Archive for Fruits and Vegetables

Goodbye, Summer. Hello, Diet.

I’m giving my liver a break. For the last month, my diet has consisted mostly of meat, starches and beer. Being a huge veggie lover, I can feel that my body is not happy with me.

At the beginning of our camping trip, Mike and I agreed to make a conscious effort to eat healthy.  We were actually quite good about not buying any junk food on the road and were constantly eating fruit and were successfully avoiding fast food chains. But later on, the healthy eating was slowly overcome by the festivities of summer and we just ate like everyday was a holiday.  It also didn’t help that camping food usually equates to grilling lots of red meat and eating s’mores.

So after 28 meat-filled days, I am going on a vegetarian break. No meat, dairy, salt, sugar, oil, and alcohol for at least 3 days. My diet will consist only of fresh fruits, vegetables and beans. As of 12:46PM today, all I’ve had is one carrot, one small cucumber, a banana, a few slices of pineapple and a cup of cooked mongo beans. I do miss the meat but I know my body will thank me after the three days are over.

Today's breakfast : Pineapple, cucumber and banana

In the meantime, let me take you on a visual tour of some of things that I ate during my North American holiday.

Costco steaks are the shiznit!

At our favorite Japanese restaurant, Akasaka where the rolls are humongous.

Portobello Mushroom sandwich and sweet potato curry soup from McMenamins. Unforgettable meal right there!

Oyster stew with foie gras butter. Extremely delicious and sinful!

Steak dinner at our hotel room in Whistler.

Fried pickles from Hooters! These came with wings, of course 🙂

My sister's turkey dumplings and siomai. Sooooo good and actually healthy 🙂

Uploading all these photos made me hungry. Now, where’s that carrot….

*all photos taken with Instagram


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Reality (and) Bites

Yesterday was an interesting day. I met Martin, a friend that Mike made on a dive trip to Palau. Martin was in transit and had 10 hours to kill in Manila. Martin is one of the most open-minded people I have ever met. From the moment we shook hands, I instantly felt his genuine interest to get to know me and the nonexistence of judgement. It seems that that is a trait common to travelers who are so used to, and almost impervious to cultural differences. It is something that I admire in people and wish to emulate. The few hours that we got to spend with Martin were so enjoyable and refreshing and I truly hope to cross paths with him again.

Mike, Martin and LT, catching up in Manila

I told Martin that I thought he was lucky to be able to travel so much. He smiled and replied, “I’m not lucky. It’s just good karma.”

Today, on the other hand was not so great. It was my first full day at home and I did not get the lazy day I was hopping for. Instead, I did errands from the  couch and managed to stress myself out silly. Dealing with a bank, an airline and an embassy (find complete account of embassy ordeal here) put an emphasis on the reality that I am, in fact, a grown up. Reality bit me pretty hard today.

I tried distracting my distraught self by writing blog entries and cooking, as usual. I’ve had a bag of french beans waiting to be made into a salad so for a good 15 minutes, that’s all I did. There’s nothing like some quiet time in the kitchen to soothe one’s worried soul.

So here’s to new friends, simple food and hopefully, approved visas. Tomorrow will bring better things, I am sure.

French Bean Salad Dressing

2 tbsp. deli mustard 
2 tbps. white wine vinegar
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. Japanes mayonnaise (or any good mayo)
salt and pepper
your choice of fresh or dried herbs
Toss dressing with blanched french beans. Serve chilled. 

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What am I going to do with you?

I bought a few pieces of avocados the other day thinking I would make guacamole but now I just don’t feel like making that. What else could I make with this? I can only think of putting it in a turkey sandwich but I want to try something different. Any suggestions?

And how about these huge mangoes that my sister sent over. Their size alone threw me off. I’ve had these mangoes before and if I remember right, they’re not that sweet. Do I wait for them to ripen or do I consume them green? I was thinking of using it for a mango salad but again, new recipe suggestions are most welcome.

It's HUGE!

I love seasonal fruits but I need new recipes soon before these go bad! 😛

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First Cherry Pie Attempt

Only one week left and I head back home. Although I do miss Manila, I don’t like saying goodbye to my siblings and my adorable nephews and nieces. I always wish we didn’t have to live oceans apart from each other.

my nephew enjoying picking cherries

I’ve been going back and forth my brother and sister’s house. Now i’m with the sister and when we’re not searching the outlets for great bargains, and when she’s not busy being supermom, we’re in the kitchen baking or cooking, as if making up for lost sister time. I’ve mentioned before that my sister has a lot to do with my ability to cook. I often watched her in the kitchen and most especially, ate most of what she made. Now that I know my way around the kitchen as well, it’s nice to do some tandem cooking.

The other day, we visited a cherry orchard and harvested this summer fruit with the kids. We had a wonderful time climbing trees and ladders, trying to pick the sweetest cherries possible.  We harvested so much that we had more than enough for our first cherry pie attempt.

