Friday, August 24, 2012

How do I live with Diabetes Type 2 as I get Older?

Here is some really good advice from this video that I got from the Diabetes Awareness Site.

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The DASH Diet: How To Lower Your High Blood Pressure

I decided that I needed to post the DASH Diet in my Diabetes Life Notes because this eating plan is beneficial for people with Diabetes Type 2. I wish I had practised this earlier in my pre-Diabetes Type 2 days. It is never too late!I found this publication at the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Lowering Your Blood Pressure with the DASH Eating Plan, a.k.a. the DASH Diet

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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Content Curation: Gluten-Free Recipes for the Asian Palate

My Twin Nephews, Emmanuel and Christian, with Filipinas Magazine Achievement Awards' Honoree, Dante Basco, and Yours Truly, in 2007

July 20, 2011

Here is something I will enjoy sharing with my twin nephews, Christian and Emmanuel, this summer. I'm their cooking coach! In other words, I started off their dinner preparations by not going through recipe books but by looking at what ingredients were available in the refrigerator and pantry.

My research and development mindset (kicked in by my first commercial baking recipes when I was 15 years old at our bakeshop in Cebu City, Sally's Home Bake Shop) is somehow helping them discover "outside the box" paradigms by knowing a few basic scientific principles about cooking, then working through healthy lifestyle choices.

I am hopeful that by the time they go back to their respective colleges, their last lessons will be about how to shop and stock the pantry and refrigerator, how to use coupons, cooking and baking measurements, how to read recipes, and document their cooking experiments.

I remember the first time they saw how much suet we extracted from boiling two pounds of beef spare ribs (more than a half cup! For now, I'm enjoying having them taste and suggest herbs and spices for their own versions of Fried Rice, Baked Chicken Wings, Honey-Baked Lean Beef Spare Ribs, Mongo Soup, Puspas (or Arroz Caldo), Bam-i, and other simple Asian cuisine. I also made the twins promise me that they will refer to this blog so some of my words will help them discover their own magical touch in healthy foods.

Today, it's all about salads for dinner.

In the meantime, I'm preparing for Lauren's arrival in the USA. She asked me for gluten-free recipes. Here they are!

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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Lorna's Bok Choy Soup for the Soul

I had promised "Small Daddy," my teacher and coach ever since I started this blog in 2007, that I would cook more wholesome food for my family of two (my husband and I). Since I consider vegetable cookery a huge production, I was up to the task of reinventing the art of practical cooking on-the-go.

This is how I developed my penchant for soups, stews, and casseroles. After having lost over five inches from my belly since April of 2009 just by modifying my eating habits, I am determined to keep the weight off.

Today, I am smiling almost like a Lewis Carroll's Cheshire Cat. "Small Daddy" is always right. I feel better after cooking my Bok Choy Soup for the Soul, perfection times 10.

Bok Choy is also known as Chinese Cabbage. Very popular in Chinese cuisine, I don't buy it often unless someone takes me to a huge ethnic supermarket such as Assi Plaza or Super H Mart in Illinois. Ron Salazar is one "foodie" friend who enjoys bringing me out to try neighborhood markets where there is an abundant supply of culturally-diverse ingredients for my intuitive culinary tastes.

Today, my Bok Choy Soup for the Soul is the panacea for my personal challenges. The soup will last me for a few days while I study for my life insurance licensing exam. The thought of Bok Choy Soup as my kick-starter to success warms my heart and allows me to scream inside my head, "I am unstoppable! I am fearless! Watch me, World!"

Bok Choy has a slightly peppery taste and a crunchy "feel." When garnished with fresh-sliced tomatoes, the soup acquires a Filipino "Sinigang" type of flavor.

Some of the recipe's ingredients are peppered with memories of "who gave what" and "how I came to buy this." There Vinicius, my Brazilian friend who gave me the vegetable broth, Knorr's Potinho de Caldo, Legumes. Josephine, the Illinois-based friend gifted me with the Green Onion Miso Soup Mix after a conference. The Ionique Spectra Salt that Ben Menor had turned me on to has only half the sodium of regular salt, boosted by trace minerals (and if you want to buy it, please email me at My new bottle of black peppercorns (with a built-in grinder) was a purchase during a field trip with Ron Salazar and Andy Gaston to Fresh Farms International Market.

