Tuesday, July 31, 2012

2012 Vacation - 1st Stop - Charlevoix

After getting back from vacation,
I am exhausted, and have just been resting
and gaining back some energy to get back to normal routine.
This was an activity filled vacation.
Not just a lounge around the beach kinda vacation.

It was Love at First Sight for my husband and I when we visited Charlevoix last year.
We stayed at the beautiful Inn at Bay Harbor at the neighboring town Petoskey.
This year we decided to rent a house at the lake.
I found a great house just perfect for my family and my cousin Pam's family who shared the house with us.
The owner Lizz is just the sweetest and most helpful.
She had the house fully stocked down to bug spray and sunblock lotion.
All you need to bring are your clothes and groceries.
I even went home with clean clothes,
thanks to her washer/dryer all I needed was to put the clothes away when we got back.

With the ages of our children, the beach is the only fun place to take them for now. 
The only place where we won't hear the two ugly words ... "I'M BORED!"
My husband and I want to visit family in Europe,
but I guess that will be a separate trip with no kids in tow.
So for now,
here's our little version of Europe in our new home State
... Pure Michigan.

Charlevoix truly lived up to it's name

It's the Little Europe of the North.
Rolling hills full of beautiful wildflowers, a Lavender Hill, a Sunflower field,
Marina filled with million dollar yachts and sailboats.
Beautiful crystal clear water lakes, whitesand beaches.
People on their bikes. Beautiful Homes built by Earl Young.
Beautiful weather, great tan,
and of course, delicious food.

The next few days,
I will be sharing with you the rest of the gorgeous sights
 from other neighboring beautiful places we've been to.

Flower Fields
Lavender Hill Farm 
So fragrant but definitely buzzing with millions of bees. Hubby had to stay in the car because of his allergies with bee stings.

Doesn't this remind you of the movie Under the Tuscan Sun?
Don't exactly know which town it was,
my husband woke me up from my nap while driving on our way to the vineyards.
What a way to wake up!
As you can see my eyes are all swollen from the nap.
But hey, I don't mind if the photo background is this gorgeous.

Took tons of photos of my daughter of "whom I should not show her face" at the acres of rolling hills filled with these beautiful wildflowers.

 We went Sailing.

Hubby & son helping out with the sail
$6.5 million House for sale with 2 boat garages.
This house was featured at HGTV.
Sailing Lessons for kids

The Belvedere Club Cabanas

Jumped off the sailboat and swam. Little Taz not too happy.
My kids enjoying the whitesand beach with their little cousin Paige

Crystal Clear water


Walked around downtown and stopped by for some ice cream and a sample taste of Murdick's fudge.

            photo credit: Whitney's Oyster Bar
Had a delicious dinner here. Kudos to the chef.
Everyone in our party was quite happy with what they had for dinner.
Great view of the Marina from the upper level of the building.

 HOMES built by Earl Young

Hobbit Home

Mushroom Home

And here's a shot I took of the beautiful view
 that everyone that lives in the northwest coastline 
enjoys every night at sundown.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Green Mango and Papaya Salsa

I always need a vacation after a vacation with my family.
Don't we all?!!!
Where do this children get all their energy?
We rented a house at Lake Charlevoix,
the kids love being at the beach, 
they just can't get enough of the water.
Did a lot of activities around the area.
So at the end of the day Mom and Dad are dead tired,
and no one really wants to be in the kitchen.
So we eat out. 

Days of restaurant food gets a little old.
I am craving for some filipino dried fish right about now.
Yes, dried fish, salty dried fish and dried squid chips with some mango papaya salsa.


Speaking of Mango Papaya Salsa,
I was talking to a nice lady I met on vacation about mangoes.
She was telling me that she didn't like the mango she had bought,
it had a texture she didn't like.
So I asked if she had bought a red mango. And she did.
Just like I told her red mangoes are fibrous,
the reason why I don't use it on my recipes.
 I always use Atulfo or Champagne Mangoes and Green Mangoes.

