How are y’all holding up? Manila has transitioned to a general enhanced community quarantine, and while it changes the amount of businesses that are open to those of us living in Metro Manila, I’m pretty sure our family will be taking the same quarantine precautions for #TeamGellibean. Until a vaccine is discovered, our family will be living very conservatively in terms of how much we expose Evangelina to the risks of going outside and the virus. If you follow me on social media, you would see that I have been so much more mindful of our food preparation and our resources by the meals that I prepare and share on each of the platforms. Just a few of weeks ago, I was invited to share some of what I practice here at home, with MJ Marfori and Pat Fernandez on their show Inay Ko Po.
Admittedly, after looking at the format of their show, I realized I may be in some trouble if I was expected to communicate in Tagalog! Thankfully, the hosts were so gracious to speak to me mostly in English.
With that concern out of the way, all I had to do was make sure that I could prepare a quick snack which is good for summer, considering most of us were all inside, because of quarantine.
Here are some helpful hints that I shared on Inay Ko Po about food prep, and keeping things fresh:
Keeping Ingredients Fresh
Because we are limiting the times that we leave the house, even for groceries and errands, we have become accustomed to ordering our vegetables in bulk from Sessions Groceries. It’s quite easy to use the app to place the order. I order enough veggies for two weeks for our family that we also share with my sister.
Thats a lotta veggies.
Here’s what we do to help keep our veggies lasting the entire two weeks before our next order arrives:
Leafy Greens and Herbs
- We separate all the vegetables and wash separately with vinegar.
- Wash and spin all the herbs and keep in a glass of water in the fridge.
- For leaves and salads I wash in vinegar and spin completely dry.
- Keep these leaves in the drawer with a high level of humidity
- For the cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, we wash and then half steam.
- These veggies stay longer in the fridge if they are cooked.
- Freezing these veggies in portioned freezer bags ensures that they will last even longer.
- All of the root crops like potatoes, camote, and gabi can be stored in a cool dry place. I usually leave these in a basket in the kitchen
- I also like to clean the smaller potatoes right away and make potato salad.
- Potato salad can keep in the fridge for at least one week and is great when I am lazy to make a full dinner. All I have to do is pull it out of the ref to compliment pan fried pork chops, roasted chicken, or even baked salmon.
- When the beets arrive, I roast them in the oven on the same day they arrive.
- I toss these in olive oil and they can keep in the ref for up to two weeks.
- They are great sliced on top of salads or served with sliced oranges and feta as a side dish, too.
- Sometimes I wash them and cut them up and prepare them for the freezer.
- I mix these in our smoothie bowls and shakes often.
- They are a great source of fiber and make the smoothie bright pink. (Gelli loves anything pink.)
Planning Meals Efficiently
Prior to the Enhanced Community Quarantine, I would plan my grocery list based on the dinners for the days of the week. I have always preferred making a bigger meal that can somehow be recycled into the next day’s breakfast or lunch.
Now more than ever, I am conscious to make sure we recycle our leftovers into meals for the next day or two so that nothing goes to wasted. Limited resources and being mindful of how many times we will go out during the week, challenges me to make use of ingredients on hand. (It’s funny how we realize we an also do without some of these things too?)
So-how do I plan our meals?
By keeping things easy and by being mindful of what the meal will become the next day…
Reduce Reuse Recycle
The three R’s always make me think of the lessons I would teach my students when I was a public school teacher in New York. But, in this case it means that my roasted chicken can become chicken soup the next day, or even chicken salad. Here are 5 ways you can recycle your meals from leftovers from dinner:
- Quesadillas-Keep in mind, anything that the kids can pick up and eat with their hands is fun. By using tortillas you can store in the freezer, you can create a light and fun snack (or even a meal) depending on what your fillings are. DON’T FORGET THE CHEESE! This is the most important part of a quesadilla!
- Quiche-I have always enjoyed throwing leftover side dishes of our veggies into a savory egg pie. You can choose to buy a store bought crust and mix and pour, or you can even go crustless, like a frittata. Either way, it’s always a crowd pleaser and can be served as a light meal during the summer months with a fresh salad.
- Fried Rice-This is also the lazy mom’s meal, in my house. By using day old rice (it’s easier to put together with cold rice) you can empty out the ref of any leftover veggies and viands. You can even make scrambled eggs and serve with the fluffy eggs right on top in one bowl!
- Pasta-Shredded chicken or leftover pork chops and/or giniling can easily be turned into a pasta dish. Sometimes, if I’m tired, I’ll bring the pot of pasta right to the table and serve from there.
- Soup-Because I enjoy using my Braun hand blender, I am the queen of recycling our leftovers into soup! The kids don’t even know what they are eating a blend of veggies that are good for them. Pair this with that quesadilla or even a grilled cheese and everyone is happy. Easy Peasy.
This way-by reusing and recycling all the leftovers that we have from the meals prior, I feel accomplished because I have reduced our waste. Hooray for #ZeroWaste!
One last tip I was happy to share with the mommas was the fact that summer snacks don’t have to be difficult or time consuming to make. In fact, the best snacks are ones that we can pull straight out of the freezer or the fridge so that the kids can help themselves.
Here are 5 quick snacks that you can make ahead of time or on the spot for the kiddos (or yourself) to help keep cool from the sweltering heat:
1.Smoothie Bowls-What do you do with the fruit that is almost over ripe? Bake banana bread? Create compote? Make muffins? If you check my freezer, you will see that there is a constant stash of frozen fruit, ready to be blended into a smoothie bowl or a bowl of N’ice Cream. Top with more fresh fruit, dried coconut, carob chips, or cacao nibs and you have a whole meal that is refreshing and cool.
2. Shakes-I love sneaking in supplements into the kids’ shakes. I use a combination of mixed fruit from the freezer, with either Milk or yogurt to help keep the kids regular as well. Shakes are a great way to ensure that the kids are getting fiber, their daily dose of vitamins and minerals as well as calcium and probiotics when I add dairy.
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@gelliaventajado has figured out a quick and easy way to stay cool while we are in quarantine with #TeamGellibean. Freezing the newest Melon flavor of Dutchmill is easy, fun, and good for her. #DutchmillMelon Yoghurt Drink is made with fresh milk, real melon juice, vitamins B1, B2 and calcium. Kid approved and thumbs up from this little one with this cool treat that’s perfect for the summer weather! • • • • #MelongKamingBago #DutchmillEveryday #cool #diy #keepembusy #sweet #easy #icepop #ice #pop #good #melon #yoghurt #kidfriendly #yummy #yummyph #gellibean #kidscan #kidscancook #summer #activities #dsdn #ndss #downsyndromelove #downsyndromeawareness #t21 #trisomy21 @brandbuzz_ph #brandbuzzph
3. DIY Yogurt Drink Pops-Gia had this great idea one day, to make yogurt ice pops out of the Dutchmill that we had. Gelli LOVED it. And it was so easy to do!
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@sessiongroceries delivered our order today and I don’t think I have ever been so excited for our veggies. Freshly harvested carrots are perfect with white bean and artichoke dip. Served this with brunch and warm pandesal. Check out my stories to see all the delicious veggies we scored! • • • • #fresh #delivery #veggies #vegetables #sessionph #delicious #groceries #deliver #baguio #molineraph #molinera #whitebeandip #artichoke #carrots #crispy #crisp #orange #newnormal #shopping #harvest #gulay #vegan #vegetarian
4. DIP DIP DIP-One of the things that we always have in our fridge is some sort of hummus. By keeping hummus in the fridge, I know that I can put out carrot chips, singkamas sticks, and celery spears any time. Plus-we know that when they eat raw veggies they are getting the more nutrients than they would if they were steamed or cooked.
5. Overnight Oats or Chia Pudding-This is one of those fix it and forget it type of snacks. You can prepare these meals (they tend to be heavy) the night before with either almond or coconut milk (or a combination of both) and enjoy as a mid morning snack or a lazy mom’s breakfast. All you have to do is bring everything out and top with fresh sliced fruit!
I must admit, I had a blast chatting with MJ and Pat on the show. It felt natural and fun, and I was excited to share some easy to use kitchen tips that can not only be used while we were surviving enhanced community quarantine, but also any other day of the year. Saving on food waste, being smart with our ingredients, and making sure the kids get what they need through proper nutrition has always been my one of my goals in taking care of my family.
Do you have any tips and tricks that you learned during this ECQ?
Please share them with me!
You can watch Inay Ko Po One PH on Tuesdays at 11am.
Peter A. Ressa says
Some great tips and tricks!