Saturday, November 30, 2013

Some Updates

This is going to be one of the most exciting Christmas for me. Even if I haven't started with my Christmas shopping or at least plan our Christmas menu, one thing kept me very busy... Preparing my kitchen for a baking showcase. 

Here's my situation for the past months since I started baking: I go all the way to my parents house just to bake. In the condo we're renting, a kitchen stove that runs thru gas is not allowed. As of the moment, I use an induction cooker which has become a blessing because of it's healthy and budget- friendly benefits (in another post).

Aside from the stand mixer my parents gave me as an advance gift for my birthday, I just found out that I am also going to be gifted with a brand new countertop oven and new baking materials. Like I said in my previous post, all I wanted to do is to bake for my family. 6- 12 cupcakes will do... I don't really need anything big or heavy duty in order to achieve something that is easy to make. This countertop oven is the answer to what I need at this point in time. I am really excited because now, I don't have to travel far and disturb anybody just so I can create and bake something. I can experiment without having too much wastage.

Practice, take time, practice, take your time, practice... that's what my parents would often tell me. We believe that nothing's going to be achieved in the right way if we will suddenly jump into things. Time is of the essence in a way that I don't need to rush things. But at the same time, I need to put in mind that each day counts. Just like 2 weeks ago, I was invited to join a Christmas bazaar. It is a wonderful opportunity.

Again, this bazaar is not going to be possible if it weren't for the people who thought about me... I am truly grateful to be blessed. I am just happy to be surrounded by people who are very supportive of what I do. 

 0o0o

I apologize for the long absence of recipes and food features on this blog. The recent calamity that hit our country was devastating that me and my husband couldn't bear if we don't do anything. For the past 2 weeks, I helped my other half prepare for a relief and medical mission in Leyte together with a team of doctors, firefighters and medics. It was a life- changing event for all...
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His Health and Wellness

Low testosterone is a very common condition, and it's nothing to be ashamed of. Men's testosterone levels begin to decrease in their early thirties, and continue to decline over time. There are also some medical conditions that can cause low testosterone. The symptoms of low testosterone include:

Poor concentration
Memory decrease
Depression
Dimishing body hair
Low sex drive
Erectile dysfunction
Raising testosterone levels is easy, and there are several ways you can do so naturally.

1. Weight loss and exercise. Interval training and strength training, combined with short periods of fasting, have been shown to increase testosterone levels. Since obesity is also linked to decreased testosterone, it has added benefits.

3. Increase your intake of certain minerals. Some minerals, like zinc and vitamin D-rich sources of calcium, have also proven effective. You can get zinc in a number of dietary sources, including raw milk or cheese and beans. The recommended amount of vitamin D for most adult males is between 50-70 ng/ml.

4. Cut down on stress. Stress effects every system of the body, and it can decrease essential hormone levels, as well as increase levels of bad hormones.

5. Lower your intake of sugar. Sugar in moderate amounts isn't necessarily harmful, but the whole body will benefit from a diet that's lower in refined sugars.

Testosterone is a hormone that is present in both men and women. If you need a little help increasing your testosterone levels, there are supplements available. Nature's Plus Testosterone Booster is an example of a product that helps raise your testosterone levels safely and naturally, without the use of synthetic ingredients that can have harmful side effects. Natural testosterone boosters are created from herbs, such as fenugreek, and can give you just the boost you need.
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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

My Birthday in 2013

This year, I did not plan anything in particular because my husband was away on a mission. I thought I skip the "celebration part" with respect to the people who are badly affected by the recent typhoon. For some reason, fate had a different plan for me. I may have decided not to celebrate my 35th year, but some people were very nice and thought of ways to make my birthday memorable for 2013.

I look at birthday celebrations as a good way to share my favorite things, especially food with the people close to my heart.

To begin, the week my husband was away, I was practically juggling everything on my own. I kinda lived the life of a single parent. My parents were the only people available to help me with some things. One afternoon, my mom paid me a visit and invited me for lunch. We went to a nearby restaurant called Banapple.

For lunch we had pasta. Dishes we haven't tried in Banapple: Penne Bolognese and Trio of Sausages Fettuccine. It's my mom's advance birthday treat. Times spent with my mom and dad are often spent with a good conversation about life, their experiences as parents and lessons they've learned, things I'm still learning.

Monday, I took my kids out for some ice cream and more pasta at the newly opened Iceberg's Katipunan Avenue. I enjoyed my tall mug of strawberry float and the company of my children. My husband surprised me with a cake when me and the kids got home from Iceberg's. It was a blessing that my husband arrived safely from his trip on my special day.
Then, gifts in huge boxes came in... This has got to be one of the most memorable moments in my life. The intention to sacrifice for those in need was attained. I wasn't expecting anything in return but when I thought I had nothing, blessings poured in. When I thought, I was alone, people I love surprised me.
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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Beautiful Dresses For All Occasions

There are 2 things coming:  for the end of this year and sometime in 2014.

