Saturday, January 23, 2010

Bread Pizza

Over the holidays, invariably, you get a lot of leftover bread. Bread pizza is a great way to use them up. Up top is leftover spam, pineapples, cheese and tomato paste.

I got the idea from Fli's site, and I'll link it to here in a bit.

Take any bread you have there, and drizzle some olive oil on it. Or spread some garlic margarine on it. Or butter. The idea is to create a sort of barrier to prevent the tomato paste from seeping into the bread. It also prevents it from drying out.

Next, add tomato paste, a bit of warm water and a touch of sugar in a small container. Mix it up and spread this mixture generously over the bread.

Top with whatever meat you want, tuna, or just vegetables. If I had any, I'd put broccoli, peppers and spinach. Yum

Top with cheese and with even just a small toaster oven, toast the bread for around 10 minutes (depending on heat) until the bread is crunchy and the cheese melted. Very good for merienda!

The Dip That CAN

I have told you about Allan the Picky Eater. For me it is always a challenge to make him eat more of the things I like and more of the things that are HEALTHY for the both of us. Honestly, no one is getting younger and more than just the desire to fit into a size 4, I personally want to live a longer and healthier life. I wish I can make more time for exercise, but for now, I can't. So we're trying to eat healthier.

Up top is a veggie plate that I prepared for movie time the other night. There were more asparagus, cauliflower and zucchini available, but for presentation, we made it prettier. Haha

You can imagine that as I was slicing the veggies Allan was clearly not happy.

"Ano na naman yan?" (what is that this time?)

"Veggie platter. For the DVD marathon."

"Ikaw lang naman kumakain nyan" (You're the only one who eats that)


The key: DIP. Now you can buy any ol' dip from your grocery. I sometimes do. I usually get caesar and ranch but they can get tiring sometimes, and making your own dip is just more satisfying. Tastes fresher, too. I'll give you three dip recipes that even picky eaters will approve of! I think a good rule of thumb is that dips, when served for picky eaters, have to be thick enough to black out the taste of the vegetable, hence the use of mayonnaise. As they begin to open up to the idea of eating vegetables, you can try using less flavor-masking dips.


3-4 fillets of anchovy
about a cup of mayonnaise

-I used low fat mayo...with the other ingredients packing so much flavor, you really won't notice that the mayo is a bit less rich than the usual. You can also use Greek style yogurt, plain yogurt or sour cream.
1-2 cloves garlic, grated or one pack garlic powder
-personally, I liike garlic powder (no salt added) because sometimes raw garlic can become a bit too pungent. Allan loves fresh though, so I just use less.
Dijon mustard
-Prepared mustard or yellow mustard will do well enough. But I just like Dijon because it gives it that extra oomph and makes it taste more resto-ey
lemon juice, eyeball it (meaning, tantya)
white pepper (black is fine, but I like to not discolor it and make the dip look gray)

Mash the anchovies and add into the mayo. Mix well. Add Dijon, mix well. Add garlic and some lemon juice. I like the consistency to be a bit on the watery side (aka like plain yogurt) and not like tomato paste, so I use a bit more lemon juice. But feel free to experiment. Add the pepper and you're good to go.

I found Dijonnaise in the supermarket, might work, too.

Steaksauce Dip

This one we tried at NYFD (New York Fries Department?). Allan loved it and when I tasted it I crossly told him (imagine buying that extra dip for an unreasonable amount of money!) "Bilib ka na dyan, eh fajita seasoning lang kaya yan. I put the same stuff on rice, minsan." To which he said: "Ah. Kaya pala familiar. Mas masarap sya sa patatas." Hmf.

So I guess the secret ingredient here is out!

Mayo (or whatever mayo substitute you want)
Fajita seasoning, recipe here.

Just mix 'em together for a few Mississippis and you're good to go. If you want, you can add spring onions or parsley.


I love this best on the sweeter vegetables like carrots. The flavor contrast is wonderful!

