Halo Halo, one of my favourite Filipino desserts growing up as a kid in the hot summers of Saskatchewan. I remember my dad crushing the ice with this white plastic tool that you had to manually crank with a handle and push the ice through with this plastic top. I loved growing up in the 80’s when kitchen gadgets were simple & interesting compared to the technology we have today that has so much power & too many buttons! To crush the ice, you can use a blender that has the feature, or like I did, which was to use my food processor with the cheese grater plate and it worked just fine. (Although, it’s super loud!)
Being Canadian-Filipino, I “westernized” the recipe for you to enjoy with ingredients you can find at your local grocery store (Asian/Filipino section). But if you want to be adventurous & authentic, check out your local Filipino market in town. You will find the traditional food items to make Halo Halo. Just ask the grocery clerk and they will guide you to the jarred sweet beans, coconut shreds, and jackfruit etc.
In the recipe, I just added ingredients that I already had in my fridge. So totally mix up the fruit with cantaloupe or honeydew using a melon baller. This time around, I used sliced strawberries.
Here is the recipe for 1 serving, I do hope you enjoy it on a hot summer day!
2 x Fresh Strawberries, sliced
1 cup of Crushed/Shaved Ice
3/4 cup of Unsweetened Almond Milk
2 Tbsp of Ube Jam| Jonaz Sweet Purple Yam*
2 Tbsp of Shredded Coconut| Bulacan Macapuno Strings in Syrup*
1 scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream
* (Find these at your local Filipino grocery store or section of grocery store)
1. In a short glass, start layering the ingredients. First, add half of the crushed ice, then add the Ube Jam, then the Coconut Shreds, then rest of the crushed ice.
2. Add the Unsweetened Almond Milk.
3. Top it up with the strawberries and a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream..
When ready to eat, mix it up and serve with a spoon. (Halo Halo means mix). Enjoy
Nutrition: 384 calories | 3g PRO| 67g CHO| 13g Fat
Non-Alcoholic Beverage - Moscow Mule
In a tall glass, add the following:
1/2 cup of Ice cubes
1 cup of Spicy Ginger Beer
3/4 cup of Carbonated Water
3-4 Fresh Mint Leaves
1/4 Lime (Garnish on glass & add lime juice to beverage)
Put mint leaves at the bottom of the glass, add all ingredients together and muddle the mint leaves with ingredients. Cut lime into a quarter wedge and add one as a garnish. Then squeeze the lime juice into beverage mixture when ready to drink & enjoy!
Nutrition: 154 Calories, 37g CHO, 1g PRO, 0g Fat
Eggs are an inexpensive source of protein, having all 9 essential amino acids commonly referred to as a "complete" protein. Nutritionally, one egg, has about 78 calories, 6 g of PRO, 1 of CHO, 5 g of Fat. Curious about why bodybuilders love egg whites? Egg whites have 3.6 g of protein opposed to the egg yolks having 2.7 g of protein. But personally, egg yolks have just as much nutritional value as they are a good source of Vitamin D and still a source of protein.
When you crack open an egg, ever wonder what that white stringy strand is attached to the egg yolk and egg white is? It's called the chalazae anchor and this strand tells us that the egg is super duper fresh! Cool, right?!
I love eggs in almost every meal. It's such a diverse food item that you can also have as a snack and they are easy to carry around in your lunch bag.
Now, let’s talk about egg food safety - as the food safety girl in me needs to come out! So, be cautious of raw or undercooked eggs as they may contain harmful bacteria such as salmonella. Please make sure to wash your hands after cracking them open. Also, to clean & disinfect cooking surfaces that raw eggs may have touched. Ensure to cook eggs until they are nice and firm or until an internal temperature of 165'F has been reached.
In Canada, you can buy eggs in the stores' cooler whereas in other countries, you may see them sold at room temperature on a shelf. The difference is that in Canada, we pasteurize our eggs to meet Graded Canada A (or Grade A) which reduces the bacteria count & other microorganisms. The other countries don't use this step in their processes, so, you will find them stored at room temperature on a shelf. In Canada, purchase eggs that are stored and kept in refrigerator/cooler temperatures at 0'C to 4'C and when you bring them home, store in the refrigerator as well. Remove any cracked and/or dirty eggs from the container.
Enjoy eggs at breakfast, scrambled, poached, or basted. Personally, I would not eat eggs raw, that is just my preference. Did you know, when eating raw eggs, our body only absorbs 51% of the protein, as opposed to having them cooked, where 90% of protein is absorbed in our bodies? So, cook them to your liking or boil them and have them ready for your upcoming weekly meals and add them to your lunch salads or make an egg salad sandwich. Have them for family dinners like making a quiche or frittata for supper...enjoy & love those eggs!
