Food from the Philippines

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Nothing gets me in touch with my roots faster than a bowl of steaming lugaw. In fact, nothing makes me happier when I’m having a bad day. Today, June 12th, is the Philippine National Independence Day and I want to pay homage to some of my all time favorite dishes from home.

Before the food, a little background on this day. For more than three centuries, Spain occupied the Philippines after Ferdinand Magellan landed on the shores of Philippines. The occupation wakened different sentiments in the natives. Some benefited as second class citizens in the Spanish-ruled cities and towns, some were angered by the conquest. It was a long, gruel yet rich history. In the end, the Filipinos started a revolution that won us the freedom we now enjoy (that is, after the subsequent Japanese then American occupation but that’s another story).

And that history continues to live today in the Filipino language, culture, religions, and of course, food.

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One of my favorite flavors to this day is ube – purple yam. That’s the unusually purple stuff there. It’s similar in texture and taste as the taro but a bit sweeter. While I’ve never actually eaten a raw purple yam, I’ve eaten loads of ube ice cream, cake, and anything ube-flavored.

Lugaw is a rice congee cooked with ginger and usually topped with crushed popped pork rinds. My mom always makes this when someone is sick because it’s easy on the stomach and the ginger is soothing to a sore throat. When I’m sick, this is the only food that comforts me.

Dilis is essentially dried anchovies. They’re salty, crunchy and, to the untrained nose, they smell awful when cooked. I like it though. It’s the perfect accompaniment to any rich dish.

Ah, and finally, the pork menudo. The Filipino-style pork menudo is a rich concoction of pork belly, tomato sauce, carrots, potatoes and sometimes liver. I don’t eat liver but the dish has more depth when this is added. Now this, I think, I can cook better than my mom.

Today, as a Filipino, I celebrate our culture of hardwork, communitu and family. Happy Independence Day!

For Filipino recipes, check out my go-to site: Panlasang Pinoy.

Drugstore Treasure Finds

Drugstore Treasure Finds | Make Little JoysDrugstore Treasure Finds | Make Little Joys

There is something about buying drugstore makeup that feels like Russian roulette. Don’t you ever feel nervous buying something if you don’t know what it will do? It could be the best foundation ever, or the one that will break you out and leave you scarred for weeks. Yikes.

You can read and read and read reviews online until you go blind but you don’t really know a product ’til you’ve tried it on. The problem with most drugstore brands is the lack of samples I can try at the store.

But on a few occasions, Lady Luck was on my side and I came upon hidden treasures in the drugstore. These products have been in my collection for a good while now (can’t you tell by the worn packaging?) and, chances are, will continue to be for a long time:

  1. Maybelline Color Whisper ($5.99) – These are the perfect tinted lip balm/gloss hybrids. I was so happy when I got it in Made-It Mauve that I went ahead and purchased another in Pin Up Peach. That was the first time I bought 2 shades of one product! It’s comfortable and sheer, but deposits just enough color to brighten up my face.  The glossy finish is modest so it’s great for those no makeup makeup days. Did I mention how foolproof the application is? No wonder Tamira from Lipstick with Some Sunshine lists this as a work essential.
  2. NYX Blush in Espresso (not sure if still available) – I think I got this from an Ipsy bag or some other subscription service and I remember not using it for the longest time. Back then, I was put off because it looked like a strange mix of bronzer and rosy blush that might look muddy on the skin. Oh how wrong I was. This is actually a natural, muted rose that looks chic on my skintone. It also double as a pretty crease or all over lid shade.
  3. E.L.F. Essential Custom Eye Refill Pan in Purple  ($1) – For the price, I was skeptical. But again, this drugstore find took me by surprise when I ended up using it almost everyday last fall. The blendability won me over. For me, it looked best as an outer corner shade paired with a bronze or rose gold on the lids.
  4. Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circles ($8.99) – The beauty blogosphere continues to rave about this product to this day because despite the cumbersome packaging (the sponge seemed to be wasting product so I took it off), the concealer itself makes up for that and beyond. The formula is smooth, blends seamlessly to the skin, covers dark circles and blemishes easily and stays on – some of which can’t even be said of high-end concealers for twice the price. This is the first ever concealer I’ve finished and, boy, I’ll repurchase it over and over again.
  5. Wet n Wild Color Icon Blusher in Pearlescent Pink ($2.99) – Nothing brightens up my face quite like this blusher. It’s a highly pigmented perky pink with a slight shimmer that makes it a spring and summer staple for me. I can’t say much for the packaging or the brush that comes with it, though. But like the Instant Age Rewind Concealer, the color and incredible staying power of this blush still makes it a treasure in my eyes.

