Posts in “Food”

Juice that you should try in the Philippines

Monday, February 20, 2017

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Ever since I was a kid, Calamansi juice has been the most-requested juice I ask my mom to make for me. Even my husband loves the taste of it! My mom makes this juice almost everyday, especially if someone in our family has a cold and cough. We don’t usually buy calamansi in the market because in the province, my mom has her own calamansi tree. My kids had calamansi juice for the first time here and they totally fell in love with the taste. They love to help picking the fruit from the tree with their Lola (Grandma) to make calamansi juice. Filipinos also love to use calamansi to mix with dipping sauce, like in soy sauce with fresh chilis. It makes food like grilled fish or liempo so good! Even for noodles like pancit, we love to use calamansi too. Here are a few simple steps on how my mom and I make this fresh and delicious calamansi juice!




½ cup of sugar (or more depending on your liking)

5 cups of water


Step 1 Wash calamansi and cut the top or through the center.

Step 2 Using a fruit drainer and small pitcher, squeeze calamansi into it to separate the seeds from the juice. I probably use 20 to 30 pieces of calamansi.

Step 3 After squeezing all the calamansi, pour 5 cups of water into the pitcher.

Step 4 Use ½ cup of sugar (or more depending on your liking) and stir it well.

Step 5 Store it in the fridge until it’s chilled or simply add ice to your glass, to start drinking this fresh and delicious juice.


Anyone here tried calamansi juice? What’s your favorite juice from other parts of the world?

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CATEGORY Food, Travel

My Most Requested Dish: Filipino Chicken Empanada

Sunday, October 9, 2016


This baked chicken empanada is the food that I get the most requests for. I started learning how to cook during my first year of being married. During that time, Panlasang Pinoy (a Filipino food recipe site) was the first place I would get all the Filipino food recipes to cook for Brent and myself. Now, I make these dishes and treats for everyone! I love to share food snaps on my Instagram, and I’m very excited to share photos of these delicious baked chicken empanadas that I made, here on my blog. People who have tasted them always love the taste of the dough, and the combination of chicken, carrots, green peas, potatoes, and craisins (You can also use raisins). Empanadas were only my “merienda” or “snack” when I was in the Philippines, but Brent loves them so much that sometimes this snack becomes our dinner. If you are looking for a more complete meal, a side dish of salad goes well with it too. Brent and I love to use Sriracha, an Asian hot sauce, for our empanadas. They are so good together!! Here are the ingredients and instructions that I used from Panlasang Pinoy.





Prep time15 mins

Cook time

40 mins

Total time

55 mins

For Filling:

  • 1½ lb boneless chicken breast, cut into cubes
  • 1 piece medium-sized onion, minced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 cup potato, diced
  • 1 cup carrot, diced
  • 1 cup green peas
  • ¼ cup raisins (I used craisins instead)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ piece chicken cube
  • 2 tablespoon cooking oil

For the dough:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 6 tablespoon water, cold
  • 1 piece raw egg
  • 1 cup butter, cold
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder



  1. Make the filling by pouring the cooking oil in a pan and then allow it to heat-up
  2. Once the oil is hot, saute the garlic and onions
  3. Add the chicken breast then cook until color turns light brown (about 5 minutes)
  4. Add water and chicken cube then simmer for 10 minutes
  5. Put-in carrots and potatoes and simmer for 5 minutes
  6. Add the green peas, craisins, and 1 teaspoon sugar then simmer for another 5 minutes
  7. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon salt and pepper. Turn off the heat, drain the excess liquid, and set aside.
  8. Make the dough by combining the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl starting with the flour, 4 tablespoon. sugar, baking powder, and ½ teaspoon salt. Mix well using a wire whisk.
  9. Cut the butter into small thin pieces place in the mixing bowl with the dry ingredients.(the butter should be cold and solid before doing this)
  10. Add water gradually and mix all the ingredients thoroughly until a dough is formed. You may use a pastry blender to ease the process.
  11. Divide the dough into individual pieces by grabbing a piece from the whole mixture and rolling it in your hand until a spherical shape is formed. Do this until all the dough is consumed. Set aside in a cool place for at least 20 minutes. (I like to wrap it with clear wrap and set aside inside the fridge)

my-most-requested-filipino-chicken-empanada-1 12. Flatten the spherical dough by pressing it with your palm against a flat surface. Use a rolling pin to flatten it fully while creating a round shape. my-most-requested-filipino-chicken-empanada-2
13. Arrange about a quarter to half a cup of filling (the chicken that you cooked in the first few steps) at the middle of the flattened dough. Fold the dough so that opposite ends meet (you should have formed a half moon shaped dough) then press the edges and seal.



14.  After all the fillings are consumed, crack the egg and separate the white from the yolk. Beat the egg white lightly and mix a little water. Glaze the crust by brushing the egg wash.

15. Put a wax paper on top of a baking tray or grease the baking tray then arranged the sealed doughs.

16. Pre-heat oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake the sealed doughs for 25 minutes at the same temperature.

17. Remove from the oven.

18. Serve hot. Share and Enjoy!

Have you tried Filipino empanadas before? Have you tried other kinds? Share your thoughts and comments, I love reading them. :)

CATEGORY Family, Food

On a busy night: One Pot Tortellini and Sausage

Thursday, August 18, 2016

one-pot-creamy-tortellini-sausage-recipe-by-yellow-bliss-road-mom-approved-busy-night-with-kids one-pot-creamy-tortellini-sausage-recipe-by-yellow-bliss-road-mom-approved-busy-night-with-kid-2

This delicious creamy tortellini and sausage is one of my favorites to make because it is easy. It uses only one pot and is a life-saver when the kids are being a handful. I have been using this recipe for more than a year and it’s still husband-approved and now, it’s toddler approved too! Pinterest is a great way to find easy dinner meal ideas. I came up with this dish from Yellow Bliss Road recipe. If you want to make your night easier, but still have a delicious meal for your family, go ahead and make this one-pot meal.



  • 1 lb package of Turkey Kielbasa
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 20 oz. package of refrigerated Tortellini
  • 28 oz can of whole tomatoes, cut in the can with kitchen scissors
  • 1 cup chicken broth or water
  • Pinch of salt & pepper
  • 2 Tbsp cream cheese
  • 2 cups shredded jack and cheddar cheeses


  1. Cook the onion in a little olive oil until soft. Add sliced turkey sausage and cook until browned. Add chicken broth, tortellini, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Turn heat down to low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until pasta is cooked to al dente. Remove from heat and add cheeses, reserving a handful for topping. Cover and let stand for five to ten minutes. Garnish with green onions, if desired. Serve hot.

Recipe and Instructions from Yellow Bliss Road

Any one-pot, easy meal recipe you want to share? I would love to hear from you in the comment box below. :-)

CATEGORY Family, Food

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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