Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Going bananas over Elvis


Breakfast these days consists of oatmeal with bananas, Nestle Fitnesse cereal with soy milk.  I haven’t cooked an omelet since my surgery, not because I eliminated eggs on my list of things to eat.  It’s more because oatmeal and cereals are no brainer, no fuss way to eat breakfast.  I surely miss having an omelet for breakfast.  It’s one of my favorite breakfast fares…aside from bacon.  But alas, I have omitted any pork, beef from my diet.   I could still eat my omelets, but with less egg yolks (one egg yolk /3 egg whites ratio for a 3 egg omelet).  I have yet to try an alternative, a tofu scramble using an Indian black salt that gives that eggy taste.

But if I wanted something more substantial to last me until lunch time, I would have a sandwich.  And one of my favorite sandwiches is the Elvis sandwich, so-called because this was Elvis Presley’s favorite sandwich. The original recipe has bananas,  peanut butter, butter, bacon & honey.  But since I am on a low fat diet, I tweaked the recipe to cater to my taste and nutritional requirement.  Gone are the bacon & butter.  I use whole wheat bread with raisins, which I love so much.  And since this is already sweet enough for me, I omitted the honey too.  Just plain bananas and reduce fat peanut butter.  Grill on a Teflon pan or in my case, in a cheapipay panini grill to get that toasty texture & pretty grill marks (though most days, I don’t bother with grilling)


Spread peanut butter on one side of a whole wheat raisin bread.  I used reduce fat creamy peanut butter.  The crunchy variant would give more texture. 


Arrange banana slices on top.


How hard can that be? 

This is good with a glass of cold soy milk  :)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Healthy Cooking: Pan Grilled Herbed Chicken Breasts


It’s been two weeks since my surgery.  I can now go up and down the stairs. And that means… I am able to fix & cook my own food.  There were days when I just want to lie in bed, watch cooking shows (this helps in motivating me to cook again) and eat oatmeal or cereal.  There were days when I crave for something sweet.  But overall, things are getting better. I can’t go to work yet so I have to enjoy my laid back life as I recover.  Next month would be hectic.

Last Saturday,  I ventured out and went to work, though not as shooter, but to assist G in our photo booth venture.  G & I decided to make healthy eating a part of life. We agreed that we bring our own food during shoots.  

Most days, I’m online searching for low fat recipes.  It’s been over a month since I had pork or beef.  My protein sources now are chicken (white meat without skin), fish, soy milk, nuts. Though one medical test showed I have high levels of uric acid, my choices became more limited.  Gosh…. Old age is catching up fast on me.

Aside from fat, I had to reduce my sodium intake. So that means, less salt. Less salt = bland, no flavor = boring…. But of course it doesn’t have to!   Herbs can enhance and give flavor to food.
For my first healthy recipe entry, I will feature the chicken dish I cooked for our baon last Saturday, which G liked so much…

For those who know me, I don’t measure when I cook.   Most people find this chicken breast part bland. And seasonings can’t easily penetrate the thick part.  One way is to pound the thick part to flatten a bit and even the meat out before seasoning.  Rubs are also a great way to season meat.  Even with less salt, herb rubs can enhance or give flavor to meat.  Thyme is one of my favorite herbs to use for meats. I buy them fresh and let them dry out in their containers for future use. 


2 pcs chicken breasts  without skin
Apple cider vinegar (a few tablespoons)
Juice of  ½  a lemon (or  2 calamansi)
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
Herb rub  -  crushed rosemary leaves, Spanish paprika, thyme, oregano, finely minced garlic
Freshly milled pepper
Salt (optional or you can use a salt substitute*)

Mix the herb rub in a bowl including the salt (if using) & pepper. 
Pat dry the chicken breasts.  Rub the chicken breast with the herb rub.
Add the apple cider vinegar, olive oil  & lemon juice
Marinate inside the refrigerator for 2 hours.
Heat a Teflon pan. Make sure pan is very hot.  Sear the chicken breasts, three minutes each side.

In this photo, I made a dish of mashed sweet potato, added a few dash of cinnamon & simple salad  to go with the chicken.

Sunday, October 14, 2012


 Paradigm Shift...

Coined by T.S. Kuhn, a US philosopher of science which means a radical change in underlying beliefs or theory.

A paradigm shift means to have a sudden change in perception, a sudden change in point of view, of how you see things. Hopefully this change will be in the right direction 
   ~ source,

Now, you'd be wondering why I am writing about this in my food blog?
A lot of things happened in my personal life lately which caused me to have a different perspective about my health, my lifestyle, the way I look at things. And a much deeper personal reason (a life-altering one) looming ahead would in a way have an effect on the way I see my life from now on.

For one, this blog will soon see a lot of changes.  

A few months back, I quit going to the gym. In lieu of that, I enrolled in Milo Apex Running School without any goading from anyone, much to my friend, Mae's surprise. I thought I'd resume what I started last year - running...hoping to transcend beyond brisk walking/jogging to being able to run in races.  I was intent on losing weight by eating healthy too. In my mind, losing weight would equate to being a fast runner. 

