Sunday, July 22, 2012

Weekend Roundup!

"Roundup" sounds cool, but yep, this post is really just one big dump of stuff I did over the weekend!:-)  I have been extremely busy the last few weeks and my camera is currently being resuscitated by Canon, but... I missed blogging.  So, despite not having a specific post-worthy topic... here we go.  Yesterday was a full-packed day as we went to Six Flags Great America, did some outlet shopping, and had a big dinner at Chinatown (the restaurant).  Today was a little bit more relaxing as we just stayed at home, worked some, watched some, cooked some - that's it pansit.  And yes, I literally cooked pansit and had that for dinner while watching a 3-hour episode of my guilty pleasure, "The Bachelorette"!

Funny, on our way to Six Flags, I was telling my friends that my most hated Looney Tune Character was Pepe Le Pew, even referring to him as a maniac of a skunk (and you'd know why if you've seen classic Bugs Bunny cartoon shows).  But guess what, he's the first ever mascot we saw at the park, hahaha!  What the heck, a photo op wouldn't hurt!

We didn't really do any of the big roller coasters which Six Flags was supposedly famous for.  I'm not a big fan of those and good thing my companions aren't too, so we ended up just walking around the park and taking the scenic train ride which was apparently popular with the oldies and the babies!

Free lunch, spaghetti with meatballs, which was surprisingly good, despite a tub load of noodles.

It was a pretty hot day and they had cooling stations everywhere, spraying refreshing mist.  This asian family thought it was the coolest thing, hehehe.

To cap our exhausting day, we had the best Chinese-Filipino food at Chinatown Restaurant!  It was the ultimate cheat day for me and I better starve myself this week or else...  Anyway, our no-brainer choices are...
Excuse the poor quality of the photos as I used my six-year-old camera...

Chicken Skin Chicharon (OMG and it's free) and Crispy Pata (OMG X 2)!

Salt & Pepper Squid and Dungeness Crab
Not in picture: Hototai Soup and Sauteed Kangkong

Today, I watched a lot of "Chopped" episodes and one of the chefs made steak with siding of vermicelli and vegetables.  With that in mind and my Chinatown hangover, I got inspired to cook pansit and threw in whatever I had in my dying-for-some-grocery-shopping pantry and fridge.  I had a big head of cabbage, some red and yellow bell peppers, mushrooms, and leeks.  For the meat, I used chicken thigh fillets and andouille sausage (I know, it's weird, but it worked).  I made it a little sweet and added hoisin/sugar/oyster sauce, and finished off with sesame oil.  So it's like Korean Jap Chae Noodles meets Pinoy Pansit Bihon.  I thought I cooked a whole lot, but it looks like it will be gone by middle of the week!  Hubby said I should audition for "Chopped" - in my dreams!

Pansit Bihon ala Jap Chae

I don't know if today got me refreshed for another five whole days of work.  I'll see if I'd be able to blog mid-week, which means it'll be a better week for me.  

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Mahi-Mahi Burger with Asian Slaw

I haven't been posting any new healthy recipes lately as I have been BUSY.  And with that I have slowed down a little bit with my MLW (must-lose-weight) goal... boooo.  So to keep me inspired, I just had to blog about healthy eating (especially after all the yummy pizza, wings, Italian beef, and chocolate cake - i.e. "the works" I had today).

Mahi-Mahi.  I've discovered this fish way back in Manila, when we had an office team dinner at Bubba Gump restaurant.  I'm not sure if it were the fish or the dish (or the hefty price), but it definitely left me a pretty good impression.  So for our late dinner, I made Mahi-Mahi Burgers with Asian Slaw - not inspired by Bubba, but by DMK where I had the best Asian style Salmon Burger, and as a substitute to the usual beef burgers.  Definitely healthier.

For the recipe of the burger patty, just go to this link.  I almost followed the recipe to a tee, but I used a blender instead of a food processor (worked just fine).  And for the slaw, you can get it from here - I made a few alterations as I only used traditional green cabbage, red bell pepper, and cilantro for my veggies, and pure honey instead of sugar/maple syrup.  For my buns, I used the whole-wheat thin kind to further lessen the calories.  I toasted the bun and spread with a mayo-hoisin mixture, then stacked the slaw and burger.  I'd say one of the best recipes from the internet I had tried ever.

Calories: 306 Calories from Fat: 97

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Emmy's 4th of July Despedida

This post is wayyy long overdue, but here it goes...

This party is really for a good friend, Emmy, who's leaving Chicago four days from now...

And it just so happened that the only day everyone's available for her despedida was on the 4th of July, so logically, we would have a 4th of July Americana theme!  The art-project-of-a-hat below was supposed to mimic Uncle Sam's Top Hat, but I just used whatever materials I had on hand - scrapbook stock paper and stickers.  A little bit crude, but worked as a cute topper to our sugar cookies.  And of course we had to decorate the tree as well, with $1-decor from Target.  

