Cooking Tips from the Cook of the House

There are only a handful of people I know who say, without hesitation, “I’m a chef”. I tend to just think of myself as the cook of the house and I know that what I put together for parties and dinners isn’t magic. It’s actually pretty easy if you know what you’re doing. Here are some of the tips and advice that I have to repeat to myself every so often:

Don’t feel guilty

Not everything you make has to be 150% from scratch. You’re cooking. You’re making it as best you can. That’s as close to “homemade” as I think anything needs to be. You can use canned vegetables. It’s not cheating. You can use a pre-made spice or mix package. It’s okay. Don’t put crazy expectations on yourself so that you feel guilty and like you haven’t done right if you use some shortcuts that tend to make your cooking taste better or just as good anyway.

Give yourself time

There’s nothing worse than rushing around the kitchen trying to make sure 5 different things aren’t about to burn. As hard as it sometimes is, try to give yourself more than enough time to make everything you want. A good way to make this happen, even if you know you only have 30 minutes to make dinner, is to do prep cooking. Anything you can do the night before and just stick in the fridge will be a godsend of at least 20 minutes the next day. That’s how the professional chefs do it, though they generally have some low-paid interns do their prep work.

Try new things

Don’t be afraid to innovate on recipes, even if it’s out of necessity. I will never forget one morning when I was making breakfast I went to go make some biscuits only to find that my milk had gone sour. I decided to try out using some leftover ricotta cheese instead and, man, those biscuits were tasty! It’s only food. If it doesn’t work you can just throw it away or give it to the dog. Ordering pizza is always an option.

Author Bio: Gina Vasselli is a professional writer on a number of topics, from travel and golf, to the best way to cook canned vegetables.

Kilawing Hipon (Shrimp Kilawin)

Ingredients for Kilawing Hipon (Shrimp Kilawin)

3 cups shredded radish
1/2 cup shrimp juice
2 tbsp of oil
salt
1 clove of garlic
1/2 cup vinegar
2 tsp pepper
1 onion, diced

How to Cook Kilawing Hipon (Shrimp Kilawin)

1. Saute the crushed garlic in oil.
2. Add in the onions and shrimp. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Let cook for a while and then add in the shrimp juice.
4. Add the vinegar and let it simmer.
5. Add in the radish. Cover and let it simmer for 3 minutes.
6. Serve.

Buko (Coconut) Salad

Ingredients for Buko (Coconut) Salad

10 coconuts with meat grated
1 big can of fruit cocktail
1 small bottle of nata de coco (colored red)
1 small bottle of kaong (colored green)
1/2 Kg of seedless grapes
2 medium sized apples
1 big can of sliced peaches
1 can of condensed milk
2 cans of Nestle’s cream

How to Cook Buko (Coconut) Salad

1. Drain the canned and bottled fruits up to an hour. Remove the stems from the grapes and wash. Do not peel the skin. Wash the apples, do not peel, and cut square sizes as big as the nata de coco.
2. Mix all the fruits in one big bowl. Pour the condensed milk and Nestle’s cream and mix well.
3. Transfer to serving bowls. Place the sliced peaches on the edge of the bowl.
4. Refrigerate well before serving.

Cooking Tips for Diabetics

Having Diabetes can be tough to manage but it doesn’t mean you have to lose out on foods you enjoy eating. As long as you monitor what you are eating and don’t ‘treat’ yourself too much then you should be fine. Here are some tips for you to use when planning your meals.

Use Food Exchange Lists

Food Exchange lists are designed to help you eat a balanced meal and help you to control your sugar levels. The Diabetic Food Exchange list groups food into 6 groups and measures each portion for you. The groups are; Bread and Starch, Fruit, Vegetables, Dairy, Meat, Fats and Prohibited. You can mix and match the food in the lists, just be careful to measure what you are eating. You should avoid foods in the prohibited list where possible but may treat yourself for special occasions. Check out Diabetes.co.uk for a detailed Diabetic Food Exchange list as a start for your own.

