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In my attempts to diversify my grain consumption, other than rice, I’ve turned to a recent acquaintance, Quinoa. I first heard of quinoa from one of my besties, Elise. Since then, I have been fascinated by how well it blends with whatever is added to it. When I was living in PDR, I would switch up my combos of rice/quinoa/couscous, but after moving back home, there was a bit of a challenge. Rice was available every  day. No matter what time of day, the parentals constantly had steamed white rice readily available, and while I tried to be elusive, I just couldn’t resist.

To combat this challenge, I made 2 cups of quinoa to eat solely all last week and here are some wonderful combos:[con carne, bell peppers, spring mix, avo & homemade salsa]

[with bacon, bell peppers, spring mix, avo & homemade salsa]

[more bell peppers, shredded chix, baby carrots and spring mix]

[with broccoli, carrots, zucchini and shredded chix]

[a breakfast dish – 3 egg whites, avo & homemade salsa]

[the cold version, carrots, cucumbers, shredded chix]

There’s more to come. All were delicious. Seriously, super versatile grain. Thank you Elise for the intro! Buen provecho!

[egg and spam]

I recently moved back home with the parentals. There are many pluses to moving back home. One of them, is the benefit of being closer to my job. My commute to and from work has significantly decreased in this first week of the new year and it’s allowed me to have a proper hot meal at home. No rushing in the morning to cook my breakfast, pack it, and then have to re-heat in the microwave. I get to cook, then eat leisurely in front of the tv while watching the morning news and still have plenty of time to get to work early.

Unfortunately, there is a downside. Remember Filipino breakfasts? Well, they’re available to make everyday when living at Casa de Sale. Spam is a plenty and I hate to admit it, but this canned meat fueled my AMs more than once this past week.

Have you ever had Spam? It’s salty and delicious and you can slice it up thin or thick, get it crispy and it goes so well with rice. It’s my downfall. Salty meats. It’s kind of like kryptonite to us Filipinos. Why? I think it was highly coveted from back in the motherland when it meant that you had money if you had Spam. It’s from America. It’s canned. It’s ready to eat. This somehow translated to a higher status when you lived in the bario. So we ate this growing up and we looked forward to it on those weekend mornings because having spam meant you were special.

Fast forward to today, 2012. For the record, my resolution wasn’t to cut out Filipino breakfasts, so I’m not dwelling on that. I am, however, making it a point to continue eating the way I used to eat when I lived on my own. While it wasn’t the healthiest always, I made it a point to eat a more balanced diet. Plus, I also ate less meat.

I can see why it’s difficult for people to stick to resolutions. It’s tough to make changes. People, like myself, are accustomed to routine. While I don’t believe having spam on a daily basis is a good one, when I did remove myself from the land of Spam, and I rarely craved it. Put myself back where it’s readily available, and well, a brown girl will weaken and succumb to its seduction.

Today is a new day. There are other breakfast alternatives that I’ve enjoyed living away from home that I can continue to enjoy while living at home. So perhaps my resolution should be to keep on my routine of eating the way I used to pre-moving back to Casa de Sale. I think I can stick to that, right? And then when Papa Sale makes it during the weekends as a part of Filipino breakfast, well then it’ll go back to being “special.”

Manigong bagong taon!

 

There was a Modern Family episode a while back that started with one of the characters, Cam, speaking to his partner, Mitchell, about his latest find that kale is the new spinach according to the farmer’s market realm. I immediately thought of one of my best friends, Elise, who raves about kale in her blog but I’ve never actually made dishes with it.

Enter our guest blog posts on her website. This made me re-evalute incorporating kale into my life. Get on board with the kale bandwagon? Yes please! I mean, it’s healthy, nutritious and it turns out, super easy to prepare and incorporate into different dishes. So without further ado, here are my kale eats:

  • Dinner for two. I made this for my roommate and I. Shockingly enough, he ate everything on his plate.

[main star]

[supporting role]

I grilled some chicken breasts and asparagus while semi wilting the kale in boiling water and letting the couscous stand still. After everything was cooked, I sliced the chicken breast to plate on top of the couscous, which was on top of the kale.

[my plate, Nick’s plate]

[for added flavor, I added some Brianna’s poppy seed dressing towards the end of my meal…LOVE]

  • With the leftover kale, I decided to make some breakfast

[2 egg whites, 1 egg yolk scramble]

[Filipino-ing it up by adding Jufran’s banana ketchup, and instead of garlic rice, I used leftover quinoa]

  • Then instead of my typical chicken rice, I switched it up and used the leftover couscous instead.

[pan seared the grape tomatoes first, then the leftover kale and asparagus]

[tossed the couscous on top, then added some tamari soy sauce]

[chicken kale rice, err couscous]

To be honest, I think I may like kale more than spinach because it holds its shape and texture better. Plus, I don’t get that really bitter taste that you tend to get from wilty spinach. Just saying. Try it. It’s deliciousness!

Calabaza Diary

It’s squash season and it seems like there’s everything and anything squash related out there in food world at the moment. I decided to jump on board.