With this recipe,
I used an unripened Green Mango.
And an unripe Papaya.
The skin should still be green with just a hint of yellow
and still be firm when you push on the skin.
I don't like using fully ripened papaya,
 because they are too sweet
and they fall apart when mixed in with other ingredients.
The subtle sweetness of the not so ripe papaya with the tartness of the green mango
is just perfect when paired with fish. 

If you are pregnant, do not eat Unripe Papaya.
Unripe Papaya due to its high latex content, contains pepsins that may cause to induce contractions that will lead to miscarriage.


1 cup of unripened green mango, diced
1 cup of unripened papaya, diced
6 juliet roma tomatoes or 2 roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup onions (red or white), diced
2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 jalapeno or 2 thai chili peppers, minced (optional)
juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper to taste


  • Peel, seed, and dice fruits.
  • In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients.
  • Cover and chill before serving.


  • If you notice, the papaya in the photo looks like it is ripe, but no it's still unripe. This is the perfect papaya, just a bit soft but still firm, it has both yellow and peach in color. It is not fully ripened yet. A ripened papaya is a darker orange in color. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Avocado Smoothie

A What! An Avocado Smoothie?
Avocados are only good for guacamole!

These are the reactions I get everytime I ask my American friends if they have had it.

Yes, an Avocado smoothie or Avocado ice cream ( that'll be another chapter).

This is another childhood craving I have.
The avocados here in the States are small, sometimes if  you get lucky you'll find the large avoacados from the local Asian stores.

I love this with just milk and sugar, roughly cut in chunks chilled with ice.
But the kids like a smoothie.

Avocado is good for you, it has heart-healthy unsaturated fat. Lowers your cholesterol. Of course if you overdo, it will probably make you gain a bit of weight.

A whole avocado has only 240 calories.
If you're on your weight watchers 1200 a day cal. diet, maybe that's what is recommended.
But Avocados, due to their mono and polyunsaturated fat content,  they are a great substitution for foods rich in saturated fat.
From what I have read, it can contribute nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant compounds that can add to the nutrient quality of your daily diet.
My doctor recommends spreading avocado instead of mayo on my sandwiches.
So don't be scared,
try one of my Bizarre eats.
You'll either love it or not like it.
The sink will always welcome the leftovers.
Even Chef Alton Brown makes avocado ice cream.


1 ripe avocado, chunks
1 cup ice
1 cup of milk
2 tbsp. of sugar (or to taste)
1/2 cup of Vanilla ice cream (optional)


  • Blend all ingredients in a blender.


  • you can substitute sugar with agave or honey and milk with lowfat/nonfat/or skim milk if preferred. If using nonfat and skim, the taste will be slighty different.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

British Flapjack

When my sister who lives in England visited us in February, 
she brought me all the yummy snacks I asked from England,
she brought something new for me to try.
It was Mark & Spencer's Flapjack.

Flapjack? Pancake???
 British Flapjack is not like an American flapjack which is a pancake,
the british flapjack is an Oat bar.

I was convinced I'm not going to like it. I don't know why but I was!
My sister promised, once I tried the flapjack, I'll be craving for it.

Oh boy was she right!
I was so sad when we finished the whole tub she brought.
England is too far to get me some Flapjacks.
So I surfed the net for the recipe.
Tried various ones, recipes that called for no butter, one with no condensed milk,
a ton of butter all 2 sticks of it, lots of sugar and corn syrup.
That's a heart attack and diabetes waiting to happen.
Experimented on my own version 2-3x until I finally got it to my liking.
A not too sweet less buttery recipe.
Just Right Recipe.
I have 2 versions of this recipe, a mommy version and the kids version.
My kids did not like the consistency of the old fashioned oats so I used the quick oats. 
 See my note for the substitution.


8 tbsp butter (1 stick)
2 tbsp light corn syrup (can substitute with honey)
1/2 demerara or turbinado sugar
1/2 a can condensed milk
2 cups old fashioned oats
1/4 cup quick oats
1/4 cup flour
1/2 cup dessicated coconut
a pinch of salt and baking soda



  • Preheat oven to 325 F.
  • Line a square baking pan with parchment paper.

