Minimalist Dish - Aglio Oglio

Do you love oil-based pasta? I do!
What i love about these  pasta is it requires just a few ingredients.
Plus, cooking takes literally minutes!
I make Aglio Olio pasta during  weeknights, after work because it's fairly simple to cook.

My Aglio Olio 
Aglio Olio 

You'll need:
  • Olive oil (60 ml) 
  • Pepper flakes (1 tbsp or more if you like it spicy) 
  • Garlic (1 whole head )
  • Pasta (about 100 grams uncooked. I find this dish works best with angel  hair pasta)
Here's how to cook it: 
  1.  Cook pasta according to directions, avoid overcooking pasta. For angel hair, it takes  less than 5 minutes. 
  2.  Heat olive oil on medium.  
  3.  Add pepper flakes. Mix for a bit until the oil is infused with pepper.  
  4.  Add minced garlic, carefully not to burn it.   
  5. Fry the pepper and garlic for about 2 minutes, but avoid browning the garlic. 
  6. Dunk your strained pasta into the oil. Mix well, making sure every strand is coated with oil. 
  7. Optional:  sprinkle shaved parmesan cheese or lemon zest or both. 
  8.  Serve immediately with garlic bread
The key here folks is to prep all your ingredients before cooking. Once you've heated the oil you can't pause just to mince garlic or pepper flakes. If you leave theses spices on heated oil, they can easily get burnt, making you pasta bitter.   


Homemade Garlic Bread

The husband has been a fan bread for as long as i can remember.
And lately he's been requesting garlic bread, much like the ones from Sbarro. 
So i tried making a version of this bread. 
I've read several recipes and they seemed fairly easy. 
Now i'm sharing  my own version inpsired by Talentadong Chef!
I don't own a decent electric mixer for bread dough, i just kneaded by hand but they came out perfectly. 

So here's my own version of

Homemade Garlic Bread!  

You'll need:

For the dough 
  • 2 cups bread flour 
  • 1 1/4 tsp yeast (i used SAF which is the most common brand in our local baking stores) 
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sugar 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 30 ml vegetable oil 
  • 150 ml warm water
For the seasoning 
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic powder 
  •  1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1 tsp dried basil 
  • 1 tsp dried thyme 
  1. Measure 150 ml warm water, sprinkle sugar and yeast. Set aside for 10 minutes, until it's foamy. 
  2. Bring all the dry ingredients together - measure just 1 3/4 cups bread flour, salt. 
  3. When the yeast mixture  is foamy. Add this to the  dry ingredients and oil. Initially use a spatula to bring the dough together. Keep mixing until you form a ball. 
  4. Transfer to a floured surface to knead. If the dough is too sticky gradually add the rest of the your flour. Knead until the dough is smooth, usually for up to 10 minutes. 
  5. Now it's time for the first rise. Transfer the dough into a bowl then cover with cling wrap.  Set aside in warm place. Wait until it's double in size, usually takes 1 hour. 
  6. After the rise, punch out the air then knead for about 5 minutes. Divide into 8 portion and for each into 5 inch log. Transfer them to a baking tray lined with baking parchment.  It's time for the 2nd rise for 30 minutes. 
  7. While waiting for the logs to rise, preheat oven to 350F. 
  8. It's also time to prepare the seasoning. Melt butter on low heat, then add the spices, salt and garlic power. 
  9. Just before popping the logs into the oven, brush the tops with the seasoning. 
  10. Bake for about 15 to  20 minutes. Cool slight before serving. 
This is best served with your favorite pasta. 

DIY all the way!

Oh wow.. it has been months since i have ever posted anything on this page!

My bad ---just pure lack of inspiration and lack of time! I've been busy at home and at work.

But my blogging mojo and is now back and hopefully I can add more posts here regularly. 

For now, i'd like share my recent do-it-yourself project. These have been taking a lot of my time.  

My son requested this skeleton costume for this year's Halloween. 

Hippie costume: tied dyed shirt and vest made with felt cloth.
Now, why go DIY? There are a lot of ready-made stuff out there. Why spend so much time and effort doing diy?

