Tuesday, September 30, 2014

KALE CHIPS #TuesdayTummy



Like any other PMS-ing woman I know, I love to snack on anything crunchy and salty when my time of the month is coming. The thing is, I hate feeling even more bloated that I naturally get during this time, and eating salt-loaded chips won't really help in that department. For those who can't keep their hands our of the chip bag, here's a healthier alternative that's oh-so easy to make. Kale is high in fiber, Vitamin K, iron, Vitamin A, Calcium and Vitamin C, while being low in calorie and having ZERO fat. How can something this healthy be yummy? Here's the recipe!

Kale Chips

Ingredients:

1 bunch Curly Kale, with middle ribbed removed and torn into even sized pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil (Even better if you have the oil in a spray can for more even coverage)
pinch of sea salt
pepper, to taste
parmesan cheese, to taste

How to:

Add all ingredients in a mixing bowl and make sure to coat all Kale evenly.
Lay on a tray with baking paper, making sure not to overcrowd the Kale so they crisp up.
Bake for about 10 minutes at 325 F.
Remove from heat and enjoy with a yogurt based garlic aioli.
Thank FatKitch-SkinnyKitch :)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

CHIA SEED EGG OMELETTE #TryThis


I just got back from Sydney yesterday and when I opened my fridge and pantry this morning, I was in a semi-panic because I had nothing healthy to eat. I ate a lot of delicious but not very good for you food and definitely one too many bottles (yes bottles not glasses) of wine. So, I really did not want to indulge "just one more time" by eating the Lucky Charms that were staring at me from the kitchen counter. I checked to see what veggies we had, and we only had a pack of tomatoes, some garlic and onions and left over bangus flakes. OK, I knew I could make that work. To add a bit more on the health benefits side, I added some chia seeds to the egg mixture as well as wheat germ. What I ended up with was a delicious, healthy brekky, and definitely better than Lucky Charms! Add some dried herbs if you wish. I'd usually do fresh, but like I said, NO FOOD! Must do a grocery run this weekend! You don't even taste the wheat germ and chia seeds but get all their health benefits.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

JUJU EATS #WIAT (What I Ate Today)



Ever since I started doing Yoga and Pilates at One Life Studio along Pasong Tamo, Juju Eats salads and wraps have been a staple in my life. I LOVE having something fresh and healthy available to me whenever I'm there and hungry after a work out. To make it even better, although they have many different salads to choose from, I like how they have an option to customize your own. My favorites so far are the pumpkin salad, but with pesto dressing instead of balsamic vinaigrette, and this one above, the thai beef salad (tweaked to my taste) with thai beef, crispy catfish, corn, egg and nam pla, a Thai fish sauce based dressing. If I'm not eating a salad, I usually go for a chicken caesar wrap sans croutons and dressing on the side. They are opening one in Eastwood soon, but I live near Rockwell and Ortigas, so Juju Eats, please open in Kapitolyo or Rockwell, I'm begging you! 

Juju Eats is located at G/F, BCS Building, 2297 Chino Roces Ave, Makati City, Metro Manila
(02) 551 3968

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

GRILLED CHICKEN WITH CREAM CHEESE MUSTARD & WILD HONEY #TuesdayTummy



I know as much as anyone else, that a simple grilled chicken breast can sometimes border on drab. That's why I like to experiment with different spices, and cooking methods, to make the simplest of all diet meals, with the most flavor. I made this the other day, on an "I-hate-myself-for-not-having-visited-the-gym-in-over-a-week-day" - and it gave me a good excuse to put my new grill pan to test.

INGREDIENTS

  • two filleted chicken breasts
  • salt and pepper
  • dried parsley
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Spanish paprika
  • cream cheese
  • Dijon mustard
  • wild honey
PREP

Rub chicken breasts with Worcestershire sauce, parsley, paprika, salt and pepper (marinade overnight if you have time). Put grill pan on low heat. Add a dash of extra virgin olive oil (optional). Add chicken to pan and cook slowly.

Whip cream cheese into Dijon mustard, making sure the cream cheese is no longer in chunks but blends in. Measurements are more or less equal parts cream cheese to mustard.

Cook chicken evenly on both sides until golden brown. 

Serve with the cream cheese mustard and some wild honey to garnish.


I add the wild honey because I have probably been fine dining a little too much lately, and I'm finding every excuse in the book to mix unusual flavors. The trick is to keep it simple and keep trying different combos.. when it works, it just does. But again, this comes from the girl who likes to dip her french fries into her sundae. In my defense though, I think a great fig jam on cheese is the perfect appetizer.

Okay, wow, all that just makes me sound weird.. but you have to try it!

