Category Archives: Food & Recipes

Organic Food Shopping at Earth Origins Westgate

A friend once asked me when and where I do my grocery shopping. My short answer was, “On many different days, and in many different places.”

I know, this does not sound convenient at all. But I’m rather particular when it comes to groceries, so I prefer to get certain things from certain places. The challenge, usually, is working the different shopping trips into my (already complicated) weekly schedule. But I’d rather do that than work with produce and products that I don’t really like. Makes sense?

I might be a little too excited to shop

One of the newer places I’ve started going to is Earth Origins Marketplace + Cafe in Westgate, Alabang. I’ve just started switching some of our fridge and pantry items to organic and free-range, and Earth Origins has proven to be an ideal one stop shop for the things that I need. 

Why the change? Basically, it’s for numerous health reasons. My joints are upset that I’ve been holding on to all this baby weight for the last twelve years, for starters. And then there’s the issue of our fussy skin and the never-ending eczema problem we have to deal with at home. I’m also slightly freaked out over how often we get news of family or friends getting sick or passing away.

Improving the way we eat is one of the best ways I can think of to address all of these. Food can heal, you know? I really believe that. And, even if I grew up in a doctor’s house, I don’t believe in the whole, “May gamot para dyan” mentality. Neither does my family, actually. We understand that prevention is much better than having to find a cure. And so, here I am, trying to put that into practice.

There’s a lot of wonderful organic produce in Earth Origins! And you can borrow a bayong while shopping, too!

Okay, back to Earth Origins. I first read about this store online, back when the only branch they had was in Greenhills. And then, at last November’s Mothers Who Brunch event, I found out that they opened a store in Alabang.

Some people have asked me about this wondrous place, since (as you’ll see on my Instagram) I’m there A LOT. I come to Earth Origins to eat and to shop. I’ll be writing about the cafe soon, but for this post, I’d like to focus on the marketplace. I’m a firm believer that wellness begins at home, and whenever I have the chance to shop at Earth Origins, it makes it easier for me to transform our home into a healthier one. 

Like I said earlier, you can get almost everything you need at Earth Origins. They have fruits. They have veggies. They have rice, and other grains like Adlai. You can buy meat, poultry, and eggs there, too, along with wild-caught fish and seafood. For breakfast, they have organic sausages and bacon. There’s a wide selection of snacks and drinks in the store, and even sauces, condiments, and spices. Guys, they even have all-natural home cleaners and personal care products. And organic wine. Yaaaasss WINE!

Lots of goodies in these freezers. I recently got a bag of wild caught yellowfin tuna and pan seared it for dinner at home.

When you shop at Earth Origins, you can be sure that you are taking home products that are:

  • Organic and all-natural
  • High quality
  • Free of chemical fertilizers and pesticides
  • Hormone-free and antibiotic-free
  • Non-GMO
  • Preservative-free
  • And responsibly grown and raised

Everything here is pure, simple, and ideal for those who wish to live and be better. Promoting a healthy lifestyle through healthy eating is really what this place is all about. It’s truly what I need and want in my life right now.

I know that I’m not exactly the poster child for healthy living, but I am trying. Small, sustainable steps towards positive change, that’s what I’m after. And I think I’ve been doing okay so far.

I thought I’d end this post by sharing some of my favorite things from Earth Origins. Obviously I haven’t been able to try everything from their shelves yet, so I’m sure that I still have a lot of fantastic products to discover beyond these. Like the organic wine. Lol.

This is Pao, one of the friendly faces you will find among the staff at Earth Origins

Okay, here are my Earth Origins must-buys:

Organic Lettuce and Salad Veggies

Let’s be honest, organic produce is a little more expensive than the typical veggies you can get at the market or grocery store. But, for me, some things just have to be bought organic. Lettuce is one of them because you eat it raw, and the leaves are exposed to any fertilizers and pesticides used when they’re grown. 

Earth Origins has an awesome selection of lettuce, and other salad veggies like kale, red cabbage, beets, carrots, and cherry tomatoes. Trust me when I tell you that they are pretty affordable for organic produce. Bonus: They have an awesome selection of bottled homemade salad dressings too. The Summer Herb Vinaigrette is my favorite.

Cold-Pressed Fresh Juices

Come in the morning if you want to try their bottled cold-pressed juices. These disappear pretty quickly. There are three kinds – Red, Orange and Green. I don’t actually remember what’s in each one, but I know the Red juice has beets and apple, the Orange has citrus fruits, and the Green contains Kale. Sorry, kulang info! But I can tell you that they each offer unique health benefits, so there.

