Sunday, July 31, 2016

Spinach Nectarine Salad with Naked Veggie Wontons

I had a salad recently that had two ingredients that you would ordinarily savor separately as its own dish, ramen noodles and potstickers.  They were combined with spinach and orange slices to comprise an oriental themed dish that surprisingly worked.   I had this delicious salad shown below during the July meeting of the Book Club at the McGinnis Sisters Specialty Store in Monroeville PA. It was prepared by the creative Karen Novak, the specialty store Events Coordinator. 

In my version of this Asian salad, the potstickers have been replaced by Naked Veggie Wontons , shown below. I did not feel like waiting for the wonton wrappers to thaw that I had frozen in the freezer so I decided that they go naked.  I also wanted to do away with the meat and opted for veggie filled ones that I would bake.  I was pretty lazy the day I made this.

I also substituted nectarines for the orange slices and made my own sesame dressing instead of a store bought one.

I had a very satisfying lunch savoring this oriental themed salad which recreated what I enjoyed during our Book Club July meeting featuring Yvonne Phillips who spoke about Feng Shui.

Naked Veggie Wontons

  • 1/4 cabbage
  • 1 cup baby carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger
  • 1/2 pack soft tofu (or any type will do)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place the cabbage, carrots, celery, garlic and ginger in the order given in the Vita Mix blender or any blender or food processor.  Transfer the mixture to a bowl and add the tofu and mix with the other ingredients with a large spoon. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix with a large spoon. 

Line a pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.  Using a small ice cream scoop make small balls and place in the pan. Bake the naked wontons in the preheated oven for 25 minutes. Flip the wontons half way through the baking.

Spinach Nectarine Salad with Naked Veggie Wontons

  • 8 oz Fresh Spinach leaves
  • 2 nectarines, sliced
  • 2 packages ramen noodles cooked without seasoning
  • 16 pieces naked veggie wontons (recipe above)
  • Orange sesame dressing (recipe below)

Distribute the ingredients in four bowls and pour dressing before serving.

Orange Sesame Dressing 

  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 8 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
Combine all the ingredients in a jar and cover with lid.  Shake till well blended.

Morning Peace


joy in a pastry. Sip of

bliss, tranquility.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Unanswered Questions

More questions but no

answers. Like murky river

life still flows amidst.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Summer Delight

Sinking your teeth on

the sweet buttered golden cob.

Heaven on earth. Yum!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Spinach Black Bean Enchilada

This is a vegetarian version of the Skinny Chicken Enchiladas I posted in this blog last year.  One of the persons who commented in this past blog post in the slow cooker community wanted to know if she can skip the chicken.  I told her I would work on it.  I finally came up with the vegetarian version and ta da here it is.

I served it today at a potluck lunch and people loved it.  It has the authentic Mexican taste you get from dishes served in real Mexican restaurants.  It is the combination of the chipotle from a can not the powder, cumin powder and green chilies that give this flavor.

Some of the people during lunch never had it before and they fell for it and took home the leftovers.  Good sign you should try it. Promise you will not miss the chicken at all.

Spinach Black Bean Enchilada

For the sauce:

  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 can diced green chilies
  • 1 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 inch piece chipotle in adobo sauce from a can, chopped (Note 1)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/3 cup salsa
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • salt and fresh pepper to taste

For the filling:

  • 1 tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-14 oz can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1-14 oz can black beans, drained
  • 1 red or yellow pepper, diced
  • 5 stalks green onion, sliced and divided (set aside two stalks for topping) (Note 2)
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/3 cup salsa
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 6 oz fresh spinach leaves, chopped coarsely
  • 10 8-inch medium sized tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded low fat Mexican cheese or cheese of your choice
  • Nonstick cooking spray

The sauce: 

Place all the ingredients in a blender and pulse till well mixed. Set aside.

The filling:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Heat the vegetable oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat then lower the heat.  Saute onions and garlic on low until soft, about 2 minutes.  Add corn, black beans, red pepper, 3 stalks sliced green onions, salt, cumin, oregano, salsa, tomato sauce, vegetable broth and cook till most of the liquid is evaporated.  Add the spinach and continue heating till the spinach is wilted. Remove from heat and cool.