  • In a bowl combine all dry ingredients, oats, flour, dessicated coconut, baking soda and salt. Mix well.
  • In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, add sugar, butter and syrup/honey.
  • Constantly stir to avoid from sticking and burning at the bottom of the pan.
  • Take off the heat, add condensed milk, stir until blended.
  • Add all dry ingredients to the mixture. Mix well.
  • Transfer mixture into lined baking tin, spread evenly, no need to press down.

  • Bake for 10-15 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
  • Let cool.
  • Cut into small pieces.


  • You can add any of the following to the recipe:

                        1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries
                        1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
                        1/2 cup apricots
                        1/2 cup almonds, roughly chopped
                        1/2 cup macadamia nuts, roughly chopped
                        1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

  • For the Kids version, I used 2 1/4 cups Quick Oats in replacement of the 2 cups old fashioned and 1/4 quick oats.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Spinach & Ricotta Stuffed Chicken

It's been crazy in our household this week.

With Summer vacation, kids come in and out of my house,
grocery budget is doubled because I have to feed the pack of wolves
that come visit and play with my daughter,
electricity bills and water bills are sky high.
 With my husband being away for 2 weeks,
 and running the household all by myself,
 I  was about ready to pull all my hair out!!!

Where was my husband you say? He was in Japan stuck!
Help! I need my husband back!!!
My prayers were finally answered, he got back Sunday at 2 a.m.
So  making dinner at my house
 without hubby around has been quite a challenge.
I needed to make something easy, healthy, and tasty for my kiddos.
Looked in the icebox, 
found frozen pasta sauce that I had made a week ago, and some chicken breast.
I always keep a bag or two of baby spinach,
we love baby spinach. 
Seeing the ingredients, I exactly know what to make for din-din.
It's been a while now since I made this dish.

This is the best dish to take your frustrations out.
You'll be beating, chopping, and pounding without anyone getting hurt!


1/2 a tub of 15 oz ricotta cheese
1 cup chopped baby spinach
1 egg, beaten
salt and pepper
4 chicken breasts
2 - 3 cups pasta sauce


  • In a medium bowl,  mix ricotta, chopped baby spinach, and beaten egg.
  • with a very sharp knife, butter fly chicken breast,  do not cut all the way through the meat.

  • Put chicken breast in between 2 plastic wraps. Then with the flat side of your meat tenderizer, take out all your frustrations, and pound the crap out of the chicken until it flattens.

  • on one end of the flattened chicken breast, put a dolop of spinach and ricotta mixture.

  • roll and transfer on a baking dish
  • Pour pasta sauce over chicken
  • Cover baking dish with aluminum foil.
  • Bake at 350° F for 40 - 50 mins or until juices run clear.
  • 5 minutes before timer goes off, sprinkle shredded mozarella on top of chicken and cook until cheese is melted.
  • Serve with pasta.


  • with this dish you have an OPTION of frying the chicken until a bit brown (about 2-3 mins on each side) before baking it. Baking time would be lesser.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

One Lovely Blog Award

Despite the crazy week it's been, I got one great consolation. Another award!!!
Thank you Ellen B. Cookery for the nomination.
You are one awesome blogger friend!

The rules of this are as follows:

1. Link back to whoever nominated you.
2. Write 11 random facts about yourself.
3. Nominate 11 bloggers.

11 Random Facts:

1.   I grew up in a city, but our home looked like a farm, we had farm animals in our property, lots of fruit trees, and a fishpond full of tilapias.  
2.  My husband wants to live in the city and I would like to live on a farm.
3.   I am counting the days 'til my husband retires and we can just head back home to the Philippines and live in a beautiful island.
4.   I grew up eating grilled seafood for breakfast with rice, and of course dippped in coconut vinegar and soy sauce.
5.   I was very indecisive with what I wanted in College, I enrolled as a Mass Communication major, I even passed the entrance exams for Architecture and Engineering.
6.   I eat unripe mangoes and jicama for snacks.
7.   I miss Los Angeles sooooooo much!
8.   I miss the variety of great restaurants in Los Angeles.
9.   I love avocado smoothie, and avocado ice cream. (Will blog about it soon)
10. I love a lot of ice on my juice & pop.
11. l love my fruits chilled.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Our very own Rhett and his talented friends!

