No-Cream Classic Carbonara

After looking for some healthy recipes online, I found out that the classic and original Carbonara from Italy doesn’t have cream in it.

That’s right! Our favorite “white sauce” that has been wearing that high calorie and fattening cream is actually so simple, healthy (with some substitutions), and fast to make. I tried it today and trust me, you’ll never look at Carbonara the same way again. Let me show you how to.

First here are the ingredients. Note that I’m just cooking for myself. From top left:

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1 pack Bacon Crumble (Brand is Purefoods. For a healthier version, you can use Chicken Ham)

2 pcs Brown Eggs (I buy eggs that says “cage free”. I just feel like its better)

2 tablespoons Olive Oil (I use Filippo Berrio)

250 g Spaghettini or Spaghetti

2 cloves of Garlic

1 small block of Cheese (You can use Parmesan if you like)

Salt and crushed Pepper to taste

HOW:

1. Beat the eggs and mix it with the grated cheese. Set aside.

2. Cook pasta till al dente. Around 6-7 minutes. Once you put the pasta in the boiling water…

3. In a hot pan, brown the bacon and add in the garlic. This will smell so good!

4. When the pasta cooks, remove the pan (with the bacon and garlic) from the heat. Put the pasta in it.

5. Pour the egg and cheese mixture on to the hot pasta. The heat from the pasta will cook the eggs fast so to prevent it from curdling and not make an “omelette pasta”, mix it really fast until it becomes creamy.

6. Put in a serving plate, top with olive oil, salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.

And whoalla! You’ve got yourself a fast and easy Carbonara.

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You’re welcome! 😄

5 Ways To Appreciate Your Current Job

The best way to appreciate your job is to imagine yourself without one.

Yesterday, we had a meeting with our Big Boss regarding the employees’ satisfaction with our company and although the scores given were way better that last year’s, it still amazes me that there were a number of people not satisfied with what we have here. I mean, I can’t blame them if they feel that way but it got me thinking; is it the company, or is it them?

For me, no matter how good things are in other parts of your life such as family, social life, and relationships, our job is a major part and is as important. The job that you have right now might not be your dream job, but this is the job that we chose and it is just right to take care of it, appreciate it, and make the most out of it. Appreciation is probably the best way to deal with dissatisfaction and there are a number of things you can do to begin loving the job that you currently do.

Thousands applied, you were chosen.

I always take a look back at the time when I was at the receiving area waiting for my final interview. It was probably one of the most memorable moments of my career life, waiting. But sometimes, I also try to imagine the number of people who were rejected for the same position I was applying for. It must be so sad to walk away from the building with nothing and some of them might still not have jobs until today. That alone is something we should think about it.

Your lifestyle now might not be the same if not for it.

Well, I’m living quite comfortable because of my current job. I can buy a shirt or two from time to time, eat out during my weekends off, I can buy a frappuccino at Starbucks, and can travel the Philippines during holidays. Well all do right? Our jobs provided us with all of these things and I’m sure that if we quit our jobs, our lives would look very different.

The friends and relationships you gained.

Before, I have this mind set of “I’m not here to make friends. I’m here to just work.” which in the long run changed my perspective in creating relationships in the office. I found a number of good friends in my current workplace and they are very dear to me. Also, I maintained a strong professional relationship with my office mates and now, I feel confident that when I need help I can always have someone to ask. Besides, at the end of the day, we all need to work together. Just imagine how hard it is to start over and build new relationships again in a new company.

Safe work environment

I’m so thankful that my current company takes safety very seriously. It was annoying at first but when you think about it, it helps you inject that safety mindset in your own life or your own household. We should always feel lucky to have been working in a safe office building. Someone cleans our desks for us, guards our premises 24/7, and we even have our own taxi bay carefully inspected before we even hop in! You just have to realize that some people work in the most dangerous environment and you should feel so lucky.

It’s not your job, it’s you.

Finally, as what my boss said, “it all boils down to the person’s character”. Sometimes, we need to ask ourselves: “Is it the job, or is it me?” We need to figure out what we can’t change and just deal with it. On the other hand, we should start looking at the things that we can control, change it and learn from it. Looking at your current job in a different perspective really helps. It not only helps you appreciate your job, but it also develops your character and your sense of maturity.  

It is very easy to hate your job. However, as soon as you realize the things that it gives you, the people that you have around you, and the way it makes you feel how lucky you are, you start to think differently.

5-Day Office Lunch Idea (For Night Shifters)

Dieting doesn’t really mean that we have to eat less. We just have to eat better.

