I can’t remember the last time i had pumpkin soup so when our friend gave us some, I knew I had to make some for ourselves and freeze some too. It was unbelievably easy to make so why not make a pot for tonight?
1L chicken or vegetable stock (or 2 chicken cubes)
1/4 cup all purpose cream
Heat oil in a large saucepan over low heat, add onion and leek and cook for 2-3 minutes, until softened but not coloured. Add garlic and spices and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add pumpkin, potato and stock and bring to the boil. Turn heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, then blend in batches.
Return soup to pan, stir through cream and reheat gently. Season and add a little more nutmeg if desired.
Freeze some so you can have this hearty soup anytime! Great for babies too.
I just wanted to take advantage of the empty Manila roads last Friday, so while Bryce was having his own vacation in Baguio, we decided to have an impromptu road trip to Tagaytay (actually, it was just me. The hubby just gave in to my pangungulit/hehe.) I wanted to have a nice lunch and Marcia Adams’ restaurant immediately came to mind. I first read about Marcia Adams’ restaurant from Our Awesome Planet, but the post was way back in 2009, so I googled it again for their contact info. Fortunately, they are open even though it was Good Friday, and even better, walk-ins are welcome since there were only few diners that day. We got there at little past 2pm and the last diners were already packing up so we basically had the place to ourselves. All I can say is the trip was totally worth it. This is one of my posts which I will allow the pictures to speak for themselves. The place is simply awesome… As you know, I adore rustic interiors and this place is LOVE! Look at all those reclaimed woods used in the ceiling beams, the exposed clay tile roofing, the machuca tiles on the floor (I have forgotten to take a picture of the toilet ), the vintage chairs and hardwood tables! If I saw this 10 years ago, I would have hated it, but now, it reminds me of the my Nanay Vec’s house in Pasig. Even their table napkins look vintage and smelled similar to that of my grandaunt’s clothes. They have fresh flower arrangements everywhere adding to the vibrance of the place. It’s like dining in my lola’s house but way, way better. Well, they say the place is Tuscan-inspired, but I’ve never been to Tuscany. I googled “Tuscany restaurant” and the place was indeed Tuscan. Hehe! It would have been better if we had wine but I’m still breastfeeding so hopefully next time… I could take pictures in the garden all day long if we weren’t toting a sleepy 5-month old baby. I wanted whimsical photos of myself because the place looks like I have walked into The Secret Garden and I am Mary Lennox! Unfortunately, no one can take good photos of me. I asked my sister to take a photo of me and Kenya in the garden and this is what I got. Haha! And now to the food… Complimentary bread and olive oil were served while we waited for our orders. There is a minimum cover charge of P700 per adult but that includes an appetizer, the main course and dessert. There were two choices for the appetizer, Soup of the Day or Amalfi Prawns (which was very yummy, by the way, I just wish there were yang chow fried rice. Hehehe!) For the main course, I ordered Chicken Kebab; my sister had Grilled Aromatic Pork and my husband had the Corsican Beef Stew. We shared our orders but I love mine the best. Haha! Next time, I will try their Shish Kebabs. We all had an extra cup of rice (naturally!) so after finishing the main course, we were all so full. Before I could ask the waiter to hold the dessert for later, they were already on our table looking oh so yummy (We had Grilled Orange with Ice Cream, Fried Banana with Dark Chocolate Dip and Banana Split.) They all looked tempting despite our already full stomach. They were immediately devoured and I only remembered to take photos when they were almost gone. That’s one of the reasons why I cannot be a food blogger. One of the staff told us that they are planning to have Bed and Breakfast. In fact, two rooms are already built but are not yet operational. Hopefully, when we take our year-end break, Marcia Adams’ BnB is already open. We will definitely be back for more experience, photo op and hopefully a cup of coffee in the afternoon. Maybe sans the kids too? I guess not… For more up information about Marcia Adams’, you can visit their Facebook Page or you can read more about the place and their menu on Lynne’s blog. To get to the restaurant coming from Tagaytay rotunda, take the road going to Nasugbu, Batangas. Once you see the Residence Inn Zoo on your left, turn right immediately after the arch with pineapple. You’ll see a colorful Tuscan door on your left 150 meters ahead.
Our househelp who knows how to cook left a month ago. We have a new one though but cooking is not exactly one of her skills. So I’m now back to being in charge with the family meals. For the past few months, I’ve been wishing for extra hours. Everyday is a struggle to juggle work, feeding Kenya, having time for Bryce, a little exercise and of course, trying to find time for my beloved blog. Most of the time, I don’t have an hour or two to prepare our meals and so we often resort to take-aways. I hate it because 1) I’m not sure how the food was prepared 2) It’s greasy, it’s unhealthy and it’s boring 3) It’s expensive 4) I don’t like Bryce being exposed to fast foods 5) Hubby and I are trying to eat clean.
I used to freeze meals but just one or two dishes, usually it is chili con carne or laing (taro leaves in spicy coconut cream) which freezes well and seems to get better over time. One day, I came across this thing called once-a-month cooking. It’s not exactly cooking all dishes in one day but rather preparing your month-worth meals in one day so that all you have to do is take the frozen meal out of the freezer the night before and then just dump it in the slow cooker or pop it in the oven when you’re ready to cook.
It sounds like the answer to my prayer so I made my own freezer meal plan–Filipino style! Did you know that it took me more than 5 hours to come up with the first set of recipes?! Haha! I had to consider prep time (I don’t have the whole day), family’s taste, available ingredients and my househelp’s ability to cook it on her own.
I have 3 dishes ready for the slow cooker, 3 for frying or baking and 3 for microwave (already cooked,when I’m feeling too lazy to even turn on the oven or slow cooker.) By the way, I think every household should have a slow cooker. I am so grateful to my Ninang Baby who introduced me to slow cooker. Life became so much easier and yummier when you can dump all ingredients at once in the pot before you hit the bed and wake up with a freshly cooked meal.
So here’s how I tackled the challenge. We went grocery shopping (my grocery list for my freezer meal plan) Tuesday night and marinated the pork for adobo right after dinner. I started quite late the following morning at 10am instead of the planned 8am. I cooked the adobo first and while it was simmering, I browned the beef for the stew and prepared the veggies. By 11am, the beef stew was all good in the slow cooker. I had to take a break to feed Kenya and went back to work at 11:45. I was done with the three slow cooker-ready meals after an hour. It would have been faster if I bought ready-made alfredo sauce but it was P190.00 a jar and I needed two! Being cheapo me, I decided to just make my own. Another break for lunch and then finished the tapa by 3pm. Another feeding and I fell asleep with Kenya and Bryce. I did the meatloaf the following day and decided not to cook the chili anymore since I don’t have enough space in the freezer.
My proud moment and our well-stocked freezer. Ziplock really does wonder! :)
Each prepared meal is good for 2-3 meals and can feed 3 adults and 1 fuzzy eater kid; this should be enough for two weeks. But since we’re going to have salad night every Tuesday and Friday and fish/veggies 2-3 times a week (to be bought from the local wet market on the same day), I think I could stretch this for a whole month! Our grocery cost for these including my pantry essentials and some other home stuff and toilettries: P6,957.59. Pretty cheap if our next grocery trip will be a month from now considering our average weekly grocery bill is P3,000.
Now I wish I have a bigger freezer so I can store frozen pasta, bread, more breakfast meals like burrito and home-made corned beef. Oops, I just realized, we don’t have room for ice cream!!!