Homemade sugar-free Almond Shortbread cookies


 

I am an amateur when it comes to baking but I always want to try new things.  Today, my eldest daughter home and is still on spring break.  I thought it would be fun to make cookies with her so we can spend time together in my kitchen while creating fun time memories teaching her how to bake this very easy sugar-free recipe I learned from looking up different recipes online.  Here’s how I made my own version:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups sifted All-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup Splenda (for baking)
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 2 sticks of unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup raw whole Almonds
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla extract

First, sift the flour and salt into a bowl.  Then, using a coffee grinder (I use mine to grind rice for porridge for my baby) on percolator settings, grind the toasted almonds.  In a big mixing bowl, start creaming the butter, sugar substitute and vanilla until creamy and fluffy.

Slowly add the sifted dry ingredients into the creamed butter mixture.  Towards the end, add the ground almonds.  The dough will be  ready after everything is mixed well.  Wrap the dough in a plastic wrap and chill in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.

When dough is firm, roll it out about 1/4 inches thick onto a floured surface.  You may create any shape that you like using a cookie cutter.  Half of my dough, I made round drops of cookies then we put some sugar-free jam into the center of the cookie.  My daughter made her own cookie shapes (hearts, stars and weird shapes I can’t even explain).

Before baking, place the shaped cookie dough in the freezer for another 5 minutes to make sure it retains its shape while baking.

Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes or until light brown.  Mine took about 18-20 minutes because I used a Silpat mat on my cookie sheet.  You may use parchment paper to line your cookie sheet as well.

Cool in wire rack.

TOASTING RAW ALMONDS:  Place the raw nuts on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes under 350 degrees fahrenheit.

It’s crumbly and creamy and not too sweet.  We love it!

Massaman Tofu Curry with eggplants and mushroom (แกงมัสมั่น)

Enjoying the rich flavor of curry is like diving into the enticing food culture of the East. The depth of flavor, the goodness of the combination of different spices and the bright color is simply appetizing.

I used to not like curry at all.  I didn’t like the boring flavor I get from the kind I ate when I was young because I only knew one kind of curry then and it wasn’t the kind of curry I now know of.  I’ve tasted chicken curry of many sorts but by the looks of it, it was as simple as adding instant curry powder to cut-up chicken, mixing coconut milk, potatoes, carrots and a few other variety of extenders.

This recipe I am sharing was inspired by my brother who loves to create his own vegan cuisine in his healthy kitchen.  He always gives me ideas on how to cook vegetarian dishes.  This version is a twist of my own taste and choice of ingredients.

I hope you like it!

Ingredients:

  • Block of firm organic tofu, cut into 1″ cubes
  • 270 ml. of Light coconut cream
  • 3 pcs. Indian eggplant, washed and sliced in chunks
  • 2 tbsp. Massaman curry paste
  • 1 Zucchini, washed and sliced half-moon
  • 1 can Black beans, washed and drained
  • 1 Shallots
  • 1 bunch Spinach with stems, washed and drained
  • 1 cup Mushrooms, sliced in half
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

In a shallow pan, heat olive oil on medium high then sauté the curry paste and shallots.  Add the tofu, mushrooms and zucchini and continue cooking for a minute or two.  Stir in the coconut cream then add 1/2 cup to 1 cup of water (depending on consistency desired).  Cover the pan and cook until the veggies are almost cooked.  Add the eggplants, spinach and beans then season with salt and pepper.  Close the lid and let everything cook according to how you want it done.

 

Basa Fish Fillet cooked in Lemon sauce

Something smells fishy and savory…

I love fish.  Don’t you?

Instead of eating red meat or poultry, I’d rather eat seafood.  I enjoy the light flavor and the variety of dishes I can make out of the many kind of seafood in the market.

I grew up eating fish because my Dad loves to eat fish.  Growing up, I remember going to the “Palengke” or wet market.  Fresh caught fish, shellfish, octopus, crustaceans and even sea cucumbers and sea urchins can be bought.  It’s simply a delight learning easy fish recipes but what makes me extra happy about this particular recipe is that my family gave me a high score on this 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 3 pcs. Basa fish fillet
  • 3 tbsp. Capers, washed and drained
  • 1 Lemon
  • Ginger, julienned
  • Shallots. thinly sliced
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Cut the Basa fish fillet into bite sizes.  Cut the lemon in half.  Juice half of the lemon while slicing the other half into very thin round slices.