“Saan tayo mag-lu-lunch?” is probably the hardest question to answer especially for people working on the night shift. Simply because in this wee hours of the day, we don’t have much choice but to go “fast food”. Yeah, that juicy and big cheesy burger paired with that crunchy french fries and to top it all off, an upsize cup of your favorite soda. Its the same old thing every single day.

I am no dietician and I haven’t reached my ideal weight (or body) yet, but I can say that I’m on my way there. When I got back from the US last March, I almost hit 190lbs which is considered obese for my 5’10 height. Then I started reading articles and books about losing weight. Then I realized, losing weight is not about depriving myself not to eat, its about eating clean and right. (More on my way to losing weight soon. When I feel confident that I can share it already. Haha!)

So going back to our dilemma of not having that much choice when it comes to lunch during night shift, I figured that the only way that I can eat healthy and clean is… BAON. Yes, in tupperwares or microwave safe containers. With this, I have full control of what comes inside my body and will not lose track. Then I thought of this idea of having the same meal all week. Something that I can prepare over the weekend, pop in the freezer and re-heat in the office. With this in mind, I planned the “Meal of the Week”.

20130905-091308.jpgI started off with desserts. At the end of every meal, its normal that we feel like we need something sweet (or is it just me?). No cakes or cupcakes here, we’re talking about fruits. I found these pre-cut fruits at the grocery store and they were very cheap. Cut watermelon was like P25.00, pineapples I got for P20.00, and grapes for P100.00. To pack these babies I used a zip lock sandwich bag and put one of each inside. Desserts done! You can eat this in between meals to as a snack. Calories: If my calorie counter is correct, is about 59 calories per bag.

20130905-091414.jpgFor my source of carbs, I sliced my favorite veggies. Broccoli, baguio beans, carrots, and young corn. I added canned whole mushrooms for some earthiness.

20130905-091427.jpgSprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper and a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Put in a pan and roast them in a 350C oven for 15-20 minutes. Quick because you will reheat it in the office.

20130905-091617.jpgFor my protein source, I chose skinless chicken breasts. Rub the fillets with salt, pepper, rosemary, tarragon and olive oil and place on a baking dish.

20130905-091628.jpgBake them in the oven with the veggies for the same time.

Time to assemble! I got these very sturdy microwave and freezer safe containers (they’re about P200.00 for 5pcs.). Fill half of the container with the roasted veggies, half with the chicken, and put the fruit bag on top.

20130905-091839.jpgRepeat five times to make Monday to Friday. Put the lid on and pop in the freezer. That’s it! During lunch, re-heat in the microwave for 30 seconds and whoalla, a healthy, fulfilling meal without the guilt.

20130905-092013.jpgNow some of you might get sick of the idea of eating the same thing everyday but come to think of it, its just the same as eating fast food everyday. So why not go for the one that will do good to your body? 🙂

I’m currently looking for other recipes I can make as office baon. Will share it you soon. Happy eating!

All About Cronuts

I jumped on the bandwagon. Who will not? Besides, its all about sweets!

Cronuts, as described by many as the hybrid of a croissant and a doughnut, took the pastry world by storm and spread like a virus after it was first released last May 2013. It was said to be invented in New York City by Dominique Ansel and people were falling in long queues for this unique pastry. Surprisingly, Manila was able to catch up with the craze so fast that versions of the pastry popped up like mushrooms.

Reports say that there were already about 12 bakeries here in Manila who made their own versions of the Crounts and as of the moment, I only tried two of them.

Wildflour Cafe + Bakery

They say Wildflour Bakery were the first ones to bring the Cronuts here in Manila. I remember calling them one morning to reserve (yes, you have to call them for a reservation) a dozen Cronuts and was told that they will only hold it up to 20 minutes or else, they will give it to the walk-in customer in their store in The Fort. I went to the office hours earlier than my shift just to make sure my Cronuts will not go anywhere but my mouth.

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Well, their Cronuts come in five flavors; Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry, Sugar raised, Dulce de leche, Mixed Berry, Hazelnut. They are P125.00 per piece. It’s big and tall. Sugar coating adds more texture and sweetness making it too sweet for my taste. They were also too crispy (I’m not sure why) meaning the pastry was a bit overcooked. But I really liked the Chocolate since it tasted like dark chocolate which is bitter. I like their packaging of simple white box. It’s very classy. Wildflour has two branches, The Fort and in Podium. You have to call to reserve and then pick up.

