Thursday, August 31, 2006

Happy Blog day 2006!

Here I am, chiming in late, my apologies. Over the past month and a half I have joined a few webrings, one of them being Foodie Blogs, and I was able to read other interesting food blogs through there. I had a few on my favorites list prior to joining the blogrings, and I'll compile a list of my favorites, in no particular order!

Lori at Desserts Come First, is the author of a blog celebrating desserts as well as the delight of dining experiences. What drew me to this blog was that it featured some Filipino links along with it, and well, I'm half Filipino, so nuff said! Not only does Lori provide mouth-watering details of what she had at certain restaurants, but she also provides pictures to show us! Everytime I visit her blog, I'm constantly craving something sweet!

Everything Rachael Ray highlights Rachael Rays recipes put to the test, along with articles and other blogs that mention RayRay (as I call her!). Oh, and someday, those knifes she cuts with? I will order them. Someday...*sigh*.

Who doesn't like cupcakes? 52 Cupcakes is a blog focusing on cupcake recipes and features the author's very very adorable American Bulldog, Layla, who Mini-Pie absolutely adores (as well as myself). It would be very hard for me to not want to treat Layla to some yummy cupcakes- she's got the sweetest, most adorable face! Of course I love dogs, but I also LOVE cupcakes. I love cake in general!

I found my next blogger's blog, Vanilla Garlic, through Foodie Blogs and it brings me back everytime to the cuisine in Northern California. I'm a bit of a snob and I can't help it, but reading his blog and seeing his reviews make me jonesin' for some NorCal food! In any case, maybe someday they will come out with a bacon-flavored ice cream?? ;) I'm considering making a Vanilla Garlic rub and trying it out on some tri tip someday! ;)

I can't forget my good friend up in the Yukon who actually got me started on the foodie blog kick, Not Just Cheesecake gives many different recipes and she also posts pictures along with her recipes! I started this blog as a joke, but in the end I decided to keep it and was inspired by her blog.

So to everyone, I hope you had a great Blogger day of 2006, and here's to another year of blogging!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Grocery Shopping and Protein Kick

Huzzah! I am running out of a lot of things. We usually do the Costco-shop-in-bulk route and then head to one of the grocery stores to pick up the rest of what need (especially fresh produce). I checked my refridgerator today to see what I needed and I'm shocked that we went through almost all of the ground beef this month. Normally I have many more packages (I usually buy in bulk and just separate the meats and put in ziplock bags) leftover, but this month it looks like we went through more ground beef than chicken breasts.

Speaking of protein, I've got us on a protein kick nowadays, including eating less "bad" carbohydrates and more produce and protein-rich foods. As a meat alternative I have bought many different varieties of beans- pinto, kidney, blackbeans. I'm thinking of picking up some navy beans and trying those as well. Beans are rich in protein and cheaper than meats. I can make almost anything with them- beans and rice, mexican style meals, you name it.

Here's something I've been wanting to try...a recipe sent to me by a fellow Potlatcher (our version of "Freecycle")...a simple Hummus recipe. My husband has tried it and likes it, but I haven't tried it yet.

Hummus by fellow Potlatcher

2 cans of garbanzo beans
2 heaping tablespoons of tahini maybe more
3-6 cloves of garlic (more or less depending on your taste and how potent your garlic is)
the juice of half to a whole lemon
olive oil (really good quality Extra virgin, you want the oil to taste good)

I combine the first 4 in the food processor and blend until smooth. Add olive oil slowly until you get the consistancy you are looking for. Taste it and add more of whatever you like. You can add some salt if you want but go easy because the tahini is salty. Drizzle extra olive oil on top and garnish with paprika and that's it.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Chicken in Creamy Tomato Sauce w/Penne

This is the one recipe I usually use whenever I feel like having this dish. It called for Linguine, but I prefer Penne instead.


* 1 package of Penne
* 1 (23.5 ounce) package Family Size Marinara Sauce
* 1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
* 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cut into 1/2 inch strips
* 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream


1. COOK, rinse and drain penne til Al Dente.
2. HEAT olive oil in large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken.
3. COOK for 4 to 5 minutes or until no longer pink. Remove from skillet. Pour sauce into same skillet.
4. COOK until heated through (do not boil). Add cream and chicken; stir well.
5. COOK, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes or until heated through.
6. TOSS with pasta. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh parsley, if desired.