Then the inevitable came. On a recent trip to the ER, I was diagnosed with 
Cholecystitis, an inflammation of the gall bladder caused by a gallstone.  I thought I could be cured by just eating a low fat diet or by flushing with apple juice and lemon/olive oil.  I would eventually undergo an open cholecystectomy which meant changes in my diet. I won't elaborate anymore on this topic. It's enough to say there will be major changes in my eating habits, my lifestyle and this blog. 

As I write this, it's been 6 days since my surgery and on the road to recovery, waiting for my body to adjust to my new diet.  Some say I can still go back to normal eating. But I dare not to. I am not getting younger. I want to be fit and healthy. As they say.... Mahal magkasakit. 

Like what I wrote in my FB shout out, this is just a minor setback, I will be back to running soon.  This food blog will have a revamp. There will be less dining out and food reviews and more healthy recipes, hoping that in my own little way, as one close friend said, could help others have a healthier lifestyle. 


Let me have this chance to show my appreciation & gratitude to those who have been with me through this ordeal. You all know who you are. I am deeply thankful. :)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Travel: Eating our way in Singapore

My friend Len & I spent four glorious days in Singapore.  It was a business & pleasure trip.  It was my second time to visit Singapore. The first time was seven years ago when my youngest brother worked and lived there.  During those 10 days in 2005, all we ever did was eat.  Too bad I wasn’t into blogging & photography yet.  We feasted on Hainanese chicken, rojak, roti prata with curry, murtabak, tandoori, horfan noodles, oyster cakes, laksa in Chinatown, iced kachang, beef rendang, and the most memorable was the chili crabs we had at No Sign Board restaurant in Geylang. 

This is what we ate during our 4 day Singapore trip…in pictures.


This was what we had for our late lunch/early dinner on the day we arrived. A noodle soup with wanton & char siu pork. It was in one of the hawker center along Balestier road near our hotel.  Dinner for me was a whole durian fruit.



Hainanese Chiken & chili crabs at Wee Nam Kee in Marina Square.




Durian crispy pancake paired with grape juice at Bugis Market.




A wide variety of fruit juices to chose from for S$1.00 at Bugis Market.




Durian ice cream inbetween 2 thin wafers



In Chinatwon, we found this German stall selling sausages, pretzels & other bread.


Len & I shared this grilled bratwurst.


Laksa dinner at Marina Bay Sands food court


And the peri peri chicken wiht spicy rice & grilled vegetables at Nando’s

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Travel: Nando's of Singapore

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Eversince I saw a restaurant named Peri Peri in Greenhills, my curiosity was stoked. I haven’t had the chance to try it though. On our last day, a Sunday, of our 4 day Singapore trip, I was able to get to know what peri peri is all about. It was on a bus going to Marina Bay area on our second day that we saw Nando’s along Victoria Street in Bugis. Len said we should try it.

Pili pili is the Swahili word for 'pepper pepper'. African Birds Eye Chili is also called peri peri, pili pili, or piri piri. Piri piri is the spelling of the name as used in the Portuguese language.
Piri-piri sauce (used as a seasoning or marinade) is Portuguese in origin and "especially prevalent in Angola, Namibia, Mozambique and South Africa". It is made from crushed chillies, citrus peel, onion, garlic, pepper, salt, lemon juice, bay leaves, paprika, pimiento, basil, oregano, and tarragon.
~ source,

We woke up very late that Sunday. And was out of the house around 3PM to tour the city on our own. We haven’t had our lunch yet. Breakfast that morning was at the nearby hawker center with Len having a roti prata with curry, while I feasted on nasi goreng.  By the time we rode the bus going to Bugis, Len & I were both very hungry.

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I was excited to find out what Nando’s has to offer. Michelle, my niece described it as “sort of Mang Inasal chicken”.   Imagine my  surprise when I found it out it was peri peri chicken!

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Written in their menu’s side of flame grilled chicken… “in life there are moments when it’s hard to make a choice. This is one of them” It was funny yet so true. I didn’t know what to order.

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Len & I ordered & shared classic meal of half chicken with 2 sidelines (S$22.90). And since we’re both not quite adventurous when it comes to the amount of heat in our food, we got the mildest lemon & herb sauce.  For the side dishes, we opted for the spicy rice and grilled veggies.

We ordered another side dish of sweet potato mash (no photo as we were busy eating already), a coarsely mashed boiled sweet potatoes flavored with cinnamon, which I immensely enjoyed.  Len said, “parang dessert na rin!”

The chicken meat was indeed flavorful, complemented by the mild spicy sauce. The skin was perfectly charred with no bitter taste.

Though not part of Singaporean cuisine (it’s Portuguese), Nando’s was the perfect meal to cap our Singapore trip. I wish someone would bring Nando’s franchise here in the Philippines.

Bugis Junction
200 Victoria Street
Singapore 188021
Tel No. 63386555

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Lia's avocado cake, a newfound love!

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I saw Lia’s cake shop two doors  down from Poco Deli. I got curious and was surprised and delighted to see their big tarp sign.

