Today for the second time in 3 days, the weather has chosen to deviate from acceptable “spring” conditions to an unacceptable wintry mix of horror.
It has been snowing.
Tuesday-rain (and lots of it) ☔ ☔ ☔
Wednesday-snow. Coupled windy-like blustery weather reminiscent of a hurricane.
Quit it winter. Goooo away. Seriously.
So I decided that if the weather is going to be wacky and un-spring-like, I was going to make a dish of food that was reflective of that.
I made a lentil stew using a bunch of veggies, some of them spring veggies.
Take that, winter weather.
I began by thawing and heating some chicken bone broth in my dutch oven. Then I cooked up some lentils.
Next was more chicken broth and a plethora of vegetables. Onion, carrots, daikon, red radishes, beet and sweet potato. The only seasoning I used was thyme and salt. Keepin’ it simple is my jam 😝😎😋
I just added what I had and went a little bit out of my comfort zone with the flavor. But it turned out well.
For this recipe, I cut the carrots, sweet potato, and beet into smaller pieces so they would cook faster. The onions, daikon and radishes will not need as long to cook, so you could add them in last if you want a chunkier stew.
And don’t feel like you have to use any veggies you don’t like or have. Make it fun, make it you. 😋
Nourishing Lentil Stew with Daikon and Sweet Potato
Cook time: about 45 minutes
7 cups/46oz/1,680mL homemade chicken bone broth, divided.*
3/4 cup/113g lentils
1 small onion, chopped
3 medium carrots, chopped
1 small piece daikon, peeled and thinly sliced.
2 red radishes, thinly sliced.
a few slices of fresh beet, sliced.
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1 teaspoon salt
*I used a combination of chicken bone broth (4 cups/960mL) and chicken soup base+water (3 cups/720mL, I used Gia Russa brand).
In a large pot, add lentils to 4 cups/960mL of the chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, prep the veggies. When the lentils are done, add in the 3 cups/720mL remaining chicken broth, veggies and seasonings.
Cook on medium high heat, uncovered, until carrots, sweet potatoes and beets are done.
I estimated that it cost me about $2.05 to make this pot of stew. That’s 51¢ per4 (large) servings. If you divide it into 6 servings, that’s 34¢ per serving.
Feel free to check out the other posts, if you wish. Part 1 is an introduction post to the series, with some background info on the food of the Philippines. Last Saturday I shared Part 3, which proved to be unexpectedly delicious.
Today we have…..
Filipino-Style Flan (Leche Flan)
If you google flan, you will soon see there are many different types of it. So what makes Filipino flan unique?
From what I’ve read, it is the eggs. Filipino flan calls for egg yolks only, not the whole eggs. This makes a richer and denser dessert. To me this makes it more like a custard-style dessert.
(Side note: Flan came to the Philippines from Spain because Spain colonized the country from 1565-1898.)
Making the Flan
I have never made flan before. 😝
It was a bit tricky. In this post you will see some imperfect flans. But this isn’t a cooking show..no competition here. Just lots of learning and fun 🙂
Most recipes for flan call for evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk. Since I cannot have dairy milk, I sought out a recipe that gave a substitute.
Check it out if you wish! Post #1 will give you a bit of background if you are not familiar with the food/culture of the Philippines.
Today’s post is all about…..
I talked a little bit about banana sauce (also known as banana ketchup) in post #1. I mentioned 3 foods unique to the Philippines: ube (purple yam), calamansi (citrus fruit) and banana sauce.
I’ve read that one of the things that banana sauce goes really well with is rice.
Ok. No problem.
I made the banana sauce first. (Recipe from Serious Eats) It wasn’t too difficult to make. There were quite a few ingredients and about 20 minutes cook time but nothing too hard.
I did leave out the jalapeno and substituted the rum for water. And after cooking, cooling and blending I got this:
Then I made up some brown Basmati rice. I think steamed rice is more of a thing in Asian countries but I don’t have the proper equipment for that so the rice was cooked my usual way.
And you know, I won’t lie…I was fully expecting to not like this.
The sweet banana flavor, mixed with savory, salty, tomato paste, vinegar and ginger? Plus seasonings like allspice? I was not too sure about this.
But you guys…guess what?