Into a non-stick pan, heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil.  Saute the ginger and shallots until fragrant.  Add the fish, some salt and pepper, the capers and the sliced lemon.  Cook for 2-3 minutes on medium high heat.  Add in the lemon juice and drizzle with some more olive oil.  Cover the pan and cook for another minute.

Very easy!!!!

Make a Bento Box

I am crazy for Bento and my dream is to become a  Bento Chef 🙂  Is there such a person? 

To prepare a bento box,  first of all, even before you start being creative, you need to have the money to buy all these tiny things to make your bento look really cute.  I love purchasing small bento accessories.  I buy only the best ones I like and keep them for future use.  These accessories are quite pricey considering that most of them are disposable so if you are practical, try to reuse these super cute bento accessories.  I am into knick knacks when it comes to cooking and I adore the colorful creations seen at Japanese Bento books.  When I see the photos of wonderfully made bento boxes, I always wish I could make that too.

Here, I created a simple bento box for lunch.  What’s included?

  1. Pan Fried Alaskan Salmon fillet
  2. Brown rice with pre-cut sea weed topping
  3. Seasoned blanched Broccoli
  4. Seasoned Spinach
  5. Fresh-cut Nectarines

Here’s how I made it:

For the Salmon, I just seasoned the salmon with salt and pepper then pan-fried with Olive Oil, about 5-8 minutes per side on Medium high until the skin is crispy.

For the Broccoli, boil water into a tiny pot or saucepan and season with salt.  Blanch the broccoli for a minute then drain and quickly rinse under cold water.  Using the same saucepan, brown some garlic on olive oil then add the blanched broccoli.  Season with a mixture of light soy sauce, a dash of sugar and some cooking sake.

For the Spinach, boil water into a tiny pot and season with salt.  Blanch 1 bunch of spinach then wash in cold water, drain and squeeze off the excess liquid.  Randomly chop to create bite sizes of the spinach.   Season with minced fresh garlic, light soy sauce, dash of sugar, tiny drop of sesame oil and a few pinches of sesame seed.

For the Brown Rice, cook it accordingly.  You can use left-over rice that you have in your fridge.   I just used my sushi mold to shape the rice like so (see photo) then topped it with a pre-cut seasoned laver (sea weed). 

For the Nectarine, cut into bite sizes and add into the bento.

I try my best to keep my seasoning at its minimum to make sure my cooking will taste as natural as it is. 

If you have some quick bento recipes to share, please do share to me 🙂

Stuffed Squid

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more about “Stuffed Squid “, posted with vodpod
STUFFED SQUID IS ONE OF MY HUSBAND’S FAVORITE DISH.  WE USED TO EAT THIS AT A SMALL OUTDOOR CHINESE RESTAURANT IN AN AREA AT QUEZON CITY, MANILA ALSO KNOWN AS DELTA.  FUNNY I JUST ASKED MY HUSBAND NOW AND HE STILL REMEMBERS THE NAME OF THAT PLACE, “ONGPIN’S DELIGHT.”  I WONDER IF IT’S STILL IN BUSINESS TO DATE.
WE USED TO EAT THERE DURING OUR LUNCH BREAK FROM OUR WORK AT WEST AVENUE.  THIS WAS AT MY FIRST JOB AFTER GRADUATING FROM COLLEGE, AND THE PLACE WHERE MY HUSBAND AND I FIRST MET 🙂  ANYWAY, THIS IS MY VERSION OF THE STUFFED SQUID:
INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 MEDIUM TO LARGE SIZE SQUID (DEPENDING ON HOW BIG YOU WANT IT)
  • BUNCH OF GREEN ONIONS
  • FLOUR
  • EGG
  • COLD WATER
CLEAN THE SQUID.  REMOVE EVERYTHING INSIDE.  FOLD THE GREEN ONIONS IN HALF AND PUSH THEM INTO
THE SQUID.  MAKE A TEMPURA BATTER WITH FLOUR, ONE EGG AND COLD WATER.  DO NOT OVER MIX THE BATTER.
DIP THE ENTIRE STUFFED SQUID AND FRY IN OLIVE OIL ON MEDIUM HEAT.  MAKE SURE ALL SIDES ARE WELL DONE
BEFORE SERVING.  SLICE THE COOKED SQUID AND TOP WITH YOUR FAVORITE SAUCE.  NOTE THAT I DO NOT PUT ANY SALT BECAUSE I ALREADY PUT SOY SAUCE INTO MY CLASSIC BROWN SAUCE COOKED WITH CRISPY FRIED GARLIC, WATER, SOY SAUCE, SALT AND PEPPER, SPLENDA (OR SUGAR) AND CORNSTARCH WITH WATER TO THICKEN THE SAUCE.
THIS RECIPE IS VERY EASY TO MAKE AND REFRESHING TO EAT.