Eat from various food groups

It is important to eat food from all food groups to ensure you are getting a good healthy and balanced diet. Do not hide away from fruit just because it contains sugar, just be aware of how much you eat and how often. This will also allow you to pick up different vitamins and nutrients which are vital to your balanced diet.

Eat high fibre foods

Choosing foods which are higher in fibre is especially important for diabetics. Fibre foods can lower your blood cholesterol and glucose levels. High fibre foods include oats, barley, citrus fruits, carrots, apples and peas. There are plenty of options so you can often include them in your daily meals.

Use healthy cooking techniques

Choose leaner meat and do not use large amounts of fats or oils. Asian food is usually very healthy as you are boiling rice, steaming vegetables and stir-frying your meals. Why not try a new way of cooking your meal like grilling or poaching your salmon? A simple change to the way you cook your meals, can really help you maintain a normal blood glucose level.

Make sensible recipe substitutions

This is another easy approach to continue enjoying the foods you love, but in a healthier way. For example why not choose wholegrain rice instead of white or using diabetic chocolate in your birthday cake?

Just because you are a diabetic, doesn’t mean you can’t eat what you want. Managing diabetes is all about managing what you eat and how you eat it, monitoring what you are eating and only treating yourself on special occasions.

Author Bio: Jack Kelly writes posts on a number of topics, including cooking, baking and how to manage health conditions, like diabetes. He contributes to a number of blogs across the blogosphere.

Bibingka

Ingredients for Bibingka

1 cup coconut
1 cup fresh cassava, grated
3 eggs
4 tablespoons grated cheese
1/2 cup coconut milk
3 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup sugar

How to Cook Bibingka

1. Beat the eggs. Mix sugar, melted butter and cassava.
2. Add coconut milk with coconut then mix all the other ingredients.
3. Place into pan with banana leaves on it.
4. Bake in hot furnace. If it’s already half-cooked, wipe top with egg yolk and sprinkle with grated cheese.

5 Drink Recipes to Try Before Summer is Over

Summer cocktails should be three things: cold, sweet and plentiful. I really like mixing drinks that pull in a lot of summer fruit flavors, like citrus and watermelon, topped with plenty of ice to keep things chilled. These five recipes are a must have in the few weeks of summer we have left, and I’m sure you’ll be saving the recipes to try once winter starts to thaw.

Pomegranate Daiquiris

Pomegranates (and pomegranate juice) are freely available now, and I wholeheartedly endorse you trying to fit it into you recipes. This cocktail contains some bold flavors that will be sure to please a tangy palette. Here’s what you’ll need:

• 3.5 cups of pomegranate juice
• 1.5 cups of rum
• 1 cup of cranberry liqueur
• 1/3 cup of lime juice
• Garnish: lime wedges, frozen cranberries and pomegranate seeds

Mix up all the ingredients (besides the garnish) in a large pitcher. Then cover and let sit for at least four hours before serving. If it’s a bit too sour for you, a dash of sugar never hurt anyone. Serves 12.

Orange Squeeze

Oranges are the perfect balance of sweet and sour, being one of the sweeter citrus fruits. That and the bright orange color make this refreshing beverage a delicious style addition to any picnic table. And now, your ingredients:

• 2 ounces of citrus vodka
• 1 ounce of Cointreau or triple sec
• 1 splash of lime juice
• 1 splash of orange juice
• Garnish: orange slices and wedges

Not a lot of special preparation, here. Simply stir up all the ingredients in a pitcher and stir vigorously. If you like, sugar the rim of your glasses and add your garnishes.

Cucumber Lemonade

I love putting cucumber in just about any drink, even lemon water. Something about the cucumber just cools any drink down, and adding it to lemonade is a logical step. The agave syrup keeps this recipe from being too sour, and the rosemary adds a bit of spice.

• 3 – 4 large cucumbers
• 1 tbsp chopped rosemary
• 1 cup of water
• 6 ounces of gin
• 1/2 cup of lemon juice
• 3 tbsp of agave nectar or syrup

Take two-and-a-half cucumbers, peel them, chop them up, and put them in your food processor with the rosemary until pureed. Use a fine strainer to squeeze the juice out of the pulp. Add the water, lemon juice, agave and gin to the cucumber juice and stir well. Slice up the last of the cucumbers for garnish; mix them in or set them on the rim. Serves 4.