It was incredibly delicious. I had 2 bowls. Seriously.
I’m not sure what it was. It truly did have a ketchupy taste to it. The sweetness I could taste right away, then a combination of flavors, the vinegar and then I could definitely taste a tiny bit of the cloves in the aftertaste.
It is amazing. On its own it was ok. But with rice somehow it was really delicious.
What a cheap and easy way to spruce up a cheap bowl of rice, right? I usually just have butter and salt on mine, or the usual serve it with stir-fry (the Americanized version) or whatnot.
Ever had banana sauce on rice? 100% recommend 😄
Stay warm out there!
p.s.-Next post (and last from this country) will be a special Filipino style dessert 🍮 I’m planning on having it up on Tuesday. Enjoy your weekend!
Finally. I have finally concocted a cheaper version of the Raspberry Passion Mama Chia beverage my daughter and I love so much.
It was much easier than I expected it would be. I’m not sure why I kept putting it off.
I began by looking at the ingredients list.
Already I had decided to use pomegranate juice. Odd that that isn’t one of the ingredients listed. Pomegranate juice to me tastes like a combination of juices…like a raspberry/grape/cranberry combo maybe?…so I was confident that this would work.
First I prepped the chia seeds. I took about 1 ¼ cups of dry seeds and poured them into a mason jar along with about 30 or so ounces of water.
I actually miscalculated the amount of water I would need initially. I filled my glass bottle (see pictures below) 3/4 full with chia seeds, then added water.
That is not the way to do it.
Chia seeds absorb a lot of water. Like 3 times as much as the actual seeds.
So after that sat in the fridge for awhile I was ready to throw it all together.
One teaspoon of honey was just right, once I figured out how to stir it up (stir with a metal skewer then shake vigorously).
A bit of lime juice added to the pomegranate juice added another element to the flavor that made it pitch-perfect, and just like the Mama Chia beverage I remembered.
Rachel’s Copycat Mama Chia Recipe
Makes about 10oz (1 serving).
2/3 cup soaked chia seeds*
1/4 cup pomegranate juice
1 teaspoon raw honey
1/4 teaspoon lime juice
Combine ingredients in liquid measuring cup.
Pour into desired container.
*To make about 25oz/3c. of soaked chia seeds, I put about 1 ¼ cups dry chia seeds into a quart (32oz) mason jar. I filled the jar with water, shook up the jar and let it sit in the fridge about 24 hours.
For 10oz of this Mama Chia brand drink from Aldi, it was $2.29. My version was only $1.28 for the same amount.
Granted, my recipe doesn’t have the same exact ingredients. But the taste is very similar and still delicious.
This is the recipe that I’ve wanted to make for so long. I’ve said several times on the blog that I wanted to share an apple crisp recipe.
Yesterday I thought that I had totally blew it. I made a few alterations to my mama’s apple crisp recipe and wasn’t sure how it would turn out.
It definitely did not look like my mom’s version. And before I had even tasted it I thought, “Well..I can’t share this. It looks like a disaster. I’m not even sure it tastes good.”
So here I am, eating my words. My husband (who is my greatest cheerleader) was enamored with this apple crisp. He loved it. A lot. So because of his encouragement, I am sharing this with you today.
I chose to use coconut palm sugar and honey because of my current goal to avoid as much refined sugar as possible. It’s important to remember that sugar is still sugar. However, coconut sugar has a lower glycemic index, which I think makes it a better choice of sweetener. It won’t give you that jolt of energy and subsequent crash if used wisely.
The butter for the topping sat out for a bit, which I think is what made it sticky. I usually use cold butter, but you know..blog stuff. It turned out ok though 🙂
The original recipe said to bake the apple crisp for 30 minutes. Mine took a little bit longer, probably about 35 minutes.
The apple crisp did a weird thing where it looked soupy but wasn’t. It ended up having a nice, moist topping with perfectly chewy portions (not hard or overdone but just right) that reminded me of toffee a bit.
Gluten-Free “Toffee” Apple Crisp
5-6 apples (granny smith preferred), peeled, cored and roughly chopped.
**If you are gluten intolerant you probably already know to buy gluten-free oats. If you are cooking for guests this is important. Somehow I had 3 containers of the regular kind, so I used what I had since I can still tolerate gluten.