Mayo (or whatever substitute you want)
Lemon juice
Chili powder/flakes
1-2 cloves garlic or a pack of garlic powder
(no, I didn't copy-paste this from the first recipe. haha)

Mix all the ingredients together. You may need to add a bit of salt to bring it all together.

A little tip on the veggies: first, some vegetables are actually tastier raw (at least for me) like celery, zucchini (skin on, makes it taste nuttier) and cucumber (skin OFF, unless it's really thin). Broccoli, cauliflower and asparagus, while can be eaten raw, are better received when steamed for 3-5 minutes (broccoli and cauliflower). Asparagus takes under a minute for thin stems and 2-3 minutes for the real thick ones. Carrots take around 3-5 minutes, too, depending on the thickness of the cut.

You can retain much of the nutrients in the veggies when you microwave them. 2 minutes on high for broccoli and cauliflower, 1 minute for carrots, 30seconds to 1 minute for asparagus, depending on thickness. After cooking, in either method, plunge in cold water to keep them fresh and happy looking.

Avoid Drinking. But Who Am I Kidding?

I love to drink. Most of the time I love to drink because that means that I am with friends and that I've no work the next day. Personally, I have a five-drink rule, which I will explain later, and that always works. I truly think that having your own rules and knowing yourself when you've had a few will really help you from becoming THAT guy/girl who ruined the mood for everyone.

But just like anything else, a night out with friends is not all happiness and fun. Usually the big blow comes the next day when you wake up listening to those 5 shots of Stoli Elit pound a nice steady rhythm into your ears, your eyes and your stomach. If you're like me who's living with someone, trust me, the sight of you all effed up is not nice. And seeing the other person looking at you that way will only make you feel shittier.

So let's go back to my five-drink rule. Quite literally, it means that you should limit yourself to five drinks. But it also means that you should also do five things before, while and after drinking.

Spam and rice, then Martini and heels.

Rule 1. Eat. Now I don't want to hear about dieting and that stuff because you have to eat. The reason why the next day or even just later that night you feel like throwing up is because the alcohol is irritating your empty stomach. So eat heartily, and if possible, eat something fatty or milky. The fat lines your stomach and delays the effects of alcohol. Now that is NOT reason to drink more. But it will make sure that you get to spend more time with your friends before you feel sick. It will save you a lot on over marked up bar food, if for nothing else.

Rule 2. This is totally just my observation, but staying with clear, distilled and "purer" alcohol leads to less or NO hangover. I've read that what causes hangovers, other than drinking like you haven't had any liquid for the last 4 years, is the impurities in the alcohol. So sticking with Vodka, gin, white rum or sake will help you the next morning. Oh and by the way, to even narrow that down, stick to a certain "family" of drinks. So if you prefer Vodka tonight, go for Vodka-something. Don't mix Vodka cocktails with other non-vodka based cocktails and MOST definitely NOT red wine. Non-vodka based cocktails can have more alcohol content and therefore make you even more drunk. Mixing spirits with wine, though will probably not affect how drunk you are (wine often has less alcohol than any spirit) will most probably bloat you up.

Rule 3. Keep eating in the bar. Little stuff like pretzels or nuts or a veggie plate with dip will help keep the tummy rumbles at bay. It will also keep you busy so you won't finish off your drink too fast. For my five-drink rule, I usually order a new drink every hour or so. In between, water will be fine. Water is great, even, because it keeps you hydrated and that will lessen the effect of the alcohol.

Rule 4.'re still alive! The cab driver did not turn out to be a serial rapist, after all. If you can, pass by a convenience store and get a gatorade. It, again, hydrates you and gives back the minerals and electrolytes you've lost after drinking and dancing. It also helps maintain your blood sugar and that's important if you wanna avoid a hangover. Hypoglycemia is one of the symptoms of a hangover and it causes dizziness and nausea (think sugar lows).

When you're home, kicking off those heels, taking make up off and getting ready for some beauty rest, pop a 500mg pill of vitamin B complex (StressTabs will do, too). Hangovers are also characterized by a B complex deficiency, so taking a supplement will greatly help you kill a hangover.