A special OT tribute

On September 11th, 2006, I will be honoring the memory of one of the fallen victims of 9/11, Brian McAleese. If anyone has any information you would like to pass along for my blog tribute to him, please feel free to email me at:

If you are a blogger and would like to honor someone who was killed during 9/11, you can sign up at the 9/11 tribute from bloggers website.

Monday, August 28, 2006

And I'm back...with some frugal tips!

Mini-Pie is healing up very well and her permanent tooth that is behind a loose tooth is pushed back into place, just like the dentist said it would be.

Anyhow, last Thursday my husband and I celebrated four years of marriage and Friday we celebrated eight years together. We were really broke, so I created a frugal anniversary dinner from the heart. I made a homemade spaghetti sauce for the first time ever, just using canned tomato sauce, some garlic and oil. I accidentally burnt the garlic that was sauteeing, but added it, and my husband loved it, I hated it. It had a very roasted/rustic taste to it. I spent a total of $3 and some change for some yummy baguette bread from the local grocery store and added that to our meal, as well. I lit some candles and put on soft music and we enjoyed a meal together. It was a nice and cheap way of celebrating our anniversary together! Here's a picture of my table setting for dinner that night. I'm no good at setting tables, but hey, it's the thought that counts, no?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Liquid diet suggestions, anyone?

My poor little girl took a bad spill off of her bike today and we spent 4 hours between the ER and the dentist office trying to get answers. Well, we ended up with none, and she has a massive gash in her gums and her one fully out permanent tooth and the baby canine right beside it are protruding farther out than they did before. Her one other permanent tooth that is behind the baby tooth (that is loose) has been bumped further back, so we're both kind of worried about what will happen. We will get more answers hopefully tomorrow morning after we get into her regular dentist office (the dentist we saw was NOT her regular dentist and was a pompous ass to boot). This is the only decent picture I have of the teeth because the auto zoom on our digital camera SUX!

In any case, Mini-Pie cannot eat solid food too well. She was able to chew through a hamburger late tonight, but mostly needs to be on a liquid diet. For some reason, my mind is kind of blank right now and I have absolutely no ideas on what I can give her besides the typical milkshake with protein route. What about warm foods?? What do you suggest??

I appreciate it, and I'll be back to regular blogging eventually...

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Review for Crockpot Chicken Adobo recipe below

I should have read the reviews before making it, but we all didn't care too much for it, there is just something missing in it. I know I'm picky because I only like the way my Nana makes Adobo, but this just seemed too vinegary and too much soy sauce. And I didn't have to cook it for that long- probably because I used boneless chicken breasts and Pork loin (yes I changed the recipe a little). I think the thing is, my Nana doesn't use soy sauce in her Adobo it didn't taste much like Adobo to me. Of course, it's true that people have different variations of Adobo, but this one I did NOT care for.

Next time I may try it without putting it in the crockpot. After we get through the leftovers I have, I will be making Crockpot Cheeseburger Sandwiches, but changing around a few things (not using processed cheese is the biggest change- blech). Here is the recipe:

1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef

1/2 t. garlic pepper blend

1 (8-oz.) pkg. process cheese spread, diced

2 T. milk

1 green pepper, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

8 sandwich buns

Brown ground beef with garlic pepper blend until cooked in a skillet, drain. Combine cooked meat and all remaining ingredients in crockpot EXCEPT the buns.

Mix well and cook on LOW for 6-7 hours.

To serve, spoon into sandwich buns.

Til next time!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Crockpot mania!

When I pulled my crockpot down from the cabinet last week, for some reason I am somewhat obsessed with using it instead of cooking the old fashioned way. It occured to me that it was because...
  • Using a crockpot doesn't require me to continue to stir or fry up something
  • I can slow cook the hell out of a roast and it will come out 10x more juicy than it does in the oven
  • The amount of leftovers is astounding
I'm convinced that my crockpot is the BOMB! How could I just let it sit there and collect cobwebs?? Seriously?? This makes my life 10x more easier. Of course, I love to cook, but for some reason, this week I have been feeling extra lazy about cooking, so I haven't had the desire to do so. Maybe it's because I'm on a break from school, I don't know.

