If you want something, you claim it like it's already yours and the universe will align to make it your reality. I enjoy the niceties of life and look forward to reaping the joys this life can experience. Also, I choose "happy". There's always a reason to smile. I write about life, travel, and food. This started out as an outlet to just write, as a digital diary. Now let's see where this goes...
*Select the MENU (left corner), select LABELS to view certain topics like Recipes and Travel.
This may just be the most effective way to wake someone up.
The scent of breakfast... specifically, French Toast. (Calm down, Luzee.)
I've always enjoyed French Toast. It's easy to make, ingredients are always in your pantry, and you can make them in a million variations. You even get to use the stale bread you have! And they come out just glooorrriooouuusss! (Someone talk about something else. I'm starting to drift away again in my head. LUZEE! FOCUS!) It also helps that this is one of Carl's favourite foods. When I prepare this, I always say I'll just have 2 slices. (WHATTA-LIE! I'm an idiot. More like minimum 4 slices!)
I'm sorry to burst your bubble, but the French Toast isn't from France. Yuuuup! Mind blown🤯. So many lies! (Hahaha 🤣) It existed even before France, the country, existed. It's one of those food items that have existed waaaay before (try the ancient Roman times to be exact) and just sailed through time and adapted a name by the 17th century. It's basically bread dipped in a sweet custard mixture and cooked to a beautiful butter-gold treat. In the olden times, when they discovered that there was a way to use up day-old bread, they started dipping and frying away! Hail to the French Toast gods! (We really thank you for your contribution to the epicure's life. You [in addition to all beautiful breakfast options] have ultimately changed our appreciation for Sunday brunch after a drunken and foie gras-filled Saturday night.)
Speaking of Sunday brunch....
Now, I've never been strict about the components to make this dish. Seriously, the pantry world is your oyster! Of course, I have my preferences - the lovely brioche (a sweet and fat-rich bread high in eggs and butter). But in the end, all you ever need are the following: stale bread, milk, eggs, sugar, flavouring (vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.), and butter! Et voila! The heavens have opened up and served you a puuhh-late! You can eat it on it's own, add some fruit and whipped cream, have it with nut or chocolate butters, eat it with cheese slices (yessss... this is Carl's preference), and even later make it evolve to sandwiches.... enter the Monte Cristo! Mind blown moment again. (TheMonte Cristo is basically a ham and cheese sandwich dipped in an egg and milk mixture.... See? They're hugged by French toasts. What a warm and inviting hug.)
Why the need for stale bread though? Because....
(1) Let's not waste any food. I mean, seriously. The farmers worked hard to make the wheat to make the bread. Let's not even talk about how much time it took to let the bread dough rise. It's a whole life cycle we're disrespecting if we just throw away food.
(2) The day-old breads can soak up more of the custard mixture and still hold its form. Imagine using freshly-made steaming bread. It has so much moisture in it, it won't be able to drink up some of that yummy milk and egg mixture.
(3) WONDERFUL TIP: You can buy the bread that's on SALE. 😉 (Imagine Oprah yelling this with arms spread out in the air, "Saaalllleeee!!!") Because you need it to be stale anyways. Let's save some money too! The saying is true, "If it's on sale, it must be stale". And you basically want that for this.
I try to use up a whole brioche loaf. If you buy a sliced brioche loaf, that's usually 500-600g in weight, around 14 slices. If you buy it unsliced, you can slice it up to 3/4 to 1-inch thick slices. This recipe is incredibly easy. It was made to work while you try to function as a human being, waking up from snooze-fest.
You'll need a mixing bowl, a whisk, a skillet or griddle, and some morning music to get you dancing while making these.
1 cup milk (whole, 2% is fine)
1/2 cup cream (You can actually use 1 can of evaporated milk instead of milk and cream, I won't judge. Evaporated milk tastes even silkier, really.)
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp vanilla
a stale or day-old loaf of brioche bread
unsalted butter, as needed for frying
Optional ingredients for toppings:
raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries
powdered sugar, for dusting
1. Whisk the milk, cream, vanilla, eggs and sugar in a bowl. Make sure to whisk it all together so there aren't any egg whites floating about. Set aside. (If you're extra groggy in the morning, put these all ingredients in a blender and blitz away. It's faster. 😈 Then just transfer to a bowl.)
2. Heat up your skillet to a medium heat. Add some butter (around 1 tbsp) and let it sizzle (don't let it burn and go on beurre noisette mode - aka browned butter).
3. Dip each side of the bread slices in the custard mixture, about 3-4 seconds each side. Don't let it sit too long. Then transfer to the skillet. Cook for 2-3 minutes per side, just until it's browned and crispy. Flip it and repeat. Add some more butter if needed.
