Agar Fruit Jelly

This was the fruit jelly I shared in my IG stories a few days ago @ritzypixie. They look like cute crystals don’t they? Tastes great too! Recipe was taken from Chef Pailin @hotthaikitchen but this is basically made out of agar (seaweed) powder, lychee syrup and sugar.

You can get creative and use different fruits as you wish. My personal tweak on this yummy treat is to add a few pieces of dragon fruit (pitaya). As you can see the colors turned out amazing! I used fruit cutters to get them shaped into stars and hearts. Don’t worry, nothing’s wasted as any excess ended up in my tummy 😜! You can also make them into popsicles (if you are like me who doesn’t want to share 😜) just add half a teaspoon more of agar powder to make it firmer. Not my original recipe so I will just direct you to HOT THAI KITCHEN youtube channel, search for Agar Jelly Fruit Cake recipe if you want to recreate it! Perfect for your next party! 💖⭐️💖

San Choy Bow

Also known as lettuce cups. Super quick and easy to make dish. The combination of crunchy lettuce at sweet, salty minced meat is really yummy! You can be creative and add whatever veggie you like. Add this to your healthy meal plan (dahil alam kong marami ang may new year’s resolution na ‘I want to eat healthy this year’ 😁)

For the meat:
500g minced meat (I used chicken pero pwede din ang pork)
2 tbsp peanut oil (you can use cooking oil)
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tbsp finely minced fresh ginger
2 tbsp hoisin sauce (I use Lee Kum Kee)
1 tsp oyster sauce
A pinch of ground pepper

Sauté garlic and ginger. Add the mince and stir fry until cooked through. Add hoisin and oyster sauce, mix and cook until sauce reduces slightly. Lastly, sprinkle the pepper before turning off heat.

Arrange minced into the iceberg lettuce and add your choice of veggies. Ang dinagdag ko on top is water chestnut (you can use singkamas if in season for additional crunch), red bell pepper, lychee (to add a bit of sweetness). Other ideas can be pineapple, diced cucumber, chili for a bit of kick etc. It’s really up to you 😊. The flavor of minced meat is versatile and blends well with any veggie or fruit.

Have you made this before? Ano po ang mga ginamit nyo na veggie/fruit? Let me know! 😊

Cheesy Kangkong Dip

I love cheesy dips! One that I would normally buy from grocery is the spinach dip. Of course, homemade is always better than store bought so here’s my own version using a veggie that you are all familiar with — kangkong (water spinach). Yep, you can use it for something else other than sinigang 😊

Ingredients:
3 cups kangkong ‘leaves’ (use leaves only but don’t discard the stem, you can use it for other dishes)
1 small carrots chopped finely
125g (half block) cream cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise (Japanese style – Kewpie)
1/4 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon condensed milk
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon onion flakes for topping (optional)
A pinch of salt

How To Make:
✩ Wash kangkong thoroughly and steam for about 3 minutes. (note: best to use chinese kangkong)
✩ Remove kangkong from heat and place in ice cold water to prevent further cooking. Drain and squeeze to take out juices. Once most of the liquid is removed, gather leaves and chop into smaller pieces. Place in a bowl.
✩Put the rest of the ingredients making sure everything is mixed in properly.
✩Adjust taste by adding a pinch of salt. Top with onion flakes.

This recipe also works well as spread for crackers or toast. Hope you enjoy!

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 😘

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?