In the Kitchen: Beef Kare-Kare

In the Kitchen: Beef Kare-Kare

I have cousins who do really good in terms of cooking. There may not be a chef in our clan but a lot of them (excluding me since I only have the interest but not the skill) really can make delicious dishes. We have been teasing one cousin to put up a catering business – this excites me in all honesty. I just wish she would soon agree and have the guts and capital to start the business.

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I have been wanting to serve the family something out of the usual dish we have everyday and so I thought of Kare-Kare. Kare-Kare originated from Pampanga, Philippines. Kapampangans use either oxtail, tripe or beef but there were sophisticated variations which use chicken.  This Filipino dish is normally served during special occasions as it somehow requires some time from preparation to cooking.

I decided to use beef since it was my first time and I was just to use Del Monte Quick n Easy Kare-Kare mix I bought from the grocery. I have added string beans, eggplant and Pechay leaves (Chinese Cabbage) to complete the stew. Thanks to Del Monte as my first attempt in cooking Kare-Kare turned out yummy, easy and quick! I was saved from the stress and effort in preparing the peanut sauce which I truly doubt to perfect. One huge off point though – I forgot the Bagoong (Shrimp Paste)! This dish wouldn’t be complete without the shrimp paste. Well then, next time will be perfect!

New Flavors: Selecta Ice Cream

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We are beating the summer heat!

Either we go out swimming or just chill and spend time at home, we make sure to keep our cool! One way of doing so is enjoying cold drinks and desserts – ice cream on top of the list! We have tried the new flavors of Selecta ice cream, Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chip Cookie and Oreo Rocky Road. And to tell you honestly, these tubs were empty in less than 48 hours. It was not quite fast since I get to enjoy these new flavors with just 2 kids. We all love the new flavors, hmmm… I personally have enjoyed the Mrs. Fields  Chocolate Chip Cookie than the other flavor. These flavors are (I think) limited and some grocery stores don’t have them yet so when you guys got the chance to find one, grab the tub!

Since this post is not a review, let us keep my ratings a secret! Haha!

You have been given a hint!

 

Good Enough for Royalty?

 

Since her pregnancy was announced, earlier than planned due to her acute morning sickness, all eyes have been back on the Duchess of Cambridge, if they ever left her in the first place. The past few years have seen obsessives pre-empting her every outfit for all kind of event and it is unlikely it will stop now with maternity wear. We all know she is going to be a yummy-mummy and she will regain her figure in no time but we are left wondering whether she will return to the Dukan diet as a healthy diet plan or not. All diets have controversies, especially those used by high-ranking celebrities (and royalty in this case) who are constantly in the media. Recently, people have been questioning whether the Dukan diet is safe as it is without solid scientific basis but you just have to read the testimonials to know that for some at least, it is efficient and undamaging.

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protein-rich
(image via gmirage on flickr)

After you sign up online, the way it works is you receive your True Weight (which you do before you pay anything) to set your goal and find out how to proceed with the four Dukan diet phases. The first is Attack which compromises of eating a lot of protein whilst exercising vigorously. The second is Cruise which gets you to your True weight by introducing less intensive workouts and vegetables. And the third is Consolidation which helps you maintain your True Weight and teaches you the skills to be able to progress to the final phase.

This last stage is Stabilisation and although it is the most important part of the diet, it is actually the easiest and something to look forward to. Around 95% of people who are on a diet put any weight they lose back on within weeks of ending the diet. This final phase is to set you up for the future to help you maintain the weight you are comfortable being for as long as you like. Learning how to lose weight with Dukan is easy with these phases and you are guided at every level with help on hand if you don’t understand or could do with some support.

 

My Tabletop Electric Oven

My tabletop electric oven was a gift. I have been eyeing a beautiful oven from the appliance center for a long time but saving to get it will take a lot longer. So, with a friend”s suggestion, and since I am not really planning on using it for business purposes (using it now just for my kids), I told Ronald (yes, he”s the financier for this oven) that I would go for this one.

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I have been Pinterest inspired! As soon as I have read the manual for this tabletop oven, I started baking! I have had my share of baking failures but have a atoledo.com lot of successful ones too.

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Most of my baked goodies were Chocolate and Banana flavored and Carrot too. I make them during weekends so it will be ready as school snack for my elder daughter, K. I would always let her bring more than she could eat so she can share some to her friends too. Or sometimes, I remind her to eat (if there are leftovers) as afternoon snack while she is travelling home bound.

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Last Christmas season, I got the chance to frequently use my tabletop oven – served its purpose very well for some goodies which we made and gave as gifts. I am sure that this oven will last for quite long, besides it being durable (a testimonial of my baker friend, Iris of Project Happiness ), I have been extra careful using it. =) 

In The Kitchen: Bake Time!

 

If I have had a baking sad story, I can tell you more successful ones at least. That disappointment I felt with the cupcake disaster that happened the first time I tried to make buttercream frosting did not stop me from baking. As most positive individuals do, I took it as a challenge to be better.

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 Carrot-Yogurt Muffins

Since most people here says no to super sweets, I decided to do bold cupcakes instead – muffins! The photo above shows a carrot / yogurt muffin and in the next photo are chewy Lemon cookies. Pardon the photo quality as these photos were taken using my netbook’s camera.

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 Lemon cookies

Besides cookies, cupcakes and muffins, I tried making carrot loaf. Now, this is something I am definitely proud to have made. I used the same recipe I found for my cupcakes and voila! It came out of the oven like an eye candy!  Just right! It even tasted so good that my elder daughter brought few slices than she could eat to school. Well, she sure gave some to her classmates and came home with compliments that made me wish to learn more about baking. It did not stop there though… I dreamed of having my own bake shop / cafe which was set up beside my own gift shop. Both businesses were set up in the front of my own house. Okay, wake me up now!

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 Carrot Loaf

Ahhh! I wish to win the Lotto! Ha ha!

In The Kitchen: Bicol Express

 

When I was still young, I never want to eat anything that has too much coconut milk in it. I feel like throwing up because of dizziness it causes me – no, I did not have hypertension then or even now. I think it was more of a psychological “kaartehan” or an alibi so I could eat or ask for something yummier for a child. My Mama was from Bicol province where people are known to cook almost all their delicacies with coconut milk and wild chili (local name: siling labuyo).  But when I started to mature, and became interested working in the kitchen, my alibi faded. It came to a point that I finally enjoy Bicolano delicacies and even asked my Mama to teach me cook some.  There is one dish I have never tried cooking though, Bicol Express!

I got the inspiration from one of my cousins, Ate Jen. One time I was planning  what to prepare for the family, I decided to get all the ingredients necessary for Bicol Express dish. I even found myself browsing for the recipe even if I already know it. And, this was how it looked like when it ended in our table.

 

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The pork was tender and the dish has a balanced salty-spicy taste that even my 10 year old daughter enjoyed it. My Bicol Express dish has given me added points of confidence in the kitchen. Having said that, I may have to try few more Bicolano delicacies soon!

 

Rangemaster Cookers Continue To Improve in 2013

 

Getting a great review on appliances means someone had to work hard enough to earn the trust of consumers on a regular basis within a considerably respectable amount of time. Great reviews deserving of higher accolades come from long-standing quality, upscale performance features and reputable customer attention-to-detail factors. Where do you look for such an appliance company? You find it with Rangemaster.

Rangemaster appliance products have been earning culinary respect for decades. As a top appliance choice for Britain’s finest home cooks and chefs, Rangemaster ovens have proven over and over again who is top dog in the high-end oven appliance market. The praise doesn’t just begin and end in Britain, however. Rangemaster is a highly-respected, international, master cooking delight. Let’s take a look at one of Rangemaster’s oven styles to see why.

rangemasterThe Rangemaster 90, one of Rangemaster’s best-selling ovens holds its own with lots of inviting features. In fact, diversity is the Rangemaster 90’s middle name. This little beauty brings a lot to the culinary table beginning with fuel-type options. Electric, gas and dual fuel options means greater cooking capacities for homes of all kinds. Gas and dual fuel options also offer a wonderful way to keep burners free from dirt while providing extra work surfacing with an inclusive safety glass lid. This well thought out detail is yet another example of how Rangemaster incorporates simplicity and convenience into the daily routines of every chef. Simply choose your favorite fuel option; or, design around existing fuel set-ups in the home or business location to suit personal tastes.

Moving from fuel types is the undeniably exciting moment of moving towards Rangemaster 90 styles and colors. From the gorgeous, smaller versions donning traditional oven windows or no windows at all to the visual warmth offered with all kinds of delicious color options, Rangemaster 90 performs. Larger professional ovens exuding a contemporary and industrial flair with multi-functional cooking spaces, burners and design elements promises Rangemaster 90 does not disappoint.

Finding the right oven means doing your homework. In Rangemaster’s case the homework has already been done for you. Rangemaster and Rangemaster 90 ovens make it extremely easy to by-pass any lengthy oven researching drudgeries. Exploring Rangemaster ovens mean having fun in choosing the right oven for you and your family. It is OK to be choosy. Let Rangemaster make up your mind with cooking confidence for years to come.