Photo from Pexels.
1x Small Apple, cut in thin quarters with skin
1/4 cup of Rolled Oats or 1 packet of cinnamon & spice oatmeal packet
1 Tbsp of Honey
1/8 tsp of cinnamon (optional if using an instant cinnamon & spice oatmeal packet)
2 Tbsp of water
2 Tbsp of slivered almonds
1. Cut apples and put in a a microwaveable cup.
2. Add the rolled oats, and choice of sweetner.
3. Add about 1 Tbsp of water and mix.
4. Microwave for about 2 minutes and mix onced cooked.
5. Add your slivered almonds and enjoy!
Walnuts are a good source of protein, fibre and other nutrient dense properties packaged in this brain looking nut! Due to their high content of Omega-3's, they also help with our cognitive functioning. Walnuts are high in good fats such as monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and Omega-3's (as mentioned) which also support heart health. These unsaturated fats help lower LDL cholesterol (the "bad" cholesterol) and raise the HDL ("good" cholesterol). These healthy fats can help reduce cardiovascular disease, heart attacks and strokes according to The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. Also, there have been research studies showing that walnuts have anticancer properties and can reduce inflammation in certain cancers.
Any type of food should be eaten in moderation, so be mindful of how many walnuts you consume as they are high in fibre and oil which could lead to a loose gut - if you know what I mean!
You can enjoy walnuts in salads, homemade muffins, breakfast yogurt or as a snack with dried fruit.
Nutrition on 14 halved walnuts consists of 185 calories, 2g of CHO, 4g of PRO, 19g of Fat, and 2g of Fibre
4 x Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast
1/3 cup of Vinegar
1/2 cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce (or if using regular Soy Sauce, use 1/4 cup and add 1/4 cup of water - otherwise it will be too salty)
2 1/2 tsp of Minced Garlic
1 small onion, sliced
2 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
3 Bay leaves, dry
1/4 tsp of cayenne
salt & ground black pepper for seasoning chicken breasts
1. Season chicken breast lightly with salt & pepper. Set Instant Pot to saute mode. When Instant Pot is ready, add olive oil to the bottom of the pot. Add chicken breast and cook until outsides are brown. Remove and transfer chicken to a plate. Turn off the saute mode.
2. In a bowl, add soy sauce, vinegar, onion, cayenne and garlic. Mix ingredients together. Now add the marinade to the Instant Pot and mix throughly. Add the chicken breasts and the bay leaves to the pot. Close pot with lid until it is securely sealed. Set Intant Pot to pressure cook for 10 minutes. Once it is finished, manually release the pressure carefully.
3. Remove lid, set Instant Pot to sauté Mode again and stir sauce occasionally for about 8-10 minutes (or until desired consistency). Serve over your choice of cooked rice and enjoy!
Nutritional: 316 Calories, 43 g of Pro, 3 g of CHO, 13 g of Fat
Photo by Selina Thomas on Unsplash
Healthy Summer Cooking Tips
As the weather starts to get nice and warm, one of my favourite methods of cooking in the summer is barbecuing or grilling. Every time I go for a walk with my husband and my dog, and we smell someone barbecuing, I always say to my husband, "do you smell that, mmmm, that's the smell of life!" It's so true, isn't it?
Grilling smaller portions of lean meats, fruits and vegetables are an easy way to enjoy cooking outdoors in the summer. One cooking tip that I try not to do is piercing your meats while barbecuing. When you pierce the meat, the juices from the meat drip onto the coals and can cause flames which increases the possibility of burning your meat. This is something you want to avoid as the charring (or the burn) form cancer causing properties. So, if you do have some larger burnt pieces, just simply remove it. I learnt this from a nutrition information session for cancer patients that I attended years ago and thought, "oh know, that tasty crunchy char is not good for me!" Darn it! Well, best to know now, right!?
Another cooking tip and great way to get your barbecuing in this summer is try grilling fruits and vegetables. Yes, pair fruits and/or veggies with meats. You can make kebobs with cubed salmon and mango or turkey burgers with pineapple. Attempt to get some beautiful colours into your summer meals by adding a variety of fruits & veggies that grill nicely. So, try grilling red & green bell peppers, sweet onions and zucchini. Lightly brush them with oil and place them on the grill. It doesn't take fruits & veggies long to cook as they are so simple to prepare, but yet tasty!
