Sunday, March 29, 2009

#105_ More Goodies at the Get-Together

I had to guard this platter so I can take a picture of it.
Amy did a wonderful job putting this fruit tray together
and the fruits look so lovely with the fruit dip at the center.

Fruit Kebabs with Twinkies

The Oriental Salad
Click here for the recipe #70

Yours truly made these Girl Scout Cookies (Samoas Bar Cookies).
Here's the link to the website where I got the recipe from.

There were other good stuff at the get-together that I didn't get to take pictures of.
Amy made some Crock Pot B-B-Q Beef and everybody made their own sandwiches with it.
There were several other kinds of salads and desserts and chips & dips,
other food on the spread,
but I was just too slow to take pictures.
Everything was soooo good and everyone had a good time.

#104 Strawberry Salad

We had a get-together dinner today at our daughter's house.
Amy and one of her friends brought this salad.

She calls it salad, but it is more of a pudding to me than salad or
it can also be great as a fruit dip.
Anyway, it is really good so I asked her how she made it.
She said it is really simple. It is simple alright, but I had to write it down.
My daughter-in-law told me to write down the recipe so she'll get it from me later.
Well, I'll just write it down here for everybody to see.

Here it is:

1 big box Cook 'N Serve vanilla pudding mix
1 big box strawberry Jell-O
Combine these together and dissolve in 3 cups water. Bring to a boil.
Refrigerate overnight.
Before serving, add a pint of whipping cream. Stir with a hand mixer to fluff it up.
Serve with sliced fresh strawberries.

That's it!!

#103_The Food Blogger's Lunch Today

Pancit Sotanghon Guisado and Black Rice Suman
What a perfect pair!

Actually this is the first batch of suman out from the steamer. The cook gets to taste test it first!
It is flavored with real langka fruit...Mmmmmm. It smells and tastes like langka!!!

Click here for post on black rice ; pancit sotanghon recipe here.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

#101_ Afritada

Pork Afritada

Afritada is one of several tomato based dishes
enjoyed by many Filipinos.
It is one of the dishes influenced by Spanish cuisine.
It can either be pork or chicken, very simple to make
and it is one of my favorite dishes. I'm glad I learned to make this dish from my dear mother when she came here in the US.

2-3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
Canola oil
1 med. size onion, chopped
2 med. size ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 lbs. pork loin, cubed
1 cup water
5-6 med. potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 bay leaves
2 cups frozen peas & carrots
1/2 of red bell pepper, sliced
salt and pepper
Start off by sauteing the garlic, onion, and tomatoes in
canola oil in a skillet over medium high heat.
Add the pork and the bay leaves.
Turn down heat to medium and continue to saute,
stirring occasionally until the meat renders juice or fat.
Season with salt and pepper.
Put lid on and keep it covered for about 10 minutes.
Gradually add the water and bring to boil.
Turn down the heat, keeping lid on and simmer,
stirring occasionally,
until meat is tender adding more water when necessary.
Add the potatoes and return the lid on.
Turn up the heat to medium
and continue to simmer until potatoes are almost tender
then add the peas and carrots and the red bell pepper.
Cook until potatoes are fork tender.
Serve hot over rice.

The red bell pepper has been in the freezer since Fall (Oct.)
I bought several of them when they were on sale, sliced them up,
divided them up in small portions and stored them
plastic bags in the freezer.
So when a recipe calls for red bell pepper, I have some ready.
You don't need to thaw them out, just throw them
in the skillet in frozen stage.

Same thing with tomatoes.
At the end of summer when tomatoes are plentiful
I usually prep and freeze them, click here,
so I have some ready when a recipe calls for
the holy trinity of sauteing, meaning, garlic, onion and tomatoes.

Notes from MaMely:
1) Fresh vegetables are great but using frozen peas & carrots
is a super time saver specially dicing carrots.
You don't need to thaw them out before adding in to the mixture.
2) The measurements given above are just for guidelines.
This is one of those dishes that I just eyeball when I make it.
You can't really go wrong with this dish. Just guesstimate the ingredients.

Monday, March 23, 2009

#100_Better Than Store-Bought Pickles

Bread and Butter Pickles
My favorite kind of pickles!

The reason it is my favorite kind is probably because it is close to
our own
Philippines' atchara or papaya pickles.
I seldom eat sandwich but when I have cravings for one,
I'd make me a "subway type" in a crusty french bread with
bread and butter pickles
because I enjoy the crispiness from from the pickles.

I also enjoy eating them with my meat or fried fish as condiment
or just by themselves.

And...guess what I got in the mail today?!!
Yup! bread and butter pickles!!!
from manang, of kusinanimanang,
an online buddy and a fellow blogger!!
They were neatly packed and they came in perfect condition
from across the country
Oh..bless her heart!

Manang makes and bottles these pickles herself.
I went to her site where she shows a step-by-step process
of making and bottling them.
She even grows the cucumbers herself along with many other veggies.

I'm going to make an effort to plant some cucumbers
this summer and I will "try" to make them comes Fall.

Wayyy better than store-bought!

I was so excited to taste them, so as soon as I took the bottles
out of the box, I tried a piece, then another one....
and then another one, and one more, and ...
it was hard to stop with just few pieces!!
( I also happened to have left over piece of meatloaf).
Ohhhh, I can't tell you how much I enjoyed it.
"Very much" is an understatement.

The blending of the pickling spices with the other seasonings is so perfect and
the cucumbers are perfectly crispy.

She even have some onion rings and chopped red bell peppers
in the mixture which not only added
extra flavors to the pickles but also enhanced the eye appeal.

If I rate this on a scale from 1-10, 10 being the highest,
I'll give it an honest 10!
plus 2 thumbs up!!

Yes, the best ever!!

Store-bought kind...
Be the judge!!

I had to show you this name brand kind that I thought it was good,
until I tasted Manang's.

It will be hard for me to go back to it now that I tasted the real thing from manang.

Mga mrs. diyan, let's plant some cucumbers this summer then go to manang's site

and get her instructions on how to bottle and can (as in canning).

This is what they call:



#99_Sweet Potato Alfredo Casserole

I sent this picture today to a friend without
any description of it to get her reaction,
then she e-mailed me back and said
"what is the name of this cake?"

It might pass for a cake, but it is not. It is a casserole.
Sweet Potato Alfredo Casserole!
It is an old family recipe that I tweaked to be able
to use sweet potatoes
because I'm entering it to a recipe contest
using potatoes as main ingredient.

This is my third entry (maybe the last one) to the
North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission
where Manang of kusinanimanang
invited me to join. Thanks again, Manang!
It has been fun.

Super easy to make, this casserole is composed of 3 layers:

1st layer: the meat

2 lbs. ground beef
1 medium size onion, chopped

2nd layer: the sauce with veggies

1 jar Alfredo Pasta sauce
1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/2 tub of sour cream
1 bag of frozen vegetable (any kind, although
I used the Vegetable & Asparagus stir fry blend)
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (or whatever you have)

3rd layer: mashed sweet potato with sour cream

3 lbs. sweet potatoes
1/2 tub of sour cream

1st layer: Meat

Brown ground beef with the chopped onions in a skillet over
medium high heat until the meat are no longer pink.
Put browned meat in a colander to drain off fat.
Spread this mixture in a deep baking dish, about 3 inches high.

Mashed Sweet Potato

Unlike regular potatoes, the sweet potatoes don't need too many
other ingredients such as milk, spices, butter, etc.

All you need to do is boil sweet potatoes until they are fork tender.
Peel and mash the sweet potatoes and stir in the sour cream.
Mix well until smooth. Set aside.

The Sauce

Combine Alfredo pasta sauce, mushroom soup
and the other half of sour cream together
then mix in frozen veggies, and the cheese.
Season with ground pepper.
You don't need to thaw out the frozen veggies.
If you prefer to use fresh veggies,
you might want to blanch them first before
mixing them in with the sauce.

2nd Layer: Sauce/Veggies

Spread the sauce/veggies mixture on top of the meat layer.

3rd Layer: Sweet Mashed Potato

Spread the mashed sweet potato with sour cream
on top of the sauce/veggies.
At this point you can sprinkle some
sliced almonds or pecans (optional)
and pop it in a pre-heated 350 degrees oven
and bake it for 1 hour
and you'll have a nice casserole for dinner.


Pass some mashed sweet potatoes through a piper.
(I used tip #1 M).

(I made a few of these in little dishes to look like they are pot pies).

To achieve the two-toned effect,
after baking the casserole in the oven for an hour,
put it under the broiler for a few minutes
until some of the ridges of the potatoes are browned.
Keep a good eye on it though because it will burn easily.

This dish is a complete meal in itself
and it is very good in every bite!

Open wide!!!

1) In place of ground beef, you can substitute cooked chicken but use condensed cream of chicken soup.
2) My friend and neighbor, Cora, asked me if she can use tuna fish instead of meat as she doesn't care much for meats. I said "I'm pretty sure you can," because I have a similar recipe that has been in the family using tuna and condensed soups and veggies.
So here's an idea from Cora if you want to give it a try, in place of meat, you can use 4 cans of tuna fish (6 0z. ea), drained well
or 2 cans of salmon (14.75 oz. each) drained well, and condensed cream of mushroom soup.

The winning recipes (click here) have been announced by the Sweet Potato Commission, unfortunately none of yours truly's entries won any prize. I actually don't feel bad because I learned some new things doing the recipes.

Friday, March 20, 2009

#98_Sweet Potato Cream Tarts

No-bake, Bite-size Dessert.

My dear husband had a bad experience with
sweet potatoes when he was a kid and never liked them anymore after that.
So I had to persuade him to test taste these tarts.
After I handed him one to try, it took him awhile before he put it in his mouth.
When he finally did,I was anticipating a cringed or pulled face, but to
my amazement he bit and swallowed it like he was eating his
cheese cake.
This recipe won him over!

The taste is comparable to that of cheesecake or cream pie
and has several interesting textures going on in just one bite such as the following:
Flakiness from the shells, crunchiness from the nuts, and smoothness from the sweet potatoes.
The cream cheese and the marshmallow creme give it an incredibly good taste.
An addition of sugar is unnecessary as the sweet potatoes have natural sweetness already in them. Although the butterscotch caramel added an extra sweetness to the filling,
it did not result in a cloyingly sweet dessert.

This recipe is my second entry to the
North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission,
a recipe contest for bloggers where I was invited to join by manang.
Thank you manang!

This recipe only calls for a few ingredients. The main ingredient, of course,
is the sweet potato.

I used the store-bought shells so that is one less preparation to do.
Maybe next time when I get a little ambitious,
I will make the shells out of phyllo dough sheets,

but for now I am using "fill and serve" shells.

Here's the ingredients:

3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 small jar of marshmallow creme
1/2 cup chopped nuts for filling
2 packs (15 counts each) Fill-and-Serve pastry shells
chopped nuts for garnish
Chopped pecans can be added in the filling or used for garnish, or both.

For the filling:
1) Boil and mash about 2 medium size sweet potatoes.
2) Mix in the softened cream cheese.
4) Fold in the marshmallow creme.
5) Add in the chopped nuts.

Your friends would think you worked all day to make this dessert,
but after you boil the sweet potatoes,little would they know, you can actually put this together in just a few minutes.

The finale:

1) Fill tart shells with the filling.
2) Top them with chopped nuts.
3) Drizzle with butterscotch caramel.
4) Chill for about 2 hours before serving.

That's it! very simple and yet incredibly good!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

#97_Coconut Flavored Sweet Potato Rolls a la Turon

No, these are not the typical turon! just clones.
These are sweet potatoes
with coconut cream
powder and brown sugar
wrapped in spring roll wrappers.

At first glance, one will think these are turon.
Yes,they might be in appearance, but they have totally different fillings.

By the way, turon is made of slices of bananas coated with
brown sugar
then wrapped in spring roll wrappers
and then fried in hot oil.
They are a very popular snack in the Philippines.

Inspired by the turon, I made this recipe out of slices of sweet potatoes coated with
coconut powder
and sugar mixture.
The coconut powder gives this recipe a unique flavor and is very easy to make.

This recipe is my first entry to a contest being sponsored by the

North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission.
Watch out for more recipes that I will be posting for this contest.

Manang of kusina ni manang invited me to join the contest
and I appreciate her for doing so.

Thank you manang !

Start by cooking the sweet potato either by steaming, boiling or
by pressure cooker
until just fork-tender

Peel then slice the cooked sweet potatoes lengthwise.

Combine 1/4 cup brown sugar and 4 heaping tablespoons of coconut powder.
Slightly moisten the slices of sweet potatoes with milk or water and coat each slice with thecoconut powder and sugar mixture.
This trick makes the mixture adhere more easily to the sliced pieces.

Take a piece of spring roll or egg roll wrapper and place it on a work surface
with a pointed side facing towards you.
Place a slice of sweet potato coated with the coconut powder/brown sugar mixture
on the wrapper about 1/3 of the way from the pointed side.

Fold the pointed side over the sweet potato and roll it up once.

Fold the left and right corners in and roll it all the way
to the other pointed side.
Don't worry about sealing the pointed seam with water or paste
as you do with egg rolls
as long as you place the seam side down first when frying.

Oops, I see one seam coming up!

Heat some canola oil in a frying pan, over medium heat.
Make sure that the oil is hot enough, but not smoking hot,
before you fry the wrapped sweet potatoes.

To test if the oil has reached the perfect temperature for frying them,
dip one end of a roll into the oil.

When the oil sizzles, it is ready for you to fry the wrapped sweet potatoes.
Fry them on all sides until golden brown.



1) Omit coconut cream powder and add string cheese (mozzarella).
2) Omit coconut cream powder and mix about 2 tsp of ground cinnamon into the brown sugar
3) Use phyllo dough instead of egg roll or spring roll wrappers.
Use about 4 stacks of phyllo dough sheets, brushing each sheet with melted butter and then bake them in the oven.

Coconut cream powder is found in any Asian store.

#96_Another Great Big Thanks to Ebie!!

I got these pretty kitchen towels today in the mail from a fellow blogger, Ebie.
Click on her name and it will take you to her beautiful blog site.
She's the one I mentioned on post #94, who taught me how to do links on my blog.

This looks so beautiful on my fridge door handle.
I hope it will stay fresh and clean like that for awhile.

Ebie said she makes these as her hobby, aside from photography. She is so creative!!
It is so amazing how blogging connects you to nice people like her.


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

#95_Mango Shake

Manila Mangoes from Mexico?!

A friend of mine, Cora and her hubby, brought these mangoes back from
Sea Food City in Los Angeles.
They are called " Manila mangoes",
but they are actually grown in Mexico.
I love mangoes. To me they are celestial fruits.
I'm glad to have these from Mexico as they are the next best thing
to our very own Philippine mangoes.

We used to make mango shakes when we were back home.
We usually made the shakes with milk, pineapple gelatin, sugar, crushed ice and of course, mangoes. Man, it was so refreshingly good!!

Because I have a problem with milk, I made a different recipe today.
Here's what I came up with:
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup apricot gelatin
1 ripe mango, peeled and pitted
4 ice cubes

Put everything in the blender starting with the orange juice then put ice cubes in last.
Process on smoothie cycle. If you don't have that cycle in your blender, just process
for about maybe 60 to 70 seconds until everything is well blended.

The result?....
It got the approval of my hubby!!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

#94_A Huge "Thank You" to Ebie!!

I want to acknowledge Ebie, a fellow blogger for helping me set up links on my blog. She is a computer savvy and she was very willing to help me out.
See, just click on her name that is highlighted and it will take you to her nice blogsite. She taught me how to do that step by step over the phone!! Isn't she neat?
I've always wanted to do it but didn't know how to go about it.
Thank you very much Ebie. It was fun talking to you on the phone, too!!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

#93_A Gift from Camille

A Recipe Book!!

Camille gave me this beautiful recipe book as a gift for helping her with the baby shower today.
I told her she didn't have to do that..
but what can I do but to accept it graciously and gratefully. It was really nice of her!!

I really, truly LOVE it !!
It has tabbed dividers, pocket pages that are refillable, recipe cards, etc.

#92_It's a Boy!!


A friend, Camille, asked me if I could help her with the food for the baby shower she gave today for Anna, another friend. Thanks for asking me to help, Camille!It sure was an honor!!

I only took pictures of the ones I made.
On the lazy Susan on top is a bouquet of the Lollicakes,
surounded by Chocolate Cupcake with Coconut-Pecan Frosting and mini Chocolate Cupcakes. At left are the Potato Dinner Rolls for cold sandwiches; middle platter is more of the chocolate cupcakesCoconut-Pecan Frosting; then more of the cakeballs on the right.
The Fiesta Dip was hiding on the right next to the cakeballs.

These are Pani Popo or
Coconut Cream Buns
I made this for Anna, the-mother-in-two-weeks and her family.
My sister in NZ showed me how to make them when she came over for a visit back in 2000.
I will post the recipe later.

Here are some of Anna's family and friends who were at the party.

and....some more friends.
I didn't get to take too many pictures but it sure was FUN!!