Cantaloupe Juice

As I walk down the grocery aisle, I always notice the abundance of readily-available fruit juice varieties, but none of those which I grew up drinking such as cantaloupe, watermelon, or pineapple juice. So since it is summer and c
antaloupes are on sale at Publix, I decided to make my own cantaloupe-ade.

What you need:

  • 1/2 of a cantaloupe, seeds removed
  • 1 - 2 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup sugar

What to do:

Using the other seed of a melon baller (the one with those sharp holes), scrape the meat of the cantaloupe and put it in a blender. Pulse (or grind) for 5 seconds and repeat until the fruit is blended to your desired consistency. I find it better to leave some coarse pieces so there is a bit of texture when you drink it.

The "primitive" melon baller that I use

Pour the blended fruit in a pitcher, it would
yield approximately 2 to 3 cups of juice, depending on how big your cantaloupe is. Add 1 - 2 cups of water, according to your preference. Don't add too much though, cause the cantaloupe flavor will be diluted. Add about 1/2 cup of sugar and stir well.

Put in the fridge to cool for about 15 minutes and serve. Perfect for these sweltering summer days, while you lounge by the pool in your cabana. ;-)

Tips, Tricks and Tweaks:

1. Add some cantaloupe strings - do so by using the end of the melon baller and NOT putting the pieces in the blender.
2. If you don't have a melon baller, cut the cantaloupe meat in big chunks and grate it with a cheese grater. Or use a fork.
3. To tell if the cantaloupe is ripe, give it a whiff. If it has a musky sweet smell, then it is ready. Also, with your thumb, press the bottom part of the cantaloupe (the one opposite the stem). If it gives a little bit, it is ripe. Remember though that if it gives a lot, it might be over-ripe.
4. Add a bit of Sprite to give it a zing (as suggested by a friend).
5. You might want to make this drink on top of a flexible cutting board, as there might be some juice spillage.


Sushiko Restaurant

This is probably the best appetizer I have had in a long time - Sushiko's Grilled Baby Octopus with Mango Sauce.

I was a bit skeptical to eat it at first, seeing that most of it were tentacles, but it was highly recommended so I took a bite... and fell in love. I trie
d very hard to figure out what they used to marinate the meat... probably soy sauce and something else... there was an undertone to it that made it so good. I also tasted a hint of sweetness (mirin, perhaps?) that complemented the savory kick that grilling brings. The dot of mango sauce was also a good addition to the dish. I just wish we had more.

Rainbow Roll

We ordered a Rainbow Roll, California Roll and S
ashimi. It was such a disappointment because we were expecting something spectacular after our delicious appetizer. What we got, however, were mediocre fares. We had such high hopes for this restaurant since it is in the city's Top 50 restaurants.


The Grilled Baby Octopus saved the day, though. I would come back to Sushiko just to get my hands on that dish again.



Wikipedia defines Buckeyes as a peanut butter and chocolate candy made to resemble the nut of a buckeye tree. However, what we made are Buckeyes with a twist. First, we coated it entirely with chocolate (pardon the scraggly appearance, the chocolate I used was a bit thick). Second, we put a "surprise" inside - a chocolate morsel hidden in the peanut butter.

Hubby described it this way: when you pop it into your mouth, you get the initial taste of the rich chocolate, then the creamy peanut butter kicks in, and just when the peanut butter taste is fading, you sink your teeth in
that semi-sweet chocolate morsel in the middle and it's so good that you have to ask for more. Mmmmmm.

This recipe is from the Peter Pan peanut butter website, where my mother-in-law and I found this yummy dessert.

What you need:

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate morsel + about 1/4 cup more, divided

What to do:

In a small bowl, blend together the peanut butter, salt, butter, and confectioners sugar using an electric mixer on low speed for about 1 to 2 minutes. Mixture should be stiff by then. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Get a piece of chocolate morsel, cover it with the peanut butter mixture, then roll into small bite-sized balls, about 3/4 inch round. Do so until you have used all of the peanut butter mixture. Refrigerate until set, about 30 minutes.

