Bread. Tomato. Olive Oil.

To me, one of the most comforting things about Barcelona was the fact that they served Pan con Tomate everywhere. And many times, it is complimentary! It is so simple – crusty toasted bread, fresh crushed tomatoes, good extra virgin olive oil, and salt. I decided to conceptualize a technique while I was there, being highly inspired and eating it a few times a day (yes, my waistline was not pleased but as the millenials would say YOLO). Ever since, the quick snack has been a staple in our household. I serve it up for merianda for my girls, or even as an accompaniment to jamon and cheese when I entertain.

Because this is such a simple dish, it will only work well if you get the best ingredients. Don’t scrimp on the quality.

I took advantage of the gorgeous tomatoes – the summer harvest brought on so many varieties that I had to ask the lady selling it to help me choose the best one. For this recipe I chose to use the tomate rama, and I got the ones that were bordering on becoming overripe because they are the sweetest of the bunch.

IMG_7334

Here are the main ingredients:

IMG_7803

IMG_7805

First step is to turn on the oven. I like using an oven when I am making for a crowd, but a toaster will work just fine for a small portion. Just make sure it is on a high setting to get the bread very crisp.

For the bread, I prefer something sliced a little thin so that it is not so hard to crunch in to. Here I used simple French bread, but at home I find myself using a good sourdough. Slice to your desired size and brush a little bit of the olive oil before placing in the oven.

IMG_7812

For the tomatoes, I crush mine by hand. You can use a large grater as well, but I don’t mind getting my hands dirty.

IMG_7814

 

To assemble, spread a spoon full of the crushed tomato on to the bread while it is fresh from the oven so it can soak up the juices and semi cook the tomatoes. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, and sprinkle with sea salt. Serve immediately.

IMG_7810

My Summer Picnic – Pan con Tomate, Chorizo, Fresh Peaches and Raspberries, Corn Chips, and Almond Pound Cake

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!

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

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

I may not be an American but I am married to one so every year we try to celebrate the thanksgiving holiday. Sometimes with a simple roast chicken and other times we go all out and bring in a big bird. Today, we are celebrating because I am thankful for so many things. The last year alone took away many loved ones while the last few weeks were truly earth shattering for the Philippines. Though these events may be painful, they also serve the great purpose of putting things into perspective. I am blessed and for that, I am truly grateful.

My mom’s turkey with stuffing on the side, my crusted mashed potatoes and pumpkin soup, my sister’s orzo salad

Happy Thanksgiving!!!