2013 Noche Buena

Merry Christmas everybody! 🙂 Hope you all had a nice one together with your loved ones.  We had a simple celebration here in Cebu. Dino and I decided to spend Christmas here in Cebu for a change.  We invited my in-laws to come over but air fare was too high already (since we decided to stay here the last minute na din)  so everyone decided to stay put in our own cities.  This is the first time we will spend it na kame lang.  A bit nervous at first that Liam might not enjoy it, he might not have gifts to open and what I’ll prepare for Noche Buena. Pero everything turned out well naman.

So for the first time in my 34 years of year of life, I prepared Noche Buena all by myself.  Sorry, did not do it by myself pala, I had Donna and Ate Lilia to help me pa din.  When I was younger, I do help my sis in law (bro’s wifey) in preparing, but it’s always her who has the final say on what we’ll have. This past years naman, we always spend it with Dino’s family, so it’s my in-laws who takes care of the Noche Buena. 🙂

Anyway, here’s what we had for Noche Buena…

I baked Flan cake for the occasion, after all, it’s Baby Jesus’ birthday we are celebrating, right? and what’s a birthday celebration without a cake!? 🙂  (see the recipe here)

Flan Cake for Papa Jesus
Flan Cake for Papa Jesus

For our appetizer, I prepared my SIL’s bacon wrapped asparagus, she prepared this for everyone last year (see her post here).  This is sooo yummy that I don’t want to share these with them, pero it’s Christmas and it’s the season if sharing.  hehehe..

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus for appetizer
Bacon Wrapped Asparagus for appetizer

For our main course, I cooked Chicken and Seafood Paella paired with Lumpiang Shanghai.  If there’s one thing I don’t like here in Cebu, that’s the salty lumpia warpper.. 😦  I think they do it to make the wrappers last longer.  Pero we still finished everything. hehehe..

Chicken and Seafood Paella
Chicken and Seafood Paella (photo here was taken half way of cooking the paella)
As requested by Dino - Lumpiang Shanghai
As requested by Dino – Lumpiang Shanghai

For dessert, I asked Donna to prepare Buko Lychee Salad.  She’s been preparing this quite a number times this year already.  That’s why I called this her specialty na.  She knows the timpla already, not too sweet, not too bland and not too creamy din! 🙂

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Buko Lychee Salad

We had a blast.  They all loved the food prepared.  Liam opened a lot of gifts too (will have a separate post for this).  Of course, we won’t forget to blow a candle for Jesus. 🙂

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Here we are, Singing happy birthday to Papa Jesus
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Happy Birthday Jesus!
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Liam blowing the candle.. 🙂

A Blessed Christmas to all!! 🙂


Adobong Manok sa Gata

Am so glad that my tastebuds changed course already. For past 10 years, I really don’t like eating anything with gata.  (mind you, Gata dishes are one of de Leon’s favorite.. so boohoo for me.. but this is also the reason I knew they love me, as they will always prepare something for me.. hooray!) But now, anything with gata is oh so sarap with Kanin!!

So since, my tongue accepts gata, I searched and tried recipes with Gata already… Sayang lang, was not able to take pics of the other dishes we tried. (mental note: always take pic! always take pic)

Without further ado, here’s my version of Adobong Manok sa Gata, original recipe from Yummy.ph.

Pinatuyong Adobong Manok sa Gata
Pinatuyong Adobong Manok sa Gata



  • Chicken
  • Soy Sauce
  • Vinegar
  • Cracked Pepper
  • Garlic (pounded)
  • Onion (chopped)
  • Ginger (julienned)
  • Bay Leaves
  • Gata (I used canned coconut milk)
  • Fish Sauce
  • Jalapeno Chilies



  • Marinate chicken in soy sauce, vinegar and cracked pepper for at least 2 hours (the longer the better)
  • Saute garlic, onion, ginger and bay leaves til fragrant
  • add marinated chicken ’til half cooked
  • add fish sauce to taste
  • add the chilies and pour in coconut milk
  • simmer til cooked

In my case, since this was a Sunday and we don’t have help on a Sunday and Ate Donna went to church, I have to leave the simmering  to attend to Liam, when I asked Dino to turn stove off, it was already dried.  Kaba mode for me, but to our delight.. It was delish!! Dino had his second serving.. muntik na di makakain si Ate Donna. hehehe

If you have good gata recipes, please share. 🙂

CNY Traditions

Aside from the Chinese Lantern Project, I also wanted to start a family tradition for the season.  So, days before Chinese New Year, I researched about Chinese Traditions during CNY.  I learnt that in Chinese countries like China and Taiwan, they celebrate CNY for 15 days!  Imagine!? 15 days of holiday!! WOW!!!  We don’t even celebrate Christmas this long here in the Philippines.  Anyways, aside from this great fact there are many things they do to drive away evil and to lure in good fortune like giving kids Ang Pao with money to make them prosperous, eating noodles for long life and a lot more, I also called my sister and cousin to ask what they usually prepare for the occasion.

