Sunday, July 07, 2013

Sunday breakfasts

Most days, our breakfast usually consists of oatmeal and juice, or cookie butter on bread, or cookies. The kids love cookies! Most of the time, it's cereal, like these multi-colored oatmeal stars. They're Quaker Oats Twinkles, fruit-flavored cereal made of oats, wheat and corn. Healthy and delicious!
Yes, breakfast time is also learning time!

But Sundays, Sundays! Sundays are breakfast love! Here are a few that Vince and I have prepared:
Raisin pudding. I baked this. It's really quick and easy. Just soak old bread in milk and cream and sugar, sprinkle with raisins (or chocolate chips) then bake! It's based on Nigella Lawson's chocolate
chip bread pudding recipe but no rum.

Oh, this sinful breakfast is all Vince. It's pancakes and bacon and syrup and sweet spreads. Vince sometimes makes French toast, slathers it with Nutella then tops it with crispy bacon. The combination of sweet and salty, the soft and the crunch is to die for!

This is my usual Sunday brekkie. Toast, egg, sausage, cheese. That's toast with garlic and butter. My eggs are always sunny side up sprinkled with Italian seasoning and truffle oil. The cheese is Parmesan crisps (my how-to here!). Sooo good!

Sometimes we do a big English breakfast (toast with jam, creamy scrambled eggs, grilled tomatoes, sausage and bacon). Sometimes it's Pinoy all the way with fried garlic rice, tapa or tocino or longganisa or Spam. Mmm! What's your favorite breakfast?

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Super delish sardine dish!

When I wrote about our mini-vacation at Edsa Shang, I mentioned that at the breakfast buffet, I ate sardines. Yes, I went to one of the best buffets in town and I chose to eat sardines! Why? Because I love sardines! It's affordable, healthy, easy to prepare, and you can make so many dishes with sardines!

I always have cans of sardines in the pantry. They're easy comfort food. Just open a can, squeeze calamansi and you have a tasty rice topping. Or I mash it up and spread it on hot pan de sal. Or if I'm feeling hoity-toity, I put a dollop on crackers with cheese and I have instant hors d'ouvres. I also make it into an omelette. I also make it into a glass noodle soup. Lots of dishes you can make with a can (or two!) of sardines!

And because Mega Creations Premium Sardines sent me cans of their yummylicious products, I'll share with you a really yummy sardine casserole that my husband enjoys. This recipe is actually by Chef Greg Villalon but I tweaked it to make it mine!

Moroccan Sardine and Sweet Potato Casserole


Sardine layer
3 cans of Mega Creations Premium Sardines Spanish Style
1 cup spinach leaves, chopped (you can use kangkong kung walang spinach)
1 cup red bell pepper, sliced into strips
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup onions, minced
1 tbsp cinnamon powder
1 tbsp curry powder
3 tbsp tomato paste
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Sweet potato layer
1/2 kilo kamote (sweet potatoes), peeled and cubed
1 cup milk
3 tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste

Cheese crust
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Japanese bread crumbs


1. Peel and cube the kamote. Be very careful. Kamote is a very hard root crop. I sliced my finger trying to chop this! Anyway, place in a pan and boil the sweet potatoes until soft. Drain. (I actually just realized I should've boiled the kamote first para mas malambot!)

2. Add milk and butter. Mash together until desired consistency is reached. Season to taste. Set aside.

3. Heat olive oil in a pan. Sauté onions, peppers, spinach and raisins. Add spices. This smells so good! But you'll have to open the windows so that the curry smell won't stick to your upholstery and curtains haha.

4. Stir in tomato paste. Add the Mega Creations Premium Sardines Spanish Style*. Mash thoroughly. I used a wooden spoon. Season to taste. Set aside.

5. Assemble the dish in a casserole or Pyrex dish. Sweet potato mash first, sardine and spinach layer next, then Parmesan cheese. Repeat until you reach the top.

6. Sprinkle the cheese crust mixture on top and add pats of butter. Then bake in a 200º C oven for 15-20 minutes or until the crust browns.

