Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Try a Fun Fruit Parfait on Mother's Day

Mother's Day is up ahead. Any ideas on how to celebrate it? Mother's Day has always been about honoring our moms. Most of the time, or let's say, most of us spend this day by having a grandiose celebration. There are other ways to make Mother's Day special and inexpensive. Why don't you try preparing something delicious, a dessert your mom have never tried before...

Here's a Special Mother's Day Feature: Kendra Thornton's great way to start a special day.

Kendra's story behind this delicious and refreshing dessert

As the days grow longer and the warm May breezes begin to blow, we know that Mother’s Day is just around the corner. Time with family is precious, and the second Sunday of May gives us the perfect opportunity to spend time with those who matter most. If you happen to be looking for a special recipe to share with your family this Mother’s Day, I have exactly what you need! It’s called the “Peach and Raspberry Parfait,” and my family simply wouldn’t have Mother’s Day without it.

I first discovered this delicacy at Disney’s Boardwalk Inn while vacationing in Orlando with my family. My travels have acquainted me with many interesting people and brought me many interesting experiences, but family matters most. This is why every Mother’s Day my family enjoys spending a little time together in the kitchen. In fact, this routine has become a Thornton family tradition, and recipes like the Peach and Raspberry Parfait help us make the memories we will treasure forever.

This simple parfait is a great way to start a special day. Inexpensive and full of nutritious fruit, it works great as a fun breakfast or as dessert after a Mother’s Day luncheon. Be sure to serve it with an extra helping of love.
Peach and Raspberry Parfait
Makes about four servings. Requires about five minutes prep time and 20 minutes total time.

  • 2 fresh peaches cut into 2 ½-inch pieces
  • 1 ½ cups fresh raspberries
  • ½ fresh lemon
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt (I use Edy’s Slow Churned Yogurt Blends to minimize caloric intake without sacrificing flavor.)
  • In a large mixing bowl, toss together peaches, raspberries and sugar. Be careful not to crush the fresh fruit. 
  • Squeeze one-half lemon over the mixture.
  • Then grate and sprinkle some lemon zest into the fruit. 
  • Toss once more, taking care again not to crush the fruit. 
  • Set mixture aside to chill in the fridge for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Scoop vanilla ice cream or yogurt into dessert bowls or fancy cocktail glasses. Top with the fruit mixture. I like to give generous helpings of two scoops of both ice cream and fruit.
Whatever you plans are for this Mother’s Day, I hope they involve spending a lot of time with your family. Perhaps this recipe will help you make some happy memories together.

Kendra Thornton: Travel advocate, TV spokesperson, PR businesswoman, proud wife and mama of 3. I am a long time travel expert who has been packing my bags and traveling the world since I was 3 months old! I've found my utmost desire in life is right here in my own home. This last post was inspired by my previous trip to Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, ranked amongst some of the top Orlando hotels , for fabulous and decadent foods. I have mixed my excitement for travel by bringing the taste of authentic cuisine to my own home with some of these unique recipes. Enjoy!

Not only it's going to make mom happy, but this fruit parfait is perfect for the hot weather we're having. Stay tuned for I will be making a Filipino version of Kendra's fruit parfait using our native fruits such as: mangoes, watermelon, banana, pineapple and papaya. It's refreshing!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Same Old, Same Old

Everything you see in this food blog is old when it comes to food presentation.

Same plates
Same utensils
Same pots and pans
Same cups and saucers

Though you keep on seeing the same plates over and over again, everything is still useful and valuable. I just thought that maybe my visitors might get bored. My husband and I are presently working on a project that greatly involves my love for cooking. As a matter of fact, I ditched some of my old kitchenware in order to make room for new ones. 

Just like what my husband asked of me... patience my dear...  because in no time, you are going to share food in new plates, cook in new pots and pans, serve dishes to friends in new platters, enhance your skills on the new hobby of yours in your new kitchen.