From my house to your house, here is my "Bok Choy Soup for the Soul." May it motivate you to keep aiming for your higher good!

Lorna's Bok Choy Soup for the Soul


4 bunches of Bok Choy (enough to fill 3/4's of a 4-quart pot, a 16-cup capacity), about 1 foot long per bunch
2 tbsps. equivalent of fresh ginger, pared, then sliced into half-inch cubes
14 cups of water (to reach 3/4's of the pot)
1/2 cup of finely-diced onions (use a food processor or Cuisinart; prepare ahead of time, then freese until ready to use)
1 cube of vegetable broth OR 1 packet of Brazilian Potinho de Caldo (Legumes) by Knorr

1/4 cup of sliced leftover meat such as roast turkey, chicken, beef, or fish
2 small foil packets of fresh miso paste from any Miso Soup mix, approximately a total of 2 to 3 tbsps., to taste
2 squirts of Ionique Spectra salt (or salt to taste)
A few grinds of black pepper


1. Rinse and slice the bok choy (including the stems) into 1/2-inch portions.
2. Transfer the sliced bok choy into a 4-quart cooking vessel. Add the cubed ginger and diced onions.
3. Add the Brazilian Potinho de Caldo and mix thoroughly.
4. Add about 14 cups water to fill 3/4's of the pot.
5. Cook over medium heat for about 25 minutes.
6. At this point, add 1/4 cup of sliced meat (leftovers are desirable).
7. Add the contents of two small packets of miso paste.
8. Simmer for another 10 minutes over low heat.
9. Squirt Ionique Spectra Salts (two times) or add salt to taste.'
10. Grind some black pepper to taste.
11. Slice some tomatoes to garnish over each bowl of soup.

Note: My husband likes to spike his soup with a little more salt and tabasco sauce.

Here's a YouTube video I found about Vinicius's favorite Potinho de Caldo (Legumes) by Knorr.

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Saturday, December 4, 2010

How To Make Chimichurri Sauce

I've always wanted to know how to make this wonderful sauce that is so popular in Central and South American countries, especially where it originated, in Argentina, where it spikes an Argentinian Asado (or barbecue). Now, I have the recipe! Healthy and delightful... Yummy!

How To Make Chimichurri Sauce

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Easy Baked Fingerling Potatoes, the Ionique Spectra Salt Way

I have another recipe here that calls for baby Dutch yellow potatoes, mushrooms, and butter. When I moved to Chicagoland, I simplified the original recipe which was written in 2007. Since my sister-in-law, Janet, asked me for the recipe this Thanksgiving week-end (and I didn't take photos), I will be editing this posting at a future date.

Nevertheless, I've made this side dish several times. Lakhi Siap, my young friend who is a regular taster in my test kitchen, innovates on this particular potato dish by dividing his baking pan into two sections. He adds garlic on 1/2 of the pan and mozzarella cheese on the other half (after 45 minutes of baking).

For those who are Costco (warehouse club) fans, go to the produce section and look for a bag of fingerling potatoes. You cannot miss them. The bag has an assortment of white, yellow, red, and purple (yes, purple yam-type potatoes, something Filipino "ube" lovers would enjoy) potatoes.

I would scrub these potatoes (using Amway's stainless steel scourer) over running water after squirting them with a little Environne, my favorite "green" vegetable "detergent." I would wipe them dry with a paper towel or clean dish cloth. Then, I would use two pyrex dishes to bake these luscious potatoes: a rectangular 8" x 12" dish and a smaller square dish, the kind you would bake your brownies in (perhaps 8" x8" or 9" x 9").

Since these easy-to-make, no-fuss, baked fingerling potatoes is a suitable side dish for any main entree, I would also season each dish separately so my guests would have choices. Then, during the meal, I can ask them: "Do you want your potatoes with regular salt or low-sodium Ionique Spectra Salt?"

