DIY

5 Happy Desserts You Can Have While On A Diet

No matter how many times my husband tries to convince me that sugar is the devil, I just cannot give up sweet stuff. When I imagine a life without sweets, I imagine it to be a sad one. Now that I’m attempting to eat healthier, I’m having a particularly rough time avoiding desserts after meals. So I don’t.

Instead, I looked for healthier alternatives. Below is my list of desserts to make life a little happier while on a diet.
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1. Gelatin

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Jell-O (image from Mom on Timeout)
They’re so happily-colored, like candy, that you may think you’re eating something sinful and delicious. Take away the ‘sinful’ and that’s what you get with gelatin. With no cholesterol and a minimal amount of sugar and sodium, it is an excellent alternative dessert. There are sugar-free versions for those who are watching their sugar intake down to the last microgram (either diabetics or crazies).

For special occasions, use pandan flavored jelly, add some coconut meat, some cream, a bit of conedensed milk and you’ve got yourself a festive buko pandan salad.

2. Fresh Fruit Popsicles

Happy Desserts (4)
Fruit Popsicle
When it’s hot outside, a happy way to cool yourself down would be with a sweet popsicle. As an alternative to your regular store-bought pops, homemade fruit popsicles are the way to go. They’re easy and cheap enough to make. My current favorite is the Strawberry Banana Yogurt popsicle. All you need to do is to puree a couple of bananas (or simply mash with a fork) and mix in a cup of strawberry yogurt. When that’s done, pour the mixture into your popsicle molds, and freeze. A few hours later and you’ve got yourself a healthy summer dessert.

Go crazy and mix and match your favorite fruit and yogurt combination (throw in some cucumber while you’re at it). They’ll all turn out delicious.

3. Buko Sherbet

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Buko Sherbet (image from Casa Veneracion)
The name sounds fancy, no? Don’t be fooled, it’s one of the easiest desserts to make especially in this country where coconuts are easy to come by. Pour the contents of 2-3 coconuts in a container you can freeze (an old ice cream tin would work) and scrape the meat into the tin as well. Depending on taste, add in one or two packets of Stevia or any sugar substitute and freeze. Take out of the freezer every hour or so and mix it until you get your desired consistency.

Coconut isn’t called the fruit of life for nothing. It has been known to have several positive benefits for health- it can increase your good cholesterol, help prevent strokes, boost your metabolism, among a few.

4. Fruits on yogurt

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Try not to eat this much in one go.
Fruits are always a healthy source of sweetness. Toss in some of your favorite mixed fruits cut up into bite-sized pieces in a bowl and dig in for a sweet and healthy dessert. Jazz it up with plain yogurt (Greek yogurt is the best nutrition-wise) and drizzle with honey if you want to sweeten it up some more and you’ve got yourself a healthy and sweet palate cleanser. Add in an avocado when you can. That sh*t has so many nutritional benefits it’s almost unbelievable.

5. Frozen banana + Nutella

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Banana + Nutella
When I have extra bananas that are already about to be overripe (which is every week), I slice it into small pieces, freeze in a freezer-friendly container and leave it there for whenever I need a pick-me-up. When that time comes, I get my pre-frozen bananas, scoop out a teaspoon of Nutella and indulge in healthy (ish) self-gratification.

I know that Nutella isn’t as healthy as the world would like it to be since one serving (2 tbsp) has 21 grams of sugar. But if you only get one teaspoon (just enough to satisfy a sweet tooth craving), it’ll cut down the sugar to a third, or just 7 grams, which is semi-acceptable.

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Me whenever I nom.
Don’t completely deprive yourself of all the happy things in life. From time to time, give in to your cravings. It’s better to be chubby but happy rather than be sexy but dying inside.

DIY

Steak Out Saturday: Homemade Steak Dinner Recipe

UPDATE: Bim has since honed his steak cooking skills. He shares his tips to make almost perfect steaks on this post.