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Home of the avocado cake… a treasured family recipe.

I must try this…today!, I mused.

I love avocados.  But it’s seasonal though. There were times I would hanker for one, whether as smoothies (they have one at Big Chill) or just plain scooped out of their shells and sprinkled with sugar. If avocados are not in season, I would go for the next best thing –FIC in avocado flavor. Recently, I am addicted to the Dole brand variety (which my friend Lenz told me about), the small rounded ones with crinkly skins. They are sweet & creamier.

So when I saw this cake shop specializing in avocado cakes, I thought I shouldn’t pass on this one.  After that hearty meal in Poco Deli, Pipay & I went over to Lia’s Cake shop.

Inside the glass cake case sit the following cakes:

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Avocado Cake – Chiffon based avocado flavored cake with avocado buttercream icing and pistachio topping.

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Calamansi Tea Cake – will try on my next visit.

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Avocado Cheesecake – looks so yummy too!

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Other cakes on their menu includes Mango Sansrival, Avocado Sansrival (oh no…another one to try!).

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I bought a slice to take home (P85). Pipay already wanted to go home and play Club Penguin.  I like the fact that they use cardboard boxes instead of plastic or styro containers.

As soon as we arrived home, I did the requisite blog photo, got a fork and took a bite. The moment that soft, delicate cake and buttery icing touched my tongue, the flavor of avocado burst out. I closed my eyes and I was transported to avocado heaven….it was pure bliss!

Expect me to consume one whole cake in one sitting. :P

Lia's Cakes in Season
East Capitol Drive, Brgy. Kapitolyo
Pasig City, Metro Manila
(02) 377-4808

Poco Deli's Artisanal sausages

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I once tried to make my own homemade sausages.  It was one of our favorite food items to buy. I reckoned, why not make my own. I bought a meat grinder and a sausage stuffer attachments for my KitchenAid mixer.  I first tried making the English bangers.  I gave some samples to my cousin and she loved it and bugged me endlessly to make a large batch and sell it. Mom-in-law even sent me those casings she used for her longanisa. That was my first foray into artisanal sausage making.  

Fast forward to 2009, when I first heard about Mickey’s deli along Jupiter  Street. Sadly, it closed down even before I had the chance to try it.

Then last year, I heard about Poco Deli thru my friend Len.  She bought these Poco Deli vouchers and asked me to go with her. The vouchers expired and we weren’t able to use them.  Next my sister-in-law invited me to have lunch, but our respective schedules didn’t match.

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Finally, today, I was able to go to Poco Deli.  It was a mom-daughter date with Pipay.  After a tiring errand at Gateway Mall, (and resisting the urge to have a pre-Poco Deli snack at Taco Bell) off we went to Barangay Kapitolyo. 

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Poco Deli is a small shop with an intimate, homey  vibe  where one can enjoy a bottle of wine with sausages  and cheese. One wall has a floor to ceiling shelf of various wines.  I didn’t pay much attention to their wine selection though.

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Except for some bottles of Merlot behind my seat.

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A glass chiller display contains homemade sausages and cheeses.   Their sausages were made using techniques and skills learned when the owner was still working for Mickey’s deli.  This I can relate to, remembering the nights spent  grinding, mixing, stuffing the meat into casings. But mine was more on the experimental stage.

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Their cheese selection.

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A closer look at the sausages.

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They have bottled homemade sauerkraut. 

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And different kinds of imported drinks.

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But I had their house iced tea.

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Pipay told me, “I am so hungry I could die!” (my little drama princess). All the walking we did looking for a food photography book made her so hungry.  Predictably, she asked me to order the cheese pizza.  But later changed her mind and opted for the US sliced steak on NY bagel sandwich.  It has melted mozzarella cheese that’s why. I was afraid she wouldn’t like the heavy, dense texture of the bagel. But she liked it.

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I had the German sausage platter. I was asked to pick three kinds of sausages (one large and two small varieties) from the glass chiller.  I chose the Florentina, Nuernbufger, and a small sausage whose name I can’t remember.  It was a disappointment the wait staff  didn’t know much about the difference among the varieties of sausages.  The sausage platter came with their homemade sauerkraut, black olives and NY bagel chips. The sauerkraut was very good.  I just had to bring home a bottle (Medium size, P250).  And so was the Nuernbufger (bought a pack too!) and the other sausage. The Florentina, I find a bit dry.  I like my sausages with mustard, it was lacking. Maybe I should have asked for one.

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Sausage 101: How to cook sausage should you opt to take them home frozen.

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My date... :)

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What I like Pipay to tell me when she grows up and remember the times I would drag her for food trips with me (with bribes of course) ^___^

I would like to come back and order their famous, must try  Bacon Slabs with Eggs and Bacon Rice. It’s time to have that sister bonding moment with my SIL or maybe I can persuade M to go with me.  Since it’s near our home (nearer than Santi’s deli along Amber Ave) I’ll definitely be back to buy their frozen meats for my pasta, breakfasts and evening snacking.

Or maybe one day, I could have spare time and try my hand at sausage making again.

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