Tag Archives: homemade

slow cooker success

how the slow cooker became my new best bud..

slow cooker seafood pasta
slow cooker seafood pasta

We are 5 months (and counting) without a house helper (the first time in 8 years!). I never imagined I’d be brave enough to fire, perhaps lay off is more politically correct, our house helper of 4 years. But I got to the point when I decided I needed to be in full control of my household and our family life, and that meant cutting off our dependencies on other people. This whole ‘simplifying our life’ has really gotten to me, that many people might think I’m crazy for letting go of our reliable house helper when other families I know are in dire need of one. Continue reading slow cooker success


weekend cooking: pizza



Today is Mother’s Day weekend and we’d rather stay home and avoid traffic jam and the summer heat. This is my last day off because tomorrow I go back to the world of work and deadlines. Also, this could be the last time I could do some dough kneading before my belly gets too big I couldn’t reach the edge of the table :). So homemade pizza it is.

organic veggie pizza


starting my week with backyard tea

the power of tea shall help me pull this week off..


I have a hectic week ahead, with a major work presentation coming up, which I am barely prepared for. The hot summer weather is not at all helping. My entire household had been doing more coughing than talking in the past week. So with an overworked respiratory system and two days of presentation planning, I soul-searched in my backyard for much-needed support.

cough concoction
cough concoction

I made a tea concoction using oregano leaves, calamansi and ginger, all harvested while I boil water for tea–and call it my “cough concoction“. It’s no remedy but it soothes my throat, clears my breathing and has loosened up tough phlegm. I have been taking a potful of this concoction once every morning and in the afternoon in the last three days, and it’s been nothing but relief. It also helped that we swam in the hot pool yesterday, which relaxed all my tired back and chest muscles.

If like me, you hate taking medicine and dread going to the doctor because he’ll prescribe you some medicine, try my cough concoction. I’m sure you can take it alongside any cough medication. Even if you only have a tired voice or sore throat, one cup can work wonders.

sisig kapampangan

I’ve always placed sisig under the category of “bar foods” but my mother-in-law tells me otherwise.

For the longest time, and probably for many of us, sisig is just about equivalent to anything you eat while drinking ice cold beer. So long as it is piping hot, because it is served on a sizzling plate with a newly cracked egg that’s supposed to get cooked from the dish’s own heat, is fine and I never really cared enough to pay attention to how it tastes.

Sisig is of Kapampangan origin. And so is my mother-in-law. And just recently, she opened my eyes to the real deal–that Sisig is a tradition like no other, and just like any other delicacy, you need to be under the tutelage of an elderly Kapampangan to master. Here are 3 unbelievable myths about this specialty. Try to keep your eyes from rolling in disbelief as your read them. Continue reading sisig kapampangan

strawberries and forever

Today we celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary. I took the day off and spent half of it cooking, ain’t that celebration enough?

These are organic strawberries.

They were grown in Benguet State University and cost a little more than off-season prices of regular (chemical-laden) Baguio strawberries.

Most of them we ate fresh eons ago. The rest were preserved in sugar syrup and took residence in our refrigerator for months. Today we were reunited and I made strawberry jam out of them.

I added powdered sugar and cooked the strawberry mixture in hot as hell charcoal fire. In a few minutes my fingers were almost sugar-burnt. Surprisingly, there was no burnt sugar taste. My homemade strawberry jam had a very light strawberry flavor. Which makes me wonder what kind of strawberries (or strawberry flavoring) went in to those commercially produced jams.

Of course they were great with bread and now I have something to pair tea with. What was left of the strawberry syrup I made into strawberry iced tea for the kids. Then I was their darling mother once again.

greener gift giving

We have more people on our Christmas list this year but in terms of expenses, we seem to be spending less for gifts compared to last year. Possibly because I’ve decided to prepare a lot of DIY gifts and homemade stuff for give away. Although they require a lot of planning and effort, I believe such presents are made more special that way. I’m not one for spoiling surprises so I’m keeping my mouth shut on what those gifts are until after Christmas. What I can reveal in this post is how I plan to wrap and package those ultra-special gifts.

Continue reading greener gift giving

a glassful of cool

our children are suckers for iced tea. a glassful of caramel colored liquid is a time-tested way to get them to behave on the table. we can run out of choco milk, yakult or juice but we would never be out of a pitcher of iced tea. and we don’t use those instant iced tea mixes. they’re expensive and sugar-laden, although i have to admit that they can be convenient. we still keep a container of nestea at home but “for emergency use” only.

glassful of cool Continue reading a glassful of cool

mildly spiced is how i like it

When I went to market the other day, I made it a point to pick out the reddest tomatoes from my suki‘s array of vegetables. Since our ref is working, I can re-stock on homemade sauces starting with the most basic, tomato sauce. But now I make it a point to only make sauces in moderate amounts. My heart broke when I had to throw away big bottles of pesto sauce and vinaigrettes after the flood. Again, lesson learned.

I like my tomato sauce thick and mildly spiced. I could have it spicier but the babies might not eat it so I came up with a mildly spiced version. I use dried chilis to flavor my tomato sauce. The bottle of chili flakes was thrown out after the flood as well. But Turo surprised me with dried Thai chilis from a barely surviving chili plant we have out back.

chilis Continue reading mildly spiced is how i like it

mi tortilla

I was up at 3am yesterday. Again. My body clock must be really crazy by now. But when I’m up, I’m up. So while I worked on a new paper that I needed to finish by mid-November, my mind kept asking what we’re having for breakfast today.

The carnivore in me kept begging for a meat dish after eating seafood for several consecutive meals. So I thought of making beef wraps only because I wanted to try out a flour tortilla recipe I got from way back. I checked the time, it’s not even 4am. I do have enough time for a breakfast experiment before the kids wake up.

mi tortilla Continue reading mi tortilla

li’l barista makes iced citrus mint tea

lil baristaThe mint leaves I harvested last time are now completely dried. The babies are out of juice (although they’ve been having a lot of fruits lately) so I decided to try making homemade iced tea using the dried mint leaves.  I was lucky to have a very eager kitchen assistant to help me out. I’m not quite sure whether his eagerness was for helping me out or for gulping down the soon-to-be iced tea. (more)