Last weekend, Bim, mastermind of GeekOut had the brilliant idea to cook for me. Instead of eating out as usual, we opted to stay in, cook for the family, and enjoy the (relatively) cooler weather in the house. Because he’s not exactly Alton Brown, we consulted the Boucouse In Your Kitchen cookbook to find a simple enough recipe to follow and eventually decided on Steaks au poivre and Pommes de terre sautées.

Here’s the thing, we forgot the book when we headed out so he had to wing it. Steaks au poivre and Pommes de terre sautées became Bim’s Butter Garlic Steak and Boiled Potatoes.

20120508-233225.jpg Look at how smug he is!

Here’s what you’ll need:

– 750g of beef tenderloin cut into inch thick slices
– 1 stick of butter
– 1 small bag of baby potatoes
– 1 clove of garlic, skinned and minced
– Salt
– Pepper
– Rosemary (optional)

20120508-234526.jpg I’m not entirely sure why he keeps pointing at the meat

Here’s how to make a hearty homemade steak dinner:

Garlic butter steak
Season the meat with a liberal amount of salt and pepper and set aside for 15 minutes. Melt 2/3rds a stick of butter in a non stick pan. When the pan is hot enough, sauté the garlic in butter just until the smell of garlic fills your kitchen. Remove the golden bits of garlic and set aside. Turn up the heat until it’s hot enough and sear the meat, 6-8 minutes per side for medium well done steak (less if you like it rare or medium rare or medium and more for well done steaks). Put on a plate and sprinkle garlic (from earlier) and rosemary on top.

Boiled potatoes
Fill a pot with water, put potatoes in, sprinkle with salt and wait for it to boil. Let the water boil for a few minutes and then poke one of the taters with a fork to check if it’s done (it’s ready when you can easily stick the fork in). Drain the water from the pot and mix in the rest of the butter with the potatoes. Add salt to taste (you can add basil too, if you like).

Best served with salad on the side (thanks Lianne and Roma!).

Bim gives his steaks a 6 out of 10 rating, I give it an 8. The meat was tender and the flavor was just mouth-watering (loosely translated as “You should cook for me again!”). Wearing this apron alone added 1 to the total score.
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DIY

ZOMG, I made apple pie. So domestic, my golly!

I’ll never be the kind of girl who spends hours in the kitchen, I don’t have the patience or the talent for it. The recipes that I share on BaconTunaMelt are, and always will be, simple but guaranteed derrishuz! In the BaconTunaMelt kitchen (at least for now), we always follow the K.I.S.S. rule. With my “kitchen skillz”, it’s either that or burn the house down (and I kinda like having a place to live). Such is the case for these two apple pie recipes that I’ll be blabbing about in this post. Both are really simple to make but oh-so-nommy.

The apple pie is a classic dessert that I’ve always wanted to make but have never had the chance to. Now that I’m slowly starting to learn the basics of baking, I thought it would be a great idea to finally figure out how to make my own pie (it sounds domesticated, I’m so proud of myself!). After a couple of throwaway batches, and a few tweaks here and there, I finally got two perfect recipes. We’ll call one “Juicy Pie” and the other “Saucy Pie” (I like these names, they remind me of the Spice Girls).

So.. on to the recipes. Basically, both Juicy and Saucy will have the same ingredients and generally the same ratio. We’ll list them on a table so things are nice and neat-

Juicy Pie Saucy Pie
3 large apples 3 large apples
1/2 cup white sugar 1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar 1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon powder 1 tsp cinnamon
4 tbsp of butter 4 tbsp of butter
1 pie crust 1 pie crust
2 tbsp of flour

First, peel the apples and slice them thinly (imo, the thiner the better). And here’s how to make the filling. We’ve separated the instructions into two columns to make for easier reading.

