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Posts in “Food”

Summer Backyard Grilling

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

This post is sponsored by Adidas. All my opinions are my own.

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There’s something about spending time outdoors that no mall or gadget can offer. I have three boys and I like exposing them to different kinds of activities such as painting, reading, and sports. From time to time I introduce new things that spark their interest. One of the fun and family outdoor activities that we have recently been doing is playing Frisbee. While this makes my children happy and healthy, it also makes them hungry! I decided that a great after-Frisbee dinner would be simple and easy-to-make Shrimp Skewers for us to enjoy.

I grew up in the Philippines where we love to grill seafood such as milkfish, tilapia, squid, and shrimp. One of my favorite dishes is sinigang shrimp. But since it’s summer here, I went for grilled shrimp instead. Shrimp is a good source of protein, and with a little marinade before grilling they taste amazing.. They’re perfect for delicious, healthy eating!

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This Shrimp Skewer is easy to prep and make.

All you need is the following:

2 tablespoons of minced garlic

Juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon of Sriracha hot sauce

1 cup oil

1 teaspoon of parsely

½ teaspoon salt

Dash of pepper

Jumbo shrimp (1 lb, no shell)

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Instructions:

  1.     Preheat grill on medium high. Soak barbecue sticks in water to prevent them from burning easily while grilling.
  2.     Combine all of the first seven ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir well. This is your marinade.
  3.     Set aside half of the mixed marinade.
  4.     Mix the shrimp in the medium bowl with half the marinade. Leave the shrimp in the marinade for up to 2 hours to add more taste.
  5.     Place shrimp on soaked wooden skewers and place skewers on the grill over medium high heat. Cover the grill for 2-3 minutes on each side or until the shrimp turn pink or opaque.
  6.     Brush marinade on the shrimp occasionally while grilling to keep them from drying and to add flavor.
  7.     Remove shrimp from the grill and brush marinade on the  cooked shrimp again.

8.     Serve with sliced lemon on the side, or make a simple green salad of your choice.

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These are so easy to make and prep time is a breeze. It’s a simple recipe you and your family can enjoy on any occasion.

Also, big thanks to Adidas for my activewear! I love that my top is comfortable, light-weight and well-fitting at the same time. The shorts are a breeze to wear, too. They’re made from sweat-wicking fabric that helps keep me dry and sweat-free even when I’m busy. Finally,I love wearing hats   when I go out, especially in the hot Texas summer! This strap-back hat is so comfortable to wear and fits perfectly. My son is also wearing one, which you can find here.

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Are there any activities you’re looking forward to this summer?

If you happen to make these Shrimp Skewers, of if you discover any ways to improve this recipe,, please let me know. Happy grilling!

 

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Lego Birthday Theme (My son is 3!)

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

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Today I’d like to share my second son’s birthday theme for his third birthday celebration, which is – wait for it – Lego! He and his friends had fun playing with water guns, slides, and making candy necklaces in our backyard. For his past two birthday celebrations, we had a Sailboat and Fish theme respectively. 

My kids are big fans of Duplo ever since Brent and my mother-in-law surprised them with their own set. To be honest, I was never really a fan of Lego or Duplo. It’s incredibly messy and painful especially when accidentally stepped on. But eventually, I learned to love it. It can keep my kids occupied and entertained for hours while honing their creativity and imagination. They love to give me pink Legos or something that they created with pink Legos and I make sure to keep them with me all the time. They really are the sweetest kids!

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Here’s the board I made for my son’s birthday. lego birthday theme hello island mama 4

I have Pinterest to thank for helping me out with this idea and that I was able to pull through. I’m not really good with baking, so I’m extra grateful for ready-made fondants you can buy at the store. I used them to design the cake and cupcakes for my son’s birthday. It wasn’t as hard as I thought. The fondants were quite easy to use, too. I never realized how relaxing and calming it was to design until I tried it.

Instead of buying Lego decorations, I used Duplo blocks to decorate the table, Brent helped design the cupcake tower.

Since our kids are half-American and half-Filipino, I decided to make Philippine and U.S Flags as fondant toppers for the cupcakes. I also made a Texas flag because we currently reside here.

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Here are the Lego Duplos set that my kids love to play and some of the sets I used to help decorate the Lego-themed birthday  cake:

My First Cars and Trucks

Town Around the World (they love this set, gifted from Grandma!)

