Saturday, March 28, 2015

Meatless Recipes (not only for Lent)

It's Fri-Yay!  It means the weekend is here and it means no meat for me today!  As a Catholic, it has been our practice to abstain from eating meat on Fridays during the Lenten Season (which starts on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday), something that my Mom inculcated in us when we were growing up.  I remember that our default food during this season was. . . ginisang munggo (sauteed mung beans) and fried galunggong (round scad).  And I remember getting hungry easily too, haha! And when I started working, I started to give up something else too besides meat on Fridays as a sacrifice.  There was a year I gave up coffee, another year it was chips.  This Lenten season, I gave up. . . Diet Coke!  You might say this is easy but sacrifice means giving up something which is precious to you. . . and I love my Diet Coke!  (And yes I know, it's bad for the health!)  Actually, I find giving it up harder than giving up meat!  Haha!  

Now that I'm older and learned my way around the kitchen, I know that there is more to fried fish and mung beans, haha!  Here are some meatless dishes I've prepared during this Lenten season.


I bought a few bottled pasta sauces and just sauteed them with garlic, onion and a can of tuna flakes (my favorite is Century's Hot and Spicy!).   You may add vegetables too like mushrooms, bell pepper, capers or olives . . .or even green peas!

Pasta with Creamy Alfredo Sauce and Pesto

Spaghetti Marinara with Tuna

While I love pasta, there are days that I still look for my rice.  Besides fish, another seafood I love (love, love, love!) is shrimps!  My go to recipe is usually the Butter Garlic Shrimps but for a change, I've cooked it with Ampalaya (Bitter Gourd).

For a Ginisang Ampalaya recipe, please click on this link to go to Panlasang Pinoy.  The only changes I did was I used fish sauce instead of salt and I added shrimp in the recipe.

Another Shrimp recipe I tried for the first time (also from Panlasang Pinoy) was Ginataang Hipon, Sitaw at Kalabasa (Shrimps, String Beans and Squash in Coconut Cream).  I like this dish because it has two of my favorite things. . . shrimps and coconut cream! =)  It is a winner in my book. . . and it's hubby-approved too!

Please click here for the recipe.

Another dish which I tried for the first time was Baked Salmon with Teriyaki sauce.  

I just marinated the fish (prepared it in the morning and had it for dinner) with the following:

Bottled Teriyaki sauce 
*(it's healthier to prepare a Teriyaki sauce from scratch which I plan to do next!)

Garlic Powder
Grated Ginger 

I don't really have measurements because I taste the marinade as I go.  But for a pound of fish, you can start with 3/4 of a cup of teriyaki sauce and 1/4 cup of honey or less and you can just work your way from there.  Just whisk everything in a bowl and put the fish and the marinade in a ziploc bag, put it in the fridge and let the marinade do its wonders on the fish the whole day!

How to cook it?

1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Put the fish in a baking dish (skin down).  As for the marinade, put a little bit of water to thin it out (just a bit), and olive oil (just because I think it would be nice to add some, haha!) and whisk these together. Then pour the liquid mixture over the fish and put it in the oven.   

The fish cooks really quickly that I suggest you stay near the oven, haha!  I've read that for every half of inch thickness of your fish, give it 4-6 mins. cooking time.

You know your fish is ready when the meat turns flaky.

I am soooo happy how this turned out!  

Hubby and I loved it soooo much that we did this again (using a different fish) the week after, haha!

The second time I did this, I seared the fish in a skillet pan before baking it in the oven which I think is better. =)

Which reminds me, I have to get some more fish fillets the next time I go to the grocery!

Another favorite fish recipe of mine is Tuna Sisig which I blogged about here.

So there you go, these are some of the recipes I've tried in the kitchen that are worth keeping and sharing.

Do you have a favorite meatless recipe too?  Please share! =)

Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend ahead!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

How I prepare my Tsokolate de Batirol

I woke up to a chilly morning today that a having cup of hot chocolate sounds like a good idea over my usual (3-in-1 instant) coffee.  And I wanted to have the "real thing", not the Swiss Miss kind! I am talking about making hot chocolate using tablea (it is a Spanish word which means tablet), which are chunky chocolate discs/blocks that are made from pure cacao beans.  

Back home, we actually use the chocolate "paste" kind that comes in bottles.  I think that the one that we use has ground peanuts too besides the cacao.  I say this because there was one time, when I was a little girl, I remember seeing my dad grind some peanuts (using a stone mill) to be used for the chocolate paste. What makes this chocolate drink (we call it tsokolate de batirol) unique is how it is prepared.  

My mom uses a wooden molinillo (all these years I thought it was called a batidor!) to whisk together the chocolate, milk and water in a pitcher-like vessel made of brass called . . .batidor! (so this is the batidor!  If you're like me who didn't know too, well, isn't it nice that we learned something new today?!  Haha)  I just learned about these things today while writing this post.  Thanks to Chocolate de Batirol's website!