Amala Natural Laundry Powder and Fruit & Vegetable Wash

All-natural stuff for the home

These two, I really cannot live without. I’ve written about my eczema issues before, and how commercial laundry detergent is really bad for my skin. I love that I’ve found an option that is gentle, and smells amazing, too. The scent reminds me of clean baby clothes, actually.

As for the fruit and vegetable wash, I use this on the non-organic produce that I buy. I’d truly like to believe that this makes a difference, and that a lot of the harmful chemicals and dirt that might be in my fruits and veggies get washed away when I use this product. 

Organic Sausages and Bacon

I’ve posted this photo before, but it’s worth sharing again. Better-for-you bacon! Yassss!

I love breakfast, and I love having sausages for breakfast. Bacon, I can actually live without, but not sausages. My boys, they love bacon, and they love that I’ve started buying it again. I’m so happy that Earth Origins has a nice selection of organic breakfast meats. It makes me feel a lot less guilty about our indulgent weekend breakfasts at home.

Free-Range Chicken

Organic baked chicken, and a colorful side salad. All ingredients from Earth Origins!

I don’t buy chicken from the market because I feel uncomfortable about the way they are stored and displayed there. Usually, I go for trusted chicken brands in the supermarket. I recently got some free-range chicken thighs from the Earth Origins freezer, though, and I have to say I’m happy with it. I really think free-range chicken tastes better, which is why I like to use it for dishes that don’t require a lot of seasoning, like simple roasts. 

Don’t forget to bring reusable shopping bags when you go to the store

I’m already looking forward to my next Earth Origins shopping trip because, as I said, there are still a lot of things left for me to discover there. I’ve never been so enthusiastic about overhauling our food at home, which is a very good sign. I hope I can keep this going!

So many things to choose from

Do you guys shop organic, too? Where do you get your stuff from, and what do you buy?

In The Mood Food Crawl at Evia Lifestyle Center

Confession: It’s the day before Valentine’s Day and we have not made any plans. No special menu, no restaurant reservation for dinner, nothing. And our Christmas tree is still up. To say that we are unprepared is the understatement of the century.

I do have an idea of where it would be nice to go for a romantic V-day dinner, though, thanks to the recent In The Mood Food Crawl that Evia Lifestyle Center hosted together with my lovely Mothers Who Brunch friends, Mish and Sab.

This is what it really looks like when the three of us get together. Lots and lots of laugh-til-we-cry moments.

If, like me, you are not ready for Valentine’s, read on! If you just want to discover some awesome new places to eat with your boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, family or friends, read on, too!

 

There was only one item on my agenda for today, and that was the #inthemoodfoodcrawl, which my lovely @motherswhobrunch friends hosted with the wonderful people of @evialifestylecenter. My schedule is usually crazy or full or both, but when @mommanmanila and @sinfullysabrina say “Save the date!” I save the date. And it’s always worth it, each and every time. I’m completely stuffed from our eating tour of #evialifestylecenter (we went to 7 different places!!!). Can’t wait to take MrC and the ManChild there to try everything. And I’m in a really great mood from all the chatting and laughing. Plus, my sister who brunches (not yet a mother though) got to come, too! Thanks for having us, Mish and Sab! See you again soon. And Evia, I’ll be back! May mga babalikan pa ako sa My Mother’s Cupboard. Lol! 😚😚😚 #valentinesatevia #motherswhobrunch

A post shared by Patricia 🌸 At Home With MrsC (@mrspcuyugan) on

Bright and early on a Tuesday morning, I drove to Evia with my sister, Rocky, in tow. Her plan was just to check out the mall since she’d never been there before. Sab and Mish graciously invited her to join us, though, and of course she said yes. Who says no to brunch anyway? 

There were 7 stops mapped out for our food crawl. 7! That’s a lot of eating. And so, off we were, appetites ready, forks in hand, ready to feast with friends. 

Mm-hmm, I am always in the mood!

First stop: Tigerleaf 

Rocky and I with our friend, Helene

It’s not easy to find great Thai food in Manila. We only got to try two dishes from the Tigerleaf menu, but man oh man were they amazing. My sister and I had more than one serving of the Catfish Salad and Chicken Satay, each. We were both well aware that there were 6 more stops ahead, but the food was so good that we just couldn’t help ourselves!

I love that the Chicken Satay is served over hot coals. Keeps the skewers nice and warm.
Crunchy catfish. Tart green mangoes. Crisp lettuce. And an amazing sweet and salty fish sauce dressing. Oh the joy.

