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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Healthy Spaghetti

Hello there lovelies!  I’m adding another section in my blog, and it will be called From My Kitchen.  While I’m no expert, not even a Martha Stewart wannabe or a professional chef for that matter, I will share with you guys my simple recipes that I’ve learned from my mom, developed and made it my own.  Since Jellybelly and I moved to our own house six years ago, I had to come up with easy-peasy recipes, something that takes at least 30 to 45 minutes to prepare, since I too work at home.

I’m happy to say that my Jellybelly loves my cooking (he has no choice but to eat the food I prepare).  I hope you like this new section and hoping that it can help homemakers out there.

Today, I’m sharing my healthy spaghetti.  My Jellybelly is a picky eater.  He eats vegetables only when he feels like it, so I try to incorporate vegetables as much as I can without him noticing.

Ingredients:
1 kilo lean ground beef
1 kilo spaghetti
1 kilo spaghetti/tomato sauce
1/2 cup of grated cheese
3 onions (chopped)
1 head of garlic (chopped)
2 bell peppers (diced finely)
2 carrots (diced finely)
1 can button mushroom
3 tablespoons of soy sauce
2 tablespoons muscovado sugar
Dash of pepper
Olive oil for sautéing
Hot sauce/chili flakes - optional

I am using El Real pasta, the ones with malunggay and carrot bits, Del Monte Spaghetti sauce, and the cheese was a freebie (yey for freebies!).


Vegetables:  Carrots, bell peppers and mushrooms (diced).


Also lots of garlic and onions.


Sabroso Olive Oil (or any vegetable oil, sometimes I use Canola oil)


Hot sauce – I’m using Sriracha or Rooster, a little goes a long way as this one is super spicy.  My mom bought this in the states, but I saw these already in grocery stores in their PX section.



Steps:
  1. Cook spaghetti as per package instructions.  Set aside.  (TIP:  While waiting for the water to boil for the pasta, you can start preparing the vegetables to save time and to MULTI-TASK, something I am programming our Manang version 2010 to do, haha!)
  2. Sautee garlic and onions in olive oil.
  3. Once onions become transparent, add in lean ground beef.  Cook ground beef until tender.
  4. Add in the mushrooms and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  5. As soon as mushrooms are cooked, add in carrots and bell peppers.
  6. After mixing in carrots and bell peppers, put the tomato sauce and let simmer for 5 minutes.
  7. To lessen the tangy taste of the sauce, add in muscovado sugar and soy sauce.  Flavor to suit ones taste.
  8. As soon as the sauce starts to simmer, add in the grated cheese.  Put a dash of pepper.
  9. As an added "zing and kick," you can also add chili flakes or hot sauce.
And finally,


Friday, June 28, 2013

Bench Products

I have been wanting to buy Ben Nye Banana Luxury Powder, but I am hesitant as I am not sure how it would react to my skin (note: since I have very low EQ, I have already asked my mom and sister to buy it for me, can't wait for it as they will ship it in December along with my many other requests).

Well anyway, like I've said, I wanted Ben Nye.  It was a good thing that my Jellybelly went to Bench to look at their shirts.  While he was busy, I decided to check their toiletries/personal care section.  I was intrigued with their - - - Bench Daily Spell Magic Powder in Natural.


I can't say that this is a dupe.  I just wanted to satisfy my lemming (shopping itch).  It says it has UV Sunscreen and vitamin E.  It is finely milled and blends like a dream.  I have experienced no itchiness or negative reactions, so this is good.  It is very, very affordable.  I got it for not more than 20 pesos.

Here's a swatch and how it looks when blended



Again, like what I've said, this is not a dupe for Ben Nye (I don't even have one to compare it with).  This is just to satisfy my lemming, but still, I am happy with this one for now.

Oh, another thing, I love, love their colognes.  Since they are so affordable, not more than 60 pesos, Jellybelly was more than happy to indulge me, hehe (he also loved this scent, so we share this).

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Pagudpud Rewind Part 3: The beach and Patapat Viaduct

I've saved the best for last.  Pagudpud is also called "the Boracay of the north."  True enough, it did not disappoint.  The beaches had white sand (though not as fine as Boracay's in my opinion).  The blue-green water looked inviting, though we did not swim as it was cold and drizzling. 




If ever we decide to go back, we will also consider this resort




While on our way to see Patapat Viaduct, we passed by these "falls."  It was raining that's why water cascaded down to these basins (? dunno how to describe them).  We immediately asked the driver of the van to stop so we can have a short photo session.