Preheat oven to 395°.
Place apples in a 9×9″ baking pan. Add 1 teaspoon cinnamon (or more if desired) and toss.
In a medium bowl, mix flour, oats, coconut sugar, honey and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Cut butter into small pieces and work it into the dry ingredients by hand. This topping may be a bit sticky.
Add topping to apples in globs and lightly press together.
Bake about 30 minutes, or until well browned.
This recipe cost me $4.30. Not bad but not really great. Almond flour is expensive!
But if you break it down, it is only $1.08 if divided into 4 servings and 72¢ if divided into 6 servings.
But it’s so good that it probably won’t make it that far. My advice is to 100% double it if you are cooking for 3+ people.
Lately I’ve been working on a big ole post of all things apples. Oh yes the marvelous season of apples is beginning! I’m so excited. I’m working on canning and tweaking a recipe for a certain apple dessert.
In the meantime, I thought I would share one of my favorite recipes for baked beans.
My mom and I invented this recipe together. It was one of those days when we weren’t sure what to have for lunch (I was a teenager at the time and still living at home). My mom had a brilliant idea to take a simple can of baked beans and spruce it up.
And this recipe was born.
Garlic, butter, dill and beans. That’s it! The flavors work so well together. Garlic and butter give it a great flavor and the dill adds another layer to the dish. Plus dill is a herb which is good for digestion and the…problems associated with eating beans. Haha.
I always use the cheapest kind of beans from Aldi (49¢ pork & beans). The type of beans doesn’t matter because the sauce will just be rinsed off the beans 🙂
4 Ingredient Baked Beans with Garlic and Dill
1 can pork and beans, drained and rinsed.
6 tablespoons butter (more or less to your liking)
a teaspoon or two of dill weed (I went heavy on the dill)
2 cloves garlic, minced
Preheat the oven to 395°.
Slice half of the butter into a small baking pan and put it into the oven to melt.
Add the garlic to the butter and stir.
Add the beans and dill.
Slice the remaining butter and place it on top of the beans. (This keeps the beans from becoming dry.)
Bake in the preheated oven till bubbly, 20 or so minutes.
It cost me about $1.50 to make this easy dish of beans. I used some garlic from my garden and dill weed from a bulk food store to save some pennies 🙂
Check it out. I made a blt the other day. No dairy. No gluten. It was super yummy.
I planted Goldie tomatoes (huge and yellow) this year and they are just starting to ripen. I was trying to decide what to do with them, although in the back if my mind I was wanting a blt. And I remembered that I like to eat my garbanzo bean burgers in between two slices of tomatoes instead of with bread.
Perhaps a tomato bread blt? And instead of mayo…guacamole. Just avocado, lime juice and seasonings. That’s it. Tomato, guacamole, bacon, lettuce.
Definitely not fat-free. But some fat is good for you. And who can argue with bacon? Ok maybe vegans. I couldn’t be a vegan/vegetarian. Sorry. I love meat.
There’s really no particular recipe here. I cooked up some diced bacon (a little over 1/4 lb). I cut up an avocado, mashed it (I use a ziplock bag) and added a bit more fresh lime juice than usual..since I didn’t add mayo. Then salt, garlic powder and onion powder to taste. I usually buy romaine lettuce whole but Aldi was out. I got some bagged Caesar salad instead.
And that’s it. This sandwhich tastes like summer and really hits the spot. Fresh tomatoes from the garden make this so good 🙂
This sandwich cost me $2.78. Not bad! Decreasing the meat and using produce from the garden keeps it cheap. I’ll use a bit less bacon next time haha.
Last Tuesday and Wednesday I finally did something about my yogurt conundrum. I’ve been wanting some good non-dairy yogurt that isn’t saturated with sugar like the storebought kind.
I’ve been putting it off because I thought it would be hard to make my own. I was wrong. It totally wasn’t hard. Long process, yes. But not hard.
Why coconut yogurt? Some of you may know I can’t have a lot of dairy products. Currently everything is out except butter and cheese and just a few other things…like my beloved frozen custard that I would probably die without.
Anyway. The process began when I saw my local natural food store had this yogurt starter for sale. It was $10 for a pack of 4 probiotic starter packets. Oy. I went back and forth about buying it.