Doyd’s Spicy Mackerel Stew

 

2 Medium size fresh Mackerel (cleaned and cut into 2-3 inch pieces, remove head)

1 Medium size Korean Radish cut into 2×1 inch cubes

1 whole medium Onion

3 stalks of Green Onion

2 Korean Hot Pepper

7-10 Dried Anchovies

2-3 cups of water (depending on how much sauce you want)

For the Spicy Sauce, mix the following into a bowl:

2 Tablespoons of  Red Pepper Paste

2 Tablespoons of Light soy sauce

2 Tablespoons of  Cooking Wine (I use Japanese cooking wine)

1 Tablespoon Red Pepper Powder (same one used to make kimchi)

2 Teaspoons of Sugar

5-7 cloves of minced Garlic

1/2 Teaspoon minced Ginger

In a ceramic pot, let the water boil with the dried anchovies and wait 5 minutes then remove the anchovies.  While the stock is boiling, add the radish.  On top of the radish, arrange the mackerel pieces.

Pour the sauce on top of the mackerel.  DO NOT MIX.  Let it boil until the soup is reduced.   Occasionally pour the stew’s broth over the fish and radish.

Add the onion, green onions and korean chili on top of the stew.  Continue to pour the broth of the stew on top of everything until the mackerel is well-cooked and the flavor has sipped into all the vegetables.

My husband and I love this dish a lot.  I do not cook mackerel before but now, I do.  I learned this recipe from a restaurant where I first tasted this stew.

Hope you all enjoy cooking your own version.  It’s really easy 🙂

Tasty, yummy and rich Spicy Mackerel Stew.

my pot

On this blog, I will share a  wide variety of recipes of my own version.  I remember, started helping in the kitchen at the age of about 8, probably even younger, I just don’t remember exactly.  My mom let us help by slicing green beans and potatoes using a butter knife just to get the hang of being in the kitchen.  It was indirectly know that my kitchen skills were upgraded when I was allowed to hold a kitchen peeler and started working on peeling turnips for our mid-afternoon snack after playing with friends in our old childhood apartment in Loyola Heights, Katipunan.  Oh, I also do remember that when I am able to chop onions back then, that means I am truly a big kid and I am in control of what I’m doing 🙂  I still remember that feeling.  I was really excited about being able to help out in the kitchen.

Growing up with both parents working, my siblings and I learned specific chores at home.  We were given specific responsibilities and these became our training ground.  My home, my parents and my childhood was definitely my foundation and it helped me learn to love what I have and appreciate the small things I own.

Is blogging for me too?

Finally, a blog site where I  can hopefully religiously share my posts about me and my world.  It took months for me to decide where to finally create an account and I have chosen wordpress in the end.  Why?  I don’t know, maybe because of the color scheme and the simplicity of the themes I see online.

I’m really excited about this!  I actually don’t know where to start but I guess by writing this, I have already started my first post.

There’s a lot going on in my mind.  I want to say this, I want to say that, do I have to mention this, should I mention that! Ha ha!  Let me pause for a few moments…. To my reader/s (or just myself if I will be the only one reading this), thank you for spending time to visit my blog site.

Mostly, I will be talking about my passion on cooking and amateur photography.  I am excited to upload my photos not to show off but to see it organized online and ready for sharing firstly to my family and friends, then to the world.

Well, let’s start this!