Thursday, November 8, 2018

Five Things I Don't Buy Anymore

These few months have been tough for breadwinners. In light of the rising prices here in the Philippines, most moms have a hard time staying within budget. And when money is tight, we really have no choice but to buy the basic essentials and veer away from non-essentials.
Hirap kaya mag-budget!

So while we're on the budgeting subject, I  want to share a few things i stopped buying. I decided not to spend money on these anymore. That's because one,  they're way too expensive and  two, I opted to make them myself and three, i can;t justify the cost anymore.

Pancake mix, waffle mix or cake or cookie mixes  

I dabbled into baking a few years back. Then I discovered that a kilo of flour is just around
Php 60. This makes a dozens of pancakes already, as opposed to prepackaged pancake mix. Sure, pancake mixes are more convenient but they cost way too much. A small box of pancake mix costs around Php 30, that gives you about 5 regular sized pancakes. Sure, it takes a few more steps in the morning and more bowls to clean, but for me, the savings is worth it. I think going the home made route is better for us since we eat pancake for breakfast almost everyday.

I don't buy the ready mix cookies and cake as well.  If you have the basic baking ingredients in your pantry, like flour,  baking powder , vanilla extract, you can already learn to make cake and cookies! No need to buy the overpriced cake mixes anymore. Plus i get to nurture by love for baking.




Monday, September 10, 2018

The easiest way to save money

If anyone asks me, what's the easiest way to save money, i would say, it's to automate savings and investment! It's a money saving hack everyone with a payroll account should do.

Based on my experience, i'm just too lazy to keep a separate account for my savings. What i did back then was to manually deposit my saving to a separate bank account (with a different bank, i should add) with a passbook. I used a passbook account separate from my payroll ATM because I simply don't trust myself not to touch what remains in my atm account.

However doing the actual task of  depositing every payday seemed tedious. The bank is literally steps away from my office, yet i'm  too lazy to go there in person to deposit my fund. Sometimes the lines at the teller are just too long or i just can't spare a few minutes because i'm way too busy at work. (Yes, i know, there are too many excuses.)

Then i tried opening a separate savings account which i can access via online banking.

Yes, at first, it worked because i no longer have to personally go to the bank to deposit. But i just find it too hard to just leave the money there especially at "petsa de peligro" days - those few days just before the next paycheck, if you know what I mean.

I tried to discipline myself and be responsible, but it was just too easy to transfer money from my designated savings account to my payroll  via online.

This left me  with zilch amount of savings by the end of the month!

So i thought of some other way for me to easily tuck away my money and yet  it would take an effort  to withdraw.

In comes the "hidden" wonders of automatic banking.
Image from consumerfinance.gov

Did you know that some banks allow you to "automatically" save and  directly invest a portion of your salary regularly?

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Money Wisdom from my Mother

Kung maigsi ang kumot, matutong mamaluktot. As kids, this was our family's mantra. Yeah, we were not born rich and we had our share of "poverty" moments but i am amazed at how my mother worked her magic and stretched our family budget.  I used to hate how "kuripot" my mother was. But having a kuripot mom, well money wise, i'd say now, put me and my two others sibling through college, so i'm so thankful for that now.

I really to hope to be like my mom and be able to support my son until he graduates. In our country, it is in deed a feat to put through a child through college but the hubby and i are doing our very best to go on our way just to give our son the best.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Tofu with Spicy Sauce


Here's one more of my go-to dishes.

What you'll need :
4 blocks of tofu
oil for frying the tofu

1. Cut tofu in 1/2 inch cubes, rinse with running water and then drain on paper towel.
2. Fry until golden brown.
3. Set aside.

For the sauce:
1 medium sized white onion, in two 1 cm cubes
1 clove garlic minced
1 stem green onion, minced
1 tbsp korean  pepper flakes (gochugaru)
1 tbsp soy sauce
1tbsp sugar

1. In 1/2 cup water, add sugar, pepper flakes and soy sauce. Set aside.
2. Heat about 2 tsp oil then saute white onion, garlic and green onion.
3. Save some green onion for garnish.
4.  When the onion is translucent, add the pepper flakes mixture.
5. When the mixture starts to simmer, add the tofu.
6. Cook for 5 more minutes.
7. Garnish with green onion then serve.

