Dish A Month, Recipes, Uncategorized

Filipino Dish of the Month – July

Hey everybody, here’s another installment of (Filipino) Dish a Month. And yes, color me guilty… I didn’t do it last month, and I won’t even begin to make promises of making it up by providing 2 Filipino recipes because I’m bad.

Anyway, I’ve always sworn that my mom’s chicken adobo was the best.. and I stick to that statement. One of my first recipes that I made her share with me is her chicken adobo. This will probably be the most simple version of chicken adobo you can find, and I’ve looked, other versions call for peppercorns, bay leaves and other weird ingredients that I would never think of putting in adobo. If you’ve never cooked chicken adobo this is the one to try. Like I said it’s simple, doesn’t call for any exotic ingredients and I’m sure you’ll have most of them in your kitchen already… here’s what you need:

Filipino Chicken Adobo

About 2lbs. Chicken (Legs, Thighs, or a whole chicken cut into pieces..)

6 Tbs. Vinegar

3-4 Tbs. Soy Sauce

Half a yellow onion, chopped

7 cloves of garlic (chopped or use a garlic press)

2 Tbs. Oyster Sauce

2 Tbs. Oil (vegetable or canola)


Makes about 4-5 servings.

**You’re also going to need a pot with a lid and a wok.

You begin by prepping your chicken, remove as much skin as you can. I like to use a pair of kitchen scissors, it makes this task so much easier!

Once that’s done toss all of your chicken into a large pot. Add the vinegar, soy sauce, and 5 cloves of garlic and pepper. I would usually generously cover the chicken with a layer of pepper… not too much, but you know what I mean… like 11-12 shakes.

Cover the pot and let that cook at medium to low heat for about 30-45 minutes until the chicken is cooked. Your house, actually your whole neighborhood should be smelling really good right about now.

When the chicken is nearly cooked, in your wok, heat up about 2 tablespoons of oil and your chopped onions and the remainder of your garlic.

Once those are nice and tender add your chicken.. just the chicken not the sauce it’s been cooking in.

Add the oystersauce to the chicken and mix well.

Cook for about 5 minutes then add the sauce to the batch.. cook for an additional 5-10 minutes. Now this is the time if you would need to add more soy sauce, vinegar or pepper to suit your taste… I personally like my adobo a little sour so I’d add a little more vinegar… Let that simmer for a few more minutes.

Serve with some freshly cooked rice and enjoy. Mmm. Also, I would suggest trying the leftovers for breakfast with rice and a fried egg… this is called adobsilog. Oh man, that’s some real good Filipino eats! Enjoy! And see? I told you it was simple.

Recipes, Uncategorized

Grumpy and frumpy, bad. Healthy and happy, good!

Hello everybody! My apologizes for being MIA for almost a whole month, it’s been a combination of being sick, entertaining guests from out of town and most recently, recovering from a wisdom teeth extraction.  June has been good to me though, I used that recovery time as a good excuse to get some much needed lazy and not do a single thing time, although that only lasted for about half a day. I was up the next day putting together a diaper cake for a co-worker. It’s so hard not to be productive. Anyway, lately I’ve been really been concentrating on eating healthy and focusing on my daily caloric intake… obviously, due to the increase in diameter of my midsection and well, I’m getting older, I can’t just eat whatever the hell I want anymore. That means no more fast food (unless it’s the only option), cutting back on the alcohol intake (ouch!), cutting back on the red meats (I’ve done this before, not a big deal), incorporating fresh juices with my new nifty juicer (will post about this in the near future) and cooking more healthier meals at home! So far so good, it’s only been about 3 weeks and I’ve already made very good progress. I’m not as grumpy and frumpy as I felt a few weeks ago. I think as long as I keep this up, I’ll be able to find my ideal healthy weight that I’m comfortable with while still eating tasty and satisfying meals. I found a few easy recipes online (they all happen to be vegetarian dishes), some are definitely keepers! I’ve linked the recipe from the source in which I’ve found them.

Whole Wheat Toast topped with Avocado and a Poached Egg

This, I’m so very proud of. What you see right there is my very first poached egg. Poaching eggs were one of those things that always intimidated me, but I found this really simple tutorial at Smitten Kitchen, I was able to face my fear. Oh and this was so good. What a better way to start your day with perfectly ripe avocados? Mmm.

Black Bean Smothered Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes stuffed with black beans, low-fat sour cream, tomatoes and cilantro. These were really tasty and they’re deceivingly really filling!