7. Serve hot from the oven! This serves 4-6 people. I serve it with garlic toast and a sprinkling of raisins. I also like it with hot sauce. Sooo good!

You can get more sardine recipes from the show Everyday Creations. It's on Lifestyle Network and it features tons of delicious and easy-to-make dishes that use Mega Creations Premium Sardines. It's every Friday at 6:30 p.m., with replays on Wednesdays at 6:00 p.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m. You can also visit the My Everyday Creations page on Facebook.

I super recommend Mega Creations Premium Sardines because it's masarap and not malansa. It's super fresh because the fish is processed in 12 hours so that the natural elements from the fish like Omega 3 oils, protein, and calcium are preserved. Mega Sardines also comes in tomato sauce variant. It has no preservatives and is ready to eat. Kain na!

Mega Creations Premium Sardines sent me a list of the health benefits of eating sardines. I've edited and added some of my own insights, too! Here they are:

Reduce the risk of cancer
For every serving of sardines, you can get as much as 2,200 mg of Omega-3 fatty acid, which helps prevent cancer, the growth of tumors, and the spread of the disease. Sardines are also rich in Vitamin D, which has been linked with regulation of cell activity and the prevention of cancer.

Raise good cholesterol
Omega-3 fatty acids also help in raising good cholesterol while lowering bad cholesterol. As such, it decreases the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Improve bone health
Sardines also have high calcium content. This means that, together with proper exercise, sardines can help the growth of kids and for us grown-ups, help prevent osteoporosis and degenerative bone diseases.

Protect your eyes against degeneration
The combination of DHA and Omega-3 fatty acids plays a role in eye health. Research has found that the human retina has a high concentration of DHA.

Enjoy high protein content
One serving of sardines contains 7g of protein. Compared to other kinds of meats that have the same amount of protein, sardines have less saturated fat, lowering your risk of heart diseases while still providing you with the right amount of protein.

Strengthen your immune system
A regular serving of sardines has 135.1% Vitamin B-12, which has been associated with the formation of healthy red blood cells, allowing the body to maintain a healthy immune system.

Sooo many health benefits, right? And for such an affordable price and super yummy, too! If you're trying to add more fish to your diet, try sardines!

*If you don't like the bones, you can remove them beforehand but I prefer to keep the bones because they're rich in Vitamin D. When you mash the sardines, madudurog din yung bones anyway.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Reader question: Is your life for real?

I got an email from someone who remarked on how unbelievably blessed my life is. She said, "It must be so nice to have everything. Your life is just so perfect! Sometimes I wonder if it's for real."

I have secrets, too!
Well, dear reader, my life is real. I really am married and happily at that. I really do have two sons who are adorable. I really do live in a fully owned house. I really do write and get paid to write. Everything I write about on my blogs is real. So if you suspect that everything can't be just peachy, then you should pay attention to what I don't write about. Those are the sad and infuriating parts of my life that are unfortunately just as real as the wonderful parts.

I don't blog about them not because I pretend they don't exist. Oh, they're there all right. My husband and I discuss them with great gnashing of teeth. And lately, too many hours have been spent in anger and despair because our funds have been significantly depleted by these people. So we have resolved that maybe it's best for all to ignore them. They are seriously affecting our happiness and we are angry and upset and sad, and we don't want to be this way. So I don't give the problems importance on my blogs because I want my blogs to be a happy place.

Nevertheless, you reminded me of this sad and strange day. I visited my Papa with my sons one afternoon and he went on and on about something he wanted. For two hours, unrelenting. Finally, I said, "Papa, I'm here. Your grandsons are here. We're not here very often. You haven't even asked me how we are."

And he replied, "I don't need to ask. I read all about you on Facebook."

"But all I write on Facebook is the good things!"

And Papa said, "That's all I need to know."

If you're wondering about the authenticity of my life, I assure you that it is very real. But like my father said, it's only the good things that you need to know, dear reader. That's all you need to know.