Vegan Cheese

Anong lasa ng nutritional yeast or ‘vegan cheese’? Watch the latest video on my youtube channel (link below) or in my IGTV channel (username ritzypixie). Eto po ang payak na recipe ng Tuna Pasta na nasa litrato 😊

Ingredients:

✩ 250g spaghetti noodles
✩1 tbsp olive butter
✩1 small white onion, diced
✩Fresh tomatoes halved (I used cherry tomatoes, you can use whatever is available wag lang canned para mas malasa)
✩ Mushrooms (sliced)
✩1 small can of tuna, drained
✩Nutritional Yeast as substitute for cheese

Procedure:
✩Cook pasta according to package instructions (don’t forget to add salt), drain and set aside. Keep about 3 tbsp. of pasta water.
✩Heat the olive oil and sautee onion

✩Add tomatoes and mushrooms. Do not overcook the mushrooms if using fresh produce. Mabilis magtubig ito and you don’t want it to become soggy. About 2-3 minutes will do.
✩Add in tuna and cook for another minute
✩Add in the pasta and mix well to incorporate the other ingredients, drizzle with the reserved water taken from pasta
✩Sprinkle with a teaspoon of vegan cheese

This recipe doesn’t contain a lot of seasoning dahil yung nutritional yeast na ang pinaka seasoning. Enjoy and let me know if you tried it 😘

Pickled Okra

Smoked fish with pickled papaya (atchara) on a bed of warm rice is one of my favorite Filipino comfort foods. My husband’s lola (granny) makes wicked atchara and I don’t think I will be able to replicate it. The process of making this dish is quite tedious and I haven’t convinced myself yet to give it a go (lazy!). I recently bought my Ball Preserving Starter Kit to make fruit jam since we have an abundance of stone fruits. I looked for recipes at www.freshpreserving.com  and while browsing was surprised to see pickled okra!  I never knew this can be pickled.  I’ve tried bitter melon and radish but not okra.  This vegetable is quite polarizing – either you love or hate it. I personally LOVE, LOVE it. I recreated the recipe (with a few tweaks) and it’s delicious! Super easy to make too. It’s crunchy and perfect partnered with fish or an addition to fresh vegetable salads.

Here’s my version:

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 pounds okra
  • 1 small carrot cut thinly
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/8 cup sea salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed

Procedure:

  • Combine vinegar, water, salt, sugar and mustard seed in a small pot and bring to a boil. Turn off heat. Place the okra, garlic and carrots in properly sterilised jars (pack tightly).
  • Pour hot brine into the jars until all jars are filled up to brim (1/4 headspace).
  • Follow proper water bath canning method if desired. Otherwise, let the jars cool completely before refrigerating.

 

 

Pesto Recipe

Pesto is super easy to make and extremely versatile. It’s one of our favorite sauces and we use it for pasta and also as a spread. I love making it and the ingredients leave the kitchen smelling so fresh and fragrant! Here’s my recipe:

acs_0059-1

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup (packed) basil leaves

1/2 cup (packed) parsley

1/2 cup (heaping) walnuts

3 cloves garlic

2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (increase to 1/2 cup for stronger flavor)

Procedure:

a) Combine walnuts and garlic in the food processor. Pulse for a few times.

b) Add in both basil and parsley.  Process until well combined (about a minute).

c) While the food processor is running, pour the extra virgin olive oil slowly.

d) Make sure to scrape the sides and that everything is well mixed. Add the Parmesan cheese and process for another minute.

I didn’t add salt because I already find Parmesan salty enough. You can add salt and adjust the taste depending on your preference. Place in an airtight container and put in the fridge. This will keep for at least 7 days. Enjoy!

City2Surf

World’s largest fun run. Yan ang tagline ng City2Surf which is an annual event in Sydney. It covers a total length of 14 kilometres. It’s so popular that almost every one of my work colleagues who I asked seemed to have participated already.  I’ve always wanted to sign up out of interest. After all, nakaka intriga kung bakit madaming sumasali (intrigera pa naman ako).   I finally had the guts to join last Sunday (Aug 12, 2018) but this time, it means so much more to me than just feeding my curiosity. It’s a unique bonding activity with my husband dahil pareho namin ma- eexperience for the first time. Most importantly, I know it will be a different kind of achievement that I can personally be proud of.

I’ve never been the active type. I usually try to eat well, and I felt that was enough to keep me healthy. I didn’t have regular exercise. Sa work lagi lang ako nakaupo. At a minimum, tatayo lang kung kailangan uminom or if I need to go to the toilet. I started to seriously think about my fitness when there was an instance we had to run to catch a train. Wala pa atang 1-minute ang tinakbo ko pero halos mamatay matay ako and that’s not even an exaggeration. I felt awfully sick and nauseous. I think I caused quite a stir dahil humahangos kami and when we sat down as in nasusuka suka ako. People were starting to stare. Maybe they were wondering if I needed help. Most embarrassing moment of my life award right there. I’ve never felt so unfit. From then on, I decided to do something about it. Matigas din naman kasi ang ulo ko. Dati pa ako ine-encourage ni husband to start being active pero I was ignoring him. Kailangan pa may kahiya hiyang eksena bago matauhan.

Slowly, I tried to do walks during weekends. Paikot ikot lang around our residential area. I also started attending free gym classes offered in our workplace whenever I can. Those short 5-minute walks turned into 20, then 30 and then gradually became longer. I worked on my endurance and tried to incorporate both resistance and strength trainings in my routine. Nakakapagod? Oo naman, minsan tinatanong ko na nga din kung bakit pinahihirapan ko ang sarili ko. Sa totoo lang, mahirap simulan at lalong mahirap panindigan.  Nakakatamad dahil mas enjoy naman talaga humilata at manood during free time. Pero it also feels good to know that I’m taking care of myself. I want to be able to say that I’ve done my part to look after my wellbeing.

Naku ha, I’m not a feeling-feelingan fitness guru ek-ek and I don’t intend to be one. I am merely sharing my experience and hope I can somehow be a source of inspiration. Alam kong marami ang gustong simulan ang kanyang fitness journey but may be feeling intimidated to do so. This is exactly how I felt previously, so I hope this gives you that extra push to eventually get you started. I will never forget a conversation I had with someone who wanted to start so badly. Nangingilid ang luha nya when she was telling me that she feels so strongly about her health but for some reason, hindi nya magawa yung goal nya. What struck me most was when she told me a story I can very well relate to. When she was on the treadmill, she watched others and kept wondering why she’s unable to do the same things they can. She was disheartened, and I felt bad for her. It was like listening to myself talk because I had the same frustrations before. I tried to encourage her and imparted some of my learnings (nagmamahal, Ate Charo). Paano magsimula and how do you sustain the energy to keep going: 

OVERCOME THE NEGATIVITY

Kahit hindi ko maintindihan, natuto na din akong tanggapin ang reality na marami talagang kontrabida sa mundo. Well, they do make the world a bit more interesting. May mga tanong na “bakit ka nagpapa sexy?” Excuse me?!? Una sa lahat matagal na akong sexy (dapat confident!). Ngayon ka lang nagka interest mang usisa. Pangalawa, huwag na tayong plastic. Wala naman sigurong tao na pipiliing pabayaan ang katawan nila. Meron pang “ano ine- exercise mo, buto mo?”. Absent yata ito during PE classes. Wala ka naman din mahihita kung papatulan mo so just smile, shrug them off and do your thing. There’s no point in letting these people get in your head. What matters is to accomplish your goal and not what others have to say. 

DON’T COMPARE

Sabi nga, comparison is the thief of joy. You will either become disappointed or conceited if you always pit yourself against others. Iba’t iba ang capacity ng bawat tao. You must outperform yourself and not someone else. It’s natural to admire other people but their achievement shouldn’t be the basis of yours. Take it slow, magsimula sa kaya mo ang gradually build on that. Kailangan din tandaan na everyone’s purpose is different. Mine personally ay para makaiwas sa sakit. Others may want to maintain a certain physique and that’s totally fine. What drives ME? That’s a vital question you must ask yourself.

CELEBRATE YOUR WINS

So if your mindset shifts to a ‘no comparison against others’ rule, your progress should be measured by how well you’ve done today. Kung dati 3-minute walk ngayon ay 5 na, good on yah! (sabi nga ng mga Aussie). Celebrate those milestones, give yourself a pat on the back and let that be a motivation to do better next time.

Ang dami ko na masyadong sinabi. Gusto lang kita i-assure na kaya mo yan. I hope you find this useful.  Here’s to running more miles and crossing more finish lines. I’m cheering for you all the way.

See you until next blog!

Pansit Ala Ritz

Pansit noodles made in the Philippines sa Woolies! Isa ang Woolworths (Woolies for short) sa biggest grocery chains in Australia and it’s such a delight to see our products slowly making their way to international grocery shelves. I said ‘slowly’ because I’ve only seen few items so far: dried mangoes and eto nga, pansit. Most of the Asian products are from Japan, Thailand or China. Unless you go to specialty stores where there’s a wider selection (bagoong, sardines to name a few). Kaya everytime we do grocery shopping and I find ‘Product of the Philippines’ written on the label, my heart skips a beat. As in wide eyes with gaping mouth moment. Pati presyo, makalaglag panga (note to self: tigilan ang pag convert to PhP!). In any case, nakakatuwa at nakaka excite to patronize Pinoy goods.