People were instructed to wear red, white, or blue (and check out our props) so we would look nice and cohesive for photo ops. :-)
My hubby, looking fresh despite the humidity!

Burgers, Hotdogs (with 1 longganisa hehehe), S'mores
Our $14.99 Griller, Beef/Sausage Burger with Wasabi Mayo, Ala Woodstock Crowd at the Park

Corn Dog!  More props!  My friends, Ela, Janice, and I obviously had fun shopping for party supplies at Target (probably even went a little overboard).

Navy Pier at Night
(Special thanks to Ela for letting me use her cam while mine's MIA)

We'll definitely miss Emmy - all the trips and adventures in Chicago wouldn't be as fun without you!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives!

Ironic as it may sound, while using the treadmill last night, we were watching Diners, Drive-ins and Dives!  I've actually been trying to avoid this show because it makes me crave greasy diner food, but Guy (the show's host) featured this burger bar in Chicago and so we were hooked!  The place is called DMK Bar and they make "designer" burgers.  Enough said.

Photo from Grub Street Chicago

So we took a little trip to Wellington via Red/Brown lines, bracing ourselves for a big crowd.  Pleasantly surprised, there was actually no line and we got a table instantly (it was 2:00 PM after all).  Thirsty, Bobby had Lemon Blueberry Soda (yeah I know, so why is it red, not blue or even green?).

Everything featured on the show, we ordered.  I had a Salmon Burger, in my attempt not to mess up my diet (despite Salmon actually having high fat content).  I loved how the salmon tasted so fresh and not overwhelming - I guess that's because of the ginger and scallion and tartiness of the slaw.  Great choice!

Salmon Burger - Fresh Salmon, Ginger & Scallion, Asian Slaw, Red Thai Curry Sauce
The winner: Fries with Parmesan and Truffle Cream.  Bobby loved it so much, he practically finished it dry, finding any leftover to dip, and regretting that we only had the smaller portion of the fries, ha!  Then he had the Bison Burger with goat cheese and blueberry barbecue sauce.  This was the best seller - amazinnggg as it brought a smile to hubby's face after the first bite.

What a great lunch!

Belmont Station Funky Art.  On our way home.

My mind is already trying to figure out how to make the truffle cream dip.  Hmmm.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Friday Healthy Food

I've been hearing about Quinoa (pronounced as "keenwa"not "kee-no-wah") for the longest time and finally I've tried it today.  They say it's a good source of dietary fiber and is high in magnesium, iron, and calcium, so definitely good for vegans (and in some days, for feeling vegans like me :-)).  And yes, anything with the word or root word "diet" appeals to me - call it dumb, but still I'll go for it.  It is also gluten-free, which I've been seeing so much on food labels lately... Apparently, "gluten-free" is good for you!

So I get it.  

My health-buff friend, Janice, gave me a big ziploc bag of quinoa last 4th of July (another post to come on that).  Today, I only had brunch, so of course at 3 o'clock, I was already hungry.  Looking at our fridge, we still had zucchini, broccoli, and 1 large portobello cap from 2 weeks ago (I've proven that they have longer shelf-life among other veggies).  I cut them up and sautéed in olive oil and garlic.  Sbarro's spaghetti with vegetables from yesterday's lunch gave me an idea.  Good thing I had canned diced tomatoes.  So I threw in the tomatoes into my veggies mix and added good old Italian seasonings - basil and oregano, plus onion powder, pepper, salt, sugar, and one chicken bouillon.  

Still keeping in mind my MLW (must-lose-weight) theme, I started boiling water for my quinoa fettuccine noodles.  Then I remembered, I actually have quinoa!  So I boiled two cups of water and mixed in 1 cup of quinoa seeds.  After my quinoa cooked, I topped it with my Italian veggies and sprinkled some parmesan cheese.  <pat on my back>!

Calories: 290 Calories from Fat: 37
(1/2 cup quinoa, 1 cup veggie mix)

Sunday, July 1, 2012


Yesterday was the last day of Team iFit teaching Zumba at the Millennium Park!  One of my favorites from their playlist was "We Found Love" (by Rihanna).  The steps were fun and simple with a little sexy hehehe!  Here's a short snippet:

As of Saturday, I lost 8 pounds!  Woohoo for me!  I was so happy I craved for red meat (in all fairness to me, I got a little dizzy after our Zumba because of the heat and lack of iron/protein). :-( So in a barbecue party yesterday, I had pulled pork and some ground beef! When I weighed in the scale today, I gained a pound!  Time to do some more walking later.  UGH.