Now, I'm saving the bestest.  We passed by Patapat viaduct, which is so breathtaking.  It is the highway, but you have the best views of the ocean and lush mountains.




We passed by another viewing deck (which is free) and we took one last look.  It was really worth the long trip.  God willing, we'll come back and visit once again.



Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Pagudpud Rewind Part 2: Dragon fruit Plantation, Lighthouse, Kapurpurawan and Windmills

As promised, here's part 2 of my Pagudpud adventure.

We passed by many dragonfruit plantation.  My mom and her friends wanted to buy the fruit as it is quite expensive here in the metro, and our guide led us to one of the biggest there is.  I forgot the name though, but they charged us 10 pesos entrance fee.




These cacti are actually the dragon fruit plants.  It was alien-like and a bit scary (that's just my weird feeling).


This is the fruit.  I have eaten these a couple of times already as my mom buys these because they say it has high antioxidant.  The inside varies, sometimes the flesh is whitish, pinkish or sometimes even purplish.  The taste resembles that of a bland kiwi (sorry for the description, haha).

Moving on ...

The lighthouse.  Very romantic and scenic.



I would have loved to climb the top, but my legs can't carry me, haha!

Next, we went to Kapurpurawan rock formation (kapurpurawan is an Ilocano word, puraw which means white).




These pictures were taken at a viewing deck.  You can actually go down the hill, but due to time constraints, we deferred (another reason to go back and see this rock formation up close).

I was very excited to see the windmills, so off we went.



These mega structures are awesome!

We stayed at a private resthouse owned by mom's friend.  Crossing the main road is the beach.  You can hear the crashing waves, it is somehow soothing and can lull me to sleep.  The air is very fresh and the scenery of the rest house so lush.




Part 3 to follow ...

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Pagudpud Rewind Part 1: Pit Stops to Pagudpud

Please allow me to share and do a look back on the trip that my mom and I had last February (though I did a post on Pagudpud Of Windmills, Light House and the Beach, I felt it was sort of bitin - er, rather I had a few more pictures to share). 

Anyway, before going to Pagudpud, we made a few pit stops.

First of them was at Laoag, to have breakfast and mainly to do stretchings.  I can't recall the distance from Manila to Laoag, besides I was asleep most of the time.  We did a night trip, had to stop for bladder breaks, to stretch, etc.)  We arrived in Laoag day break so here's where we had our breakfast (sorry for rambling).

Laoag Plaza (the building in the background is SM Laoag by the way).






We had to try their famous emapanadas with sukang Iloko.



We also had to drop by my mom's friend's town of Pasuquin to have proper breakfast and to see their resort.  Got to try their famous Biscocho.  This was not the super sweet variety and I could taste a faint hint of annise.




So, on to the resort.  We stayed here for a few minutes and had proper breakfast. Here's what greeted us,


Ooohh, the beach...


This is not breakfast, this is a feast right?



Stay tuned for Part 2 ...

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Liebster Award

I have been awarded by Sis Jocris and I thank her for that.  This award is to those new bloggers,or Blogger's whom have less than 200 followers.  A Liebster is a German word that means " favorite " or Favorite Blog.



Now to accept the nominations, I just have to complete the task below:
•Link back to the blog that nominated you,
•Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers,
•Answer the questions posted for you by your nominator,
•Share 11 random facts about yourself.
•Create 11 questions for your nominees, and
•Contact your nominees and let them know you nominated them.

I nominate the following:





Questions posted for me by Sis Jocris
1. Have you ever been fooled on April Fool's day? How did you feel then?
- Thankfully I haven’t been the butt of jokes, most especially April Fool’s.  My friends and those around me know that I don’t like surprises most especially being made fun of.  I am not pikon, it’s just that I don’t want to be the center of attention.  If that happens, I might cry, haha.

2. Are there any foods that you wouldn't eat as a child that you eat now?
- I used to hate vegetables and I also hated Japanese food as a child, but now I love, love eating them.

3. How many hours you usually sleep?
- 8 hours of sleep during the night + 15-30 minutes power nap during the day.

4. What's your favorite dessert?
- Ice cream and watermelon.

5. What is your best birthday memory?
- Last year, a few weeks before my _____th birthday, I had a major operation.  While recuperating at my parent’s place, my dad and I got into an argument.  I was really sad and went back to our own house.  After that, my dad texted and apologized.  He admitted that he was wrong and asked if we could celebrate my birthday.  If I remember it right this was his message, “I’m sorry.  Bati na tayo para bless kita at para bless tayo ni Lord.”