Alam natin na pansit is an extremely popular Filipino food. It’s one of my personal favorites which I associate with festivities. Birthdays, New Year or even Christmas celebration feels incomplete kung wala nito.  Dapat always present sa handaan. At the same time, it also reminds me of relaxed afternoons back home where it’s easily prepared for a quick merienda. Kasi naman, the ingredients are quite simple and readily available. Kung tinatamad naman magluto, go to the nearest carinderia at for sure may mabibiling ready to eat na.

Dito sa Australia, meron din naman sa mga Chinese restaurants or takeaway counters sa food court. Iba’t iba din ang klase. Pero for me, the best pa rin talaga yung Pinoy version. Isa pa, parang hindi uso sa kanila na i-partner ang lemon (wala ditong calamansi). Hindi ka bibigyan when you order. How odd ‘no? It’s a sacrilege! Sa atin kasi automatic na kasama yun. Kahit nga ga-patak lang ang ma squeeze from a tiny piece, ayos na rin.

Dahil nga it’s almost a staple sa hapag kainan, I wasn’t surprised nung na mention ito sa akin ng isa sa gym nutritionist from our workplace. He’s an Aussie na may Filipina girlfriend. We were chatting about his recent trip sa Pinas. He talked about the places he visited and foods he tried. He asked me if I know how to cook pansit. Syempre proud ako, so I said with full conviction ‘of course!’ (gosh, can I even call myself Filipino if I don’t know how?). Medyo natigilan ako sa next question nya. He asked kung ang version ko daw ba ay yung halos puro noodles lang? Na observe daw nya na mabibilang lang ang lahok na gulay. Hindi kaya instant pansit canton ang nakain nya? Well, I told him na nilalagyan ko naman ng kerots at beans especially pag sinisipag mag gayat. May karne din, basta depende kung ano ang mahalungkat sa fridge. Hindi na rin ako masyado nag elaborate at hahaba pa ang usapan. Ayoko din ma nosebleed pa lalo. Pumunta nga ako that time sa gym para magpaka healthy tapos ini-istress nya ko sa kaka-explain.

Kaya ang post na ito ay para rin sayo, nawa ay mabasa mo. Kindly turn your google translate on (pahirapan kita ng kaunti, makaganti man lang). This is my version of pansit at nilagyan ko ng gulay galore: carrots, cabbage, snow peas and red capsicum. Syempre with lemon para semi-authentic Pinoy style.

Kayo, anong favorite nyo isahog sa pansit?

Minnamurra

We noticed that we tend to gravitate north when looking for new hiking trails to try. This time, we made a conscious effort to explore a bit of south. We wanted to do a rainforest walk and chanced upon Minnamurra when searching over the web. It’s close to Kiama (about 20 minutes away) which is a bonus as we’ve never been to the famous blowhole. We decided to visit it as a side trip after the walk.

We arrived early and made our way towards Lyrebird cafe to grab breakfast. The staff were nice, and we were greeted with warm smiles. It didn’t take us long to decide. We saw scones on the menu and immediately placed our order. We needed sugar to get as much energy for the trek (lame excuse).  After wolfing down the last morsel of our food, we began to explore The Falls Walk.

An impressive, lush landscape welcomed us. Towering trees form a cool shade above the well-maintained trails. We could hear the soft rustling of leaves and faint chirping of birds. We briefly stopped amidst an elevated walkway that almost look like a hanging bridge. Underneath is a stream with large boulders and the sight is captivating. We took some time to drink in the tranquility of our surroundings. I’m glad for the break because I found the next sections are quite steep and it gave our legs a good workout. Still huffing and puffing, we arrived at the last stop. We stood at the viewing platform admiring the creek below where water was steadily cascading. Unfortunately, the other side with a better view of the waterfall was closed due to maintenance. We did catch a glimpse of it and albeit distant, still thought it’s beautiful.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0636.JPG

It was a nice 4km return walk that had decent inclines to get the heart rate up. I can tell that this experience will be the start of our many more southern trips in the future. Part of Budderoo National Park, you can find this hiking trail here:

See you until next blog!

Buhay OZ

Limang taon. Matagal na rin pala pero parang kailan lang. I can still remember the first time I set foot in Australia. It feels like yesterday. Ang bilis talaga ng panahon. Tumatanda na tayo (isama na din kita, damay damay na). Tulad ng libu-libong migrante sa bansang ito, madami dami na din akong nadiskubre sa uri ng pamumuhay dito. May nakakatuwa, nakakainis, nakaka-shock at kung anu ano pa. Pero kahit ano pa man, I have come to love this place that we now call home (naks).

