Monday, December 12, 2011


Let's help save our free and discounted programs! Let's help to keep our Senior Citizens fed!!


Original & Custom Made Artwork, On-Site Sketchwork

High Quality Fashion Jewelry

Makeup Consultations & Makeovers

Kitchenware, Cutlery, Bakeware, Cookware

Friday, December 16, 2011
Jose P. Rizal Heritage Center
1332 W. Irving Park Rd
(between Clark St & Lakewood Ave)
Chicago, IL 60613

We will also be raffling off a gift basket containing products from Farid Griyech Art, Lia Sophia, Makeup by Mariana, and Pampered Chef. Any guest buying $50 or more will receive a raffle ticket. Raffle winner announced at 10pm. *Winner must be present to receive gift basket.

*Percentage of Profits made will be donated to the Rizal Center*
(Maintenance, Improvements, Free & Discounted Programs, Senior Citizen Programs)


A Quick Snack.

Being on a budget has me re-thinking about going out for a late night snack. My go to snack lately has been Tuna Salad. Its quick, simple, easy and best of all cheap.

1 can of Tuna
1/2 Apple
1 tbsp Sweet Relish
2 tbsp Mayo
Salt & Pepper

Chop the Apple into cubes. Mix Tuna, Relish, Mayo, & Chopped Apple all together in a bowl. Season with Salt & Pepper. Enjoy as a sandwich or as is.

Very Filling, healthy and quick for those times you DON'T have any time!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Still Busy Be

I have so many projects going on that I keep starting and will eventually finish them one at a time! My latest is a newsletter of some sort for the community. We'll see how it goes. Maybe just start off small with sending articles to the local "Newshound" paper.

My husband and I did find a gem this last weekend. Its a new restaurant: Bree Thai Restaurant on Archer & Central in Garfield Ridge (5306 S Central Ave, Chicago, 773-767-3200).

We ate & drank these wonderful and delicious treats: Tofu & Shrimp Pad Thai, Beef Pad Thai, Thai Southern Fried Rice, Beef Pad Si-Ew, Crab Rangoon, Shrimp in a Blanket, Shu-Mai, Fried Wonton, Tom Yum Soup, Chicken Satay, Edamame, Egg Rolls, Pot-Stickers, Veggie Tempura, Poh-Tak, Thai Custard, and Thai Ice Tea. This was in TWO sittings not ONE. And the other one was with the kids & my parents. I LOVE food but I wouldn't be able to eat all that!

I would say that Bree's Pad Thai is the best I have ever tasted. Its cooked fresh to order with FRESH INGREDIENTS. Such a key to good food. I have never had Thai Iced Tea until I came here. I actually wanted some hot tea since it was a cold night. I probably should of specified. But the waiter, also Bree's husband, came out with this concoction which was so deliciously sweet. Its my favorite probably more so than Horchata now.

You can definitely tell the food is made with love and thoughtfulness. Bree is definitely compassionate about her restaurant and it shows in the dishes she creates. Her and her husband are genuinely nice, very down-to-earth people. We will definitely come back here again and again!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Busy Be.

So true to my busy life, I wasn't able to get to the next recipe. I bought all those ingredients but yet I have been spending more time with the folks. I guess I just want to treasure the time that they are still here. So Mama Mila has been fattening us up with homemade soup, rice, and chicken adobo. I do however still have that leftover pork from the "Brown Sugar Pork Roast Slow Cooker Style" recipe. Today since my family especially my son LOVES meat, I have put the Pork back into the crackpot, letting it heat up in its own juices then added about 2 tbsp of Brown Sugar and 2 cups of BBQ. This will be good tomorrow afternoon for some Pulled Pork Sandwiches!

I also had some catfish nuggets I defrosted. I don't want to leave them too long in the fridge so I seasoned them with Vegeta, Pepper, & Dill. Laid out the catfish nuggets on a waxed covered sheet and baked in the oven for 30 minutes at 325 degrees. Saving this for some fish tacos tomorrow!

