Why did I start this blog? I have been having episodes of inflammation in my hands and fingers, feet and toes, and joints for some time now. I’ve consulted the doctor and have had tests done. It’s not rheumatoid arthritis and my uric acid is normal (tho at times borderline normal). In an effort to determine which food triggers the inflammation, I have been systematically eliminating certain foods from my diet and then bringing them back. After several years, I have now come to the conclusion that I seem to be reacting to animal protein in general (like some sort of allergic reaction). Different animal proteins affect me to different degrees; some cause inflammation faster than others. So I have decided to reduce my intake of meat. No, I am not going vegetarian; maybe semi-vegetarian if there is such a thing. I will be adding interesting and not too difficult recipes here as I find them. I will also include arthritis management tips that have worked for me.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Grandma’s - Hangzhou China

The hubby and I visited our son who is based in Hangzhou. We had been to this charming city several years ago and were excited to see how the place had changed. We had chosen a hotel at West Lake district and our activities were mainly centered around the lake area. Among the must-visit places on our list was the restaurant called “The Grandma’s” – the reviews we had read about the place convinced us to give it a try.

We had taken the tourist bus that circled the lake and got off at the stop closest to the restaurant; it was just a short walk to The Grandma’s. It was lunch time and, as expected, we had to wait a while. We were still lucky though because when we got there, there was still no line outside. At the lobby, we were given a number then sat down to wait; customer’s could help themselves to free tea and watch tv while waiting. The restaurant itself was on an upper level and customers had to take the lift. It seemed to me that customers coming out of the lift looked happy and satisfied – that was encouraging. Finally our number was called . . .

In keeping with the “less meat” diet that I was following, these were the dishes we ordered . . .

Home-made pickled vegetables

Honeycomb tofu

Fish-vegetable bowl

Yipin dumpling pot

Kung pao chicken

Vegetables braised with mushrooms

Fried rice with soy sauce

The meal was totally yummy and satisfying . . . and the price was something to smile about. No wonder the customers left The Grandma’s looking that way . . .

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Silken Tofu

Yes, it’s been a while since my last post. I’ve been travelling some. After I got back I've been excitedly engaged in my new-found hobby – quilting! But the other day we discovered something new and I’d like to share it with you.

My husband and I were driving to San Pablo City when we were pleasantly surprised by the sign on the roadside. There was a newly opened restaurant; it was called YouTofu. My hubby just loves his tofu while I look upon tofu as a healthy alternative to meat. So although we had just eaten lunch, we turned into the road to check out the place.

The place was owned by a couple (Filipina married to a Taiwanese) who made their own tofu; there were two varieties – soft tofu and tokwa (fry-able tofu with a “skin”). The packaging was impressive. They even had soy milk!

Among the dishes on the menu was a tofu dessert. Perfect! When the silken tofu was brought to the table, we both reacted, “Oh wow, that’s a lot!”, but the wife reassured us that we would have no trouble finishing it off. It was a whole block of their soft, silken tofu that had been sliced and then doused with sweetened condensed milk and topped with small cubes/rectangles of “gulaman” (agar jelly). They also gave us a pot of their (house) hot tea (to contrast the sweetness of the dessert, according to the wife). The sweetness was just right for us tho and it did not take very long for us to clean the plate!

We also ordered take out for dinner. The wife said that “rushy tofu” was their best seller so far – it consisted of cubes of tokwa with slivers of pork in their special sauce. It was yummy! Their soy milk was good too! We will definitely go back there!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Meat-less Japchae

I  wanted to prepare japchae, a Korean noodle dish, and followed a recipe that I found on the internet (Source). However, I made a few tweaks. Since I did not want to use any meat, I omitted the beef. For the white mushrooms, I used oyster mushrooms. I also did not have any spinach on hand so I decided to substitute the spinach with pansit-pansitan (Peperomia pellucida) which was growing freely in my backyard (see previous post). The dish was delicious, if I may say so myself!


