Simple Hummus Recipe for Lazy Girls

Hummus is something I eat almost everyday.  It’s healthy and delicious, and works well with all sorts of sandwiches, wraps, even as a dip.  It’s really easy to make, too!  And believe me, when a lazy girl like me says easy, it’s reeeeally easy.

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If you Google “hummus recipe’ like I did, you’ll get a lot of hits, and I’m pretty sure you can follow any recipe you stumble upon and achieve good results.  I basically read this recipe on BBC Food, made do with whatever ingredients I had on hand, and forgot about the rest (I didn’t measure anything either).

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Drain a can of chickpeas and dump in the food processor.  (I use half a bag of Arrowhead Mills organic chickpeas, which requires me to soak them in water overnight, then boil in more water for 30 minutes the next day.  But if you’re using canned chickpeas, no extra prep needed).
  2. Squeeze in 1 whole lemon, making sure seeds don’t fall in.
  3. Pour in some extra virgin olive oil, then add a clove of garlic, salt (I use organic sea salt), Spanish paprika, and cumin.  Lots of cumin! I make my hummus without tahini since I don’t even know where I can get this.
  4. Pulse in your food processor until well blended, adding in as much olive oil as needed to achieve a somewhat creamy consistency.
  5. Adjust seasonings to suit your taste.  You can add more salt,or cumin if you’d like.

And that’s it!  Easy peasy.

My Spa Black Book

There was a time when I thought of massages as a complete waste of time.  But one day maybe 5 or 6 years ago, I realized I had an expiring The Spa GC in my purse and decided to use it.  This is when the universe conspired to make a spa convert out of me, and I was assigned a truly fantastic massage therapist, one who kneaded away all my aches and pains, and left my body feeling like mush.

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PHOTO CREDIT: WWW.THESPA.COM.PH

It’s not like it was even my first massage at The Spa.  Far from it!  In fact I had tried almost all of their branches, several times each branch.  And each time, I always ask the front desk staff to please, please assign a senior therapist to me, but I soon figured out that they were trained to assign whoever was next in line.

After that fateful day 5 or 6 years ago when I had my dream massage, I became a bit of a spa junkie, and craved a massage once a week.  And whenever my preferred therapist was unavailable or on her day off, I would ask the receptionist to please assign me to someone else who had been with The Spa for as long, or nearly as long, as my preferred therapist.  And sometimes I would also go to other branches of The Spa for convenience’ sake.

Long story short, I now have a very short list of truly amazing therapists who work at The Spa!  And I want to share my list with you, so you don’t spend thousands and thousands on mediocre massages.  It isn’t even about the money.  It’s because your time is valuable, and life is short.

A good massage can rid your body of aches and pains, all the tension, and those tight little knots.  If it’s a good massage, you won’t have to wonder if it’s good, you’ll just know.  And when you’re sad, a good massage can make you feel better — maybe a bit better, maybe a lot.  But better.

So here’s my list, my little gift to you:

  • Imelda at The Spa Trinoma, 0917-5801390
  • Annaliza at The Spa Trinoma, 0917-5801390
  • Leony at The Spa Promenade Greenhills, 0917-5801372
  • Hazel at The Spa Shangri-la, 0917-5801392

*Imelda and Annaliza are the best in my opinion and experience, but if you’re nowhere near Trinoma, Leony and Hazel are good too.  Leony and Hazel were originally from Trinoma as well; while Annaliza was from the Libis branch.  I’ve also had massages at The Fort and Powerplant Mall but nothing I would go back for.

I hope you enjoy!  And you’re welcome :)

#WhatVegansEat

A lot of people have been asking me for vegan recipes on Instagram, so I thought I’d do a post about it here.  Disclaimer: I’m not an expert on vegan cooking or eating, and I’m also kind of a kitchen klutz.  So this is really a post for lazy girls like me, who want to try going vegan.

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I don’t cook, but I did have to learn how to whip up a few things in order to keep myself fed.  Here are my essentials for vegan eating:

AVOCADOS.  I was never into avocados until going vegan, but now I’m obsessed with them!  I prefer using Haas avocados, they’re just so creamy and delicious.  For an easy breakfast or snack, simply spread some Vegenaise on toast, top with mashed avocados, and sprinkle with sea salt.  Soooo good!