Second stop: Mama Lou’s Italian Kitchen

Second stop, and we’re already starting to get full!

I’m no stranger to Mama Lou’s. We’ve eaten at their BF Homes branch many times. I have to say, though, that I was still completely blown away by the spread they prepared for us during the food crawl. Theirs was an Italian antipasto buffet to die for.

Mama Lou’s serves AMAZING pizza!

I particularly loved the Spinach and Honey Goat Cheese with Truffle Pizza. Actually, there was nothing on that table that I didn’t like. If we didn’t have to move on to the next restaurant, I might have just stayed in Mama Lou’s all day. No kidding.

All I want for Valentine’s Day is this spread from Mama Lou’s

Third stop: Merlion’s Cuisine

I thought that was a carved carrot, but it’s actually made of salt!

I confess, Singaporean cuisine isn’t one of my faves. But I did enjoy the Meat Platters and Mango-Sago Pomelo dessert that we got to try at Merlion’s. 

This was really so refreshing

Fourth stop: Mesa

Mesa is love!

While it’s been around for years, I’ve never actually eaten at Mesa before. Now I know that I’ve been missing out. I cannot stop thinking about their Crispchon and the soft homemade malunggay crepe they wrap it in. Then there’s the super fresh shrimp cooked over hot rocks in a clay pot. And sarap! Their kamias shake is a must-try, too!  

You won’t believe how crispy the skin on this little piggy is
Oh my gosh, this needs rice

Fifth stop: Another Story

This salmon was perfectly flakey, and was so yummy paired with the creamy mashed potatoes

I’ve eaten at Another Story before, so I knew to expect good food. We had an Angus Prime Ribeye Steak and a Grilled Salmon, and I loved them both. This is definitely on my list of places to eat with the boys. And I definitely want to order the steak and salmon again. At the same time, maybe. Is that too much? Lol!

I would totally drive to Evia again just for this steak!

Sixth stop: Teppanya

The whole cooking process at Teppanya would be so much fun for kids to watch

I have never had A5 Wagyu before, and let me tell you, I was not prepared for how melt-in-your-mouth it was. So good! It’s the kind of meat that needs barely any seasoning. Or teeth. You can chew on it even if you don’t have teeth. I’m not kidding! The meat paired perfectly well with the giant Hokkaido Salt Crusted Oysters we were served as well. This stop in our food crawl was really such a treat!

Look at all that creamy fat!
Each oyster was literally a mouthful, and so, so delicious

Seventh stop: The Cheesecake Fairy

It was such a treat spending time with Mike and Millie that day!

If there’s one rule in life that I totally live by, it’s always make room for dessert. My blood sugar may not be my friend, but I threw caution to the wind and indulged in the different cheesecakes laid out for us at The Cheesecake Fairy. I expected to like the Oreo one best, but surprise, surprise, it was the Salted Caramel Cheesecake that won my heart. 

I absolutely love anything and everything cookies and cream

Bonus: My Mother’s Cupboard

Before we said our goodbyes, we made one last stop at My Mother’s Cupboard. Oh my goodness, this place is a housewife’s dream come true. (Tip: Guys, it’s a great place to shop for a Valentine’s Day gift for your wifey!)

This is just perfect for those of us who don’t usually go out on Valentine’s Day

In true Mothers Who Brunch fashion, Mish and Sab taught us how to make some magic in the kitchen, which was perfect for Valentine’s Day – A dessert board! I’m definitely excited to try making one at home (coz we all know how much I love sweets) as soon as my blood sugar cooperates. Hopefully, it will be in time for V-day!

Thank you, Mish and Sab, for having us! Rocky and I really had the best time. Til the next one!

 

*All photos without watermark courtesy of Mothers Who Brunch

Change Is Coming (To My Diet)

Guys, I’m turning 35 this month. 

I know, I know, I know, 35 is not old. But believe me when I tell you that there are days when I feel old. This morning, for instance. I woke up with really sore leg muscles from nonstop jumping with my goddaughter, Luna. Not to mention, my right knee has been clicking lately, my back achey, and my plantar fasciitis is back with a vengeance. Ugh.

We had so much fun jump, jump, jumping and play, play, playing with this little tabachingching yesterday!

When asked what I can do about my aches and clicks, our trusty family doctor had only one piece of advice: Lose some weight. Yes. Okay. Yes. Fine. 

No, I won’t be jumping on the Keto bandwagon or going Bulletproof anytime soon. I know myself well enough to understand that the only thing that will work for me is a sustainable and permanent lifestyle change involving more balanced meals, more whole foods, and a lot less snacking and fastfood.

