Thursday, December 27, 2012

Adobo Flakes Hash Recipe, at last!

I started making this dish earlier this year to give the staple adobo a twist.  It has become one of hubby's favorite dishes and I got so many recipe requests from friends - yup, I'm one of those people who post photos of my cooking (and other people's cooking), in Facebook, ha!  I never really measure my ingredients for adobo, but today I did, so I can finally post the recipe in this blog.  So here goes...

3 skinless boneless chicken thighs
4 cloves of garlic minced
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 &1/2 cups water
1 medium potato diced
Vegetable oil for frying
Salt & pepper

1. Boil the chicken, garlic, bay leaves, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, pepper, and water in a sauce pan.
2. Simmer until the liquid dries out and the chicken is cooked.
3. Flake the chicken.
4. In another pan, fry the potatoes.  Add some salt and pepper.
5. When the potatoes are cooked, add the chicken adobo flakes.
6. Fry the potatoes and chicken until crispy (will probably take another 15-20 mins).

Serve with fried eggs and tomatoes and garlic rice.  This recipe can serve 3-4 people.  This is sure to be a hit - breakfast, lunch, or dinner. :-)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Meatless Craving: "Breadsagna"

Sunday at 6AM, deployment completed.  Check!  (deep inside, ecstatic)  Time for Sunday morning TV and Rachael Ray's on Food Network - perfect.  Lasagna made of stale bread?  Genius!  So I'm not really taking credit for this fine recipe, rather - I'm promoting it as an alternative to the usual lasagna pasta dish.  It took me 30 minutes to make it, and I only had to buy the spinach, but every other ingredient is available in our pantry.  Also, it's vegetarian, so just about anybody would love it.  I did - I contained myself from finishing the whole dish, and shared with dearest hubby.  I was sooo happy it turned out the way it did - just see the pictures below!

Ingredients for One Serving of Mushroom & Spinach Breadsagna

2 slices of stale (or old frozen) french bread cut 5" long, 1/2" thick
1 egg
1/3 cup of half-and-half
1/4 tsp nutmeg
6 pcs of baby bella mushrooms, sliced
A handful of baby spinach
1/4 cup moscato (or any white wine)
1/3 cup chicken stock
Olive oil
1 tbsp butter
A pinch of dried oregano, thyme, and rosemary
Salt & pepper
Triple cheddar cheese
Mozzarella cheese


Preheat oven at 350F.

Soak the bread in beaten egg, half-and-half, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  Set aside.

Saute the onions, garlic, and mushrooms in olive oil until tender.  Deglaze with wine and chicken stock.  Add all your herbs and salt and pepper.  Add the spinach and cook only until the leaves are wilted.

Grease your baking dish (I used a single-serve 5" x 5" stoneware) with butter.  Line with the bread first, then mushroom and spinach mixture, then cheese.  Add your second layer of bread, then top with cheese and butter.

Bake in the oven for about 15-20 mins or until the cheese is melted and slightly crusty.

I must say, I was nervous making this dish - stale bread for lasagna?!  But the result definitely made me an even bigger fan of Rachael Ray.  Next time I'll try it with sausage (but this one's perfect as it is), just so hubby can get his meat fix. :-)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Accessory Making Revived

It's been such a long time since I've made costume jewelry, but it has always been a fantasy of mine (along with other friends) to make it big in this business.  It really all started about eight years ago when we called ourselves KLAD (Kristine, Love, Anna, Dianne) and sold accessories to our officemates and friends.  Yes, those accessories were made by our "untrained" but very passionate bare hands... and we selected and bought all materials ourselves - from beads to strings to chains and charms, all the way from Divisoria.   We just had an initial outlay of 1,000 pesos each and ran the business for about two months, around Christmas time.  It was a success, but we're all so busy with our day jobs, so we had to stop after the holidays.  

Five years after, we decided to revive the business, but the "K" left for Singapore so we obviously had to change our name as LAD didn't exactly sound fab haha!  We called ourselves "IF", short for Insanely Fab, because it speaks for our designs.  Definitely insane, but still fabulous!  Those were really (insanely) happy times as we were practically doing a countdown to 5 o'clock (at work) so we can rush home and create our "day-dreamed" designs.  And "coffee tayo" means let's discuss our business strategy.  Here are some cherished photos with my business partners...

