NUTRITION DURING YOUR FIRST TRIMESTER (Part 2 of Pregnancy and Nutrition)

Did you know when you are  pregnant your baby feeds off your nutrient bank?

That the baby is like a little parasite that feeds off your nutrient stores .

Instead of eating for two ensure you are eating from all the food groups and meeting your daily calorie requirements.

During the  first trimester,your body is undergoing numerous changes and it is also a time when the baby growth is at its most rapid.

There is a lot of cell multiplication and many vital tissues and organs are formed during this time.

A good idea is to ensure you are very familiar with the food groups and ensure each meal you take has all the food groups in it.

The 5 basic food groups are:

1.Grains

2.Vegetables

3.Fruits

4.Milk

5.Meat and beans.

 

Important nutrients during the first trimester are:

Protein

The rapid growth and cell multiplication needs proteins which are the body’s building blocks.

These can me met by eating a variety of foods like  broccoli,cauliflower,avocado,cabbage’chick peas,lentils as well as proteins from animal sources like chicken and beef.

Vitamins

In order for the  body to make use of these increased intake of protein you need your fruits and vegetables

 

Folic acid

A very critical nutrient as it plays a role in brain and spinal cord development,formation of DNA as well as in tissue and cell development.

Rich sources of folic acid include green vegetables like spinach,kales,whole grains.

This nutrient is so important that women who are even thinking of becoming pregnant are advised to ensure they are meeting their daily intake of this nutrient.

Iron

A nutrient critical in  building up of hemoglobin the blood component that carries oxygen.

A pregnant woman has an increased need for oxygen because of the increased blood volume and to help her baby’s iron stores.

Babies are actually born with stores of iron that can last 4-6 months.

Dry beans,meat,oatmeal,kales,spinach ,broccoli and even pumpkin seeds.

Get part 1 of Nutrition in pregnancy here.

 

UGALI WITH OOMPH!

It is strange that my spell check does not recognize ugali…a Kenyan delicacy like that needs to be put in the Oxford dictionary.

In my younger days i hated ugali because the wooden stick used to stir it frequently found a home on my derriere when i was extra naughty.

The more glorified form of ugali that plays is in the  league of gourmet food is the Italian polenta.

Instead of boiling water and mixing in with your usual maize flour try the following tips to add some oomph to kawaida /regular  ugali:

1.Add desiccated coconut to your ugali,fresh i s best but if you cannot get fresh the store bought variety works fine too.The flakes add crunch to your ugali and an absolutely out of this world  nutty  aroma will fill your kitchen as you cook.A tablespoon or two for each cup of water should do.

Coconut milk or cream will also give you great results ,bye bye bland ugali.

2.Add fresh cream to your ugali halfway during the cooking time ,adding  it too early causes the ugali to burn before it is ready.

3.Grate some cheese into the ugali ,stir it into the ugali  then serve.

4.Add sour cream,use it in the same way you use the cream.

5.Mix in millet flour with your regular stir  ugali flour,this should be thoroughly mixed before you start making the ugali or else you get lumps.Cook ugali made from millet flour on medium high heat it burns very  quickly.

6.If you have left over ugali,don’t throw it away,cut it into cubes make an egg/milk and chopped coriander  mix,then fry or bake and have them for breakfast

What other unusual ways do your cook ugali….please share.

BROCCOLI CRAZY GREAT DEALS…

Today i start a new segment called Broccoli Crazy great finds.

We will get to know where to buy great kitchen items like these very very cute measuring spoons i got from Nakumatt Stores in Nakuru.

Image

They are a set of 5 ,with the smallest measure being 1/4 of a teaspoon going all the way to a tablespoonful.These are especially hand when you have to measure out ingredients like yeast,baking powder/soda ,spices and other ingredients.

They come in a variety of bold colors like pink,lime green and a rather pretty shade of orange.

Check them out they cost me just kshs 145.

I AM BACK…

It has been a while but i am back and i missed you all.

I am back....!
I am back….!

While i was away the blogs readership has grown and now covers all continents and i want to thank everyone who paid the site a visit.

There are a lot of recipes i have been waiting to share with you so get ready and my pet project …my garden is doing fabulously well.

Nothing like growing your own vegetables,it is the best feeling in the world.

CREAMY GARLIC MUKIMO

Mukimo…how to describe it… a food ,a staple of the Eastern and Central parts of Kenya especially to the communities living around Mount Kenya,the second highest peak in Africa that stands at an elevation of 5,199 metres.In the early morning when we visited my grandma we could actually see the mountain top from her house.

Back to Mukimo…its mashed potatoes with peas,corn,beans and some vegetables thrown in for color..There are as many ways to make it as there are to make chapatis but here is mine:

After some muscle work you get this…..