For the Juicy Pie For the Saucy Pie
1. In a small bowl, mix the white sugar, brown sugar, and the cinnamon powder, 1. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat,
2. In a bigger bowl, pour the butter into the sliced apples and spread it evenly, 2. When the butter has melted, pour the white and brown sugar (if it’s too dry, add a few of spoonfuls of water),
3. Gradually pour the sugar and cinnamon mixture with the sliced apples 3. Stir until the sugar is melted and add the cinnamon and the flour to the mixture,
4. Once the sauce has thickened, add the apples in the saucepan and mix until all the apples are covered in sauce

Then you can arrange the mixture on the piecrust, and then bake your pie in a preheated oven (200°c should be fine), and sit pretty while you wait for your derrishuz homemade apple pie to be done.

Juicy Apple Pie

The Juicy Pie will yield a juicy pie, and you may actually have to drain the juice before you can nom on it (depending on your apples). The Saucy Pie will be ready to nom hot off the oven (be careful not to burn your tongues though). The photo above is Juicy Apple Pie and the one below is the Saucy Apple Pie.

Saucy Apple Pie

Both are reaaally easy to make and also reaaally yummy pies. The Juicy Pie has less sauce and the Saucy Pie is a smidge sweeter. They’re both delicious, according to my tastebuds. To pick a recipe, it would just depend on your preference in the apple filling consistency. If you want the simplest of apple pies, try and make the Juicy Pie, if you want a pie with applesauce, try the Saucy pie. Below is a photo of the pies sliced, Juicy on the left, Saucy on the right.

Which one do you think is nommier? 🙂

DIY

BaconTunaMelt’s K.I.S.S. Muffins

Strawberry walnut crumb wheat muffins.

Does that sound like something you can’t make? If you said yes, I’m gonna suggest that you read this post in its entirety. If you haven’t made muffins before (and want to), check out how we easily we made these awesome muffins from scratch. Like our super simple yema recipe, we’ll be following the K.I.S.S. rule (keep it simple, stupid) for this one.

Because of my inability in the kitchen, I thought making muffins would require me to buy myself a fire extinguisher. Then I found a recipe that seemed simple enough (I’ve already memorized it by heart). Even with my little tweaks (I couldn’t find blueberries), it still turned out pretty well.

Here’s what you’ll need-

Dry stuff: Wet stuff:
  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 egg
For the crumb: Flavor/topping:
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 1 cup halved strawberries (or blueberries)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Let’s get started, shall we? First, mix all the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Then mix all the wet ingredients in a smaller bowl. Pour the contents of the bowl with the wet ingredients and mix just until the dry stuff has dissolved all of the wet stuff (be sure not to overmix). Fold in the flavor/toppings into the batter and you’re almost done! Easy peasy.

Scoop the batter into your oven safe silicone cups (this batch makes 6 large muffins or 12 medium ones). After this, set your oven to 200°C or 392°F for about 10 minutes to preheat it and then get started on the crumb (the best part!).

With a fork, mash the cubed butter together with the flour and sugar (measurements in the “For the crumb” column) until it forms evenly shaped lumps. Sprinkle it on top of your muffins until the cups are full. Pop it inside your preheated oven, set it for twenty minutes, and start an episode of Spongebob (optional).

As soon as the episode is done (or twenty minutes, whichever comes first), check your muffins. To do that, get a toothpick and stick it in the nearest muffin. If it comes out clean, it’s good to go. If it doesn’t, pop it back in the oven for another 5 minutes and check it until the toothpick comes out clean (repeat until it does).

By this time, your muffins should look as if they were injected with steroids (this one above is a bit flat, i used too little flour the first time). Use a potholder to pull out the pan (do not, and I stress this, do not use a kitchen towel as a substitute. your thumbs will thank me). If everything went well, sit back, relax, and gloat in the fact that you made fabulous muffins from scratch.

Once you get the hang of it, you can use the same base and start experimenting with different flavors. So far, I’ve tried blueberry, apple, banana, carrot, corn, butter, chocolate chip, and almond mocha chocolate chip.

The last batch I baked (almond mocha chocolate chip, carrot wheat crumb, and apple wheat crumb.

