Here’s my confession: I get so antsy at the thought of food waste.
I don’t like the idea of throwing perfectly good food away just because the fam got tired of it. This attitude is probably a holdover from my younger years when my family was not living as comfortably as we are now and I didn’t get to enjoy a lot of good food.
Still, getting my fam to finish of every last bite of leftover bread can be quite a challenge.
After all, while freshly baked bread does get us salivating at the mere aroma of it wafting from the oven, stale leftover bread is, at best, ignored and placed at the back of the refrigerator.
The solution? Re-invention!
With just a few additional ingredients, a little bit of prep work and some time in the oven, the leftover bread that my kiddos turn their nose up at becomes a mouthwatering dessert.
I got the idea for this recipe from fellow blogger Tina of Hungry Travel Duo who made a Creamy Bread Pudding from stale bread. I just made a few substitutions – such as using leftovers from my homemade bread and using pecans instead of raisins (because I’m not big on raisins!) – and adjustments for my family’s taste – like doing away with the sweet milk sauce – and my Cinnamon Pecan Pudding came to be.
Here’s how I did it:
6 to 8 1-inch slices of bread cut into 1-inch cubes (you can use 8 to 10 pieces of regular sliced bread)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
2 tablespoons room temperature butter
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup roughly chopped pecans (you can substitute this with chopped walnuts)
3/4 cup condensed milk
Grease a baking pan with butter.
Spread the cutup bread and 3/4 cup of pecans evenly in the pan.
In a bowl, whisk together the beaten eggs, cinnamon powder and condensed milk, then pour over the bread.
Top with the remaining pecans.
Bake in a 200 deg C oven for twenty minutes until golden brown.
This recipe is great when you want a quick and fuss-free dessert or if you want something fresh from the oven for your coffee break.
How about you? How would you re-invent your leftover bread?
It’s already the rainy season and the metro is still in the grips of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is not the time to let up on our nutrition, especially Vitamin C. Also known as ascorbic acid, it is touted as one of the safest and most effective nutrients. Vitamin C can help in fortifying immune systems weakened by stress, preventing serious complications arising from cold, reducing the risk of stroke, as well managing skin aging.
How fortunate that we Pinoys are blessed with an abundance of ready sources of Vitamin C: the calamansi!
But don’t hassle yourself juicing all those little fruits by hand. You can have concentrated calamansi juice by the bottle, thanks to Pickfresh.
Pickfresh Calamansi Concentrate is organic and all natural with no use of extenders or preservatives. Available variants include unsweetened (best for diabetics), sweetened (for the kids) and with honey.
To make yourself a glass of refreshing calamansi juice, just stir in two to three parts water into one part of the concentrate, adjust to taste, then add ice. Each bottle of Pickfresh yields fifteen to twenty glasses of calamansi juice.
Now, some people might not be too excited about drinking calamansi juice (it may be an acquired taste) but how about some calamansi muffins?
Fluffy, tangy and sweet, these little yummies are sure to get you eager for your dose of Vitamin C.
Here’s how you can whip ’em right up!
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/5 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup Pickfresh Sweetened Calamansi Concentrate
Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Combine the milk and the calamani concentrate in another bowl. Set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar together for two to three minutes until well combined. Add in the eggs and mix well.
Add in the milk mixture and flour mixture, mixing until all ingredients are well-blended. For fluffy muffins, take care not to over-mix.
Scoop the mixture into paper-lined cupcake pans then bake in a preheated 350 deg F (170 deg C) oven for 18 to 23 minutes.
Feel free to enjoy your calamansi muffins, along with a glass of calamansi juice, as you relax while watching your favorite shows…
Or when you take a snack break while working from home!
To get your bottle of Pickfresh Calamansi Concentrate (Php180/liter), send a message via Facebook or Instagram. Online payments via BDO or BPI are accepted.
Check out my blog posts on other small enterprises and startups in the food business:
One of the few bright spots of the community quarantine and being stuck home is the emergence of many a newbie baker’s latent genius in the kitchen.
I’ve been through a baking phase a few years ago but I gradually lost interest due to lack of time and the increasing demands of my job.
When the quarantine was put in place, however, I found myself with more time on my hands and eager to get back into the kitchen to whip up tasty treats for the fam. Being the sweet tooth I am, these dishes tend to be desserts.
I was also recently issued with a challenge: create a snack or dessert using Lemon Square Cheesecake as one of the ingredients.
Lemon Square is a thirty-five-year-old brand that has been serving up real goodness through affordable and nutritious snacks. It has a family of flavors that cater to every personality and snacking quirk in the brood, starting from its flagship variant, Lemon Square Cheesecake, to snack cakes Lemon Square Whatta Tops and Lemon Square Lava Cake, as well as Lemon Square Whatta Flakes crackers and Lemon Square Cookie Bites.
Well, challenge accepted!
