DROPPING A LINE WITH PIZZA AND I’M FINE

Hello, all of you, I know it’s been like two weeks.  In a very gradual, slightly reluctant way I decided to take a break from blogging not because something happened or anything like that but because real life concerns were at hand.  I just had to take a break from all of it and get me pretty bum back on some work.  On this end, all the online media was just overtaking my brain, pressure to keep up with all this “influencing” and even some “insincerely influential” stuff was rising in a not so healthy way inside me.  It was affecting how I planned to produce posts, and take photos…some of you who blog know this feeling.  Today everyone wants something from talking about something or showing off something.  That’s real life and you need to ride the wave to stay in this.  It wasn’t like that for me when I began this blog before so I just managed to paddle back up to the surface for a quick breath.  Blogging burnout is a bummer, but I just needed to take a lengthy refresh…and perhaps have some pizza from Caruso on hand-painted Italian crockery.

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There was also a highly unpleasant situation where due to unfortunate circumstances we didn’t have power in our rented apartment for two weeks.  Lately, I have been living though without wondering what products I just needed to slap on my face because of some important things that needed my attention…and while it was completely important to get back to loving all that good stuff  it was beginning to feel redundant.  I just hit the reset button for all of it to feel new again.  So here, peace and pizza to you and yes, you still got me!  The blog’s here to stay.


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MY BASIC BANANA BREAKFAST SHAKE

It’s Monday and just when I thought I’d be staying home to finally get some beauty posts and video editing in I suddenly remembered I have to leave for another important lunch commitment.  I slept in this morning and before I knew it had absolutely next to no time to have breakfast.  Rather than leave you with no post to read I threw this one together quickly and thought it might start you of on some shakes or smoothies if you’ve never had the guts to try them.  Don’t be overwhelmed by too many ingredients when you’re starting.  Toss it in the blender but not for too long or it will turn into juice, perhaps about 1 minute in check in with a spoon to see if it’s thick enough for you, if it isn’t blend a bit more.

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Ingredients were about 3/4 cup of yoghurt, about 10 small ice cubes and one medium banana (Dole ones would be considered large).  This one works for me and the yoghurt I used was already sweetened so I didn’t have to add sugar.  Ice, banana, creamy real dairy yoghurt by Holly’s, voila.  Alternatively if you have no access to Holly’s Dairy products (same family that sells Carmen’s Best Ice Cream) you can use Pascuals plain Creamy Yoghurt which is available in groceries, I like the sweetened creamy taste of that one too.  Try to avoid using sugar if you’re keeping it healthy you could go with honey to add more sweetness if the sweetness of the yoghurt isn’t enough for you.  Switch up the banana with any favorite fruit and even toss in a scoop of protein powder (available at health stores like GNC) for a variety of basic breakfast recovery smoothies that are fresh, quick, and good for you.  That’s it, got to go and fly out the door, now.  Made myself a bit late with this one, haha.

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Our Christmas Crumbs

I didn’t really have the desire to vlog my family’s mostly private Christmas gathering this year.  There are years when it seems fine for me and then there are moments when I mostly just want to relish their company.  I didn’t have a twinkly gift-wrapping flatlay bonanza to boast of (we were haphazardly photo-finish in our gift dealings this year) nor did I share the ceremonial hanging of fairy lights in my southern bedroom which is quite bluntly still a mess after my move to my northern apartment, but suffice it to say, I was home.

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In the aftermath of holiday cheer however, even amidst clutter that I honestly didn’t pre-arrange to show you (just nudged here and there to fit in frame) I still managed to find pockets of Christmas warmth tucked away at home this month.  Come in and see.… To full post & COMMENTS...

Julia’s Homemade Guacamole, My First Cooking Video Feature

This was not planned, but sometimes the best things result from impromptu inspiration.  I’ve decided to shoot a non-cooking cooking tutorial just to get my feet wet for food features.  I’m not really ready to worry about a live stove and a live camera being ON at the same time LOL.  Here in my new “How To Make Guacamole” video I share how I make my version of this Shrek-y sort of dip.  It’s a recipe that I personally expanded and changed using YouTuber Dan Phillippi’s version of guacamole as a base formula (but the video was on his wife Nikki’s channel).  Thanks Nikki and Dan for the inspiration and motivation from two years ago!  It’s totally not the same recipe and method anymore after I changed it up.

