Friday, December 2, 2011

Penne Beef and Mushroom

Early this week, my husband and I were discussing about our Christmas menu for this year. Like what I'ved mentioned before, we're doing a simpler line of dishes. As discussed, our main dish is going to be pasta and as requested by my one and only, he asked me if I could whip up something similar to Banapple's Penne Bolognese. It may seem easy. From the texture, the over-all presentation and considering the availability of ingredients. But the question now is... will I be able to nail the exact same taste and flavor?
As always, this has been the part I enjoy the most--- making the dish my own by concocting a different mixture of flavors. It may be richer or chunkier. It can also be an all- natural, salt-free dish. Aside from fresh ground beef, there are several ingredients that I love adding with the sauce. Chunks mushrooms and fresh parsley. For me, fresh parsley is more than just a garnish. It's flavor can turn an ordinary spaghetti to a gourmet dish.
  • 1/2 K ground beef (sirloin)
  • 400g penne
  • 500g tomato sauce or spaghetti sauce
  • 1 cup crushed fresh red tomatoes
  • 5 cloves garlic (minced)
  • A bowl of chopped button mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley (chopped)
  • 3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp grated Mozzarella cheese
  • Olive oil for sautéing
  • A dash of salt and ground pepper

 How To:
  • Cook penne al dente! Set Aside.
  • In a sauce pan, saute minced garlic in olive oil until light brown.
  • Add ground beef . Stir until cooked.
  • Add crushed red tomatoes and stir for a few minutes.
  • Add chunks of button mushroom and parsley. Stir.
  • Add tomato sauce or preferred spaghetti sauce. Set on low fire and keep stirring.
  • Add grated Parmesan cheese. Mix everything well.
  • Add salt and ground pepper to taste.
  1. Plating can be individually. Set cooked penne in a pasta plate, top with prepared sauce and grated mozzarella cheese.
  2. In one platter. Mix sauce with the cooked penne and top with grated Mozzarella cheese.
 Ready to serve. Enjoy the Holidays!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Caesar My Caesar

S&R Caesar Salad (Php129)
Banapple's House Salad (Php120)
Tender Bob's Chicken Caesar Salad (Solo at Php235)
Chef d' Angelo Make Your Own Salad ( Eat All You Can at Php150)
Let me make this post simple. I am a sucker for Caesar Salad!

At home or when eating out, as much as possible I try to fit a bowl of Caesar Salad in my every dining experience. I've tried several restaurants serving Caesar Salad. The salad dressing is very basic, it's the mixture of veggies that gets me. There are 4 important key ingredients that makes up a delicious Caesar Salad 1. freshly prepared croutons 2. grilled chicken 3. fresh and crunchy Romaine lettuce 4. fresh parmesan cheese.

I must admit, my favorite right now is the Caesar Salad from S&R. It has been a routine that after shopping, I pack myself with a bowl to go and another for dining- in.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Dose of Banapple Over The Weekend

 Make this entry as my Banapple Favorites post Part 2. Just like what I've mentioned in my first Banapple entry. One can always go back to this lovely restaurant and for every visit, there will be always something new to feast upon. Just this weekend, we celebrated 2 ocassions.
My 33rd birthday and a magnificent evening with Tito Mel. I live 5 minutes away from one of the main branches of Banapple but I make it a point to reserve such ocassions like birthdays and even just to treat a special person for a one of a kind experience.
That night, there were 2 amazing dishes that really got my attention. These dishes are already familiar.
Penne Bolognese
Chicken Breast Parmigiano
Both dishes gave a distinct flavor and texture.