1.The Holiday Season
2.My brother's wedding.

Both events call for a darling outfit.

Let's start with the most wonderful time we all celebrate, Christmas. It's that time of the year when every boy and girl gets to dress up with the most amazing, beautiful colors and clothes that accentuates one's assets. This year, our family agreed to dress a little formal for Christmas. At first, we thought of red as motif, but it turned out that it's going to be more fun if we mix colors. With that, we all thought to wear something a bit dressy for a nice looking family portrait.

I went to www.dressfirst.com immediately to check out some dresses fit for our theme.

I came across this Sheath Scoop Neck Knee-Length Chiffon... I just love chiffon... It flows and I adore the elegant texture. This dress does not need to much accessories. The style may look simple, from the scoop neck to the length. But the cut along the sleeve line makes the whole cocktail dress high fashion. This particular dress is made- to- order at Dress First. It is going to be personally tailored for my exact fit. Size chart and measuring guide is available in case you want your order to fit you perfectly. Not to forget, there's a wide range colors and sizes to choose from.
I can't wait for the Holidays... This Sheath Scoop Neck Knee-Length Chiffon dress fits me perfectly. As a stay at home mom, I see myself wearing a more conservative yet fashionable attire. Dress First has a lot of options and they have outfits for all occasions.

The next occasion that I need to be ready for is my brother's wedding. I got really excited for this particular event because I will be part of the whole planning team. Weddings nowadays concentrates on a modern vibe. My parents are traditionalists. They're more into the usual white gown where every part of the bride's body is covered. With my brother's wedding, we want to stray away from the usual. Besides, it's the bride and groom's choice to go modern.

Since the wedding ceremony is set to be in chapel, an A-Line/Princess Strapless Knee-Length Chiffon Bridesmaid Dress with Ruffle is going to be amazing for the ladies. From this cut, there are other A- Line dresses at Dress First that you may find appealing; like a dress with a sash or straps. But personally, I'm already in love with this dress and I don't think it needs further adjustments.
One does not need to change into a different outfit after the church ceremony. Often, based on my experience, I change into a party-fit attire. For the reception and just to have fun with the newly weds. The knee- length cut makes the whole ensemble ready for some cocktails and for dancing. 

In choosing the right dress, aside from the over-all look, it is very important that you're comfortable with what you'll wear. It automatically builds confidence. When you're confident, you bloom, you shine, it makes people appreciative and all the positive vibes will flow naturally. Dress First has the most adorable dresses. For each event in your life, I know you'll find a lovely dress fit for your personality and style.
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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Help Typhoon Haiyan Victims

Like everyone else, my husband and I are doing our best on finding ways to help our brothers and sisters at the Visayas Region. One important opportunity that knocked at our door was the relief efforts my husband's company will make as they will send employees with relief goods at the most devastated areas. When I heard about it, I cried because now I have a way to directly send help for our fellow Filipinos in need. If it's going to be allowed, I will encourage my other half to join the group as representative for our whole family and friends here in the Philippines, from America and the rest of the world.

The aftermath Typhoon Yolanda/ Haiyan has left in our country was heartbreaking. It broke my heart in an instant and I can't get over it. Spreading information on how to help and donate is one way to ease those troubled hearts. If you can, please continue to send these important and reliable information within your network as we go through this deep adversity.

In sending out donations please be advised to entrust your goods, cash or in kind to reliable groups and organizations. People whom you feel will bring your donations safely and directly to the people of Visayas.

To the rest of the world... Thank you... We are truly grateful and appreciative of the continuous support and united relief efforts you've been showering our beloved country.

Please check the links below for the list of trusted international and local assistance.




Alagang Kapatid 

0o0o
 It will take time to rebuild, but hope and with continuous prayers, the Filipino spirit will never fail the nation to keep moving foward.
I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you. Isaiah 46:4
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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Surprise Mixer

To give a little light on this "baking thing". My family's been into making bread and pastries ever since I was a kid. My parents owned a bakery. My mom and dad made Pandesal, Cheese rolls, Ensaymada and Spanish bread etc... everything became everyone's favorite. 
My mom and dad knows how much I wanted to own a KitchenAid mixer. But as we all know, buying one is no joke. Here in the Philippines, a KitchenAid mixer costs around Php25,000. If we're to spend that much, it's best to take baking a step higher and that's probably the best time to put up a business. 

 But as of the moment, this Homemaker Bench Mixer will do. With Planetary Action , 6 Speeds plus Pulse, 1 Dough Hook, 1 Beater, 1 Whisk, 4 litre stainless steel bowl (detachable), it's a great partner on enhancing one's baking skills. My friends with the same hobby gave a full thumbs up on this lucky buy and it's red. I haven't used it yet.

I'm thanking my dear parents for being thoughtful and supportive. I'm turning 35 next month, married for 10 years with 2 kids, but it feels like I never left home... My parents has always been there for me and my siblings. I'm so blessed to have this kind of relationship with my family.

My week started wonderfully with a call from my mom and told me that they bought a stand mixer. And when I talked to my dad. 

Here's what he said:
"Anak, yan na muna pang practice- practice, tapos bibili tayo ng KitchenAid".  ( For now, this mixer is good for practicing your baking skills, then we will buy a KitchenAid Mixer). 

I didn't even ask for it, but they're saving up for the big one. I'm so inspired that's why I want to bake a cake!

 And yes, my intention is to learn not only to make some sweet pastries but my mom's pandesal and her famous cheese rolls as well. Baking my mom's famous breads is a planned surprise. I just want to surprise them one day and serve some hot bread on the dining table.

With a new mixer, it doesn't mean I am going to let go of my mom's 20 year old hand mixer. Our hand mixer is working just fine, it's perfect for making small recipes and quick mixes. I just love the thought that I have both mixers!

It's happiness having freshly baked bread coming from your own oven first thing in the morning. I experienced that thru my parents when I was a kid. I want to do it for my children and my husband. It's one of the fond memories I had as a child and I will cherish and pass it over to my family.

VISIT: Homemaker Stand Mixer 2014 post  for more information. Thank you.
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Pastries By Enchie

 I love to cook, but baking is another story. So here are some of the pastries I've made for the past weeks. I have to say, it's really hard to perfect something I don't really have knowledge of. My interest in making pastries started early this year. I just wanted to do something new. Something that my family can also enjoy, especially my 2 kids. Right now, making pastries has become a hobby. I try to bake every weekend, either a new recipe, or I stick with an old one and improve it.

 Most of the goodies I make are baked to my preference. From the texture, the taste, down to the frosting. Pastry shops are everywhere here in Manila and boy they're expensive. And come to think of it,  not all pastries being sold are as appealing and tasteful as their dining room or the "cute- looking" bake shop itself. I learn from those unsatisfying experiences  as a customer, then I imagine making my own.

 Putting up a business is far to be considered as of the moment by the way. I just want to be the mom who can bake for her children. It's very rewarding to personally bake pastries as snacks. Before, I go to a local bakeshop to get some sweet fix. Now, I make my own. My eldest son loves my cupcakes as his "baon" for school. And he even told his best friend whom he share his cupcakes with "his mama" makes them.
 Soft, moist Fudge Cupcakes coated with rich dark chocolate. 

 There's still a lot to learn. Some people they enroll in baking classes to have background. As much as I want to, I don't have the extra time for it, so I try my best to learn by reading recipe books, watch videos, demos then practice, practice, practice whatever I can absorb. And when I'm finally graced with the said time, I will get myself the proper education.

 Most recipes I've tried are good for 12- 24 pieces. Once I've perfected the recipes, I will share a couple here in my blog. 

 It relaxes me every time I create something. The Dark Chocolate Coated Fudge Cupcakes in particular was requested by my sister. I was happy to make some for her. She would often by commercial cupcakes. 

Her favorite is the chocolate coated ones. Instead of buying, I can always whip- up something heavier, richer, delightful and healthier because the ingredients I use are all from the finest quality.

Blueberry Muffins sugar-cinnamon crust, topped with cream cheese frosting.

 As much as possible I don't add coloring or anything artificial. It's just the basics enhanced to the top. Well anything for my family has got be from the finest. It's fun baking, especially when it's for the family or for the simply reason that you want to share and make people happy.

 One of the achievements I've made was to be able to make my own caramel. I immediately tried it with my fudge brownies. It blended well. It's chewy and it gave my brownies a distinct taste and an extraordinary texture. I can't wait to try my caramel as filling for my cupcakes. Caramel has always been a favorite. With caramel alone, one can concoct other pastries, it's up to the maker's imagination ;)

Made of rich cocoa mixed with some homemade caramel and almond shavings.