Here are – not one, not two, but – three desserts using four of Lemon Square variants. Check them out:
Crema de Fruta with Lemon Square Cheesecake
1 pack (10 pcs) Lemon Square Cheesecake
1 small can (432 g) of fruit cocktail (drain the fruits and reserve 4 tbsp of its syrup)
1 small can (108g) condensed milk
1 pack (250ml) all purpose cream
In a bowl, mash the Lemon Square Cheesecake pieces until they break apart into small crumbs. Add the reserved fruit cocktail syrup until the crumbs form a loose, streusel-like mixture.
In another bowl, mix together the all purpose cream and condensed milk until well-blended.
In an eight-inch tin can, assemble the crema de fruta in alternating layers of crumbs, sweetened cream and fruit pieces.
Refrigerate overnight to allow the dessert to settle. Serve well-chilled.
Tipsy Chocolate Cake with Lemon Square Lava Cake and Chocolate Cookie Bites
1 pack Lemon Square Chocolate Cookie Bites
4 pcs Lemon Square Lava Cake
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp Baileys Irish cream
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
Crush the Lemon Square Chocolate Cookie Bites until they form a fine powder. Set aside.
In a bowl, mash the Lemon Square Lava Cake until they form into thick crumbs. Press them to the bottom of an eight-inch tin can. Set aside.
To make the tipsy ganache, add the Baileys to the heavy cream in a saucepan. Stirring periodically, heat the mixture over low fire until just before the it begins to boil. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate until well-combined.
Allow the mixture to cool for three minutes before pouring it on top of the mashed Lava Cake in the prepared tin can.
Using a strainer, dust the top of the ganache with the powdered Chocolate Cookie Bites.
Place the tin can in the refrigerator overnight until the cake is fully set.
Note: You can lessen the amount of Baileys you put in or take it out all together to make this dessert more kid-friendly.
Avocado Ice Cream Cake with Whatta Flakes Spanish Bread
Even while stuck at home because of the quarantine, I’m still a busy working mom. The demands of my job often precludes me from spending too much time in the kitchen.
This means that I rarely get enough time to devote to discovery and exploration of culinary possibilities to expand my family’s menu beyond the usual staples or to make dishes and ingredients from scratch.
This is why I’m so glad that I have a jar of The Saucier Homemade Classic Pesto in my ref.
In case you’re wondering, a saucier, also known as the saute chef, prepares the sauces, stews and the hot hors d’oeuvres as well as sautes food to order.
With The Saucier’s homemade and preservatives-free sauces and dressings in my cooking arsenal, it’s like I have my own saucier right in my kitchen. Coming up with an extraordinary home-cooked meal is so much easier when half the work is already done.
For our dinner last night, I made a new fam favorite: Creamy Pesto Chicken. Check it out!
Half-kilo of boneless chicken thigh fillets (I prefer chicken thighs to chicken breasts as these tend to be juicier and more flavorful. Fortunately, I can get a pack of boneless filleted thighs at Landers.)
Salt and pepper to taste
2 1/2 tbsp The Saucier Homemade Classic Pesto
2 cups cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp all-purpose flour
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup grated parmesan
Rub the chicken pieces with salt, pepper and pesto sauce.
Prepare the sauce by whisking together the flour, garlic, pesto sauce and evaporated milk. Season the mixture with salt and pepper and mix well.
Heat the olive oil in non-stick pan then fry the chicken pieces for up to five minutes on each side or until thoroughly cooked. Set aside.
In the same pan, cook the cherry tomatoes in medium to high heat for up to a minute or until they begin to soften.
Add the sauce mixture to the skillet and bring to a boil.
Place the cooked chicken back into the pan and cook for up to three minutes until heated through and well-coated by the sauce, then remove from heat.
Once again, my foray into the kitchen has yielded a hit with the fam!
Try this recipe out and let me know how it goes!
For more details or to get your hands on The Saucier’s sauces and dressings, as well as its tasty Mushroom Burger, visit The Saucier on Facebook￼￼￼ or call +63 2 76233600, +63 2 79015526 or +63 917 8870125.
Looking for other easy-to-cook dishes to try out while in quarantine? Check out my other kitchen adventures:
It sure looks like the quarantine has turned me into some kind of maven in the kitchen (if I may say so myself; indulge me, please).
With a little bit of extra time that working from home afforded to me, as well as the greater availability of ingredients from online sellers, I found myself getting bitten again by the baking bug.
I decided to try my hand on an old favorite: the Banana Loaf. It’s a simple enough recipe and the ingredients are easily accessible.
It’s also great as a mid-afternoon snack or an after-meal dessert.
Here’s the twist, though: my kiddos and I have varying preferences when it comes to the Banana Loaf. I love it with nuts (for the contrast in texture), while my daughter #ExhibitA prefers it without; my son #ExhibitB, a sweet-tooth just like his mom, would go bonkers for it if it has chocolate.