***

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Glazed Fried Chicken


Here's another dish i love cooking. Lately i've been spending a looot of time wathcing Maangchi's  video and that's how i got the idea for this dish.  


GLAZED FRIED CHICKEN 

For the chicken
1/2 kilo chicken wings (about 6 pieces) 
1/4 tsp salt 
1/4 tsp chili powder 
2 cloves garlic minced  
1/4 cup rice flour 
2 cups oil for frying 

1. Prepare chicken. Cut wings at segment to make 12 pieces. Wash well and drain on paper towel. Season with salt, chili powder and garlic. Marinate for at least 15 minutes. 
2. Dredge in flour and set aside for 5 minutes before frying. 
3. Fry in medium heat for 10 minutes. Drain on paper towel. 
4. Do a second fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towl. 

For the glaze

2 tbsp butter 
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp soy sauce 
2 tbsp sugar 

1. On low fire, fry garlic in butter until slightly browned. 
2. Add soy sauce and sugar. mix well until sugar is melted. 
3. Add fried chicken until well coated. 
4. Serve immediately.  

This is best enjoyed with ice cold beer, in my opinion.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Meat ball spaghetti

How to save money? It's probably a question most frequently asked by budget conscious moms like me.

Well i know i sure fire way to make sure to save money on food. the key is, avoid eating out and bring your own baon.  i probably halved our expenses on food by just making sure that the hubby and i bring our own lunch at work.

So now i'm sharing some of my go to recipes for our packed meals.
First off is my crowd favorite (ahem... ahem)  meal ball spaghetti.

Meat Ball Spaghetti

For the meatball you'll need:
1/4 kilo lean ground beef
1 small onion (minced)
1 clove garcic (minced)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper flakes
1/4 tsp ground oregano
canola oil (about 2 tbsp only)

1. Put everything in a bowl,
2. Mix well until everything is well combined.
3. Form into 1 inch balls. You can make around 8 to 10 meatballs.
4. Fry these in  oil.
5. Set aside while making the sauce

For the sauce:
2 cups tomato sauce
1 to 3 tbsp water
1 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 small onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pinch ground oregano.
1 tbsp oil

1. Saute onion until translucent. Then add a pinch of ground oregano.
2. Add garlic. Lightly fry and do not let it burn.
3. Add the meat balls.
3. Pour in the tomato sauce, water and sugar. Let it simmer for up to 10 minutes on medium heat.
4. Add  salt and pepper to taste. 

Pasta
250 g uncooked pasta.

1. Cook pasta following package instructions.

To serve, top pasta with meatball sauce.
You can also top with grated parmesan cheese.
When i serve this for baon, i keep them in separate containers and let the husband mix it when ready to eat. Luckily his office has a microwave.


Monday, May 1, 2017

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)

Sunday, April 30, 2017

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 
Procedure:
  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. 
Try pasta recipe with the bread!
+++

Saturday, October 29, 2016

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! 

***





Thursday, August 20, 2015

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

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

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:

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

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.



Thursday, July 9, 2015

Choco Oatmeal Bars

Recently i have been looking for healthier baked desserts. I usually scour the net for recipes, but i'm shocked by how much sugar a cake recipe calls for! So i usually follow the recipe, but use less fats (oil, butter, margarine) and sugar.

My idea is to incorporate oats, which is my favorite healthy food, to my baking. It's very filling and has loads of fiber. And i like its chewy texture when added to cookies. Plus oats has been known to help increase breast milk production, so nursing moms should really much on them.

I was inspired by the revel bar recipe from Bake Happy and All Recipes but i tamed down the butter and the sugar. Now, without further ado, here is my recipe for choco-oatmeal bars! The result was not so sweet but still deliciously decadent, in my humble opinion. ;)