For the mean time, I've skipped 2 weekends of baking. I'm kinda busy gathering and preparing for materials needed for baking cakes, cheesecakes and mousse. All 3, mix and combine... a 2 or 3 layer cake in the making.
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Oyakodon

Oyakodon is my favorite Japanese rice bowl. It's a simple rice bowl topped with egg, chicken and a special Japanese sauce. Since we can't always eat in restaurants, I've practised cooking and preparing rice bowls like Oyakodon from my small kitchen. The only ingredient that's missing in this recipe is Mirin, which is a sweet rice wine, a staple Japanese condiment. I was able to find ways and other alternatives to get the taste of an authentic Oyakodon sauce without the use of Mirin.
 Servings: 3-4 regular bowls

Ingredients:
  • Cooked rice prepared in individual bowls
  • 2-3 chicken breast fillet (chopped into pieces)
  • 1 white onion (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp chopped onion leeks
  • 4 beaten eggs
  • 1 tsp roasted sesame seeds
  • 1 cup Kikkoman soy sauce
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/4-1/2 cup chicken stock or plain water
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • a dash of salt
  • 1/2 tsp minced ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cooking oil

Directions:
  • In a small pan, caramelize chopped white onion. Set aside.
  • In a sauce pan, simmer Kikkoman soy sauce, sesame oil, water, minced ginger, sugar, salt and pepper.
  • Add chicken and simmer until chicken is cooked. Add water if necessary so it wouldn't dry out.
  • Pour chicken and sauce in prepared rice bowls.
  • In a separate pan, fry beaten eggs half-cooked then divide cooked eggs in individual bowls.
  • Garnish each bowl with chopped onion leeks/ scallions and roasted sesame seeds.
In restaurants where I've eaten Oyakodon, they serve the egg raw. Usually, a whole raw egg topped in the rice bowl. Others, would prefer beaten raw eggs. As for this recipe, just to be safe for the kids and those sensitive, scrambled eggs is also a good option.
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Friday, October 4, 2013

The Burger Project

Located at 122 Maginhawa st. Teachers Village Quezon City

Here's another food trip we made along Maginhawa st. After braving the long line in the recent S&R Members' Treat, my husband and I decided to have lunch somewhere along the way back home. As always, Maginhawa street was a good stop for affordable, great food choices. For a change, we went to The Burger Project.

If you want real burgers cooked to perfection and is ready to be customized according to your preference, this food chain is well- known for that.
The air-conditioned dining area at the Maginhawa branch was a bit cramped. There were more tables outside the restaurant, but most diners prefer to eat inside where it's much cooler. Anyway, we were able to get a table good for 4 and we enjoyed our meal to the max. Friendly staff too.
Upon ordering, the cashier will hand you a checklist to customize your burger. From there, you choose the burger patty (beef, tofu or chicken). Then the bun, the cheese, the set of toppings and dressing for your burger. They also have a menu of burgers that they can create for you. 

It is known as the Designer Burgers: (Php200-250)
Western Bacon Melt
Bleu Buffalo
Tokyo Pop!
Italian Stallion
Sloppiest Joe
French Lick
and Jugs and Teddy Tandem BRGR

Italian Stallion Angus (php230)
Mozzarella Cheese
Sun-dried tomatoes
Pepperoni
Pesto 
Lettuce
Tomatoes
Plain Beef Burger (Php105)
Single beef patty
Lettuce
Cheese
Dressing
Tokyo Pop! Angus (Php215)
Sauteed Mushrooms
Teriyaki Sauce
Wasabi Mayo
Sliced Onions
Lettuce
Other than their delicious Designer BRGRs, The Burger Project is also famous for their milkshakes and sidings. We had an order of Oreo Cookies& Cream milkshake and Strawberry milkshake (Php150ea) which were very rich and refreshing. It matched our sunny afternoon.  Soda in can is also available at (Php40ea).
The sidings are another set of goodies in their menu. With our visit over the weekend, we ordered some plain french fries (Php65) and onion rings (Php75). Both were made from fresh potatoes and onions. 

I just love how crunchy my onion rings were. It was cooked to perfection. The coating is light brown and crunchy, the onion is just right, it's not over-cooked and it's not half -cooked as well.

At The Burger project, everything is delicious. I can consider it as a healthy choice for burgers too since they're using 100% beef. The mere fact that you can make your own burger, this I have to say, is also a good place for the health- conscious.
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Mondates

We get exhausted with the weekend rush, especially when pay day steps in as well. One of the routines that my husband and I came up with is to do errands and other things on a weekday. Monday is one of our relaxing days of the week. My husband gets to go to work late and most of the time, since we opt to stay at home the day before, we're able to well, same with our kids. Result: A happy Monday for all! It's a great way to start the next 5 days of work and school.