Please bear, because in no time, I am going to be able to share food in new plates, cooked in new pots and pans, served in new platters, I might even introduce a new hobby of mine done in my new kitchen.

I might just surprise you one day :D

Rigatoni Alfredo

When it comes to white sauce, from a basic recipe, I was able to create my signature white sauce which I use not only in pasta dishes but in other viands as well. From the taste, texture, consistency... it all matters on what ingredients we prefer to use, including the brand. Everyone can create a basic white sauce. It's up to us to add that secret ingredient in order to make it as our own. It took me a long time since I was able to finally nail a satisfying  white sauce. 

It's my first time to use Rigatoni pasta. Rigatoni is a tube- like pasta. It's like macaroni and penne but a bit bigger. A few grams per serving will do, because it's heavy.

  • 200g Rigatoni (cooked)
  • 2 red tomatoes cut into pieces
  • 2 tbsp of sliced mushrooms
  • 1 medium green bell pepper cut into pieces
  • 5 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1 tbsp thin slices of cheddar cheese or cheese of your choice
  • salt and pepper
For the ingredients and instructions on how to make a Basic Alfredo Sauce, please click on the link.

How To:
  • In a  sauce pan, saute garlic in olive oil or butter until light brown.
  • Add chopped tomatoes and bell peppers and mushrooms, stir for a few seconds.
  • Add chopped parsley
  • Add prepared Alfredo sauce and stir for a few seconds.
  • Add cooked Rigatoni pasta, mix everything well.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
For the ingredients and instructions on how to make a Basic Alfredo Sauce, please click on the link.

Served with slices of cheese and fresh parsley on top. This dish is a regular vegetable dish. It's easy to prepare and perfect for the health conscious. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Cafe Balooga

I'm going to be honest, the name of the restaurant caught my attention. Balooga as a Filipino "street word", I think it's best to say that it does exist but with a far different meaning.

Cafe Balooga offers a mix of dishes like pastas and steaks. Refreshing drinks: fresh fruit juices, cold beer, hard drinks, coffee and tea.

It's pretty affordable too.

Price range from Php200-1,000+  (serving is good for sharing)

I discovered Cafe Balooga during our trip to Subic 3 weeks ago. We were at the Harbor Point Mall to look at some outlet shops. In line with those shops we were at, are 2 restaurants and one of them is Cafe Balooga. I checked their menu, looked interesting, but we weren't prepared at that time so we promised to go back.

And we did... just over the weekend. Yes, we're back in Subic! This time around, it was just me and my husband. We went on a "date trip". Part of  our trip was to experience Cafe Balooga.
Cafe Balooga
Level 2, Store No. 2058
Harbor Point Mall
Subic Freeport Zone

For starters:
Fish and Chips Php230
Chips are real potatoes sliced thinly, mixed with pieces of crunchy fish fillet, served with tartar sauce.

 Here's the nice part: Since most of their a la carte meal are good for sharing, my husband and I opted to go for their single- served dishes so we can try at least 3. You can have pasta of your choice that's served with beef, pork or chicken and it also comes with a glass of iced tea. Rice is also available to be paired with any:  beef, pork or chicken viand, also served with iced tea.
Pasta Pomodoro with Grilled Pork Chop and a tall glass of Iced Tea Php180

Cafe Balooga's version of Pasta Pomodoro made it to my list of favorites. Being a pasta lover, the texture and quality of the pasta and it's sauce is of  great deal to me. Cafe Balooga's Pasta Pomodoro was served with slices of green chili. I like to use chili as flavoring, but not really to eat it.