Spray a 13 by 9 inch glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.  Place 1/3 cup vegetable filling into each tortilla and roll it.  Place each roll in baking dish seam side down.  Top with sauce and cheese.  Cover with foil and bake in the oven in the middle rack for 20-25 minutes.  Top with green onions.



1.  You can freeze any leftover chipotles in the can as individual pieces placed in plastic bags for future use.

2.  You can substitute cilantro for the green onions.

Awesome Hoover Dam

"Skin of concrete". Show

of tenacity. Marvel

of engineering.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Slow Cooker Shoyu Chicken

I adapted this recipe from the one found in the Allrecipe website.  It used pork belly instead of chicken and entailed an additional step of boiling the pork first. This recipe is an easier one using chicken instead. No initial boiling needed.  As the site mentioned the proportion of sugar to the other ingredients is perfect. The chicken with the sweet and salty sauce is amazing with rice.  Simple and delicious.

Slow Cooker Shoyu Chicken

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup mirin
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1.5 lb chicken legs
Place all the ingredients except the chicken in the slow cooker and mix. 

Place the chicken over the sauce.

Cook for 3 hours at high setting or 6 hours at low. I cooked mine for 2 hours in an Aroma Brand rice cooker/slow cooker at slow cooker setting.

Serve over rice.

Simple Decadent Start

Piping hot coffee

Greasy good Egg Mcmuffin

Life's short  Living it.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Slow Cooker Creamy Mustard Chicken and Sausage

I just came back from a trip to Las Vegas and stayed at the Caesar's Palace hotel.  The buffet in this hotel is legendary for its size and the long wait.  We paid an extra twenty five bucks to escape the long wait which was more than two hours at peak hours.  We still waited a good fifteen minutes or so.  Was it worth it?  I expected too much from the hype my son-in-law built up so I would just say it was OK but I will not do it again for 75 dollars.

Caesars Palace buffet

Mussel dish I fell in love with

There was one dish that I liked best at the buffet and it was the mussel dish the exact name I do not have.  It was creamy and I tasted a hint of mustard but I could be wrong.  I did not have mussels but I have chicken so off I went searching in the web for a creamy mustard chicken dish and landed at the bakeaholicmama website with a recipe I adapted this dish from. I could not get that creamy mustard craving off my mind.

I did not have chicken breasts and substituted chicken legs for it.  For the sausage I used jalapeno cheddar smoked sausage.  I also did not use grainy mustard but just plain yellow mustard you used for your hot dogs. And yes I decided to go low brow and used beer instead of wine. I increased the proportion of mustard to the rest of the ingredients and also that of the salt as was suggested in the original recipe.

This dish is creamy from the cream cheese and tangy from the mustard.  The smokiness of the sausage helps enhance the overall flavor of the dish and the jalapeno in the smoked sausage gives it a hint of spiciness.  It is a good and delicious dish to serve to your family and excellent for potlucks.  Who could resist chicken and sausage swimming in creamy sauce?

Slow Cooker Creamy Mustard Chicken and Sausage

Adapted from bakeaholicmama

  • 1 1/2 lb chicken legs
  • 4 pieces jalapeno cheddar smoked sausage (or any smoked sausage or kielbasa), sliced
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup beer or wine
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 onion, diced
Mix the cream cheese, chicken broth, beer, garlic, mustard and salt in a bowl till well blended.  

Place the chicken legs and sausage pieces at the bottom of the slow cooker.  Place the sauce mixture and diced onion on top of the chicken and sausage.

Cook in the slow cooker for 6 hours at low setting or 3 hours at high.  I cooked mine in an Aroma Brand rice cooker/slow cooker for 2 hours at slow cooker setting.

You can add frozen green peas at the end of cooking if you like.  Serve over rice or pasta.  Garnish with green onions.

Thanks Olivia Newton John

Brief moments of youth

Thrill of crushes, sleepless nights,


Monday, July 11, 2016

Road Trip Therapy

The blue skies, endless

trees along the road. Soothe the

mind with the calm void.

