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25 December 2015

21 December 2015

Vanilla Pear Rum Cocktail

What strikes me most about this cocktail is the aroma that emanates from the combination of ingredients. It smells beautiful, fresh and healthy. With vanilla, pears, clementines and fresh thyme (if you are able to get a few sprigs), you are in for a festive cocktail that's almost as fresh as summer with winter ingredients. Adjust the amount of rum according to the strength you want. The quantity I put in the recipe is not too strong because this kind of cocktail is great during the day, maybe while waiting for lunch to be ready, something that is enjoyable that does not give a strong kick.

19 December 2015

2-Ingredient Baked Pork Chops

It's that period again when everyone is stuck in traffic jams, the commercial centers are crawling with Christmas shoppers, there are the kids' recitals to attend, parties here and there, haircuts to be done, food shopping to accomplish and just about anything that has to be done that's squeezed in one single period. Christmas period is festive but behind the festivities is a lot of work (and stress) to deal with. Until now, my family and I are running around meeting appointments and trying to accomplish things we need done. I am also guilty of still not having put up the Christmas tree. I know, we are just seven days shy from the big day. We will have to put it up this weekend. I promise.

17 December 2015

One-Pot Brandy Chicken and Mushrooms

We all love a pot of home cooked dish with loads of flavor in it but the long-standing obstacle to having one is always the question of time. Do we have the time? I usually don't but if I can clone myself then maybe I can hack it. Working from home may be the most comfortable job there is but it doesn't mean that I have all the time to accomplish everything either. With two kids and a dog, imagine how chaotic the house can be after the three of them decide to play together, which is practically the whole time they are on their feet.

15 December 2015

Chateau Copsa Winery and Hotel in the Rose Valley: Wineries of Bulgaria (2 of 7)

You are in the Rose Valley, where roses grow for the production of Bulgaria's world-famous rose oil and where native grape variety Karlovo Misket Cherven (Red Misket) come from. You are in Chateau Copsa surrounded with the outstanding views of the vineyards, sunset and the Balkan Mountains and with a glass of wine in hand. What else is there to do?

14 December 2015

Cucumber, Tomato and Crouton Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

We are all guilty of eating twice as much when Christmas season arrives. Eating and drinking go with celebrations with friends, families and just about everyone who has a good holiday cheer to share with us. When December starts ticking, our calendars get fully-booked with get-togethers involving loads of food and drinks. What is celebrating without them anyway? That's the fun of it! We rebel from ourselves for our obsession with calorie-counting. When the month starts, we forget about diets, weighing scales and calories but we need to remind ourselves that we should sneak away from holiday food and go for simple and healthy fares whenever we can. Keeping a good balance of rich and healthy food will keep us right on track.

13 December 2015

Slow Cooker Asian Sesame Chicken

I call my slow cooker the magic cooker because life had been much easier after I had it. Putting all the ingredients together in it and leaving it to cook my dinner safely while I am not home is something that I never thought I can ever do before I knew it existed. With the minimum cooking of 4 hours on high or 8 - 12 hours on low, your dinner will come out as delicious as it smells while it is cooking.

12 December 2015

Savory Bacon, Egg and Cheese Oatmeal Bowl

With oatmeals, it's either you love them or hate them. Let me tell me which side I am on.  I am on the love side while the rest of my family - siblings, parents, husband and kids never shared (and still don't) my enthusiasm in having a warm bowl of this wonderful, healthy groats. I was the strange one who loves a warm bowl of chocolate or plain oatmeal in the morning while the rest have their more interesting breakfasts. But I don't keep myself from enjoying a big world of other combinations of ingredients that I can add to my oatmeal bowls. Most of the time, I go for sweet blends especially fruits but in some moments, savory oatmeal breakfasts are actually great alternatives. Mix it with crunchy pancetta (or bacon), cheese and eggs and enjoy a savory kind of oatmeal.

11 December 2015

What Do You Put in That Antipasto Platter

Let's get this straight. Antipasto means appetizer in Italian and like with any appetizer in other parts of the world, it can be anything - hams, cheeses, seafood, pickled vegetables, crostini, bruschette, bite-sized pizzas (pizzette) and the list can go on. In Italy, it is the first course followed by pasta dish then the main and side dish, fruits then the dessert. And when you are eating in an Italian table, take your time because dinner can be quite long and amazing.

10 December 2015

Easy Zucchini Fritters

Easy Zucchini Fritters are very quick and easy to prepare and not only that, they are also rich in fibers, Vitamins A & C.

When we find ourselves in moments of rushing, we look for the things that can curtail a little bit of time to accomplish as many things as we can. Most often, we try to cut on our time in cooking and just go for take-outs. There's nothing really wrong with it if you go to the health food places and steer away from unhealthy meals from fast food places but when you have a family of four, it can be quite heavy on the pocket when it becomes too frequent.

09 December 2015

Everything You Want to Know About Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil, referred to as the liquid gold is that super healthy ingredient that makes all Italian dishes taste so good. Read on and find out why you should grab a bottle now.

I have three olive trees at home that keep on growing and shedding ripe olives everywhere. We never picked the fruit and our fault was that we barely trimmed the branches to keep them from growing too tall. Now they serve only as shade-providers and my most indispensable source of props when I take food photos. The leaves, olives and branches are quite unbeatable as beautiful and natural-looking decors. 

03 December 2015

Mini Breakfast Burritos with Chorizo and Feta Cheese

Just like last year's Thanksgiving, I created some recipes for this special occasion for the site of Thanksgiving. When I was assigned to create something for breakfast, so many ideas were crossing my mind but then, I had to stick to something simple, light  and easy to put together because the whole day would be dedicated to cooking an abundance of food for the family. Thanksgiving is the time when everyone takes out their best recipes and cooking skills because it is one of the important moments when the families stay together.

One-Pot Chorizo Shrimp Rice

If I have chorizo and shrimp everyday, I would make this every single day. That's how much I love this one-pot meal. I may be biased because I am totally nuts about chorizo but when I make this, even my whole family gives me the thumbs up. So yes, it is a unanimous opinion of kids and adults. This definitely counts as a quick and easy recipe to be kept in the file of ideas in everyone's kitchen. It takes about half an hour (35 minutes in the recipe) to make, all in one pot (hurray!) where you put all the ingredients at the same time, cover and wait until all the water has been absorbed. Do keep in mind that rice expands so think about space for growth in the pot.

01 December 2015

Villa Yustina Winery: Wineries of Bulgaria (1 of 7)

Let me take you back to Bulgaria and refresh our memories about the wines I tried and the wineries I visited during and after the Digital Wine Communications Conference 2015 in Plovdiv (#dwcc15). It had been a whirlwind of tasting of wines from different parts of Europe and most especially from Bulgaria itself. 

Bulgarian winemaking has a long history dating back five thousand years ago, from the period of the Thracians. The country has been producing wines continuously that it even became the second biggest wine producer in the 1980s but declined along with the fall of communism. About 10 years after, Russia's Anti-Alcohol Campaign made a big dent to the country's demand for export and it resulted in abandoned vineyards and low quality wines. But upon entry to the 21st century, things made a sudden turn. Interest in investing in vineyards that can produce quality wines finally emerged. Thus, we have a few bottles of good Bulgarian wines floating around in and out of the country nowadays. There are a number of new vineyards that are well-muscled with modern equipment, quality grape varieties of both local and international varieties, dynamic objective in producing the best they can and passion for what they stand for. Let's watch out for Bulgarian wines because they are making a comeback with competitive quality wines.