I am also going to attempt to making some Butternut Squash soup tonight!

Yes, I am cleaning out the fridge. I absolutely HATE wasted food. I know where my dad came from and I know how I grew up. Food is the one thing you shouldn't waste if you have enough to buy what you want! It just doesn't make sense. Especially with all the people I see begging on the streets! I did donate some money to St. Jude's when I was shopping with my mom at New York & Company. Anything to help save a kid's life.

Well let me get off my soapbox and continuing cleaning my kitchen and making more food!

"Just keep swimming..." Finding Nemo.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Brown Sugar Pork Roast Slow Cooker Style

The Crock Pot is one of the best inventions for your culinary needs. Especially for moms that have no time. If you do prepare ingredients ahead of time, you'll be able to cook yourself or your family hearty and healthy meals. The Pork Shoulder Roast is on sale this week until Wednesday at ShopNSave market.

Cook Time: approx. 9 hours


1 boneless Pork Shoulder Roast, 4 to 6 pounds
1 clove Garlic, halved or Garlic Powder if you don't have garlic cloves
1 tablespoons Salt
2 tablespoons Pepper
1 1/3 cups Brown Sugar, divided
1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
6 cups Orange Juice
2 cups Water
1 cup of your favorite wine, I used some Angioletta Moscato


Wash your Pork Shoulder Roast. Place in Crock Pot. Pour Orange Juice, Water and Wine over the Pork Shoulder Roast. Cover and cook for about 4 Hours on Low or 2 Hours on High. Drain all but about 2 cups of the liquid. Rub with Garlic halves or Garlic Powder. Sprinkle with Salt and Pepper. Prick the Roast all over with a fork or skewer. In a cup or bowl, combine 1 cup of the Brown Sugar, the Dijon Mustard, and Balsamic Vinegar. Rub all over the roast. Cover and cook on LOW for about 5 Hours on Low or 2 1/2 Hours on High. Pour off the excess juices. Combine the remaining 1/3 cup Brown Sugar with Cinnamon; Spread the mixture over the top of the roast. Cover and continue cooking on LOW for 1 hour longer.

Serve with Mashed Potatoes or Rice and a Side of your favorite Veggies!

Serves 6 to 8.

Modified from

Monday, November 7 Week's Grocery List

This week's grocery list:

Pork Shoulder Roast $.99/lb - 3lbs (ShopNSave)
Angioletta Moscato $5.99 (ShopNSave)
Strawberries 1 lb $.99 - 3 (ShopNSave)
Green Cabbage $.19/lb - 2lbs (ShopNSave)
Cauliflower $.59/lb - 2lbs (ShopNSave)
Butternut Squash $.39/lb - 2lbs (ShopNSave)
Uncle Ben's Rice 25 lbs $19.99 (ShopNSave)
Buttermilk $.99 (ShopNSave)
Catfish Nuggets $2.99 (Aldi)
Pasta $.99 - 2 (Aldi)
Sweet Mini Peppers $1.99 (Aldi)
Potatoes 5 lbs $1.99 (Aldi)
Orange Juice $.99 (Aldi)
Garlic Powder $1.09 (Aldi)
Salt $!.09 (Aldi)
Pepper $1.09 (Aldi)
Dijon Mustard $.99 (Aldi)
Balsamic Vinegar $1.99 (Aldi)
Cinnamon $1.09 (Aldi)
Chicken Leg Roast $.59/lb - 3lbs (Cermak Produce)
Ground Pork $1.69/lb - 3lbs (Cermak Produce)
Tomatoes $.49/lb - 2lbs (Cermak Produce)
Avocados $.49 each - 6 (Cermak Produce)
Squash $.49/lb - 2lbs (Cermak Produce)
Bosc Pears $.49/lb - 2lbs (Cermak Produce)
Yellow Onions 3 lbs $.69 (Cermak Produce)
Beef Chuck Roast $2.78/lbs - 2lbs (Food4Less)