Greek Quesadillas

What a combination right? These quesadillas are jam packed full of amazing flavor, from the sun-dried tomatoes, mozzarella, feta, red onions, spinach, and if you desire… olives (YUCK! I hate olives, but the boy loves them.) Super easy to make and those colors are so pretty!

Falafel Wraps with Cucumber Yogurt Dressing

Yeay! I love falafel. I made that mistake of saying falafels… sorry, I’m Filipino. We tend to add s’s where they don’t belong and remove them where they do… it’s true. A bunch of Auntie’s out there love to go to Starbuck for coffee. Anyway, again this was another recipe that I was a little hesitant to try out at first because I thought it might be complicated but it was surprisingly simple! And I have to say my first try at falafel was very successful, they turned out perfect! Crisp on the outside while the inside was nice and moist. I’ll actually be making this again this weekend because I love it so much. I do have to mention though, using a food processor is key when making falafel.

Paul McCartney’s Meatless Tacos (lol. It’s his recipe I guess.)

Made this last night, super simple recipe. My only major gripe about it is the amount of onions that the recipe called for. I didn’t even use the whole onion and it was way too much for me! And I really don’t mind onions that much. So if you plan on making this, I’d say only use half to ¼ of an onion… then maybe topping it with some fresh onions with the cilantro. Also, it calls for a ton of tomatoes too, I only had a tomato and a half and that was plenty for me. Oh and I totally forgot to add the lime juice to it… darn it! Don’t forget a squeeze of lime to top it off.

So those were the first of many of the new healthy recipes that I’ll be incorporating in my daily dinner routines, I’d definitely recommend all of them. Here’s to healthier eating and better living! Enjoy! Xo, crystal

Dish A Month, Recipes

Dish of the month – MAY: Hawaiian Edition.

For my dish a month, I’m going to take a break from posting a filipino recipe and instead post the recipe for one of my favorite foods ever… EVER! It’s simple, easy to make and comforting. Spam Musubi… it’s basically spam, rice and seaweed. And I know what you’re thinking, that’s super easy right?! (While the rest of you are thinking.. eeeeew Spam, whatever. I grew up eating spam, and I’ve actually converted the boyfriend into an avid spam eater, he’s never had spam until me.) But it’s not just spam and rice wrapped in seaweed… oh no no no, it’s much more than that. Still, it is a really easy recipe that requires no more than 5 ingredients, but it takes a lot of TLC to make each and every musubi. I love it, I love it so much I’d marry it.

I’ll also include my “mac daddy salad” recipe… because you can’t have spam musubi without it’s soul-mate: mac salad.

(Eek! I apologize for the horrible pictures!)

Spam Musubi

makes about 10 (depending on how you slice your SPAM!)

  • One can of SPAM, sliced and cooked to your preference. (I personally like my SPAM well done and cripy. mmm)
  • About 3 cups of cooked white rice.
  • Sushi seasoning (I found this at my local Japanese market place (Marukai Market).. here’s a picture of the seasoning and musubi mold)
  • About 2-3 Tbs of Oyster sauce
  • Seaweed Wrap (I would cut mine into halves and they would be the perfect size)
  • Musubi mold… this DOES exist! I also found this at Marukai. This isn’t super necessary but I find it really handy when I’m putting the musubi together, especially handling the hot rice. But you can get creative and use something else or nothing at all, before I had the musubi mold, I had this perfectly sized little tupperware.. but it was accidentally thrown away during the move. I’ve heard of people using the spam cans, but I wouldn’t see how effective that would be… anyway, let’s move on.
  1. Begin by cooking your rice. While that’s cooking prepare and cook your SPAM.
  2. Once you have all of your cooked ingredients, I like to prepare my musubi makin’ station. I’d keep my rice in the cooker that way it stays warm (the seaweed adheres better when you’re using hot rice). Then I’d have a clean surface to work on. A couple of bowls: one for some sushi seasoning (you won’t need too much, just enough for two generous sprinkles for each musubi) and one for the oyster sauce. Take the bowl of oyster sauce and dilute it with some water so that it has the consistency of soy sauce. You also need a plate to stack your finished musubi on.
  3. Now comes the fun part.. this does take patience. But it’s soooo worth it! Take your musubi mold and place inside a seaweed piece (if you’re not using a mold or anything, then you’d just lay your seaweed flat on the surface) be sure that the correct side is up, for the ones that I use you would put the “shiny” side down.. I’m sure they’re the same for all. Anyway, so I go in this order: rice, sprinkle of sushi seasoning, drizzle of diluted oyster sauce, SPAM, drizzle of oyster sauce, rice, sprinkle of sushi seasoning.. now close and repeat!
  4. Now once you’ve made all of your Spam Musubi serve with soy sauce and a side of mac daddy salad….

