Saturday, May 31, 2014

How to Cook Healthy Food for Kids : Healthy Chocolate Tofu Pudding

Tofu is incredibly versatile.  A couple weeks ago, I demonstrated an easy recipe for a tofu appetizer:

Last week, I showed you a great main course featuring hot and spicy tofu:

This week, I round out a complete tofu meal with a sweet finish by demonstrating how easy it is to make chocolate tofu pudding.  This recipe is a healthy pudding because the tofu is low in fat and it is not overly sweetened.

Making pudding out of tofu instead of whole milk and butter is a healthy way of cutting out saturated fat while still maintaining a luxurious consistency.  To read more about cutting the fat, read my previous post:

And while cutting saturated fat is important, the greater dietary evil in dessert is actually sugar and other sweeteners.  Highly refined sources of sweetener like table sugar and high fructose corn syrup elevate blood sugar while being nutritionally vapid.  And while some sources of sweetener such as date sugar at least have some redeeming nutritive value, all sweeteners consumed in toxic amounts can have toxic effects on health.

Making your own desserts gives you full control over how much added sweetener you put in the desserts you serve yourself and your kids.  The following recipe for chocolate tofu pudding uses maple syrup in moderation, resulting in a semi-sweet but pleasing finish:

But don't take it from me.  Take it from my good friend, Bill Kosby:

Saturday, May 24, 2014

How to Cook Healthy Food for Kids : Early Exposure of Ma Po Hot and Spicy Tofu Increases Acceptance

In a previous post, I discussed the importance of exposing your kids to a variety of foods early and often:
Multiple studies have shown that early and frequent exposure to a variety of foods increases food acceptance.  In fact, some report that it takes as much as twelve exposures for a kid to accept a particular food that they did not initially accept.

Another advantage of early exposure is that it allows for kids to become familiar with a particular food before developing a preconceived notion about that food.  In effect, just as in life, early exposure breaks down stereotypes.  For instance, many adults eschew tofu due to a preconceived notion that tofu is invariably bland and flavorless.  In fact, tofu is quite versatile and can be used as a carrier of a great many flavor profiles.

In the following clip, entitled "Kung-fu Tofu", I show you just how flavorful tofu can be while also breaking down further stereotypes:

How to Cook Healthy Food for Kids : Hot and Spicy Ma Po Tofu Recipe

Hot and Spicy Tofu

  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1.5 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 4 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped green onion
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon spicy bean paste
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 box silken tofu, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon cooking wine
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1.5 tablespoons soy sauce
Sauce Thickener:
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water
    1. Mix ground pork with sesame oil and cornstarch.
    2. Mix sauce ingredients and set aside. 
    3. Heat wok at high heat and add cooking oil. 
    4. When oil begins to ripple, add green onion, garlic, spicy bean paste, and ginger and stir fry for 1 minute. 
    5. Add ground pork and cook until crumbly and no longer pink. 
    6. Mix in sauce. 
    7. Carefully mix in tofu.
    8. In a cup, mix together sauce thickener ingredients until dissolved. 
    9. When mixture begins to bubble, add sauce thickener. 
    10. Cook at medium high heat until sauce begins to thicken. 
    11. Serve.  
      Print Friendly and PDF

    Many thanks to the North American Taiwanese Women's Association for their permission to feature recipes from their excellent cookbook, Taiwanese Homestyle Cooking.
    To purchase this book, go to:
    To send a donation to NATWA, visit:

    Sunday, May 18, 2014

    How to Cook Healthy Food for Kids : Extra Firm Broiled Tofu with Miso Jam to Increase Protein in Your Child's Diet

    When Cassie and I first started giving Colin and Cailya solids, we found it challenging to incorporate protein into their diet. There was something about the chunky consistency of animal meat that they seemed to disdain. And then we introduced them to tofu; since then, tofu has become a stalwart staple in the Ko household.

    Tofu is made by coagulating soy milk and pressing the resulting curds. It is high in protein and low in glycemic index. The consistency of tofu can range from very soft (Silken) to extra-firm, depending on how much water is pressed out. This makes tofu quite versatile as it can be found in appetizers, entrees, and even desserts.