Approximately $75.00

Remember most of these products like the spices and juices, you probably already have in your kitchen. If you can't afford the fresh vegetables I would go for the frozen vegetables that are on sale. They have less sodium than the canned veggies. Buy the meat that you like and can afford. Usually you can find chicken on sale at any grocery store. I just buy the meat that is on sale for the week. My budget is $80 usually for groceries. I want to see if I can lower my budget each week by using leftovers and added ingredients to make a new meal and to only buy what is needed each week.

Tonight's Dinner: Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Pork Roast

Tomorrow's Dinner: Slow Cooker Beef Roast Casserole

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Saving Money on Groceries: Aldi.

When I was a teenager, I was trying to figure out where was the cheapest place to shop for groceries. Yes, you usually depend on your parents to buy your food and whatever you wish, but even at a young age I understood that my parents were living on my dad's income.... paycheck to paycheck. When I worked at 7-11 on 55th and Kostner, I had regular customers. They would always hang out at the store. One of the guys, talked ALOT. We got on the subject of food and I mentioned this place I just found out about, Aldi. He ranted and raved about how he would never shop there, the food was cheap because it was bad quality, and how he would rather spend more money at Jewel for "quality" food. I didn't see eye to eye with him because my parents were very hard-working but could only afford so much for food. So when they discovered Aldi it definitely kept more money in their wallets. I didn't see anything wrong with most of the food since my mom works miracles with anything in her kitchen.

Fast forward 13 years later and its the "2nd Great Depression." More and more people are spending much less, on the link card, shopping at dollar stores, going to thrift stores, or just saying I can go without instead of spending more money they cannot afford. We also have this super-couponing "craze" where some people spend hours clipping coupons or printing ones online. Then they spend more hours shopping around to make sure they get all they deals and sometimes making multiple trips to different CVS, Walgreens, or Target in their area.

I depend on 3 things: My local sales papers that come in the mail every Wednesday; maximizing sales by looking online if I can combine with any printable coupons; and ALDI. Even Aldi has their sales paper come every Wednesday! Plus if you have an Android, iPhone, or iPad you can download the Aldi app. This app is helpful especially if you have a young puppy that loves to chew on paper! The Aldi app tells you the sales for the current week and the following week. It also will help you shop by giving you an approximate total on the current products in your virtual shopping cart.

I made up my list for Aldi and went shopping on Wednesday November 2nd. STICKING to your list will help you save money. They call it an "impulse buy" for a reason! Here is what I walked away with for UNDER $15:

White Bread .89
2% Milk 1 gal 1.99
Protein Cereal Bar 1.69
Smoked Ham 3.29
2L Cola .59
Sandwich Sliced Pickles 1.29
BBQ Potato Chips 11oz 1.39
Baby Carrots 1.29
Lynder Sliced Cheese .99


Wonder Bread Classic White 2.99 buy one get one free
2% 1 gal Milk 3.49
Kellogg's Meal Bars 4.99
Oscar Mayer Ham Lunch Meat 4.99
Coca-Cola .99
Pickles 2.09
Lays Potato Chips 4.29 buy one get one free
Baby Carrots 2.99
Kraft Singles 3.49

$25.32 (not including tax)

Comparing the two stores, you save $12!! That is $12 extra dollars in my gas tank! Just because its a name brand food doesn't mean its better. Yes there are some things I won't go generic on like Sun-Chips. The Aldi version just doesn't compare. But since I am eating healthier anyway, I shouldn't worry. Talking about 5-10 minutes just to make out a list, checking out what is ALREADY in your fridge or pantry will save you time at the store and also in your wallet!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

CrockPot Vegetable Soup

It's been awhile since I posted a recipe. I have been busy concentrating on my business and neglecting my kitchen. I am getting a bit better on the time management skills. Although I still need fine tuning. The best way to get your family or even yourself at least one home-cooked meal is the Crock Pot! You have a 1.5 quart Crock Pot for 1-2 people, 2.5 for a family of 3, 4 quart for a family of 4, and I use a round set & forget 5 quart Crock Pot for my 4+ family.