Making a cherry pie was surprisingly simple. All you really need is some sugar and cornstarch and store bought pie crust that just make things a lot easier and delicious. I am happy to report that our first cherry pie attempt was a success! The cherry pie filling was nicely tart and sweet with the right gooey consistency. My sister thinks that it could use a little less sugar and she’s probably right. Next time, instead of using 1 1/2 cups sugar, I’ll probably settle for just 1 cup. That large slice of pie is sitting happily in my stomach and I’m trying to figure out how long I’ll have to run today to burn off all that sugar.

Find the cherry recipe here. My only concern about this recipe is that it doesn’t specify the cooking time for the cherry pie filling so I had to rely on my cooking instincts. 😛

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Diet Food

curried tofu and sauteed bean sprouts, packed for my lunch tomorrow

tomorrow's lunch: curried tofu and sauteed bean sprouts

I’ve been bad. I have been careless about my food in take and feel that I am starting to put on a little weight. So before I pack on the pounds and sink deeper into that ‘my-diet-starts-tomorrow’ attitude, I am back into a more disciplined eating regimen. This means, rice only when necessary (meaning, only when I have a run), more vegetables and protein, and if possible, no fried food.  As for beer…well, let’s just not go that far.

Whenever I want to lose a few pounds, I always turn to my favorite diet food – tofu and bean sprouts. I was a little tired of eating it together, yasai itame style. So tonight, I fancied my tofu up a bit and turned it into curried tofu. As usual, I made my own curry paste consisting of garlic, onions, lemongrass, corriander, turmeric and cayenne pepper. Making your own paste makes a whole lot of difference when it comes to taste and you definitely want your diet food to be appetizing, right?

So this is me committing to being good again. As I post this, I promise myself to be a healthier eater (ba-bye, duck and starchy white rice) and to keep off the weight I worked so hard on losing.

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Apple Tamarillo Chutney

Apple Tamarillo Chutney

Apple Tamarillo Chutney

The great thing about a fruit is that if you don’t feel like eating it as it is, you can always turn it into something else – juice, jam, or in this case chutney. Inasmuch as I did enjoy our new fruit find, the tamarillo, I couldn’t quite eat all of it. So not wanting them to go to waste, I turned them into chutney.

There weren’t enough tamarillos so I combined them with Fuji apples, which are always a good fruit to turn into chutney. Most chutneys contain vinegar, a certain fruit and onions, then simmered slowly until it reaches a thick and almost jam-like consistency.

Chutney has become quite popular as the perfect condiment to go along with pork dishes, specifically pork chops. I think they go fairly well with fried or grilled chicken and curry dishes, of course. Some people enjoy certain chutneys with crackers or pita bread.

I can’t wait for tomorrow because I’ll be making breaded porkchops to go with my apple tamarillo chutney…

Apple Tamarillo Chutney

  • 7 tamrillo, meat removed from skin
  • 2 Fuji apples, peeled and diced
  • 1 large onion
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp. all spice
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries (optional)
  • salt and pepper

In a medium saucepan, saute onions in butter until soft. Add apples and water and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for about an hour or until it has a jam like consistency.  Transfer and cool in a jar.

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Sunday Dinner

I am a carnivore and cannot imagine living my life without hamburgers, hotdogs and steaks. But just because I love meat, it doesn’t mean I cannot love vegetables and fruits just as much. I am quite proud of being a very balanced eater, always making it a point to have a serving of vegetables with every meal.

This Sunday, I prepared (an almost completely) vegetarian meal for dinner. Whoever said that vegetables can’t fill you up should try to prepare these dishes and see that they can have the same gratification as a meat-filled spread.

Stuffed tomatoes

Stuffed tomatoes

I wanted to make use of the tomatoes that my Mom brought back from Baguio and made something similar to my couscous stuffed peppers, except this time, I added a little protein in the form of chicken breast. This was actually a meal in itself, but knowing my family, I had to prepare something else. I paired these tomatoes with a roasted garlic and potato soup that was naturally creamy and had a slight sweetness that came from the roasted garlic. With so much tomatoes available, my Mom also decided to make a  tomato basil bruschetta with kesong puti.

garlic is good for managing your cholesterol.

garlic is good for managing your cholesterol.

After having a little bit of everything, I was substantially full and happy.  There’s something about filling yourself up with healthy eats that makes you feel good about yourself.

I’m off to my regular Sunday badminton game now… Have a healthy Sunday, everyone!

Roasted Garlic and Potato Soup

  • 3 garlic heads, roasted          IMG_5208
  • 4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup milk or all purpose cream
  • rosemary or basil (optional)

In a pot, saute onions, carrots and celery in olive oil until soft. Add cubed potatoes and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes or until potatoes are cooked.  Add garlic, milk or cream and rosemary. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Blend mixture using an immersion blender or a food processor.  If soup is a little too thick, you can choose to add more chicken stock.

Drizzle with a little olive oil, garnish with herbs and serve.

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