Summer Popsies

Summer Popsies

I love the harvest the summer brings. And in order to combat the heat and make the most of my produce, I make my girls frozen treats with whatever I can get my hands on. This simple recipe works best with fruit that is reaching overripeness because they tend to be increasingly sweet. Because of that, no added sweetener is necessary.

Today I will be using Avocado and Mango.

1 Ripe Avocado, seed and skin removed. I got these from local growers @kajuayan.

2 Ripe Mangoes (if you have some going overripe, use those – they work best), seeds and skins removed. My mom has a tree that gives us the most delicious harvest every summer. Because of the abundance, I formulated this recipe to avoid wasting those we don’t get to in time.

Place fruit in a blender with 1/2 a cup of Greek Yogurt. Blend until creamy.

Place mixture into popsicle molds. Here I am using small ones, making them just the right size for my 2 year old. Ice candy bags work too, but they tend to be mesier when filling. Also, I try to avoid using one-time-use plastic as much as I can.

FREEZE OVERNIGHT.

It’s a simple but very satisfying treat, especially during the hot summer months. All the fun and yumminess of a store bought popsicle, with zero added sugar. You can’t beat that!

Easter Fun

Easter Fun

When the kids are home for the holiday, keep them entertained with these fun activities!

I love Holy Week. For me, it is a time to be grateful. It presents moments that allows you to forget work, social commitments, and the hustle and bustle of everyday… It is a time to revel in the quiet.

But it can be a bit difficult to enjoy this silence when you have bored children running about, looking for things to do. So my solution is to have ready activities to keep them busy. Some may require a minimal amount of your time, but it will keep them occupied for hours after, giving you a few moments of peace.

Here are some fun Easter inspired activities:

  1. Egg painting
  • Boil 2 dozen eggs, get some poster paints, brushes, glitter and even stickers and a bunch of newspaper and set the kids up outside. A child of any age would enjoy this – from my 12 year old to my 1 year old. I think even teenagers would have fun exploring their creativity.

2. Baking and Snacks

 

  • Whether it is to imaginatively decorate a cake, bake a simple batch of cookies, or make fun snacks – preparing cool things in the kitchen is a great way to keep the kids busy.

3. Counting, separating, and distinguishing eggs

 

  • This may seem like a very preschool classroom activity, but my young ones love to count the eggs and separate them by color and size. This also helps them develop simple math skills.

4. Filling eggs with candy

 

  • It’s always fun to crack open a colorful plastic egg and fill it with some candy. Make sure there is a grown up though so that they cant sneak too many into their mouths!

5. Hiding eggs

 

  • This may be more appreciated by older kids. I find that it is especially fun for children who are on the cusp of wanting to be a part of the egg hunting, yet a little too old to still search for eggs. Having them hide it gives them a fun sense of responsibility as well as creativity.

 

Happy Easter!!!

 

  • Photo of painted eggs taken from Pinterest
Easter Fun

Easter Fun

When the kids are home for the holiday, keep them entertained with these fun activities!

I love Holy Week. For me, it is a time to be grateful. It presents moments that allows you to forget work, social commitments, and the hustle and bustle of everyday… It is a time to revel in the quiet.

But it can be a bit difficult to enjoy this silence when you have bored children running about, looking for things to do. So my solution is to have ready activities to keep them busy. Some may require a minimal amount of your time, but it will keep them occupied for hours after, giving you a few moments of peace.

Here are some fun Easter inspired activities:

  1. Egg painting
  • Boil 2 dozen eggs, get some poster paints, brushes, glitter and even stickers and a bunch of newspaper and set the kids up outside. A child of any age would enjoy this – from my 12 year old to my 1 year old. I think even teenagers would have fun exploring their creativity.

2. Baking and Snacks

  • Whether it is to imaginatively decorate a cake, bake a simple batch of cookies, or make fun snacks – preparing cool things in the kitchen is a great way to keep the kids busy.

3. Counting, separating, and distinguishing eggs

  • This may seem like a very preschool classroom activity, but my young ones love to count the eggs and separate them by color and size. This also helps them develop simple math skills.

4. Filling eggs with candy

  • It’s always fun to crack open a colorful plastic egg and fill it with some candy. Make sure there is a grown up though so that they cant sneak too many into their mouths!

5. Hiding eggs

  • This may be more appreciated by older kids. I find that it is especially fun for children who are on the cusp of wanting to be a part of the egg hunting, yet a little too old to still search for eggs. Having them hide it gives them a fun sense of responsibility as well as creativity.

 

Fruit Pop!

Fruit Pop!

Is it just me or does every summer just get hotter? I am constantly finding ways to beat the heat. A year ago I posted some fun and creative ways to enjoy frozen mangoes. Now, my daughter has introduced me to more artistic and cool ideas, thanks to her love for Pinterest!

