VEGETARIAN WHO?!

I know I have talked about this before (maybe a little more than I should) but now that I’m getting close to some real holiday celebrations, I might as well write something about it again.
About three months (?) ago, I decided to get into something I never thought I’d ever get myself into. I’ve always been an absolute carnivore and it’s always been a struggle to eat vegetables. But having a small part of me that is always curious over a lot of things which leads me to try different stuff on the most random times, I ended up deciding on getting myself into vegetarianism.

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If you’ve been with me since I started the journey, you should know how days went and how much of a struggle the first few days have been. I must admit that right now, this whole system’s not too difficult for me anymore. Yes, there are days when I find it hard to find something to eat but I have this new found excitement to find good food without meat (exploring different food places is super fun too). BUT as exciting as the last few months have been, I know I cannot forgive myself if I let the holidays pass without enjoying the celebrations completely. And honestly, I don’t think I would enjoy the celebrations to the fullest if I would continue depriving myself of meat.

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So with all the holiday dinners, vacations and (possibly) family reunions that are lined up for the weeks ahead, I just know that I need to allow myself to eat meat again. But that does not go without any challenge at all. The challenge for me would be to control the amount of food I’ll be taking in. I have lost a good amount of weight already (blog for that coming soon) so I need to make sure that I don’t gain them back just because I allowed myself to eat meat for a couple of weeks. I don’t know how the next few weeks would go but you can bet that I cannot wait to enjoy the celebrations with all the meat already. I’ll think about how I’ll transition back to vegetarianism (or if I would) once the celebrations are all over. I honestly can’t be bothered to think about right now.

So for the next three (?) weeks ahead, I’ll try my best to write about how the festivities would go for me. Hopefully, I’ll get to sneak in some exciting food features in between too! Right now, I need to start calming myself down because my carnivorous self is just so ready to be unleashed!

 

GIFs are from giphy.com

 

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Day 40 – LAST DAILY POST!

We’ve arrived to the day when I’ll write my last daily post. This does not mean though that I will be abandoning this blog anymore. As hassle as this whole thing is, I know I’m doing something I truly enjoy so I wouldn’t let go of this anymore…

My mom and I had a pretty good breakfast. She had fried rice with longganisa and dried fish while I ate our leftover Mattari Okonomiyaki from our dinner at Chibo Okonomiyaki last night. We didn’t bother preparing anything else because we’ll be heading out for a surprise birthday celebration for one of our family friends. When we got there though, I didn’t get to eat much (I think) because, obviously, they wouldn’t adjust their menu for me. Luckily, they had penne with white sauce and mixed vegetables with quail eggs so I still got to eat something. It was a rather intimate party (considering how big our community is) and it seemed like everyone had a lot of fun. Maybe I did to because the time went by so fast. After the party, mom and I headed to the closest mall to finish up on our Christmas gift list which we packed when we got home a couple of hours ago. Before heading home, we grabbed something to eat at Project Pie (again cos mom’s total sucker for good pizzas). We had the usual… mom had all-meat pizza while I had no-meat pizza and we ordered our favorite James’ Project. It’s a salad with mixed greens, candied walnuts, feta cheese, craisins and raspberry vinaigrette. The sweetness of the raspberry is very subtle and getting a serving of all the components makes everything so much better.

It’s been a really good weekend. Probably one of the best in a very long time. There is just something about the holidays that makes me really happy and spirited and excited for a lot of different things. I don’t know how to feel about the fact that I am not longer gonna be posting everyday but I guess this is all for the best. I want to stop compromising my posts just to meet my daily requirements. Keep watching out for my future posts. I’ll make sure to make them better in terms of content and flow. Sleeping happy tonight, yehey!

Day 37 – CHANGE IS COMING!

I couldn’t be happier for everything I ate today. It might have been too much but they’re all pretty good stuff so that’s really good for me (I guess).