Here's our Monday routine:

We get up early, I cook breakfast for the kids, prepare my eldest son's lunch bag, get him ready for school.
By 7:30 am we're out, the whole family brings Frankie to school.
After dropping our son, my husband and I will plan as we drive around looking for a restaurant where we can have breakfast.
Most of the time, we eat at restaurants near our place, Katipunan Ave., Eastwood and Cubao. Spots that have restaurants that offers breakfast. Last Mondate we went to Eastwood and had buffet breakfast at Something Fishy. It's not our first time in this restaurant, but it's been months since we had buffet for breakfast. Other choices we go to are 24 hour fast food chains like Wendy's, KFC, Shakey's. It all depends on what we're craving for :D Cubao alone, has so much to offer. Most of the restaurants along Shopwise Araneta are open 24 hours.

Mondates are seldom documented with pictures, because we're just occupied with our special time. We eat out like we're on our dating stage, talk about things, eat food we've never tried before or we haven't eaten for a long time... With our recent Mondate, I thought I share it here on my blog. It's a good option of staying away from the usual crowded Saturday or Sunday.

It's good to be blessed with free time on a "Monday". Maybe if you get some time off, try going on a Mondate, it will surely boost you up for the rest of the week.
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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Nena's

One of the places my family was fond of visiting when I was kid is Cubao in Quezon City. Who will never forget the fun rides at the Fiesta Carnival, toy shopping in COD after watching the Christmas Display Show, window shopping with my mom at the Rustan's Department Store, a quick trip to Farmer's Market and of course, the old Marikina Shoe Expo. I'm not the only person who loves Cubao, my hubsand as well. My other half practically grew up in Cubao. His family lived across Aurora Blvd. the road that links Cubao to their old house. Just recently, my husband took me to Nena's Bibingka located beside the old building that used to be COD which is now, a SM Savemore supermarket.

We talked to the waiter and even told him our story about the old Nena's restaurant... Nena's restaurant is one of the oldest restaurants in Cubao that's still open. We had lunch at Nena's after our quick errand in SM Cubao. Nena's has become my husband's one of the memorable places he visited during his childhood. He told me that his dad would take him there all the time. It brought good, old memories back as we waited for our food.

Our lunch went around on an order of Lechon Kawali, Eggplant Enchilada and Beef Mechado. The serving per viand is good for sharing.
As we enjoyed our food, it felt like we never left our "old" homes. I can taste my "lola's" cooking with the food I ate at Nena's. It was wonderful to feel and imagine my childhood days with traditionally prepared food at Nena's.
Nena's specialty is their Bibingkas. Right now, they have a Buy4 Get 1 free promo for Php80. It's all-year round favorite. They also have a Merienda Buffet at Php170 with a No Leftover Price of Php85. Prices range from Php30-200.
Aling Nena with the young Vilma Santos

(These vintage photos were taken from a display in the restaurant.)

Located: General Romulo Avenue, Corner Aurora Boulevard, Cubao, Quezon City
beside the old COD
Restaurant hours: 8am-8pm Monday- Saturday
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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Healthy Burgers

Everyone loves hamburger! The only thing that matters when eating a hamburger is the amount of trans fat and carbohydrates we take- in, especially food coming from fast food restaurants. Some of us have switched sides to a healthier diet. In my family, my husband used to indulge with hamburgers. But he grew big and now, as much as possible we try our best to avoid not only burgers from fast food chains, but anything that's already processed. But in reality, there will always be room for processed ingredients. Let's face it, no one's perfect, as "humans", we still crave even just a little for delicious food like hamburgers. In that case, as the head of our kitchen, I try to look for products with less harmful ingredients. If I can make one from scratch, I try...

My healthy hamburgers are made from natural choices. The only processed ingredients in this recipe is the mayo- lite and the cheese.

Ingredients: Hamburger Patties
Makes: 6 palm- sized patties
  • 1/2 k fresh lean ground beef 
  • 2 medium red onions ( minced)
  • 2 whole eggs
  • a dash of salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
 *The  meat I used is freshly ground beef. I get to choose the lean part then have it ground.
  • In a bowl, mix all ingredients evenly. Set aside.
  • In a frying pan,  heat olive oil and fry patties until golden brown.
  • Or grill the patties.

Ingredients: Sandwich
  • 6 pcs. Hamburger Buns (wheat is preferred)
  • 6 pcs. cheese (singles)
  • 1 medium cucumber (sliced)
  • 1 big salad tomato (sliced)
  • 1 white onion (sliced)
  • 6 pcs. lettuce
  • a small pack of mayo lite or any dressing you like

  • Toast hamburger buns. Set aside.
  • Put dressing over one side of the bun, then make your own sandwich (according to your preference).
I like mine with:
Dressing
Lettuce
Beef Patty
Cheese
TCO - tomato, cucumber, onion

One can still enjoy a delightful hamburger without the hassle thinking that's it's unhealthy or it can make you fat. Remember, too much of "everything or anything" is bad. Not only burgers. Give yourself a break try this simple and healthy burger recipe. Just substitute the ingredients you think will not work for you with something healthier. Enjoy!