Originally, this activity required the use of popsicle molds. Though those looked adorable, I wanted to put my own stamp on the final product. As a child, I loved the ice-kendi my yaya (nanny) would make for us. She would take the juice and meat from fresh buko (coconut) and melons and freeze them in narrow, clear plastic bags. They were the perfect after school snack!

Fast forward to today and we are modernizing the treat, thanks to nostalgic emotions and the world wide web. My girls and I happily present to you our homemade Frozen Fruit Pops!

YOU WILL NEED:

1. Ice candy bags

2. A beaker with a spout and your favorite juice. Today we are using a pressed apple juice with no added sugar. White grape juice works as well. If you prefer something a little more healthy, coconut water, a freshly squeezed calamansi juice or fresh lemonade are good options. Veer away from darker juices like red grape and cranberry because the fresh fruit won’t be visible.

3. Fresh fruit of your choice. Today we are using kiwi and blueberries. My other favorite combinations are cucumber-melon and banana-strawberry.

1. Good old ice candy bags – less than 10Php in any grocery

2. A measuring cup with an easy pour spout and your favorite juice

3. today’s fruit choice – kiwi and blueberries

PROCEDURE:

1. Wash your fruit

2. Slice your fruit so it fits into bags

3. Fill bags a third of the way with fruit. Push down if necessary, just go gently so that the delicate fruit remains its shape

4. Add Juice to the bag slowly to allow it to reach the bottom and surround fruit completely. This will bind the whole ice pop when frozen. Allow it to come about half an inch above the last fruit piece

5. Knot securely and freeze overnight

1. WASH

2. SLICE with caution, especially if your children are joining in on the fun

3. My little helper filling plastic with fruit

My other little helper packing down the fruit

4. Fruit to juice ratio once bags have been filled

5. FREEZE

This is truly a fun and healthy treat for both kids and adults alike. It is perfect for the stifling hot days that we have been experiencing over the last month. It also controls sugar intake. Though fruits are packed with sugar, it is still better than ice cream, candy or pre packaged frozen treats. Each pop has one good serving size of fruit (this particular one has less than half a kiwi and a handful of blueberries) plus approximately 2-3 tablespoons of fruit juice. So you load your freezer up with these easy to make goodies and ENJOY!!!

Frozen Kiwi Blueberry Fruit Pops

 

 

 

Medical Mayhem!

Medical Mayhem!

When our cousin who was finishing med school got engaged, it was really easy to select a theme for her bachelorette party… Medical Mayhem! My sisters and I went to town with this theme. Between the creativity of the eldest, the resourcefulness of the middle and my wedding planning expertise, the party came out quite cute and I am so excited to share the turnout with all of you.

We decorated the room with red crosses and caution signs. My sister even managed to find an ‘authorized personnel’ sign which you frequently see in hospitals and clinics. The girls were given ‘naughty nurse’ caps, ‘dirty doctor’ scrub caps and masks.

Fun caution signs from the hardware store and red crosses handmade from inexpensive poster paper

A nurse’s cap which my sister decorated with a red cross using the same poster paper of the decorative crosses

More nurse caps for guests

My middle sister decided to decorate the place with fun snacks guests could pick on while playing drinking games. She brought large acrylic containers filled to the brim with marshmallows in place of cotton balls, triscuits which looked like gauze, breadstick tongue depressors and bandage shaped crackers. We also had popcorn filled gloves, a tray of medical inspired iced cookies, chocolate chip nibblers and little jelly beans in medicine cups.

Tip: Rename ordinary items to fit your theme

More fun snacks!

Popcorn filled doctor’s gloves

We alternated sugar cookies (made by our mom) with chocolate chip cookies (made by me) for an added decorative touch

My favorite – Jelly beans made to look like pills

‘Wild ride’ cake that was ordered from Kink Cakes

And of course, what’s a bachelorette party without some hard liquor? With all the crazy drinking games going around, these came in handy for the winners AND the losers!

Vitamin Tea = Simple Rum Iced Tea which can be made with 3 parts sweet tea (for this particular one, we used a mango iced tea) and 1 part dark rum

Quite literal, this one, but what can be more fun than a syringe filled with tequila?

Brighten up vodka vaccine shots with floating gummy candy

Here are some other fun party elements we used to incorporate the medical theme.

Game paraphernalia

Prizes – everything from chocolate bars to beauty products and medical supplies

Party favors – Mints in personalized prescription bottles

TIPS TO REMEMBER WHEN THROWING A BACHELORETTE PARTY:

1. Start with the GUEST LIST. Ask the bride which friends she would like to invite. It is also wise to stick to smaller, more intimate groups. Instead of having one big one, separate groups can throw her smaller ones. I.E. cousins, high school friends, college buddies, etc.