Cafe Balooga's Pasta Pomodoro was an exception. I just love the idea that they added chili in it. My pasta is spicy but just right. For the first time, I was able to enjoy eating chili. I savored the crunchiness of the chili and it's juicy flavor. Of course the spaghetti noodles was cooked perfectly.
Choice of Beef Stroganoff with Rice and a tall glass of Iced Tea Php180
The dining room is cool and cozy. Cafe Balooga is often visited by foreigners and local tourists. We went there to have lunch, we love how private the place is.
It doesn't end here, because this coming May, we are driving back to Subic and a visit to Cafe Balooga is a must!  I can imagine Cafe Balooga by night, it sure is a good place to go to, have some cold beer and cool conversations with your partner and good friends.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A New Take On Doughnuts with J.Co Donuts

My Discovery:
I'm more of a home person, I keep in touch with the latest via online. One of the things I heard about J.Co was the long line their patrons brave just to get a dozen or even just a piece of their donut. When the Eastwood branch opened, I was in the vicinity with my family. Oh boy, talk about the longest of lines. I thought, maybe it's new that's why it's famous, same thing when Krispy Kreme and other imported brands first arrived here in the Philippines.

Other than reading posts and shout outs online, I learned J.Co through my husband and my mom. My husband who's constantly around Makati discovered it in one of his ventures. My mom, who goes to Alabang Town Center to spend time with her "amigas" (friends) accidentally discovered J.Co Alabang because they were in search of a new place where they can hangout have dessert, tea or coffee. 

The Bad

Please take note that this is not a review for J.Co Donuts or for any company. This is purely based on my opinion and experience.

If there are good things said about the doughnuts of J.Co, when it comes to their over-all services and management, particularly at the Eastwood branch, sad to say, it's chaos. We went home disappointed during our recent visit.

One evening, we went to Eastwood to have dinner and before going home we decided to drop by J. Co Donuts for dessert. It wasn't full that night, it was a good evening to get some doughnuts.
After the girl from the counter placed the doughnuts I chose in the box, he showed me a number, which will be called later at the cashier. You know what's unbelievable? I waited for almost 20-30 minutes  for my number to be called.

What happened to the box of doughnuts I saw they were preparing for me earlier? 
Where did it all go? 
What were they doing with the doughnuts that it took them 20- 30 minutes to finally hand it to me.

Not only that the doughnuts were served late, as we waited, my husband went to a different counter to get us some cold drinks. An Iced Cafe Latte,  a Chocomint Frappe for our son and a Jcoccino Frappe for me. So we thought that the cold drinks will settle for the long wait... but to our surprise, we  waited 20 minutes for our drinks. There weren't any lines at the beverage counter by the way... So finally, the barista called out my husband's name to claim our drinks, but when my husband reached the counter, the barista told my husband "ay sandali lang ha..." what the?!  It took another 5 minutes. Again, what kept them from giving us our order on time.
The Eastwood branch was also a hot spot that night, like, literally hot. As if the air-conditioning isn't working. We were perspiring I gotta say, it was much cooler waiting outside the store. There were other customers complaining as well.

Anyway,  there will always be considerations made. The Eastwood branch is J.Co's latest addition to it's growing business here in the Philippines. Hopefully, soon, they will improve even more.

The Good: 
On the lighter side, I must share that J.Co Donuts are good.

Knowing my mom, being choosy and particular with the food she eats whom in a way, I consider a "food critic", her opinion greatly matters.  In one of our family dinners, she brought home a box of J.Co Donuts for dessert. That was the first time I tasted J.Co. So I asked her, "mahaba ba ang pila?' (was the line long?) "masarap ba naman?" (is it that good?

Her answer was: Malinamnam. (It's good, rich and tasty.)  It's my first time to hear someone describe a doughnut as "malinamnam" With the box my mom took home, I got small slices from all the flavors. Slowly chewing it, tasting the bread, gauging  the richness, sweetness, flavor and texture.

Assorted doughnuts are not really for me. Original Glazed/ Honey Dipped/ Sugar- Raised/ Chocolate Dipped... I'm more into the plain ones and I don't mind buying from any doughnut shop as long as I get my doughnut fix. Especially if you have kids around, it won't really matter where you buy it :D

As we can all see, it's just doughnut, it's the "malinamnam" part that made it more interesting for me.
My Choices: 

J.Co's line of flavoured donuts is now in my list. It met my preference when it comes to flavoured doughnuts.  They are indeed "malinamnam". J. Co doughnuts are not as sweet too. Instead of the sweetness, the taste concentrates on the flavors which sinks in the doughnut bread itself. I like it because if it's not too sweet, then it's going to be healthier for the kids. You know, kids+ too much sugar = not really good. 