 I paired my burgers with some homemade potato mojos, mustard and catsup on the side as well.
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Friday, September 6, 2013

Cheesy Chicken Quesadillas

Aside from burrito, Quesadillas is one of my favorite snack to make at home. With almost the same set of ingredients like of the burritos, one can easily make a set of snacks composing of both Mexican delights. 

Let's concentrate on the Quesadilla recipe I'm about to share.

Quesadilla is tortilla with a cheesy filling inside. It's folded and heated up in a dry pan. Cheese is one of the main ingredients in every quesadilla because it glues everything together. I also prefer using flour quesadilla to get the soft- bread effect. It's easy to fold and flour tortilla can hold more filling than a corn tortilla. The exciting thing about quesadillas is the filling. You can practically use and combine anything. As for my choices, I went for chicken breasts, chopped into small pieces, sauteed in onions and with my left- over chili con carne sauce. Ground beef is also a good option.
Servings: 10- 15 medium slices

Ingredients: Cheesy Chicken Quesadilla
  • 2 chicken breast fillet chopped into small pieces or 1/4 k of lean ground beef
  • 1 medium red onion chopped
  • 1/4 cup chili con carne sauce or tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp cilantro
  • 3 large tortillas 
  • 2- 3 cups grated quickmelt cheese or mozzarella 
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • a dash of salt and pepper
How To: 
  • In a frying pan, heat oil, sauteed chopped onion with chicken and simmer until chicken is cooked.
  • Add chili con carne sauce or tomato sauce and cilantro. Stir for a few seconds.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
* same procedure goes with ground beef  and add cheese sauce as an option.
  • Prepare a bigger, dry, round frying pan. In low fire, heat tortilla wrapper.
  • Fill one side with 1/2 cup from sauteed chicken and top it with 1/2 cup grated cheese. Spread it evenly.
  • Fold other end of the tortilla, press for a few seconds, then flip it carefully to heat the other side of the tortilla.
  • Flip it one more time and notice that it's more intact and both sides are a bit brown.
  • Plate and slice.
Salsa:
  • 3 medium red tomatoes minced
  • 1 medium red onion minced
  • 1/2 tsp cilantro
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp olive oil (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp lemon juice (optional)
In a bowl mix everything together. Ready to serve.
Enjoy your weekend with these and some ice cold soda pop.
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Thursday, September 5, 2013

Black Angus Steak for My Birthday?

It's September and once the "BER" months sets in, for my family, it doesn't only mean that Christmas is just around the corner. But also, it's within the "BER" that we get to celebrate 3 birthdays. Mine and my children's birthday. Let's concentrate on my plans for my special day this year. First, I'm not much of a spender when it comes to my special day. Usually, I only celebrate by spending the day with my family at a mall, then eat somewhere that caters simple food and drinks. For some reason, I want something different this year. Aside from my husband and kids, I thought of inviting 3 of my best pals (2 of my childhood friends, my maid of honor) and of course, my mom and sisters for dinner or lunch in a restaurant I haven't tried before.

Come to think of it, it's been a long time since I've organize a day out or a night out with any of the girls. I thought of having steak for my birthday. It's something new really. Usually, I go for Chinese, Italian and even Mexican food. My husband who is more familiar with steaks is going to help me out. I was advised to check online for black angus coupons 2013 . Coupons is not new to me, I've enjoyed expensive dining experience with the help of coupons. Sometimes, they give you big discounts, a free appetizer and dessert or an up-size on your favorite drink.

For the mean time, I have to serach for restaurants that will give me and my guests the best steaks ever. Maybe some of them are offering such great deals too.
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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Restaurant Thoughts: Crazy Katsu

We spent the last day of our long weekend with errands. After shopping for some supplies, we decided to grab a bite on our way home. My husband thought of Miggy's at first, but we remembered that we just had burrito. Then we thought of driving back all the way to SM North to check YABU's new branch. Then again, since we're not sure if the restaurant is already open, we decided to stick with what the small restaurants along Maginhawa st. will offer.

If you're looking for a quick food adventure, you got to check Maginhawa st. It has always been our stop in case when we run out of options. For instance, if my husband wants a burger and I want a burrito, we go to Good Burger that's right beside Mexican Express and between the 2 is a milk tea shop. How good is that? You can never go wrong in this area.