 

A Cupcake Disaster

 

 

The excitement in me after buying the new tabletop electric oven was like a flu virus. L0L! It was really all over me! With that feeling, I went to Chocolate Lover in Cubao and bought some stuff I needed to start making cupcakes. I also had to scan through some of my “memory boxes” and found my very first dessert cookbook. Besides that, since my purpose is to really bake for my kids, I logged into my Pinterest account and visited the sites of those cakes and cookies pinned images I have in one of my boards. As soon as I thought I was ready, I tried baking cupcakes! The first one we (my kids and I) tried were Sharon’s butter cupcake but since I wanted something from the scratch, I baked some Chocolate Banana and Carrot cupcakes. My kids loved them! And I think they liked it not because of the taste but because of the thought that I made them. =D

When my elder daughter kept asking me to try buttercream, I had to ask some tips from a friend, Vangie. She was the one who made Roey’s 1st birthday cake. Again, when I thought I am all ready, I tried my very first buttercream.  But, as I was preparing the ingredients, I remembered that my hand mixer is nowhere to be found so I have to do it manually.


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It was a disaster! Check out how it looked like in the photo above – not even close to those pretty cupcakes topped with buttercream frosting I have  repinned in my Pinterest board! There was too much butter if I am not mistaken and the consistency of manual mixing is really different from mixing it with an electric mixer – or maybe, the consistency is possible to achieve, it was just that I am a newbie.

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I was already disappointed with how it looked like in that first photo. But, can you imagine how bad I felt with how the buttercream melted after few minutes? It was heart breaking! I just have to uplift my spirit with the fact that all the great bakers nowadays are once a beginner and they too had their share of baking disasters.

The consolation of that imperfect buttercream frosting is at least it was delicious!

Christmas Cake

Christmas Cake

With my electric oven, I can’t deny that I’ve been inspired to create and bake goodies for my kids. Aside from being able to make cookies and cupcakes for my elder daughter’s school snack, I also tried making muffins for my toddler. Healthy muffins that is. Something that excites her everytime and wouldn’t mind eating.

Last Christmas, my cousins invited us to join their annual Christmas party and exchange gift. Who would say no? Not me! My kids were totally excited! We all love family gatherings and fun parties like this one. Since there were several families attending the event, a potluck was suggested. I was asked to bring something for dessert. And this was the best way to again, to have fun and experiment and also use my oven! I told them I’d bring cupcakes but I wanted to surprise them so I also baked a cake. It was a 6″ round layered chocolate cake with choco ganache.

From this cake on top to this one below which also shows the cupcakes that came with it. The new cupcake holder of my cousin’s wife was perfect to display the colorful sweets. My nieces and cousins volunteered to decorate the cake and cupcakes and it somehow made me feel glad they had fun with an instant creative activity.

It was a memorable Christmas party we had and I still can see the smile on my face whenever I recall that at least, that chocolate cake I brought at the party was not a disaster. As I look at its photos, I want to be able to bake more successful cakes. Successful not just in terms of look but taste too!

 

Hopeful for The New Year

Happy New Year!

In every year, every one is but hopeful for a better life… in all aspect of it. For 10 years now, I always have in my hopes and prayers the best for my daughter K and since 3 years ago, for Roey too. Best of health is first in every Mom’s wish of course. And as we light up every sparkler at New Year’s eve, it comes with a simple  wish of whatever we want or like to happen or have for the incoming year. Just like what we do as we blow the candles in our cakes every birthday celebration we have. In fact, if you think about it, we get to celebrate new year twice a year. Every 1st of January and on our birth dates too! We are so blessed, aren’t we?

My elder daughter took this photo of me as I was holding a small sparkler during New Year’s eve. I can not help but remember how these small sparklers give  joy to me as a child. But if I get to see and witness the brightness and beauty of grand fireworks display,  ahhh…that smile you’ll see in my face is spelled HAPPINESS!

Besides the fact that I was the only person in the house who lit up sparklers, I was the one who baked this cake too! It wasn’t really what I wanted for the New Year but I guess this one’s good enough for us. The real reason was actually, lack of time. Anyways, I used my new electric table top oven for this cake. It was a butter cake topped with a thin coat of choco buttercream, covered with marshmallow fondant. I didn’t have a Yellow food color so instead of using my in-stock White marshmallows for the fondant, I used a  pack of Yellow (Banana cut) marshmallows which were store-bought. Designed it with sugar icing stars and mini candies. That’s our sweet something in our table that evening.

And as everyone of us wish for happiness, let us also remember to bring the same happiness we wish for to others. So, let me end this post with borrowed quotes – –

“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.” – Oprah Winfrey

“Drop the last year into the silent limbo of the past. Let it go, for it was imperfect, and thank God that it can go.” – Brooks Atkinson