Me, Love, and AnnaLove and Anna

Our style had definitely evolved in 2009 as we had started making "bibs" which wasn't popular back then (we'd like to think we're one of the firsts hehehe) and did more sewing than the usual stringing or wiring.  We used more fabric (some recycled), lace, appliques, and ribbons.  And our trademark?  Look below and you'll notice.  We love floral touches.  They're also our best sellers.  And, we not only did direct selling but joined bazaars - from Ayala Alabang to World Trade Center - we soared!

We had a goal, and in less than 3 months, we exceeded it.   But starting in January the following year, our day jobs got the best of us and we weren't able to spend any more time continuing the business (sigh).  To this day we still receive some inquiries and requests, but our hands are tied.  Ahhh... IF only... 

A week ago, I was feeling so creative that I started planning for home made gifts - after all, they are inexpensive, unique, and honestly, therapeutic.  Being in the US obviously did not give me many options for buying materials for my accessories - I definitely miss Quiapo, Divisoria, and Carolina's!  But I do have a special happy place here - Michael's.  Never mind the $$$ conversion, so I bought a few materials and recycled some of my old necklaces so I could come up with pretty stuff such as the one in the photo below.  I realized, I still have the "IF" in me with the bib-like design and of course, the flower!  I made this for a friend for her birthday.  This is made in the USA, baby!  Haha! :-)

I still have a few more projects in progress, but I could not post them yet as they are all gifts - I'll upload them after Christmas.  I'm getting more and more excited each day.  Let's see how it goes.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Decors Up, Gifts Wrapped, More to go...

On the last two days of our long Thanksgiving holiday, I was so inspired to "Christmasify" our tiny apartment... While on it, I tried making my red velvet cupcakes which I haven't done in a year or so... I wanted to make sure it's still good enough for gifting.  Here are a few pictures...

Our theme... Snowflakes and earthy elements.  I love twigs and branches.

We went for a slim Christmas Tree - I thought it looked more elegant (and practical for a smaller space).
And of course, an angel on top for our little angel.

Pink and Gold color motif, including the wreath.  The bow on the wreath was supposedly for our tree but it was too big for our "sexy" tree, so I put it on our door wreath instead.

If you choose wise, you don't have to spend a fortune for Christmas decors, especially here in the US.  A pack of two of this sparkly snowflake is $1.99 at Target.

Ribbons and tissues and gift boxes from Michael's, my happy place.

I plan to give out red velvet cupcakes for some of my office mates, so I practiced half a batch.  I gave it a little twist by stuffing it with butter cream cheese frosting and topping with cream cheese whipped cream and a small candy cane. :-)

They looked pretty nice in this cupcake box.  So cute.

These gift boxes from Michael's are so convenient.  Great for sweaters and shirts.  We have a few all-wrapped up and under the tree.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thankful Feast!

It's been more than a month since I posted anything on my blog so I apologize to my regular readers (as if haha)!  Anyway, I can't miss this opportunity to share our Thanksgiving get together last night as we had a fun potluck dinner and of course, our usual Settlers of Catan session.  We're able to recruit a couple who had fun playing (and winning) the game - boohoo, beginners luck hehehe! :-)

It was my first time to make Thanksgiving staples - no turkey this time around, but we had stuffed cornish hens instead.  I used the no-fail lemon-butter-garlic-rosemary recipe and put some stuffing I learned from the Food Network show, Pioneer Woman.  I'm not really a fan of stuffing, but this recipe caught my eye because it had Italian Sausage and mushrooms - yummy.  For dessert, I took the risk of making Sweet Potato Cheesecake, and added my own spin at the topping - cream cheese whipped cream.  It's not the type of cake that everyone will love, but I think it was pretty good, considering it has  "kamote" haha.  So of course, I had a backup dessert - again a no-fail recipe - Ice Box Cake.

My Sweet Potato Cheesecake and Stuffed Cornish Hens

Apols' Baby Back Ribs and Haidee & John's Bacon-wrapped Asparagus

Ela's Puttanesca Sauce and Haidee's Mashed Potatoes with Dill & Cream Cheese

Tin & Jeff's Chicken Wings and Chocolate Chip Cookies

Our Thanksgiving Spread and Dessert Table

Last year, we had a fall-themed housewarming party so I had some paraphernalia to use... It was a great investment in a way, well, at least until this year.  I realized I had so much potpourri and empty vases... so, voila - see photos below!  And the house smelled so good too - cinnamon and spice and everything nice (with a hint of roasting cornish hen ;-)).

My attempt at a fall-ish Thanksgiving theme...

Friends and of course, Game Night!

Hosting parties are really fun, but also exhausting.  I only cooked three dishes, but I think with my growing belly at six months, getting tired so quickly is no surprise.  BUT, I am thankful that I get tired.  Because I get to invite friends over, have a great time, get to make lambing to my hubby so he does things for me (and I feel his love so much more), and knowing the fact that a new life is forming inside of me.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Apples, apples, apples!

Autumn is here, it's time for Apple-Picking!  And so we did. :-)  

Last weekend, we went to Apple Holler in Wisconsin, which was about 1.5 hours drive from Chicago downtown.   We had such a great time last year due to its bountiful harvest and of so many varieties that we decided to go back again this year.  However, due to the drought, some of the apples we had to pick from a bin, not from a tree!  Fortunately, for some varieties, like the Jonathans, there were still a lot we picked from the actual trees (see picture below).  And for me, it's much more fun, because my baby sister (whose name is "Apple" :-)) was visiting so she came with us!

The "Jonathan"
With three bags full of apples - what do you do with them?  Bake apple pie of course!  

I'm not really much of a baker and this was actually my first attempt at making apple pie.  My older sister has always been the designated apple pie maker (and baker for the most part) in the family, so I was content with just being the consumer hehehe.  Thank God for easy apple pie recipes and ready made pie crusts, I was successful in making my first pie.  I got the recipe from Pillsbury and it's called - "Brown Butter Creamy Apple Pie".  I followed the recipe practically to the letter, but instead of making my own whipped cream, I used Vanilla Bean ice cream (heavenly!)...  Took me about 45 minutes to prepare.

Nothing beats Apple Pie ala Mode!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Day Like This

After uhmm, maybe two to three months of no weekend brunch, we finally had nothing planned on a Saturday, that we decided to try out this Swedish restaurant featured last night in the Food Network show, "$24 in 24".  Jeff Mauro is actually a Chicago local guy so he knew good (and cheap) eats around town, and for breakfast, he went to Ann Sather.  This place is actually famous for their cinnamon rolls and french toast, which apparently Rachael Ray also featured in one of her shows.  So at around 8:15 AM, we took the Red Line to Belmont where the restaurant was just a few steps from the station.  The place was cozy, Swedish traditional looking. And the staff were all so attentive and friendly.

Here's hubby and his french toast - thick cinnamon bread filled with mascarpone cheese and topped with strawberries and blueberries.  Good size, creamy, not overly sweet, perfect breakfast for a sweet tooth.

I had the Swedish Sampler which was composed of a Swedish Pancake, Potato Sausage, Meatball with Gravy, Lingonberry sauce, fried egg, and yup, the potatoes and (smothered) cinnamon rolls you see in the photos are the sides!  I was happy to see the main dish in a modestly sized portion, because the cinnamon rolls were humongous!  Oh, and the potatoes were heavenly - I loved the smokey, rosemary flavor.

After breakfast, it was still too early to go anywhere (e.g. mall or theater), so we passed by the weekend fresh market at Division street. It was a gorgeous day - I could not help but take a picture.  Love the cirrus clouds, hehehe!

Hubby with our purchased produce - organic bell peppers and basil.

Yup, fall is here... and so I wore a scarf and a jacket today.

Division Street is just a block from our place so we went home for a while to take a nap and dropped our Ann Sather baggie and vegetables.  What a lovely, lovely morning, no stress, no fuss, great weather - I wish everyday is just like today.  This is just what I needed after a very long week.  

At around 11, we're on our way to Macy's for a little shopping.  Then, we had lunch at our favorite Noodles by Takashi... ahhh... after a long time!  We ordered the usual ramen and Chicken Tatsuta-age.  This place is really a must-try - aside from the obvious that it's super delicious, it's also relatively cheap and food is freshly cooked right in front of you (almost). And just our luck, we had our Macy's frequent diner card filled out, so the ramen was free!  Lunch for two at $11 - not bad at all!  Just look at the pictures.

Miso Ramen and Chicken Tatsuta-age (of course, we had white rice as side!)

We capped our day with a Reese Witherspoon movie, and this homemade Chicken Parmigiana.  Thought I'd make something Italian, as inspired by my fresh basil and bell peppers from the Division Street Market.  It was a hit with hubby, as I got a kiss on the cheek and a "thank you wifey for always cooking restaurant-quality food". :-)

Chicken Parmigiana which I paired with Angel Hair Pasta with creamy tomato sauce (not in picture)

I guess you don't really have to plan your activities each time to make sure your day turns out the way you want it to be.  And I've had enough of planning in the last few weeks!  Haha!  
Thank you God for a day like this.