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Avocados are also great for making dips.  Just mash and season to taste (try Vegenaise or evoo, sea salt, and chili flakes), and serve with nachos or baked cut-up tortillas.

VEGAN PESTO.  This is one of two things I taught myself how to make.  I use organic basil, pine nuts or walnuts, a bit of garlic, and nutritional yeast to replace Parmesan cheese.  I always have a big batch on hand and use the pesto to make sandwiches, wraps, and pasta!

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HUMMUS.  This is the other thing I taught myself how to make, and I’m so glad I did, because I looooove hummus!  I don’t like to follow recipes or measurements, so I just did a quick google search and followed the ingredients listed on this BBC food recipe, with a bit of improvisation. Instead of canned chickpeas, I use the dried organic kind, which requires a bit more work as you have to soak them overnight, then boil until they soften.  But they’re so much healthier which makes it worth it.

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I use my hummus as a dip or a spread for all kinds of sandwiches and wraps.  Even my husband loves my homemade hummus, so I make a big batch every few days.

VEGETABLES FOR ‘ROASTING’ + AIRFRYER.  Did you know that airfried vegetables are great for sandwiches and wraps?  I’ve always loved vegetable sandwiches, even when I was a meat-eater.  My favorite one was the Panini Verdure at Cibo; too bad their pesto is made with cheese.  I usually use a combination of zucchini, red, yellow, and green bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, and mushrooms.  Just slice them up, massage with olive oil and sea salt, put them in the airfryer, and you’re done.

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I also use my airfryer to make sweet potato and carrot fries, which make a lovely side dish for a sandwich or wrap, and I alternate between making them sweet and savory.

HOMEGROWN VEGETABLES.  Lucky for me, I love a good bowl of monggo or mung bean stew!  I don’t know how to make it, but our cook whips up a big batch for me about once a week, and I enjoy it piping hot with organic brown rice.

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Being Chinese, we have fresh lumpia made quite often.  I enjoy it because I love wrapping food and eating with my hands, I just have to ask for it to be made without pork or shrimp in it.

I also enjoy our dirt-cheap kangkong, simply sauteed with garlic and tomatoes.  Kangkong is particularly delicious when cooked with gata or coconut cream, but I don’t really cook it that way anymore, since coconut cream is high in fat.  And just recently, I discovered alugbati, which my friend Ross told me is a considered a Pinoy superfood!  Rich in vitamin A, calcium, potassium, and folic acid, alugbati also reduces your risk of osteoporosis, anemia, cardiovascular diseases, and colon cancer.

SNACKS.  I’ve pretty much given up on chips, even vegan or supposedly health ones (they’re still processed).  But I always have trail mix on hand.  You can make your own using your favorite nuts, and my favorite store-bought one is a mix of dry roasted almonds, sunflower kernels, pepitas, raisins, spanish peanuts, and cashew nuts by a brand called Health Best, available at Healthy Options.  I snack on my trail mix straight from the bag, or sprinkle a bit over my oatmeal in the morning, or on my salad or my wraps for a nice crunch.

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Another thing that we often snack on at home are baked kale chips.  We used to buy kale from the Legaspi market, but now it’s widely available in local supermarkets.  Kale chips are so good that even my 5-year-old loves them!

SALAD.  A lot of people think vegans and vegetarians graze on salads all day, but the funny thing is, I hardly ever have salads anymore since going vegan.  And to think I used to crave salads all the time as a meat-eater!  (I think it has something to do with not being allowed cheese and eggs, two of my favorite salad ingredients.)

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But another thing I’ve taught myself is to make my own salad dressing.  It’s the easiest thing ever, so much better for your body and cheaper than the store-bought kind!  So yeah, some nights, I’ll have a salad as a side dish, and my favorite vegan-approved things to put in it now are mixed greens, arugula, cherry tomatoes, red or yellow bell peppers, mangoes, nuts, and croutons.

GRAINS.  I find it impossible to go carb-free when following a vegan diet, I’d always be hungry!  So I always have organic Philippine-grown brown rice, whole wheat bread, whole wheat pitas and tortillas, and pasta (just the regular kind since I don’t like the taste of wholegrain varieties) on hand.  Some have said that wheat causes the stomach to bloat, and I’ve found this to be true in my case, but I still have bread all the time.  Can’t help it!