My First Playhouse (I think these are their first Lego Duplo Set)

Push Train (This is the set I used to design around the cake)

World Animal Jungle Set (where I got the alligator Lego)

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I love that the colors worked well together. They really look like Lego!

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Happy Birthday my sweet little boy!

I thoroughly enjoyed the process and preparations for my son’s birthday. When it comes to DIY, the result is always something to look forward to. It can be a hit or miss situation and it takes a lot of work – but seeing my son and his friends happy makes all the work worth it. Every time.

Do you or your kids love Legos?

Don’t forget to pin your favorite image on Pinterest <3

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Fun breakfast bunny pancakes

Monday, March 26, 2018

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Easter is fun for kids and, with a little creativity in the kitchen, can be fun for parents as well! I’ve been wanting to do something for my two eldest boys to celebrate Easter early. However, I don’t want to give them too many sweets (because I’d end up eating a lot of them myself!). ). So instead, I made them these fun bunny pancakes and they loved them! It’s a fun Pinterest hack that is perfect for breakfast!

Here are what I used:

Pancake mix

1 Banana

1 Apple

1 Orange

2 Craisins

I Piece of stringcheese

You can use other fruits or food to recreate this look if you want. For example, you can use a strawberry for the nose instead of cutting an apple. I just used what I had at home!

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First, make the pancakes. Make one big rounded pancake and two additional small circles  for the whiskers. I used a small measuring cup so it was easy to pour a circle shape for the pancake. You can use pancake mix or make your own pancakes from scratch.

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Second, while waiting for the pancake,start to cut bananas for the ears and eyes., Cut the string cheese for the whiskers and front teeth, and cut the apples for the nose. Set aside.

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Once is everything is ready, arrange all the items as shown the picture show. You may also add a bow using orange and string cheese like I did. Marshmallows are okay for the teeth as alternative to string cheese.

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That’s it! Surprise your kids with this on Easter and I’m sure they’ll love it!!

Hope you have a blessed Easter Sunday, my friends!

God bless!

 

CATEGORY DIY, Family, Food
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Flashback to Thailand and Thai Food

Thursday, February 8, 2018

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If Brent and I were given the chance to choose where to be right now, we’d probably both say, “Thailand” because of the food!! It’s a place that is dear to my husband’s heart because he spent a few years teaching kids there. For me, this particular trip is special because it was my first time traveling outside of the Philippines. We traveled back to Thailand together a few more times after that, but we can’t wait to bring our kids along. We want them to explore the nature, beaches, waterfalls, caves, and of course, we want them to eat a lot of good food!

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AFFORDABLE FOOD

If you’re traveling here for the first time, you’ll be surprised at how cheap the food is. Don’t let the price fool you though, it is delicious and served fresh. When we traveled together to Thailand for the first time, Brent and I liked to eat dim sum for lunch. They have a variety of dim sum and it’s totally delicious!! I can eat these all by myself…

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You can also enjoy eating dim sum outside with a sunny and beautiful day. People here are friendly and accommodating, it feels like home in the Philippines.

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TRY SPICY!

When I came to Thailand for a visit, Brent introduced me to a variety of Thai foods. If you know me, I’m not adventurous when it comes to trying new foods, but Brent helped me explore and realize what food I was missing out on!

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We always ordered Som Tum (Papaya Salad) as an appetizer. Oh boy, this is so delicious! It is made of fresh, shredded, unripened papaya and is crunchy and spicy. You can request to have it not spicy, but it’s better to have it spicy… It’s worth the taste! It also has some peanuts, garlic, green beans, tomatoes, and some fish sauce.

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My absolute favorite Thai food is Pad Thai. Whether it’s shrimp or chicken, the flavors are really delicious. This is the dish I always ask for when we eat out at Thai restaurants. Pad Thai are soaked rice noodles with fish sauce, chopped firm tofu, eggs, chives, tamarind pulp, and other condiments like bean sprouts, chili pepper, roasted peanuts, and limes. Again, I always ask to have it spicy!

hello island mama thailand travel railay 12 If you want have some curry, don’t forget to ask for sticky rice too!

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STREET FOOD

The cool part of traveling in parts of Asia like Thailand, is that there are plenty of street foods that will satisfy your stomach. Fresh fruits, drinks, and some desserts are my favorites.
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If you are looking for drinks, you should try our favorite pick: Chai Yen (Thai Iced Tea). You can buy it pretty much everywhere in Thailand. My husband also knows how to make this drink and we pair it with the homemade Pad Thai he cooks.