Photo by Felicia Buitenwerf on Unsplash
1 x bag of Corn Husks (25-30 pieces)
1 & 1/2 cups of Fine Corn Flour (Masa)
1/4 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of salt
1/4 cup of Olive oil
1 & 1/2 cups of warm chicken stock
1 lbs of chicken breast or 2 large chicken breast
1 cup of Salsa Verde
Filling: Salsa Verde Chicken - Put salsa verde in Instant Pot and add your chicken breast. Cook on high pressure for 20 minutes. Once cooked, shred chicken with 2 forks. Set aside if assembling right away or store in refrigerator covered in a container for the next day to prepare. Clean Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker for steaming the tamales.
Corn Husks - Preparing the corn husks, boil water in pot on stove. Once water has boiled, turn off heat and add your corn husks to the water and cover with a lid. Let them soak for 30 minutes. Drain water and set aside for husks dry.
Masa: Use a stand mixer with the paddle set up. Add your corn flour, baking powder, olive oil and salt. First, mix it slowly while gradually adding in your chicken stock. Mix it on medium speed and continue to add the stock until you see a nice smooth dough forming. You can set this aside or store in refrigerator covered in a container for the next day to prepare.
Preparing the tamales:
1. Take dried corn husk. If not dried, pat dry with paper towel before assembling.
2. Take about 2 Tbsp of Masa and spread in the middle of the corn husk with a spoon.
3. Add about 1/4 cup of the chicken filling on top of the masa in the middle.
4. Fold the sides to close, and fold again at the bottom to close the end. You can tie them with a strip of corn husk.
Steaming in Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker:
1. Depending on size of Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker add 1-2 cups of water or enough water to the amount of tamales you can put in your pot. Ensure water doesn't touch the tamales and tamales don't touch the lid of the pot or the pressure will not work properly. I trimmed the tops to fit accordingly.
2. Place your trivet on the bottom and place tamales standing up around the pressure cooker.
3. Set the timer for 20 minutes on high pressure. Once timer is done, release the pressure & wait for a couple of minutes.
4. Remove the tamales from the pot and check to see if the masa is fully cooked. It will easily remove from the corn husk.
5. Serve with rice, refried beans and chopped tomatoes. Enjoy!
here to edit.
A simple Sunday breakfast this morning and using ingredients already had in my kitchen.
1 tsp of Ground Cinnamon
1/4 cup of Chocolate Almond Milk
4 Slices of Whole Wheat Bread
1. Prepare in a mixing bowl, eggs, cinnamon, and almond milk. Mix & whisk together.
2. Preheat flat grill to medium heat. Spray with cooking oil.
3. When ready, dip a slice of bread (at a time) until bread is coated with the cinnamon mix on both sides. Place dipped bread on flat grill. Cook about 1-2 minute per side and cook so that bread is fully cooked all through.
Enjoy with your favourite syrup or spread like a crabapple jam! ;-)
Pancit Bihon - Filipino Noodle Dish
As April is coming to an end and noted in my last post that April is Filipino Culinary month, I wanted to share another traditional Filipino recipe growing up. This dish is easy to make and if you attend any Filipino gathering, it is for sure at the party!
1 package of Rice Vermicelli
1/4 cup Low sodium soy sauce
2 medium sized carrots, shredded
3 Celery sticks, chopped
1/2 cup onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup Cilantro, chopped
1 Fresh Lemon, cut into quarters
1 1/2 Large cooked chicken breast, shredded or diced
1 cup of Chicken broth
2 Tbsp Olive oil
Optional - Cooked Shrimp
1. Boil chicken breast until fully cooked or until an internal temperature of 165’F has been reached. Once the chicken breast have been fully cooked, cut into pieces or shred it.
2. Boil water in a kettle, place dry rice vermicelli noodles in a large bowl. Once water has been boiled, add boiled water to the rice vermicelli until water is covering the noodle. Let it soak to as directions from the package. Drain and set aside.
3. Dice the onion, minced the garlic cloves, shred the carrots, chop the celery, quarter the lemon and chop the cilantro. Set all aside.
4. On med- high heat, set a medium sized stock pot on the stove. Heat the olive oil and sauté the onion and garlic. Add your shredded carrots, & chopped celery and stir. Then, add soy sauce and chicken stock to the vegetables. Mix altogether.
5. Lower the heat and add your rice vermicelli noodles. Use tongs to mix everything together until chicken stock has been fully absorbed.
6. Serve the Pancit in a small bowl, garnish with cilantro on top and squeeze the juice of a lemon. Enjoy!