So, my husband was driving slow because we were both checking both sides of the road for a good place to eat.

Then... lo and behold... the answer to our Katsu craving.

I've been seeing a lot of posts about Crazy Katsu, but I don't take time to go through the articles. I told my husband "There's Crazy Katsu, I've been seeing a lot of posts about it on Facebook." I thought it's located somewhere in Makati or Ortigas, but hey, I'm happy because here's another place where we can go to for our Katsu fix. Crazy Katsu offers dishes at a pocket- friendly price. Prices range from Php120-190. 

Outside the restaurant, the sign board is attracting guests with it's cute font and reddish background. It stands out.
Unit- 1, 81 Maginhawa st. Teacher's Village UP Diliman, Quezon City
Cozy, air-conditioned dining area with wifi.
When we got in, the staff was very accommodating. We were seated, served with glasses and a pitcher of iced water. The Crazy Katsu menu has a short list specializing on katsu dishes and house specialties such as their Pork Ginger, Sukiyaki, Fish and Vegetable Tempura.
Miso Soup (Php30)
Our soup was served immediately and it was smoking hot. It was very good, perfect for that rainy day.
Chicken Katsu (Php145)
This I must say, was one- tricky dish. I thought that it's going to be just an ordinary Chicken Katsu... I was surprised and got a "little" disappointed when I saw the siling labuyo. It's best to include a description on the menu, so the client will know of this extraordinary twist. Or better yet, make chili optional. I needed to dig through the bed of shredded cabbage for siling labuyo, but over-all, I still enjoyed my Chicken Katsu. The Chicken Katsu sauce has a touch of sweetness. The boneless chicken was juicy and crispy.
Tonkatsu (Php 140)
After the disappointing part from my Chicken Katsu, let me redeem Crazy Katsu for their Tonkatsu, Fish and Vegetable Tempura.

1. Their Tonkatsu is thick, firm and juicy. In comparison, it is as big as a 120g Rosu and is served on a bed of shredded cabbage and a cup of rice. With extra rice, the pork can be shared by 2 kids.

2. My favorite. Fish and Vegetable Tempura. This plate is composed of 8 pieces tempura mixed vegetable and fish. I just love that they serve 3 of my favorite vegetables: okra, talong (eggplant) and kalabasa (pumpkin) for their vegetable tempura. The fish tempura I got to say is also a hit. In most restaurants, they use Cream Dory for tempura, in Crazy Katsu, it's different. I can't recall the name of the fish Crazy Katsu uses, but one of the servers mentioned that it's a local saltwater fish. It taste like Tilapia.
Fish and Vegetable Tempura (Php140)
Crazy Katsu Iced Tea (php30)
With the taste of the iced tea, I guess, it's a special mix from Crazy Katsu.
Drinks: Php 30-65

Everything in Crazy Katsu is worth it. This is going to be added on our list. We've been in and out of Teacher's Village, it's nice to have a more reasonable alternative in case we want Katsu late at night or simply a budget friendly restaurant that serves high quality food.
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Easy Burrito

I'm a burrito lover. I'd drive all the way just to get my burrito fix. Over the weekend, my husband and I craved for it, just in time for our DVD movie date night. Instead of buying, I suggested that we go to the grocery and buy ingredients and I'd be very happy to prepare burritos for us. It's more practical. If we're to buy burrito from a restaurant, a big burrito will probably cost around php150-200 each. With that amount, we were able to buy ingredients that can yield around 4-5 big burritos or 6-7 mediums ones.

Please take note that some ingredients were already at hand, like the dried Cilantro and cheese sauce.
Servings: 4 large Burritos


Ingredients:
  • 1/4 kilo lean ground beef
  • 3 medium red tomatoes finely chopped
  • 3 red onions minced
  • 1 can baked beans
  • 1 pack Chili Con Carne mix dissolved
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 2 tbsp dried or freshly chopped cilantro
  • A dash of salt
  • 1 tsp granulated black pepper
  • Tortillas
  • Cheese sauce or cheese dip
How To:
  • Dissolve Chili Con Carne mix according package instructions.
 Preparing the beef
  • In a frying pan, saute 1/4 of the minced onions.
  • Add ground beef and stir fry until half- cooked.
  • Add 1/2 cup of dissolved Chili Con Carne mix and simmer for a few seconds until cooked. 
  • Add salt and pepper.
  • Set aside.
Preparing the rice
  • Using the same frying pan, heat cooking oil and saute part of the minced onions.
  • Add 2 cups of rice, then, get 5 tbsp from dissolved Chili Con Carne mix, add to the rice.
  • Stir rice until sauce is mixed with rice evenly. Set aside.
Preparing the beans
  • In a small sauce pan, pour and heat canned baked beans.
  • Simmer for a few seconds then add about 1/2 cup of the remaining Chili Con Carne mix.
  • Simmer for a few seconds. Set aside.
 Preparing the salsa
  • In a bowl, mix chopped tomatoes, onions and cilantro.
Assemble the prepared burrito fillings.
  • In a pan, heat up Tortillas one at a time.
  • Assemble filling:
Rice
Beans
Beef
Salsa then
Cheese
 