Pre-dipped peanut butter balls

Melt the remaining chocolate morsels by putting it on the top of a double boiler with simmering water in the bottom. Place this on medium-low heat.

Insert a toothpick on top of a chilled peanut butter ball. Dip into melted chocolate, covering the entire ball. Place it on the prepared sheet pan. Repeat until all pieces are covered. Refrigerate until the chocolate is set, about 30 minutes. Place in an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Tips, Tricks and Tweaks:

1. You can use other kinds of chocolate if you don't like the semi-sweet variety. Dark chocolate sounds good...
2. Don't have a double boiler? Microwave the chocolate. Or better yet, use a fondue pot.
3. If the chocolate seems too thick (like ours - but we like it that way!), add a tablespoon of canola oil to the chocolate when melting it.
4. If you want to make traditional buckeyes, leave 1/4 of the surface of the peanut butter ball free of chocolate.

Labels: ,

Buckwheat Noodles with Pork

I love cooking with a Crock Pot (slow cooker) cause all you have to do is dump in the ingredients and leave it to cook by itself. In the meantime, while your dinner is simmering, you still have time to play Farmville do your chores.

This recipe by Food Network chef Claudia Sidoti is very similar to Mami Pares. But the noodles are different, and as always, I tweaked it according to our preference and used different ingredients.

What you need:
  • 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder
  • 2 tablespoons Canola oil
  • 4 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup sherry
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 5 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 8 ounces portobello mushrooms, sliced in half
  • 1 pound buckwheat noodles
  • 1/4 cup water chestnuts, sliced
  • 1 bunch of green onions, sliced
  • few sprigs of cilantro
  • 1 piece Serrano pepper, sliced and seeded

What to do:

Season the pork with salt and pepper. Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat and add the Canola oil. When hot, add the pork and brown on all sides, about 6 to 8 minutes per side depending on the size of your meat. Transfer to a plate and let cool.

In your slow cooker, combine the broth, soy sauce, sherry, sugar, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, star anise and ground cinnamon. Stir to dissolve the sugar, then add the garlic and ginger. Add the pork, cover, and program your crock pot to cook for 6 hours on low.

At about the halfway mark (or after about 3 hours have elapsed), add the sliced mushroom in the pot.

After cooking, transfer the pork to a platter, cover, and let rest for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly-salted water to a boil and cook the Buckwheat noodles as the label directs. Slice the pork. Divide the noodles among bowls and top with some of the broth and mushrooms and a few slices of pork. Garnish with the water chestnuts, Serrano pepper, green onions and cilantro.

Tips, Tricks and Tweaks:

1. Don't have buckwheat noodles? Use somen or ramen.
2. Substitute ground cinnamon with a stick of cinnamon bark.
3. Instead of using portobello mushrooms, use dried shiitake mushrooms. Just add it in with the garlic and ginger.
4. Try chicken broth instead of beef broth.


Bird Watching

I was playing with my dog this morning when I noticed that she seemed to pick up a scent. This wasn't really new, as she loves to hunt and would usually follow a trail anytime she picks one up. The odd thing today was, she was sniffing and looking upwards. So I followed her gaze and my jaw almost dropped at the sight of a gargantuan bird perched on top of one of our trees.

click on picture for larger view

This picture doesn't really do justice to it, as it was more
breath-taking, vivid and awesome when seen in person. Also, this picture was taken from about 100 feet away. It was probably an eagle or a hawk. I really couldn't tell as it was so far.

Truly, God's works are remarkable and can be seen in everything around us.

"Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths, lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding, you mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars, wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds." (Psalm 148:7-10)


Product Review: Cinnabon Bites

life doesn't... but your new product does!

I just discovered that Cinnabon launched a product called "Cinnabon Bites". They are bite-sized versions of Cinnabon's Classic and Pecan Rolls, served in an easy to handle, portable sleeve. Even smaller than the Minibons. After sampling the Cinnabon Bites Caramel Pecanbon variety, here are my thoughts.