Has anyone who visited Thailand? Do you have any favorite foods from Thai cuisine?

 

CATEGORY Food, Travel
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Easy, Moist Banana Muffins

Thursday, October 19, 2017

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These easy, moist banana muffins are one of my favorite recipes. I love to bake them for breakfast (eating them with some scrambled eggs and bacon) or just for a snack. I rarely share recipes on this blog about my home-baked food, but if I do, it because it is something that I absolutely love the taste of. It took a while for me to learn how to bake, because in the Philippines, my family never had an oven. I’m so thankful that I learned. Now, I don’t need to buy muffins at the store. Instead, I can make it on my own. Here are the ingredients and instructions on how to make it. Enjoy!

Ingredients

1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

⅓ cup of butter, melted

1 egg, beaten

3/4 cup white sugar (I sometimes use less ¼ cup and add ¼ cup of applesauce)

3 large ripe bananas

⅓ cup of greek yogurt

¼ cup of dried cranberries (optional)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 F degrees. Stir flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. Microwave the butter in a medium bowl for 30-40 seconds. Pour the beaten egg into the bowl with melted butter. Mash the ripe bananas together into this bowl as well (I like doing this with a fork). Add white sugar and stir well with a baking spatula. Combine with the dry ingredients in the large bowl. Fold with greek yogurt and dried cranberries. Scoop the mix into the muffin pan. I use muffin liners, but you may also coat the muffin pan with oil to keep them from sticking. Bake for 20 to 25 minute

Let me know if you try it and how it turns out!

P.S Also check out my post for Filipino chicken empanada!

 

CATEGORY Food, recipe
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My Easy Fried Rice Recipe

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

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Before I came to America, I had been eating rice every single day; for breakfast, lunch and dinner. However, when Brent and I got married, I compromised with the food we eat for our meals. It’s not that he doesn’t like rice (he loves it together with other Asian foods!), but of course, I want to serve meals that he likes from his culture as well. When I do prepare rice, I sometimes want to make it more special, instead of just plain, white Jasmine rice. Today, I want to share how I make my own fried rice. You can find the ingredients easily in the grocery store, or you may already have them in your fridge. The good thing about this recipe is that you can add as much veggies as you like. We also like to eat this alone and sometimes add chicken to it. My toddlers love it!

Ingredients:

3 Tablespoons​ of cooking oil

2 beaten eggs

3 cloves of garlic (minced)

1 medium sized onion (chopped)

½ cup of water

1 teaspoon chicken bouillon

¾ cup of carrots (chopped)

4-5 cups of cooked rice (2-3 days old is better than newly cooked. See instructions below)

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup of broccoli (optional; you can also use cauliflower)

¼ cup of chopped green onions (optional)

¼ cup of green peas

 

Other ingredient ideas that I like to use are:

Cooked chicken

Tofu

Mushroom

Corn

 

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Instructions:

  1. Using a wok (we got ours in an Asian market, similar to this one here), heat 2 tablespoons of oil in medium heat. Pour beaten eggs to cook. You can move the wok to move the eggs around and widen its size. When it’s starting to become solid, flip it over and cook the other side. Start to break the egg apart into medium sized pieces using a cooking turner (similar to this). Remove from heat and set aside.
  1. Pour 1 tablespoon of oil into the wok and start to cook the minced garlic and chopped onions, until onions are translucent.
  1. Pour water and add chicken bouillon. Once it’s starting to boil, add chopped carrots for 2-3 minutes.
  1. Add cooked rice. I love to use leftover rice (2-3 days old that I refrigerate). It is perfect for asian fried rice like this, since new cooked rice tends to get soggy and mushy. It’s common that rice can stick onto the wok. Just make sure you mix the rice often while making this. After you fry the rice, you may add salt and pepper to taste. You can also add garlic powder if you’d like.  
  1. Start adding other veggies like broccoli, green peas, and green onions. Stir the veggies with rice. Let it cook for 5 minutes and stir occasionally underneath so the rice won’t stick to the wok.
  1. Next, add the beaten eggs back with the rice and stir with all the cooked ingredients. Serve it hot!

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Let me know in the comment box below if you try it! Enjoy!