Image from Chocolate de Batirol's website

I haven't tried preparing this kind hot chocolate on my own (because my Mom or Ate Fely were always there to do it, teehee) until I moved to LA.  Armed with the chocolate tablea my Aunt gave me and the things I remember from the many times I've seen it being prepared at home, I tried my best to make one and hoped that its taste would be close to what I had at home. 

I used the following ingredients:

2 pcs of tablea
1 cup of water
Evaporated milk - depends on how milky you want your drink
2 tbsp of white sugar
1 tbsp peanut butter - Yes, you read that right!  Peanut Butter!

* Since I don't have a molinillo and bitador.  I just used a wire whisk and a saucepan.

Boil the water over medium heat and add the tablea pieces.  Using a wire whisk, stir the mixture continuously until the tablea completely dissolves.  Add sugar and evaporated milk and stir.  Over low hear, simmer for a few  minutes. 

Then add the ingredient that makes this hot chocolate simply the best. . . .peanut butter!

Whisk and stir until the peanuts butter blends with the mixture. 

The peanut butter gives this hot chocolate a really nice nutty flavor and a thick consistency which I am looking for.

I am so, sooooo happy how my cup turned out!  

Was it good?

What I can tell you is. . . . I was home. 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Kitchen Tested: Blueberry Loaf Recipe

After I found my favorite banana loaf recipe (which I blogged about here), I've kind of stopped baking cupcakes because it is easier and faster to bake a loaf than cupcakes!  All you have to do is pour your batter in a pan. . . and it makes cleaning up easier, haha!

After bananas, my next favorite thing in cupcakes (or loaves) is blueberry.  I have tried a recipe before but I knew there are better recipes out there.  With so many recipes online, picking one to try ain't going to be that easy.  Do you know how I pick my recipes?  I google (Google does make life easier) for an image!  I pick a photo which I like, then I go to the site and read the recipe. Yes, I do it in reverse, teehee.

This was the image (from I liked best because it looked simple, soft and moist.  

The recipe from Food Babbles is actually a recipe for a Lemon Blueberry Loaf.  I had all the ingredients except for fresh blueberries and lemon.  So I used canned blueberries (which worked well) and skipped the lemon zest.  (I have lemons but I wasn't sure if zest from a shriveled lemon would taste ok).  The recipe also includes a lemon glaze which I don't mind skipping because I am not really fond of glaze.  

You know that something good will come out of the oven when your kitchen smells like a bakery! 

Because I used bigger loaf pans, my two loaves came out one-inch high haha!  I should have just used one loaf pan.

The canned blueberries worked out well though the next time I do this, I am going to be ready!  I will use fresh ones!

It was everything I expected, soft and moist.  It was not too sweet!  I guess because I didn't put the glaze on it.  If you don't have a sweet tooth, this is for you!  I think the lemon glaze wasn't a bad idea, haha!

Next time I do this, either I add more sugar (it doesn't need a lot though) or put the glaze.

If you are looking for a simple baking recipe to try, this is worth trying.

For the complete recipe, please click this link to go to Food Babbles's site.

Happy Baking!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Simple Pancit Canton

One of the things that makes me happy in my married life is I have a husband who cooks. . .  and I call it a blessing because he cooks well!  We are a tag team at the kitchen.  When it comes to cooking Filipino dishes, he is in charge!  Actually, I can cook Filipino dishes but somehow, his food tastes better, haha!    

Since his work schedule changed this month (from night shift to day shift), it only means one thing.   I am going to do all of the cooking now (which I don't mind).  Though I would still leave cooking Nilagang Baka and Pinakbet in his able hands!

Today is my first time to cook Pancit Canton.  I call this recipe a "Simple Pancit Canton" because it is exactly how it is.  Simple.  It has basic ingredients.  Other pancit canton recipes would call for fish ball or kikiam or even chinese sausage!  If I am craving for this kind of special canton, I would rather buy than make one, haha!

I am happy how it turned out!  Hubby loved it too.  We had a good dinner. . . this and Popeye's fried chicken!  You know what goes well too with this noodles?  Lumpiang Shanghai!  (Next time)

This may look simple but it doesn't mean it's not good.  As they say, there is beauty in simplicity.

Hope you'll like it too.  Happy Cooking!


300 grams pork
Garlic, chopped
Onion, sliced thinly
1/4 cup soy sauce
4 cups water (or chicken broth)
1-2 tbsp oyster sauce
500 grams Pancit canton noodles
1 medium Carrots, cut in strips
A handful of green beans, sliced diagonally
Half of a Cabbage, cut in strips
Salt and Pepper to taste
Water for Blanching the vegetables


1. Fill half of a pot with water and let it boil.  When the water is boiling, blanch the vegetables for a minute or two depending how you like your veggies.  After blanching them, put them in iced water or put them under a cold running water to stop the cooking process.