 

Today, I had to skip work because I needed to attend to a couple of personal errands and because I try my best to not burn myself out from work. My job requires me to put in some extra hours in a lot of different circumstances so I make sure to use my offset whenever I could so I don’t end up tiring myself too much. Before heading out, I didn’t get to eat something so by the time I got back from my morning errands I was already feeling super hungry. On the way home though, I bought Spinach Lasagna from Sbarro which they served with their garlic bread (I don’t remember having one before but boy it was sooo good!) and Starbucks’ Cinnamon Sticky Buns. I don’t mind spending some credits for food, okay? The Spinach Lasagna was a little bland so I had to sprinkle some iodized salt and add some Sriracha (don’t judge) on it. It’s not even because there wasn’t any meat at all. It’s more of the fact that it really lacks seasoning because I taste the tomatoes and the cream from its sauces but it just didn’t seem like it had the right amount of saltiness to it. Overall though, I totally enjoyed it. A little seasoning would have just made it perfect.

 

After eating, I rested a bit before sneaking in a couple of hours of sleep. It just wouldn’t be an appropriate rest day without some good nap. I had to wake up few hours after though to attend to my lola and make some snacks for my mom (I still had the Cinnamon Sticky Buns so I ate that then). Our afternoon snacks were a little heavy that I decided to just heat some Cream of Asparagus Soup (Campbell’s) and cooked some small pieces of eggplant with oyster sauce, butter, garlic and Sriracha. It was a nice way to cap this night off.

 

Again, I’m super happy that I am finally getting to eat better. Although the past days weren’t the best circumstances in terms of chances to eat but at least I had this day to kickstart my attempt to make my eating habits better. I’ve also been thinking a lot about posting everyday. I’m considering limiting my posts to maybe 2 to 3 times a week. It’s not just about the lack of interesting stuff everyday (although, it’s true that my days aren’t really interesting). It’s just that I feel like I am compromising the quality of my posts because I am too pressured to post everyday. So I am seriously thinking about slowing easing out of posting every night and planning my posts to make it 3 posts weekly at most. It’ll cover restaurant reviews (new category yey), weekly weight updates (hopefully I get to fix our weighing scale already) and basically the changes that are happening to me and my eating habits (if I end up losing the motivation to continue being vegetarian then at least I have other uses for this blog with the new categories coming… but hopefully I won’t quit too soon). Changes are always exciting for me so I’ll push myself to stay in the system for as long as I can. If not, we’ll see how things will pull through.

Day 36 – A DAY AFTER SPLURGING!

Yesterday, I literally splurged for my lunch out (date with my self cos why the hell not?). I got to Chibo Okonomiyaki wanting to order just one dish but ended up ordering a total of three and for a single meal, I may have spent too much. That was definitely my all-time high in terms of how much I spend on one meal. So with yesterday’s extravagance, I knew I’d be facing this day with a lot less budget (huhuhu) but instead of planning my meals for the day, I just got through it without any plans at all.

 

Rushing to the office, I skipped breakfast. To be honest, I’m getting used to this whole set-up already. Like I feel my body has adjusted to the fact that I have not been eating breakfast much lately so it’s not looking for food when I wake up anymore (or not as much as it did before, at least). My first actual meal was when I got to our exhibit already. I had a quick lunch with one of our project supervisors and I had them choose where they wanted to eat. They had not gotten any good meals over the last few days of set-up as well and I didn’t want to feel like a burden being all too picky with food. They decided to eat at Shakey’s and by the time I got back from getting some cash (some of the few ones I have left) they have already order for our bunch. They got a huge plate of salat, vegetarian pizza, spaghetti (with garlic bread) and fried chicken. I appreciate the fact that they made sure I got something to eat considering the fact that they didn’t even let me pay after eating our meal. The salad was pretty straight forward (though I had to carefully take out some of the ham the had on it) with very generic thousand island dressing. The pizza wasn’t anything special as well. The toppings were tomatoes, mushroom (canned button mushrooms), some cheese and I tasted bits of garlic as well. I didn’t expect much primarily because it’s a fastfood chain so there isn’t much to ask from them. I’d totally choose Yellow Cab’s Garden Special over that pizza we ate earlier though (but are they even comparable…). It was a good meal, I had a couple of slices of pizza, good serving of salad and some bits of bread as well. It was a good way to celebrate finishing our exhibit well.