2.Pick a theme and stick to it. It is quite easy to make DIY props and accessories, you just have to be creative! A simple lamination machine made all the difference for this particular party.

3. Games are very important! You can find many online that are easy and simple as well as more elaborate options. Give your guests a good time and take advantage of being a full female group.

4. Hiring entertainment can be tricky. Know your crowd AND your guest of honor before bringing in some male entertainment. Though you can most commonly hire a stripper, there are many out there that have their limits (which is a good thing). Another plausible option is to bring in eye candy. Instead of hiring a “professional” just invite some cuties over for the after party. (And make sure they aren’t friends with the groom!)

5. Expenses – Because a bachelorette doesn’t necessarily require guests to bring a gift, you may ask guests to contribute some cash to a pot. This can be used for extra drinks, food, entertainment, etc.

Wedding is in 3 days, I am so excited for my cousin who will make the most beautiful bride, the most caring wife and an unbelievable doctor. So happy for this accomplished honey!!!

The author and the bride

Cheers!

Sister and Cousin love

 

 

Buttermilk Fried Chicken & Mushroom Risotto

Buttermilk Fried Chicken & Mushroom Risotto

When I prepare meals for my family, I usually like to mix something kid-friendly with a dish that my husband and I can enjoy. This gives my daughters an element to look forward to, as well as the chance to appreciate something out of their comfort zone. Tonight I am preparing buttermilk-fried chicken (kid-approved) and serving it with a mushroom risotto (husband-approved). The fried chicken is crispy yet light on the palate while the risotto is smooth, rich and flavorful which makes it a great combination, taste wise. The chicken is deep fried, while the risotto uses a very minimal amount of extra virgin olive oil so it is also well balanced.

Mushroom Risotto & Buttermilk Fried Chicken

This dish may seem like a fete but it is actually quite easy to put together. Because nothing needs to be pre marinated, you can make it as long as you have the ingredients at home. If not, here is a quick grocery list with items that you may not readily have in stock.

Grocery List

Chicken drumsticks

Buttermilk

Fresh mushrooms

Arborio rice

Flat leaf parsley

Begin by preparing your kitchen tools. For the chicken, you will need 1 bowl to bathe the chicken in buttermilk, 1 small strainer and one bowl for the dredging mixture, tongs, a small, deep pan for frying and 1 large strainer and bowl for cooked chicken to rest and release excess oil. For the risotto, a pot to heat your chicken stock, a measuring cup to measure your rice and your wine, a cheese grater, a shallow pan and a wooden spoon.

Recipes

FRIED CHICKEN

9 chicken legs

2 cups buttermilk (you may substitute this with 1 can evaporated milk + 2 tablespoons cane vinegar)

Dredging mix:

1 cup flour

1 tablespoon cornstarch

paprika

salt

pepper

oil for frying

Procedure:

  1. Clean chicken and season with salt and pepper
  2. Let the chicken bathe in buttermilk for 30 minutes to an hour
  3. While waiting, prepare your dredging mix: Sift together flour, cornstarch, paprika, salt and pepper and combine
  4. Heat oil (enough to cover majority of the chicken pieces) on low. Do not go over this because then chicken skin will burn before the inside cooks
  5. When oil is at the right temperature, dredge chicken, piece by piece, completely coating it
  6. Fry for around 6-8 minutes on each side
  7. Place cooked pieces on a strainer to get rid of oil
  8. Serve warm

MUSHROOM RISOTTO

FRESH Mushrooms (I like to mix Portobello, shitake and button)

1 medium sized white onion, chopped

4 cloves of garlic, minced

3-4 cups chicken stock

1 cup white wine

1 cup Arborio rice (do not wash this rice, the starch is needed to thicken your dish)

EVOO

salt

pepper

fresh Parmesan cheese, grated

flat leaf parsley

Procedure:

  1. Bring chicken stock to a simmer and set aside
  2. Clean mushrooms and slice to desired size
  3. In a shallow pan, sauté onions and garlic until onions are translucent and garlic is tender
  4. Add mushrooms and season with salt and pepper
  5. Add the rice and combine with the onions, garlic and mushrooms until completely coated
  6. Begin adding your chicken stock, one ladle at a time so it slow cooks
  7. Add a half-cup of wine in between the stock. Do this until your liquid is done and rice is fully cooked
  8.  Turn off the heat, add your parmesan cheese and give one last stir
  9. Serve hot and garnished with fresh flat leaf parsley

It’s a complete and hearty meal but I always like to get a few greens in so a side salad or steamed broccoli is the perfect finishing touch… Enjoy!