What’s a budding baker mom to do?
Well, why not have it three ways? I made a plain Banana Loaf, two loaves with nuts, and a loaf with nuts and chocolate. This way, everybody’s happy (especially me, because I get two loaves, hehehe!).
Here’s the recipe:
3 ripe mashed bananas
2 tsp lemon juice
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups buttermilk substitute (made by combining 1 1/2 tbsp vinegar with enough fresh milk to make 1 1/2 cups of the mixture)
1 cup roughly chopped walnuts
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 135 deg C (275 deg F). Line four 8″x 3″ loaf pans with wax paper and lightly grease the bottom and sides.
In a small bowl, combine the mashed bananas with the lemon juice. In another bowl, combine flour, salt and baking soda. Set both bowls aside.
Using an electric mixer, cream the butter, white and brown sugar in a large bowl for three minutes until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then mix in the vanilla.
Mix in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk substitute until evenly combined. Stir in the mashed banana mixture.
Scoop enough of the batter to the first loaf pan to fill it two-thirds of the way. This will be the plain Banana Loaf.
Fold in the chopped walnuts in to the batter until evenly distributed then scoop enough of the mixture to fill two-thirds of the next two loaf pans. These will be the Banana Loaf with Walnuts.
Fold in the dark chocolate chips into the remaining batter then scoop it into the last loaf pan. This will be the Chocolate Walnut Banana Loaf.
Place the loaf pans into the pre-heated oven and bake for sixty to eighty-five minutes (depending on your oven) or until a toothpick you insert into the middle of the loaves comes out clean.
As soon as fully baked, remove the loaf pans from the oven and place them directly into the freezer for forty-five minutes. Doing this will add to the moist texture of the loaves. (I’m not familiar with the exact science behind this but I can’t argue with the results).
Serve and enjoy!
The loaves turned out to have just the right amount of moistness and are not overly sweet.
As it turns out, even #ExhibitA likes the loaf with the chocolate chips. Hmmm…
If you want to add some more sweetness to the loaves, you can top them with some cream cheese frosting, similar to the one used for my Carrot Cupcakes.
You may also adjust the amount of walnuts or chocolate chips you add into the banana loaf batter for the second loaf pan and so on, or the sequence of adding the tweak ingredients, depending on your family’s preferences (and whose preference reigns supreme!).
Try this recipe out and let me know how it goes!
Looking for other easy-to-cook dishes to try out while in quarantine? Check out my other kitchen adventures:
Hmm… What to do with leftover Bulalo? Make a Bulalo Steak with it!
Anybody who knows me is aware that almost nothing gets my hackles up than wasting food.
That’s why when Hubby (again!) flexed his culinary muscles to bring about some steaming-hot Bulalo for our family’s lunch and had a lot of leftovers – whick included meat, potatoes and broth – I just had to find a way to finish off all that food within the day.
(Note, though, that the leftovers resulted from his overestimation on the fam’s capacity to devour two kilograms of meaty beef shanks, despite how yummy the resulting dish was. )
Well, thanks to the leftovers, the Bulalo Steak for the fam’s dinner was quite easy to whip up using ingredients which were already on-hand.
(Leftover from the Bulalo)
1 kilo cooked beef shanks, sliced into 1 1/2-inch thick pieces
2 cups of cubed boiled potatoes
1 1/2 cups Bulalo broth, strained
1 bunch of French beans (could be substituted with Baguio beans)
1 large carrot, cut into thin strips
(Additional ingredients for the sauce)
6 tbsp butter
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1/2 cup sliced Champignon mushrooms
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tbsp liquid seasoning
Re-heat the cooked beef shanks by placing them in a baking dish and into a 200 dec C oven for twenty minutes.
In a saucepan over low heat, melt four tablespoons butter, then add the flour, mixing to form a paste. Add in the milk and broth, mixing to avoid lumps until it thickens to your desired consistency, then add in the mushrooms. Add more beef broth little by little if you want to thin it down.
Parboil the French beans and the carrot strips before sauteing them along with the boiled potatoes in two tablespoons butter. After sauteing, arrange them in the baking dish with the reheated beef shanks.
Pour the sauce over the beef shanks and buttered vegetables. Serve immediately. It is best enjoyed with lots of steamed rice.
This recipe serves five, with 530 calories per serving.
If you want to make this dish but don’t have leftover Bulalo, you can boil up to 2 kilos of beef shanks (with enough water to fully over the meat) in a large pot for up to 2 hours or until tender. Or you can cook them in a pressure cooker for up to an hour. Be sure to save the resulting broth.
Also, if you happen to have a sizzling plate, you can make this dish a Sizzling Bulalo Steak. Arrange the cooked solid ingredients on a heated sizzling plate then pour the sauce over them until it sizzles.
Looking for other easy-to-cook dishes to try out while in quarantine? Check out my other recipes: