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31 July 2015

Ice Cold Tamarind and Limoncello Cocktail

The first word that I made sure I learned in French and Italian after the phrase thank you was "ice". You know why? Because the first time I traveled around Europe with my dependable backpack, it was in the middle of summer. It was hot and since I loved relaxing with a clinking drink full of ice in the caf├Ęs, it was imperative that I get to order a drink with ice properly. Ice wasn't automatically included in drinks even in the hottest days of summers so I had to learn how to indicate that I wanted them in my drinks. I later learned why while living in Italy. Ice is not needed in most drinks because they are already chilled to the right temperature, it waters down the flavor, it is not the healthiest thing you can do (too cold for the throat) and there are only some drinks that are really served with ice - cocktails (and I include soda to that category too)!

30 July 2015

Skinny Taco Lettuce Boats

Having Taco Lettuce Boats is fun because it's like a mini buffet of taco ingredients. You fill up your own according to the size of your lettuce and how much you can bite on it without having your dinner falling all down on your plate once again. There should be a certain trick to learn how to eat these kinds of food with finesse. You know, make a decent small bite without dirtying anything that your compass directs - north, south, east and west. Gawd, if you happen to dirty even your tablemate's plate, then let me shake your hand because you are worse than me! I am still in the process of learning to eat this without making the table look like a 2-year old ate on it.

28 July 2015

Fruit Salsa

Fruits. In one bowl, there are different kinds of them with diverse textures, flavors and colors. It's the kind of beauty of food that makes me dig in. Please don't stop me. The fruits are so fresh that the whole mixture promises to be something delicious and simple and most importantly, healthy! As much as I am omnivorous, a bowl like this will always put anything at the backseat. I still have the good sense to eat fresh and nutritious food. I can just eat this whole bowl for lunch without the main course. And I actually just did.

27 July 2015

No-Bake Strawberry Mug Cake

Because I am guilty that I went on a weekend of work - holiday in Umbria (without the kids, without the dog) while my work calender had been lighting up in big bright red lights, I am now imprisoned in my usual little world of computer and me alone time. Or I do try while my daughter hovers around me with little touches of "Ciao Mommy," as if to understand that I am really there beside her because my silence while working bothers her. I am here. It's just that I need silence and inspiration. Then from my archives, a picture of this recipe jumped out at me. It's time to go back to work.

25 July 2015

Cucumber and Cream Cheese Sandwiches

Because it is summer, we should be eating light and fresh things. I often hear that in the radio, the television, shops and even in the streets. It's a friendly seasonal reminder that I cannot possibly miss unless I start staying in a cave. I don't dislike it. I actually love hearing it (even in my sleep) because eating healthy and wise is something that I am teaching to my own kids too or to anyone who would listen.

22 July 2015

Mango and Pineapple Jam with Lime Zest

I indulged on mangoes on my recent trip to the Philippines like there was no tomorrow. They are so delicious that I have no words to describe them. Ok, sweet? Too sweet at times maybe? In fact, the Carabao mangoes of the Philippines were listed as the sweetest mangoes in the world in the 1995 edition of the Guiness Book of World Records. Mangoes are rich in Vitamin C, fibers, sugar and a whole lot of vitamins and minerals. And since they are so rich in flavor and sweetness, there are so many ways to enjoy them.

15 July 2015

Hotel Monticello in Tagaytay City, Philippines

When the heat is too intense in Manila, Tagaytay City is the answer because of its proximity to Manila, the temperature is slightly lower (cold even on some months), and there's the great view of Taal Volcano to admire. I won't even mention the restaurants and amusement parks mushrooming everywhere. It's a playland to those who love to eat, relax and spend quality time with the kids. After all, it is one of the top weekend quick getaway places of everyone. 

14 July 2015

Fruit Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

Now that the heat has intensified again, I am preparing more fresh things in the kitchen. Salads, fruits and gelato are foremost in my menu. I do turn on the stove sometimes for the kids' pasta, for coffee or sometimes for rice when I want some steamed ones to go with Asian food. Because summer food is supposed to refresh us and it should be light enough for our bodies to handle. Since we spend more time outdoors, we need to think about how to rehydrate our bodies with fresh food and water.

10 July 2015

Roasted Zucchini and Shrimp Salad with Miso Dressing

One thing that I always do in summer is cut down my cooking to lessen the heat at home. The heat of cooking in full summer makes me feel like staying inside the oven myself. It's hard to breathe! I would usually go for fresh ingredients that I can just put together in a plate. Summer means we digest less and we should eat less food than we are used to like in winter. I include more fresh vegetables and fruits, lots of salad and seafood. That would have to be the base of my ideal summer menu. After all, it's bikini time once again so let's take out all the fresh things and stay healthy and fit.

Mini Blueberry & Lemon Mascarpone Cheesecake

Hello from Italy! It is always beautiful to feel the airplane wheels touchdown and you wait in anticipation as the plane taxis and finally, that final stop. Home finally after 41 days of an incredible vacation in the Philippines! The weather never changed much there because summer is the only other season aside from the rainy season. It was hot and humid and going back to Italy in another intensely hot weather (catching the last of the heat wave), there's no other way to go through the days but to wish for light and fresh food.

01 July 2015

How to Make Ramen from Scratch

It did not miss my attention that I only made 2 posts for the whole month of June. I take it as both good and bad because it means that I finally found the chance to give more quality time to my family. It's been so long that I didn't know where and how to start. How do sit down and relax and not think about what to cook and write next? How do you stay in a spot and not flinch every minute because work has to be done? It took me a whole month and a half to reach a point of actually learning how to relax and enjoy life. I am still writing this in the hotel room that I have temporarily called home for the past weeks. In less than a week, I will be back home in Italy, and I am quite sure that reality will be staring back at me and it would have a struggling moment in convincing me to step back in. Yes, that is the problem we all encounter when we come back from  wonderful, long vacations. Reality becomes our enemy.