What I liked:

-They are small, so you can snack on just one or two pieces without mutilating the whole roll.
- Reasonably priced. A 6-piece pack costs $4.50 (give or take a few cents, depending on where you are buying). It is the same
price as one regular-sized Pecanbon.

What I didn't like:

- You can only buy it in a 6-piece pack. Boo!!!
- I felt that they skimped on the Makara Cinnamon and cream cheese frosting. There were still a good amount of pecans on top, but the cinnamon and frosting were pathetic. It actually tasted dry.

- One diminutive serving of the 6-piece pack has a whopping 510 calories. So if you eat all of the 6 pieces, it is a total of 3060 calories. (Okay, so maybe I shouldn't ask for more frosting...)

The Verdict:

While the Cinnabon Bites are cute and pe
rfect for some, I would much rather prefer the classic rolls, where they don't skimp and take short cuts on the ingredients. "Bigger is better" might not always be true, but in the case of my favorite brand of cinnamon rolls, it is.

Photo Credit:


Skinless Garlic Longganisa

I have been craving longganisa (sausage) for the longest time, but I couldn't find time to go to the Filipino store to get some. So I opted for the next best thing - I made my own.

What you need:
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 to 1 whole head of garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 small Vidalia onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon fine breadcrumbs
  • Plastic wrap, cut into 5" x 5" squares
  • Vegetable oil for frying

What to do:

In a big bowl, combine all the ingredients (except the oil and plastic wrap haha). Using your hands, mix it thoroughly to ensure even distribution of ingredients. Get about 2 tablespoonful of the mix and put it on the plastic wrap. Roll firmly and as tightly as you can. It would help if you would wrap it like a piece of candy, by twisting both sides so it would hold its shape. Repeat the procedure until you have used all the ground pork.

Place all the wrapped sausages in a container and freeze for at least 2 hours so it would harden and hold its shape.

Heat about 2 to 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a wok. Remove the longganisa from the plastic wrap and fry them, flipping halfway so both sides are brown. Transfer to a plate and serve hot. Enjoy!

Tips, Tricks and Tweaks:

1. Practice (and patience) is key in doing this, as it is hard to roll the ground pork tightly.
2. Use an ice cream scoop to get even portions of the sausage.
3. You will notice a slight caramelization in your pan while frying the sausages. This is due to the brown sugar content.
4. As soon as the oil you used is cool enough, dispose of the oil and soak the pan in hot water for easier cleanup.
5. Best eaten with pancakes, bacon, fried rice, or eggs.


Mango-Coconut with Tapioca Balls (Mango-Buko Sago)

Summer is here, and boy, I can feel the heat! So here's a recipe that would cool you down - Mango/coconut with tapioca balls.

I have to admit, though. When I bought the tapioca balls (also called "sago"), I thought it would grow as big as marbles when I cook it. I bought the miniscule ones, so as a result, hubby said it looked like fish roe. Not to worry, though. The roe-looking sago turned out to be a delicious and refreshing cooler for this scorching summer day.

This post is for my friend Angela, who inspired me to buy these tapioca balls. :-)

What you need:
  • 1/2 cup Tapioca balls
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
For the syrup:
  • 1 ripe mango, cubed
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water

What to do:

In a deep pan over low heat, combine all the ingredients for syrup and cook for about 20 to 30 minutes. Remove from the heat, transfer to a container and cool in the fridge.

Meanwhile, bring 3 1/2 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan. Add the tapioca balls and partially cover and simmer over medium heat. Stir occasionally and cook until the tapioca balls are translucent, around 30 to 40 minutes.

Stir in 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk, 3 tablespoons of sugar and a pinch of salt. Cook for about a minute, then transfer to a bowl and add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Let cool, then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Top with diced mangoes and drizzle with mango syrup before serving. Yummy!

Tips, Tricks, and Tweaks:

1. Use medium-sized tapioca balls. I imagine they would be better because of their chewy texture.
2. Add more coconut milk if you want a soupier variety.
3. Instead of making syrup, you can also use store-bought mango nectar.


Tyler Florence's Sweet Plantains

Nope, they are not burnt. Just covered with brown sugar and cinnamon.

I bought plantains cause I wanted to make the "side dish" that they used to serve at a local Cuban Cafe (which is now closed, much to our anguish!). But for some strange reasons, I ended up making a version of Tyler Florence's Sweet Plantains. So the side I was meaning to make turned into a fabulous dessert.

What you need:
  • 2 ripe plantains
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

What to do:

Peel the plantains and cut it in half crosswi
se. Then, cut both ends in half lengthwise.

Heat 3 tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat in a non-stick pan. Fry the plantains in a single layer until golden on the bottom, then turn over with a spatula (I used a fish spatula for more surface). Sprinkle the cinnamon, vanilla and brown sugar on the top, and let cook for another minute just so the sugar will caramelize.

Cut the remaining butter in small pieces and place on top of the plantains just before you take it off the heat. Serve immediately.

Tips, Tricks and Tweaks:

1. The riper (blacker) the plantain is, the better!

2. Skip the vanilla if you don't like its flavor.
3. Plantains have high sugar content so keep yo
ur eye on the pan or they will burn!
4. Eat immediately as the sugar (and sauce) will harden.


Beef Mechado

When I made this Beef Mechado dish, hubby said that it is very similar to a Cuban dish called Boliche. The only thing missing are olives. Makes you think that food is like a universal language that might have different interpretations but mean the same thing.

This dish is so delicious, in fact hubby practically inhaled it. The meat is so juicy and tender, I'm sure you'll like it too.

What you need:
  • 2 lbs whole beef roast
  • 6 strips of bacon, cut into 1 inch
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons fine bread crumbs
  • 2 small red potatoes, quartered

What to do:

Make slits through the beef along the grain with a boning knife. Insert the bacon pieces through the slits in different places. Place meat in a saucepan. Add all other ingredients except breadcrumbs. Cover and simmer for 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until tender. Turn the meat once while cooking to cook and season it evenly.

Transfer the meat and potatoes to a serving dish and slice crosswise.

Strain the sauce. Place it over medium heat and stir in 3 tablespoons of fine bread crumbs. Cook stirring for 2 minutes. Pour sauce over meat slices. Serve with hot rice.

Tips, Tricks and Tweaks:

1. Instead of bacon, you can use salt pork to stuff in the slits.
2. For a thinner sauce, cut the amount of bread crumbs to half.
3. Add olives for added flavor.


Blue and White Ignite

Photo Credits:

I am ecstatic that the Orlando Magic team is on its way to the Eastern Conference finals again! After beating the Atlanta Hawks by a sweep, they are gonna face the Boston Celtics for a Best of 7 series starting this Sunday, May16, 2010 at 3:30pm. I wouldn't miss it for the world!

The Boston Celtics are not an easy team to beat, though. Their resilience and perseverance to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers (who has the 2010 NBA MVP - his royal highness Lebron James) shone through the semifinals. They have a lot of big names too - Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen to name a few. In my opinion, they are a worthy opponent to the Orlando Magic.

Not to sound like I am patronizing the Celtics, I am proud to say that I am a 100% Magic Fan. I love the players - Dwight Howar
d, J.J. Redick, Vince Carter, Rashard Lewis, Jameer Nelson, Mickael Pietrus, and the rest of the Magic team. (Sorry, Hedo Turkoglu. I stopped being a fan when you ditched us for the Raptors).

Funny that I should be blogging about the team, as the President and CEO of the Magic (Bob Vander Wiede) just walked in this coffee shop a few minutes ago, and some of the people here milled around him telling him how big a fan they are. Now, why didn't I go with my gut feeling and wear my Or
lando Magic 2009 Conference Champion shirt?!? That would have caught his attention and maybe a ticket or two for the finals hahaha (wishful thinking).

Back to the topic, though. Watching the team play on TV is great, but being there in the arena is phenomenal! The crowd goes wild, there are prizes to be won, and just the intensity of the fans would be enough to keep you on your feet. By the way, this is my favorite Magic fan:

His name is Dennis Salvaggio, and he is in every Magic game, usually riling up the crowd in a frenzy of chants and cheers. I took this pic of him during one of the games, cause I like his costume very much.

Goodluck on the finals, and Go Magic!!!


Cooking Bacon - the Healthier Option

I love bacon, but it's always a pain to cook. There's always the problem of the meat swimming in grease, the oil spattering everywhere, and the perpetual question - how do you get these strips not to be curly and cook evenly?

I found the answer on Food Network's show "Good Eats." Regular readers of this blog would know that I am a big fan of Alton Brown, and I love how he simplifies terms to make the common housewife understand scientific concepts and how it relates to cooking (save for the turkey frying episode). Although there is nothing very scientific
about this way of preparing bacon, I am delighted that it is a healthier option from the usual skillet frying method.

What you need:

  • bacon
  • cooling rack
  • sheet pan or baking tray

What to do:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

Put the cooling rack on top of the baking sheet. Gently place the bacon in a row on top of the cooling rack, making sure not to overlap.

Slide in the oven and bake for about 15 to 18 minutes for thin cut bacon, and 18 to 22 minutes for thick cut. You can always leave it in for a bit longer depending on the crispiness you like.

Tips, Tricks and Tweaks:

1. You can line the sheet pan with aluminum foil for easier cleanup.
2. Keep an eye on your oven as they don't always show the correct temperature.
3. Don't rush. The longer it is in the oven, the more grease is stripped off the meat.
4. Dab the top part with a paper towel before eating to maximize "healthy" effects.
5. Have a separate cooling rack that you use for meat, and another for pastry.
6. Clean your cooling rack thoroughly as some of the bacon meat will stick on it.

Labels: ,

Sausage and Lentil Soup (Carabbas' Style)

Lentils are one of the most underrated food. Probably because too much of them (as with all legumes) can cause flatulence (funny, but very uncomfortable), arthritis or gout. What we fail to remember is that these beans are very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. They are also good sources of Iron, Protein, Phosphorus, Copper, and an excellent source of dietary fiber, Folate and Manganese.

I grabbed a package of lentils and thought I'd follow the recipe written at the back, but decided to give it a little twist. Surprisingly, it tasted
like Carabba's Spicy Sausage Lentil Soup. Only, theirs is spicier and the sausage that they use is different than what I used.

What you need:
  • 1 package (14 oz) lentils, rinsed
  • 1 (14 oz) Polska Kielbasa sausage, sliced into pieces
  • 1/2 of a large Vidalia onion, chopped
  • half a head of garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium-sized carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 6 cups beef broth
  • 1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt

What to do:

Make sure you sort and rinse the lentils. In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high. Stir in sausage, garlic and onion, saute until translucent. Add in all the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until lentils are tender and soup gets thick, about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Add more broth if necessary. Serve hot!

Tips, Tricks and Tweaks:

1. Add one or two stalks of celery (chopped) if desired.
2. You can also add pasta in it (such as pastina) for more texture. However, use 8 cups instead of 6 cups of broth. Put in the pasta about 15 to 20 minutes before removing the soup from heat.
3. Serve with Romano cheese sprinkled on top of each bowl. Mmmmm... yummy!
4. Eat with chips, such as this:


Real Life Farmville

I recently tried my hand at gardening. It was very tiring and frustrating, yet there is a feeling of satisfaction and hope that something good will come out of your hard work. I have also been seeing a lot of my "friends" lately, these are the little critters that you really don't pay much attention to, but will pop out every once in a while to scare the bejeebers out of you. Such as this weird-looking spider...

I am inclined to believe that this is the Asian Lady Beetle (Harmonia Axyridis) due to the number of spots it has on its back, but I could be wrong...

An unidentified baby caterpillar (or worm... I thought it was a Cabbage Looper, though)

And the most menacing of all (ominous sound effect playing)... the Florida Woods Cockroach (Eurycotis Floridana).

Luckily, it couldn't fly so I was able to spray it with poison. However, it was enough to give me nightmares and scar me for life. It wasn't really bad, but they look so scary cause they have ridges (uggghhh... *cringing*) If you want to see a clearer picture of this roach, click here.

There is also a Black Racer Snake lurking in our garden, but the first time I saw it, I was petrified and wasn't able to take a picture. I now know that I shouldn't be scared of it, as it is non-venomous, and it eats the roaches (see pic above) around. Yay, snake!!!

I thought that the "gardening" category of my blog
be called "Real Life Farmville" because of this creature...

The Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly (Eurytides marcellus). For those of you who play Farmville, this insect would be familiar to you. This beau
tiful butterfly just flitted happily from flower to flower. Although I must say, after a few snapshots, it probably thought that I was a papparazzi cause it flew to our neighbor's yard haha.

The Blue Skimmer dragonfly (Orthetrum caledonicum) is beautiful and huge!

Seaside dragonlet (Erythrodiplax berenice)

Feel free to correct me if I got the names of the insects wrong. And please help me identify the unknown ones. More pics to follow!


Plush Gang Funnies: Mothers' Day

Oh, the joys of being a mom.

Changing diapers...

step 1

step 2

step 3

Feeding baby...

Babysitting other kids...

Helping the kids with their lessons...

The reward? Being loved by your kids.

"Don't you see that children are God's best gift, the fruit of the womb his generous legacy? Like a warrior's fistful of arrows are the children of a vigorous youth. Oh, how blessed are you parents, with your quivers full of children! Your enemies don't stand a chance against you; you'll sweep them right off your doorstep."
~Psalm 127: 3-5

Happy Mothers' Day!


Chicken Ala King

They served Chicken Ala King in the school cafeteria last week, and it was delicious! So delicious, that I craved for more and inspired me to cook the same dish at home.

What you need:
  • 1 pound chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 6 oz portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 egg yolk, slightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup light cream
  • 1 tablespoon Sherry
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 of a small onion, sliced thinly

What to do:

In a small pot, boil the chicken in lightly salted water. Put the chicken on a cooling rack, and set the stock aside. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, pull the meat and dice it.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in saucepan over medium heat. Saute the garlic and onions until translucent, then stir in the flour with a whisk. Add the stock gradually stirring continuously. Add salt, pepper, mushrooms, sherry, and diced bell pepper. Cook stirring over low heat for 5 minutes.

Add diced chicken and light cream. Continue simmering for another 5 minutes while stirring. Place the egg yolk in a small bowl and lightly beat. Take about 4 tablespoons of the sauce (from the pot) and put it in the bowl to stir in with the egg yolk. Return to the simmering chicken mixture. Give it a final stir. Serve hot over biscuits or rice.

Tips, Tricks and Tweaks:

1. Traditional Chicken ala King recipe calls for sherry. However, you can omit it if its not available.
2. You can also use grilled or fried chicken in this dish. Basically, any cooked chicken. Just be sure to remove the skins.
3. Try different vegetables like celery, carrots, or peas.
4. For a quicker version, use the same ingredients and measurements above but omit flour, egg yolk, light cream, salt and pepper. Instead, use 1 can (10 oz) condensed Cream of Mushroom soup.


Wrinkle Buster

Grapes as "wrinkle buster?" I wouldn't doubt. Not only are grapes very healthy for you, it is also (as I recently found out) an effective anti-aging agent (excuse the unintentional alliteration). In fact, Resveratrol (calling Dr. Oz!) is found in grape skins. Resveratrol is a potent anti-oxidant
that destroys free radicals and are responsible for many ill effects in the body, including cardiovascular disease and aging.

You only need a couple of pieces of grapes for this recipe, so go ahead and eat the rest. The perfect excuse. Haha.

What you need:
  • 5 to 6 pieces of red grapes
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil

What to do:

Wash the grapes, but don't peel it. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and process until it is smooth.