Mac Daddy Salad (Hawaiian Macaroni Salad)

adapted recipe from Cook’s Country Magazine

Serves 8 to 10 (I usually half this recipe…)

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni
  • 1/8 cup cider vinegar
  • 4 scallions , sliced thin
  • 1 large carrot , peeled and grated
  • 1 celery rib , chopped fine
  1. Bring 4 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and pasta and cook until very soft, about 15 minutes (you basically want to overcook the pasta, this helps absorb all of the dressing!) Drain pasta and transfer to bowl. Add vinegar and toss until absorbed. Cool pasta 10 minutes, I like to place it in the fridge for a bit.
  2. While the pasta is cooling. Whisk 1½ cups milk, 1 cup mayonnaise, sugar, ½ teaspoon salt, and 2 teaspoons pepper in bowl. Once the pasta has been cooled, stir in the dressing until the pasta is well coated. Cool completely.
  3. Add scallions, carrot, celery, remaining milk, and remaining mayonnaise to pot with pasta mixture and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to serving bowl and refrigerate, covered, for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days. Serve.

And what I’ve noticed when I make this salad is that it tastes much differently after it has time to completely cool. Therefore, make it according to the recipe and once it cools then add more of whatever it needs according to your taste… (I usually add a little more mayo, milk, brown sugar, salt and pepper because sometimes that vinegar taste is really strong.. and that’s another thing, go light on the vinegar, I halved amount that the original recipe called for.)

There you have it, my favorite meal ever.

Dish A Month, Recipes

Filipino Dish of the month – April

Hello all – it’s time for another Filipino dish of the month: Filipino Garlic Butter Shrimp. I’ve always enjoyed this dish, the only down-side to it was having to peel each and every shrimp as you were eating it. Easy solution… use skinless shrimp! There was nothing better than fresh hot white rice piled with steaming buttery garlic-y shrimp and of course a side of vinegar with more… garlic. MMmm..

My mom only provided me with what ingredients and very basic instructions, so I pretty much winged it and added a little touch of my own. Trying not to compare it with my mom’s version… I’m satisfied with my take on the dish, plus the boyfriend liked it, so that’s always a good thing.

Garlic Butter Shrimp

  • 1 lb jumbo skinless shrimp with tail (and you of course can use shrimp with the skin, I think the shrimp soaks up all of the yummy juices, but I’m lazy and I like to eat fast so I do it without the skin.)
  • 3-4 Tbs of butter
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 3 green onions
  • 2 Tbs of Oyster Sauce
  • Half a lemon
  • Black Pepper to taste

I prepped everything before I started cooking because it’s very easy to over cook shrimp. If you’re using frozen shrimp, be sure to defrost the shrimp properly before cooking. First you would chop the green onions and set aside. Melt the butter and saute the garlic, be sure not to brown the garlic too much. Once that’s done, add the shrimp, oyster sauce and green onions, cooking over medium to low heat. Cover and cook for about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once you see that the shrimp is cooked, squeeze some lemon and pepper to taste. And you’re done… that was quick wasn’t it? My mom mentioned that you can also add salt to the recipe, I opted not to because of the oyster sauce, but it’s just depends on your preference! Serve on top of rice and if your a true Filipino, a side of vinegar mixed with fish sauce and garlic for dipping!

Happy cooking! 🙂

Dish A Month, Goals and Aspirations, Recipes, Uncategorized

Filipino Dish of the Month – March

One of my goals for 2012 is to cook a new Filipino dish each month.  On this cold and stormy day and nursing a sick boyfriend back to health, I knew arroz caldo would hit the spot.  This comforting filipino dish has been my favorite ever since I was a child, arroz caldo (translated as warm rice), is a chicken and rice porridge that is sure to fill your belly and instantly warm your soul. So I contacted my mom to find out what I needed in order to make this myself…

Arroz caldo (Chicken and Rice Porridge)

  • 1 ½ lbs chicken, cut into serving pieces
  • 1 ½ cups uncooked sweet rice (botan rice)
  • about 2 1/2 cups of water (to start with, you end up adding more to reach your desired consistency)
  • about 4-5 Tbsp of fish sauce, add to taste
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 cup onion, minced
  • 4 pieces hard boiled eggs
  • 1 cup scallions (green onions), minced
  • 2 knobs ginger
  • 1 piece chicken cube (bouillon)
  • 1 lemon or 4 calamansi
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil

Since I’m making my arroz caldo to my preference, I ground both the garlic and the ginger in a food processor that way it was very fine. My mom would cut up the ginger in bigger pieces but I didn’t like that. So whatever you prefer.