Slow Cooker Beer Chipotle Green Chilies Pulled Pork

This was a hit with the end users shown below.  I visited my friend Seville and Bob and I brought this dish to their house.  They and their guest Rosie who was staying with them like me for the APAMS 2016 meeting gave the dish two thumbs up.

I just placed all the ingredients in a crock pot the day before I drove to my friends' house. I then froze it and brought it frozen in the car during the four hour drive.  I  placed it again in the freezer until the next day when I thawed it in the fridge and heated it on the stove for our dinner.

Note the number of ingredients!  Just five of them and they are all pantry items you can pack with you in case you prefer to cook this at your destination.  You can bring along frozen pork butt or buy it when you get to the place you are staying.  You can then place it in the slow cooker and forget it as you go about talking to your friends or sightseeing.

I prefer this on crusty bread that has been spread with mayonnaise and lined with roasted red pepper from a jar. You can also eat this over rice. This is delicious with that hint of spiciness as you bite into the dish either on rice or on a crusty bread.  Try it.  It is so easy to prepare.

Bob is entertaining us with his stories.  I wish he would get to the point.  ha ha ha.

Seville came later to savor the dish.

Rosie looks so full, doesn't she?

Slow Cooker Beer Chipotle Green Chilies Pulled Pork

  • 2.5 lb pork butt
  • 2 pieces of bottled chipotle 
  • 1-10 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup beer (I used Samuel Adams)
Place all the ingredients in the slow cooker.  Cook at high for 4 hours or at low for 8 hours.  I cooked mine in an Aroma brand rice cooker/slow cooker for 3 hours at slow cooker setting.

You can skim off the fat if you prefer after cooling.  

You can serve this over rice or as a pulled pork sandwich using a baguette spread with mayonnaise and lined with roasted red pepper from a jar.  

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Mixed Berries Jalapeno Chia Sauce

If you want an alternative to the classic cranberry sauce, this is a good candidate. It is sweet, fruity and spicy. The chia seeds give it a good supple texture. Try this with your favorite roasted meat or fried dish. Delicious. Also you can just eat it as is. 

Mixed Berries Jalapeno Chia Spread

  • 6 oz. blackberries
  • 8 oz strawberries
  • 2 tbsp jalapeno slices from a bottle
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 6 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • salt to taste
Place all the ingredients in a blender and pulse till the mixture are fine.  

Baby's First Times

When, where. Will I be

there? Always a thrill, squeals.

Delight. Swelling hearts.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Easy Four Ingredient Hamburger Patties

Some like their hamburgers just seasoned with salt and pepper.  That is tasty especially if you have excellent beef to begin with.  But I like mine with a bit more oomph to it.  I tasted this hamburger at my daughter's place as their leftover from a picnic during the US open at Oakmont, PA where they live.  I brought it home and my husband fell in love with it.

When I asked my daughter the recipe she told me she got it from the George Foreman Grill recipe book.  It called for Lipton Onion soup mix and bread crumbs. I did not like using this soup mix since it has some additives in it. When a recipe calls for it I rely on my dry onion flakes and dry garlic flakes and the combination is a good substitute.  I used it in this recipe and it gave successful results.

Try this recipe next time you have a barbecue.  It is an easy crowd pleaser.

Easy Four Ingredient Hamburger Patties

  • 2.5 lb ground beef (Note 1)
  • 1/4 cup dry onion flakes
  • 1/4 cup dry garlic flakes
  • 1 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp oil
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.  If you are using lean beef (90% or higher for example) you might need to add a tbsp of water or more so you can shape them into patties.  

Place oil in a saute pan and heat to medium heat.  Place the patties in the heated pan.  Let the patties sear and then add 1 tbsp water and cover the pan.  Flip the burger when one side gets brown and allow the other side to brown.


1.  75-85% lean beef is best.  If one uses 90% lean and above you would needed to add water in order to shape the meat into patties.

Aunt B's Relationship with Maddie

No expectations,

conditions. Hey Aunt B treat

me your Mom the same.


