#QuarantineCookbook: Calamansi Muffins

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!

Pickfresh Calamansi Juice

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.

Pickfresh Calamansi Juice

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.

Pickfresh 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?

Pickfresh Calamansi Juice

Pickfresh Calamansi Juice

Fluffy, tangy and sweet, these little yummies are sure to get you eager for your dose of Vitamin C.

Pickfresh Calamansi Juice

Pickfresh Calamansi Juice

Here’s how you can whip ’em right up!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 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

Procedure:

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…

Pickfresh Calamansi Juice

Or when you take a snack break while working from home!

Pickfresh Calamansi Juice

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.

Pickfresh Calamansi Juice

Check out my blog posts on other small enterprises and startups in the food business:

#QuarantineCookbook: Lemon Square #SiksikSaSarap Recipes

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

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

Lemon Square Recipes

Lemon Square Recipes

Ingredients:

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

Procedure:

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.

Lemon Square Recipes

Lemon Square Recipes

Tipsy Chocolate Cake with Lemon Square Lava Cake and Chocolate Cookie Bites

Lemon Square Recipes

Lemon Square Recipes

Ingredients:

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

Procedure:

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.

Serve chilled.

Note: You can lessen the amount of Baileys you put in or take it out all together to make this dessert more kid-friendly.

Lemon Square Recipes

Lemon Square Recipes

Avocado Ice Cream Cake with Whatta Flakes Spanish Bread

Lemon Square Recipes

Lemon Square Recipes

Ingredients:

For the crust:

6 packs crushed Lemon Square Whatta Flakes Spanish bread
1 stick of softened butter

For the ice cream:

Three avocados peeled and seeded (equivalent to 2 cups)
1 300ml and 1 108ml cans of condensed milk
4 cups heavy whipping cream

Procedure:

In a bowl, combine the crushed Whatta Flakes Spanish bread with the butter. Press the crumb mixture onto the bottom of five 8-inch cake tins then set aside.

In a blender, puree the avocado while mixing in the condensed milk until well-blended. Set aside.

Whip the heavy cream at high speed until it thickens. Gradually mix in the avocado puree until well-blended.

Transfer the mixture into the prepared tin cans, gently pressing the mixture into the containers and smoothing out the top using a spatula.

Freeze for at least six hours or overnight. Serve frozen.

Note: This is an update of the Avocado Ice Cream Cake recipe I published a few months ago, incorporating some improvements I discovered after making this dessert quite a number of times.

Lemon Square Recipes

Lemon Square Recipes

There you have it: three #LemonSquareSiksikSaSarap dessert recipes that you can easily whip up to experience real goodness at home.

Lemon Square Recipes

Product samples were provided to facilitate the recipes.

Looking for other easy-to-cook dishes to try out while in quarantine? Check out my other kitchen adventures:

#QuarantineCookbook: Easy Creamy Pesto Chicken

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.

The Saucier

For our dinner last night, I made a new fam favorite: Creamy Pesto Chicken. Check it out!

Ingredients:

  • 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

Procedure:

Rub the chicken pieces with salt, pepper and pesto sauce.

Easy Creamy Pesto Chicken

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.

Easy Creamy Pesto Chicken

In the same pan, cook the cherry tomatoes in medium to high heat for up to a minute or until they begin to soften.

Easy Creamy Pesto Chicken

Add the sauce mixture to the skillet and bring to a boil.

Easy Creamy Pesto Chicken

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.

Easy Creamy Pesto Chicken

Easy Creamy Pesto Chicken

Serve your Creamy Peato Chickeb with pasta, rice, or in my fam’s case, some sliced Ciabatta and Special Dip from Chef Jessie which really strengthened our meal’s Italian flair.

Easy Creamy Pesto Chicken

Easy Creamy Pesto Chicken

Easy Creamy Pesto Chicken

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.

The Saucier

Looking for other easy-to-cook dishes to try out while in quarantine? Check out my other kitchen adventures:

#QuarantineCookbook: Banana Loaf Three Ways

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.

Banana Loaf Three Ways (beingjellybeans.com)

It’s also great as a mid-afternoon snack or an after-meal dessert.

Banana Loaf Three Ways (beingjellybeans.com)

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:

Ingredients:

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

Procedure:

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.

Banana Loaf Three Ways (beingjellybeans.com)

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).

Banana Loaf Three Ways (beingjellybeans.com)

Banana Loaf Three Ways (beingjellybeans.com)

Serve and enjoy!

Banana Loaf Three Ways (beingjellybeans.com)

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…

PS:

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!).

Banana Loaf Three Ways (beingjellybeans.com)

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:

#QuarantineCookbook: Bulalo Steak from Leftovers

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.

Bulalo Steak Recipe (beingjellybeans.com)

(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. )

Bulalo Steak Recipe (beingjellybeans.com)

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.

Bulalo Steak Recipe (beingjellybeans.com)

Ingredients:

(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

(Additional Vegetables)
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

Procedure:

Re-heat the cooked beef shanks by placing them in a baking dish and into a 200 dec C oven for twenty minutes.

Bulalo Steak Recipe (beingjellybeans.com)

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.

Bulalo Steak Recipe (beingjellybeans.com)

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.

Bulalo Steak Recipe (beingjellybeans.com)

Bulalo Steak Recipe (beingjellybeans.com)

Bulalo Steak Recipe (beingjellybeans.com)

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.

Bulalo Steak Recipe (beingjellybeans.com)

Bulalo Steak Recipe (beingjellybeans.com)

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: