Category Archives: Healthy Foods

Father’s Day was a labor of love

The best gifts , I believe that anyone can give to me is the gift of time and a labor of their love. These to me, are more valuable than anything material. And so for this year’s Father’s Day celebration, I planned the weekend to cook my husband’s favorite meals.

A pre-father’s day dinner

Our Father’s Day celebration began on Saturday when I cooked Chinese stir fry rice with stir-fry shrimps and beef sauce. My husband loves Chinese cuisine so I took out time to visit the fresh market to buy fresh ingredients which I used in cooking the pre-father’s day dinner.

Father’s Day brunch and dinner

Father’s Day fell into a Sunday so as characteristic of my household, we had brunch at about noon after Sunday Mass. We love Sunday brunch because that’s the only day of the week when the entire family is complete at the dinner table. And for Father’s Day brunch, I made akara (bean cake) and pap ( corn porridge).

Akara (bean cakes and pap (corn porridge)

Akara can be laborious to make but since we are a family of bean cake lovers, it comes quite natural to me. Here’s an easy recipe for making delicious akara.

Homemade akara recipe

To make akara (bean cakes) for my family of five, I use the following ingredients:

Brown honey beans – 2 cups

Onion – quarter slice

Ginger – 1 teaspoon

Eggs – 2

Salt – a few pinches to taste

Vegetable oil (soybean oil, sunflower oil or any of your choice) to fry the bean cakes – 350ml


1. Clean the honey beans and wash it clean without removing the peels. I never remove the peels because the peels are fiber rich and nutritious.

2. Soak the beans in a bowl of water and place in a refrigerator over night.

3. By next morning, blend the now swollen beans in portions to allow for a smooth blend. Add the onion and ginger to the beans in the kitchen blender and blend at intervals until a smooth paste is achieved. You do not need a special blender because the beans which has been soaked over night is usually soft and easy to blend.

4. Pour the smoothly blended honey beans into a bowl and add the eggs. Mix with a large spoon and then add salt to taste. Mix again until all ingredients are well combined.

5. Pour the vegetable oil into a pan. I use soybean oil but you can use any vegetable oil of your choice. Heat it up and throw in some onions to add flavor to the bean cake. Once the oil starts to sizzle, you can add the bean cake paste in droppings into the hot oil. Fry until both sides are golden and then take off heat.

For dinner, I made my husband’s favorite soup – Banga. Banga soup is indigenous to people from the Niger Delta of Nigeria and because he is from the Urhobo tribe, I have had to learn to cook this soup for him. Traditionally, banga which is palm oil fruit soup, is extracted from palm kernels and can be quite laborious to do. In recent times, there has been a number of canned banga ( palm oil paste) however, these canned alternatives are nothing in comparison to native palm kernel paste extracted from native palm trees which are healthier as the oils contain far less cholesterol. The taste and texture is also very different as the canned alternative does not taste as authentic as native grown palm kernels.

A dear friend of mine who processes native palm kernel fruit paste sells authentic banga juice which saves you time and allows you to cook authentic banga soup with ease. She also sells authentic banga spices. You can find her on Instagram at this Plug

Banga and eba

And as part of our celebration, the kids wished their father well. It’s their own little way of showing their appreciation for all that he does for them. In the end, we had a memorable weekend and my labour of love paid off.

How did you spend Father’s Day? Did you buy a gift or did you make something special. Please do share in the comment section.



Covid 19: How cooking is helping me to cope

After being stuck in the house for just a week, I thought I was going to go crazy. The thing about me is, I hate being stuck in one place and I hate mood swings and worse of all, I hate my will power being taken away from me. So I manned up and decided to change my situation. I made the decision to learn something new every day and get my hands and mind busy – cooking was one of the things that I indulged in during this lockdown.

As I found, “Learning changes the physical structure of the brain. These structural changes alter the functional organization of the brain; in other words, learning organizes and reorganizes the brain.” Pls read more here 👉🏽 Here As we learn, nature kind of creates both “hardware” and “software” simultaneously (Read more) and in so doing, the more we learn, the easier it becomes to learn new tasks. If we are not learning at all, we find our brain in some kind of redundancy which makes the task of learning even harder. So for me, learning new things and acquiring new skills is very important because it stimulates the desire in me to learn more. And when I learn more, my confidence grows and then I feel better about myself. That is what cooking has done for me during this covid 19 lockdown.

I do enjoy cooking but I got bored eating the same regular foods every time and thought that by creating new dishes, it would create excitement and bring fun to meal times, which it did because my kids would go, “mum, what are we eating today?”

So, my routine was to learn new dishes and also to find ways that I could be creative with regular dishes that we already eat. So that gets me off my feet to start planning, which I do a day ahead. By doing this, it keeps me excited and expectant about the new day ahead of me. It also makes cooking interesting because the kids and I are learning new things plus it presents a teachable moment for my kids because then I can take advantage of the opportunity to teach them about the culture from which the recipe originated from. When conversations flow, automatically, we are having a good time. Also, by tweaking some of the recipes, I am able to test my creativity and improve on my skill as a cook.

Here are some of the meals that I have cooked:

Chicken curry

This is my version of chicken curry with basmati rice and steamed carrots, which I was just making for the very first time. My family does not like curry but I wanted them to be a little adventurous so I altered the recipe a bit. I used pure coconut oil which I used in stir-frying the chicken and curry to give off the coconut vibe. My family hates coconut milk or anything cream in foods so I had to mix the chicken broth with a little corn starch as thickener which I poured into the curry. And it was a success because everyone enjoyed their meals.

I grill quite a lot now so we had grilled potato jackets with grilled ribs served with carrot purée sauce and mixed vegetables. This was another winner.

Why am I sharing this post? Because I want to encourage everyone who is on isolation or quarantine not to give up – rather, learn a new skill; pick up a new healthy hobby and you will be amazed at what it does to your mind!



Covid 19 isolation & healthy eating

Hi guys,

The most part of the world is in isolation in compliance with social distancing, Nigeria inclusive. We’ve been at home for two weeks now and it hasn’t been easy.

I realized that when you sit in one place, doing very little, you tend to overeat and I did fall victim in the first week until my body started complaining. Do you know that our bodies complain and give us signs when we are doing too much and over stepping our bounds? The trouble is we don’t listen! But I have chosen to listen so I am back to eating healthy once more!

When you are indoors for the most part, your mind can mess with you which is why you need to eat a well balanced diet that is rich in vitamins and minerals that protect our bodies. We are being urged to eat immune boosting foods and we know that junk food will do the exact opposite so indulge rather in fruits, vegetables and fibers – your gut will thank you and so will your body and mind!

You don’t have to do a complete 360 on your diet – I am simply modifying everyday foods and making them healthier, that’s all – nothing too drastic. Here are a few modifications I have adopted:

I made a vegetable salad of carrots, Cabbage, fresh tomatoes and cucumbers with mint and coriander drizzle served with pita bread.

To not discourage the kids, I made the same salad with grilled sausages and a little cream which I toasted on my George Foreman grill. The outcome below:

I made coleslaw of carrot and cabbage with baked beans, some fresh tomatoes, lettuce and grilled bacon. So we still get to enjoy bacon but with salad.

This is grilled plantain with grilled Crocker fish served with stir-fry green peppers and onions in tomato sauce.

This is a very humble meal of steamed brown beans and sweet potatoes pottage made with fresh tomatoes. I replaced palm oil which traditionally is used in Nigeria with fresh tomatoes stir-fried in soybean oil. Served with a sprinkle of coriander.

My kids don’t like noodles so we don’t eat noddles that much but any time I make it, I discard the seasonings that accompanied it and steam it in hot water before stir-frying the noodles. The vegetables were grilled as well as the steak and served with a drizzle of mint and coriander sauce.

Grilled plantain once more with grilled chicken with tomato sauce.

So, I no longer deep-fry foods but grill all the time now. There is now more servings of vegetables accompanying regular foods that we eat. Am just making little changes at a time to keep the family healthy while we are on lockdown.

Did you know that junk foods can cause fatigue? Eating healthy will keep your energy levels up, your brain will be stimulated and you will be healthy and strong.

Please share with me some of the ways you are staying healthy in isolation.


Antioxidant-rich Chia seeds, Oats & berries Smoothie

Both Chia seeds and oats are great for a calorie controlled diet and create the feeling of fullness which means you will eat less as such aid weight loss.

Both chia seeds and oats are whole grain fibers that are rich in nutrients and antioxidants. They both expand in the stomach to give the feeling of fullness which keeps hunger at bay and reduces the desire to eat. So if you are seeking to reduce your appetite and food consumption, both chia seeds and oats are ideal combination.

To make chia seeds and oats smoothies, I usually combine them with other fruits. For this recipe, I used raspberries, blueberries and strawberries. I love to change the colors of smoothies because colors make me happy – so eating colorful foods feeds my brain and my body as well.

I like berries because they are antioxidants-rich as such are very beneficial to our skin and our bodies as well. Berries are also nutrient rich and gives our skin radiance that is free of radicals.

This chia seeds, oats and berries smoothie recipe includes:

1 serving spoon of dry oats

1 teaspoon of chia seeds

A handful of strawberries, blueberries and raspberries

Quarter cup of water


1. Boil some water and soak both dry oats and chia seeds in a bowl. I soak them together or you could soak them separately. After some minutes, both oats and chia seeds will swell up.

2. Pour swollen oats and chia seeds into a blender.

3. Pour berries into the blender.

4. Pour in water and blend the mix into a very smooth paste. If it is too thick, add a little amount of water.

Serve and drink.

If dry oats rather than pre-soaked oats is used, once smoothie is made, allow to sit to let the oats soak and absorb the moisture from the water and fruits before consuming as dry oats when consumed without moisture causes constipation.

Both oats and chia seeds are good for gut health as such you will not feel constipated but lighter.



Raw oats and fruits smoothie

Oats are gluten free, whole grains that are packed full of goodness. They are rich sources of nutrients like vitamins, minerals, fiber and rich sources of antioxidants. Some of these nutrients include manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, iron, zinc, folate, vitamin B1 and Vitamin B5.

Oats can lower cholesterol as well as aid weight loss with the help of its beta-glucan content which is a type of soluble fiber that when dissolved in water, forms a thick, gel-like solution in the stomach. This gives one the feeling of fullness which can reduce excess food consumption and aid weight loss. This beta-glucan fiber also helps to reduce cholesterol levels.

There are several ways of consuming oats and by raw, I mean eating oats without cooking it but not included with eating it dry. Eating dry oats without any form of moisture like water added is bad for us as it causes constipation and other problems. It is best to consume oats with moisture included like water, milk or juices. Personally, I make raw oats smoothies almost every day with apples and cucumber and water, all of which have high moisture content. After blending into a smoothie, allow to sit for thirty minutes so that the oats can loosen in the moisture before consuming.

Chia seeds smoothie

I only recently started consuming chia seeds after a friend introduced it to me. Since then, I would soak the seeds in water and wait for it to swell before adding them to other fruits and blending into a smoothie. I gathered from studies that same way that chia seeds swell up when soaked in water, applies to our stomach as well as they tend to expand in our stomach when consumed. This expansion gives us the feeling of fullness which is good if one is trying to control one’s food intake as part of a weight loss plan. Studies do not show a direct correlation between consuming chia seeds and actual weight loss but the feeling of fullness keeps one from consuming more food, which can help in weight loss by reducing excessive food consumption.

Other than that, chia seeds are a super food that is packed full of nutrients. They contain more calcium than diary products and more omega-3s than salmon. These tiny seeds are rich in protein, fiber, fat of which are omega-3s, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and many micro nutrients. The beauty of chia seeds is that they contain very low calories, they are whole grains and gluten-free as such makes for a healthy meal.

Chia seeds are loaded with antioxidants which combats free radicals that damage cell molecules and cause aging and diseases like cancer as such, chia seeds are healthy foods that protects the body.

