A Filipino Foodie goes to A Filipino Party!

Hello friends! I hope you’ve all had a wonderful weekend doing something fun and delicious. This past weekend I had the pleasure of coming back to my hometown of Fort Payne, Alabama to celebrate my aunt’s 70th birthday. Many friends and family including my mom and dad worked hard to create a special surprise event for a landmark occasion. Though I only live two hours away from my family, I’ve found that I don’t get to visit as often as I’d like so having an opportunity to see so many friends and family PLUS chow down on some Filipino favorites was incredibly exciting. The color theme for this party was white and khaki:women in all white, men in khaki and white…we had a black and white party a year ago for my other aunt during her 50th birthday (our family LOVES birthdays!). My mom had been working diligently to create the perfect centerpieces and overall decor for the party. Below is one of her creations using coffee filters, painted branches, and a revamped vase. What do you think?


My aunt was definitely surprised upon entering the house full of old friends and family!

photo by Jesar Quizon photography

photo by Jesar Quizon PhotographyWe thought an “07” would look much cuter on the cake than “70” 🙂

On top of the excitement of my husband and I getting to see so many of our Filipino friends and relatives, we got to enjoy some of my favorite childhood dishes. Between an hors d’oeuvres table, a dessert table, and a buffet of various Filipino delicacies, we had quite the spread. My photographer cousin Jesar Quizon took some gorgeous pictures of our food selection…check it out!

Photo by Jesar Quizon PhotographyAh fruit!

10538064_10152678281337927_8790287291428846717_oA creamy Alfredo pasta with sun-dried tomatoes and roasted chicken

10838259_10152678279522927_3551597531357317356_oMy cousin Happy made these puto flan cakes…OH MY LANTA…delicious.

10854465_10152678278422927_5509912970962003008_oMy talented Aunt Gayle who also made my delicious wedding cake created these delectable caramel maracons.


10955015_10152678280942927_2214983393392635779_oGorgeous butter lettuce leaves for lettuce wraps with the ground chicken and mushrooms seen below.


11008813_10152678280757927_8524095545649533705_oIt’s not a party without fried rice!

11016793_10152678279087927_1957488489216933595_oMy Aunt Gayle’s famous carrot cake


11033069_10152678277932927_4336291857299983686_oMy cousin Ashley made some incredibly tasty white chocolate bars (worth every calorie!)


11038109_10152678280042927_4715430861833728115_oOne of my favorite Filipino dishes…ASADO!!

11038696_10152678280327927_4586791690413506870_oBaby cucumbers in a rice wine vinegar and sesame seed mix.

11041925_10152678278922927_6127576121760501219_oUbe cake!





10955015_10152678280457927_784410524930748753_oAnd last but not least…pancit: the pinnacle and definition of all Filipino get together foods.

 As you can see, we’re all about food in my family. It’s actually inspired me to make some pancit and asado here in Tuscaloosa soon (future post ALERT!).  However, no Filipino party is complete without some singing and line dancing!

11016130_10152678299047927_2539784957184882014_oMy dad rocking out!

11063809_10203278859885969_72576554953388386_oA little cha-cha slide

Until next time!


Me and my hubby with my mom, dad, and little brother

Quick and Yummy Jasmine Rice Pilaf

Today I’m going to share a simple recipe for a deliciously fragrant jasmine rice pilaf you can easily make in your rice cooker. Earlier this week the hubs and I wanted a starchy side to go along with some leftover smoked chicken and veggies we had in the fridge. We always have jasmine rice on hand and luckily I had some other things in the pantry and fridge from some previous recipes this month that helped pull things together. My recipe for this rice pilaf is similar to others I’ve seen before, but for the sake of what was in my fridge at the time, I put my own little spin to some traditional recipes I’ve seen before.