Rule 5. The next day, most likely your hangovers aren't as nightmarish (if you have it at all) but you still need to remember to maintain hydration and to eat. Some people I know use a laxative tea to make sure everything gets flushed out, but I'm yet to try that. Formally, rule number 5 is the "don'ts" rule.

DO NOT: drink aspirin. True, it will help relieve the headache (if any) but it will also cause liver damage and after the drinking, you don't need that. Besides, the nausea and the dizziness is a symptom of a bigger problem, usually, as said above, hypoglycemia.

DO NOT: drink more! Of course it will work at first. Alcohol has a sedating effect. But it will only delay THEN worsen the scenario.

So before you go out and drink, make sure you know what to do when you do get drunk. Hangovers are no fun.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Clingy Women

What is a clingy woman? There are many relationships that ended up broken simply because of women being too clingy. Too needy. Too...ugh. Personally, I find that the term "needy" and "clingy" are the most insulting things a guy can tell a girl. It even surpasses "you're fat" in the Ems Insult Scale. Being called needy or clingy is both embarrassing and offensive, yet there are times that we girls end up being just like that. And it's ugly.

I define clingy and needy girls as those whose lives revolve all around their men. Don't get me wrong, there are many women I know who are both wife and mother yet while they are the all-around domestic diva, they still have that independence that helps them make their own decisions and their own choices, without needing their men to be with them all the time. A clingy or a needy woman is the total opposite of one who's in control of her life, her family and her relationships.

A woman who's not clingy can command her life, be that at work, at home or in her social circle, without asking for her man's approval, simply because she knows that she's right and that she knows what she's doing. She does not go, "Hon, I'll go take a bath na ha" or "Dear, do you want me to call a cab na?" or "Papa, I want to cut my hair like this, okay lang?" A woman who is not clingy is empowered and, well, put simply, HAS A LIFE.

On the other hand, the clingy woman is the one who pooh-poohs over each and everything that comes out of her man's mouth, as if hidden inside those words is the map to the Holy Grail, in whatever version you believe it to be, or the Fountain of Youth. She insists to share a single seat couch just so she can sit on his lap. She insists to feed him, share just a single set of eating utensils and a single plate with him. She acts on her desire for motherhood not by being a mother, but by mother-ing her man.

She floods his Facebook page with this or that "I love you" application, writes notes and tags him each and every time. It's even sadder when you see that he rarely replies back. When he's away, she uses her unlimited broadband access to smithereens over Skype just so they can still "be together."

A clingy woman insists that she goes with him to a boy's night out, saying that she will "not make a sound" and be "one of the boys, honest!" Ignores the weird looks from the barkada and proceeds to cuddle to her man like a koala. Gross. Just gross.

There is more to a relationship than constantly being in the presence of your man as if you were joined at the hip. In the long run, he'll just end up being allergic to you. Chill!


Tomorrow, I'll be on midshift for two weeks. Meaning, I'll be at work from 3-12mn. Originally, this isn't something I signed up for because we all thought we'll be doing the dayshifts for the entirety of our contract. But I understand the need for us to overlap our working hours with our NY-based client, so I accept changes like these as a reality of life.

God knows that I have gone home later than midnight, from locations less noble and safe than Ayala, Makati. Besides it's just two weeks. Then back to day, then again midshift. I'm not sure how in the world I'll get home, if there are buses to my house or if I need to take a cab, but I'll get home. I just know I will, because, well, I was always able to get home.

I finally get a chance to dodge that goddamned traffic! And how about sleeping late? Yes, yes, yes! It's like getting the good stuff of being on a later shift (you can go to the bank, get licenses and shit like that in the morning, sleep late) but in a couple of weeks, you can get back to normal.

In general, though, I'm not a complaining, whining bitch. Although I am a lot of different bad things, I am not that. It's just a reality I have to accept. Besides, once I said yes, I mean it. I don't say I'm okay with something to please you to your face, then attack you and complain when you're not looking. I do not belong to that category.

I'm Suicidal

I'm kidding! But it does seem like I am trying to kill myself whenever I eat something like this. It's my very own version of killer taters. It's fried (or boiled) potatoes covered with my own homemade chili and lots of cheese. And I mean, LOTS.

