Pineapple Glazed Ham

For Christmas Eve 2016, I attempted to make my first ever Filipino Style pineapple glazed ham.  I found a good small portion ham in Costco, probably about 2 pounds and I bought it for only $10.  I scoured the internet for classic Filipino style recipes and found

I liked her recipe so I followed her step by step instructions on how to marinade my pre-cooked ham in pineapple juice, sprite, beer and some bay leaf.  After simmering for 30 minutes, I let the ham soak into the marinade overnight.  The next day, I removed the ham and cooked the leftover marinade to reduce for glazing.  I added sugar, some salt and a tablespoon of butter. When it was all reduced to about one cup, I prepped my ham by rubbing it with brown sugar then I brushed some of the glaze, I arranged some pineapple slices on the the ham using cloves to put them in place and baked the ham for 30 minutes in a 350 deg. Fahrenheit pre-heated oven. 

It turned out so good that my family and some after Christmas visitors really liked it.  Perfect with the Filipino quezo de bola and some hot pandesal.  

For New Year’s Eve, I made another one but this time I did not put pineapple slices on the ham. After cooking, I sliced the ham thinly and put it in the refrigerator.  My family enjoyed preparing their ham sandwiches using my homemade pineapple glazed ham slices.

This is not just a Holiday ham.  This recipe can be enjoyed anytime of the year, for any occasion even for daily school lunch box for the children.


Dog-friendly San Luis Obispo

I didn’t want to be lazy and wanted to start my year right that’s why I am posting my first blog post for the year.

Because we didn’t have international travel plans for the Christmas Holidays of 2016, we thought it would be fun to have a spontaneous trip out of town with our adopted dog, Lily.  We adopted Lily from Irvine Animal Shelter back in April 29, 2016.  Since then, she has changed our family 360 degrees.

It’s about a 4-5 hour drive from our home to San Luis Obispo.  I researched online and found out that SLO is truly a pet-friendly tourist destination.  This is our second time in SLO, Morro Bay was our first destination back in Spring Break of 2015.

This was Lily’s first family vacation.  As a 3rd -chance adopted dog, I think Lily is one lucky pet.

Old Porte Beach, Leash-free Dog Beach
Lily met some new friends at Avila Valley Barn

Lily at Laguna Lake Park, SLO

Lily watching her first sunset at Eldwayen Ocean Park

Lily and her Alpha
Stations of the Cross at Mission of Santa Barbara
Lily at the Old Mission of Santa Barbara

Phở Gà (Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup) using my homegrown Bean Sprouts

The best part of growing your own sprouts is the day you harvest.  There are a number of family favorite recipes where I can use my bean sprout harvest but I decided to make hubby’s favorite comfort soup, Chicken Phở.

HarvestsBean Sprouts

Since we used our own harvested bean sprouts (grown in my Le Creuset Stock pot) and fresh basil from my garden, our children craved and dug into the pile of their choice toppings to fill their chicken noodle soup bowls.  Phở is one of the most vibrant, comforting and delicate flavors I’ve ever tasted.  I got hooked with this soup because of the many fresh ingredients mixed all together.  I learned my recipe from reading Vietnamese cook books, asking around Vietnamese friends and following Helen and learning her easy Phở recipe online.  Here it is:

Pho Ga


Wash a whole chicken (I only use organic chicken when making soup) very well.  Rub it with salt to remove the smell then rinse completely.  Add chicken into a big pot and fill it with water until water is covering chicken itself.  Add 1 tbsp. of salt and 1 medium whole peeled onion.  Bring to boil and carefully and consistently skim off the foam.  When all the foam are gone, continue simmering until chicken is tender, around 30-45 minutes depending on the size of your chicken.

I purchase a Phở packet from our local Vietnamese market and I added it to the stock 10 minutes before the soup is done.  This gives the soup the authentic Phở aroma.

When chicken is cooked, remove from stock, wash and cool down.  Slice the chicken meat depending on the size you like or shred it into chunks.

On a large serving bowl,  place a handful of blanched Vietnamese Phở Noodles (I buy the “802 Brand Rice Sticks at 99 Ranch Market).  Top with chicken, sliced lime leaves, chopped green onions, thinly sliced onions (soaked in cold water), basil and bean sprouts.  Serve the hot stock onto the bowl then serve the Phở with these optional ingredients:  cilantro leaves, fish sauce, hoisin sauce, and/or chili sauce.


Oat Bran Flax Banana Nut Muffin

I first learned a similar recipe from my sister-in-law whom I consider to be the “best” when it comes to making creme brûlée.  I’ve made her version many times for years but after a while, I tried to change the ingredients according to what I have in my pantry, who will eat the muffins, what fruits are in season or simply depending on my mood.  Here’s one of my favorite that’s really easy to make:


  • 2 cups Oat Bran
  • 1/4 cup Flaxseed Meal
  • 1 Tbsp Baking powder
  • 1/4 cup Raw sugar (or less if using sweetened dried fruits)
  • 2 Egg whites or 1/2 cup egg substitute
  • 1/4 cup Raw slivered almonds
  • 2 Ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
  • 1 1/4 cup Soy milk, unsweetened
  • 2 Tbsp. Olive oil
  • Baking milk chocolate chips (optional)
  • Olive oil spray

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Start by putting in the dry ingredients into a large bowl.  That would be the Oat bran, flaxseed meal, sugar, baking powder and nuts.  Add the egg whites, olive oil, soy milk and bananas.  Mix together.

Spray your 12-piece muffin pan with olive oil spray then evenly distribute the muffin batter.  Top each muffin with raw almonds.  I put a few baking chocolate chips for my daughter’s muffin so she will enjoy this healthful muffin with a treat of sweetness from the chocolate chips.  Bake for 12 minutes.  Let is cool for a few minutes before removing each muffin from the pan.  Enjoy a minimum of 2 pieces per person for breakfast 🙂

This muffin is so easy to make, one can change the kind of nuts depending on what you like to use.  I also use other fresh fruits such as blueberries, strawberries, dates, and figs.  I also use dried or frozen fruits depending really on what I have in my kitchen.  In addition, if I am in the mood for a guilt-free muffin, I even use sugar substitute (i.e., Stevia or Splenda).  Create endless versions.  The important ingredient is to use oat bran.

Share your recipes, versions and photos to me…  Feel free to leave me a note!

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