Ingredients

10  medium-sized potatoes(red)

1 cup green peas

1 cup shredded pumpkin leaves

3 cloves minced garlic

1 medium-sized onion

1/4 cup fresh cream

4 tablespoons milk

salt to taste

2 tablespoons  corn oil

 1 cob shelled sweet corn(optional)

Method

1.Put your peeled and cleaned potatoes in a medium sized saucepan and add water till it covers the potatoes,cover the saucepan and bring the potatoes to boil then add your green peas.Boil till potatoes are cooked and fork easily passes through them,may take about 10-20 minutes and peas soften.

2.Drain the potatoes and peas and in the same saucepan add the corn oil,then sliced red onion, fry till so ftened then add garlic,fry for a further 30 -60 seconds then add the shredded pumpkin leaves and salt to taste and cover.Let cook for about 5-7 minutes covered  on medium low heat.

3.Add your sweet corn if using then the drained potatoes and peas and cover for a further 5 minutes.

4.Remove from heat and using a mwiko(wooden spoon used for making ugali) or a potato masher mash the potatoes  to break them for about 5 minutes.

5.Return to heat and make a well with your wooden spoon then add cream and milk,heat till it bubbles then turn off heat,and mash till its soft and creamy.

Mashed mukimo…….thats my mwiko on your top right.

It is great with any kind of beef/chicken stew or on its own with a colorful salad.

NB:Red/pink/brown skinned  potatoes are my firm favourite for mashed potatoes as they give a better consistency

 

BUTTER,BUTTER,BUTTER

Better English was an English grammar book we used in class 3  ..the year 19 something and it had some tongue twisters.

My favourite  at the time wa all about  Betty Botter and her butter.

It went something like this….

Butter..photo courtesy pinterest.com

 

Betty Botter bought some butter,
“But,” she said, “this butter’s bitter.
If I bake this bitter butter,
It will make my batter bitter.
But a bit of better butter –
That would make my batter better.”
So she bought a bit of butter,
Better than her bitter butter,
And she baked it in her batter,
And the batter was not bitter.
So ’twas better Betty Botter
Bought a bit of better butter.

Maybe this obsession with Betty may explain my love for butter despite what health experts say that its bad for your arteries.

I don’t use it everyday  because like all good things moderation is key  but when I  do..

It is great especially when working with wheat and for popcorn,gives popped corn  a really nice buttery taste.

And for toasted bread ,especially when you want to make garlic bread…..scrumptious.

In terms of nutritional value;a gramme of butter gives you about 7 calories .

It is rich in vitamins A and E,Riboflavin which is also known as B12 an is important for body growth and in red cell production,it also helps in releasing energy from carbohydrates.

It is also rich in minerals great for your bones and teeth  like calcium,phosphorus and potassium while also containing a good amount of sodium and small amounts of fluoride,zinc and magnesium.

The Kenyan dairy market has only two types of butter ;salted and unsalted butter.

Salted butter has a longer shelf life than unsalted.

If you intend to use butter in your cooking use the unsalted one.

When using butter for any recipe scoop as much as the recipe needs  and refrigerate the rest.

When  making bread,cookies,cake,flat bread/ chapati or any product that calls for rubbing  butter into the flour  make sure it’s at room temperature before adding it to your flour.The exception would be in certain  pastry recipes where it may call for using cold butter.

If you are not going to be using the butter too quickly freeze it as this will help it keep for longer.

When using butter for frying,never heat it over high heat as t burns very easily,moderately low heat is best.

When using butter with other oils like sunflower oil,first heat the pan add the oil then add your butter .

Butter can also be added to soups to give them a glossy silky smooth texture.

Here is how to make coriander or dhania butter that you can use on toasted bread/crostini.Only make as much as you can use at a time.

Ingredients

3 tablespoons butter at room temperature

1 finely chopped tablespoon of coriander

Method

In a small bowl using a fork thoroughly mix the butter and coriander together .

Spread it on fresh slices of bread and toast .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OLIVE OIL:GIFT OF THE GODS

Olive oil is a favourite of mine,i use it for salads,for my skin and even at times for eczema .

I love the Pietro Coricelli brand and whenever i have money to spare i get myself a bottle.

Olives are mentioned in the Bible,they are synonymous with the holy land ,the  trees are native to the mediterranean region and in classical greek mythology it is said  the goddess Athena gifted the Greeks with the Olive tree.

Olive tree photo courtesy of Pinterest.com

The tree which bears fruits from which olive oil is pressed from can live for as long as 3000 year.

Olive oil has many uses outside the kitchen,I have used it on my hair ,as a moisturizer on my skin and on my little pumpkin Emma.

For the kitchen it is great especially when making pasta sauces,sauteing vegetables,making chapati/flat bread dough,in salads as  dressing,on bread,oven roasted chicken……..  the list is endless.