DIY

Oven Toaster Recipes: Instant Pinoy Bibingkinitan
Feeling oddly industrious last Saturday morning, I rummaged our kitchen shelves for something easy to busy myself with (besides playing with the cutest dog ever). Shortly after, I had a small box of Maya Oven Toaster Bibingka cake mix in my hands and I was raring to make my own homemade bibingka.
Ingredients for homemade bibingka
The recipe on the box seemed easy enough. Aside from the mix, I only needed 1 chicken egg, 1 red egg/salted duck egg (optional), 2 tablespoons of melted butter, half a cup of water, and some grated cheese (optional). Easy! All those can be found in my fridge on any given day.

 

It’s an oven toaster mix, of course you’d need an oven toaster and also a regular baking pan. I opted to use a cupcake pan to end up with mini-bibingkas (like those you can get from food courts) instead of just one chunk of bibngka. Luckily, I still had some cupcake paper cups from last week’s two minute microwave cupcakes.
My uncooked bibingkinitan

What to do:

First, crack open the red egg and chop them up into small cubes (you can also opt to just slice them thinly, chopping is much easier) and set it aside. Grate some cheese (I love cheese so I used lots) and then set that aside.
In a medium sized mixing bowl, mix the bibingka mix, water, butter, and some of the grated cheese for good measure. Place the paper cupcake cups in the cupcake pans and distribute the mixture equally. Sprinkle the chopped up red eggs and grated cheese (the more the merrier!) on top of each cup. And then put the pan inside your oven toaster and set it to cook for five minutes.
Fresh off the oven: Warm, fluffy, and tasty homemade bibingkinitan
Then you can do a quick clean up of the mess you made and as soon as you’re done, your bibingkas will be ready to go. Fresh off the oven are your fluffy and delightful homemade bibingkinitans. They are surprisingly fluffly (much fluffier than the microwave cupcakes) and actually taste like those heartwarming bibingkas you can only get during Christmas season. I will definitely be doing this again.
Prep time: 10-15 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes

List of stuff you need:

  • 1 Maya Bibingka cake mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1 itlog na maalat
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • cheese
  • cupcake cups
  • cupcake pan
  • oven toaster
DIY

Microwave Recipes: Two Minute Cupcakes
Happy Monday everyone! It’s going to be a busy week ahead but for now we’ll talk about the weekend that was. As you may have noticed, the blog has gone through some aesthetic changes (do you guys like it? I’m still on the fence). I’m kind of working the changes based on our new logo, care of Mr. Awesome.

 

Besides tinkering with the blog, the weekend also had me spending some time in the kitchen (surprise, surprise). Remember when I made those yummy, fudgy, microwave brownies? This time, I made something similar, but from scratch (woot woot)! It ended up like this-
Ain’t that a thing of beauty?
My friend Jill (creator of the mouth-watering Chocolate Chip Cookie Surprise) sent over a recipe for quick and easy microwave mug cake. I used the recipe she sent over, but with a few modifications. Basically, I just upped each measurement because I think one egg is too much for such a small mixture.

Here’s the recipe I used (my notes in parenthesis):

Microwave Mug Cake

  • 4 tbsp flour (made it 5 tablespoons)
  • 4 tbsp sugar (5 tbsps)
  • 4 tbsp cocoa (I couldn’t find cocoa powder so I used Ovaltine. Yes.)
  • (a small pinch of salt)
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp milk (4 tbsps)
  • 3 tbsp oil (3 1/2 tbsps)
  • 3 tbsp chocolate chips (4-5 tbsp, the more the merrier)
  • a small splash of vanilla extract (I don’t have this so I ticked it off the list)
  • large coffee mugs
  • (several large cupcake cups)

Instructions:


Add dry ingredients to a bowl and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly. Pour in the milk and oil and mix well. Add the chocolate chips and mix again. Place cupcake cups inside the mugs (for form only), pour in the mixture until cupcake cup is about 3/4 filled (so there’s room when it rises), and sprinkle some chocolate chips on top. Place the mugs inside the microwave and cook for 2-3 minutes on high.
I (a.k.a. kitchen noob) made these!
And as soon as you hear the bell on the oven, you’re done! You now have freshly “baked” chocolate cupcakes ready for serving. Best eaten hot off the oven, or with ice cream, or with chocolate syrup (you know, from the Hershey’s squeeze bottle you most likely have in your kitchen cupboard).

 

The entire mixture is enough for 3 large cupcakes, if you want more, just double all the ingredients. They’re so easy to make and perfect for those days you want a warm and gooey chocolate sweet treat but have only a few minutes to spare. (Next time, imma try mixing in Nutella!)
DIY

Microwave Recipes: Fudgy Brownie in a Mug
This fudgy, chunky, chewy, chocolate-y brownie goodness in a mug has earned a lot of ooohs, ahhhs and mmms just last weekend. People are clamoring for the recipe and have even requested for more. And I made it. In 3 minutes.
To pzl ignore the Chowking flyer in the background

So how can a kitchen noob make something this wonderful in the time it takes for one to finish a cup of coffee?

Well, I cheated. Kinda.

Betty Crocker’s Hershey’s Chocolate Chunk Supreme Brownie Mix
I bought this box of instant brownie mix a couple of months back and upon inspection of the kitchen shelves, found out that it was about to expire. The thing is, our oven was busted but I didn’t want good chocolate to be put to waste. Mixing 2 eggs, 1/2 cup of vegetable oil, 4 tablespoons of water with the brownie mix, I ended up with this gloopy mess. I needed an alternative.
Sometime ago, I remember reading a post about baking some flour and cocoa inside a mug to make instant chocolate cake using the microwave oven. Although I wasn’t sure if it was going to work on a brownie mix intended to be baked in an oven, I had to give it a shot.
The rest of the mix
I brought out a couple of mugs and filled half the mug with the brownie batter, popped them in the microwave and guesstimated the cooking time to be 3 minutes. Soon as the timer was done, I took the mugs out (making sure to keep it away from my face lest it explodes) and stuck a toothpick in the middle to check if it was done. Not only was it done, but it was also beautiful.
Cut into squares and you’ll have fudgy microwave brownies!
We tried it as soon as it cooled down and it was just so good. It was the kind of good that you’d have to close your eyes to savor the taste with every spoonful. 

The brownie turned out to be slightly cakier than it would have been if it was baked in an oven but that turned out to be a good thing. The cake-slash-brownie was extra rich and chocolatey, and the hershey chunks made it even chocolatey-er (if there’s such a term).

Fudgy Brownie in a Mug
1 Betty Crocker’s Hershey’s Chocolate Chunk Supreme Brownie Mix
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 tbsp water 

I poured the rest of the batter in a glass container and set the timer on for 7 minutes. Just make sure you only fill half the container to make room for when the mixture becomes fluffy, otherwise, you’ll end up with a rightful mess.
DIY

Jillians Chocolate Chip Cookie Surprise!
One fine morning, I woke up to a text message from a friend of mine saying she sent over some cookies. Of course, after reading the word “cookies”, I shook the sleep off me and headed straight for the dining room and demanded asked where the goodies were.
They were on the table in a big brown paper bag with the note that said “For warm cookies: Heat in  microwave for 5-8 seconds.” I took out the cookies from the bag into a platter, snapped a few photos for posterity and hurriedly popped a couple cookies into the oven.
You see, the creator of these cookies is my friend Jillian Nuñez. For as long as I can remember, Jillian has always been a kitchen whiz who has been known to whip out heaven in various forms of baked sweet treats. This the reason why even before the ding of the microwave signaled that my cookies were ready, I was already drooling in anticipation.
Earlier during the week, Jill showed me a photo of a cookie that she wanted to try to make, for the heck of it. Being the glutton sugar addict that I am, I asked if I could write about it on BaconTunaMelt because I already knew that they were going to be legen -wait for it- dary.
And as expected, they were.
These cookies that I have dubbed “Jillian’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Surprise” may look like your typical chocolate chip cookies to you (albeit larger) but they are anything but typical. As soon as you sink your teeth into the warm treat, you’d know it’s more than your average cookie.
The surprise is in the form of an Oreo cookie hidden inside the chocolate chip cookie coating. It’s a cookie inside a cookie! The chewy and moist chocolate chip cookie coating is a perfect front act to the also chewy and chocolatey Oreo cookie inside. It’s a match made in sugar and chocolate heaven. Perfectly paired with a tall glass of milk and the blues.
DIY