Watermelon-Cucumber Cooler

What says summer more than watermelon? Watermelon with cucumber, that’s what. Now, this recipe can vary a little bit, depending on how slushy you want the coolers to be. If you like the texture of watermelon, use a sieve with a less fine mesh. Here are your ingredients:

• 5 cups of seedless watermelon
• 1 large cucumber
• 1/4 of a cup of lime juice
• 2 tbsp of honey
• 2/3 of a cup of vodka

Puree the watermelon in a food processor and remove most of the pulp with a fine strainer (should yield about 2 cups of juice). Then do the same with the watermelon and strain the juice into your watermelon juice. Mix the lime juice and honey together until fully dissolved; then add to your watermelon-cucumber mixture. Pour over ice and serve with cucumber slices.

Raspberry Sparkler

A little bit of fizz always refreshes on a hot summer afternoon. Raspberries have such a short season, but you can actually make this recipe out of season with frozen raspberries if needed. You can also experiment with different types of soda, which I recommend if you have a favorite brand, or like sparkling lemonade instead of orange.

• 1 cup of fresh raspberries
• 1 lime
• 0.5 ounces of simple syrup
• 0.5 ounces of Campari
• 1 ounce of reposado tequila
• Orange soda

Stir the raspberries into the lime juice and simple syrup. Add the Campari and tequila, followed by ice and orange soda. Stir briefly and serve.

A refreshing summer beverage is the crown jewel to your backyard get-togethers and barbecues, and I hope one of these recipes makes your next one special. Do you have some summer favorites when it comes to cocktails?

Author bio: When Vanessa Lee isn’t passed out on a lawn chair after too many raspberry sparklers, she writes on entertaining, home décor, parenting and celebrity topics at WhatsBestfortheNest.com.

Pichi-pichi

Ingredients for Pichi-pichi

2 cups of grated cassava
2 cups of sugar
2 cups of water boiled from pandan leaves
grated coconut meat

How to Cook Pichi-pichi

1. Mix the grated casava, sugar and water while on top of the heat.
2. Pour the mixture in small circular molders.
3. Let it air for 45 minutes or until it solidifies.
4. Let it cool.
5. Make small ball-like shapes and roll over the grated coconut meat.

Sotanghon Guisado

Ingredients for Sotanghon Guisado

1 pack of sotanghon noodles
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic head, smashed
1 cup of shrimp, skin removed
1/4 Kg of chicken, boiled and shredded
1/4 Kg of pork, boiled and sliced in very small portions
1/4 cup of shrimp juice
1 cup of chicken broth
cooking oil
fish sauce
pepper

How to Cook Sotanghon Guisado

1. Soak the noodles in water or chicken broth.
2. Saute the garlic and onions. Add the shrimp, chicken, and pork.
3. Add the shrimp juice and let it boil for 5 minutes.
4. Add the chicken broth. Let it boil for a while then add to the sotanghon noodles.
5. Use fish sauce and pepper to taste.
6. Serve hot.

Hipon (Shrimp) Ala King

Ingredients for Lutong Hipon (Shrimp) Ala King

2 tbsp margarine
3 tbsp flour
2 tbsp of green chili
1/3 tsp salt
1 cup milk
3/4 cup of boiled shrimp, chopped finely
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce
3/4 tsp of lemon juice
1/8 tsp of white pepper
2 slices of bread

How to Cook Lutong Hipon (Shrimp) Ala King

1. Melt the margarine in a pan.
2. Add the flour and salt. Mix well.
3. Add the milk slowly. Stir continuously while cooking.
4. Check the viscosity of the ingredients in the pan. Add the shrimp and green chili.
5. Add next the egg, worcestershire sauce, lime juice, and pepper.
6. Continuosly cook everything for about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the pan.
7. Remove the sides of the sliced bread and place them on muffin cups. Toast these.
8. Add 1 spoonful of the cooked shrimp to each muffin cup.
9. Serve.