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JULIA’S GUAC The Recipe and the Video Feature (Click here to watch):
2-3 (3 if they’re small) avocados
1 red onion finely chopped/minced
50g cilantro/coriander, “wansoy” stems and leaves coarsely or finely chopped
2 medium green tomatoes chopped
2 finger chilis “siling panigang” seeds removed and chopped
1 small wild chili “siling labuyo” chopped
1 or 2 tbsp. (try 1 first) Calamansi juice/lime juice
1 tsp. ground cumin spice
1 tsp. sea salt to season (add as needed)

CHIPS: I used Tostitos Hint of Lime Tortillas

Blend everything in a mortar and pestle for chunky texture or in a food processor for smoother consistency.

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My Earl Grey Tea Milkshake | Cool Your Jets the Creamy Way

Hello, still know me?  I apologize, last week’s schedule was off the charts, been very busy with social events for another upcoming cousin’s wedding, a shoot for an upcoming Resurrection Sunday special, and working during tapings for a new ABS-CBN show, Your Face Sounds Familiar.  Kind of lost my momentum back there ‘coz I’d come home just wanting my makeup to remove itself, sleep and wake up just wanting to sleep in (like today because have another taping tomorrow).  In between though I did shoot some stuff I wanted to share which I’d been meaning to put up a few days back, like one of the frequent blender sessions I’ve been having.

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INGREDIENTS (serves 2):

1/2 cup Fresh whole milk (you can use cold carabao’s milk if you want a Pinoy twist, if you want your milkshake like roadside heavy go full cream milk)

2 or 3 full packed scoops  of Merry Moo Earl Grey Tea Ice Cream (depends on how thick you want your shake, for thicker add more ice cream.  Pint size available at SM Aura Cinema Food Court, Echostore in Market Market, weekend Sunday Legaspi Market in Makati, Glorietta food court and other places, check Merry Moo’s Facebook page.)  This is my ultimate favorite ice cream.

8-10 oz. of ice cubes (a cup or more than a cup, more ice cubes means more water, which makes it easier to sip, less ice cubes makes it richer and thicker).

1/2 cup steeped Earl Grey tea (I use 1 Twinings tea bag to brew a full cup and just drink the excess, haha) 

1 tbsp. of sugar (optional, I don’t put sugar because the ice cream is sweet enough for me and I try to keep excess sugar out of what I eat.)

 

EQUIPMENT: Kitchen blender that can blend solid ice, measuring cups, ice cream scoop, milkshake glasses or mason jar mugs, straws optional (paper straws won’t work well with milkshakes, spoon for tasting (no double dipping!)

I’m so hooked on blended dairy drinks.  Fruit and veggie smoothies to follow.  We didn’t have a decent industrial strength blender before and I’ve been cooling the jets by making frappes and shakes.  Just wanted to share with you how I made my Earl Grey tea milkshake.  I’d been meaning to just do this and try it and after ages and ages finally got around to it.  Click through to see the full process and method of making this yummy drink.… To full post & COMMENTS...

Grazing on Green Kitchen Stories

To blog about another set of bloggers, the act is usually carried out when you’re truly inspired.  First thing’s first, let’s put it plain.  I love Instagram, along with millions of you out there.  I won’t say I’m addicted but that I have a healthy connection with the enabling app.  Other than my love for photography it was through Instagram that I connected with my makeup artist role model, UK Celebrity pro Lisa Eldridge, who liked and commented on two of my blogged makeup looks, and then I suddenly placed in one of her online contests a couple of weeks later and my face actually appeared on her website.  A couple of months after she sent me beauty prizes.  Now that I recall all that, it is still quite surreal for me…it’s amazing how a mobile app opened that window.  Instagram hosts a multitude of eye-catching personal portals to this wide, wide world of amazing people.  While engaged in beauty I also follow lots of other inspiring individuals who like to present good food.  One of the best presented online IG accounts I ever chose to follow was Green Kitchen Stories (@gkstories), behind the handle is Stockholm based couple David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl.  There are a lot of food-inspired IG accounts but I do believe it’s mainly because of them that so many are presenting the healthy meals on their table from a bird’s eye view.  I’m so glad we have our own copy of this now.