4. Continue to cook all the slices until you've reach perfection to the very last slice.
5. Serve it with your desired toppings. (I like to slather mine with a good helping of mascarpone cheese on it, top with sliced strawberries or a mixture berries, add a dollop of whipped cream, and drizzle with maple syrup.)
6. ENJOY!!!! Revel in its beauty first and take a photo for the gram!
*Don't limit your choices to just brioche. I just personally prefer this. But you can use any loaf really, just steer away from darker rye breads. Just because they're more bitter in taste. Go ahead and use French loaves, Italian loves, even left over buns!
**If the bread you bought is fresh AF but you're craving for French toast, you can dry them up a bit. Leave them open and spread out on a plate in your counter. Or, try to toast it lightly in the toaster or pop it in the oven for a few minutes. You just want it to be dryer, not crispy as a piece of breakfast toast.
***Toppings and flavourings are your personal choices. I prefer ours to be basic and plain French Toasts so we really can taste the custard. If you want to add flavouring, try some cinnamon or nutmeg and add 1/2 tsp each. Or even use almond extract or lemon zest. As for toppings, I prefer mascarpone cheese, some berries, and a good helping of authentic Canadian maple syrup. Yuuuummmmsss. You can add any kind of fruit, drizzle it with chocolate syrup, or even drizzle with peanut butter and Nutella!
****If you're watching your sugar intake, you can use a keto-friendly or low-carb bread. Use sugar replacement instead of regular granulated sugar. And use a sugar-free maple syrup too.
*****You can even use a non-dairy milk source! If you're on a specific diet, you can swap out the milk/cream for almond milk. This also adds to the flavour, a sweet nutty flavour. I have not personally tried it but thinking about it opens up so many other milk options. Soy milk?? Hhmmmm. Not too sure about this though.
Well, slap us silly because we were so darn happy. This realllllly overjoyed our bellies. I've always wanted a multi-cooker because I didn't want to pile up the appliances in our limited cooking space here at home. Well, limited counter space. So when I started receiving alerts that Prime Day was coming, I immediately tagged the Instant Pot on my watchlist. When Prime Day finally came, "Add to Cart" wasn't the option. It was "Buy Now". I had it the next day. 😎 I specifically wanted the model with the air fryer and sous vide functions included. That way, I didn't need to buy other appliances. And so far... I've made 3 batches of fried chicken and haven't bought any take-outs yet. What a great investment! In my excitement to use all the functions, I searched for what else I could cook. Soups, stews, and rice were a given. Search the interwebs and a whole slew of recipes will pop up. I did make a beef stew and surprisingly, it only look me an
Spring's coming fast. So that means, we're approaching summer... and that's cottage season. Just a 2-hour drive from our place and you're in a whole different world. We just got over winter and just so everyone knows... we LOVE snow. But sometimes, you just wish you were in a cottage laying around with no plan, skipping, swimming, and sniffing the flowers. Well, that possibility is coming in fast. It's funny for us because our perspective on a 2-hour drive was just way off, totally in the different side of the spectrum. We came from Manila where space is pretty tight. So that meant traffic on the roadways are most often heavy or just in a complete stand-still. We migrated to Canada about a decade ago and traffic in Manila was already bad then. If I woke up late and didn't leave our house by at least 6AM, I would most probably spend my morning stuck in the car. And that was 10 years ago. My family and friends have constantly been updating us on these types of s
I ALWAYS crave for chocolate. And this sealed the deal. When you've had Filipino chocolates cakes, you'll immediately think "this hits the spot". It has this deep dark chocolate taste and it's sweet . It's moist, dense, and every bite is just rich. Almost like having a tablea tsokolate ( roasted and molded discs of pure cacao nibs used to make Filipino or Spanish hot chocolate ) in cake form. If you've had Becky's or Polly's chocolate fudge cake, you'll know what I'm talking about. Becky's Kitchen had those iconic red, white, and gold boxes. This bakeshop was in Malate, Manila and mom would bring home some boxes. It wouldn't even matter what was really inside them, we just knew it was good. Then when Carlo started courting me, when we started dating, he would bring me a box of Polly's chocolate cake (it would be this or a tin or box of Mrs. Field's cookies) every time he'd drive over to our house. ( th
I don't even know where to begin. The last conversation I had with Mom was on November 11th. And the last thing I ever sent her was a "thumbs up" emoji. I guess that was it. My calls to her on the 14th were left unanswered. Mom was rushed to the hospital on the eve of the 15th. And she became our angel on the morning of the 18th. That was way too fast, Mom. Being so far away was the hardest. So very, very hard. When my brother (together with my dad) finally called me and my sister (from Halifax), that was it. I don't think I've ever cried out so hard and so painfully before. I don't ever wish for anyone to feel this pain, this emptiness. And for the first time, I didn't know what to do. The void left was just too much. I just cried and cried and cried. And sometimes, I'd forget to breathe. Good thing my husband kept a good eye on me and my water bottle, always filled. Thank you, Carl. Mom messaged me before when I had surgery earlier this year, &q
Hi Everyone, I just got an update that my feed (through FeedBurner) will no longer be sending out post notifications starting July 2021. For my existing subscribers - for you to keep receiving email notifications as soon as I post a new entry, I'll be sending each subscriber an email link to "Subscribe" again. The email will be titled, " Post subscription request from 'Livin' La Vida Donya ". Please click on Subscribe . Thank you! I'll be posting more content again soon!
