lactose intolerant, non-dairy consuming individuals; instead of Labneh you can use our famous “Hommos” base (boiled mashed smooth hommos, without any added ingredient).
Photo Courtesy: Strawberry Blu
How to select and buy figs?
•Ripe figs are soft in hand, have sweet aroma and rich in color.
•Fig have a short life time thus it’s best to eat them while still fresh, if not they can be placed in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
•Always avoid overly soft or bruised fruits with broken skin.
•Figs do not ripe after harvesting thus always prevent buying unripe fruits.
Types of Figs? Which is better? Which is Sweeter?
•There are mainly 2 types of figs, the black and the white.
•The white is usually sweet having a harder skin in comparison to the black that is sour in taste with softer skin. That’s why white figs are preferred in cooking such as in jams, jellies and side dishes.
Are they bad for Diabetes?
•Fresh figs are rich in fibers and simple sugars; thus diabetic patients are allowed to have them in replacement with other fruits or snacks.
•1 exchange of figs is around 2-3 figs. For example, a diabetic patient can replace a medium sized apple with 2 to 3 figs as a max.
•Dried or semi-dried figs contain higher amounts of simple sugars than fresh figs thus, raise blood sugar levels very quickly.
•Some research studies show that figs contain chlorogenic acid. Chlorogenic acid helps in lowering blood sugar levels and control blood glucose levels in diabetic patients. Yet, more research is still needed.
How much can we eat per day?
•1 fruit exchange of figs = 2-3 figs, thus it depends on individual daily intake allowance.
What are the nutritional health benefits of Figs?
•Figs are excellent source of dietary fibers, minerals (Calcium, Iron and Potassium), vitamins (B-vitamins) and anti-oxidants.
•100 g figs provide around 80 calories where as dried figs provide around 250 calories.
•Have positive effects on cancers, diabetes, hypertension, degenerative diseases and infections.
Fig leaves and un-ripened fruit produce white liquid than cause burning to the skin and the eyes; can also induce allergic reactions.
-Baguette Bread slices (or pain au lait)
Mix 75:25 ratio of Cream Cheese to Figs jam. Mix until you get a smooth creamy texture.
Place some on a baguette bread slice and decorate with walnuts.
Serve as an appetizer or a pass around starter.