Bon appetit!

Monday, September 22, 2014

WILDFLOUR BREAKFAST CAZUELA #ManicMondays



Happy Monday!

So, on a day like this, who has the time to bother with a complicated meal. This is one of my favorites from my main spot, Wildflour. I am there so often, it's bordering on becoming an extension of my dining room. This dish is a total no-brainer - white beans in tomato sauce, chorizo, topped with two perfectly poached eggs with a side of bread. For the diet-conscious, skip the bread, but frankly, I think there is no better way of enjoying this dish than by adding a bucketload of cayenne pepper on it and then running bits of bread through it.


Wildflour Café + BakeryFort Bonifacio

G/F Net Lima Bldg4th Ave cor 26th StFort Bonifacio, Taguig(02) 856-7600

Saturday, September 20, 2014

HONEY BALSAMIC CHIPOLATAS #SoulFoodSaturday


Last weekend was my brother's birthday, and since we're in Australia and the weather has been turning into real spring weather, we decided to have a BBQ! I made my signature steak and these honey-balsamic chipolatas. I usually use chorizo but since we had these in the fridge, I just went with it. It has a nice sweet and sour flavor, mixed with caramelized onion and garlic and great as a pass around food or pica pica during parties.

Ingredients:


  • Pork Chipolatas (sliced into thirds)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
  • 2 tbs. honey
  • 2 tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup red wine
  • Pepper, to taste

How to:

  • Fry onions in a little bit of olive oil until soft and then add the chipolatas.
  • When sausages are browned, add garlic and pepper. Fry until caramelized.
  • Add honey, balsamic and wine and cook until sauce is reduced and sticky.
  • Serve with toothpicks or with bread.
  • Don't forget the wine!


Friday, September 19, 2014

P'AZTEQUE #TGIFToast #Paris



Four weeks into my being back from the land of fromage and love, I am still somewhat reeling in the memories. I have to laugh when I realize that this year alone, I have been to Paris a crazy amount of 3 times, and that's not even counting the times I passed through. This is it, my life is over, I've done all the traveling I need to do for a while, and consumed copious amounts of liquor in the process. Sorry, liver.

On a balmy night in Paris, our Parisian host kidnapped us at took us to a little taco joint, dragging us through it, past burritos and latin-looking couples snogging on high chairs, through a door and down a rabbithole, into a secret little bar, as dark as an underground prison cave, but rich in cute bartenders and strange concoctions.

P'AZTEQUE

  • Tequila Ocho Blanco
  • Cocci Torino Vermouth
  • Suze Saveur D'Autrefois Liquor
  • Watermelon juice
  • Mint leaves
  • fresh lemon
  • Chuncho bitters
La classe! I miss you, Paris.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

SYDNEY LOVE AFFAIR #TravelFeature


I moved to Sydney in 2006, and after this grand "Goodbye Manila" episode, I ended up fully moving back, after a year or so of being wishy washy and going back and forth, and I honestly wish I had better reasons for doing so and not just a BOY, but anyway, before I digress any further, let's talk about how beautiful this city is.

I try not to regret too many things in my life, because what's the point really, but man, there are times I do regret leaving Sydney, and later on giving up my visa. I think I may have an eternal crush on this city. Every time I'm here it's like seeing that crush that you thought you were over and realizing you still get giddy and excited around him.

I'm here right now for my work at the Philippine Daily Inquirer, where I am a contributor. I was sent here with other media people on the maiden flight of Cebu Pacific to Sydney, and I decided to stay a few extra days to spend some time with my mom and siblings who are all here. Speaking of that flight, you can get WIFI for the duration of your flight for a little extra charge, which was pretty awesome.

I'm writing a full article about Sydney for PDI next week, so this blog is really just me gushing about what I consider my second home, mostly because half my family is here full time. But for people who are coming to visit soon, and only have a few days, here are a few things you can do down unda:


  • Have a drink at Opera Bar, right below the Sydney Opera House (photo above was taken there!) It's a nice, open air bar frequented by tourists and locals alike and a nice place to catch the sunset while right in the middle of Circular Quay, the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.
  • Visit Taronga Zoo. You can drive over or take the ferry from Circular Quay to get to Mosman and spend a morning or afternoon with the animals. They have everything from Aussie animals, to bears, gorillas, giraffes etc. It's a fun activity whether or not you have children.
  • Shop at the weekend markets. If you happen to be around on a Saturday, you can buy vintage, handcrafted and one of a kind items and clothes at the many weekend markets around the city.
  • Walk the edge at the Sydney Skywalk. It's the highest point in the city and you are harnessed so don't worry if you have a fear of heights. Just don't look down!
  • Eat in Chinatown. Sydney has the cleanest Chinatown I have seen. It's right by Darling Harbour so you won't have to walk far if you are coming from a day of touring.
  • Watch the fireworks at Darling Harbour. Again if you are here on a weekend, go hang out at the harbour around 8 pm for the fireworks.
I will be sad to leave next week as I usually am, but I'll be back in March for my sister's wedding. Woohoo! 