Heto ang ilan sa mga na observe ko that I wanted to share with you. Dahil limang taon, lima lang din. Pasensya na slow learner, isa lang talaga kada taon ang learning capacity. Tsaka mahirap mag-isip. I-blog ko na lang next year pag may idadagdag pa.

WEEKEND

They are big on weekends. Sa office, ang tanong sa ‘yo every Friday ay: “What’s the plan for the weekend?” Minsan wala naman talaga akong plan kundi kumain at matulog. Pero actually nakakahiya din naman kung panay ganun ang sagot. Kaya Thursday pa lang nag re-ready na rin ako ng iba’t ibang sagot na ganun din naman ang meaning – “Oh, just a quiet weekend for us” o kaya “Just the usual household stuff” pasado na din diba? Tapos pagdating naman ng Monday, weekend pa din ang topic: “How was your weekend?”.  Grabe, hindi maka move on. Ok din dahil nakakakuha ako ng idea kung anong pwedeng ganap pag weekends.

OUTDOORS

Maraming outdoor activities dito. Parang they are so used to spending time outside and being active. They start young kasi you will see kids playing soccer every weekend while their parents cheer them on. Pwede ka mag bike kasi may mga dedicated bike lanes, maraming walking trails at mga park. Magaganda ang mga beach that you can visit during summer. Maybe this is also why everyone looks forward to the weekend. There are plenty of things to do and you don’t have to spend a fortune to enjoy them. Halos lahat nga libre. So yes, madami na din actually ako naisasagot sa tuwing matatanong ng golden question na “what’s the plan for the weekend?”.

ABBREVIATIONS

Nung first month ko sa work, may email yung amo ko, may cinirculate kasi na card para sa isang intern na aalis. Sabi “Can you please return the card to me this arvo?” Ha? Anu daw? Anong arvo? Buti na lang laging to the rescue si google. Afternoon pala yun! Ikaw ma ge-gets mo yun? Hindi ko matanggap na yun ang shortcut for afternoon, bakit hindi aftie?

Ang daming abbreviation dito: brollie for umbrella, macca’s ang tawag dito sa McDo, devo for devastated. May nag greet pa sa amin before: Merry Chrissie! (for Merry Christmas).  OMG.

May mga terms din sila na iba sa American words.  They call gas as petrol, running shoes as joggers, candies ay lollies. Nag order ako nung first week ko sa work ng “fries”. Ayun, binigyan ako ng rice. My face must have looked so confused kaya tinanong ako if that was what I wanted. So I said, actually I wanted that – sabay turo sa fries. Sabi sa akin “Oh, you wanted CHIPS!”

FRUITS AND VEGGIES

Dahil dugong Pinoy, one time nagbaon ako ng kanin at itlog for breakfast. Someone saw me and asked, “Rice for breakfast???” with matching nanlalaking mata.  Sabi ko “I’m Asian, I even eat rice for snack and dessert”.  In fact hindi ako choosy, I can eat anything, mag ingat ka baka kainin din kita –  pero hindi ko na yan sinabi baka matanggal ako sa work.

Sila kasi nakakabilib, mahilig talaga sa fruits and veggies (ang karamihan). Yun ang lagi nilang kinakain. Sa office may free fruits every Monday and Wednesday for all employees. Sa grocery nga may fruit basket, kids can get for free while the parents do their shopping. Sa food court there is also an abundance of healthy food options. So bakit panay pa rin ang rice ko? Bakit, healthy din naman yun ah! Tsaka basahin mo yung next section.

WAPAKELS

Actually, in general wala talagang paki alamanan dito. Gawin mo kung anong gusto mo kinda thing, (yah know)? This is one of what I love most, as in to the highest level ang appreciation ko sa “wapakels attitude” ng mga tao dito. Nakakapag 2 piece ng hindi na ja judge. Pata here, pata there, pata everywhere! Nakakapag suot ng kahit anong trip mo without the apprehension na pansinin ka for it. Neighbors don’t go shouting ‘san ang punta mo???’ when you step outside the house. They respect your privacy and expect you of course to do the same for them.

Pero hindi pa din ako fully ‘aussified’ sa larangan ng wapakels. Na sha shock pa din kasi ako pag nakakakita ako ng mga nag hahalikan in broad daylight.  Napapa second look pa rin ako kahit pilit kong iniisip na that’s sooooo normal! Naiinggit kasi ako, gagawin nga rin namin yan (chos!).  Hindi lang ata talaga ako sanay. Let’s see, baka after 5 more years I will be a 101% wapakels girl.

And that’s it. Don’t know what else is in store for us, but I think there will be heaps (mahilig sila sa heaps heaps dito kaya nakiki heaps na din kami) more to learn 😊

See you until next blog!