For a while now, I’ve been interested in expanding my calabaza horizon. See, growing up, I’ve really known this type of squash. The calabaza. And the only dish I had tried this in was in pinakbet, but that’s for a whole different post altogether because it requires adding shrimp paste. Not ready to go back to that yet.

A couple of weekends ago, my mom and I buy calabaza and I have her slice it in half with one of those gigantic meat cleavers because the skin on these suckers are really tough.

[calabaza chopped in half]

[bake at 385 for about 45 to 50min]

[baked calabaza]

Isn’t that such a pretty orange color? So what did I do with this baked orange goodness?

1. I decided to use it like a spread for my sandwich. Check it.

[avo and tomato on one side, calabaza and chicken on the other]

[sandwich 1 – home assembled]

[sandwich 2 – work assembled]

2. Then there was a lazy period where I just threw the calabaza together with chicken and rice for a work eats.

[chicken, rice, calabaza = delicious]

3. And my fave of all, calabaza soup. Take the ingredients below, boil.

[veggie broth sans msg, celerey, Italian parsley, carrots, and not featured a bit of chopped up onion]

Boil until the celery and carrots are soft. Then dump it all in a blender or something to blend it in, add the calabaza, purée, serve.

[added some shredded chicken and croutons for crunch]

Pretty stellar right? Super flavorful and very filling.

But if you have other calabaza recipe suggestions, definitely welcome. =)

Purple rain

Well not exactly. I had a bit of my wild rice from WF leftover in my rice jar and decided to mix it in with the Jasmine rice I got from my parents place. Turns out, the bit of dark wild rice blending with the white resulted in turning the rice into such a pretty purple color.

Here are some of the eats I’ve concocted with the beautiful purple rice.

[packed work eats – purple rice, avo, homemade salsa, grilled bell peppers and grilled chix]

It doesn’t look so presentable in my lunch tupperware you say? How about I plate it? Oh, well I’m glad you said that, it just so happens that I carry my square plate around with me at all times. Check it.

[plated and ready to eat at my desk]

[mush that avo]

[mixity mix that goodness]

Good right? And pretty.

Then I used it for Filipino breakfast. Mmmm…

[garlic purple rice, bacon, over easy egg and homemade salsa]

[yolky goodness]

This is not the last of the purple-ness. I still have the blend of WF wild rice and jasmine rice. There will most certainly be more eats with the pretty color blend incorporated in the future. Suggestions welcome! I can’t wait!

Lugaw in excess

A couple of weeks ago, I woke up with a sore throat, body aches and a slight fever. Solution, make myself the rice porridge that Mama makes when we’re sick. Fortunately, I had been meaning to make this for a while now and took some of the ingredients from the parentals’ abode so I was good there. Unfortunately, it was Dad who was home to help coach me through the process via phone. Not too shabby though.

Ingredients: (apologies for the darky photos)

  • chicken thighs, bone removed and cut into smaller chunks
  • luya or ginger slicescrushed garlic
  • slices of onion
  • patis or fish sauce to taste
  • sticky rice or jasmine rice
  • green onions

Sauteé the onions, then garlic and ginger in your pot with olive oil. Then after a few minutes, add the chicken and brown. Add the fish sauce, let stand for a bit, then add the rice. I actually added too much rice at first cuz I couldn’t gauge how much was enough. I think 1 cup would’ve been sufficient, but I ended up going with 2 cups of rice instead. I did double and then triple the amount of water I used after stirring the rice to get the fish sauce flavor. I wanted it to be more soupy.

After simmering for a bit, maybe 30mins, I had too much rice and had to take some out, per Ate B’s suggestion via phone.

See the tupperware with the excess rice? Um, ya, I ate that by itself one of the days. But back to the lugaw. I added a bit more water after removing the excess rice to the pot and let simmer. Then plated myself one to eat in front of the tv and watch football.

And then I had it again for breakfast and dinner and even paired it with some grilled veggies.


This pot lasted me several days and several meals. Economically friendly and belly filling, no wonder it’s a staple in the PI. I could’ve probably fed a whole village. =)

Every weekend morning, this is what I looked forward to when I lived with my parents. Sometimes I contributed, but most of the time it was my dad who did the prepping and cooking. Now that I live elsewhere, I don’t always get to enjoy the Filipino breakfast, but I try to recreate it from time to time.

I believe the key to a Filipino breakfast is the garlic rice. Dad always makes it with mass amounts of crushed garlic. While I love garlic, my dad’s love for it, far exceeds most people’s, including myself. I go easier on the stuff cuz it is the AM and you don’t want to have garlic breath the whole weekend day, do you? Once the garlic rice is set, you can compliment it with a fried egg and some sort of meat or sausage combo.

At my sister’s in SF a few weekends ago, we bough sausage from WFs and created a faux Filipino breakfast. I had made some salsa for a breakfast burrito the day before and decided to add this to the egg. Tomatoes and onion in general just add that extra something to your spoonful of garlic rice, egg and meat combo. See the spoon? Scoop that right up!

Doesn’t that look good? Runny eggs over garlic rice = deliciousness. Perfect spoonful bites every time. Happy Filipino breakfast eating!