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Mosquito Repellant Patches

Dengue fever cases have increased 50% this year in the Philippines making it doubly important for moms to protect their children (and themselves) from mosquitoes. In a recent visit to a hospital in Quezon City, nurses told us that at one point, the hospital was full with majority of the patients suffering from dengue fever.

In relation to protecting our children (and ourselves) from mosquitoes, I recently discovered these wonderful mosquito repellant patches being sold in groceries and drug stores nationwide. I think this is an awesome idea. Using citronella oil as main ingredient, these patches create a barrier between your children and mosquitoes. My children willingly put it on. I couple it with mosquito repellant lotion for extra protection. I know there are no guarantees but I feel more secure that my they are protected. One patch is good for 24 hours. I bought a box of 24 patches at around PhP120.00. There are several brands available in the market but I found that MoskiShield is the best one out there.

Easy Pasta Puttanesca

I love pasta and I love puttanesca. Here’s a simple puttanesca recipe you can whip up for your family.

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons of extra virgin or pure olive oil

3 to 4 cloves of garlic, finely minced

1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes. If you want it spicier, add a bit more.

4 anchovies

1 can of crushed tomatoes (28 ounce can, big can)

2 tablespoons of capers

1/4 cup of green olives, chopped (I prefer green since it is saltier but you can use black if you wish)

1 pound of spaghetti or any long pasta

3 squares of cooked ham, chopped

Procedure:

Cook pasta following package directions. Make sure you salt the water well. Cook the pasta al dente.

Heat oil, garlic and crushed red pepper flakes over medium heat. When the garlic starts to sizzle, add the anchovies and some of the anchovy oil. Cook until the anchovies melt into the sauce. Add the crushed tomatoes, capers, olives and ham.

Add cooked pasta to the sauce and stir to heat through. Serve in a large platter family style. Add grated cheese if desired. Enjoy!

Busy Mom’s Roast Pork Recipe

I prepared an easy, almost no-fuss roast pork recipe for dinner tonight. I usually prepare this dish when I see a reasonably priced and prepared roast pork at my usual grocery hub–SM Hypermart The Block. For a busy mom like me, this recipe is full-proof and allows for creativity.

Busy Mom's Roast Pork before entering the oven.

Busy Mom’s Roast Pork Recipe

Ingredients:

1 5-pound boneless pork loin roast, tied

1 cup of olive oil, preferably extra virgin

Lots of salt and black pepper

2 tbsp. rosemary (dried)

2 tbsp. thyme (dried)

A mix of veggies for the roasting pan including but not limited to:

Garlic cloves, onions, tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes (Use your imagination)

Procedure:

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. In my Elba oven, it’s dial #7. On a roasting pan, season the tied pork roast generously with salt and pepper. Sprinkle on the rosemary and the thyme. Make sure that the whole roast (all sides) is seasoned well. I cut some slices on the roast and insert garlic cloves to add flavor and help the roasting process. Drizzle on the olive oil. Place the vegetables all over the pan. Transfer to the oven and roast for about 45 to 55 minutes. Since I do not have a meat thermometer at home, I just check it by feel. I touch the edges of the meat to test if it’s cooked. I do at the 45 minute mark. Usually, it takes about 55 minutes to an hour. Depends on the weather and your oven temperature. When cooked, leave the roast untouched for about 7 minutes before cutting. Serve with rice or bread. It’s nice to dip the bread in the olive oil.

Finished Busy Mom's Roast Pork

Can I just say….yummy! =)

Buco Pandan Recipe

Ganns mentioned that many are looking for a simple Buco Pandan recipe. Since I am usually assigned to whip up this light fruity dessert during family parties, I wish to share my improvised recipe. Of course, the balance of sweetness depends on the person making it so please feel free to taste and adjust as you go.

Simple Buco Pandan Recipe

Main Ingredients:
4 boxes of Ferna Gelatin (Pandan Flavor)
1 small bottle of McCormick Pandan Essence
5-6 coconuts, meat shredded into strips (It is best to buy a “salad” coconut with meat not too soft and not too tough)

Dressing:
2 boxes of Nestle All-Purpose Cream
¾ cup of Milkmaid Condensed Milk
Pandan Essence

Procedure:

Cook gelatin by following package directions. To enhance pandan flavor, pour in a teaspoon of McCormick Pandan Essence. Use your nose to adjust the amount of essence you put in. McCormick Pandan Essence is very light so you will not be in danger of putting too much. Once the gelatin is ready, pour into a square mold and cool. After the gelatin has hardened, cut it into small cubes.