We all have our favorites. So far, any of these doughnuts should be included in our box.

Creme La Fame: Love the filling and the coating. Again, it's not sweet but it's tasty and rich.

Coco Loco: As always, my son's favorite--- and mine too. Rich dark chocolate filling.

Mr. Green Tea: The crushed almonds coating the glaze made it delightful.

Green Tease: This, I prefer to be eaten cold. It makes the green tea glaze taste a little like chocolate.

Blueberry More: And who doesn't like blueberry. This has got to be the richest blueberry flavoured pastry I have tasted so far. It's jelly like coating holds not to make it sloppy to eat.
Alcapone: Alcapone is said to be J.Co's bestseller. For me, it was just plain. The almonds may have nailed it to add texture, but the taste... there's nothing to it. Well, we all have our own preferences. My mom loves it. 

I like my J.Co donuts cold. The coating doesn't harden and it doesn't crack leaving bits and pieces everywhere. Even if refrigerated, the dough itself is still soft and chewy. Blueberry More in particular is very refreshing to eat when cold.
Aside from doughnuts, J.Co is also famous for their coffee,  teas and cold beverages. I'm not a heavy coffee drinker. So far, I have my eyes fixed on their house specialty: Jcoccino Frappe. On my next visit, I'll try something else.

There may be some bad calls in this post. But I guarantee, that every J.Co Donuts & Coffee visit is  worth it. With their new take on doughnuts, hopefully, J. Co will continue to prosper here in our country.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

eMeals Works!

 As a stay at home mom, I still do have struggles when it comes to preparing food for my family on a daily basis. As much as possible, I try not to serve something boring or anything that's been served over and over again. Part of my job is to make sure that my family eats healthy food, with great variation and something that will make them happy both inside and out. Here's a great option for the busy moms. Spending most of your time at work? and individuals out there. eMeals does not only make our weekly menu planning easy, but it can also be a great way when you're preparing for parties or gatherings of all sorts.
  • Pick a plan.
  • Get recipes.
  • Shop and save money for the ingredients.
  • Relax and enjoy! try it out now .
Here's an emeals review  by Fat Fighting Mom. It's a healthy alternative than take- out food. When I studied menu planning in college, a meal is always well-balanced. As for Fat Fighting Mom "There were far less carbs in the meals with a lot more fresh veggies and fruit!"--- which I find really healthy. With eMeals, us moms will discover new, healthy dishes to serve our family. It will make family time more exciting. Our kids will look forward to something different everyday that will also bring excitement in them. At the same time, with proper menu planning the whole family will not miss meals in a day or they will not go overboard when it comes to eating as well.

I will surely tell my family and friends in America about eMeals.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

On The Look for a Greek Restaurant

As part of my food adventure, I reward myself with various cuisines. When and if I travel, sightseeing will come in as second best. Because no. 1 in my list is food tasting. I've tried authentic dishes even within the busy streets of Manila. It's a thriving city with lots of restaurants that offers authenticity. One of my goals this year is to be able to dine in a Greek Restaurant . I was just talking to my husband about it the other day. In relation with my husband's work, most of the time, his company sends people to New York City to do some training in their main office. Part of the travel was also to tour the city and go on a food adventure.

One of the restaurants that caught our attention was Niko's Greek Taverna. Located at the heart of New York City, it offers a wide range of authentic Greek dishes. Click Here .

So I told my husband to try it once he goes on a business trip to New York and even recommend it to his people who will be flying there soon. 

Greek cuisine is a Mediterranean cuisine. Mezés, meaning, a selection of small dishes paired with wine. Mezés is very common in their menu. Hummus (which is my favorite) is often also included.
Visit nikostaverna.com for more info.