Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Trading California Sunshine for Bogota Skyline

Last November, I was fortunate enough to travel to Colombia for the first time. I had the time of my life experiencing new things like frothy lulo juice, winding through La Linea that carves the central Andes, vallenato, visiting an underground mine-turned-cathedral made of salt, and drinking good ol' aguardiente on a curb outside of a nightclub at 3 in the morning. Best birthday ever.

In two days, I return to Bogota for the entire summer to participate in an economic development program called Plan Padrinos at Universidad Externado de Colombia. MBA students from universities all around the world will be working alongside UEC MBA students in reaching out to small local businesses in Bogota to help them develop and implement better business plans. It's all very exciting!

Or at least it should be. To be honest I'm a little envious hearing about everyone's summer plans of hiking, beaching, sunbathing, bonfires, etc. But even more so, I am sad I'll be gone for it all--especially the part where I miss my sisters' 21st and 10th birthdays, grad parties and my sister's engagement party. I'll be 8,000ft high up in the sky where the sun rises and sets at the same time every single day and the weather is overcast on most. All this to say: I already miss California. Even though I know I'll return in a couple of months, it's always hard to leave home.

Monday, June 10, 2013


Sometimes you just need to. The Internet is noisy and it's important to have clarity every once in a while.

Over a year ago I deleted my Facebook account (and have since brought it back only to add people I actually want to keep in touch with), replaced my smartphone with one with only talk & text capabilities and have since made a conscious effort to work on real people skills. And also to work on myself, whatever that means.

By popular demand I'm plugged back into the blog world. I thought about creating a new one, but the concept of "breadlily" is still very relevant to me so this little piece of the world wide web will stay and continue to be developed. Enjoy!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Ramen Weekend

In a past lifetime I thought food was my enemy. In particular, I thought ramen was radioactive processed food that you eat only when you are in college or when you get too busy and careless to mind your diet. Now, it's one of my favorite things to eat. My fiance's version, of course.

The prep work for D's ramen is neither cheap nor easy. There is nothing processed about it when you take an entire weekend to prepare one simple dish. He's been perfecting his ramen for about two years now, and outdoing himself each time. At first bite, one word popped up into my head: euphoric. I seriously felt elevated after a bowl of this stuff.

The finished product. Umami overload!

It took at least fifteen tries to get the perfect meat/vegetable broth/dashi ratio.

The chef at his work station.

There was pork belly prepared two ways. Here it is all rolled up and ready for the oven...

...and here's the pork belly confit being seared. 

Probably my favorite part of the ramen.

Thanks to the bestie, Lauren, for documenting the entire process!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

April Lilies

Building the family practice, studying for exams, searching for a new home. These are all things that have been weighing me down and keeping me uber busy to the max. Of course I receive enormous support from everyone around me (and I'm extremely grateful), but here are some material things that have helped to make life a little easier. My lilies of the moment.
My beautifully minimalist-designed travel tea mug from DavidsTea.com. Recommend their tea accessories but definitely not their tea, unless you like drinking potpourri and/or chemicals.

My sister introduced me to my new favorite iPhone app = Nike Training Club. If you're serious about getting fit, download it. Right now. The workouts range from whole body workouts to more targeted ones, and I've been doing them after my morning runs. The workouts totally kick your ass. Promise.

Melissa + Campana Zig Zag shoes in red. Best impulse buy ever. I'm not usually a fan of jelly shoes, but these babies are ridiculously comfy, recycled & recyclable, beautifully packaged (cylinder box not pictured) and ethically responsible. Completely guilt-free. My only complaint is that they're heavily perfumed, probably due to it being made of recycled plastics.

What's brightening your days lately?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Almond Joy Bites

Had to use up the rest of the coconut flakes, so I made these babies before bedtime. It's a simple and easy dessert recipe that requires no baking at all. It's also gluten-free! ...but still heavy on the calories and sugar content, so watch out. This recipe makes for 2 dozen. You can always opt to make the bites smaller and drizzle the chocolate over them instead of dipping in chocolate.

Unlike most things I make for the first time, I have to say these came out pretty well. D had three right after one another before I could even have my first bite. He says they're better than the real thing. Hearing this makes my day.

1 1/2 cups coconut flakes
1/4 cup raw honey
1 tbsp coconut oil or cream
1 tbsp coconut flour
24 almonds
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Mix flakes, honey, coconut oil/cream and flour into a medium bowl. You might have to use your hands for this. If the filling is not stiff, chill in the refrigerator. Otherwise, roll the filling between your palms into 1" balls and place onto Silpat liner or parchment paper. Press an almond into the center of each ball and chill in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes.

While chilling, prepare your chocolate. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave in 30-second intervals or place them into a small pot on low heat. Make sure to stir every 30-seconds, so the chocolate melts evenly and doesn't burn.

Once the bites are chilled, spoon the melted chocolate onto each. If you can find a way to dip the bites without falling apart, you can do that. Or, just drizzle chocolate over for calories. Let them chill in the fridge for another 20 minutes.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Mango Coconut Cookies

As promised, a coconut oil recipe. Thought I'd go with dessert first, since I like my meals that way. I took a basic chocolate chip cookie recipe, but I substituted for mangoes and coconuts for choco chips.

1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2+ cup flour
1 cup diced mangoes (I used TJ's mango chunks, but you can use dried mangoes when out of season)
3/4 cup coconut flakes

Pre-heat oven to 350F, line cookie sheets with Silpat liners or parchment paper, or spray with cooking oil.

Cream together sugars and coconut oil in a large bowl. Mix in egg, vanilla extract, salt and cinnamon. Add the baking soda, baking powder and flour--mix until combined. The dough should be thicker and drier than usual. Stir in the mangoes. You'll notice the water content from the mangoes will thin out the dough. If this makes the dough too wet, add in more flour, but be careful--adding too much flour can make your cookies too "cake-y". Fold in coconut flakes. Cover bowl with saran wrap and let sit in the refrigerator for 1 hour or in the freezer for 15-20 minutes.

Scoop the chilled cookie dough into 1-inch balls on the cookie sheet with 2 inches between them. Sprinkle coconut flakes onto each cookie. Bake for 12-15 minutes. It's okay if the cookies are still soft in the middle as they will continue to firm while cooling. Let cool for 20 minutes. Enjoy them warm or seal them in an air-tight container.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Use Your Coconut

From Zico to O.N.E. to Vita Coco, coconut water brands have been popping up left and right. You'd think, being an islander-blooded health nut, I'd have a few cases of this sweet nutritious water stashed away at my place. But I don't. In fact, I've never even tried, or considered trying, coconut water sold by an American company. For me, coconut water is meant to be drunk from the coconut itself right after it's been picked off the tree. It also has to be a Philippine coconut. And not just any Philippine coconut. A coconut from my late grandfather's farm.

When I visit my mother's hometown in Zambales (a province in northwestern Philippines), every morning my grandpa would hack a few coconuts picked from his farm and drew its clear nectar into a big pitcher for the whole family to share over breakfast. Sometimes he'd open one especially for me, and stick a straw in it like they do in the movies. There is nothing like the taste of fresh buko (Tagalog for coconut) straight from the source.

All this to say... I'm picky about my coconuts.

In a series of weekly vlogs called "Thursday Latelies", Bex from BexADiary (she's cheery and totally fabulous) gushed about her new moisturizer: a jar of organic coconut oil. Didn't think much of it, other than remembering the huge jars of coconut oil my mother brought back whenever she visited the Philippines. I'm not even sure if we ever used them...

On a recent grocery run to Trader Joe's I spotted the miracle elixir on sale for $5.99. Organic and grown in the Philippines? Had to get it; couldn't leave the store without it. I'm not sure how much organic virgin coconut oil usually runs for, but I figured it's still cheaper than a bottle of my beloved Creme de Corps from Kiehl's. Plus, I could use it for more than just my skin. So I bought two--one for cooking, one for beauty.

I've had it for only a few days and I am completely obsessed. I use coconut oil as an overnight hair mask. I use it as makeup remover, and it's SO much better than what I was using before. I use it as moisturizer, face and body. I spread it over toast for breakfast. I'm planning to use it in several recipes. The list goes on.

The best part about it all is that coconut oil is super fatty, which means it tastes good, yet it does your body good. It's also vegan, which I'm not, but it's always good to consume ethically, right? Right. So grab yourself a jar of TJ's coconut oil and stay tuned for coconut oil recipes.