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Of course, now there are things like wheat-free, gluten free, sugar-free, and dairy-free bread, but not only are they hard to find here in Manila, the ones I’ve tried haven’t tasted like bread at all.  The search continues, but my goal is to someday bake my own bread at home.

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I was on a strictly vegan diet for awhile, but for personal health reasons, right now I’m what you would call a weekday vegan.  On weekends I allow myself one or two meals max with fish in it (usually sushi or sashimi).

If you’re contemplating going vegan or vegetarian, I hope this post has been helpful to you!  Vegan eating can be easy and enjoyable if you teach yourself how.  If you have any easy vegan recipes to share, I’d love to try them too!

Gone Vegan

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This salad of Philippine-grown organic brown rice, summer squash, and French beans is healthy, delicious, and ridiculously easy to prepare.

If you’ve been following my Instagram posts, you might have noticed a change in the type of food photos I’ve been sharing lately.  Yup, I’ve gone vegan!  It all started in February of this year, when I stopped eating beef and pork.  I did it in part because I wanted to start making healthier food choices, and also because I’ve always felt a bit of nagging guilt about eating animals, especially pigs.  It wasn’t something I made a big deal of, and in fact I would still occasionally eat meat during special dinners (like omakase at Sensei Sushi) and when traveling.  But for the most part I ate only chicken, fish and seafood, grains, and of course, lots of vegetables.

And then just a couple of months ago, I got sick, and that was when I decided to take things to a whole other level.  I gave up all meat and dairy products.  In the beginning I was really heartbroken about having to give up my favorite things: grilled cheese sandwiches, Korean bbq and pajeon, and ice cream.  I was eating boring steamed vegetables with rice for lunch and dinner everyday, until I got so sick of vegetables I had to down them with water, like medicine.  That was when I realized what I was doing wasn’t sustainable; I had to teach myself how to cook.

And no, I haven’t turned into any kind of kitchen goddess, but I am slowly learning how to have fun with food again.  I’m a lazy girl by nature, so I’ve taken to preparing simple yet flavorful meals, preferably with visual impact.  Breakfast is usually a bowl of oatmeal with avocado on toast, green juice, and coffee;  lunch might be a grilled vegetable wrap with sweet potato fries or a side salad; and dinner might be mung bean stew and a roast vegetable platter with brown rice.  We try to buy all organic as much as possible, and we source our vegetables from Holy Carabao, The Green Grocer, Organicus in Rustans and SM supermarkets, and the Legaspi Market.

For my succeeding posts, I plan to share tips and tricks for newbie vegans like myself,  pantry staples and ingredients to have on hand, and the simple meals I’ve been whipping up.  If you’re vegan or vegetarian, I’d love it if you could share any of your favorite recipes, too.  It’s going to be loads of fun, promise

God will take away your fears

So, I disappeared again for awhile, because as it turns out, I was sick and didn’t even know it.  This is just a quick post about how being sick made me see, in a very real way, how much God loves me.

I’ve always been the type who is scared of things like blood and needles.  Just imagine, even after going through childbirth twice, I would still get the shakes and cry during blood tests.  This is how duwag I am.

Fast forward to last week, when I had to have an operation.  I was so afraid of being put under, being opened up, all that stuff.  In the days leading up to my procedure, I had so much anxiety and tried as much as I could to block it all out, because I feared that if I let it sink in, I would be too scared to go through with it.

I prayed hard, real hard, for God to take away all my fears.  It might seem impossible for someone as duwag as I am, but still I begged and I prayed.  And you know what?  God took away all my fears.  I’m not kidding.  ALL MY FEARS!

And from the time I was admitted into the hospital up to the time they wheeled me into the operating room, I had NO FEAR.  This might be a small thing to a lot of you brave folks out there, but to me, it was nothing short of a miracle.  Thank you Lord God for staying by my side and for filling me with courage and a sense of calm that could only have come from you and your grace.

Dear reader, if there is anything in your life that fills you with a crippling fear, pray and believe that all things are possible through God.

God loves you.

Weekend Snaps

Here are some snaps from a few weekends ago.  The kiddos took a dip in Sabrina’s inflatable pool.  Jacob loooooved the water slide.

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Summer’s almost over.  We need more days like this in our life!