Wildflour Cafe + Bakery. G/F Net Lima Bldg, 4th Ave corner 26th St Fort Bonifacio, Taguig. +63.2.856.7600. Monday to Saturday – 9:00AM to 10:00PM. Sunday – 8:00AM to 4:00PM

Dolce Latte Café and Gourmet Bakeshop

I have to ask my office mate to get me some of Dolce Latte’s Cronuts since its way to far from where I am.

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The best thing about their Cronuts is that they offer the widest range of flavors: Valhrona Crunch, Custard Cream Cheese, Peanut Butter Crisp, Apple Cinnamon, Blueberry Cream Cheese, Almond Caramel, Raspberry Cream Cheese, Nutty Nutella and Lemon Meringue. I’ll give it to them for making a variety of flavors and including cream cheese on the menu. They are P110.00 per piece. They’re kind of smaller that Wildflour’s, but I really like its flakiness and delicateness. It was cooked just right with the right amount of sweetness and sourness (because of the cream cheese). My favorite was the Blueberry Cream Cheese since it was sweet and tangy at the same time. Packaging is quite similar with Wildflour only they accented it with a ribbon. They only have one branch in Quezon City and you also have to call in to reserve a day before you pick it up.

Dolce Latte Café and Gourmet Bakeshop. 1616 Quezon Avenue, South Triangle, Quezon City. +63.2.332.3407. Monday to Friday – 9:00AM to 10:00PM. Saturday and Sunday – 10:30AM to 8:00PM

So for now, if I have to choose between the two, I’ll go with Dolce Latte for coming up with a wide variety of flavor choices, it being not too sweet, and for cooking them just right. I read that Chatime (P55.00 each), Dunkin’ Donuts (P75.00 each), Le Coeur de France (P89.00 each), Café Jeepney (P130.00 each) and Country Style Donuts (P60.00 each) came up with their own versions of the Cronuts but I haven’t tried them yet. I’ll update this entry once tasted.

Caritas Manila: Donating Made Easy

Helping and sharing doesn’t always have to come from your wallet, you see, it can also come straight from your closet.

One fine afternoon while surfing the web, I found Caritas Manila’s Segunda Mana site. Basically, what they do is they sell pre-loved items but what makes it different from second-hand outlets is that the items at Segunda Mana are donated and the proceeds are used to fund Caritas’ education, health, disaster management, and prison projects. It’s like Goodwill Stores in the US which I also had the chance to visit. When we dropped off some of my mom’s stuff, they even gave us shopping discount certificates in return. (See photo below)

20130902-015359.jpg So I was so thrilled to know that we already have this here in the Philippines too because finally, even if I cannot donate money, I can help by giving them my old stuff. They were still good stuff, most of them just don’t fit me anymore. So I scoured my closet and put everything in a bag, shirts, pants, shorts, a pair of shoes, a bag, etc. All ready to go.

20130902-015515.jpg Another great thing about Segunda Mana is that you don’t have to bring the stuff to them yourself. They can actually pick it up from your doorsteps! You just have to call their number and schedule a pick up. They will contact you back once the truck is on its way.

20130902-015629.jpg That weekend, their truck arrived. Personnel was very courteous and accepted my donations without hesitation. I was expecting a pick up charge but there was none. I cannot count the number of “thank you’s” that they gave me for the small amount of stuff that I asked them to pick up. It really felt good.

20130902-015719.jpg So if you have a lot of pre-love items taking so much space in your homes, go give them to Caritas Manila. I’m now building my second batch of boxes and also asked my family donate theirs. Its really true that in our own little way and a couple of minutes in our daily lives, we can help the less fortunate.

Caritas Manila Segunda Mana
Address: Caritas Manila INC., 2002 Jesus Street, Pandacan, Manila, Philippines
Telephone: (632) 564-0205; 562-0020 to 25
Fax: (632) 563-93-06; (632) 564-6678
Email: cm@caritasmanila.org.ph ; segundamana@caritasmanila.org.ph

DIY: Dip Dye Ombre Denim Shirt Tutorial

I’m back!…. Again!

Yeah, its been a while. Been doing a lot of stuff lately.

Anyway, on today’s blog, I’m about to prove that with a creative mind and some old clothing, you can do magic.

One fine afternoon, after I donated some of my old clothes to Caritas Manila, I found this nice denim shirt I got from Forever 21 Men. It has been one of my favorites and I thought of this idea of making it current. Lately I’ve been seeing these dip-dye ombre denim shirts on the internet and decided to make one myself. Trust me, its gonna be easy and fast.