Origami and Yema Balls
Following the success of yema balls attempt number two were requests to make more. I figured that if I were to give them away, the yema needed a better presentation than being haphazardly arranged in assorted Tupperware. So the day before making them, I made my way to the nearest mall to find me some fancy containers.
The end result
I was looking to get either those boxes with windows on them or plain old acetate boxes but the search was fruitless. There weren’t any with the dimensions I wanted so I thought to make them myself via plain old origami (see instructions here). I bought a couple of cartolinas and set out to make square boxes and ended up with these.
Origami boxes in BaconTunaMelt colors!
The boxes are a little uneven, but you can barely tell. The big boxes contain nine yema balls each and the small boxes have four yema balls each. Nope, I’m not selling these so if you want some, just leave a message and I’ll see what I can do. 🙂
BaconTunaMelt Yema balls
DIY

How To Make Yema Balls: Possibly the Simplest Recipe Ever
If you follow this blog, you’d know that I tried to make fluffy yema balls last week. Unfortunately, it ended up in something close to a disaster (click this to read last week’s post on how NOT to make yema). What was supposed to be soft, round, yellow, and fluffy balls of yema lightly coated in sugar ended up as a hard, brownish, uneatable slab of sugar.
Minor setback, I thought. So for the weekend, armed with a new recipe and renewed vigor, I gave it another shot. And the end result looked like this-
Yummy yema balls!
Following the recipe from The Pilgrim’s Pot’s and Pans (with a few tweaks), I had me some fantastically fluffy yema balls when I was done. (WARNING: The following text will contain much gloating at the success of my second atttempt in the kitchen.)
Step1: Prepare the ingredients. A 300ml can of condensed milk, 10 eggs, butter, sugar, and cupcake cups.
Step2: Separate the egg yolks (set aside the egg whites) and put them in a medium-sized bowl.
Step3: Beat the egg yolks, pour the condensed milk, and mix well. Notice the beautiful golden yellow color of the mixture?
Step4: Set the heat on low (as low as you can), lightly coat the non-stick pan with butter, and pour the mixture in.

And then comes the stirring-

Step6: Initially, your mixture should be slightly thick, with a consistency not unlike syrup. Stir your mixture some more.
Step7: After about 10 minutes of stirring, your mixture should be noticeably thicker. Make sure your heat is set to low, so your mixture maintains its happy yellow color. Keep stirring.
Step8: After 15 minutes of stirring, most of the water should have evaporated and your mixture is about as thick as your typical congee.
Step9: After 20 minutes of stirring, your mixture should be thick and dry enough, similar to the texture of cookie dough.

And now the fun part-

Step9: Transfer the dry mixture into a bowl and wait for it to cool. After about 10 minutes, you can start rolling them into balls.
Step10: Lightly coat your hands with butter and scoop out a small amount and roll it into a ball. Dip in white sugar and place it on the cupcake paper. Repeat until you use up all the batter and serve.
You now have soft and rich yellow yema balls. I deviated from the recipe I found online and did not add lime to the mixture because I thought that might give it a weird tangy taste. I also opted not to coat it in caramelized sugar because I did not want the rich taste of the milk and egg mixture overpowered by caramel, which tends to be too sweet.
This version of yema balls is sweet but not too sweet either. You can eat as many servings as you want and it won’t leave a bitter taste in your mouth. The plain white sugar coating gives each bite of the soft ball a nice crunch. They’re soft but they hold together well and are not messy to eat. You know you’ve made yummy yema when everyone who tried it loved it and requested for a second batch.
I’m not so useless in the kitchen after all, yay! (Thanks Comicology dude, for being a cute kitchen elf. ^*^)