These ingredients are according to a 5 quart crock pot. Adjust your measurements accordingly.

10 cups of Water
8-10 Potatos, diced
6 Carrots, sliced
1 medium Onion, diced
3 Tbsp Vegeta Soup Seasoning

Put all ingredients into your 5 Quart Crock Pot. Set it on Low for 8 hours if making this in morning for dinner. I currently have mine set on High for 4 1/2 hours to be ready for dinner! This big healthy vegetable soup should be ready for your family to feast on mere than once :-)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Kid-Friendly Pancakes

So in the early morning of 7am, I watch my friend's little niece. She is pretty much well behaved and very quiet. Most of all, like my son, she is a VERY picky eater. The two things she absolutely loves that I've discovered are pancakes and apple sauce. The pancakes I've been preparing for her have been the instant mix Buttermilk ones. They are okay but taste fairly bland unless you drench them with syrup. This morning when I grabbed the milk for little Miss, the can of apple sauce was staring me in the face. So the of course the lightbulb went on. Apple sauce in the pancake mix! Not only would I add a bit of flavor but moistness to these floured discs. Here's what I came up with for my picky eater:

1 cup of Buttermilk Complete Pancake mix
2/3 cup of Water
5 tsp of Unsweetened Apple Sauce
Canola Oil Spray
1 cup of Milk Chocolate Chips (optional)

I usually mix anything that I want to come out smooth in my Magic Bullet. If you don't have one, you can always use a blender or the good old fashioned way by hand with a whisk or fork. Mix or blend the Pancake mix and Water. Make sure to grab a spatula and break up any lumps or clumps of Pancake mixture. Add all your Apple Sauce and blend. Again, take your spatula and break up any lumps. By this time though, your mixture should be very smooth after adding the Apple Sauce.

Heat up a small pan and spray some Canola oil throughout the surface. Keep flame on Medium Low. Take mixture, pour in the middle, and let it sit until its a golden color.

After you pour the mixture, you can opt to add some Milk Chocolate Chips, Pecans, or any Fresh Fruit depending on your taste buds.

Flip when the edges are a golden brown and the mixture bubbles up throughout the pancake. Heat up other side for about 2-3 minutes then serve. I doubt with this mixture the kids will need any maple syrup!!

Enjoy :-)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Simple-ology: A Course on Blogging

I'm evaluating a multi-media course on blogging from the folks at Simpleology. For a while, they're letting you snag it for free if you post about it on your blog.

It covers:

  • The best blogging techniques.
  • How to get traffic to your blog.
  • How to turn your blog into money.

I'll let you know what I think once I've had a chance to check it out. Meanwhile, go grab yours while it's still free.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Classic done in a Large Grill Pan.

So I was looking through my "One Dish" recipe book and came across pot roast.  I love me some Pot Roast!!  Simple, hearty ingredients for a dish you can create especially if your on a budget like we are.

1/2 stick of Butter
1/2 cup of Flour
1 tbsp of Olive Oil
4 cups of Beef Broth
Garlic Powder
1 medium Onion (chopped)
6 medium Potatoes (washed, peeled, and chunked)
1 package of Baby Carrots
3 slabs of Steak (cut into small strips)