Using a cotton ball or tissue, apply it on your face and leave on for at least 30 minutes to several hours. Rinse well with warm water.

What I liked:

- It is very easy to make.
- You can feel a bit of tightness in your skin after washing it off.
- It doesn't really sting if it gets to your pimple.
- I didn't feel any itchy feeling on my skin during (and even after) the time it was on my face.
- My face remained moisturized even hours after washing it off.

What I didn't like:

- It is hot and kinda' heavy on the face, due to the Olive Oil.
- The grape skins that didn't get processed looked like dirt clumps on my face (do this recipe when you are alone and not expecting visitors!)
- Extremely hard to wash off. I had to use my Cetaphil Cleanser to get the oil off my face. But even that took some effort!
- Not for oily skin.
- The fact that you need a food processor to do it!

The Verdict:

After weighing the pros and cons, I decided that I like this natural beauty recipe. The discomfort is a small price to pay to get moisturized skin and prevent premature aging. Sure, you can buy Resveratrol from drug stores, but again, it's better to get it from the natural source. Would I try this again? Definitely. Would I recommend it to friends? Absolutely!

Photo Credits:


NBA Semifinals - Eastern Conference

Disclaimer: This is not a minute-by-minute account of the game. Just some random ramblings of a fan.

So the Orlando Magic won Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals over Atlanta Hawks. And they didn't just win. It was an awesome, amazing WIN! The final score was Hawks 71 - Magic 114. The beat them by 43 points. AWESOME!!!

It wasn't as bad early on in the game, as the Hawks were just down by 2 at the end of the first quarter. But after that, they just blew them away. Hubby was ecstatic and was in a very festive mood during the game (hmmm... I wish I took advantage and made him buy me something while he was in this genial mood haha).

Dwight Howard scored 21 points and 12 rebounds despite being in foul trouble. But all the players contributed to this great win so kudos to all of them.

One main concern was that they kept Michael Pietrus in the game even though he was playing with a sore ankle. I wish this minor injury doesn't affect his brilliant performance for the rest of the series.

Time to don our Superman shirts! Next game will be on Thursday, May 6 at the Amway Arena. Wish I could be there (anyone have extra tickets? Will trade one of my Special Edition Dwight Howard Superman Shirts for tix - XL size only! haha). No, seriously.

Photo credits:

Labels: ,

Potato-Egg Salad

Potatoes were on sale in our local grocery store, so we decided to buy a 5-pound bag. I was also inspired to make this cold dish to give the old standby (mashy taters) a break.

Time to roll out the picnic mats and eat some yummy salad! (Summer, yay!!!)

What you need:
  • 3 large red potatoes, cut in bite-size pieces
  • 5 hard boiled eggs, quartered (or smaller)
  • 2 stalks green onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon red onion, chopped
  • 1 medium-sized carrot, cubed
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tablespoon dill relish
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon yellow mustard

What to do:

In a pot over medium-high heat, boil the potatoes in lightly salted water for around 5 - 8 minutes, or until tender. Using a colander, drain the potatoes and let them cool down for a few minutes.

Combine all the ingredients in a big bowl and mix well. Careful not to mash the potatoes, though. Put in the refrigerator for a few hours to cool. Enjoy!

Tips, Tricks and Tweaks:

1. Boiling time actually depends on how big or thick your cut of potatoes are. Poke it with a fork every few minutes. Avoid over-boiling as the potatoes will turn mushy.
2. You can boil the carrots, too. I didn't cause I like the crunch of it. I cut it in small pieces, though.
3. Traditional recipes add celery to this dish. I didn't cause I don't like celery that much. :-)
4. Another great tweak - add bacon bits to it. Mmmmmm!!!
5. You might want to adjust the ratio of potato to eggs. I happen to love eggs, hence the number. I also used very large red potatoes (almost as big as Russet potatoes).


Plush Gang Funnies

Sometimes, she just likes to dress up and play Princess.

Not Just A Food Blog © 2012 | Designed by Canvas Art, in collaboration with Business Listings , Radio stations and Corporate Office Headquarters