What is your favorite treasure find from the drugstore?

An Avocado Breakfast Toast Recipe

Avocado Breakfast Toast | Make Little Joys

The best thing about the weekends is the luxury of time. Sunday mornings are best for indulgent breakfast spreads with warm bread and fresh eggs. There will be none of that iced coffee and instant oatmeal in my cubicle in front a computer.

This time, it will be a creamy avocado toast with bright sun-dried tomatoes cradling a deliciously shiny egg. Just sneak in a slice or two of bacon, and I’ll be golden.

What you need:

  • Bread
  • Avocado
  • Sun dried tomatoes
  • Egg
  • Salt and pepper

Slice the bread and top with avocado, sliced or spread depending on its ripeness. Add thinly sliced sun roasted tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and bake in the oven at 300 for around 10 minutes. Top the baked toast with a fried egg.

Maybe I’ll still have that iced coffee, now.

Avocado Breakfast Toast | Make Little Joys

Sun Bum SPF 50 Review

Sun Bum SPF 50 Review | Make Little Joys Sun Bum SPF 50 Review | Make Little Joys

Since the weather went from 7 layers of sweaters to “oh my god why is it so damn hot?” in a week, a new sunscreen was in order. I’m trying out the Sun Bum SPF 50 Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion ($15.99). It is also available in SPF 15, 30 and 70. It comes in spray form as well (except the SPF 70). The complete Sun Bum line is available from the Sun Bum Official Website.

The Sun Bum SPF 50 lotion offers broad spectrum protection and is oil-, paraben-, and PABA- free as well as water resistant. It also claims to be hypoallergenic and photostable.

Application is lovely. The lotion absorbs into my skin quickly without the usual stickiness or the whitish cast. However, it still feels like there is sunscreen on the skin, as expected. The good thing is that feeling doesn’t linger for long. Surprisingly, it’s actually moisturizing. I use it all over my feet when I’m wearing sandals and they definitely look more supple than usual.

The scent is somewhat sunscreen-ish with a hint of a tropical fragrance – something like coconuts or bananas. It stays on all day but very subtly.  The packaging is quite cute and summery, too!

Sun Bum SPF 50 Review | Make Little Joys

 

What’s your sunscreen of choice this summer?

Lazy and Savory Chorizo and Chickpea Recipe

Chorizo and Chickpea Recipe|Make Little Joys Chorizo and Chickpea Recipe|Make Little Joys

This dish is for those nights when you’d rather order takeout but want something a little more substantial than a Big Mac. Maybe even something with a little kick to it. Inspired by Aslan’s dinner on essiebuttonvlogs (he’s a pro at video editing!), this dish is filling, savory and pretty quick to put together.

What you’ll need:

  • Can of chickpeas
  • half a log of chorizo
  • eggs
  • garlic (as much as you want)
  • tomato sauce
  • chicken broth
  • whatever vegetables you have lying around

 

The first thing to do is saute the garlic and chickpeas in a deep pan just until the garlic is fragrant. Next, put in about 1/4 cup of tomato sauce and 1/2 cup of chicken broth. Add about 1/3 cup of water. Stir and let it reduce until the chickpeas are just coated with the sauce.

In another pan, cook the chorizo until (as my BF so astutely describes) “it looks like dog food”. Add in eggs. I wanted a more subtle chorizo flavor so I added 2 eggs. Stir until it looks like scrambled eggs/chorizo.

Once all of that’s ready, serve the chickpeas and top it off with the chorizo. It may not look sexy but, trust me, it is so good!