Well for one, it is CHEAP! For a penny pinching mama, CHEAP truly is the magic word. With just a few scraps of cloth, i can already make a decent output. I ended up spending just Php 85 for the black shirt for the skeleton costume. Then for the hippe getup which the school required during an event, i just spent Php 20 to dye one old white shirt and Php 40 pesos more for the the smiley and peace sign pins.  That was a no-sew vest made from felt cloth which has been in my possession for year. Is used the same black pants for these two ensemble.

Two, DIY is the ECO-FRIENDLY route. Instead of getting new stuff that might and will end up at the back of your closets, why not look at what you already have and work with that piece you already have with you? The idea is to just work with what you already have, before acquiring more new stuff. That way, we lessen our waste because we use up what's already there.

Lastly, DIY brings out my CREATIVE side.  I love how i get to create unique pieces from the materials i already have on hand! I'm always up for challenges - like when my son requested that skeleton costume. I used pure black ensemble and white cloth (from scraps from an old white thirt) applique.

For any DIY person, Pinterest truly is a gem.  It is overflowing with DIY ideas not just for your child's costume but for other crafts as well.  

Stay tuned for more DIY projects from this page! 


Be Good to Me, 2016!

I am probably not the best person to make resolutions, also bad at keeping them. But still, it is my firm belief that every new year is an automatic "reset" in my life and  i get another chance at correcting and improving my life.

Let's just say these are my plans, rather than resolutions,  for this year. May be if i name them plans, instead of new year's resolution, i get higher chances of turning them into reality.

Save and invest in stocks one-fourth of the windfall from work this year. Now that the stock market is down, it is a chance to buy the stocks in my bucket list. My target is to at least double the number of  my favorite stocks this year. This is really a bold move, considering that most financial outlooks say that in 2016, we will see more stocks in the red. But i choose to be optimistic and use the downtrend to my advantage.

I am keeping the "save and invest fund" to just 1/4 of my bonuses because i plan to spend the rest in fixing my finances and funnel a chunk of my funds to more pressing matters like my son's tuition fee.  I want to keep some tucked away as bulk up our emergency fund.  Last year, i ended up cashing in some of my stocks because our emergency fund was depleted. I had to sell some of my stocks even when it was below my target price.  So this year, i want to keep a emergency fund in one of my deposit account without an ATM so i can easily access when an official and true emergency arises.

Baking Headstart: My very own Convection Oven

Last April, i finally got a headstart on my baking journey when i finally got the Imarflex 3-in1 convection oven with 30L capacity. Since then i learned so much and tried baking all sort of stuff from cookies to bread loafs to pizzas. The hubby also roasted a whole chicken in it. You can checkout my Instagram for a gallery of my baked success (and failures, too). 

Disclaimer: I am not being paid to publish this post, just sharing my experience with the product. 

Before i got this, I've tried baking in a turbo broiler. I managed to bake banana loaves, but baking took too long and it was quite difficult to "balance" the temperature inside. The top layer of the loaves can get burnt quickly, since the heat is solely coming from the heating component on top.  A convection oven circulates heated air to make sure even cooking on top, below and around your baking pans.   

Cream cheese cookies baking in my convection oven

Wondering about Weaning

I cannot give the exact date when my son finally weaned from breastfeeding. I guess it was about on the start of this year, he had just turned 3 years old. Now, he just promptly refuses whenever I offer to nurse him, just for the fun of  it. We would just turn away from my breasts, as if nursing was the ickiest portion of his young life.;)

Now after weaning, i can finally drink beer or wine without having to worry about nursing later. Now i can drink gallons of coffee without needing to count the milligrams of caffeine i've taken in. Now my wardrobe won't be confined to nursing clothes! But a wee bit part of me often misses that side of me, the nursing mama.

Looking back, here are some key points about our own weaning journey:

The 5-step DIY kids apron

It's my son's transition period to his new preschool and they have too many requirements! We had to spend one whole Saturday just to put everything together. Finally the checklist has been sorted out but one more thing is missing - a kiddie apron. They'll be using this during art activities. We looked for it at National Bookstore and in art craft stores but we did not find any that will fit our 3 year old son.

I knew i had to D-I-Y this one, eventually. But it's ok because DIYing is really liberating yet challenging, as it squeezes my creative juices. Plus i'll get to use up the remaining junk i have in storage. ;)

No need to bring out the sewing machine (though i wish i own one), just plain hand stitching will do. I got the idea from this blog.

So here's how i made this cute little apron.