I guess you can serve this is a salad. Neutralize the fattiness. LOL

Oh, Nothing.

Kate Torralba, tights. Kickers, sneakers. Skirt, I made myself. Penshoppe, purple plaid shirt.

The Best Cup Noodles are Fresh

I don't usually go for cup noodles. They're just atrocious and the sodium in them is enough to kill you. Well, yeah, exaggeration, but you get what I mean.

As a youngster, my mother never got me into the noodles habit, even if we were poor. We eat Maggi with egg and dilis only when we feel like it, and that's like, every three months. But that doesn't mean that we don't eat mami-style noodles at all. A lot of times, my mom would buy ten pesos worth of those fresh egg noodles (remember those wrapped in plastic, oily and tied with a rubber band?), a small cabbage and carrots and cook that with broth, or saute it with soy sauce. It's also just as cheap, but far more hearty and delicious.

With that taste formed, I always believe in the power of fresh noodles. Imagine that! The Power of Fresh Noodles! One of these days, I'll share some of my recipes with you. I haven't made any noodle dishes as of late so I have no pictures, but soon, my friends, soon...Naks.

Anyway, the point of this entry is two-pronged: noodles are best when fresh and I found Korean cup noodles named "Fresh Noodles" that have, literally, fresh noodles. Koreans are so blunt about their labelling, yes? "Fresh Noodles" for fresh noodles and "Bowl Noodles" for noodles in a bowl. How creative, right?

Here's what the noodles look like...they were wrapped in plastic inside the bowl.

Close up:

Thin noodles. But fresh!

The broth seasoning is seafood flavored. It tastes like crab and fish, nori and all the good umami stuff. Plus the dried veggies. For some reason, once I put hot water into it, the veggies rehydrated and tasted pretty fresh.

And it looks like this with hot water in it. In hindsight, I should have added hotter water.

It's pricey (Php120) in the Korean grocery nearby. But it's good!

The Elvis Sandwich

Peanut butter, banana and bacon is the favorite sandwich of Elvis. Or so they say. But whether that's true or not, this is easily one of my favorite sandwiches. It's terribly fattening and calorific, but what the hell? Taste over calories, I say!

This is a simple concoction: just toast your favorite bread, slather on some of your favorite peanut butter and add sliced bananas. Crisp up (or in this case, microwave) some bacon strips or cubes and voila! Elvis Sandwich!

There's something really nice about the salty bacon mediating the sweet and creamy peanut butter and the fruity banana. It's also very filling. YUM-O!

Segue to my Elvis Sandwich eating attire for that day:

Eyelet dress from Kamiseta, tights, Kate Torralba and shoes, Nine West.

Wine Cooler: Arbor Mist

This one doesn't really fall under "wine" but it's perfect when you want to sort of break in your wine tastebuds or you just aren't into the stuff. When people start to drink wine, they usually go for the sweeter versions. Personally, I prefer an off-dry or semi-sweet wine because I don't like the bitter, alcoholic aftertaste.

So when we tried Arbor Mist (Orchard Fruits Chardonnay) it was a great hit. It's a wine cooler, meaning it has wine and different flavorings, sugar and water. It's pretty watered down but you still get that wine taste. It's great with ice or well chilled. Very refreshing. And it has a pretty low alcohol volume (only 7% I think) so I can drink the whole thing and not get drunk or get a hangover the next day.

It kinda tastes like Cali (remember that drink?) only it contains real alcohol in it and more wine-y taste.

There are different varieties of Arbor Mist available in the Philippines and the Chardonnay is probably the easiest to drink. The red wine (Merlot and Pinot Noir) are pretty heavy, but much lighter and drinkable than pure wines. The White Zinfandel, which comes in strawberry and exotic fruits, are, I think, the in-between in terms of lightness and flavor. All are best serve cold or over ice. I served it with ice since we're using standard glasses, but I think if you serve this in wineglasses you're better off chilling the bottle instead.