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Healthy Oatmeal Banana Cookies (No Sugar)

Monday, May 8, 2017

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I found a recipe that I added to my kids’ snack ideas, and it made them excited! These healthy oatmeal banana cookies have no added sugar at all! I love sugar, but of course as a mom, I know how addicting and unhealthy it is to have sweets all the time. My husband and I do give our kids sweets sometimes for rewarding good behaviour, potty training, or when they finish their meals. As some of you know, I am pregnant and I’m craving for sweets all the time! This recipe is the perfect snack for me and the growing baby inside me. I added dark chocolates on top of these cookies just to help satisfy my cravings.

 

The texture of these cookies aren’t the same as the cookies with sugar, but hey, it’s healthy! Plus, my kids totally love it! Try it and let me know what you think!

 

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup raisins (optional)
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Stir oats, bananas, applesauce, raisins, almond milk, vanilla extract, and cinnamon together in a bowl until evenly mixed. Drop by the spoonful onto a baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven until the edges are golden; 15 to 20 minutes.

 

Recipe from Gene Payne

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Any healthy alternative snack recipes you know, to help me beat my craving for sweets  and are good for the kids? I would love to hear them!

CATEGORY Food, recipe
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Ninja Turtle Inspired Birthday + Filipino Skewered Barbecue Recipe

Thursday, April 6, 2017

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My eldest son has been liking “ninjas” a lot.  I think he’s been a fan of them ever since he was an infant. My husband would lift him up and have him pretend to jump all over the house (walls, sofas, etc). This year for his birthday, he was the one who kept telling me that he would like ninjas for his birthday. That’s why I planned to use a touch of Ninja Turtles and a colorful theme for his special day. I saw some ninja turtle birthday ideas when it came to food. I tried to make the fruit tray and saw Ninja Turtle cookies in a grocery store. We also played “Pin the Mask” on the ninja, thanks to my friend Karla who led the game. We had a great time with our friends and their kids, who are close to my son’s heart. I thought to prepare Filipino dishes like lumpia and skewered pork barbecue, so our friends could taste some FIlipino dishes that we love. Here’s a recipe of Filipino skewered pork barbeque in case you guys want to try it. It’s actually a street food in the Philippines, which I loved to buy often when I lived there. It’s perfect if you dip it with spicy vinegar and eat it with rice!! YUM!

 

(Special thanks to my sister-in-law Suki for the birthday decor!)

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Filipino Skewered Pork Barbecue

 

2 lbs pork, sliced

½ cup soy sauce

½ ketchup

8-10 cloves garlic, minced (I used garlic pressed, similar to this)

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground pepper

2 teaspoons salt

1-2 teaspoons sriracha (optional, but it’s good!)

2 teaspoons of lemon juice (fresh or it can be from the bottle of concentrate)

1 cup (or more) of Sprite (Yep!)

Bamboo skewers – Soak a night or at least 20 minutes before you use it. It keeps the skewers from getting burnt during grilling.

 

Instructions:

Combine soy sauce, ketchup, minced garlic, brown sugar, pepper and salt, sriracha, and lemon into a flat container (I like to use a glass baking dish), stir it well with a fork. Place sliced pork onto the dish and mix together with the sauce. Pour the Sprite evenly over the pork. Cover it and refrigerate it to marinate overnight.

After it’s marinated, skewer the pork with the bamboo sticks. Keep the sauce aside. Ready the grill at medium heat. While waiting for the grill to be hot, cook the sauce from the marinated pork with a low heat and stir. Wait for it to bubble while cooking. When it’s cooked, I taste it and add some sprite, ketchup and brown sugar depending on how I want it to come out. For my son’s party, I found it a little spicy for our visitors who were kids, so I added these ingredients to adjust it. This cooked sauce will be used to brush onto the barbecue while on the grill so it’s juicy and moist. Put the barbeque pork on the preheated grill and start to brush the cooked sauce on each side of the pork. Grill 10-12 minutes per side. Keep rotating it and brushing the pork with the sauce keep it moist. Cooking takes about 25-30 minutes. I used a charcoal grill to cook this, but you may use a gas grill too.

 

Try serving it with spicy vinegar and rice! It’s totally delicious!

 

Anyone here tasted this skewered barbecued pork before?

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Hello Island Mama is a makeup, DIY, photography, motherhood and lifestyle blog by Em Smith. She is the mother of three boys and a wife, who loves to inspire and encourage others through her works and stories. Based in Houston, Texas. Originally from the Philippines.

"I can do all things through him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

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