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I wasn’t aware that team @gkstories were already famous when I followed them early last year.  Online popularity bloomed for them between 2011 and 2012 when they started a cooking blog focused mainly on creating easy vegetarian dishes ( vegetarian = veggies, seeds, fruits + dairy and eggs sometimes).  In 2013, they published their first book The Green Kitchen.  Because of their creative food success, they’ve gotten to travel a lot, I think they were recently in Australia.  I haven’t kitchen tested this book yet, but it’s the first cookbook I read from the start all the way to the dessert tail right after we got it at Fully Booked, probably because of all those beautiful photos, short processes and simple words.  The only challenging aspect is a couple of the ingredients they source (looks like I might be beaching myself at Healthy Options, the weekend markets, and/or Santi’s).  I can’t wait to try the recipes this coming week.  The book contains a list of the pantry ingredients they use on a regular basis, a collection of basic methods, recipes for breakfast, light meals, entrees, to-go picks, desserts, and drinks.  It is also full of breathtaking photos and that for me is the fresh cherry on top.  This one isn’t in the book but is a recent one from their site.

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Beet, Apple, Quinoa, and Sprout Salad, photo credit: greenkitchenstories.com

This book would be wonderful for making lots of fresh food and drinks in the summertime.  Lots of you know that I also love to cook and bake occasionally so I’m hoping to kinda cook my way somewhat through their book, but not everything perhaps due to availability of ingredients.  I don’t do it everyday (I should) though I believe I just might have a knack for it (‘coz some people attack my food ’til it’s gone) and I will admit I’m not afraid to try complicated dishes.  I also have an appreciation for simple healthy preparations you can toss together with hands.  I think a notch up versus my appreciation for Instagram is my love for the edible plant world: herbs, fruits, fungi, legumes, and vegetables.  I’m not vegetarian but I love eating them, making salads, and cooking with them.  When it comes to cooking there are tons of food blogs out there but there are a handful of gems with great culinary quality like GK Stories.  A few years ago and up ’til now I still like Jennifer’s Tiny Urban Kitchen blog for the Asian side of food prep and appreciation.  Jennifer’s also brilliant because she’s sort of like a former chemist turned food fanatic (featured by CNN Eatocracy awhile back).  She also loves to include creative culinary ventures using characters like Totoro in her food.… To full post & COMMENTS...

Flower Tips, Literally | Blossoms bright, bring me light…

A little quiet over here yes, been a bit more busy as a bee would be, so it’s no wonder I’ve been hovering over these and pruning them to my heart’s delight.  A tip for keeping flowers perky is to not just immediately dunk them in a vase of water as is but to do so after first cutting the bottom tips of each stem at a diagonal angle so they don’t clog up when touching the bottom of the vase.  Also trim any leaves near the bottom of the stems so they don’t drown and rot in the water making the water bad for the flowers to take in.  Once you do this and leave them for a few hours so they can drink, come back later and touch the petals you’ll notice if some of them were wilting when you first bought them they’ll suddenly feel perked up.  To keep flowers alive longer do the same diagonal trimming of stem tips every few days (daily if you’re OC) and change the water everyday to every other day.

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“Delight yourselves in God, yes, find your joy in him at all times. Have a reputation for gentleness, and never forget the nearness of your Lord. Philippians 4:4 JB PHILLIPS version”

I inserted a blossom as a garnish into my Sola iced tea this morning to cheer myself up (for mum flowers make sure it’s only the blossom, no stems or leaves).  I popped the airtight cap on the bottle first for safety, drank a bit to make space, closed it and shook up a storm to get foam and poured it into a glass, tada, al fresco worthy iced tea.  I’ve been a bit under the weather deep inside, so apologies for the sudden calm over here.  God is faithful and He’s been bringing me closer to Him in ways I never thought possible.  As it turns out I needed a bit of diagonal trimming myself.  On the brighter side, there’s something real exciting by the way I have to show once I receive the photos, can’t wait to share that with you.… To full post & COMMENTS...

Hey Hey, Everything Earl Grey

And so it happened that somehow I managed to find myself with a couple of comforting delights flavored with my favorite full-leaf tea which had to mean it was worthy of a post centered on everything Earl Grey.  A couple of lovely brands over at the Legazpi Sunday market sweetly indulged me with Earl Grey flavored treats and helped make this post possible.  Mom got me the ice cream elsewhere.  You can’t imagine how pleased I looked smiling upon all of them together (actually, only 4 things on top of my requisite grey sweater)…I almost clapped LOL.

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CLOCKWISE: Merry Moo Earl Grey Ice Cream (local artisanal ice cream, made with milk from free range cows), Fat Fingers PH Earl Grey Macarons (filled with Earl Grey tea infused dark & milk chocolate ganache), HURRAW Cold-Pressed Vegan Earl Grey Lip Balm from Cutieverse, Twinings Earl Grey Tea Bags.

I’ll now have to admit that I haven’t blogged about Merry Moo Earl Grey Ice cream ever since I first discovered it…kind of on purpose because I wanted to keep it a secret (it’s always in limited stock…*hits the backspace key…sighs and moves on* lol).  Merry Moo is a wonderful local ice cream brand that does uniquely marvelous ice cream in artistanal flavors like Candied Bacon (tried it, it isn’t weird at all), Strawberry Basil, Honey Comb, Salted Dark Chocolate, a couple of others and THANKFULLY Earl Grey Tea as well.  You can see some of the tea leaf flecks in the ice cream below.

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Merry Moo’s  Earl Grey offering is creamy, sophisticated and significantly yummy, if you like milk tea, I guarantee you’ll like this ice cream.

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Merry Moo have a lot of kiosks in the Metro and sell ice cream to eat or in Php300.00  pints to take home, they’re also at the Legazpi Sunday Market but don’t always have lots of pints on hand there, the ice cream is mostly scoops to go at the market.  The main kiosks I’m aware of are 4th flr foodcourt in SM Aura, EchoStore Market Market, Taguig, Glorietta 4 foodcourt (flr. before cinemas).  There are more kiosk branches though, check out their Facebook page for the full list.  In case your sweet tooth ain’t sore enough yet, the friendly people of Fat Fingers PH and Cutieverse.com put together a joint gift just for meeeee :D.  A combined present encasing my favorite Hurraw Earl Grey Lip Balm AND…OMY  WAIT FOR IT… Earl Grey Tea flavored macarons filled with dark chocolate Earl Grey infused ganache

*T-H-U-D*.

Fan me, say my name, help me stand.

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I won’t even begin to talk about my repeatedly mentioned ALL-TIME favorite lip balm past this next sentence.  This balm is nothing but good,  HURRAW was praised by NYLON magazine for merging the convenience of the pocket-able chap balm with the good of better ingredients, it tastes like Earl Grey, in the most comforting way plus the balm is cold-pressed and vegan.  That was a really long run-on next sentence.  As for these macarons, to be fair to you readers I will have to admit for your sake they are on the pricy side per piece (around Php45 each) but honestly these ARE YUMMY (just wish they were bigger for the price).  Hint-hint @fatfingersPH I love your macarons but I must be honest.  The macarons I tried abroad in Williamsburg, NYC were 75 UScents each (about Php33) they had drawings on them and they were about 25% bigger (not sure if I’m making a fair economic comparison but thought I’d mention for honesty’s sake).  God must’ve worked to make the team behind Fat Fingers bring two of my favorite dessert flavors together in these macarons…Earl Grey Tea and Dark Chocolate filling  to set me free…so, so yummy.  At home once in awhile I sit with a cup of Earl Grey tea while reading, but sometimes I get lost in thought and I forget to pull out the tea bag and it becomes too dark.Just thought I’d share a couple of my favorite Earl Grey treats since I acquired them all together this week.

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It’s actually good that I had this non-beauty post lined up…I really did just randomly decide yesterday to not blog about beauty today, gosh I would have never foreseen Robin William’s passing 🙁 .  I almost wouldn’t have been able to do makeup stuff at all with this huge universal ache many of us share today.  Why did the world’s  relentless, giddy, funny man have to leave?  Another question unanswered for now.  I know, I am genuinely really sad about this.  Let’s hold hands, crow to the heavens and shout BANGARANG because the whole world needs to right now.  Who’s gonna make us laugh now, Robin?  It’s so strange that right now we need you because of you…am I making any sense?

 

 

 

 

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