Chia seeds are also 40 percent fiber in that most of its carbohydrates are actually fibers which is why it is a low carb, low calorie food coupled with its high protein content that makes it ideal for people who want calorie controlled diets to loose weight.

I soak the seeds in water before combining with other fruits to make smoothies and you can also combine them with other foods as well like porridge or even cookies. Whichever way you choose to consume these seeds, be sure that your body will thank you for it.

Drinking black tea can cause constipation

I drink herbal teas a lot and I realized early enough that teas that contain caffeine are not good for me as I am susceptible to constipation and its attendant bloating. I had learnt to only buy decaffeinated green teas but I forgot about black teas completely.

Black teas are so common for drinking with one’s breakfast or at other times of the day that they are readily available, very cheap and most commonly consumed. I grew up drinking English black teas but over the years, black teas have become more of a digestive problem than anything else. I also realized that as I got older, my body became sensitive to foods that my body otherwise accepted so black teas are in this category. While I am a huge fan of earl grey teas, other black teas are causing more troubles for my belly than anything else. So I made a resolve that if I don’t get decaffeinated teas to drink, then I would have to forgo drinking teas altogether.

Some of these common black teas contain caffeine which tends to enhance the amounts of water being lost by the body making stools drier and difficult to pass. When this happens, constipation occurs. And of course, bloating follows because your stomach is full of gas caused by the caffeine.

While green teas and other herbal teas especially senna and peppermint can help relief digestive problems, black teas however make it worse. So if you are seeking to buy teas of any kind, make sure it is clearly labeled decaffeinated. And if you want to relief constipation, take foods high in fiber or take an over the counter medication.

Stay healthy!



Healthy drink for kids

Kids consume a great amount of juices, especially during school hours and I have always tried to reduce fizzy drinks or soda because of the high amount of sugar content in them. It is of common knowledge that many packaged juice drinks are actually made from concentrates with high amount of sugars and preservatives. So, naturally, I try to reduce the amount of such drinks because when kids consume too much sugar or carbonated drinks, they become restless and difficult to manage. Plus, excess sugar pose a lot of health risks to kids and everyone alike.

So, in my bid to go natural, I make healthy drinks for my kids from juices and smoothies. One of my favorites is zobo drink. Zobo is a drink made from roselle leaves found in West Africa. So what we do is wash these dry leaves gotten from a specie of hibiscus plant, and cook them in water. On its own, zobo is not sweet but rather than add sugar and artificial flavors, I use fruits and dates to sweeten the drink.

By using fruits and dates as natural sweeteners, one is creating a vitamin C rich drink that is just right for Kids. On its own, roselle (zobo) leaves have high vitamin C content amongst other nutrients, coupled with fruits like pineapple or golden melon which are sweet and rich in vitamin C. So this zobo drink keeps cold and flu away while boosting a child’s immunity. A healthy zobo drink has added nutritional value as it contains calcium as well as help to aid appetite. It also lowers high blood pressure. Common sweet fruits like pineapple and golden melon are great in sweetening zobo but you can use other sweet fruits as well. You can also opt for natural honey to sweeten zobo drink as well.


8 Liters of Water

1 Liter of zobo (roselle) leaves

1 whole pineapple

2 cups of soft dates

A handful of ginger

This is a pot of zobo (roselle) leaves with blended fresh ginger. Ginger gives the drink flavor and taste as well as fruits and dates. When this boils, I leave it to cool to room temperature before sifting out the leaves and ginger.

Once the zobo is at room temperature, I blend pineapples and dates in the blender. The dates must be soft and not hard. So if you have dry, hard dates, please soak it over night in warm water to soften before blending. For a bowl of 8L zobo drink, I used a whole bunch of pineapple.

The pineapple always makes the zobo drink even more foamy so expect bubbles!

Sift the pineapple and dates once blended into the zobo drink as shown in the picture.

Finished product.

With this zobo drink, your child can take it to school in bottles or drink at home.

It is sweet, nourishing and healthy.