I imagine heaven smells of garlic sauteing in olive oil…

A gramme of olive oil gives about 9 calories and like all good things you should not gulp it down no matter how good it is,use a minimal amount to give your food the delicate flavour for which olive oil is famous for.

As a rule you never ever over heat olive oil especially the extra virgin and virgin oils as they easily burn.

Do you have any uses of olive oil you can swear by.

Share them  in the comments section

OATS

Oats have been cultivated for about 2000 years which is pretty young in grain years.

They were  a weed beforethey were domesticated.

They became very popular in Scotland and Ireland  as a food before their use spread to the rest of the world,interestingly in England oats were given to …livestock!

I was looking up ideas to help with breastfeeding when someone mentioned oats boost breast milk production and i decided to do some more research on their health benefits, to humans ofcourse.

Oats are great for breastfeeding moms as they boost milk production but they are also an awesome cereal for anyone looking to eat and live a healthier  life.

Immediately I went and got myself a pack of quick cooking oats which you can find in any supermarket

Here are the ones i got.

The oats…..

Cooking oatmeal porridge is fairly easy  and the pack I got had a recipe on its side ,after  modifying it to make a small bowl of oatmeal porridge, Emma was one well fed baby.

Read  some more about  the  benefits of oats here.

 

Oatmeal porridge

Ingredients

5  heaped tablespoonsfuls  of oatmeal(1/3 of a cup)

1 cup water

1/4 teaspoon salt

some milk/cream

sugar/honey to taste

Method

1.In a small saucepan on medium high heat  bring the cup of water to boil then add the quarter teaspoon of salt.

2.Once the water comes to a  boil add the oats and stir then let simmer for 5 minutes  on medium low heat.

3.Remove from heat and cover for a further 5 minutes then add cream or milk  and honey/sugar to taste.

Alternatively slices of fruits like bananas,a tablespoon of some dried fruits would be great too.

Bon appetito!

.

ALELUYA…………MAANDAZI

A few …ok not so few years ago,when i was in primary school a certain Swahili lady whom i will call Asha( which may not have been her name anyway)  would come to the playground with a bucket of warm maandazis and she would sell them to us for a shilling each.

Ah the joys of looking forward to our break time/recess time and the sight of those golden bits of delicious goodness……

They were so tasty I have spent the past 20 or so years trying to recreate them without much success but this recipe comes really close.Thanks to my sister Becky for the original recipe which I tweaked just a bit.

There is always something about dishes from the Kenyan coast…your taste buds will burst into a heavenly chorus once you have eaten one of these maandazi’s .

Here goes…..

 

Ingredients

3 cups self-raising flour

3 eggs

1 cup milk

2 and a half level tablespoons butter.

2 tablespoons sugar

1 level teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

grated rind of 1 medium-sized lemon

vegetable oil for deep-frying

Preparation

1.In a large mixing bowl sieve two and a half cups of  flour,then add sugar salt and the butter which should be at room temperature.Rub the butter into the flour till it resembles fine breadcrumbs.The remaining half a cup of flour will be for kneading and rolling out.

2.Whisk the eggs into a separate bowl and add the teaspoon of vanilla essence.

3.Make a well in the centre of your flour and pur in the egg mixture and whisk it into the flour with a fork.

4.Gradually add the cup of milk until you have a thick batter,then use you hands to knead it into a soft dough.

5.Turn the dough onto a flat floured surface and use the palms of your hands to knead it till its smooth ,make sure to dust the flat surface with flour and knead for 3-5 minutes till it no longer sticks to the surface.

5.Gtaher the dough into ball and cover with the glass bowl for 30 minutes to an hour to allow the dough to rest.

6.After an hour divide the dough into four equal parts with  a knife and roll into a ball.

7.Roll out each ball into a round shape of about 1/4 of an inch  thickness   each and use a knife/cookie cutter / to cut it out into the desired shapes.

8.Meanwhile in a medium-sized saucepan pour your vegetable oil and place it onto your cooker  over medium high heat ,let it heat through till hot.You can test if its hot  enough by dropping a small bit of dough into the fat,if it immediately rises up and turns brown after a few seconds its ready for deep-frying.

9.Fry the maandazi’s in small batches making sure not to overcrowd the saucepan as it will lower the temperature of the oil and make you maandazi’s greasy,make sure there is enough room for them to swim around.Fry till golden brown then scoop them out and into a bowl lined with paper towels.

10.You can dust the maandazi’s with icing sugar or desiccated coconut.

Buon appettito!

NB:Never ever fill a saucepan more than a quarter full with oil when deep frying.This is so as to avoid dangerous spill overs/spatters  when food is added ,fire and oil get along like a house on fire (pun intended).

All your ingredients should be at room temperature