I’ve been asked a few times what worship music I would recommend. So I decided to create a Spotify playlist. It is a compilation of some of my favorite praise and worship songs from over the years. I will add songs to it as I continue to praise God for all he’s done in my life.
On days when I feel down, one of the things I do to remind myself of God’s promises is turn on Christian pop. If you were to drive up next to me at a stoplight or in school drive thru, you will most likely find me with my music blasting all the way up with my hands up praising. Don’t worry! I would never drive without having my hands on the steering wheel.
Worship music equalizes my thoughts and emotions especially during this uncertain season of sheltering in place. God has provided so much for me and my family that it isn’t hard for me to be grateful for his love, compassion, and daily mercies.
If you are in need of encouragement, I highly encourage my praise and worship playlist. If you have any suggestions to add to the list, please let me know!
We are a mixed food preferences family. Let me explain. While we have kids who are generally open to all foods – even vegetables – one of our kids is pescetarian. This was a very foreign concept for our family. We had never really experience anyone who had lived a particular food preference lifestyle so this was a hard transitions for me since I was in charge of all of the meal preparation.
Pescetarianism, or pesco-vegetarianism, means being vegetarian while still including seafood in your diet. One still cuts out red meat, pork, poultry, etc. from his or her diet like a vegetarian, but does not cut out fish and other seafood1.
Clean plate club
Yes, that means every night I basically make two dinners. In a Filipino household making multiple dishes is unheard of. Well in my nuclear family we really weren’t able to choose what times of dinners we had. Our dinners were generally focused on Filipino cuisine and nothing else. Which is absolutely not a negative statement because Filipino cuisine always makes me feel like I’m home no matter where I am.
When I was growing up, we had to finish our dinner even if it wasn’t something we absolutely enjoyed. So We had to clean our plates or else. My parents worked opposite shifts and my dad was with us most of the time for dinner. So he made sure we finished our dinner. If you know anything about Ilocano dads, you know he wasn’t messing around. So I cleared my plate almost every night.
One of the benefits of making seafood dishes is how quick the meals come together. I will be sharing our top two recipes we have in rotation. They can be on the table in about 30 minutes!
Chili Lime Tilapia
4 4oz tilapia fillets
2 limes or lemons, zested and juiced
1 small clam shell cherry tomatoes
salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
On a large sheet pan covered in foil, place the spinach all over. Drizzle with oil, season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle tomatoes over season spinach. Cover the entire pan tightly with foil.
Place fillets on top of spinach and tomatoes. Season the fillets with olive oil, chili powder, citrus zest, citrus juice, salt, and pepper.
Bake for 30 minutes or until fillets are fully cooked through. Serve with rice.
A sweet-salty miso, brown sugar, and soy sauce glaze caramelizes in about 10 minutes as it cooks atop rich, meaty salmon.
This recipe is adapted from a Cooking Light recipe.
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp hot water
1 tsp salt and pepper or to taste
2 tbsp miso (soybean paste)
4 6 oz salmon fillets
Combine first 5 ingredients, stirring with a whisk. Arrange fish in a shallow baking dish coated with cooking spray. Spoon miso mixture evenly over fish.
Broil 10 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork, basting twice with miso mixture.
Having a big family comes with its challenges. The biggest challenge for us was stretching a dollar especially when it came to food. So naturally to save money, I cooked all of our meals – seven days a week. Today the kids are older and can, generally, fend for themselves. Their normal go to’s are quesadillas, sandwiches, or whatever frozen items I have stocked in our freezer.
With the older girls more self sufficient, I am learning how to let go of cooking for them and allowing them to cook dinner more. Its probably the last “big chore” I do for them besides driving them all around the East Valley. My 15 year old, recently said she wants to learn how to make our favorite dinners. So I am happy to pass along recipes to my kids in hopes that it will bring the “back home” no mater where they are.
Cooking from the heart
Filipinos love to cook for their family, friends and guests. I believe its one of our main love languages. I have vivid memories of my mom, dad, grandpa, and relatives cooking up a storm when I was a child. Their eyes lit up the moment we took our first bite of our ulam – main dish. Today, I enjoy seeing my kids faces when they take their first bite of my food.
I am not the typical Filipino Mom who only cooks Filipino food. I actually cook a wide variety of dishes from Japanese to India to American. It was my way of giving my kids the ability to taste different ethnic foods without breaking our budget. Because of this creativity, our kids enjoy a wide variety of foods and I’m so proud of their ever growing love of different dishes.
Today, I will be sharing a tried and true recipe in our house. I typically make Tinola at least twice a month. Its easy, inexpensive, and a quick meal. This dish is an adaptation of my mom and mother in law’s versions. The main difference between the two was the vegetables. My mom added chayote only while my mother in law added spinach only. So to appease my husband and I’s expectations of the dish, I added both vegetables. The kids love to slurp up the sabaw, broth, and pour it generously over their rice.
I have found most of the ingredients for this dish at our local American supermarket. If you have a hard time looking for these items at your local supermarket, you best bet will be an Asian grocery store. As with all recipes, especially if Filipino food is new to you, make the entire recipe exactly as it and then adapt to your taste.
“Tinola is a soup-based dish served as an appetizer or main dish in the Philippines. Traditionally, this dish is cooked with chicken, wedges of green papaya, and chili pepper leaves, in broth flavored with ginger, onions and fish sauce. A common variant substitutes pork for chicken, chayote instead of papaya, or moringa leaves known as marungay or malunggay, instead of pepper leaves. It is best served with fresh chicken” (Wikipedia.com).
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 small onion
1-2 in piece of ginger, peeled and sliced in to large coins
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 chayotes, peeled, cored, and sliced
2 bundles spinach, washed thoroughly and stems removed
5 cups water
1 tsp chicken bouillon or 1 cube
3 tbsp fish sauce
salt and pepper to taste
Heat a large stockpot to medium heat with canola oil and saute onion, ginger, and garlic until onion is translucent. Put chicken pieces in pot and turn heat up to medium high. Saute chicken until the chicken turns light brown. Add the chicken base and water. Bring up to a boil and cover. Reduced heat to medium low and cook for 30 minutes. Add the chayote and cook for another 5 minutes or until chayote is fork tender. Add spinach and cook for another 5 minutes. Adjust seasoning (you won’t need to really add more salt because the fish sauce is plenty salty). Serve with rice and fish sauce.