The Penne Bolognese was garlicky but not to a point that it will leave that certain flavor in your mouth. The penne pasta was cooked to perfection, the meat sauce greatly emphasized on the freshness of the beef used. It's a plain pasta dish, but the over-all flavor will leave you wanting more. Best eaten with Banapple's Pesto Butter Bread.
My son's favorite has always been their Chicken Breast Parmigiano. I had to taste it myself and true enough, it's one of the best Chicken Parmigiano I've ever tasted. Note: served with rice. I have always associated that Chicken Pamigiano is served as a pasta dish. But at Banapple's they gave it a different kind of twist. Banapple's Chicken Breast Parmigiano is encrusted in a parmesan crumb mixture topped with rich stewed tomato sauce and melted mozzarella.
Lastly, The Guest of Honor...Tito Mel.
Tito Mel is the younger brother of my father-in-law. He is based in Pacifica and this visit was truly a blessing for us, especially for my husband. We look up to Tito Mel as our second father. He reminds us so much of my late father-in-law. He enjoyed his Banapple experience and promised to go back with the rest of the family on their next Philippine visit. He witnessed how the people loves Banapple and no doubt that the whole home- like dining experience, the food and the service made Banapple worth visiting.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Smith Sunglasses

If were going to count the essentials when it comes to accessories for men, we may be able to find a few on the list. Which, in a way, makes shopping looks easier for the guys than for the ladies. But think again. With my husband, it's been almost a year since he planned to buy himself a nice pair of sunglasses. With this, his last pair said goodbye 7 years ago. With family duties and obligations at hand starting a family, my husband decided to pass on getting personal things for himself. And just recently, he went searching for a new pair of sunglasses. When it comes to eye wear that also serves as protection, we always count on the best brands in the market. Not because they're from a famous designer, but if we're to talk about quality, protection and style put all together, it is always a must to make a wise investment.

My husband prefers the pair that's perfect for sports and  adventure- related outdoor events. Black w/ Polarized Gray Green Lens, smith scientist made it a point to make each Smith Smith Sunglasses stand out. Tough, yet thoughtful with the right to roam. The Rambler- smith spoiler, is comfortable on the busy streets of wherever or on the road less traveled. Underneath the tough exterior lies the performance features that set Smith apart from the masses. The smith pivlock v90 lens silhouette is smaller than the PivLock V90 Max. You can expect great coverage, excellent ventilation, and supreme protection for the elements with this lens shield. Soft, hydrophilic Megol located at the temple tips and on the nosepiece ensure a secure fit under grueling conditions. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Strudels

It has been months since I first discovered how delicious S&R's Apple Strudels and Strawberry Strudels are. During the Members' Treat, they were sold as a Buy1 Take 1 item. Strudel/s is a pastry that has a jam-like filling.
I've always pictured Strudels as a type of pastry that is often served as dessert with cream on top. In some countries, they use  various vegetable preserve and even meat fillings. Fruit, vegetable or meat, it doesn't matter, I'm willing to try everything for the mere purpose of educating myself.
In S&R you'll know that their pastries are always freshly baked. Upon opening, I can already distinguish the sweet smell of the apple and strawberry filling from the freshly baked dough. The most common Strudel is Apfelstrudel which is German for Apple Strudel.
Apple Strudel is my favorite among the 2 types of Strudels I tried from S&R. My son, loves it too. It serves as my dessert after a heavy meal. It's good! A strudel can complete my day..

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My Own House Blend Iced Tea

This is nothing new for me but it is for this website. I've been making house blend iced tea since college. Well, that's how I learned to make it. I took up a course related to food preparation and management, and weren't allowed to serve instant juices and processed food every time we have a function. #1 rule I carry from the things I learned when I was still studying is to stick to an all- natural set of ingredients. 

House blend iced tea is considered to be one of the healthiest drink. It is made from fresh lemon, or orange mixed with real tea. On the practical side, Calamansi or Calamondin is also considered as an alternative.
I would usually use Jasmine tea because of it's aroma and flavor. It's good when mixed and flavored with citrus. As of the moment, I am using decaffeinated green tea. I'm not really allowed to take in some caffeine now that I am pregnant, so decaf will do. Green tea is another great choice of tea to be used.
My house blend iced tea is a mixture of freshly squeezed calamondin and lemon juice with a hint of orange. Lemon rind can also be added as garnish, for color and additional flavor. House blend iced tea is a healthy replacement for carbonated drinks and instant juices. I bet your guests will love it! It's something different. House blend iced tea are often served in hotels and restaurants.
Best served when cold, in a tall glass and definitely, with your favorite slice of cake.