Starch noodles (“dangmyun”)
150 grams of beef (I omitted this)
1 bunch of spinach (I used pansit-pansitan instead)
1 medium size carrot
1 medium size onion
mushrooms (5 dried shiitake and 1 package of white mushrooms (I used oyster mushrooms)
3 cloves of garlic
7-8 green onions
soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, pepper, and sesame seeds


Soak 5 dried shitake mushrooms in warm water for a few hours until they become soft. Squeeze the water out of them and slice thinly.

Slice a package of white mushrooms (2 cups worth).

Cut a carrot into thin matchstick-shaped pieces 5 cm long.

Cut 7 -8 green onions into 7 cm long pieces.

Slice one onion thinly.

Slice 150 grams of beef into thin strips. (omitted)

Boil 2 bunches of noodles in boiling water in a big pot for about 3 minutes. When the noodles are soft, drain them and put in a large bowl. Cut the noodles several times by using scissors and add 1 tbsp of soy sauce and 1 tbsp of sesame oil. Mix it up and set aside.

*tip: When you drain the hot water from the pot, don’t discard the hot water. Put it back into the pot so you can cook your spinach quickly.

In the boiling water, add a bunch of spinach (pansit-pansitan) and stir it gently for 1 minute. Then take it out and rinse it in cold water 3 times. Remove any grit or dead leaves thoroughly while rinsing. Squeeze it gently to get the water out, then cut it into 5 cm pieces. (I just boiled the pansit-pansitan and shocked it in ice water; no need to cut)
Add ½ tbsp soy sauce and ½ tbsp sesame oil and mix it and place it into the large bowl.

On a heated pan, put a few drops of olive oil and stir fry your carrot strips for about 30 seconds.

Place a few drops of olive oil on the pan and add your sliced onion. Stir fry until the onion looks translucent. Put it into the large bowl with your carrots.

Place a few drops of olive oil on the pan and add the sliced white mushrooms. Stir it for a bit and then put it in the large bowl.

Place a few drops of olive oil on the pan and add your green onions. Stir for 1 minute and put it into the large bowl.

Place a few drops of olive oil on the pan and add your beef strips (I omitted this) and your sliced shitake mushrooms. Stir it until it’s cooked well, then add 3 cloves of minced garlic, ½ tbsp soy sauce and ½ tbps sugar. Stir for another 30 seconds and then put it into the large bowl.

Add 2 tbsp of soy sauce, 3 tbsp of sugar, 2 tbsp of sesame oil, and 1 tsp of ground pepper to the large bowl. Mix all ingredients, then sprinkle 1 tbsp of toasted sesame seeds on the top.

Makes 4 servings.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Salads Galore

When I’m travelling, it’s a bit of a challenge trying to eat food that’s best for me. I usually end up eating more meat than I should and I flare up. So every chance I get, I eat salad. I will order salad at restaurants; when I’m in a home setting, I make up my own. I mix salad greens with other veggies (carrots, bell pepper), fruits (fresh – strawberries, kiwi, papaya, oranges, grapes; or dried – blueberries, cranberries, prunes), nuts (almond, pistachio), cheese (small cheddar chunks or grated parmesan sprinkled over) and occasionally, bits of turkey. I usually stick to vinegar- and/or olive oil-based salad dressings (store-bought or made from scratch). I recently discovered Kraft’s light raspberry vinaigrette; I’ve put it on many salads that I’ve concocted and it tastes great!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Low fat peach cobbler

I found an easy recipe for peach cobbler (source); it takes only a few minutes to prepare and is low fat too. I tweaked the recipe a bit. I used canned peach slices (instead of frozen) and Sprite. To keep it low fat, enjoy it as it is or if you really must, top it with low fat yogurt instead of vanilla ice cream.


1 can (12-14 oz.) peach slices
1 cup (8 oz.) Sprite
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt (optional)
4 Tbsp. light butter, softened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Arrange the peach slices in a single layer in the 9-inch round glass baking dish. Set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda and (optional) salt. Using a fork, incorporate softened light butter to the flour mixture, until it is crumbly.
Sprinkle crumbly flour mixture over the layer of peach slices. Slowly pour the lemon lime soda pop evenly over the peach slices and flour topping mixture. Bake about 40-45 minutes. Let cool about 10-15 minutes before serving 8 servings with a large serving spoon.

Servings: 8