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Easy like Sunday morning

It’s 8:15 on a Sunday morning, and I’ve already made:

  • Chocolate chip pumpkin pancakes
  • Candied Saba bananas (recipe below)
  • Fresh butter
  • Fresh buttermilk

Still on the docket for today:

  • Plum & fig almond tart
  • Plum & fig jam
  • Vanilla gelato (if I’m still feeling industrious by the time I finish with everything else!)

How will you be spending your Sunday? 🙂

Matamis Na Saging (candied Saba bananas) [adapted from a family recipe, serves 4-5]

Saba bananas are native to the Philippines, and they’re very much like plantains (but better :)). They’re cooked, never eaten raw, and used in a variety of Filipino desserts, including turon de saging (Saba banana in an eggroll wrapper and fried to perfection), banana-cue (Saba banana rolled in sugar, then skewered and grilled until it’s all caramelized), and matamis na saging, which is what I’m sharing below.

This is best eaten cold, topped with milk (what kind of milk? Yes, that’s right, whole milk :)) and shaved ice. Yum. Simple, yet delicious!

Ingredients:

  • 8 Saba bananas, chopped into quarters (find them at your local Asian store; make sure they’re still somewhat firm, because overripe bananas will turn to mush when you make this)
  • 3/4 brown sugar
  • 1/2 granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup water

In a saucepan, melt the sugar, then add the water. Stir until incorporated, then add the bananas and bring to a boil. Make sure the bananas are covered in the liquid — if not, add a little more water. Add only a little bit at a time, though, otherwise the syrup will be too watery.

Simmer until the syrup is thick and reduced somewhat, and the bananas are a little caramelized. The time will vary, but start checking around the 20 minute mark, and then keep checking after that. Your bananas should be fork-tender, but not mushy. Get a bit of a taste and you’ll know it’s done when the bananas no longer have that “raw” taste, but still have a bit of a bite to them.

When cool, top with shaved ice (or you can just put the bananas over ice cubes) and milk (however much you like). Yum!

Matamis na saging

Matamis na saging (literally: “sweet bananas”)

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The great avocado debate

When I came to this country at the age of 9 and saw guacamole for the first time, I must admit, I was puzzled. Maybe even a bit grossed out. You see, I had grown up eating avocado sweet–yes, sweet–and the thought of eating it in a savory dish was just unfathomable to me.

It took me years to even try guacamole, and even longer to like it. Now I LOVE the stuff, but to this day, my favorite way to eat it is still the way I grew up eating it: in a milkshake. Technically, it’s more like a pudding (you eat it with a spoon, not a straw), but for some reason, Filipinos call it an “avocado shake,” so that’s what I called it growing up, too.

I know, I know–unless you grew up in the Philippines (or elsewhere in Southeast Asia), you probably just made a face when you read that. And I get it. That was pretty much the same reaction I had when I first saw guacamole (“Wrong!! That’s the wrong way to eat it!”). But I promise you, if you just give it a chance, you’ll discover it’s one of the most wonderful things you’ve ever tasted.

Avocado

The incredible, versatile fruit

Avocado Pudding (also known as “Filipino Avocado Shake”; makes 1 serving)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 an avocado (simply scoop out the flesh)
  • 1 tsp sugar, or to taste (start with a tsp and gradually add a tsp at a time, if it’s still not sweet enough to your liking)

Directions:

Throw everything into a blender. Blend. Pour into a bowl and eat with a spoon :).

If you prefer more of a smoothie or a shake (as its original name implies), decrease the amount of avocado to 1/4 of an avocado and pour into a glass instead of a bowl. Easy peasy!

Avocado shake

Try it. You know you wanna.

Will run for food…

I often joke that I run so I can eat [fill in the blank here] (chocolate, cupcakes, cheeseburgers, pizza, whatever other goody I can think of). And while that’s not actually the reason I run, let’s just say I don’t mind the side benefit of getting to eat a bit more as a result* :).

* It should be noted, however, the contrary to popular belief, running a lot does NOT ensure weight loss. I’ve learned this the hard way, too.

Take today, for an example. This morning, I went on my weekly 6AM “buddy run” with my friends, a run that takes place every Thursday morning, all 52 weeks of the year. Because we’ve formed a family of sorts, we often celebrate life events for each other, and my friend Victoria is about to have a baby, so we decided to throw her a surprise baby shower after the run.

My friend Janine, expert baker that she is (and I should know, because she famously beat me in a Pumpkin Bread Smackdown nearly 3 years ago–the loss still stings), brought her famous pumpkin bread and lemon tea bread for us to all munch on as we celebrate Victoria’s little (soon-to-be-born) bundle of joy.

When people ask me why in the world I would willingly get up at 5 in the morning every Thursday to run, I point them to things such as this as an explanation :).

Pumpkin bread and lemon tea bread

Janine's famous, award-winning pumpkin bread, and her lemon tea bread. She'd give you the recipe for both, but she'd have to kill you afterwards.