Tropical Fruit Goodness! Bananas…

From where I am now (that is in Singapore) it is always possible to get all kinds of tropical fruits all year round. But today, I will post on bananas.

In Singapore, bananas are imported from various countries such as the Philippines, Malaysia, Ecuador, Vietnam and India.

Bananas need to be consumed at a certain time. If not they become overripe and not so pleasant for some to consume. Well, there are other ways which we can use ripe or overripe bananas for cakes, kuehs (local delicacy) and more…below are some links to the benefits of our tropical fruit, bananas and some recipes for trying…

Enjoy the yellow goodness! 🙂

6 Good Reasons to Eat a Banana Today

When to Eat Bananas and Is It Suitable for Everyone?

Recipe: Fried Banana Balls, by Nonya Cooking

Recipe: Banana Cake, by Best Receipes

Recipe: 4 desserts to make with ripe bananas

Recipe: Ways to use your overripe bananas, by Womens Weekly Singapore


Spices! Cardamom…

There are many spices that are used for both healing and cooking purposes. While all spices have their benefits, I wish to particularly highlight on one spice today: Cardamom.

Yes! Cardamom….I am a person who is easily swayed by my sense of smell when it comes to perfumes, spices and essential oils. One of my all time favourite will be Cardamom. Below is an image of cardamom (if you do not know it). Some call it as “Queen of Spices”.

There are two types of cardamom: green and black (or brown). The green type is the more common type.

Shutterstock Picture of Cardamom - Esther Neela Blog

In general, cardamom is used as a treatment for mouth ulcers, bad breath, digestive problems, and even depression.

Ayurveda uses this quite extensively for many purposes. But I am not going to go into further details on that.

I am easily attracted by this due to the fragrance. I use this extensively for my cooking and when the fragrance of this particular spice hits my senses, I feel great….

Below are some websites that talks extensively on this spice. Recently, Crabtree and Evelyn had this used in their Xmas editions….A look at some of their items below (images taken from Crabtree and Evelyn website)…I have eaten the chocolate biscuits with a hint of cardamom…I do like the fragrance of the cardamom, but I do find the chocolate a bit overwhelming.

Crabtree and Evelyn White Cardamom Indulgent Treats - Esther Neela BlogCrabtree and Evelyn All Butter Dark Chocolate and Cardamom Biscuits - Esther Neela Blog

So, if you are like me, who love the fragrance of cardamom…let us all appreciate and enjoy one of nature’s creation…. 🙂

Some websites listing all on the spice cardamom:


From IndianMirror

From WebMD

From Organic Facts

From Nutrition and

Recipe using Cardamom
Semiya Payasam (Rich Indian Dessert)
If you have eaten out at an Indian Restaurant, mainly South Indian Restaurant, this dessert is usually popular. It is one of my favourite too :).
Check out the recipe below…

Shutterstock Picture of Payasam - Esther Neela Blog

There are many other recipes for using cardamom in your daily dish. You can search for those…

Have a great weekend!

Spices Pictures - Esther Neela Blog


Benefits of Jasmine Tea

All of us at one stage or another in our life would drink tea – be it English Breakfast, Herbal or Fruity. Today, I would like to blog on Jasmine Tea and its benefits. It is one of my favorite tea – for its aroma and also for its benefits.

The benefits I get from drinking Jasmine tea are many – but the main is for relaxation. I buy my pure Jasmine tea from Eu Yan Sang.

All links are below. Enjoy reading and why don’t you indulge in some pure jasmine tea today? 🙂

Of course, with any food or drink, it is always important to practice moderation. 

Link to purchase pure Jasmine tea from Eu Yan Sang

Read more on Jasmine Tea

From Organic Facts

From Earth Friends

From Tea Forte


Benefits of Jasmine Tea - Esther Neela Blog

Healthy Eating: Apricots

The season for apricots are coming – well, at least in most overseas countries, not here. These are usually imported from overseas for us here and is slightly pricier than other common fruits found here. Dried apricots or canned apricots are usually available all around the year. Fresh apricots are seasonal. Nevertheless, let us look into some benefits of apricots.

Apricots are a good source of Vitamin A, C and rich in antioxidants. For detailed benefits on this fruit, refer to the links below:

From The World’s Healthiest Foods

For Recipes, from Martha Stewart

Healthy Eating: Apricots - Esther Neela Blog

Healthy Eating: Oats

Last week, I covered on raisins and its benefits. Today, I will briefly write on oats. Oats has existed in many forms and in many varieties and my all time favorite will be Quaker Oats and I am going to cover some aspects on it. This brand has been in existence for 130 years!

History of Quaker Oats – get to know briefly the downs and ups of this company

Even in oats, there are varieties such as “Old Fashioned”, “Quick”, “Instant” and “Steel Cut”. Don’t understand what I am saying? Refer to the below link, with pictures and details….

People these days are environment conscious and going “green”. Below is Quaker Oats part of being environmentally friendly….

Recipe for Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies – my personal favorite

Recipe for Famous Oatmeal Cookies

And my simple version of oatmeal “snack” is with raisins (Sunmaid). That is something I can never resist….

As mentioned earlier, or simple logic, each of us vary in our nutritional needs.
Practice moderation for any kind of food and always have a variety of greens and colors….
Have liquids in your daily diet – in the form of water, juice and soups…and most importantly, remember to add qualities like gratitude and positiveness in your daily life!

Let’s all enjoy the goodness of oats! 🙂

Goodness of Oats! Esther Neela Blog
Goodness of Oats! Esther Neela Blog

Healthy Eating: Raisins

Everyone would have eaten raisins in our life. Raisins are actually dried grapes. And when I mention raisins, what brand comes to your mind first? Well, for me will be the red boxes SUN MAID. It is widely available in many countries around the world.

Do you know that the “Sun-Maid girl” really existed?
Her name was Lorraine Collett Petersen.

Read the below link to know the history of the “Sun-Maid girl”

And coming to the benefits of raisins, we know of some….here is to know more of it….

History of raisins, anyone? Of course, being a Humanities person, I shall never stop searching for histories of anything…From Ancient Egyptian time, let’s trace the history of raisins….

Other than the above, if you constantly have sweet cravings and do not want to indulge in sweet things all the time, try popping some raisins into your mouth. The sweet feeling will subside and you will not be craving for any more sweet things.

And if you are also an oatmeal fan, try adding some raisins into your oat porridge – it is sure yummy and healthy too.

You can also try the same with bran flakes. It helps increase the fiber in your body. But do take note that you must drink enough fluids such as water and juice to “soften” the fiber in your system.

Sun Maid Raisins - Esther Neela Blog

Bran Flakes with Raisins - Esther Neela Blog

Healthy Living: Myths of Drinking Water

There are many times we are told to drink so much water daily. But is that the truth?
There are many articles in support or disputing it – I am not here to prove anyone right or wrong.
The simple logic I have is that each of our body systems knows how much water we need and it will act accordingly. It is no use forcing yourself to drink water. Once the thirst hits you and you crave for water, go for it. Read the below article or you can also search on your own other articles….
Happy Drinking! 🙂

From The New York Times, “No, You Do Not Have to Drink 8 Glasses of Water a Day” by Aaron E. Carroll

Myths of Drinking Water - Esther Neela Blog