Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sunday7: This Week's Meals + Meetups

I usually do a Sunday7 post by uploading photos from my phone, and selecting my week's highlights. I wanted to start out the post with a couple of photos of the meals I've prepared this week, but as I scroll down my pics, I keep finding more food shots to include! Proof of domestication! I'm having fun preparing vegetarian food in interesting (and slightly familiar) ways so that my non-veg husband can appreciate it as well (though he'll eat anything, haha). Anyway, I will try my best to not make this solely a food post. If only to prove to myself that I have a life and don't spend all day in the kitchen. Haha :P

ONEKale Chips. Just drizzle some olive oil, a pinch of sea salt and nutritional yeast on kale and bake for 8 minutes! Kale is amazing because it has nutrients that are mostly found in meat, such as protein, calcium, iron and omega3. Yung kai-lan (na hindi mo pinapansin sa grocery noon), is a variety of kale, which grows here in SouthEast Asia. The curlier types of kale grow in cooler climates, some even withstanding winter chill.
I will race you to the Sidcor Sunday Market (at Eton Centris, EDSA cor Quezon Ave, northbound side) to buy kale and other organic veggies. You need to look around for produce that is organic, because not everything they sell there is. I also like buying from stalls that are bare, and not as full, to support the smaller farmers ;) I was able to get yummy thai coriander from there, which I added to pho!

TWOThis is a panCAKE! Haha. I can never make perfect pancakes. Maybe it's because I always alter the recipe (4 tbls of chia seed gel = 1 egg; chia seed gel = 1 tbls chia + 6 tbls water + 15mins). Anyway, this panCAKE is the perfect way to disguise imperfection. I layered these whole wheat and vegan pancakes with toasted almonds, veg cheese, and chocolate chips.

Aside from Sidcor, I also get stuff from Healthy Options. It's a pricey investment, but you can get by with just shopping for the staples (which can last long) such as whole wheat flour, quinoa, chia seeds, liquid aminos, etc. Some groceries carry these items as well. Santi's also has a produce section, and sometimes I buy organic eggs there because there's one near our home.

 THREEMonggo Guisado with spinach, tofu skin (as pork replacement) and seaweed for that fishy taste. I would cook this again and again and again. It's the first Filipino dish I've successfully made (I usually just invent stuff. haha, sorry Peej). I got the seaweed from Fuji Mart, the Japanese grocer along Timog Ave. Organic Monggo is from Green Daisy Whole and Organic Foods (20 Maginhawa St, UP Village, QC / Contact 029222409). Now do you see why QC is so awesome?? :P

FOURQuinoa, Sugarbeets & Spinach Burger patties. I'm sure this would have turned more red if I had a food processor. I'm so proud of this recipe, though, because it's so yummy! In a rice cooker, I cooked a cup of quinoa + 2 cups water, and placed the steamer on top filled with a cup of spinach and 2 beets. While cooking, mix in a bow: 1 red onion, and 4 cloves of garlic (chopped), 1/3 cup nutritional yeast, 1/2 tsp sea salt. You can mix in some breadcrumbs, or opt to leave it out if you're gluten-free. Once cooked, chop the spinach and beets, and add everything into the bowl. Form into patties, and grill. Organic sugarbeets and spinach are from BeOPA (Benguet Organic Producers Association / Contact: 09154763910).

FIVEUsing the same ingredients in #4 above (spinach, quinoa, kale), I made a Quinoa Salad. Same procedure of cooking quinoa while steaming the beets and spinach on top, this time, together with the broccoli and french beans. When cooked, chop up the beets, and spinach, and dice 1 red onion and 1 tomato. Mix it with the couscous in a bowl, and squeeze half of a lemon over it (save the other half for your water ;P). Add salt and pepper to season. Sooo easy.

SIXPako Salad. Pako is an edible fern, popular in the province where they just pick it off the roadside, but not so popular in meat-centric Manila. I just chopped up half a red onion, 2 tomatoes (because PJ loves tomatoes), and mixed some apple cider vinegar with extra virgin olive oil, garlic and pepper.

SEVENI was craving for Shabu-shabu, so I tried to make some. TRIED. Haha. Instead of squid balls, I used VEAT, which is soy-based mock chicken, and can be found in Shopwise, and some Rustan's groceries. Cooked it in vegetable stock with broccoli, eggplant, and malunggay (from our backyard). Served with looooootssss of garlic + liquid aminos (soy sauce replacer).

There are mooooore photos, but let's keep it at 7 for now. :P

In other news, Columbia Pictures invited us to an advanced screening of White House Down. I haven't raved about a movie in a long time, but maaaaan this was great! (Mom, Dad, you have to see this one.)

Here are 3 Reasons Why You Should Watch White House Down on July 3.
1. Channing Tatum. Yes, that is reason enough.
2. Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx's surprisingly great comedic chemistry.
3. There is no romantic love story. This trumps all action movies that wuss out into a love story in the end.
Thanks to Patty for the photos! That's Pat, Patty, PJ and me with our two new bffs in the middle, Channing and Jamie. wahahaha!

Aaaand, surprise, surprise!
Davao, we're crafting with you this August!!! :)Met up with Mansy and April, and we're planning for a bunch of workshops in Davao this August! I'm also going to do a craft workshop with FLOW there! (Please watch out early next week for the new schedule of crafternoons for July and August.)

Happy Sunday to all! :)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Doodle Pages

While cleaning out my stuff in my room, I found my chest of notebooks, some all the way from gradeschool. I realised this: I have a journal for EVERYTHING.
I have a journal for travel, for airplane meals, for my current favorite things, a visual diary for my deepest (but not so dark) thoughts, a diary of positivity doodles, a notebook of lists (yes, just ALL lists), and even a break-up journal, which I only write on post-breakup (and I hope never, ever to write on it again :P), journals of songs and poems I wrote in gradeschool & highschool (I feel like barfing just at the thought of these), and more pages which I am not quite ready to show to the world, haha.

I have, however, managed to find some non-cringe-inducing pages and photos. Here's a peek into some of my doodled works! :)
In the last Creative Journaling & Doodling crafternoon, I asked participants to draw out their grocery list. I find this exercise to be really therapeutic because sometimes, my thoughts run at a thousand kilometers per minute and drawing/doodling forces my mind to slow it down.
In watercolor crafternoons, one of the activities is to draw the things inside your bag. This is what's in mine (all the time). Yup, I have my watercolor set with me wherever I go! It's my personal commitment to living creatively. ;)
I love doodling, and love restaurants that have paper placemats or even better, paper table covers.
A shot of my notebook during one Pino group meeting. Doodles > Notes. Haha, oops! :P
Practicing calligraphy with the names of my tools.
Sometimes, I stick to the obvious words because my head is sabaw.
Random scalloped heart.

In case you haven't noticed, I love drawing out entire alphabet sets.Aside from paper, I 'doodle' in the sand...
on rubber stamps...
on chalkboards...on fabric, using thread...
...and on wood.

But, right now, I am enjoying the most basic doodling style --
using just a micron/pigment pen on white paper.I'm obviously not the best drawer (I see the world in two dimensions, that's why),  but I do love the fact that my clients trust my style enough and allow me to add a lot of hand-drawn elements into my designs.

Left hand doodling:I'm also currently doodling on weirdly shaped stretched canvas, as I fix up the interiors of our new home (in time for next week's housewarming party!).

One thing's for sure: doodling definitely helps to defrag messy brains. I propose that everyone start a doodle journal! So that we can all let the psycho-ness in our heads run free, wildly inked on paper! :P

Friday, June 21, 2013

My Love Affair with NYC

My love affair with The City began in 2004. It wasn't my first visit, but it was the first time I truly experienced it with friends, and a lot of times, on my own. We had just graduated from college then, and that summer, I headed to the States for half a year to take up Graphic Design courses at Parsons and NYU, while my best bud Gin and cousin Rizza took up Design Management and Fashion courses at Parsons. We met up there with other friends who were going through that same transition from college to postgraduate studies or work. At 21, I loved the freedom, hanging out with friends, the night life. Until now, I think it's safe to say that 2004 was still our "Best Summer Ever".

The nenengs and totoys in 2004: Chit, Lisa, Rizza, me, JJ, Gin, Maiki, Anthony, Pepel.
Street Art

I love how vegetarian and vegan options are every where (this is actually where I transitioned from pescatarian to vegetarian). I love how it's so easy to get from one part of town to another. I love the museums, I love the street art. I love the food. I love the East Village, I love the West Village. I love my schools. I love walking. I love the shopping. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of things that I also dislike about the city, but obviously, the good outweighs the bad and I find myself coming back for more.

My Top 5 Restaurants in the City

Zen Palate
Let's begin with my all-time favorite vegan restaurant. This is the resto that sparked my dreams of having my OWN veggie resto. Pipino, please say 'thank you' to Zen Palate. Here, they serve Asian fusion food, and I particularly love the cafe side where they serve meals in bento boxes. I've taken non-vegetarians with me here and they all approve that the food is great!
Locations: 663 9th Ave (between 46th St & 45th St) and 115 E 18th St (between S Park Ave & Irving Pl)

Candle 79
This is arguably the most established vegan place in the city. I love their Nachos...corn tortillas, guacamole, tofu sour cream, and salsa. A bit pricey for vegan food (although everything in NYC is pricey anyways), but food is always well made and well thought of.
Location: 154 E 79th St

Cafe Habana
This joint has grown quite popular over the years. They even had a scene shot here in the movie Friends with Benefits (Juuuustin!!! :P). Our friends took us here years ago, and we've been going back for the corn. I'm sorry, i cannot even begin to describe the corn because it's pure torture that I can't have anything like it right now!!!
Location: 17 Prince St (between Elizabeth St & Mott St)

Every time I step into this place, I feel so overwhelmed! They've got EVERYTHING Italy has to offer. Mario Batali is a genius for coming up with this concept.
Location: 200 5th Ave (near Madison Square Park)

Crif Dogs
We used to hangout at this place after drinking with friends because it's open til late. I love it here because they have a veggie hotdog available. Never fail to visit this at least once when I'm in the city! At night, the telephone booth inside the joint also opens up into P.D.T. (Please Don't Tell), which is a not-so-secret lounge

Top 5 Touristy Things Still Worth Doing

1. Buy a ticket and ride the elevator to the Top of the Rockefeller Center

2. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge

3. Take the free Staten Island Ferry to catch a glimpse of Lady Liberty

4. Go to Columbus Circle (shop at Century21!), walk up Central Park West and Strawberry Fields. Have a halal food truck snack in the park.

5. Shop at the Organic Market in Union Square.

Can't wait to go back to the city this year! :)

Friday, June 14, 2013

Best Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Today, the vegan baking gods were on my side.

I decided to tinker with my chocolate chip cookie recipe and add a few things to it. Turned out to be a deliciously chewy and chocolatey success! And a perfect match for this rainy weather.
Here's the supereasy recipe! :) If you have all ingredients at hand, you'll be done in 15mins!

Stay dry, and happy Friday! :)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

J'adore Washi Door

One random afternoon, I asked Mansy to collect all the black and white washi tape that they sell. I had a home project in mind.Black and white washi from HeyKessy

You see, our condo is so tiny, so even the bathroom is tiny. When your bathroom is tiny, water goes everywhere. That's just my guess why they used plastic for the bathroom door.But plastic? Not cute. Haha!

So, my solution was to washi-fy it!

I just used a step ladder and started from the top, playing with geometric patterns that the washi could make. I saved a box in the middle on purpose, so that we can use it as a whiteboard...for love letters (haha) and reminders.
After an hour and a half, this is how it turned out:
Yay! Much cuter than before! I love how washi can prettify something so easily.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Little Kitchen Adventures

Three square meters of kitchen space. That's literally all we have allotted for surviving hunger. In that tiny space, we have our refrigerator, sink, cabinets for food & plates, dish rack, electric stove, water heater, rice cooker, and convection oven. The last one is my favorite. I discovered this a few years ago when I was shopping for appliances for the first Pipino branch in Malingap. I was just looking for an alternative to a microwave, when I stumbled upon this: a (microwave-sized) convection toaster/oven/broiler in one!

One of the first things people ask when they find out that we've moved is, "What do you eat?!!??" Or maybe the concern is more towards PJ, since I'm veg, and he's not. I guess this blog post will allow those facial muscles to relax, because really, we're doing okay. A week has gone by since we moved in, and our cabinet dedicated for snacks is still almost full--proof that we get sufficient nutrition and don't find the need to snack on empty calories :P

Cooking takes up so much time (and energy); I salute all the stay-at-home women out there! There was a time I napped at 1pm, and couldn't understand why I was so tired, until I realized I spent all morning cooking! Also, I used to take so long in preparing the food that we'd eat our meals superlate (hence, not too many food pics because we just attack the food right away). But I'm trying to manage my kitchen time better now. PJ has been so helpful, cleaning up the dishes every time after we eat. (And when I got home yesterday, I found him sweeping the floor!) Three woots for domestication!

So far, cooking is my favorite condo chore. ;) These are a few of the meals we've shared in our first week here:
Probably my favorite thing to cook is this Kimpura-inspired fried rice (using organic brown rice, and without the meat). I also toss in whatever greens I have in the ref, like malunggay or spinach, plus the powdered turmeric that I got hoarded in Batanes. PJ had it with baked teriyaki chicken.

One breakfast morning, we had baked truffle eggs and hot chocolate.
For one lunch, I made falafels and hummus, with chopped fresh tomatoes and onions, served with (store-bought) toasted pita pockets. Yum!
And this morning, I baked biscuits!I've been wanting to make this for a while now, and learned that it's super easy! I used whole wheat flour, sea salt, baking powder, and olive oil for this. Bakes in 12 minutes! Now I need to find a good vegan gravy recipe to go with it. :P

Happy Tuesday, everyone!