I am amazed at how understanding and loving my daughter Bettina is to her niece Maddie, who calls her Aunt B.  I figured out the essence of this love and expressed it in this poem.  No expectations.  No conditions. I wish that is how this daughter of mine treats me her mom too.  Ha ha ha.  That is a different story altogether.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Watermelon Spinach Tofu Rice Bowl with Gochujang Dressing

What to do with your watermelon?  Try this watermelon spinach tofu rice bowl with a unique gochujang dressing.  A salad to spice up your summer picnics.

Watermelon Spinach Tofu Rice Bowl with Gochujang Dressing

Around 4 servings

Gochujang Dressing
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp gochujang (available in any Asian store)
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
Tofu and Salad
  • 4 oz firm Tofu, cut into 4-1/3 inch rectangles
  • 2 tbsp Soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp Garlic Powder
  • 2 cups Spinach Leaves
  • 2 cups watermelon Pieces cut into cubes
  • 2 cups Brown Rice
  • Black Sesame Seeds (Optional)
  • Gochujang (optional)
Gochujang Dressing

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and thoroughly blend using a fork or use a blender.

Tofu and Salad

Spray a saute pan with cooking spray.  Heat to medium high heat and place the tofu slices, soy sauce and garlic powder and heat the tofu till browned but not burnt.  Flip and repeat with the other side.  

Distribute the brown rice, tofu, spinach leaves and watermelon pieces into 4 bowls.  Pour the Gochujang dressing over the rice salad bowl.  Sprinkle with black sesame seeds.   You can place a dot of Gochujang on top of the tofu slice if you like.

A Tribute

Bricks you were made of

No wind, storm, hail destroyed you

Upright you stood tall.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Pancit Canton with Sriracha Miso Sauce

The Filipinos have different types of noodles which are made either from rice, flour or mung beans. Rice sticks are called Pancit bihon, the flour noodles, pancit canton and the mung bean one, sotanghon.  I am using the flour stick noodle type, pancit canton, in this dish.  Originally pancit canton (and it is still available in select stores in Chinatown in your neighborhood) was made using eggs also.  Fortunately for me who is plant based, they have stuck to just using flour.

Seasoning the pancit canton varies from using soy sauce or fish sauce or both with citrus like the native calamansi or the more readily available lemon or lime.  See a recipe I posted in the past using these condiments.  In this recipe I resorted to using miso paste in place of the fish sauce to flavor the noodle dish and I was very happy with the result.  Of course there is nothing like fish sauce but this miso paste comes pretty close in the tastiness satisfaction scale for me.  I even put more kick into the dish by adding sriracha sauce.  Amazing.  I almost ate the whole thing and I am pretty picky.

Pancit Canton with Sriracha Miso Sauce

  • juice of 1 lemon   
  • 2 tbsp miso paste
  • 4 drops or more sriracha sauce
Vegetables and noodles                       
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups carrots, sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1/4 cabbage head, cored and sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp dry garlic flakes or fresh garlic
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 16 oz flour noodles or pancit canton (from Asian Store) (note 1)
  • pepper to taste
  • 2 cups water or more as needed
  • slices of green onions for garnish
  • slices of lemon for garnish

In a small bowl mix the lemon, miso paste and sriracha sauce and set aside.

Vegetables and Noodles:

Place the vegetable broth, carrots, celery, cabbage, onion, garlic flakes and soy sauce in a wok or pot. Cover and allow to boil till the vegetables are cooked but still crispy.

Transfer the cooked vegetables into another container and leave any leftover broth in the wok or pot. Add the water to the broth and submerge the flour noodles or pancit canton in the liquid mixture while cooking at medium heat.  Let the noodle soften while stirring them.  Add more water if needed but do not add too much or the noodles will get too soggy.

When the noodles are cooked, add to it the cooked vegetables and the prepared sauce and mix.  Garnish with sliced green onions and lemon slices.


1.  You can substitute cooked spaghetti instead.  Just mix the cooked vegetables and sauce to it.  

War and Peace

The most eloquent exposition of warfare strategy is the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941.  The US military expected that Japan would first attack the Philippines not the United States. They definitely were caught off guard.

The genius behind this historical attack was Japan's Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto.  When he uncovered his strategy to the Emperor of Japan, the head of the land of the rising sun had one word for Yamamoto, brilliant. But Yamamoto was actually not elated but wistfully said something like this, "I would rather be brilliant finding an alternative way to carry out our goals using words not swords or guns or force".  

