Me vs. Cooking – Tried to Bake Lasagna

Lasagna’s been my favorite dish for the longest time.  I’d order it in every restaurant that served them.  One day, when Chesca began to be a picky eater, I thought maybe she was just sick of the normal rice, soup, and meat we feed her.  So I tried making lasagna for her.  I went to the grocery and bought lasagna pasta and ground meat.  Then I remembered, I still din’t have a recipe to cook lasagna so I didn’t know what other ingredients I needed.  Good thing, in the lasagna box, there was a recipe to guide me 🙂

I bought other ingredients we didn’t have at home.  But of course there were some cheeses that weren’t available in the grocery store so I just stuck with cheddar and quick melt cheese.  Then I also tweaked the recipe a bit coz it had sooo much cheese in it.  I added all-purpose cream to lessen cheese in the bechamel sauce.  ‘Coz in the recipe it just had 5 cups of milk,butter,  flour, A LOT of cheese, and some spices.

For the meat portion of the lasagna, I just put in ground beef, tomato sauce, broccoli, & mushrooms.   Pre-heated the oven to 280 degrees.  I layered the boiled lasagna pasta into 2 pyrex containers.  Layering went like this:

Tomato sauce, pasta, meat mixture, bechamel, grated cheese

Then pasta again, meat, bechamel sauce, grated cheese, then repeat these layers oen more time.

I drizzled tomato sauce on the top layer into a zigzag for a bit of design (so i thought).

This is how it turned out. The top seemed burned a bit but it tasted fine 🙂
Well one of my kids & husband loved it. But Chesca only ate 2 spoons and still didn't want to eat anything for that day...Oh well, it was worth a try.

What I realized during this experience:

1.  It’s quite time consuming to make lasagna with all the preparation.

2.  You need to be patient.

3.  If you’re a lazy cook, just buy lasagna 🙂

Me vs. Cooking – Baked Garlic Chicken with Spices

We’d have a lot of fried meals at home.  So recently, I try to look for recipes that would suit kids.  I wanted to feed my kids healthier food.  Here’s one recipe that kids and adults would love.  Not fried! and most importantly, very easy to cook!   Baked Chicken!!!  I got this recipe from my friend Tina.  She calls it “Death by Garlic”.  But then I had to tweak the recipe a bit ‘coz I knew my kids wouldn’t like too much garlic.  Here’s what I did:

1.  Cut the chicken in half.  (I didn’t want to turn the chicken over in the middle of baking time.)

2.  Marinade chicken in a lot of olive oil and garlic.  Make sure to spread all over even under the skin.    Keep it in the ref for 24 hours.

3.  Then add the spices (I used McCormick mixed spices w/o MSG.) before putting it in the oven.

Here's the chicken cut in half. I put different spices on each to have a variety.
Mixed McCormick spices
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees. Bake the chicken covered tightly with aluminum foil for 60 minutes. Then remove the foil and continue baking for another 20-30 minutes or until chicken is golden brown.
Here's how it looks after baking
Get olive oil and garlic from the bottom of the pyrex and drizzle it on top of the chicken so it doesn't get dry. Then it's ready to serve! Happy Eating!!!

Very simple and easy to do right?  I was lucky coz my family loved it!

The downside about this is that it just needs A LOT of olive oil, so it can become a bit costly.  But at least you get to eat good healthy food 🙂

Try it 😛

Mommy Duties – Make an effort to still look great, Mom.

I know us moms are doing several things at the same time.  Even if you only have one child, it’s still a handful being a mother.  There are times when we don’t even notice that the day has already passed and we haven’t had the time for ourselves.  We always put our kids first.  We make sure they’re dressed, fed, attend to their needs, etc.  But it’s also part of our duties to stay pretty and well groomed.  We need to make a conscious effort to dress up everyday, look fresh, and fashionable while still taking care of our kids.