Oh well, since it will take too much time and too much food to prepare (and there’s only 4 of us to eat), I opt to make it simpler for us.   I asked Ate Aya (Lilia) to prepare Bam-I for long life and cook Shrimp (something red) for dinner.  I also put a bowl of rice and used chocolate gold coins instead of putting real coins (I just can’t do it, knowing that the coins are dirty, hehe). Also prepared few fruits that we can actually consume. Of course to keep our family close and sweet, I also have yummy tikoy on the table! 🙂

Fruits - I counter those Kiat Kiat and made sure that they are in pairs..
Fruits – I counter those Kiat Kiat and made sure that they are in pairs..
Bowl of rice with chocolate gold coins to Liam's delight! he loved those coins..
Bowl of rice with chocolate gold coins to Liam’s delight! he loved those coins..
Our CNY feast! :) simple yet meaningful.. :)
Our CNY feast! 🙂 simple yet meaningful.. 🙂

Oh well, I know Liam is too young pa to remember and understand this celebration, pero nakakatuwa lng cause until now, he still remembers that eating noodles is for Long Life!! Hmm.. not a bad start right!?

Adobo Pasta

One of my dilemma’s lately is what to cook for Dino and Liam.  Am out of ideas now a days (or tamad mode lang? hehe).  Anyway, good thing I run into Maqui’s recipe.  A little tweak (as in little) and VIOLA!! Adobo Pasta for everyone. 🙂

Hmm.. smells good.. 🙂


  • Cooked Angel Hair Pasta
  • Olive Oil
  • Minced Garlic
  • Chili Flakes (Optional)
  • Left over Adobo
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Additional Oil for frying

How to:

  • Fry shredded Pork til crispy
  • Saute garlic in olive oil til fragrant
  • Add Adobo Sauce and remaining adobo chunks (if any)
  • Add in angel hair pasta and mix well
  • Add salt, pepper and chili flakes to taste
  • Serve on a dish topped with crispy adobo pork floss

Enjoy!! 🙂

PS:   Thanks Maqui for sharing! My family (well, that’s Dino and Liam lang) loved it! 🙂

Roasted Chicken in Tarragon with Herbed Baby Potatoes

Ang haba ng Title! kalowka!! hahahahaha

This is one of my favorite dish to prepare and munch lately. Dino liked it as well. Ever since kinulit ko si Dino to buy me a small Oven, I made sure na masulit ko sya. Dino love baking and grilling. Since this will entail less oil, he feels na healthier siya. and I think so too. 🙂

This is one of my original recipes.  I wanted to roast chicken one time so I checked what I have lang in our cupboard. It turns out well naman.  Experiment stage lang is the time of cooking and how hot will we cook it in. 🙂

Roast Chix and Baby Potatoes. Dino is complaining about my plating, no color contrast daw. hehehe..

Roast Chicken Ingredients:

  • Chicken Quarter Cut (any part you like, but thigh with legs are better for this, since breast will be too dry for roasting
  • Lemon
  • Garlic Powder
  • Cayene Pepper Powder (optional, you may also use Paprika for less spicy taste. But Dino loves spicy food, so Cayene is the answer)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Herbed Baby Potato Ingredients:

  • Baby Potatoes (washed and cut into halves or bite size pieces)
  • Butter
  • Finely chopped garlic
  • Rosemary and Thyme Leaves
  • Salt to taste

How to:

  • Squeeze a little lemon juice on the chicken
  • Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder and cayene
  • top with dried tarragon leaves
  • leave to marinade for around 15 to 30 minutes
  • Roast at 150°C for about 10mins or until chicken turns white
  • Increase heat to 250°C and roast until done (this will cook chicken faster, make it more juicy and crispier
  • While roasting, you may put baby potatoes into salted water and boil until cooked
  • Once cooked, on another skillet, melt butter and saute garlic until fragrant
  • add in cooked potatoes
  • season with rosemary and thyme leave
  • add a little salt to taste (skip this if you’re using salted butter)
  • Serve and enjoy! 🙂

By the way, I served this with fresh lemonade. Sayang naman the remaining Lemon. Nagutom ako while writing this post. hmmm.. yum! yum!