6. Which is a better present, a well-chosen gift or money?
- I will have the well-chosen gift over money.  You can’t put a prize on effort and time spent on finding the best gift for you, right?

7. Do you know how to haggle or negotiate a lower price?
- Yes!  I learned from the best – my mom!

8. What traits do you look for in a conversation partner?
- Sincerity and someone who is upbeat and humorous.

9. What was the last book you read?
- One Fifth Avenue by Candace Bushnell.  It is a very light read.  I am into chic lits, romantic comedy, anything light.

10. Would you like to be famous?
- Why not? (basta for the right reasons)

11. Are you a 'morning' or 'night' person?
- I can easily adapt.  Kung kelangan gising ng morning okay lang, kung kelangan gabi okay lang din.

11 Random Facts About Myself:
1.     I am a cancer survivor/fighter.
2.     I am a homebody.
3.     Not to brag, but I love my job as I work at home.  I am an independent contractor, working as a medical editor for an American company.
4.     I’m a bit sensitive on topics relating to pregnancy (we might not have kids, but we are really praying, be it biological ones or adopted).  Some people can be rude and insensitive kasi.
5.     I have very simple, uncomplicated taste.
6.     I hate clutter.
7.     I’m a tea person (I dislike coffee).
8.     I can eat a lot of watermelon.
9.     I love to read.
10.  I don’t make friends easily as I am a shy person.  It takes time for me to warm up to people.
11.  I love the beach.

Now here are my 11 questions for My Nominees:
1.     What’s your favorite month and why?
2.     What’s your favorite movie of all time?
3.     Who’s your role model?
4.     Can you go out/leave the house without wearing any makeup?
5.     Can you describe your fashion sense?
6.     Where’s your next travel destination?
7.     If you had $1,000,000 to spend, how will you spend it?
8.     Pretend you’re in a beauty contest, how will you answer this question, “What is the essence of a woman?”
9.     Who’s your fashion icon?
10.  Which do you prefer, pearls or diamonds?
11.  Words you live by?

I sure had fun, thanks Sis Jocris!


Sambokojin

My mom had her despedida/going away part at Sambokojin in SM Southmall last June 5, 2013.  We made lunch reservations for 44 persons.  It was a Wednesday.  We were quite surprised that the restaurant was full, we were not expecting that being it a workday/school day, but since we had a reservation, there were no problems.  Sambokojin is a grill-all-you-can, eat-all-you-can Yakiniku.  Their claim is that it is, smokeless and odorless.  It is a fusion of Japanese-Korean.


From their website:

SAMBO KOJIN
The Japanese Kitchen God.  Three-headed deity with two pairs of hands.  Bearer of fire, protector of the hearth, watcher of the household, keeper of the brotherhood.

SAMBO KOJIN
The ultimate pleasures of camaraderie dining.  Incomparable delights of togetherness, a closeness that will always be relished, repeated and remembered.

SAMBO KOJIN
The rituals of grilling, the merging of cuisines, the mastery of Korean and Japanese chefmanships from generation to generation.

This is my Jellybelly’s as well as my second time to dine here.  When my mom asked us which place to hold her party, we gladly volunteered this resto.  Now, on to the pictures:

Grilling Station:  Different meats, vegetables and seafood for grilling









Sushi/sashimi Station:







Tempura


Japchae



Dessert Station:




What's in my plate(s):  Sushi, sashimi, tempura, uni (sea urchin) 






Ice-cream (mocha and strawberry with candy confetti bits), just right for me.


My favorite fruit, watermelon


Gummi worms, yay!


Believe me, there are a lot of choices.  I just couldn’t take a picture of them as there are a lot of people.  I also forgot to take pictures of the Korean station or where the cooked food station.  I would have loved to try everything, but my tummy couldn’t take it all, haha.

So what makes it different from other grill-all, eat-all resto (Yakimix, ahem)?  For me, I think Sambokojin gives better service, the waiters listen attentively and accommodate your requests, fills in the food stations efficiently and quickly and I think their resto is a lot classier and cleaner than most grill restos I have been to (take note Yakimix).  Even if the restaurant is full, you won’t even feel it because it is very spacious, well lighted and did I say spacious?

Okay, so everyone had a good time, most especially my mom (whose flight was the very next day).  Jellybelly and I will surely return as it was a good experience.

p.s. The staff sang “For she’s a jolly good fellow” to my mom and gave a complimentary cake (as requested by one of her friends)

The complimentary cake