    Tofu has come to the rescue on meatless Mondays, potlucks with vegetarians and vegans, and on those cranky days when the kids won't seem to eat anything. Tofu saves the day yet again in the following movie trailer for "The Tofunator":

    Here is the link to the recipe for broiled tofu with miso jam that I featured in the above clip:


    Saturday, May 10, 2014

    How to Cook Braised Napa Cabbage : Taiwanese Homestyle Cooking


    Braised Napa Cabbage

    • 1 head Napa cabbage, julienne 3 inch strips
    • 3-4 dried shiitake mushrooms (soaked overnight, then drained, julienne)
    • 3 sliced ginger
    • 1/2 ounce dried fish fillets (found in Asian grocery store)
    • 2 cups chicken broth (low sodium)
    • 4 ounces lean pork tenderloin (julienne)
    • 2 ounces dried shrimp (soaked overnight, then drained)
    • 2 stalks green onion (3 inch section)
    • 4 tablespoons cooking oil
    • Up to 1.5 teaspoons salt to taste
    • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
    • 1 teaspoon rice wine
    1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in wok, and using low heat, fry dried fish fillets to bring out flavor until it turns a golden yellow color.  Set aside.
    2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil on high heat in wok, and stir fry napa cabbage until soft.  Set aside.
    3. Heat 2 tablespoons oil on high heat in same wok and add green onions and ginger.  quick stir, then add shrimp, shiitake, pork, and seasoning.  Once everything is evenly coated, add chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Simmer at low heat for 5-10 minutes. 
    4. Add steps 1 and 3 into a casserole dish with cabbage and bring to a boil at medium heat.  Partially cover and reduce to low heat.  Stir frequently to prevent cabbage from burning.  Simmer for about 30 minutes until cabbage is very soft.
      Print Friendly and PDF

    Many thanks to the North American Taiwanese Women's Association for their permission to feature recipes from their excellent cookbook, Taiwanese Homestyle Cooking.
    To purchase this book, go to:
    To send a donation to NATWA, visit:

    How to Cook Healthy Food for Kids : What to cook for mom on mother's day

     Mom Was There

    Crying, kicking, screaming. 
    Mom was there.
    Double nose bleeding. 
    Mom was there. 
    "The greatest show on earth!"
    Mom was there. 
    "The happiest place on earth!"
    Mom was there.
    Graduate and go conquer the world!
    Mom was there. 
    The world was such a blur. 
    Mom was there. 
    There's another woman in my life. 
    Mom was there. 
    I'm making her my wife. 
    Mom was there. 
    Babies crying, kicking, screaming.
    Thank goodness mom is still here.

    My mom is an incredible woman.  She started out in pediatrics, then did an internship in physical medicine and rehabilitation, had my brother and me, then completed a residency in internal medicine, worked for several years in emergency medicine, and then finished her career as an internist taking care of U.S. veterans.

    I was always proud of the fact that my mom was a working professional.  I remember being particularly proud of her during career week at my elementary school.  Every day featured one father after another going on and on about their boring profession.  And then, on the last day of career week, my teacher announced that she was happy to present a female parent for career week.  It was my mom!  My heart swelled with pride.

    Despite having a busy career, my mom always made family a priority.  She was always there.  Although she never really enjoyed cooking, she managed to make sure we got vegetables on the table every day.  Perhaps that is why I have always enjoyed simply cooked vegetables.   For Mother's Day, I am featuring a classic home cooked dish with napa cabbage, just like mom used to make.

    Sunday, May 4, 2014

    How to Cook Healthy Food for Kids : How to Get Kids to Eat Their Vegetables


    Congratulations are in order!  My youtube channel has reached over 10,000 views!  I decided to write a song to celebrate this crowning achievement, which I feature in this week's video.  This week's video also has a very simple message--eat your vegetables.

    Yes, just like momma always said.  Now, with the onslaught of processed food, its more important than ever to make sure you teach your kids to eat their vegetables.  In compiling the clips for this week's video, I took a trip down memory lane viewing Colin and Caiyla's first tastings of various vegetables.

    One of the first vegetables that they both took to was the simple pea.  Peas are naturally sweet, easy to chew, and perfectly sized for young infants and toddlers learning how to handle food.  Cailya loves picking up individual peas herself using her masterful pincer grip.

    Check out all the vegetables featured in this week's video, and thanks for viewing my youtube channel!

    Here's the link to the recipe for the peas pictured above:

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