The rectangular dish would get the Montreal Steak Seasoning and sea salt while the smaller square dish would have garlic, Montreal Steak Seasoning and Ionique Spectra Salt, an ultra-low sodium salt substitute that takes away the guilt from tastebuds that ask for more salt than the usual.

Let me know if you're interested in Ionique Spectra Salt. I'm a "newly-minted" Independent Ionique Consultant who can get you started. There are also business opportunities available for those who are curious about them.

Say "Ionique" the same way you would call someone "Monique." The accent is on the third syllable.


Easy Baked Fingerling Potatoes

Before baking: Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.


1 rectangular pyrex (oven-proof, glass) pan
1 square pyrex (oven-proof, glass) pan
1 bag of Costco fingerling potatoes
2 to 3 tbsps. extra virgin olive oil (for each dish, to taste)
2 tsps. sea salt (for the rectangular dish)
4 squirts of Ionique Salt Spectra (for the square dish)
sprinkles of Herbs de Provence seasoning (2 tsps. or more, to taste, for each pyrex pan)
1 to 2 tsps. of Montreal Steak Seasoning (or more, to taste, for each pyrex pan)
1 heaping tbsp. of chopped garlic (fresh or bottled)


1. Clean, scrub, and drain potatoes of water. Wipe dry. Set aside.
2. Prepare pyrex glass pans by drizzling extra virgin olive oil lightly.
3. Arrange potatoes in a single layer on each dish. Tip: I put the larger-size potatoes in one pan.
4. Mix in the potatoes with the oil. Lightly brush or drizzle a little more extra virgin olive oil on top of the potatoes.
5. Season each dish with Herbs de Provence, about two tsps. for each dish.
6. Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes.
7. Take out the rectangular and square pans from the oven and season the potatoes.
- For the rectangular dish, add Montreal Steak Seasoning and sea salt.
- For the square dish, squirt Ionique Salt Spectra (four squirts in four different areas of the dish)
- Combine the seasonings with the potatoes. Mix thoroughly.
8. Cover the dishes with aluminum foil. The rest of the cooking time is devoted to "steaming" and softening the potatoes with the rest of the seasonings.
9. Return the dishes to the oven. Bake for another 15 or 20 minutes. Leave the aluminum foil cover on top of the dish to keep it warmed for your guests. This dish can be reheated although the skins might get crinkly. The crinkly skin does not affect the soft, buttery taste of the potatoes.
10. It is always best to test-taste a potato for "doneness."

Cooking Notes:

Sometimes, I reduce the temperature of the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. The cooking time is longer, of course.

I found a recipe for Montreal Steak Seasoning here. I haven't tried it yet BUT it should be comparable.

About Ionique Spectra Salt: (quoted from the website)

The nutritional supplement that tastes like salt and helps reduce sodium consumption by 50%.

Most people love the taste of salt. Who doesn’t? But research has linked high salt intake with increased blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and other conditions. Current U.S. dietary guidelines recommend that healthy adults consume less than 2,300 mg of sodium daily—that’s one teaspoon. Middle-aged and older adults and those with high blood pressure should consume 1,500 mg.

Spectra SaltTM from Ionique® makes it easy to reduce sodium intake while ensuring you receive beneficial and balanced levels of other essential minerals and trace minerals. Spectra SaltTM is designed to be used anywhere salt is desired, but it provides lower amounts of sodium and higher RDAs of other essential minerals and trace minerals like iodine, magnesium, zinc, selenium, copper, manganese, chromium, molybdenum, chloride, sodium, potassium, sulfate, and boron.

Refined table salt is sodium and chloride with valuable minerals and trace minerals being deliberately removed during the refining process. Sea salts and hand-extracted salts may not be better either. Most of these sea salts are 98 to 99 percent sodium and chloride. Only patent-pending Spectra SaltTM provides nutritionally significant levels of every essential mineral and trace mineral (with the exception of iron). With Spectra SaltTM, you enhance the depth and richness of food, add a complete balance of essential mineral nutrition of food, and reduce sodium!