Friday, September 30, 2011

ARMYNAVY Graces Us With A New Branch

From My Kitchen to whatever is Beyond it, this has got to be one of the best surprises I found for 2011. After dropping my son off to school this morning, I made a quick stop to make a phone call. It's a block away from my son's school. When I was done and about to go, I noticed a big sign to my right.
I got very excited: ARMYNAVY right at our very doorstep! It actually made my morning. Few knows that I'm an avid ARMYNAVY customer. I would go all the way to Makati, Ortigas or Greenhills just to be able to get a munch of their burrito. There are other Mexican inspired restaurants within our reach, but ARMYNAVY has always been exceptional.

I specifically love their Chicken Burrito note: with extra jalapeño and of course their All- Day Breakfast Burrito. Being a burrito lover, really, the picture above made me the happiest. Now, we don't have to rush far to an ARMYNAVY within our reach and in the middle of the night just to be able to get a bite. This ARMYNAVY that's about to open, is 10 minutes away from our house and less than 5 minutes away from my son's school. I call it a blessing from heaven, it is indeed a heavenly treat that one of my favorite food stops has been added in line together with Conti's and Banapple.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Franky's Birthday Celebration At Tender Bob's

As always, all we wanted was a simple birthday celebration for our son... Tender Bob's is one of our all- time family restaurant. We've been dining at Tender Bob's Promenade Greenhills for years. When it comes to special ocassions Tender Bob's has always been our choice. My husband and I would often celebrate our wedding anniversary at Tender Bob's too. Sometimes, after an exhausting day of shopping, we end up having some refreshments in this restaurant too.  For every visit, we make sure that we follow what's on their menu.
From appetizers, soups, salads, main and dessert. It's always fun, that once in a while you let somebody else order food for you. My husband knows me too well, he knows that pasta would always be my choice. During my son's birthday celebration, my husband took command ordering. So here's the list of food that made our son's birthday special.
For Starters: Fish and Chips
Lightly battered fillet of fish with fries
Soup: Tomato Parmesan Soup
Delicately prepared thick & creamy
I'm so happy with my soup, I'd probably order Mushroom Soup for myself... but since my husband took in charge of everything... thank God! it was the best choice for the day. I never tried their Tomato Parmesan Soup before, it was a good soup experience, and is now my new favorite.
Salad: Chicken Caesar Salad
I'm such a sucker for Caesar Salad. This time, I requested my husband not to skip on Caesar Salad. I just love it!
Main: US Beef Salpicao
Main: Roasted US Beef Belly
Slow roasted to tenderness. Rich & juicy
The quality of the beef they serve at Tender Bob's is extraordinary. My US Beef Salpicao was cooked according to my preference ( medium rare). It was tender and juicy.
 Finale: Rocky road Ice Cream!
I see a happy birthday celebrant. No matter how we celebrate my son's birthday, I know that he is very happy to be able to spend it with us, his parents. The following day, we continued his birthday celebration with breakfast, and with a very special guest--- his lolo Mel paid us a visit from San Francisco.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Saluyot Soup

Let's go back on being native when it comes to dishes. Saluyot or Jute Leaves is one of the most common, healthy green leafy vegetable we have here in the Philippines. You can practically find it anywhere here in the country. Saluyot or Jute Leaves is one of my family's secret agent to a healthy lifestyle and long life. When I was a kid, my parents never really permitted us to eat junk food or eat in fast food restaurants that often. Our house was surrounded with so much vegetation. So in case we get hungry, my mom can easily whip up a dish with ingredients straight from our backyard. Camote, Alugbati and Saluyot. And my mom would often accompany our food with Saluyot Soup, which is easy to make by the way.
There were times though when my siblings and I would complain and ask for a new kind of soup to be served on the table. The common complaint: "saluyot na naman!" ("saluyot, AGAIN!"). Now that we're older, we realized that hey, Saluyot is keeping us away from hospitals and preventing us from getting sick.
I serve it to my own family now. My son loves it! especially with plain hot white rice and just the soup with the leaves topping his whole plate of rice.