  • Roll Tortilla sides just like how we make spring rolls.
  • Eaten wrapped or plate topped with more cheese and salsa.
Other add ons:
JalapeƱo
Chicken in substitute for beef
Guacamole
Bean paste
Lettuce

It may look hard because of the preparation process. But once assembled, wrapping a burrito is easy breezy. I  make lots of fillings and put it in microwavable containers, stock up on tortillas so anytime we crave for a burrito, I can just wrap our own.
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Monday, August 12, 2013

Sweet Treats From My Kitchen

I love to cook, but it doesn't mean that I'm as good when it comes to baking or making pastries. Early this year I got the urge and interest to learn and experiment on making pastries. Since I don't have a background on baking, I relied so much on online recipes for my first trial until I was able to concoct my own. I must admit, it's pretty expensive because I spend on ingredients with the risk that I might not be able to get the finished product right. But if one will study the procedures well and research for suppliers, I think everything will turn out fine. Based on my experience, once I've set the basics aside, with a little adjustments, excluding and adding ingredients, I can say I'm getting there...

One of the sweet treats I love is Chocolate Crinkles. I want my crinkles to be soft, moist and chewy. I'm happy to share that I was able to meet my criteria, but the shape of the cookies were uneven because I had to give the kids the fun part of placing each chocolate ball on the baking sheet.
My second project was Chocolate Chip Cookies. In a much older post, I shared my love for the cookies made by one of our friends. They used to give us a box full for Christmas. But I can't wait a year just to have a cookie right? So I decided to make my own. Again, like my Chocolate Crinkles, I want my cookies to soft and chewy. The recipe I used was for giant cookies. Again and again, the size of the finished product was uneven. This time, I disregarded the size of the cookie sheet. It wasn't big enough for my giant cookies.
Before proceeding, let me share a short story about my mom and her love for baking. When I was a kid and we were still living at my grandmother's house in Manila, my mom would often bake cakes for occasions like birthday parties. And not just one but she can go for 3 or 5 different cakes. Later on, my dad and my mom was able to put up a bakery store. Every bread was made from scratch and with my mom's hard work. The bakery business was doing great for some time, until my mom had to give it up because she got pregnant with our youngest and my dad got a job offer. Her recipes are still with her, I even offered to continue the business...
The next pastry are cupcakes. No, it's not the ready-to-bake mixture. Everything was made from scratch. Thank God my mom has a background on baking. She shared with me her recipe, same with the frosting.

So far, among the pastries, the cupcakes turned out well on the first try. It's moist both inside and out.

For months now, I have been preparing these pastries. It will take a lot of practice in order to nail the right texture, size, shape, flavor and consistency. Do I plan to have this as a business? Well, to be honest, as of the moment, I am just enjoying baking and sharing it with my whole family. 

Next on my list: 

Cream Puffs
Chocolate Eclairs
Making my own fudge cake for my son and dad's birthday.
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Shrimp Scampi

Sometimes, I look back through my old recipes in this blog and if I find something not as appealing in terms of presentation, I give the recipe another whip. For this week, I decided to redo my easy Shrimp Scampi recipe.


Servings: 2-4
Ingredients:
  • 450g Linguine
  • 10 pcs shrimps (peeled and deveined)
  • 10 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/2  olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 medium fresh red tomatoes (chopped, with seeds)
  • 1 can 400g diced tomatoes
  • 1 medium green bell pepper (chopped)
  • 3 tbsp Parmesan cheese
  • A handful of freshly chopped basil leaves or 1 tsp dried basil 
  • Salt and pepper for tasting
How To: 
  • In a sauce pan, boil pasta until firm then set aside.
  • In a separate frying pan, melt butter and stir fry shrimps until orange. Set aside.
  • On a pan, heat a little olive oil, saute garlic until light brown.
  • Add cooked shrimps, chopped tomatoes and stir for a few seconds.\
  • Add canned diced tomatoes, basil and green bell pepper. Stir for as few seconds.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add pasta and Parmesan cheese then toss it evenly with the sauce.
You may top your pasta with more cheese and pair it with some hot wheat bread. Enjoy!
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