Food, Glorious Food!

Everyone seems to be cooking more during this pandemic, and I am no exception. I’ve been inspired to cook more times in the last 3 months than the entire year of 2019 😂. Some firsts for me to try were bibimbap and kimchi rice, and some pastas. I don’t always have the complete list of ingredients, so I like to improvise. I like to use left overs, and I get inspired to make dishes out of them.

I was inspired to make lasagna last week because my lasagna noodles were about to expire. I was going to use my newly purchased italian sausage along with my ground beef, but then I saw pepperoni in the freezer and mechado (beef stew in tomato sauce) in the fridge. I decided to chop them up and mix them in with the ground beef to make the meat sauce. It was a hit!

But my meat mixture was just enough for half the box of noodles, so there were some left. My mistake cooking the whole box! Anyway, I think the following night was taco night, and of course there were leftovers from that too. And so in the next few days, I looked up some recipes so that my cooked lasagna noodles wouldn’t go to waste. I decided to make lasagna roll ups! I made meat sauce using left over taco meat filling and tomato sauce. And then I filled the lasagna noodles with my improvised bechamel (left over from the lasagna), and vivo gourmet’s fresh, delicious pesto sauce before rolling them up. I placed the sauce in the bowl first, then the rolled up lasagna, then I put more pesto and cheese on top, and then baked it. It was pretty good!

Soft tacos, leftovers from taco night!
Yummy pesto and bechamel, before rolling the lasagna up 🙂
Pesto lasagna roll up on taco meat sauce 😋

To finish off all the left over noodles and use more of the yummy pesto, I made roll ups again. I filled the noodles with cheesier bechamel sauce and chunks of mozzarella, and placed the roll ups on pesto sauce. Everyone liked it too, but I think I’ll make it with slices of cooked chicken next time. If only I had leftover chicken! 😂

Before baking….
Baked! 😋

I really believe that we get creative when we are left in a tight spot. We have all experienced pay cuts, job cuts, halts in the business. So we have been more mindful to make do with what we have. We have been getting more creative, stretching our ingredients to make more meals, to stretch our budgets. Now more than ever, we reuse and recycle, to minimize waste. More and more people are growing their own food too.

Kangkong from our yard!

I salute every Filipino who has cried his/her eyes out and who has lost sleep over the effects of this pandemic, and yet has chosen to get up on his/her feet and keep moving forward! You create opportunities for yourself to help your family! I salute you for rolling with the punches, for being willing to sacrifice just a little bit more, to tighten your belts just a little bit longer. I salute you for making the most out of a terrible situation, even extending help to those in need while you are also in need. I salute you for smiling, laughing through all the uncertainty, and encouraging others to keep praying. I salute you for believing still that God is good, that He is in control, and He will save us from this crisis.

May the Lord bless us and sustain us, and may His peace that transcends all understanding guard our hearts from worry. And as we grow in creativity and resilience, may joy and gratitude in our hearts grow as well. ❤️

Funny Fridays

Gianna and food

As we were ordering at Silantro on King’s birthday months ago, we asked Gianna what she wanted. She said HOPIA. And then later on she asked “where’s my hopia?” No, there’s no hopia in Silantro haha. She used to call it hoopa, then ho–pya, then hoopia, before hopia.


Also some months ago, I asked her if she wanted noodles. I call every kind of pasta/noodle, noodles, to simplify it. She said to me “That’s not noodles mommy. That’s miswa.” It was.


When she drinks something like “hansi” (calamansi) juice or sinigang, she comments that it’s “super sour.”


Last week, she saw crabs served on the dining table.

Gianna: mommy, it’s a crab!

Me: yeah you want?

Gianna: yeah! Because I’m……shineeeh! (Moana)


She likes to “steal” wowa’s boiled eggs. She says that she wants to “cwack a egg.”


A month or so ago, we were driving home from church probably.

I heard Gianna struggling with something. Until she stopped.

Gianna: Hold. (giving her milk to a friend of theirs)

And then she slept. She was apparently struggling to put her on the door handle and couldn’t. She fell asleep right away.


One time, I didn’t notice that she took a packet of Ovaltine from the pantry. I just found her face full of chocolate powder, and noticed traces of her handiwork. She cut the packet open by herself in the kitchen and spilled practically half the contents on the counter.


She wanted to come with me today, but I needed to leave her because of a church activity. She kept following me, trying to convince me to take her.

Me: I’ll just bring you something, ok? You want donut?

Gianna: yes. Strawberry, mommy. See u later mommy!

Just like that.


When she had her bout with diarrhea…

Me: see gianna? You can’t eat chocolate first. Your tummy and butt get owie.

Gianna: I can’t eat chocolate?

Me: yeah.

Gianna: “Habbout” ice cream?

Haha kain pa din. 🙂


Great Tip to De-Stress Your Life!

Before our 10-day stay in hospital, it has been 4 months of not having a permanent helper at home and about 2 months of having a weekly cleaning lady and weekly laundry woman. I would have to cook our meals, which I have said here that it’s not something I am used to, OR we would have to order out, which is totally unhealthy and expensive. I have learned to cope with our situation, doing minor cleaning myself 6 days a week, and drying & folding clothes after laundry day. I realized that it was the cooking that would stress me out the most, and so we had to come up with a plan for when we’d get back home. I could already foresee what I would be up against because unlike in the hospital where there are nurses 24/7, ready regular meals including snacks delivered to the room, and the housekeeping staff to clean the room & bathroom, I would have almost no help at home, not even from King because he’s still recovering — taking care of the kids, bathing them, taking them to the bathroom, bringing Danae to and from school, washing dishes, vacuuming, even the simple act of picking up something on the floor or grabbing King’s shirt in his cabinet…..you get the picture. And so I thought, to lessen my work (and stress), I need someone to cook many meals for us, so that I could just reheat them. I wanted clean, healthy, home cooked meals. My friend Chef Len Santos-Ding came to mind.

I immediately messaged her if she would be willing to cook for us in bulk — food that we could put in the freezer, then reheat and add fresh vegetables as needed. Being my friend and a woman, she completely understood me. She was on board immediately, telling me that she has been wanting to provide exactly this kind of service for women like me. We came up with a possible menu that suited our liking, but I told her that it’s up to her since we knew that we would love whatever she cooked for us. It’s been six days since we got our food and we have been enjoying our meals! I’m not pressured to cook and I can have our meals ready within 30 minutes, as opposed to an hour or two, including prep time (yes, I am slow). Everything has been delicious and we still have loads in the freezer! We’ve consumed the baked macaroni & cheese, beef stew with mushrooms, meatballs with mushroom sauce, 2/3 of the beef nilaga, half the chicken teriyaki, half the chicken pineapple stew, half the one loaf of embotido. We still have 2 kinds of spaghetti sauces, adobo, sinigang, chicken estofado, another embotido loaf, and more meatballs. I didn’t have to do anything but pay as I picked up all the food. She even gave me tips for left-overs. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it sooner. Seriously, this is one of the best tips I could give you, if you want to de-stress your life. I can’t wait for our next batch of food. I see delicious, home made arrozcaldo, tocino, longganiza, lasagna and kaldereta in our future! 🙂