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

PALEO DIET #AllTheRage

Paleo Manila's Squash and Spinach fritata (I added papaya on the side)

I knew about the Paleo Diet years ago, but never felt any interest in trying it out. I loved my refined sugars and processed carbs too much. I mean, Cheetos, hello?! But after almost two years of really putting my health first, I decided to give it a go, since I am on a never ending quest to find the perfect lifestyle (not diet!) for me. I did calorie counting, which worked for weight loss, but when I forgot to adjust my intake after I got to my goal weight, I lost way too much and went down to a scrawny 98 pounds and started fitting into my 10 year old daughter's clothes. That was definitely not the look I was going for. I tried cutting out carbs after, but I knew from before that kind of diet is not for me. Finally, I decided to go Paleo for a week, care of Paleo Manila, to see if I could sustain that lifestyle and not feel deprived of anything.

I took a look at their sample menus and took everything with a grain of salt. I have tried numerous healthy food deliveries that have such yummy sounding menus and then when I actually eat the food, it's like "meh," and being a foodie, taste is super important to me! I was really excited to try it to see if I, the one who was never particularly interested in pursuing the Paleo lifestyle, could actually see myself converting.

Ok, I thought I would miss rice and I thought I would miss dairy, but in all honesty, I did not look for either through out the week. I was told by founder Isabelle Chiang, that they don't count calories in this diet, instead, you eat however much you feel your body needs when it's hungry, as long as you fill up with Paleo-approved foods.

Huevos Rancheros with roasted tomato sauce


How do you know if it's Paleo-approved? In my case, it was as easy as googling it. No dairy, legumes, starches, grains, processed food and sugar or alcohol. Seems like a lot, but in reality, I only really kinda missed the alcohol while on this diet. For my "sugar" fixes, I was provided with breakfasts of chocolate chia pudding (made with coconut milk- paleo approved) and bananas, and snacks such as bacon wrapped dates (perfect sweet-salty PMS food!) and even Black Velvet cupcakes (coconut oil and flour and anything 70% or more in terms of chocolate is considered non-dairy- YES!) A lot of the time, I would just check online to see if I could eat a certain thing if I was still hungry, but really, the servings were big enough that I could not finish my food most of the time, and I would be full without feeling bloated.

That's what I liked best about that whole week, not once did I feel sick, bloated, fat or sluggish. It kept me full and energized but still light. I loved how the cauli rice and mash made up for the lack of the real thing and the food was so flavorful that I didn't realize I was Chicken Tikka Masala with no rice (Indian w/ no rice or bread is almost impossible for me!)

Backyard Pork Fennel Burgers with homemade mustard aioli (not in photo)


I was able to get through my whole day never feeling hungry and had the energy to get through work AND my workouts. In other words, I felt great all week. Would I do it again? Yes. I actually wanna try the diet longer, say a month or so, to see if I can really sustain it. Right now, I feel I can go 80 percent Paleo, because I do love my wine and I do need that nuclear orange stuff called Cheetos at least once a month, plus what about my cheese cravings? Slowly but surely, I guess, but trying it out for yourself to feel the difference is a good way to start.

For more information, visit www.paleomanila.com

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

POST WORK OUT PICK ME UP #TuesdayTummy


People are always asking me what I eat post- workout, and the answer is "It depends" On what? Well, mostly on what time of the day I end up getting my daily dose of adrenaline, but since I more often than not work out mid-morning, it's usually too early for lunch when I finish, so I end up having a snack that will both replenish lost energy, and tide me over until my next bigger meal. My favorite is apple slices with peanut butter and cinnamon. I usually eat half an apple, which is about 40 calories, and eat that with a tablespoon of peanut butter, which is 90 calories and a sprinkling of cinnamon for flavor. I generally don't like to eat too much between meals, but I do need that extra boost especially after working out, which is why I snack. If you have any post-work out snack ideas, please share with me! Next week I'll share a recipe for home made energy bars- forget the commercial ones and make your own at home for cheaper and knowing exactly what you put it them!