Servings: 2-3
  • 1 bunch of Saluyot Leaves (Jute Leaves) -washed, leaves removed from the stem, chopped into pieces.
  • 1/2 liter water
  • 5 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 pieces chicken breast fillet (chopped into bite sized pieces)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
How To:
  • In a sauce pan, quickly saute garlic in olive oil.
  • Add chopped chicken and stir until half-cooked.
  • Add 1/2 liter of water, bring to boil.
  • Add the chopped Saluyot leaves.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
*Eating natural jute regularly helps control blood pressure & cholesterol, and lowers the risk of asthma, cancer, diabetes and heart disease. -source-

Monday, September 19, 2011

Great Deals and Finds From S&R

When it comes to grocery shopping and you want to feel you're in another country, S&R Membership Shopping is our choice. I have been an S&R shopper ever since it opened way back in 2000-2001 (it was a long time ago). After a few years, it re-opened but this time, as an exclusive shopping destination. Now that I am married, my husband and I made sure that we become members. For my husband, it reminded him so much of Costco. He told me that S&R is like a small version of Costco.

We shop in S&R twice a month or more. We just keep on coming back. As a homemaker, the things I like about S&R are their cold cuts, cheeses, gourmet products, fresh meat (pork, beef, chicken and sea food). I also like their baked goodies (in a separate entry). Everything is there and guaranteed fresh all the time. From a regular market to our local supermarket, I shifted on buying our food in S&R.

Just recently, we received an email from S&R notifying us that they're going to have a MEMBERS' TREAT event, they will go on an all out sale. Which includes, Buy1 Take 1 items and discounted products up to 50%. Since we were scheduled to do our groceries, we thought it was very timely. For the regular budget we have, we can get a little more. We started our day early. At 7am, we were already lined up. Note: the line covered the whole of the parking area. Based on our previous S&R MEMBERS' TREAT experience, they really offer so much imported products for a very low price and that explains the rush of buyers and the big crowd we all needed to beat.
March 2011 they also went on sale. That time, we hoarded on bath towels, 300- 500 thread count sheets Queen (which came in a set with pillow cases, fitted sheet, bed sheet ) and some comforters. So with the recent MEMBERS' TREAT event, we thought of concentrating on toiletries, cleaning agents, goodies, canned goods and other household must-haves.
The chips came in on a regular price. But even on a regular basis, we buy our chips from S&R because it's way cheaper compared to our local supermarkets.
Instead of SPAM we decided to try PREM. I remember when our relatives would include PREM everytime they send us some stuff from America. It's cheaper than SPAM, quality? well, almost the same. It's worth the try. My son loves SWISS MISS Milk chocolate, but too bad, they only came in small boxes.
2 of our food finds for this year's sale in terms of price are the 1 Kilo pack of Bounty fresh Chicken Nuggets (Php 199) and the Jennie-O Breakfast Sausage (Php75). 
*You will never find a 1 kilo- pack of Bounty Fresh in any local supermarket. If there is, maybe it's more expensive. I'm such a chicken nuggets person and my husband is a breakfast sausage fan. These 2 products are not new to us. We've been buying these items already, only, on regular price. So when S&R had these discounted, we packed up with so much to last us for the next month.
One of my great finds from the recent sale are the ZIP Products. S&R offered ZIP Dish washing Liquid as a Buy1 Take 1 item 900ml for (Php100). On our first visit,  I bought a set (2 bottles) in lime scent just to try it. Then when we returned over the weekend, we decided to get a box  this time, in lemon. For the price, you might think quality is sacrificed. But NOPE! I like it! It's perfect!  better than the previous brand I used. Another item I truly loved are the GLAD Microwavable containers (Php150 set of 5). It is also dishwasher and freezer friendly and not to forget, with interlocking lids.

Before I forget, S&R also had Corelle dinnerware as a Buy1 Take 1 item. I was pondering on it, not bad, not bad... but we don't need it, I have like 3 sets of Corelle dinnerware here at home 2 of them are in storage. Another is the Corningware 7 pc. bake set. When we went back over the weekend, it was all gone. Darn it!
 Famished? Get a load of these!
After spending hours and hours of shopping and waiting in line to get in then waiting again in line to the cashier, your food choice from S&R will come in handy.