The change has to be slow but steady. It has to be something I will actually enjoy learning about and doing, something I can do constantly without feeling kawawa, and something that does not involve elimination or deprivation. And it has to start from me, at home.

The first step was an assessment of my fridge and pantry. While I’ve successfully kept our canned and processed items at a minimum, I realized that we could use a little extra fresh produce. Of course, if I buy more that means I need to cook, serve, and eat more of these fruits and veggies. They don’t last forever, after all, and there’s nothing more frustrating than having to throw away forgotten food. I hate it when that happens, actually. It makes me feel like some sort of failure. OA, but true.

So, after assessing came meal planning, budgeting and shopping. Now, many people think that eating healthy is expensive, but it really isn’t, especially when you’re cooking most of your meals at home. I’ve been able to see that for myself. It’s just a matter of choosing ingredients wisely, making the most of what you have, and knowing where to go to buy what you need at great prices.

Most of the time, you will find me food shopping at the wet market or palengke. There are some things that I can’t bring myself to buy there, though, and some things that I just can’t find there. Lettuce, for example. I feel like you should always, always get organic lettuce. Same goes for veggies and fruits eaten raw and unpeeled. Chicken and eggs, too. Free-range is the way.

For organic ingredients, my (new and official) go-to place is Earth Origins Marketplace + Cafe in Westgate Alabang.

I first found out about Earth Origins at last November’s Mothers Who Brunch event. They generously provided the delicious veggies that were served during the event, plus more goodies for us to take home. After that, I found myself coming back several times to eat, and each time I was there I would browse through the shelves, chillers, and freezers of interesting produce and products.

I keep coming back for this Korean Style Fried Cauliflower at Earth Origins!

Eventually, I fell in love with the place. When I did, I knew it was the start of something new for me. The start of something good, dare I say. Change is coming to my diet, yes it is. Slowly but surely, it is.

This past week was officially the beginning. You can see by my Instagram posts that I’ve been trying very hard to serve and eat vegetables with every meal. For some extra encouragement, I picked up a couple of bags of fresh goodies from Earth Origins last Wednesday.

So far, here’s what I’ve been able to make with my haul: Three bright, colorful salads. A crisp and tangy cucumber side salad. And a really, really, super yummy baked chicken and chorizo lunch that the boys absolutely loved. Oh, and we’ve had organic bacon and bratwurst for breakfast, too, also from Earth Origins. Winning!

Proud of myself for whipping up this delicious and beautiful Saturday lunch!
Better-for-you bacon! Yassss!

I still have several fresh ingredients in my fridge that I will be cooking up in the next few days, plus a pack of chia seeds for my homemade granola. I’ve pretty much immersed myself into this – Researching, experimenting, cooking, and eating. It’s been fun (and yummy!) so far.

The boys are happy with what we’ve been eating, thank goodness. And I feel like we’re all feeling good after a week of eating more fresh, organic food. Hopefully my joints and legs also start feeling better soon. I think I’m extra motivated to keep going because I’m not just doing this for me. More importantly, I’m doing this for them, too. Food is my love language, after all, and this kind of food is loaded with oh so much love.

mrspcuyugan

Recipe: Tuscan Chicken Burgers [Gluten-Free!]

One day, I was sitting on my sofa, and I noticed just how many cookbooks I’ve accumulated over the years. Confession: I hardly ever use them for cooking. I browse through them every once in a while, but I usually search the internet when I need a recipe because that’s just easier to do.

Thing is, I went through something recently that helped convince me that less is really more. So I am slowly but surely, and as aggressively as I can be (given that I’m really a hoarder at heart,) purging. Yes, it’s true. And yes, I will really see this purge through until the end. (Really, MrC, really. I know you are super skeptical about this.)

 

New cookbooks, yay!!! Thank you, @tuttlepublishing, for making my day! #tuttlepublishing #cookbooks

A photo posted by MrsC | Patricia Cuyugan (@mrspcuyugan) on

So now my attention is focused on my cookbooks. Honestly, I don’t know which ones I should keep, and which can go. I don’t think that I’ll be able to decide until I actually try a few recipes from each of them, though, because that’s the only way that I can pick objectively. Right? It’s a slow process, but I really feel like I need to do it. 

And so, from now on I’ll be featuring a cookbook of the month right here on the blog. Along with the review, I plan on including a recipe from the book; One that I made at home and absolutely loved. If I don’t end up liking what I tried from the book, then obviously there’s no room for it in my blog or on my book shelf. Period.