Independence, freedom and peace all entail a price but I pray that it would be carried out through listening and understanding.

Happy Independence Day.  Peace.


I thank Fr. Joe Mele for the wonderful sermon he gave yesterday at St. Bernadette Church which served as  the inspiration for this reflection.  

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Aging like a Goddess

Christine Northrup author of Goddesses Never Age: The Secret Prescription for Radiance, Vitality, and Well-Being (click on the image below for information on how to obtain the book)
was a recent guest on Oprah Winfrey's TV program Super Soul Sunday wherein she discussed some of the ideas in her book on not aging as one inevitably grows old.  She quoted those lines in the poster continuously during the interview.

Here are some of the ideas that she mentioned during the interview:

Rather than milestones during birthdays celebrate what you accomplished the past year.  Milestone becomes milstone according to Northrup.

Find a photo at your peak and live that way.

Some people learn how to survive especially those who have had cancer or other illnesses in their life but have not learned how to live.

Have ritual of pleasure not addiction.  Do it mindfully.  Examples are having a cup of coffee every morning. Or doing your favorite exercise.  Reading a passage from your favorite book.

Look in the mirror and say I love you. Say it again.  Ageless self will appear and you will see lines disappear. Do this for 30 days for 20 minutes.  This is not an ego trip but out of love of self.

Make divine love petition.  Pray.  Be open to answers.  Place your petition into a God box and offer it to God and listen.

Take beauty risks.  There are no age limitations. You own your body.

Own your pain but not dwell in it.  Feel it not live it.  Leave it to Jesus.  

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Slow Cooker Jalapeno Chicken Adobo

Once you are used to eating dishes with jalapeno, you will be adding it to even those you had in childhood that you would never dream adding it to.  I was eating the chicken adobo, an iconic Filipino dish, without the jalapeno slices and my tongue wanted something to spice it up.  So I reached for the bottle of jalapenos and dumped 2 tbsp of it to the dish.  In this recipe I instructed it to be added at the beginning.

However, if you have Chicken Adobo purists in your family, use the jalapeno as a side.  Or just don't tell them it is adobo. They will just wonder to themselves or aloud, "This tastes familiar.." while eating with gusto and you just smile.

Slow Cooker Jalapeno Chicken Adobo

  • 3 lb chicken legs or thighs 
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp jalapeno slices from a bottle or more
Place all the ingredients in a crock pot. Cook at low for 6 hours or at high for 3 hours.  I cooked mine in an Aroma Brand rice cooker/slow cooker for 3 hours at slow cooker setting.


I did not add water at all.  The chicken gives off enough juice so that all the chicken pieces will eventually be in the broth.

Life Is

Ferris wheel is life.

It circles. Bringing you up

and down. Amusing.

Friday, July 1, 2016

No Bean No Cheese Sweet Potato Burrito

You will like this.  Amazingly simple and yet addictively delicious.  The combination of spices blended with the sweet potatoes plus the crispiness of the burrito makes this highly satisfying like any cheese or bean burrito.  Believe me I can eat the whole recipe in one seating.  This is nutritious especially with the super food spinach added to the whole concoction with the other super food sweet potatoes. A winner!

No Bean No Cheese Sweet Potato Burrito

Makes around 6 small burritos
  • 1 1/2 cup cooked sweet potatoes, mashed
  • 1-2 tbsp chopped bottled jalapeno
  • 1/2 tbsp dry onion flakes
  • 1/2 tbsp dry garlic flakes
  • 1/8 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • around 6-5 inch tortillas
  • 4 oz spinach leaves (optional)
Mix all the ingredients except the tortillas and spinach leaves in a small bowl and mash together with a fork or you can use a blender.  

Spread the sweet potato mixture over the six tortillas.  Add spinach leaves if you like on each tortilla and just fold over one end of the tortilla towards the middle then the other end.  

Spray a saute pan with cooking spray and heat at medium heat.  Place the burritos seam down and flip over when this side down has turned crispy.  Do the same with the other side.

Good Things Take Time

Love can wait. At what
point the other is ready.
Love is patient, kind.