The price is reasonable, too. It sells for Php200/bottle in SM. Good chill-out drink.

Basic Spaghetti Sauce

I read that in the Italian-American communities, they call their basic pomodoro sauce "gravy" because just like gravy, they use the sauce to flavor different kinds of food for Sunday dinner. They use it for bread, pastas, risotto or meat dishes.

There are so many gravy recipes online, but I find that the easiest and the simplest recipe is the best tasting and the secret really is the cooking. Slow cooking is the best as it really brings out the goodness of the wine, tomatoes and spices.

So gather up the ingredients for the basic tomato sauce!

5-7 super red tomatoes, diced
-Again if you can find Roma or San Marzano tomatoes, use them. They're most probably pricier, but it's worth it!
1 small onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced/grated
1 small pack tomato paste
1/4 cup red wine
2 Italian sausage links
-I didn't use it for this batch though, but I would next time
10 green olives, sliced
-Fresh oregano is good, but dried is okay
Chili powder
5 Basil leaves, torn by hand
Grated cheese, any hard cheese is good like parmigiano reggiano or grana padano
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Start with sauteing the sausage in olive oil. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant but not brown. Remove garlic from pan. Saute onions until translucent then add the tomatoes. Saute that and pound on it a bit. Add the olives and stir until everything looks good. Add the red wine and a bit of water.

Add the tomato paste, oregano, chili powder and season with salt and pepper. Always remember to add a little at a time. Salt is hard to take out.

Here you start to stew it. Put the heat on low and just allow it to gurgle away for 2-3 hours. If the sauce thickens too much, water it down with a some red wine or water.

During the last hour of cooking time, add the grated cheese and continue cooking. If you have an immersion blender, you can use that to make the sauce smoother.

Cook pasta to al dente and serve! Top with more cheese. We paired this nice meal with glasses of red wine and it worked great!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Why Stop at Boiling Rice?

My rice cooker is one of the appliances I cannot imagine living without. I can practically do anything with it, from just rice to soups and sauces and steamed food. But basically, a rice cooker's main purpose is just that, to cook rice. But why stop at just boiling your rice? Why cook rice in the rice cooker, scoop it out then toss it into a pan to make fried or flavored rice?

I hate making fried rice that way, so instead of doing it the traditional way, I did it in a rice cooker! It's pretty basic and there light be some ingredients in fried rice that you may substitute or change, but it pretty much works. For garlic rice, boil the rice as you normally would and when it's done, loosen the rice in the pot with a spoon, add a bit of oil and sprinkle with bottled garlic bits or garlic powder and salt. Turn the rice cooker back on and toss it. You can also just sprinkle the garlic powder, salt and pepper into the uncooked rice (when it's already in the pot with measured water) and you get the same garlicky flavor but without the oil.

This photo here and the one up top are of barbecue/java rice. I used paprika, a bit of curry powder, a pinch of cumin and red and black pepper. Oh and also a little bit of garlic and onion powder. Or you can use some pre-made barbecue powder in the spice section of your grocery, that will work too. Just add a couple of tablespoons into uncooked rice (measurement is for three rice cooker cups of rice) and a little bit of oil and mix it up then hit on 'Cook'.

We made this packed lunched we took to the park. We cooked Spam to go with it (don't worry, we had more than one piece of Spam each!). Good choice.

With it we made Pineapple sangria, which is basically just red wine, soda water, honey and a bit of pineapple juice, shaken with ice. This is a darker version for me, since I like it with more red wine and below is a lighter version (more pineapple juice) for Allan.

We had a great time! For just Php50 (php40 for QC residents like us) per person, you can enjoy the park and the picnic grounds. If you want to try the pool, and we will next time, the fee is just Php80. If we bring packed lunches like these, a water jug for juice or soda, a few shakers of wine and maybe some fruit or cupcakes from the bakery, the cost will definitely be no more than Php400-500, fare included. It's a steal!

For me this is even better than going to the beach because the travel time from our place to the beach is around 3 hours and I'm exhausted even before I hit the sand (what more going home). Ecopark is just around 15-20 minutes away!