2. Saute the onion, garlic and pork until brown.  Add the soy sauce and water.  Simmer the pork until tender.  Add the oyster sauce and then simmer for a few more minutes.  Add the noodles  and toss it gently.  I know you'll probably say that there is a lot of water, don't worry. The noodles will absorb most of it.  =)

3. When most of the water has been absorbed by the noodles, add your blanched vegetables and mix gently.

4. Serve hot and pair it with something. . . fried.  Haha!


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

L.A. Eats: Boudin SF

There are so many food combinations out there that are popular which we love such as:  Burger and Fries, Fish and Chips, Spaghetti and Meatballs.  There are also sweet treats that we like to combine like  Peanut Butter and Jelly , Oreos and Milk!  And the list goes on and on. . . 

You know what is one of my favorite food combination?  It's Pancit Canton (or Bihon) with toasted bread on the side.  I know, carbs with carbs!!!  Haha!  But you know what makes this perfect and special?  It reminds me of the merienda (snacks) that my parents and I have every afternoon at home. It is amazing how food brings comfort and . . . heals homesickness. 

Okay, so this is not meant to be a sappy post, haha!  So I am going to share with you another food combination which I love. . . Grilled Cheese and Chili!!!

We were at the mall and we couldn't decide what to eat for lunch.  So for a change, we thought of grabbing some sandwiches!  This is something we don't usually do.    We don't consider sandwiches as lunch! Haha! Filipinos need to eat something filling. . . like rice!  

We saw Boudin SF (an original San Francisco bakery) and thought of trying it because we weren't able to do so the first time we came across it (when we had a day trip to San Francisco a few years ago).  

As expected, the place's menu consists mostly of soup, sandwiches and salad which I don't mind because it has enough good choices.  

For the Princess, we ordered Grilled Cheese (which she didn't finish) and I added a cup of Beef Chili to go with it (for me and Hubby, haha!)

Grilled Cheese and Beef Chilli

My favorite part in eating this plate of combo. . .when I dunk that crusty, cheesy bread into that hot, flavorful chili!  I can put this down as a comfort food. =)

We also loved their Asian Chicken Salad, the dressing was good.

For myself, I ordered a Turkey and Havarti Cheese Sandwich which was ok, nothing great but still ok. 

Half of the whole sandwich - was so hungry I ate first before taking photos, haha!

And my man had to have his meat, so I got him a California Baguette Burger which he liked.

Half of Hubby's sandwich

It was not our typical lunch but I actually enjoyed it!  I would go back again to try the other items in their menu like their Clam Chowder which is served in a sourdough bowl.  Yum!

The weather today is so chilly that eating soup tonight sounds like a good idea!

I guess I'll be cooking some Chicken Tinola (A Filipino dish cooked with chicken in a ginger-based soup) for dinner!  

Well, that . . . and rice! Haha!

For more details about Boudin SF, please visit their website.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Leftover Recipe: Quesadillas

I am sure this has happened to all of us. . . .

You have that leftover meat dish (like stews) that has been sitting around for too long in the fridge and you don't feel like eating it anymore but you don't have the heart to throw it, haha!  (I say NO to food waste!)

Do you know what I like to do with them?  QUESADILLAS!!!

It's the perfect thing to make!  Because you can do anything with it!  You can play around with the fillings and it gives your leftover dish another layer of flavor.  And you get to treat yourself to some Mexican food right at home!  

All you have to do is get a Taco Seasoning Mix (I like the Old El Paso brand, McCormick is also good) and additional vegetables (onions and bell peppers)

Saute them in garlic and put everything in!  (*Pls. refer to the taco mix' instructions for its preparation)  

I know, I know. . .it doesn't look that much, haha!  But wait 'til you put it this in your tortillas!  

How do I prepare the tortillas?  I just buy them, haha!

What I do is I warm them first by placing them on a skillet pan (over medium heat, a few seconds on each or until they become soft).  Then put in your sauteed filling and . . . let's not forget the QUESO!!!!   You can use Cheddar (I like using the 4-cheese Mexican blend) or your favorite cheese. Any kind of cheese is looooveee!  

I know when my Quesadilla is ready (this is my preference) when I like the color of my tortilla, haha! I like mine a little bit toasted.

After doing all the work, you just turned something "I don't want this anymore" to . . . 

something to get excited about!

You can eat is at is but if you like it to be AMAZING, it would be nice to have it with salsa, guacamole and I like putting on some creamy sauce like Ranch dressing or sour cream.  YUM-O!

So if you read this and you have that leftover dish tucked in the corner of your fridge (haha!), time to take it out. . . .before it is too late!

Remember, NO to food waste! =)

Have a nice day ahead!
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