Melt down 1/2 stick of Butter and then add your Flour.  While the Flour is cooking through, drizzle the Olive Oil over the mixture.  Add about 1 cup of Beef Broth, and let thicken.  Add your Salt and Pepper to your Beef mixture.  Add about 2 groups of your Potatoes.  The starch in the potatoes will also help to thicken up the mixture.  Since we are cooking this dish in a Large Grill Pan, I added the ingredients grouped a little at a time to let the thickening process happen.  Add your Garlic Powder and your chopped Onion.  Mix in more Beef Broth and another 2 groups of chunked Potatoes.  Add 1/2 your Baby Carrots.  Keep mixing all your ingredients as your cooking on medium heat.  Mix in the last of your Beef Broth.  Sprinkle in more Flour if needed.  Add the last group of Potatoes.  Mix in the strips of Steak.  Mix all ingredients,  lower heat, and cover pan for about 5-10 minutes.  Serve over steamed Thai Jasmine Rice and you got yourself a hearty meal that even the kids will love.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Ramen Noodle Salad w/Peanut Butter Vinaigrette

Hope everyone had a happy 4th this past weekend!!!  So I reinvented something I saw served at my parents dance club gatherings.  Someone had brought a ramen noodle salad which was delicious!  Basically used ramen noodle crunchies, bok choy and some kind of soy sauce vinaigrette concoction.  We had family and friends over for the 4th for my Sister's and my Brother's "Berfday" BBQ.  I wanted to serve some kind of salad and all I had was Romaine lettuce and other ingredients in my pantry and fridge.  Here's what I came up with.

To serve a get together for about 20 people you'll need:

6 packages of Ramen noodles uncooked and crunched up
3 bunches of Romaine lettuce washed and chopped
10 bunches of Green Onions sliced
3/4 jar of Peanut Butter
1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
2 cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil

I didn't really measure the Vinaigrette ingredients.  I did it by taste.  Mix together 2 parts Extra Virgin Olive Oil to 1 part Apple Cider Vinegar.  Whisk in Peanut Butter.  Add Sugar according to preference (sweet vs tangy).  Mix together Romaine, Ramen, and Green Onions.  Pour Vinaigrette mixture on top of salad.  Toss and Serve.

Bon Appetit!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Getting healthy.

So I've been keeping a nutrition log so I can keep track of what I have been eating lately.  Not so healthy.  I found this website I like, where you can track your nutrition for free called  You can lookup foods that you have eaten and it will keep track of calories, carbs, protein, fat, etc.  You can also set up your weight and your weight goals.  So according to my doctor, my mom and this website my BMI (body mass index) is in the obese section.  I knew it all along but never wanted to come to terms with it.  So hopefully with the help of this web journal and the P90X nutrition plan I'll be able to get to my goal next month :-)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Leftover veggies from Corned Beef and Cabbage dinner.

So what should I do with the leftover veggies from my delicious Corned Beef and Cabbage dinner??  I thought these veggies would be good in a soup mixture.  I did not have cream of mushroom soup in a long time.  So this morning for breakfast I cut up some of the veggies and put them in the warmed soup... We had a hearty breakfast and now I'm eating leftovers because I napped all day.  I hate wasting food and always looking for new ways to use them.  But then again, in this situation and old way is just as good!!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Stuffed Peppers

So we are on a budget and we are definitely trying our best to stick to it.  Today Rob had a craving for Stuffed Peppers.  We are a bit fuzzy on how Omama did it.  I just remember boiling alot of stuff.  I googled online for a recipe to follow and I found one on  I tweaked the flavor profile just a bit and also made big meatballs from the leftover mixture.

2 lbs ground beef
1 cup uncooked white rice
2 cups water
4 red bell peppers
1 24 oz regular spaghetti sauce
1 16 oz diced tomatoes
Thailand's Golden Mountain Seasoning Sauce (can be found in the Asian section if you don't have a local Asian store, can substitute regular Soy Sauce if you can't find it)
garlic powder
onion powder
Italian seasoned bread crumbs
1 large tomato (optional)
shredded cheese (optional)

1.  Preheat oven 350 degrees F

2.  Place the water and rice into a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover, and cook for 20 minutes.  Cook the ground beef in a skillet until browned.

