Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Popcorn Makeover

Like potato chips, popcorn has given us that "it" factor when it comes to munchies especially partnered while watching flicks. At home, one of our family past times is watching movies and television series. We always have popcorn on stock just for weekend movie nights and even game nights. It's light and at the same time you get to control the flavor you like. My husband like it plain and salted. But on a personal note, I'm not a fan of plain popcorn, I've always wanted mine buttered or flavoured. 

Popcorn is easy to eat and it is available all the time. Yet, the ways it's served is very limited. So let me share my thoughts on how to enhance popcorn to make it more enjoyable to eat. What I came up with is very simple. My only basis are the ff:

1. It should not be messy to eat.
2. Availability of basic ingredients at home.
3. A healthy side to it.

After popping some in the microwave, I placed my popcorn in a clean, dry bowl. Top your  popcorn with the following ingredients:

  • 1- 2tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon of Parmesan cheese mixed with garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped scallions/ spring onions
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated black pepper
Other options:
melted butter
sour cream

Check out these flavors from SkinnyPop
Top it all and spread it out well. No need to mix. The olive oil will do its job by sticking to the rest of the dry ingredients, it won't be messy. As you dig in the bowl,  the ingredients will blend accordingly.
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Thursday, May 4, 2017

From Canned Fish to Glammed

As a homemaker, one of the things that is so important to me is to serve good, healthy food all the time.  But it doesn't often go our way right? There will be times when we want to rest so we buy food to go or we open a can or two.

Let me focus on how to make processed food more inviting to eat, particularly canned products. Personally, I love packing on sardines, Spanish- style sardines to be exact. My kids love it and I serve it for breakfast paired with hot rice.

I always assume that anything processed outside my kitchen is a risk. Though canned products follows a certain standard when it comes to preparing down to canning. Still, just the idea that I don't see how they prepare these products makes me more meticulous. In order to meet the thought of making sure that what I serve my family is okay, I cook these canned products like any dish made from scratch. Believe me, it will taste better and somewhat being able to create your own out of some random sardine can is fun.

I brought life to this canned Spanish- style sardines by:
  • Sauteing minced ginger, freshly- pressed garlic, red tomatoes and onions in olive oil. 
  • Let it cook for a few seconds until the juice from the tomatoes comes out.
  • Drain half of the oil from the canned sardines. Best to replace that oil with olive oil.
  • Pour the sardines with the sauteed ingredients and mix everything well.
  • Add black pepper and simmer for a few seconds.
  • Serve!
I also use this very same dish for pasta drizzled with Parmesan cheese.
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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Cheesecake Factory

Father's Day 2016 was extra special because my husband celebrated it with us and our dear ones in America. We arrived in Atlanta a day before Father's Day. Even with jet lag and with much excitement, we welcomed this special day with lunch at The Cheesecake Factory.

I've never tried anything from The Cheesecake Factory even though I see some of their pastries in S&R. I've always thought that it was all about cheesecakes and pastries, but I was surprised when I saw the menu. It was the perfect place to celebrate my husband's first Father's Day in America.

The Cheesecake Factory offers a fine dining appeal for customers ordering scrumptious dishes from their menu and they also have a bar for those who just want to have a drink or two. The ambiance of the whole restaurant is family- friendly and caters large groups especially those on tour. We're glad the queue wasn't that long considering that it was a weekend, there's an occasion and it's lunchtime. We were welcomed with a warm greeting and seated in a cozy corner of the restaurant.

Our food went around with orders of Filet Mignon, Grilled Rib- Eye Steak, Fettuccini Alfredo, Spaghetti and Meat Balls and tall glasses of sweet tea (not pictured).
My Shrimp and Chicken Gumbo
Orange Chicken
All served in satisfying big portions.
Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake for dessert.
My main dish (Shrimp and Chicken Gumbo) is a house specialty. It's always best to try house specialties when in a new restaurant. It was also my first time to try Godiva's  Chocolate Cheesecake and so far, the richest I've tasted.
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The Keurig Corner

 A coffee machine and a coffee corner are the ones missing in our new home. I've searched for nice, affordable coffee makers but most of the time I end up with nothing because some are too expensive, some are too "complicated" in terms of maintenance, and others may be cheap but the taste and the availability of the capsules are compromised and difficult to find.

With our recent trip to America, one of the travel finds we made was a Keurig coffee machine. It's in every household we've visited. We stayed in the US for months and making coffee with my mom-in-law's Keurig was enough to say that it's worth our humble coffee corner. It didn't end there. Once we've decided that it's the machine we wanted, we needed to look for the right Keurig model with the best deal. From Walmart to Target and even Kroger all 3 had their own offers, but it was Costco that gave us the best option.

For $99 we got the ff:

Keurig 2.0 K525C Plus Series
12 K-Cup pods Variety Pack
K- Cup reusable coffee filter (which we intend to use for our Kape Barako)
Walter filter

We take that it was meant for us because with the no. of times we've been to Costco, it was when we were about to leave for Manila that this Keurig model was made available, and without hesitation, we took it.
Finally, a coffee corner.
Coffee Wood Decor (Hobby Lobby)
The K- Cups was in our list of concerns when we got the Keurig. Aside from the reusable coffee filter that came with the machine, we made sure we have enough K- Cups that will last at least until the next balikbayan box. Aside from that, we discovered stores like S&R sell K- Cups at certain periods.
I personally found Keurig as the most flexible coffee machine. It's affordable and at the same time, it can make your cuppa moment extraordinary with the wide variety of K-Cups both for coffee and tea. Most of the capsules contains fresh ground coffee. (see: http://coffeegearathome.com/is-keurig-instant-coffee-heres-whats-inside-your-k-cup/ ) I like the breakfast blend (any brand) then I mix it with a little cocoa, sugar and frothed milk. Plus, freshly brewed Tazo Peach Black tea.
I'm not a hardcore coffee drinker, a cup or two makes me happy. For me, having a coffee corner whether you're a coffee lover or not is a must in every household, at least something for your guests. Nowadays, coffee plays a big part in ones daily grind. A coffee break with co-workers, a relaxing and cozy afternoon with friends and just for the simple reason it completes us both inside and out.
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