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Lorna's Adobong Kangkong

On November 21, 2009, I went on a "foodie" field trip with Ron Salazar, a dear friend who works at the Mayor of Chicago's Office of Special Events. He wanted me to sample some of the best "foodie" haunts in Uptown Chicago, at the famous Argyle Street, or simply known as "Argyle." Although this strip has many Vietnamese owned-and-managed restaurants, groceries, and produce stores, I quickly became a fan when Ron took me to a bakery, La Patisserie, which featured some of the best Filipino baked products I've ever tasted, such as pan de sal, pan de coco, and hopia. Oh me, oh my, I was in "foodie" heaven!

One of my great "buys" that Saturday was kangkong, aka Chinese water spinach or swamp cabbage. I refrigerated a hefty bunch of kangkong --- and I plotted and schemed on what I would serve that Friday for our Thanksgiving dinner: "Adobong Kangkong for my brother, David, and his wife Janet, when they visit us on Black Friday all the way from Missouri!"

Cooking Adobong Kangkong was SO easy. Washing the vegetables was another matter. For those who know me well, any vegetable dish takes a lot of cleaning time for me. I was SO busy cleaning the kangkong that when the dish was cooked, I forgot to take a photo of the finished product.

Here is my recipe.


- 1 huge bowl of kangkong (swamp cabbage) about 4 to 6 cups, stalks and leaves trimmed and placed in separate containers, washed and drained
- 1 lb. of pork, washed, drained, then sliced into 1/2-inch pieces, then marinated in about 2 tbsps. soy sauce, just enough to coat meat (low sodium preferred; this can be prepared at least a day in advance, then stored in a ziploc bag)
- 1/4 cup of Datu Puti white vinegar
- 1/4 cup soy sauce (low sodium preferred)
- 1 heaping tbsp. of prepared minced garlic from the bottle
- 1 white onion, diced
- 1 bouquet gaarni of Lorna's aromatics (see Lorna's Humba recipe or see below)


1. Prepare a saucepan (stainless steel, teflon, or other non-acid reactive pan) by heating it with about 2 tbsps. of olive oil.

2. Saute garlic until light yellow, then add onions. Stir-fry in medium heat until the onions turn translucent. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Add the pork slices and brown for a few minutes. The resulting broth will flavor the Adobong Kangkong.

3. Add the bouquet gaarni and perch the muslin bag onto the side of the saucepan. Make sure that the bouquet gaarni touches the broth in the sauce pan.

4. Add soy sauce and vinegar. Bring to a boil.

5. Add the kangkong stalks. Allow to cook and soften, maybe about 5-10 minutes.

6. Add the kangkong leaves. Mix the pork and broth with the leaves. Cover the saucepan. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the kangkong is slightly wilted. Some cooks prefer a wilted Adobong Kangkong (like me!).

7. Serve with steamed rice.

Note: You can use other vegetables, such as Bok Choy, snap peas, spinach, string beans, cabbage, or whatever you have in your refrigerator for a nice Adobong Vegetable dish.

The Bouquet Gaarni

A bundle of spices and herbs, the aromatics, are placed in a square of muslin cloth and tied together with butcher twine ("lambo"). I use a muslin bag sachet normally used for tea and I fill it up with my aromatics. If you don't have any of the above but you have a tea strainer, you can use this, too.

I prefer using a bouquet gaarni instead of mixing the aromatics with the meat or vegetable mixture because I don't like biting into peppercorns or cardamon seeds. The bouquet gaarni is braised with the rest of the ingredients and is removed before eating.

Bon Appetit!

Ingredients for Bouquet Gaarni:

4 pieces of Star Anise dried flowers
2 whole cinnamon sticks, split in half (the original length is 3-inch sticks)
6 small bay leaves (or laurel leaves)
1 to 2 tbsps. whole black peppercorns
16 cardamon seeds (whole, unpeeled)

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