 

On the way home, I wanted to get something to eat and I ended up buying whatever I saw. I got ice cream, fresh corn, bibingka, vegetable spring roll and microwave popcorn. I bought too much that I’m still feeling super full right now. I didn’t even bother preparing dinner anymore.

 

I just love the fact how people are starting to help me out through this whole process. I am still not completely careful yet and I still get fantasies over meat but I’m very determined to keep going. Although, if I have to admit, I am seriously thinking about easing out of this whole system. If anything, what I want to get out of this whole process is for me to lessen my need for meat. I think the best possible outcome that I could get from this (because, obviously, I can’t do this forever…) is for me to end up inclining on vegetables more. I’ll try to write more about this in a different post but yeah. A lot of thinking to do but I’ll continue pushing (maybe until I stop craving for meats lol).

Day 33 – IDEAL WEEKEND!

I couldn’t even remember the last time my mom and I went out on a Sunday to celebrate mass and basically bond all day. Either I’m too busy with work or we’re trying to limit our expenses. So this day has been really awesome because finally I got to spend my weekend as good as I would hope.

 

My mom woke me up to tell me that I need to get up already so we can have our breakfast together. I remember teasing her yesterday because she has been eating before I wake up so I jokingly told her yesterday that she should wait for me next time. When I got up, there wasn’t exactly any breakfast yet but since we had loads of stuff on stock we took a couple of food out and heated it while brewing a couple of cups of coffee. I had some leftover Pancit Habhab and pancakes which may have been one of the better breakfasts I’ve had for weeks! I ate pretty well that I ended up skipping lunch (plus I was super lazy to prepare my own food). I made sure though to get loads of popcorn while we watch and local film mid-afternoon.

 

It’s been a pretty good way to spend my weekend. We managed to tick off more than half of our Christmas shopping list (we have very limited stuff to buy though) before watching the film and when we got out, we had my graduation picture scaled down for a smaller frame and had my college diploma framed as well. We attended the mass and went back to the mall to wrap the night up with customized pizzas (I had tomato-based pizza with mushrooms, ricotta and mozzarella cheese, caramelized onions, bell peppers, garlic, basil and broccoli) and our favorite salad from Project Pie. Definitely needed this day to go well because I have such a hectic week ahead! Gotta grind well this week! (I’m already counting the remaining days before our company’s holiday break cos why not, right?) GAHD I LOVE THE HOLIDAAAYS. CAN’T WAIT FOR CHRISTMAS ALREADY HUHUHU.

 

 

 

4 MUST TRY MEAT-FREE DISHES!

Tonight, I am celebrating my first month of being vegetarian.

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Well, it wasn’t the easiest especially for an absolute carnivore like me. I could literally devour a dozen pieces of fried chicken in one sitting (ask my friends who once gave me a bucket of KFC fried chicken as their birthday gift for me). I may have a lot of inconsistencies as well when it comes to my eating habits but I am confident enough to say that I managed to stay within the whole vegetarian system for 31 days now. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? 31 FREAKING DAYS!

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Through those first 31 days of being vegetarian, I got to eat in different places I otherwise would not have eaten at. Among all the foods I got to try, there were absolute standouts. These standouts definitely made my experience less of a struggle and more of a memorable experience for me. So in this post, I’m sharing 4 of my most favorite vegetarian-friendly dishes which I have tried over the last few weeks (I’ll most likely drool while writing this…). 

Shitake Mushroom and Malunggay Burger (The Urban Farm)

I came in their place in BF Parañaque with absolutely no expectations. It was quiet when I got there and I had the place all for myself when I ate. Their menu has some pretty good choices but somehow, I decided to try their burger as soon as I saw it.

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They serve their burger with, what seemed like, sweet potato chips. It was crisp and the sweetness of the sweet potato was definitely coming through (Tip: add a little sprinkle of salt). The star of the show isn’t their chips though– it’s their burger. The patty’s sandwiched in a simple bun with oats on top, lettuce, raw onions (which I took out) and puréed tomatoes. It was a rather straightforward combination, which gives a more distinguishable focus on the bun itself. If you eat the burger without knowing what it was, you’ll definitely find it difficult to distinguish what it’s made of. It maybe a little dry but that’s totally understandable for me. What I love most about it is the fact that even with the prominence of the rest of the ingredients, the patty still holds on its own. You definitely would recognize that the patty is there. It’s not at all bland, maybe not as meaty as regular patties (TOTALLY JUSTIFIABLE) and works so well with everything that’s on the plate (IT’S NOT GREASY TOO)! It was a really great way to start my vegetarian journey.

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The Urban Farm Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Agedashi Tofu (Kenji Tei Ramen House)

I’ll admit: I found it really hard to decide which of the two Agedashi Tofus that I have tried is better. But, I am settling with Kenji Tei’s.

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I’ll have to give it to the tofu itself. I am not sure what type of tofu they used for this because I don’t have any prior experience with different types of tofus. But, if I will have to put my guess on something, I’ll guess that they used silken tofu (WILD GUESS). It definitely tasted like that soy they use in taho, which made it feel weird when I first bit on it. It was a little sweet with distinguishable hints of that soy taste and is very much unlike the regular tofus I normally get from local markets. I also love the fact that the breading wasn’t overwhelming at all. It was still very light and the breading was enough to add a good texture to it. It pairs well with the lightness of their donburi sauce as well. I would have definitely finished the entire serving of it if I didn’t order their Yakisoba with it…

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Mazesoba (Uma Uma Ramen)

I have, for the longest time, shared articles about dishes that are rated by other food enthusiasts. But, I never actually put an effort to visit the places or try the foods they wrote about. Uma Uma was an exception. I guess I read the article about their Mazesoba at the best possible time. I was near the place, I didn’t have anything to blog about yet and I was hungry. So I literally hunted it down!

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On the article I read, they wrote about 7 of the best ramens there is in Singapore and there it was, in all its glory, Uma Uma’s Mazesoba. I read about it and saw that it didn’t have actual meat on it. My only concern was, their broth might be meat-based like how it normally is for ramens, which would be a total deal breaker. Luckily, they didn’t serve it with broth. It was a dry ramen (or whatever that’s called, educate me please) that takes most of its sauce from the runny yolk of the onsen egg. No, I haven’t tried many kinds of ramen yet. Neither have I tried a legit bowl of ramen straight from Japan (BUT HOPEFULLY SOON) but their Mazesoba is by far the one of the best ramens I have tried. The ingredients they served it with worked well together. By paper, it seemed a little too simple but eating everything together was a complete surprise. I particularly love the kick their chili oil adds. It was a good hit.

Anyone would definitely not miss the depth ramen broths’ provide because of how well everything works. Maybe next time I’ll pay for additional soba and onsen eggs…

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Truffle Mac and Cheese (Mama Lou’s Italian Kitchen)

I liked it so much that I could still literally taste it in my head. And I know, I know that it’s probably because truffle’s becoming mainstream lately so I’m probably just too overwhelmed but the thing is… truffle (oil) is one of those ingredients that you need to know how much to put because it could make or break your dish. They finished their mac and cheese with the right amount of truffle oil that did not sacrifice the taste of the pasta on its own at all. I honestly believe that even without the addition of truffle oil, I’d still consider it one of the better mac and cheese plates I have tried.

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Nope, I haven’t tried many mac and cheese in my life yet so there isn’t much to compare it with but I am very bias with dishes that I couldn’t cook myself. I know it’s just basic béchamel sauce with a mix of different cheeses and sometimes finished off with some ground nutmeg so why can’t I cook it myself, right?! See… cheeses are hella expensive here in the Philippines so there’s no way I’ll get to cook my own mac and cheese on a regular day basis (I’ll probably kill more than a thousand pesos worth of cheese to cook a serving alone). So if I were to crave for one, I’d definitely go back to Mama Lou’s and have an order of it again! Let me know if you tried better ones, I’ll make sure to try them when I can!

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It’s been nothing but pure fun. Again, it’s been difficult and I am still struggling until now (it doesn’t help to watch samgyeopsal or mukbang videos late at night). But, I am determined to keep going. I have mentioned over and over again that I am planning to take a break with my diet when I leave the country over the holidays but for now I’m still really motivated to keep going! Hope ya’ll stick with me through this!

Note: Commentaries are written as a food enthusiast and as a self-taught cook. GIFs are from giphy.com and photos are all taken by yours truly. Also, make sure to ask the restaurants’ crews if your food is actually meat free!

If you wish to contact me, feel free to check my contact details on the Contact tab.

 

Day 25 – I GOT TO COOK AGAIN!

I’ve been on a really hectic week which limited my time to cook and made me eating habit really bad. So I have longed to cook again for far too long already. I had tofus, zucchini, eggplants and more good stuff stocked in our fridge so the ingredients aren’t really the problem. I may have stayed too long in bed though because I wanted to make up with last week’s lack of sleep. I figured that if I couldn’t get myself to sleep well during the weekdays and much more during set-up days, I might as well just make up for the loss of sleep whenever I can. I totally slept well and stayed in bed until it was almost lunch. The first priority: CLEAN UP OUR REFRIGERATOR! It’s so packed but there were a lot of stuff there that’s been there for weeks already so I made sure to take out everything that we can no longer use. It was such an ease seeing it all cleaned up (it’s like my desktop being freed from all the unnecessary).

 

While preparing everything I need, I heated the Herbed Mushroom and Cheese Pie that was leftover from last night. My mom just had few bites off of it because she didn’t really like it. Neither did she like the Pasta Verde from Banapple that I took home as well. I totally forgot she hates pesto (herbs in general) so we have leftovers of that as well. I ate the pie with some Sriracha because it makes it so much better for me! I prepped onions and garlic for my Corn Soup and for the sauce of my Sweet and Spicy Tofu and Zucchini as well. The Corn Soup’s just basically sautéed corn kernels (canned or fresh) with onions and garlic and then boiled with some stock until soft. Soon it gets soft, I pureed it using our immersion blender and added about a cup of milk (alternative for cream). The result was good but I haven’t eaten a serving of it yet because I’m still trying to think of a good pair for it. For my Sweet and Spicy Tofu and Zucchini, it’s just fried Zucchini (breaded) and Tofu drenched in Sweet and Spicy Sauce. For the sauce, it’s a mixture of light soy sauce, regular soy sauce (it tastes good with both, don’t ask me why), water, sugar, garlic, ginger, onions, sesame oil and some hot soy bean paste. It’s a lot but cooking it is really easy. I also added a shot of honey towards the end just to make the sauce glossy! Again and again, tofu surprises me with the things I could make out of it. I super loved how the dish turned out (and my mom did too) so that’s definitely not the last time I’m cooking it. It’s also very interesting to see your recipes evolve through time. Like you realize which stuff you can omit or what additional ingredients and flavor profiles you can add. It’s always fun to keep adjusting recipes!

 

Speaking of recipes, I’m already planning when I’ll get to post my recipes online (warning though: I don’t measure ingredients). I know it’ll take a lot of work and I need to push myself really hard for it but now that I have actually started doing something I’ve been planning to do (blogging), might as well push myself even more. So there’s that! Watch out for that (thank you for reading my blogs btw huhu) and more categories for my entries soon! It’s gonna be so fuuun.