3.  Remove the tops, seeds and membranes of the red peppers.

4.  In a bowl, mix ground beef, cooked rice, 2/3 of the spaghetti sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and a splash of Seasoning Sauce.  Stuff the mixture into each of the peppers and place into a baking dish.  Mix the rest of the spaghetti sauce with half a can of diced tomatoes and pour over the peppers.

5.  The kids do not like bell peppers so I make meatballs out of the mixture.  Just take the remaining meat mixture and mix with Italian seasoned bread crumbs.  I made about 9.  Put the meatballs in a baking dish and pour the rest of the the diced tomatoes on top.

6.  Thinly sliced the large tomato and garnish the peppers and meatballs.  (This is optional.)  Places both dishes in the over for an hour.  When your peppers are slightly tender, your Stuffed Peppers are finished.

7.  Sprinkle shredded cheese on top of everything.  The kids like almost every cheese but especially Colby/Monterey Jack.  Kids will eat any vegetable as long as its covered in cheese!

You can add about 4 or 5 more bell peppers if you don't want the meatballs.  Again, I make those because the kids do not like bell peppers.  Have fun and enjoy!


Monday, February 28, 2011

Broccoli Salad

So I haven't written for awhile.  Alot has happened since I last posted.  I just haven't been in the mood for food blogging...  I'll start off this month with a recipe I've been promising to my friend Sammie.  This one's for you Miss S.

1 raw, fresh broccoli head
raisins (can substitute dried cranberries or any sweet dried fruit you like)
white sugar
white vinegar
toasted sunflower seeds
crisp bacon
nutmeg (optional)

The best way to cook bacon is in the oven on a broiler pan.  The broiler pan is 2 pieces in one where the top part is slated so the bottom part can catch the drippings.  Perfect every time!  Set aside the bacon to cool.  Start separating, cleaning, and cutting up the broccoli head in pieces.  Throw in a handful of raisins (as little or as much as you want) in the bowl with the clean broccoli.  Add about a cup of mayo, a splash of vinegar, and a few dashes of sugar.  Remember, I don't measure anything.  I go by taste.  So do not forget to taste the mix as you add so you know how much or how little you want of each.  You want just a splash of vinegar so it doesn't overpower the salad.  It helps breaks down the mayo a bit and coats the broccoli better.  Refrigerate for about an hour.  Cut up your bacon.  Before you serve salad, add the toasted sunflower seeds, bacon pieces, and I like to add a bit of nutmeg for that extra flavor.  If you don't have it, the salad tastes just as good without it.  Mix again and enjoy!!


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Mrs. Dash Substitute

So since Rob has to lower his intake of salt, and I'm trying a new diet according to my blood type, I thought I'd go to Shop and Save and buy some ingredients including Mrs. Dash.  It wasn't that expensive, about $4.  When I looked at the ingredients though in the bottle, I realized I practically have almost every ingredient minus the lemon zest and carrot peel.  So I decided to just go home and make my own out of the spices I already have in my cupboard.

Mama Be's Salt Free Seasoning

About 1 tablespoon of each of these spices:

Cayenne Pepper
Black Pepper
Rosemary Leaves
Ground Mustard
Lemonade Mix

Mix through processor to grind rosemary leaves or just shake bottle if you want to keep them intact.  Save the empty spice jars when you run out.  Its easier to store your spice creations in.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Book

There are times when you pick out a new book and you keep reading and reading and you can't seem to put it down.  "Chasing the Dragon" was not ones of those books.  Every time I picked it up, I kept going back to page one and re-reading chapter one.  It was time to move on.  So I changed gears and did something a bit more related to recipes:  Martha Stewart.  This book I picked up at Dollar Tree.  Its basically Martha's guidelines for a solid foundation for a good business.  So far I've gone through Chapter 1 in about 5 minutes.  My interest is peaked and I'm writing down some notes since Martha does know a thing or two about keeping a successful business.