Meatless Monday: Basil Tomato Soup with Garlic Bread

Last week, Bernard and I went Italian for Meatless Monday. I prepared basil tomato soup with garlic bread. It’s very simple, easy, and even cheap.

Let’s begin with the basil-tomato soup. First, you need

  • tomato sauce
  • basil
  • bouillon cubes
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups water
  • garlic
  • onion
  1. Saute the garlic and the onion.
  2. Throw in the cube then add the water.
  3. Pour the tomato sauce (I used the can) and sprinkle some basil. Let it simmer for around 15 minutes.
  4. Add some salt and pepper (but I just added pepper since there’s already sodium in the tomato sauce).
  5. Serve while hot. Top with some basil leaves for more flavor.

If you want to save money on basil, buy McCormick Basil, which is only 50 pesos and you can save more for other recipes.

Now for the garlic bread:

  • mini baguette, sliced in 4 parts
  • butter
  • finely chopped garlic
  • basil
  • pepper
  1. Slice the mini baguette into 4 parts. I bought mine for around 40 pesos in French Baker. To spend less, you can use hot dog buns.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine some butter, garlic, basil, and pepper. Make sure they are mixed together properly.
  3. Then spread your mixture on the bread.
  4. Using an oven toaster, toast the breads for 15 minutes.


This week has been a roller-coaster ride. Sometimes I feel good about myself, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I just want to bawl my eyes out, sometimes I simply want to jump around in glee. IT’S. THAT. MAD.

But I’m glad it’s already Sunday, which has become my favorite day of the week for the past few months. I’ll get to see my family, it’s usually very relaxed and quiet, and it seems the day is a bit longer.

Anyway, last Monday I started my virtual course in Coursera. BUT I had to un-enroll since my domesticated brain couldn’t handle calculus and linear algebra (did I get the term right?) yet. I’m such a weakling when it comes to math. So I took up another: A History of the World since 1300. It basically traces the growth of economies, domination, and relationships among societies throughout the centuries (since the development of rural villages). I’m almost done with the first week’s videos (there are 8), so by next week, I’m fully ready for the second section. Come September 30, I’ll have my first assignment! Yey! My only problem is I don’t have the recommended book since it’s quite expensive even if I buy it as an e-book.

I’m starting to write poetry again! I missed it so much. I lost my muse for a very long time, and until now I can’t figure out why. In fact, I’m so excited because it also gave me a ka-ching idea.

Yesterday I attended a Google Business Group meetup, and I am just in awe of how much work others have already done. They inspire me to level up or do something more too. That for me is an amazing “let’s bring it on” feeling.

In a while, I’ll be meeting up my family over dinner, hoping to hear more lovely news to give me a good head-start next week. Oh, and we’re leaving for Singapore by Friday. First international travel of our lives.

Before I bid a temporary adieu, let me leave you with this. December, please come a bit faster so I get to watch this and the first installment of the Hobbit:




Great Finds and Inspiration: Call Me Maybe Squat Challenge

I’m really not feeling well. My right inner cheek is still swollen, which normally happens because of bites. I have a very bad wisdom tooth that I should have removed a long time ago. Back then, I wasn’t sure yet if I wanted to. Now I’m leaning into that direction. I might once we get back from Singapore. As of the moment, I need to  make sure I don’t chew on my right.

Nevertheless, I’m not letting this quite-terrible pain from ruining my day entirely so I’ll begin with some inspiration. A long time ago, while I was looking for Call Me Maybe videos in YouTube (I was one of the millions who got so crazy over the song), I stumbled upon this:

She, by the way, is Cassey, a Pilates instructor who’s found such a very cool way for people to exercise by having fun while at it. She calls it Pop-pilates. Her website has tons (and I mean TONS) of fantastic information about food, workout, and anything related to fitness and health. She’s generous with her workout plans and recipes, and I especially love to try her blueberry muffin.

A few days before, she also launched her POP cardio workout for Oppa Gangnam Style. I haven’t tried this yet, but from the looks of it, it’s wickedly fun!