Finally I did because I figured once I made some yogurt I could use part of that as a starter and hopefully never have to buy more starters.
For the recipe, I used this one from Dawn @smallfootprintfamily and got an idea of a time frame for the crockpot from this post by Trisha @funkyfoodallergies.
From start to finish, this took about 16 hours. That seems absurd, but let me break it down. It heated up from 4-7pm. From 7-11pm it cooled down. I added the stuff and then it fermented overnight from 11pm-9amish. Very little hands on time.
And yes, that is a meat thermometer.
In retrospect, I believe I added a bit too much gelatin. I calculated that I would need 1.75 packages to make a quart of yogurt. But I got distracted while pouring it in because I was talking with my husband. I’m thinking this was the reason it turned out so thick.
But does it taste good? Is the price worth it?
To me, the answer is yes and yes. The flavor and texture is something to get used to. As directed, I used full fat coconut milk. It was hard to get used to the unsweetened plain flavor, but with the addition of vanilla and frozen strawberries..yes. Very good.
And the price?
I calculated I made about 35 oz. (After it was whisked to a fluffy texture.) The price came out to $7.71. That’s 22¢ per oz and 88¢ for 4 oz. The last time I bought coconut yogurt at Wal-Mart, it was $1.58 for a 4 oz container. And that stuff was sugared to the moon and back. And rather on the thin side to boot. Currently none of the stores in my area carry any cartons larger than 4 oz so I can make no comparison there.
So yes, pretty easy to make. Tastes good with flavorings added and cheaper than storebought. There is a bit of investment initially, but I think its worth it. Per batch the price is right. I’m calling this one a triple win 🙂
Growing up, there weren’t many family cookouts that felt complete without my Mom’s broccoli cauliflower salad or her calico beans. Just thinking about them brings me back to my Grandma’s house. All of my senses are enveloped and anchored when I enter Grandma’s kitchen.
Memories, comfort and love have always surrounded me there. We all loved seeing Grandma (still do!) but we especially appreciated all the food she and everyone else made for us.
After I was married, I made the transition to cooking a lot more. I had to find my niche. See what recipes work for my family. And even now, its a process.
I’ve recently learned that I can make calico beans in my crock pot. I found an awesome recipe by The Crockin’ Girls that I adapted a bit. It tastes different than my Mom’s recipe. She uses more beans and cooks hers in the oven. It’s thicker that way and richer in flavor. Soooo good!
So yeah it does taste different. But still yummy 🙂 My husband wolfed down his when I first tried the recipe. I said, “I didn’t know you liked calico beans so much!” To which he replied, “It’s the sauce babe. It’s so good!” Suffice to say, he stuffed himself. And L loved it too. She didn’t eat a lot but this is the only way I can get her to eat beans.
Crockpot Calico Beans
Makes 8+ servings.
1 lb ground beef
1/2 lb bacon
1 can lima beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup ketchup
2 cans pork and beans
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped onion
3 Tablespoons white vinegar
1 pinch s & p
Dice bacon & cook till barely done. Add to crock pot.
Drain bacon grease & cook ground beef. (Optional: cook the onions with the beef.)
Drain fat and add beef to crock pot. Add remaining ingredients.
Cook on low 1 hour, high 3+ hours. **Edit: I realize now it makes more sense to cook for 4+ hours on high, if you are not cooking the onions with the ground beef.
Note: If you cook the beef and onion together, you can cook the calico beans for 4 hours on low. This method would bring the flavor up a notch. I seem to forget every time but either way it works out!
I calculated that it cost me $9.26 to make this recipe. But it makes a lot. Like 2 quarts. So (8) 1 cup servings at $1.15 each.
Recipe adapted from “Calico Beans”, by The Crockin’ Girls.
This blog is all about roaming the Bicol Region, Philippines wisely on a budget. We'll talk about what Bicol has to offer when it comes to great hotel deals, good food and where to go on your vacation. So, I hope this blog site will be helpful to those of you on the look out for great deals while you have fun in Bicol. Also, I will be sharing what my life here is like and some of the things that I find interesting in my side of the world. "It is a wise man indeed who believes that the concept of toil is a myth, and life should be a never-ending vacation."