This month’s cookbook is Paleo Italian Cooking by Cindy Barbieri, which was given to me by the lovely people over at Tuttle Publishing. I was excited about this cookbook from day one because I’ve been worried that going gluten-free would mean saying goodbye to Italian food. This cookbook brought hope to my kitchen and my tummy. And I’m super happy to share that it did not disappoint.

mrspcuyugan
Gluten-free Italian recipes? Yes, please!

 

I’ve read the entire book from cover to cover. Yes, all the forewords, introductions, ingredients, procedures, tips, footnotes, and photo captions. I love that the author shares little bits and pieces about her life all over the book, and how each recipe represents a memory, a loved one, the author’s home, and her personality. I kinda feel like I know her already.

The book is divided into helpful chapters, making it super easy to find the recipes that you want. There are chapters for sauces and condiments, brunch (which is awesome!), meat, seafood, pasta, and a lot more. Yes guys, there are pasta recipes in this paleo/gluten-free cookbook. Told you we have a winner here.

One of my favorite sections is the one about keeping your Italian kitchen paleo. It’s taken a lot of research, and a whole lot of stopping to read at grocery aisles for me to transform my pantry into a functioning gluten-free one. So the fact that this cookbook explains the basics of the paleo lifestyle, and what you need to have in order to cook for that diet, is a huge help to me.

mrspcuyugan
Tip: Always, always, always read a recipe from start to finish before you start cooking. Trust me.

 

And now, the most important part, the recipes. The ingredients and procedures in each recipe are clearly stated and easy to understand. The author shares personal tips in there, too, which for me is always a good thing. Plus, the photos look amazing, which of course is important when you’re talking about food. Everything is fresh, healthy, colorful, and super exciting.

I recently tried the recipe for Tuscan Turkey Burgers written in this book, only, I used chicken instead of turkey because ground turkey is hard to come by here. This dish was so good that MrC had it for dinner, then lunch the next day, and then lunch again the day after that. Mm-hmm. Husbandry-approved! The kiddo wasn’t too fond of it, though, most likely because of the spinach. But he ate it all up anyway. Thank goodness he isn’t a picky eater.

mrspcuyugan
Ta-da! Tuscan Chicken Burgers. Only three left on the plate coz we ate the other three already.

 

So, yes, Paleo Italian Cooking stays. I can’t wait to try the other recipes listed in this cookbook. And I’m also excited to start experimenting with the other cookbooks in my collection. Stay tuned, guys! 

 

Tuscan Chicken Burgers [Gluten-Free!]
Serves 6
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 500g Ground chicken
  2. 1 Egg
  3. 1 tsp Sea salt, divided
  4. 1 tsp Ground black pepper, divided
  5. 1 tbsp Olive oil
  6. 1/4 cup Red bell pepper, diced
  7. 1/4 cup Yellow onion, diced
  8. 5 cloves Garlic, minced
  9. 1 cup Fresh baby spinach, chopped
  10. 6 leaves Basil, chopped
  11. 1 tsp Fresh thyme
  12. 1/4 tsp Dried red pepper flakes
Instructions
  1. Place ground chicken in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and break the egg into it. Blend well with a spoon. Season with 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Place a skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil. Once hot, add the red bell pepper and onion. Season with remaining salt and pepper.
  3. Saute, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes. Add the garlic, spinach, basil, thyme and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute more, then remove from heat.
  4. Once the vegetables are cool, add them to the bowl of chicken.
  5. Use your hands to mix all ingredients well. Form the mixture into 6 burgers.
  6. Cook on a grill or pan over medium heat, about 6 minutes per side, flipping once, until cooked through.
Notes
  1. The fresh herbs really make a difference in this recipe, so if you have them use them. Otherwise, 1/2 teaspoon each of dried basil and thyme would work, too.
  2. The chicken mixture can be a bit sticky, so use wet hands when forming into patties.
  3. The original recipe says to divide the chicken mixture into 4 burgers, but I found them to be too big, which is why I split them into 6 instead.
  4. I served this with a super easy honey-mustard dipping sauce, which is just 1 part yellow mustard mixed with 1.5 parts good raw honey. Enjoy!
Adapted from Paleo Italian Cooking
Adapted from Paleo Italian Cooking
At Home With MrsC http://www.mrspcuyugan.com/

 

P.S. I’m writing this post in October, but setting the publish date to September 30 because I was supposed to write about this in September but my life has been insane. Just thought I’d come clean about that. Lol! 🙂