Jasmine Rice Pilaf

1 1/2 cups jasmine rice

2 cups chicken stock (chicken broth will also work)

1/4 cup slivered almonds

1 bay leaf

1 cup sliced mushrooms

1 small shallot chopped (can also use regular onion)

2 teaspoons olive oil or margarine

3 teaspoons minced garlic cloves

In a small to medium frying pan, saute chopped garlic and shallot in olive oil for about 5 minutes over medium heat. In your rice cooker, combine the rice, chicken stock, almonds, bay leaf, mushrooms, and garlic/shallot mixture. Cover and hit the “cook” button 🙂 Your rice should be done in about 20-30 minutes 🙂

I don’t know about you, but I’m all about simple, especially when I can utilize things I’ve already got in the pantry. One modification you can also do is making this recipe with a portion of brown rice to add fiber. I absolutely love jasmine rice vs the traditional long-grain white rice because of it’s fragrant qualities — very nostalgic for me as a child. White rice usually gets a bad rap as a starchy carbohydrate but this is typically due to eating it in large amounts or adding copious amounts of sugar, salt, and fat before and after cooking. Using the natural flavor profile of garlic and onions and adding heart healthy fats from the olive oil and almonds can bring your typical side of rice to an all new level 🙂


Don’t be alarmed to see some of your mixture’s components collect to the top of the rice.


Give that rice a nice mixing so that each serving gets a good mix of the mushrooms and other ingredients.

20130424_193615Bon Appetit!



Calamansi at my parents’ house. I added the orange beside it so you could see the size difference! I put them in a little sake cup so you could see how tiny they are 🙂

Today I would love to share with you guys information on the wonderful Calamansi fruit native to the Philippines. As you can see from the picture, a calamansi ( citrofortunella microcarpa, also known as a calamondin depending on the Filipino dialect ) is a much tinier looking orange— even smaller than those cutie clementines or mandarin orange. However, depending on when the fruit is harvested from the tree, it is very common to see the calamansi in a rich green color as well.

In terms of cooking uses, calamansi is often used by Filipinos as a common condiment for pancit, a traditional Filipino rice noodle dish. Calamansi juice mixed with soy sauce is also a very common dipping sauce and marinade used for a variety of Filipino dishes. Despite its similar look to the traditional orange, calamansi fruit actually has a sour taste but the peel is sweet.

In terms of nutrition, calamansi is a vitamin C rich food but because of their fairly small size, it would take approximately 34 calamansi fruit to meet your daily intake of vitamin C!

In addition to the culinary use of the calamansi fruit and juice, many Filipinos use the calamansi for medicinal uses including scalp itch, insect bites, acne, and the common cold/cough. And if that wasn’t enough, calamansi juice has also been used to bleach ink stains from fabric! I don’t know about you guys, but this definitely makes me want to include a few recipes so that you can try this fruit for yourself!

Below is a simple but flavorful recipe from Jun-blog: stories from my filipino kitchen

Grilled Tilapia with Calamansi and Fish Sauce

whole tilapia or pompano, gutted, scaled and cleaned
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
canola oil
calamansi or limes
fish sauce

Lightly coat the whole fish with olive oil to help prevent it from sticking to the grill. Generously rub and season the fish with sea salt and black pepper.

Gently lay the fish on a clean, hot, well-oiled grill. Grill until the fish is cooked through, around 5 to 8 minutes. Using a large spatula, flip the fish to grill the other side until the its is cooked through, another 5 to 8 minutes.

Squeeze calamansi on the grilled fish and serve hot with steamed rice, fish sauce and slicedcalamansi.

*** If you’re wanting something a little more on the sweet side, trying this delicious recipe from Yummy:

Calamansi Cupcake

If you prefer a tangier citrus flavor, replace the milk in the icing recipe with calamansi or lemon juice.

Makes 12 cupcakes  Prep Time 15 minutes  Baking Time 18 to 20 minutes

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup calamansi juice
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
candy sprinkles for topping

For the buttercream icing
100 grams unsalted butter, softened and cubed
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

1  Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line muffin tins with paper cups.

  Cream butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla, then calamansi juice.

  In a separate bowl, combine flour with the baking powder. Mix well.

  On low speed, gradually add the flour to the butter mixture a little at a time and mix until well combined.

  Scoop batter into paper cups and bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove cupcakes from the muffin molds and allow to cool before icing.

  Make the icing: Cream the butter for about two minutes in the bowl of an electric mixer on high with the paddle attachment. Add milk, vanilla extract, and half of the sifted confectioners’ sugar. Beat on low and gradually increase speed to mediumhigh. Beat until mixture is light and fluffy. Add the remaining confectioners’ sugar and beat for another 3 to 5 minutes. The mixture should have a spreadable consistency. (Add extra milk if mixture is too dry, add extra confectioner’s sugar if mixture is too wet.) If you wish to color your icing and/or flavor it, add the color a drop at a time, same goes for the flavoring.

7  Top each cooled calamansi cupcake with a dollop of icing and top with candy sprinkles. Serve.