Monday, September 15, 2014

NO TIME TO COOK, TOO TIRED TO EAT DINNER #ManicMonday


When I am pressed for time, too tired, lazy or because my daughter asks me if we can have food we can eat with our hands for dinner, I usually grab a bunch of cheese and dried meat from Santi's and pour myself a glass of wine and call it a day. There are days though, when I don't even have time to go to a deli so I make do with what I have at home. A platter like this is easy to make and quite filling, and does not have to be all fat (cheese) and sodium (cold cuts) I usually mix it up and add some veggies in the mix, plus I make my own cream cheese dip at home with half yogurt, half cream cheese, onions, garlic and some cayenne pepper to dip raw veggies in. I particularly like sweet cherry tomatoes and carrot sticks, but you can use whatever you like. A platter like this is a good compromise for me and my daughter, and easy enough to prepare when I'm exhausted. She even helps me out setting up the cheese board or whatever we use that particular day. So the next time you're too lazy to turn on the stove, look no further than your fridge's cheese section and vegetable drawer! Bon Appetit!

Monday, September 8, 2014

HAPPY MONDAZE PLAYLIST #HowTo




Due to requests, I have finally decided to compile a little playlist. These are the songs I play when it's treadmill torture-time in the mornings.. especially effective on Mondays. They have a good mix of "wake up, its a beautiful day" leading to dancier beats. This playlist is also one of those "dancing in my underpants" kinda things. The frilly kinda underpants, too.

If you ever asked yourself why I am way too chipper on Mondays, this playlist is why. Also, massive amounts of dark roast black coffee. Like, a whole bath of coffee.. I am much friendlier in the mornings when baited with caffeinated beverages. Oh, and chocolate, obviously!


Saturday, September 6, 2014

WHAT IS ON YOUR BEAUTY WISHLIST? #BeautyBuzz



A conversation among friends sparked up a topic. How important is the concept of beauty?

Are we aiming to be beautiful, to feel glamourous.. or are we really liking the feel of our skin being healthy?

I grew up an ugly duckling, and couldn't move past a smudged eyeliner in my punk goth phase.. I would break into my Mom's stash of Dior and Chanel makeup, and end up (probably) looking like a Picasso. Boys didn't think I was pretty, they thought I was cool, and I was cursed with being friendzoned early on in my teenage years.. it didn't help that my two best friends look like the main cast of Gossip Girl.

Nowadays, I cant live without my staples. But I switch. I'm adventurous. I am quickly lured into trying new things. But I always keep on coming back. Erica and I are working on a project now to bring in popular and fresh new makeup brands, so we are asking everyone, including you.. Especially when it comes to products you love, but can't purchase here in the Philippines.

In my next post, I will share all the products I can't live without, but meanwhile, I really wanna hear from you guys. What is on your beauty wishlist?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

SHRIMP SALAD BY THE LAKE #TuesdayTummy



Struggling to stay on the health-train amidst an overwhelming wave of work, I needed to post something resonating this mindset I'm desperately holding on to. I love a good fresh salad, my struggle is to find one that is as available as a McDonalds drive through.. can somebody please open a salad bar drive through? I'm barely sleeping, and when I do make it to my fridge to fish out something I want to attempt to cook, I just opt for a coffee and a cookie - and have to start from scratch. Detoxing is so much easier without a full time schedule! I need to find a way around that.

This is a salad I had by a lake near Munich, Germany. If I remember correctly, it was dressed with a vinaigrette.. it's only 10am now but I am suddenly craving a bed of greens for brekkie.

But wait, I have coffee! 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Comfort Food at Chelsea Market and Cafe #WIAT (What I Ate Today)

Prawn Gambas

Chelsea Market and Cafe is not a new establishment but it has been awhile since I last ate there. I've been in and out of Manila the past year, and when I am here, I try my best to catch up on the newer restaurants that seem to open up left and right. Last Friday, I remembered why Chelsea is worth re-visiting every once in awhile.

I was a bit late to dinner and missed out on some of the starters that came out during the dinner I attended but I was happy not to miss their prawn gambas. Instead of the tiny shrimp we usually get when we order this dish, you get succulent prawns absolutely drowning in fried garlic and chili, which you can then use as a spread. This dish needs to be served with way more than just a couple of pieces of bread because the leftover sauce is the best part!