So here's something that has nothing to do with food today,
 that is worth sharing.

I'm just a proud Stepmama of that cute talented guy in glasses!!!

To dear Rhett, Miky and Linda,

Great job guys and remember the journey is just starting.
It always starts with one step,
 followed by another to get to where you want to be.

Remember nothing is impossible now in this beautiful world we live in.

The upside is, the things you need to succeed are free,
determination, persistence, you need to focus on your goal,
and a lot of hard work to make things happen.
The downside, there might be some hurdles along the way,
 but always remember this,

"There can be no hurdle uncrossable,
no obstacle invincible, and no stumbling block insurmountable." 

cliché, but that cliché had made a lot of famous people!

Keep on singing and follow that dream.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Herb Infused Ruby Red Cocktail

Oh boy!

3 digit sweltering weather.
The pool just got cleaned,
let's invite friends for some bbq and cocktails for dinner.

So here's a cocktail for all of you out there,
 a method I adapted from Grey Goose, I added my own little twist to it. 
This is a perfect refresher for a hot afternoon party.



1 1/2 oz GREY GOOSE® La Poire                                      
3 oz Grapefruit Juice (Ruby Red) 
1/2 oz Simple Syrup, herb infuse
Squeeze of Lemon Juice
Grapefruit Slice, garnish


  • Fill cocktail shaker with ice
  • Add all ingredients
  • Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with grapefruit slice.

  • Delicious served on the rocks.
  • For the simple syrup, Add a sprig of thyme and rosemary.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Chinois Chicken Salad with Mandarin Oranges in Sesame Miso Ginger Vinaigrette

A simple flavorful Summer Salad

I had Chinois Chicken Salad at Wolfgang Puck Bistro. That's the restaurant of choice when friendsand I g to Universal City Walk.
The taste I have experienced is something I crave from time to time.
It was a delicious combination of flavors and ingredients.

In my recipe, I had to edit some ingredients,
 because my daughter is allergic to nuts, and my children simply does not like mustard.
Since I like my napa cabbage cook, I had to substitute that one too.
I always say my children are picky eaters, geez I wonder where they got that from? :)


For the Salad:

2 grilled/roasted chicken breast
6 oz. of Spring Mix Salad
1 tbsp fresh dill
2 cans Mandarin oranges
2 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted (optional)

4-6 wonton wrappers, juliened and fried until golden brown
2 oz LaChoy Rice Noodles

For the Dressing:

3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp sesame oil

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tsp miso paste
1 garlic clove, grated
1 tsp ginger, grated
1 tsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp honey
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


  • In a blender, place all ingredients except for olive oil.
  • Blend until smooth.
  • Add olive oil slowly until blended.
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve.


  • Taste, and adjust seasonings.
  • You can replace spring mix, with 1 cup romaine or iceberg, with 1 medium head napa cabbage, add 1 cup of radicchio, and 1/2 cup juliened carrots.
  • If you can't find wonton wrappers, you can fry rice noodles
  • I didn't want to bother frying in this hot weather, so I bought the already made La Choy Rice Noodles.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Addictive Blog Award

Ellen B. Cookery you are simply the best!!!!!

I am so overwhelmed right now 2  awards in a row, in addition to the first award I got for the Versatile Blog.

I am so happy that my sister-in-law Jenny convinced me to blog.
I was asked by a friend why am I sharing my recipes?
Instead of just keeping it well guarded,
and start a restaurant business and use this.

Well, #1 I can't start a business yet when I'm not financially ready for it, and
#2 it's not easy running a restaurant.
But really, I love sharing my recipes. I am so happy to help someone who is just learning to cook,
and someone who is simply looking for a simple easy great recipe for a certain dish or an ingredient.

So here's to my fellow bloggers who loves to share the best of the best of their recipes.

The rules are:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and link them back.
  • Share a little bit about why you started blogging.
  • Copy and paste the award onto your blog.
  • Nominate up to 10 other bloggers you think are addictive enough to deserve the award.

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