If you want to see what she’s been up to, you can visit her YouTube channel and subscribe.


Meatless Monday: Mini Veggie Pizza

This should not have been called Meatless Monday. For the past few weeks, I’ve been posting erratically! Forgive me. I’ve been busy, and I’ve been sick (which reminds me, I need to visit my dentist AGAIN stat).

Last week, I made mini veggie pizza, which is super-duper easy you can have one in less than 20 minutes. No kidding!

So what do you need?

  • tomato sauce (I used Clara Ole’s tomato sauce with mushrooms)
  • diced tomatoes
  • chopped bell peppers
  • 1 sliced bread, cut into two
  • grated cheddar cheese
  • ground black pepper (optional–I just love black pepper)

If you want to take it to the next level, you can include some herbs such as basil or a hint of oregano. You can also toss some onions or change cheddar to parmesan.


1. Cut the bread into half. Remove the sides.
2. Spread tomato sauce on top of each.
3. Place your veggies.
4. Sprinkle with cheese.
5. Toast for around 10 to 15 minutes.

Easy, right? After I did everything, it looked something like this.

I think what you’ll love about it is the crunchiness of the bread and the veggies after they’re toasted, as well as the slight creaminess of the melted cheese.

Yesterday, I prepared tomato-basil soup with garlic bread. I’ll cover that next week.

Christine Ha

Okay, before you proceed, let me warn you: if you’re just starting to watch the season 3 of U.S. Masterchef, STOP. You also need to do that if you haven’t watched the finale.

I assume you’ve read my disclaimer. So I’ll go on with the post.

Image from Christine Ha’s blog The Blind Cook.

Christine Ha is one of the contestants of U.S. Masterchef Season 3. She’s currently taking up her master’s in fine arts in fiction in the University of Houston. She’s happily married and loves books (well, it’s pretty obvious judging by her course, isn’t it?). She had snowboarded, skydived, and skied. Of course, being part of the Masterchef means she cooks, and she does it superbly.

All these she does while being BLIND. How blind? She once described herself as worse than legally blind; everything in her world is a blur. So you can just imagine how she’s able to cook with sophistication while under extreme time pressure and even lead a team in one of her challenges. She even replicated a dish for a challenge almost perfectly.

She said she relies a lot on her memory. You see, Christine wasn’t born blind. Around 10 years ago, she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease known as neuromyelitis optica, which subsequently damaged the optic nerves over the years, until she lost her vision for both eyes. (You wonder how she’s able to read. She’s memorized uncontracted and contracted Braille. And her next reading project is Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina.)

She also touches on her memory, as well as hearing and feeling, for food taste, presentation, and texture, to name a few.

My deep love for her went several notches higher when she cooked a crab caviche cocktail using LIVE dungeness crab, which isn’t just wide but very long (and huge!). She prepared it to perfection, never mind if she had spent more than half of her time cooking and getting the crab meat.

To say that she’s an inspiration is I think an understatement of her impact in my life as well as that of the others. She’s a mentor, that one person who asks you, without her knowing it, “What have you been doing with your own life?”

Meatless Monday: Da Vinci’s Lasagna Lite

I’m guilty. I slackened. I hardly dieted or exercised last week. More discipline is something I need to further develop. Perhaps the only consolation is that I still went on with Meatless Monday. I gave myself a treat this time and asked the Husband to bring me Da Vinci’s Lasagna Lite.

This is my mom’s and my favorite Da Vinci dish (yes, it topped their white sauce pizzas). It stays true to its claim: it’s light with enough crustiness on top. It’s extremely filling, thanks to its few layers of cheese, cream, eggplants, mushrooms, and corn kernels–and the herbs, they’re too die for!

It’s just too bad I wasn’t able to take a photo of it, but I guess when you’re hungry, taking a photo isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Besides, you can search great mouth-watering pictures of it in Google. 😉

If you haven’t tasted it yet, now is the time to do so. You can even order one now. If you’re in Mactan, you can call 495-8888.