 

I’m not saying that we should “dress to kill”, but be very neat and accessorize to spruce up the simplest look.  We do this for ourselves.  To make us feel good, better, and even the best mom out there.  Of course, we’d also want to look good for our husbands.  You wouldn’t want your husband to see you as a “manang” now, would you?

 

So when I felt that I wasn’t taking care of myself as much as before, I made a conscious effort to try my best to look good everyday.  Take note: TRY my best.  So I reviewed my wardrobe, set aside all the ones that didn’t fit well, made me look sloppy, and those that were already worn out or looked real old.  When I’d wear a very casual attire like shorts, I try to spruce it up by having a nice top, an accessory, or nice shoes.  I also make sure the face and hair are also neat.  Cover those dark circles from late nights with the kids.

I went to SM Megamall Dept. store to check out some accessories.  And they really have quite a good selection now with very reasonable prices.  I was able to get a few items to help me make my outfits look better as part of my challenge to look good & presentable daily no matter where I was going.  You’ll be surprised how a pair of earrings, a bracelet, necklace, belt, scarf, jacket, or even a hairband/hair piece can give your simple outfit a major lift.  Sometimes accessories are the only things you’ll need and not necessarily new clothes.

Here are a few pics of one portion of SM’s accessories area.

 

Oh, I almost forgot, even your pajamas should look presentable too.  Try to wear nice pajamas and let go of those that have lots of holes.  Also make sure your hair is always neat even if you’re just at home.  Speaking of hair, try to trim your hair every 2 months, get a manicure/pedicure every 2 weeks, make sure you moisturize your skin daily.  Fine lines and wrinkles aren’t our friends!

 

To summarize:  just try to look your best at all times.  You wouldn’t want to be a 30-year old who looks 40, or worse, 50!

Playdates – “Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, bakers man…”

Every so often, it’s nice to have play dates wherein you just don’t do free play.  In one of our play dates, we decided to do some baking.  Our toddlers learned the following:

  • prepare ingredients
  • learn what the ingredients are
  • improve motor skills by stirring & decorating
  • taking turns
  • wearing aprons to keep their clothes clean
  • and of course discover how a cupcake is made
The things we prepared:
  1. Brownie mix (for starters, let’s do it the easy way :-P)
  2. 1/2 and 1 inch cupcake molds and paper molds in different colors.
  3. Marshmallows & chocolate toppings
  4. 2 aluminum bowls, wire whisks, aprons, and spatulas (2pcs so 2 kids can do it together)
  5. Small table for kids to do their preparation (with table cloth to protect table)
  6. 2 eggs & 1 cup of butter
  7. Disposable plastic decorating bag or pastry bag (12Php each at cook’s exchange)
  8. Cameras to document it 🙂
Moms and kids surely enjoyed this activity.  Maybe next time, we’ll make something more challenging.  Try doing your own creative play date.   Try it, you’ll surely have fun while learning a thing or two 🙂
Here are some snaps of our baking play date…
Toddlers mixing and mixing while some wait for their turn.
Toddlers listening to instructions.
Having fun learning ingredients and of course, can't help play with them!
Intensely watching how to decorate the cupcakes.
End product: Cupcakes made by the kids....wasn't that bad 🙂 We put them in plastic boxes so everyone could bring home cupcakes!
Our playgroup smiling for the camera!

To Eat or Not to Eat!? – Merienda at Lugang

After one of our bikram yoga classes, we decided to eat merienda in Lugang along Connecticut in Greenhills.

Flowing water from the wall on one side of the restaurant gave a refreshing & relaxing ambience.
This tasted so good after a hot yoga session! Aloe Honey Lemon Tea. P120.
Beef Turnip P360
Pork Peanut Noodles P230.
Their pork & shrimp siomai was quite different. It was like xiao long bao coz it had some sauce inside. I was craving for the normal siomai but it was okay, something new to try. P218.
Had very nice interior.
Parking across the street was available for Lugang customers.

It’s like we did yoga to be able to eat all of this one Saturday afternoon 🙂

Definitely a must try chinese restaurant.

We give it an overall rating of 4.5 spoons!