I slowcooked our spaghetti sauce (Prego jarred, shhhh!) with browned up ground beef and it came out so delicious. Next week I plan on trying this recipe for Slow Cooker Adobo Chicken that I found:

  • 1 small sweet onion, sliced
  • 8 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 1 (3 pound) whole chicken, cut into pieces

Place chicken in a slow cooker. In a small bowl mix the onion, garlic, soy sauce, and vinegar, and pour over the chicken. Cook on Low for 6 to 8 hours.

I'll post a review after I cook it. It looks so simple!

Monday, August 14, 2006

About Mini Pie (my daughter)

She's quite the picky eater. If it's green forget it. If it at all resembles vegetables or most fruits she won't have anything to do with it. As she gets older it's getting easier to get her to eat her veggies and fruits, but not without a fight (of course). She'll poke and prod at them and literally take over an hour to finish dinner. This is usually met with frustration (but not resistance) from myself. Mini Pie is 6 years old, an only child (with no plans for another Mini Pie to join the family anytime soon or at all! I'm done!), and an only grandchild on my side. My father, who dotes on her, tries to get her to eat her veggies and fruits but caves more than I do.

That usually leads me back to my childhood, when I was a picky child who hated almost all vegetables (and still do, but I eat them), but loved fruit. I also hate (not hated because I still hate it) fish. Whenever my father would come up with a culinary creation in the kitchen it was usually something I dreaded. All I can remember is dread whenever dinner was almost there- dreading the bland fish stew my father concocted, or the leg of lamb he didn't cook correctly, or the vegetables he cooked that I gagged down.

I keep thinking back to these moments and try to gain some wisdom from them when it comes to dealing with a picky child. Now, don't get me wrong, it could be worse- it was, when she was 2-4 years old, but it's slowly getting better. I just hope she outgrows her pickiness.

Of all of the dishes I create, Mini Pie loves homemade macaroni and cheese (okay, what child doesn't love that?), my crockpot red beans w/pork, ziti (as long as it doesn't contain chunky red tomatoes, hee!), chicken or pork adobo, pretty much anything chicken that I make, and pretty much anything I make that doesn't involve veggies IN it. I don't make homemade macaroni and cheese often (in fact, the last time I made it was before we moved into our current home, which was in late May, so sometime before late May!), and I have been trying to come up with different dishes to appease the picky eater and my husband who has complained in the past of the lack of variety in our diets. So far everything is working like a charm, but we'll see!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Easy peasy banana bread

I use this recipe to make my banana bread. Sometimes I alternate using raisins instead of bananas, yum!

Banana Bread

1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 ripe bananas
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1-1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla

Cream butter, sugar, banana and egg. Add in other ingredients and mix well. Pour into greased 9 x 5 pan. Bake at 350 for 50 min to 1 hr, our until a toothpick poked in the center comes out clean.

Friday, August 11, 2006

It's days like these I miss my Nana

Yesterday I sauteed some onion and garlic along with chopped up pork loin and then added it to a crockpot full of red beans. It's a lot like what my Nana makes, and when I tried it after it cooked for about 5 hours, it reminded me of her red beans/pork and rice. I can just hear her saying, "Oy! Anacco, you are not supposed to use the crockpot! Ay Apple Juice!" (That's an expression of's the equivalent of "Oh my god!") I miss her terribly- but hopefully next summer when I go home I can see her.

I'm not a crockpot fiend, but I have to say that it does make life a lot easier and I'm going to try to use it more often and make more than just beans in it! It did a good job of incorporating all of the flavors together and the beans were tasty. I am not too thrilled with how the pork came out- dry and a bit flaky. It seemed to have lost its moisture, but I think that was from my browning (not cooking it thoroughly) in the pan with the garlic and onion.

Leftovers, anyone?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Holiday Chocolate Butter Cookies

My dad used to make these and put a maraschino cherry in the middle of this. I think we used to call this "Thumbprint cookies" because he'd spoon the dough, push down with his thumb in the middle of the dough, and add a cherry (can't remember if it was after or before he cooked them, though!). All I remember was the almond extract flavor coming through- it was delicious!


1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup softened butter
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl combine all ingredient except flour and cocoa. Beat at medium speed until light and fluffy (2-3 min.). Shape rounded teaspoonfuls as desired (1" balls, 2"-3" logs, balls flattened, balls with indentations, etc) or use cookie press. Place 1" apart on cookie sheets. Bake for 7-9 min. or until set. Cool. Decorate with melted chocolate chips, melted almond bark, nuts, colored sugar candied fruit, candies, maraschino cherries, etc. YIELD: 3 dozen.

My mom's Oatmeal Fudge Cookies

I found a bunch of recipes my mom left behind and was getting them in a manila envelope so I could mail them back to her, but before I do that, I wanted to copy down a few of them for myself. I want to share her Oatmeal Fudge cookie recipe with everyone. They are delicious and easy to make!


2 cups sugar
Dash Salt (optional)
4 tbsp Cocoa
1/4 cup Butter
1/2 cup Milk
1 tsp Vanilla
3 cups Oats
1/2 cup Peanut Butter

Combine sugar, salt, cocoa, butter, milk and vanilla and bring to a boil for about 3 minutes. Add peanut butter and stir. Add oats and mix well. Drop by the teaspoon onto a non-stick cookie sheet. Refridgerate until hardened.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

El Cazador in Bellingham, WA (Restaurant Review)

This restaurant in Bellingham, Washington offers a wide variety of Mexican foods and a Cantina as well. The decor inside is bright and colorful, and the hosts/hostesses are warm, friendly, and very welcoming. The first time I went to El Cazador was last year with my sister. The waitress we had was very friendly and helpful. We ordered an appetizer (Nachos Con Carne), and then I ordered the Macho Burrito plate, which served with refried beans and Spanish rice on the side. The food was wonderful and the service was superior. We ended up ordering dessert, we ordered Sopapillas, which is a Mexican pastry that is soft and is topped with a sweet sauce (I believe it was honey that night), and we ordered Xangos, which is cheesecake wrapped inside a pastry tortilla and is drizzled with chocolate and other sweet sauces. I never had either before, and it was beyond delicious. Not too heavy but just right!

My husband took me there for our anniversary in August last year and we were serenaded by a Mariachi band, which embarrassed my poor husband, but I thought it was so sweet and nice. We plan on going again for our anniversary.

If you are ever on your way down from British Columbia, Canada (the Vancouver region) or are passing through to the Canadian border, stop by in Bellingham for a bite at this place!

My ratings:

5/5 on the food
5/5 on the prices
5/5 on the service

If I had five thumbs, they'd all be up.

You can visit their website, but it's the website for the Seqium location, but the menu is the same, the prices are generally the same, and you can view pictures of the decor, which is also the same. There are four locations in Western Washington, one in Bellingham, Oak Harbor, Seqium, and Mount Vernon.

The Bellingham location is located at:

190 E. Bakerview Road
Bellingham, WA 98226

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

London Broil & Tri Tip- I have questions!

A friend of mine called me tonight and told me that she had problems with baking her London Broil and Tri Tip in the oven recently, that both of them came out dry. When I asked if they were thoroughly thawed, she told me that one was, but the other one still was a little icy on the top and in the middle. So I figured from that, we knew that one of them was dry because it wasn't thawed out completely. However, the other one, we couldn't figure out why. I don't know what cut of meat it was (whether it was the London Broil or the Tri Tip).

She said that she cooked both of them for about an hour to an hour and a half at 325°F. I think maybe the one that was thoroughly thawed was overcooked, but I told her I wasn't sure.

Any suggestions or ideas on why this is happening?

Pieomy's Fried Rice

Last night I wanted to make something a little different so I was playing around with the idea of making fried rice. My version is probably like anyone else's out there.

I have made fried rice in the past and this was the best batch I have ever made. It's simple too!


1 medium to large sized onion of your choice (I wouldn't go with a red onion though), diced
1 full bunch of Green Onions/Scallions, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or "eyeball" it, as I do)
4 eggs, scrambled
1.5-2 cups of COOKED rice
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat a skillet with the oil and onions and garlic until you can smell them cooking and they are sauteed nicely. On another burner start preparing the eggs in a small skillet with oil or butter. Cook thoroughly and using the spatula you cooked the eggs with, dice up the scrambled eggs.

2. Add rice to the onion/garlic mixture and incorporate (I need a bigger skillet/WOK for this). After it's incorporated, add the scrambled eggs into the dish and let fry for maybe 3-5 minutes.

3. Let cool down and then serve.

I'm going to put Chicken in it next time! You can always add more veggies too, but I wanted it to focus on the flavors, which were really intense! I didn't even use salt, just pepper on the eggs and it was delicious!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Chicken/Pork Adobo (another variation)

This variation sounds pretty easy too, it's a bit different from my Nana's variation, but I think I may try this one sometime soon.

Chicken and Pork Adobo

* 1 cup distilled white vinegar (or cider vinegar)
* 1 cup water
* 2 tablespoons peeled and crushed garlic
* 2 teaspoons salt
* 2 pieces of bay leaves
* half teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
* 1 pound chicken, cut into serving pieces, Chinese style
* 2 pounds pork butt, cut into cubes
* soy sauce
* oil

Add vinegar, water, garlic, salt, bay leaves and pepper into a large casserole. Bring to a boil.
Add the meat, cover and bring to a boil. Simmer and cook for about 30 minutes.
Sprinkle liberally with soy sauce and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Remove meat and reduce sauce.
Remove sauce to a bowl. Put oil into the casserole and brown cooked meat.
Drain oil from the casserole, and return the reduced sauce back with the meat.

Serve with rice.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Pumpkin Bread

I lost ALL of my recipes. My husband recently revamped a board I own for some old friends, and in the process we lost and were unable to recover all of the recipes I collected (some were tried & true, as well!) over the years. I am SO bummed, but I vow to find them all again.

I found a few on the MB but I'm still looking for the rest! Oyy...

For now...Pumpkin Bread

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar (white would work also)
1 T baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground ginger or ground cloves
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1/3 cup shortening (I use softened butter instead)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1/2 cup raisins (optional)

Combine 1 cup flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and ginger or cloves. Add pumpkin, milk, eggs, and shortening. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until blended. Beat on medium to high speed for 2 minutes. Add the final 1 cup flour; beat til blended. Fold in the walnuts and raisins if desired.

Spoon batter into greased 9 x 5 pan. Bake at 350 for 60-65 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove loaf from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack. Wrap and store overnight. (It's also very good right from the pan while it's still warm.)

NOTE: I didn't use walnuts or raisins but I bet it tastes good. This is SO good especially when it comes right out of the oven. I think I made about 4 loaves last year.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

When All Else Fails

break out the garlic and onion! In my Nana's household, it's imperative to always have these two things laying around. I never understood why my aunt always has a huge mound of garlic cloves hanging in the kitchen, but after finding out how to make my Nana's Kidney Beans and Chicken/Pork Adobo, it became very clear to me that these are two essential ingredients in a lot of her cooking.

Recently, I called my Nana to say hello, and asked her how to make her kidney beans, which are so tasty. I've tried making them and they never come out the way I want them to. What I lacked was sauteeing the meat (pork is preferred but beef will do) in garlic and onion and oil, then combining them all (juices too) with the beans in the pot. I asked about using the crockpot and Nana scoffed at the thought of that. Sorry, but that's my shortcut I will use. LOL. About adobo, the only way I like it is the way she makes it. Again, you sautee pork or chicken in a pan with garlic and onion and oil, then you add some vinegar and salt. If you want add a little soy sauce and that's it. Sometimes she adds bay leaves to the adobo and whole peppercorns as well.

There's nothing like my Nana's cooking...and she's 84, still cooking. I'm glad I was able to find out how to make it!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Rainbow cake

Yesterday my daughter and I made a rainbow cake with some NEON food coloring I had. Long story short, I'm trying to keep her mind off missing my family back in California, so the best thing to do is keep her busy! We had fun mixing all of the colors and divided the batter into fours and dyed it purple, pink, blue and neon yellow. Only thing is, the cake didn't come out as moist and I think it's possibly because I overbaked it and used the no-cholesterol recipe (which usually makes it come out more moist, because you're using egg whites instead of the whole egg!). It still looks pretty though!