Heat cooking oil and saute the onion, garlic and ginger. Then add the chicken cube, cook until cube has melted. Now add the chicken, cook until golden brown.  Next, add 2 Tbsp of fish sauce and uncooked rice, cook for a few minutes.  Add the water and bring to a boil, simmer until the rice has been fully cooked (about 30-45 minutes), stirring occasionally.  You’ll notice as it’s cooking, the water gets absorbed, add more hot water until you reach your desired consistency.  For me, I added A LOT of water while it was cooking because I like my arroz caldo pretty soupy. Also this is a good time to taste test the broth to add more fish sauce, add according to taste. While your rice is cooking you can boil your eggs. Once the rice is done you can add the boiled eggs… peeled (OBVIOUSLY!).. and serve topped with green onions and a squeeze of lemon or calamansi.. Mmmm, Masarap! (Yields 6 servings)


Chocolate Dipped WHAT?

Happy St. Patty’s Day Everybody!  Personally, I”m not too big on the holiday myself because obviously, I’m not Irish, but it is a good excuse to have to wear my favorite color and drink beer.

This evening  we have a potluck to attend to in which the hosts will kindly be preparing some corned beef. I decided to make chocolate dipped potato chips. I’ve never tried them myself and I couldn’t see why it wouldn’t be good, I mean, chocolate is great and I love potato chips. So, I looked up the recipe and they turned out so good! Chocolate and potato chips are a match made in heaven!

Chocolate Dipped Potato Chips

  • (2) 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used Ghirrardelli and I’m sooo glad that I did.)
  • About 16 oz of potato chips (I’d go with thicker more sturdier chips that way it can withstand being dipped. )
  • wax paper
  • cookie sheet(s)
  • air-tight container

Line the cookie sheet with wax paper. Melt chocolate chips in the microwave in 45sec-1min intervals stirring in between, do this until all the chocolate is all smooth and melted. Dip the chips halfway in chocolate, one at a time. And remove excess chocolate with a spoon or a spatula, you don’t want TOO much chocolate, otherwise it would be way too rich.. unless that’s what you prefer! Then you just place the chip on the wax paper lined cookie sheet. Once the cookie sheet is full you just refrigerate the chips until the chocolate is set (this really only takes a few minutes) and you’re done! You can serve these immediately or you need to store the chips in a tightly covered container because nobody likes stale chips, even if they’re dipped in chocolate.

Viola! Best snack ever!

DIY & Crafts, Goals and Aspirations, Recipes

Welcome friends!

Hello everybody, this is officially my first post on the SugarCube Blog.  Rather than introducing myself, (you can read a little about me in my “About Crystal” section) I’ll share a few of my upcoming projects and events that I have coming up in the near future! I’m going to first start off with a few of my goals for the year…

  • Learn to sew.
  • Create a business name and logo.
  • Set up my creativity/crafting room.
  • Create at least 50 DIY projects/crafts within the year.
  • Learn how to cook at least one Filipino dish each month. (I’d like to be as good of a cook as my mom someday!)
  • Start up a shop on Etsy.
  • Create a business card/thank you card.
  • Paint more. (this I can easily incorporate into the 50 challenge)

So far that’s what I have, and I’ll be adding to this as the year goes on.  I’m also happy to mention that I’ve already accomplished 2 of these goals: sewing and say hello to “SugarCube!”

Another thing to look forward to for the future of this blog is witnessing the boyfriend and I transform this cute little house on Cottonwood St from a house to a home!  He had recently purchased a great little craftsman bungalow and although the house has come a long (LONG) way from the condition that it was in before, it still does need some work and personalization.  We’re scheduled to start moving early February.

So here it is:


Isn’t it just ADORABLE?! I love it. We’re both so very excited!

I plan to share how we decide to decorate, paint, plant, install, and whatever else this house needs and I’ll also be sharing with you the progress of my goals… thank you so much for reading and check back soon.