To prepare the dressing, combine the cream and condensed milk. Taste for balance of sweetness. Normally, your dressing has to be a bit sweeter than you would like because once you mix the main ingredients, the sweetness goes down. Add pandan essence to enhance flavor. Once satisfied with the dressing. Add it to the gelatin and shredded buco. Chill and serve.

Variations:

You may want to add small sago pearls to your buco pandan for extra texture. You may also want to put in some grated cheese and top with ice cream. Enjoy!

Oatmeal Walnut Raisin Cookies

My mother had too much leftover oatmeal so I decided to bake some Oatmeal Walnut Raisin Cookies. Nathan calls them “giant cookies”! I just loved how they turned out. Not too sweet and lots of oats mean lots of fiber.

Oatmeal Walnut Raisin Cookies

Yield: About 2 dozen large cookies

Ingredients

3 cups of rolled oats

2 cups of all purpose flour

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1 teaspoon of salt

1 cup of unsalted butter (room temperature)

1 cup of brown sugar

1 cup of granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons of milk

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

2 cups of chopped walnuts

2 cups of raisins

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Combine dry ingredients including oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Set this aside.

3. With an electric beater, cream butter and both sugars in a separate bowl until smooth and fluffy. Add eggs, milk and vanilla extract. Blend until smooth.

4. Stir in the oats and flour mixture, walnuts and raisins. The cookie batter will be thick in consistency.

5. Spoon 1/4 cup measure of batter into greased cookie sheets. Make sure that the dough is at least 2 to 3  inches apart. You may use parchment paper if you do not like to use extra grease.

The oatmeal walnut cookie before entering the oven.

6. Bake cookies until they are golden brown. This will be about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let the cookies cool.

7. Enjoy with a glass of warm milk.

The oatmeal walnut raisin cookies after it is baked.

Edward Cullen’s Bloody Chocolate Cupcakes

My life with Edward Cullen will not be complete without a special something something for his birthday. Today, Edward Cullen celebrates his 108th birthday. All Twilighters know that Edward Cullen was born  on June 20, 1901.

So what should a 30-something mom-of-two do to commemorate Edward Cullen’s birthday? Well, something that can please him and her family, of course!

Behold, my own original recipe for Edward Cullen’s Bloody Chocolate Cupcakes! This recipe is healthier since I incorporated yogurt to bring moisture to the cupcakes. As you can see, Edward had a great time making it with me. Check out the recipe below.

Edward Cullen and the Blood-Red Cupcake Liners

Edward Cullen and the Blood-Red Cupcake Liners

Edward Cullen and the cupcakes before they enter the oven.

Edward Cullen and the cupcakes before they enter the oven.

Edward Cullen's Bloody Chocolate Cupcake

Edward Cullen's Bloody Chocolate Cupcake

EDWARD CULLEN’S BLOODY CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES

Ingredients:

FOR THE CUPCAKES

3 to 4 ounces Hershey’s semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup unsalted butter, softened

1 ¼ cups sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup of creamy or plain yogurt

½ cup of water

FOR THE FROSTING

Really good strawberry preserve or jam

Powdered sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees with the rack placed on the center.
  2. Melt the chocolate by placing it in a stainless steel or heatproof bowl and setting it atop barely simmering water. Once melted, remove chocolate from heat and set aside.
  3. Prepare the dry ingredients by sifting together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a bigger bowl, cream butter and sugar using an electric mixer set at medium speed. When light and fluffy, add the melted chocolate and mix in low speed. When chocolate is mixed in, add eggs one at a time and increase the speed to medium. Add vanilla and beat until mixture is creamy (about one minute). Mix in yogurt. Using low speed, add in half of the flour mixture. After batter is well incorporated, add in remaining flour mixture and mix until incorporated. Do not over-mix batter to avoid tough cupcakes.
  5. Line a cupcake pan with red paper liners. Fill each liner with enough batter to come 1/8 inch from the top. Bake for 20 minutes. Rotate the pan halfway through in order to ensure even cooking. To check if cupcakes are ready, use a cake tester by inserting it in the center. If it comes out clean, it is ready.
  6. Take out the cupcakes from the oven and let cool.
  7. Frost the cupcakes with strawberry preserve. Dust the cupcake with powdered sugar using an “E” stencil.
  8. Enjoy and sing Edward Cullen a birthday song.

I hope you all enjoy this simple cupcake recipe and Edward…you thought I only made cupcakes (which realistically you can’t eat). Well, I also made you this greeting. Happy 108th!

Happy Birthday, Edward Cullen!

Happy Birthday, Edward Cullen!