What I want to share in this entry are my fun discoveries, enjoyable shopping experiences with every S&R visit I make. This coming Saturday another visit is about to be made. It's not about the sale, The MEMBERS' TREAT is already over... it's about the idea of a world class shopping experience.

Picture taking is not allowed inside the store premises. The snapshot of our cart was just... let's say... timing was perfect. I saw somebody taking a shot of her cart, and the guard beside me wasn't minding her, so I followed using my small Nokia cellphone. But other than that, bringing of DSLRs, digital cameras, taking wide angle shots of the whole store, personal shots and pictures of items with price tags are not allowed.

Please be guided that this entry is from the blog owner's point of view and perspective only.

Friday, September 16, 2011

My Banapple Favorites: Part 1

It took me forever to finally share something from one of my favorite restaurants in Quezon City. Banapple. I live 5 minutes away from the 2 main branches of Banapple. I pass by their restaurant almost everyday. Often times, for "merienda" right after picking up my son from school. We share a slice of cake and a tall, cold glass of their house blend iced tea. Everyday, I look forward to tasting a slice of a new kind of cheesecake, a twirl or 2 from a pasta dish, a sip of an extraordinary drink and over-all, just spending my afternoon in a cozy place where I can relax after a full day of household chores.

There were times when I'd wish I brought my cameras with me. But when one is after the positivity coming from his/ her favorite restaurant, it will not matter  to take a snapshot of the food you're eating. Sometimes it doesn't follow. All you wanna do is cherish the time given to you to enjoy your food at that moment. After a Banapple visit with my son over last weekend,  I went through some food images and I noticed that I have enough photos documented for a Banapple entry. I guess, it's now time to share My Favorites From Banapple .
Banapple branch close to my :  Banapple Blue Ridge, Katipunan.  
My favorite corner in Banapple. 
 It's the coziest place in the restaurant.
I love the interior, the sofa is soft,
it feels like I'm in a dream dessert house.
My Favorite Smoothies
House Specialty: Banapple Smoothie
Dark Chocolate Smoothie
My Favorite Dishes:
House Specialty: Banapple Beef and Sausage Stew
Pasta Verde
House Specialty: Banapple's House Salad
Breaded Fillet of Cream Dory with Honey Thyme Mustard Sauce
Hickory Smoked Barbecued Country Ribs
 My Favorite Desserts: Everything!
When it comes to their pies and cheesecakes, that's where my adventure begins. One time, my husband treated me for some afternoon snack in Banapple. He asked me, which one you haven't tried yet? So I pointed and said that I would love to try any of these 3 cheesecakes:  choconut oreo cheesecake, blueberry and cherry chocolate truffle. He ordered a slice for all 3 and in one afternoon,  fed me with 3 kinds of cheesecakes.

It was so good, that my eyes almost popped- out (lol!). A slice is enough for me, but when celebrations, special occasions and even a moment with your loved ones awaits, a whole is perfect to share with everyone.
Cherry Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake
Dark Chocolate Tiramisu Cheesecake
 My Banapple featurette will not end here because there's so much on their menu. As much as I want to, I can't eat everything in one visit (lol!). Besides, it's always good to taste a little of what's on the menu so there's something to look forward to all the time.

Note: Please refer to the Banapple website for the food prices and description:

Pork Steak with Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms

We all know that steak is best eaten with gravy or any sauce of our choice. Instead of adding gravy, I came up with caramelized onions and mixed it with mushrooms.
The unique taste and flavor of the onions made my pork steak experience extraordinary. The natural sweetness and juice that came out from the onions was perfect for the herb pork steak I prepared.
  • 3 chunks of Pork (steak style)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp butter
  • salt and ground pepper
  • 1 tsp Spanish paprika
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1 large white onion chopped
How To:
  • Season both sides of the pork steak with olive oil, salt, ground pepper, thyme and Spanish paprika. Set Aside.
  • In a pan, fry pork steak until golden brown. Set Aside.
  • In the very same frying pan, add butter and saute onions until caramelized. 
  • Add mushrooms and stir for a few seconds.
  • Top the caramelized onions and mushrooms over the pork steak.
  • Serve with mixed vegetables or any salad of your choice.