It's been a year since Mommy became one of heaven's strongest angels. As most know, I (together with my sister, Manay Kring-Kring), are based here in Canada. Last November 2020, we weren't able to fly to Manila to be with family and loved ones in "the hardest of times in our lives" while in the middle of a pandemic. We clung on to whatever physical item we could find that came from Mom (be it a necklace, some photos, a greeting card, a Jollibee fridge magnet, a shirt, etc.). We sought comfort through the love shared by family and friends with the help of technology. As we celebrate Mommy's anniversary of her entrance to heaven, I thought to have something here in Canada to commemorate her. Also, so we have somewhere to go on special days and an actual physical symbol to honour her. In Toronto, there's a program where we can request for a commemorative Tree ($738) or Bench ($2,530) to be named after a loved one lost. So this is my ask. I, Luzee,
Before I go deep into my previous recipes, I wanted to share a more current one. So current I just made it today. I guess everyone's got some overripe bananas right now. Since the pandemic happened, people have bought in bulk; food that's good enough for 2 weeks for every grocery run. This meant a lot of fresh produce that needed to be eaten and finished before they went bad. My husband's been eating bananas for breakfast and for some reason, there's always 3 bananas left unnoticed. One option would be to cut them up while they were still fresh and throw them in a ziplock bag to head for the freezer - to make future smoothies (but we don't drink banana smoothies). Another option was to make baked products. Yay for baked goodness! I love caramelized carbs! Plus, the smeeeelllllll. Your kitchen will just smell glorious! Banana bread always reminded me of weekend mornings, or holidays with the family. 😊 The banana bread - one of the best, heartwarmi
His birthday, his request. I delivered. (I hope) Ever since we lived in the Philippines, Carl's favourite has always been the "Red Ribbon Chocolate Mousse Cake" and this has consistently been his request for every birthday. For those who don't know, Red Ribbon is a pastry shop/bakery chain in the Philippines that serves a variety of baked goods from bars, cakes, loaves... you name it. I'm not an endorser by the way, but hey... I'd entertain it if the opportunity presented itself. Anyways, this may just be the only cake that Carl seems to be able to enjoy and finish. Like just give him a few of days and he'll finish this whole cake by myself ( No challenge needed, eh. He'll just want to finish this whole thing. ) Between me and him, I'm the one who likes tasting different cakes, even though my favourite will always be a straight-up vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream frosting. So when we moved here to Canada, every year Carl celebrates his b
We actually ate this in silence and closed our eyes while we chewed the first bite. In the early days of this whole pandemic (specifically March), we were scouring TV shows and movies at top speed and at one point we didn't find anything interesting. My uncle suggested to watch "Miso Hungry" (available in Prime). So we watched it we obviously started craving for everything Japanese! It didn't help that we alwaaayssss loved Japanese cuisine as well! So, we searched for recipes we wanted to eat and immediately tried to buy as much Japanese ingredients as we could hoard in our fewer-than-normal grocery runs. Because of all the research we were doing, we started salivating every time we'd run into a recipe with chashu ( ramen, yakimeshi, chahan, chashu buns, etc). I'm so extra thankful for our local Asian grocery, BestCo. They were equipped with everything despite the chaos of the times (yes... they had toilet paper, paper towels, disinfectant wipes and sp
I've always loved poached salmon because it's so light and delicate. Plus, I never feel sluggish after eating it. I honestly wanted to make a Nicoise salad but didn't really have most of of the ingredients for it. I had no potatoes, no olives, no lettuce, no shallots! UGH. So I mucked around in the kitchen to gather some ingredients that may hit close to home. Or at least satisfy my salad cravings. I remember craving for a light salad because I had gone drinking the night before, with matching fried chicken and pizza. I wanted something that was fresh and hella savoury too without it being too heavy. This dish also has a ton of protein and good fats. If you're on a ketogenic diet, this may be a good dinner idea. The only high-carb in this would be the tomatoes and the beans. So maybe you can swap it out for other ingredients - like asparagus, cauliflower florets, or sautéed zucchini. A lot of people are intimidated with poaching. It's just cooking in water