Cabernet Braised US Short Ribs
Can I just say that first of all, I love short ribs. When done right, it is the best thing ever, and this one did not disappoint. It was fork tender, swimming in sauce without being overwhelmingly so and came with a creamy risotto for that carbo-blast that you need to complete a hearty meal. There were a lot of dishes being brought out but I think this was one of my favorites, along with the Cacio e Pepe Pasta, which is one of the simplest but most delicious pastas you can have with ingredients being just oil, cheese and pepper (No picture unfortunately)

Saffrom Moules Frites

Spicy Seafood and Chorizo Squid Ink Pasta

Other things to try if you like seafood are the Saffron Moules Frites- the traditional Belgian mussels and fries (with a mayo dip) The order is good for a meal for one hungry person or two to share as a starter. Use half a shell as a spoon to scoop out your mussels and that yummy broth. I also enjoyed the Spicy Seafood and Chorizo Squid Ink Pasta, but I wish it came with some garlic aoili on the side, so I can eat it like I do Paella Negra, which it reminded me of. Not something to eat on a first date, unless the apple of your eye likes black lips! So good though, so if you don't care, go ahead and order it!

Oven Baked Warm Brownie S'mores
I have to say, I always liked the cakes at Chelsea, and this dessert, although nice looking, did not do it for me. In fact, If it did not have the marshmallows and caramel sauce, I would have not eaten it at all. The brownie was not fudgey like I like it, in fact maybe a bit dry (perhaps overcooked a bit?) so I would skip this in favor for their PEACH MELBA- a cup full of cream, peaches and other good stuff that I enjoyed thoroughly. Of course, there's always their famous cakes- I mean Snickers cake? Cookie Dough Cheesecake. No brainers! Order them both!

Chelsea Market and Cafe is located at G/F Serendra. Call 9097102 for reservations.

WORK VS. WORKOUT: HOW TO STAY FIT ON A BUSY SCHEDULE #HowTo


photo from bossfitmag.com

So, I started a new job and I have had absolutely NO TIME to do anything. That's very stressful for someone with minor control issues who likes to have everything in place and have a schedule for everything. I have not cooked dinner in over a week, and I usually cook every day and I've been skipping workouts two-three days at a time. I hate not being able to exercise. When I go to long without it, I feel sluggish and lack energy. But until we launch and until the dust settle, I am going to have to make do and deal with the birth pains of a new chapter in my life. If you are on a similar boat, here are a few ways you can get a little activity in your life, without having to go to the gym or an actual class.


  • When you wake up in the morning, roll out of bed to the floor next to you and do some crunches. I'm not even joking. Take ten minutes of your time before showering and eating to work on your abs. Try to do about ten sets of ten. That's 100 crunches before you can even say SILOG.
  • Speaking of silogs, since you have no time to exercise fully, try to opt for better breakfast options instead of the fat-laden, refined carb loaded Pinoy staple. Go for oatmeal and fruits, or a high-energy breakfast smoothie (banana-oatmeal-peanut butter is my fave) instead.
  • Walk whenever you can. In fact, park far away so you have reason to walk. 
  • Stretch. One thing I learned that it is important to find time to stretch every day, even if you can't do an actual work out. I was told that 30 minutes is the magic number but if you don't have enough time, try to get at least 10-15 minutes in.
  • When you get home at night, do some planks. Planks work on your core like crazy and take only 1 minute at a time to start. You can do planks 3-5 times for a minute each. If you alternate rest and planking, that will only take 10 minutes of your time.
  • Try out a workout video. A lot of super busy people I know workout at home with the help of an exercise progam made for home use. A lot of them only take 20-30 minutes and can be done at any time of the day. I suggest mornings though because it gives you less chances to make excuses not to do it throughout the day.
  • Workout during your lunch break. Try to run for 30 minutes and grab a quick sandwich and salad for lunch after and you can still be back in a little over an hour.
  • HIIT. High intensity interval training is great when you have no time. Try TABATA. You can get a decent workout in in only 15-20 minutes.

Monday, September 1, 2014

FRIED SHRIMP & SHITAKE SALAD #ManicMonday



I’m a huge salad-head, so when I’m in a rush, I always opt for something green on the menu. This was one of the best salads I’ve had in a while.. at a restaurant by the port in Marbella. To re-create this one, I’ll share the ingredients.. it’s too easy not to:

INGREDIENTS

-       fresh Arugula
-       baby tomatoes
-       pine nuts
-       fried shitake mushrooms
-       fried shrimps
-       thousand island dressing

If you have a deep fryer, this is even easier to make. I don’t own one for a reason, so when I do make fried food at home, it’s all pan fried. I like to avoid battering things up, too (I know, I’m no fun) but every now and then, you fat soul just requires something of this caliber. You can use tempura batter to easily fry all sorts of vegetables and meat, that’s the most ideal in my opinion, because it adds a crunch to your otherwise “boring” plate of greens.


You can skip the thousand island dressing, and save yourself the calories – a good balsamic vinegar will do the trick too.. but like I said, sometimes, you have to listen to your inner fat kid! (slap that stuff on!)