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Okay, so basically you’ll need an old denim shit (pants, shorts, or jackets will also be great with this), a bottle of bleach, a bucket, water, distilled white vinegar, a plastic bag, and some rubber bands.

First, you need to decide which part of the denim would you like to be lighter. For this one, I chose the top part along with the sleeves.

Cover the part that you want to retain the color of with plastic bag. Seal tightly by using a rubber band.

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In a bucket, mix water and bleach. Ratio of one part bleach and two parts water. Let it stand for 10 minutes to set.

Now, dip the denim in the bucket (the part which you’d like to be lighter). Make sure the bleach solution don’t go beyond the plastic bag. TIP: Use laundry clips to keep it away from the solution.

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Wait for an hour (this one I let sit for an hour and fifteen minutes, you can just eyeball it and check if its already the light color that you want).

Then go to the nearest sink and rinse the shirt with distilled white vinegar to stop the bleaching process and rinse with water. Then throw it in the washing machine and wash as you normally wash it then dry.

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Whoalla! You have a new shirt! I actually wanted it to be whiter but I kinda like its grunginess.

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So go scour your closet for some denim. You might find a gem in the rough. 😉

Staying Positive in the Workplace

Hey guys! Still remember me? It’s been I while since I wrote something here. So to make up for the lost time, I have a long one for you. Haha!

Life in the office isn’t perfect. That’s a fact.

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I mean it’s not always rainbows and butterflies, colored and scented office paperclips and unlimited coffee. There will be times when everything will not go your way. It could be a lot of things, a very difficult task, sudden changes, or even a co-worker who’s very hard to work with. Challenges and changes in the workplace will always be there and sometimes, there’s nothing we can do about it. These things can fill the room with negative vibes.

We are human beings and its okay to be upset. It is normal. But still, negative moods can be hurtful to productivity in the workplace and can rub off on your fellow co-workers. Even so, I still believe that it’s not what happens around you, but how you react to it. In short, you are always in control of your mood and how you deal with it.

Here are some of my tips on how to stay positive in the workplace.

Focus – It’s very hard to do. I know, I know, you will always hear someone complaining, whining, or yelling. But the first thing that you can do is to start within you and not lose your focus. I always put on my earphones and listen to music while working whenever I hear people whining. I also create a “What I Have Accomplished List” and check each task one by one. One (crazy) other thing I do is I treat every call/task as an acting job so I try my best to do my best performance! Hahaha!

Try to understand other people’s feelings and SHUT UP – A good friend of mine once told me that when things get rough, silence is the best thing that you can do. We all have different problems to deal with and not everyone deals with it the same way we do. So whenever I can sense that someone is having a bad day, I always give them some space and time. If I need to talk to them, I do it in a very professional manner and I avoid (trying my hardest) commenting on what they are going through. Sometimes, they do not need our thoughts. Respect others, and others will respect you.

Reach out to Others – Isolating yourself from your co-workers is non-sense. Before, all I can think of is the people I personally know, and then I realized that at one point I will need to work with others. Work will be easier if we have a good support system since not all tasks can be done alone. Also, you can learn so many good practices from others. So make your corporate circle bigger, reach out, and engage people. Helped and you will be helped.

Take a break – Sometimes all I need is a step back away from my desk to regain my sanity and keep myself going throughout the day. So I always make use of my schedule breaks. I go to the pantry for a coffee break. Sometimes I visit friends at their workstation to chit-chat or share a good laugh. Often times I listen to mellow music just to keep my mind refreshed and calm. Forcing yourself to finish something won’t get the job done. *You can also sing even if you can’t. That can drive away negative vibes because I’m sure your office mates will laugh at you*

Start within yourself. Then spread positivity – Attitude is everything. Always ask yourself ‘Am I negative?” If you cannot find positivity around you, the best thing to do is to start within you, and then SPREAD IT! I make it a point to give out compliments (that I really mean) like “I like your dress”, or “you really helped me today, thank you”. You can also share some good laughs with your teammates by cracking jokes. Or simply smile at a stranger inside the elevator or the hallway. It’s not being plastic. Who doesn’t want a peaceful environment? And besides you’ll never know, that stranger will help you with your hardest task one day.

See, it just goes to show that we cannot find positivity somewhere, but it should start from each of us. At the end of the day, it is us who are in control of what’s happening around you. Positive thinking and a positive attitude can create positive results.