Saturday, April 27, 2013

Food: Healthy Dark Choco-Peanut Granola Squares Recipe

Hi everyone!

If you followed my other blog, you would know by now that I'm in Manila (A gift to welcome me in Manila!). This is a crazy, hectic, fast-paced city--descriptions of which are the exact opposite of what I would describe my hometown, Davao City. 

Greencross and I have pooled our resources to start getting rooted in this city. We are renting this small and neat condo in Soho Residential Condominiums. He has just landed a job and I dearly hope that I follow suit, too. I have a job that I've set my sights on; I really, really like the job so I'm hoping for the best. I don't have friends here in Manila, yet (except folks from Davao who are also here, thank goodness for them!) but I'm hoping that in the next few months, that'll change, too. I'll take to blogging in the meantime.

This is one of the Late Bloomer blog projects I will start on: "Healthy Hacks", a series of posts dedicated to share with you some quick and healthy recipes that I personally make. This post has been sitting in my drafts for about a month now, as the ingredients were something I bought from Davao in an EcoFair (wah, I need to start sniffing out market fairs here in Mandaluyong)

One of the few things I've observed from my friends living in a condo is that they are resorting to all kinds of canned food or ready-to-eat prepackaged meals. I sincerely doubt that what they are eating is healthy; I hope that it's all not junk, but I'm sure that eating spam and canned sausages for their daily breakfast may possibly skew the health balance in their body. I know that there's a lot of factors involving their choice of food, but if time constraints are a problem, there are so many easy recipes with low prep/cooking time!

On today's Healthy Hacks, we have a healthy variation of granola bars! It's a pretty spiffy, natural snack when you want something that just sits in the refrigerator, waiting to be gobbled on. I love these prepackaged granola bars, which are better as snacks than the usual chips and candies. But the recipe I have is SO MUCH BETTER. (Love your own! Hahah!)

Natural Dark Choco-Peanut Granola Squares (Total Time: 10 mins ; No. of Ingredients: 6 items )

  • 1 1/2 cup rolled oats / granola mix (I used both Revive Granola Mix and Australian Rolled Oats)
  • 1 cup natural honey (I used Bio Dynamis wild honey)
  • 2 tbsp dark cocoa powder (I used Hershey's Dark Unsweetened cocoa powder) or;
  • 1 piece 100% cacao/tableya (I used one from Aloha Organic Garden and its AMAZING)
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter 
  • [Optional garnish: cornflakes, cinnamon, sweetened cocoa powder, peanuts or dried fruits]

Above is the basic setup of your ingredients list. Here's the procedure:

1. On a pot, heat everything except the granola/rolled oats and garnish over medium heat. Do not boil, just ensure that the cocoa/tableya and the peanut butter mixes well with the honey.

2. Take out the pot from the heat and pour into a square mold, or any heat-resistant bowl you have (I used Pyrex glassware) and mix in your granola mix.

3. Mix the granola and honey mixture to ensure everything is coated well. Garnish with cornflakes, like I did. Or choose your own, really. Nuts are really great, and dried fruits as well. My sister likes her granola squares to have lots of cinnamon because peanut butter + chocolate + cinnamon is just her thing :)

Cover the container and refrigerate. This lasts for about a week and a half in the freezer. I usually bring a piece if I go out and not want to have to buy junk. This makes me very full, because of the rolled oats and granola mix. It's also perfect as a protein fix because of the grains, and because of the peanut butter, too! It is chewy but with a little crunch. It's also absolutely great paired with tea!

Just because we don't have a lot of time on our hands or that life is a little hectic shouldn't give us the license to take for granted the only thing keeping us alive and kicking: a healthy functioning body! I'll make sure that despite the many temptations to splurge on food in Manila, I will choose the one that's cheap and healthy! Making my own food is the best place to start.

Thank you for reading!~
Keep healthy!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A gift to welcome me in Manila!

Good Morning, Paranaque! Hay naku, Manila, it's another one of your extremely blinding hot days.

I'm in Manila you guys! And everything is so busy and blinking and fast and noisy and fun and superlatively exciting! Since touching down last April 1st, everything has been strange. But you can't blame me, what's 10 days when compared to 26 years? All my life I've been in Davao. Suddenly, my plane lurched and landed (none too gently I may add) at the pristine NAIA.

I've been busy getting acquainted with the Metro's jeep / bus routes and trainstops. Having always been a one-route jeepney girl for a good part of my life, I was mortified to find out that there were so many ways you can easily get lost in various transportation; Manila is HUGE, myged, and you can't even ask people for directions daw. And not like I can actually muster the courage to ASK them, because my Tagalog is still lilting and funny and probinsianic. If that's even a word hahahaha.

Adjusting to Manila pace is hard. My regular Davao pace is so laid back like you wouldn't believe. Opposite ends of the haste-slow spectrum, I swear. But I will catch up. Especially now that I have a lucky charm from who else but the Queen of Hip Manila, ~

Her giveaway was the last thing in my mind when I got to Manila, because I joined when I was still in Davao and didn't think I could win this contest with so many people joining, and I am so unlucky at contests and giveaways it's almost unbelievable  But I got a text last Tuesday: "Hello, is this Kristine? This is Cecile." And despite so many random HR Company numbers texting me because I've been applying for a job here and there, my gut feeling told me-- OMIGOSHH THIS IS CHUVANESS!!!!!!

I was one of her winners for one of her biggest giveaway! YEHEYYYYYY!

I collected my bounty at Pepper Lunch Shangri-La and was so happy to receive a HUGE parcel containing my Ethos Luggage/Bag which is probably the most perfect and the most magical bag I have ever owned.

Beautiful and solid and elegant. Reminds me of an 18th century bag in some of the novels I read. And if you know me from my other book blog, I LOVE HISTORICAL NOVELS!
The luggage/travel bag is packed with a lot of goodies I love. It wouldn't be a stretch to tell you that the contents were so generously put in.

When I settled down, I perused the contents of the bag extensively!


Me and my friend Avy checking out the stuff. Below are some of my faaaaaaaaaaavorites that I got:


I've always wanted street headphones just because. I have a Sennheiser MX370 that I use daily but I just love how headphones frame my head like a headband. Though I have a pair of headphones, my AKG K-44 MKII, I wouldn't think of using it in the streets because it's big, bulky, and more for video/audio monitoring. I haven't had the pleasure of using UrbanEars until now, and I am happy~ I love that it's grey/neutral, too! 


Another one for my notebook/journal collection. Quite intrigued with this journal, I tried to google The Happiness Project and it is awesome and quite unique for a journal. I've only always written lengthy posts (quite the tl;dr kind lol) in my journals and this Happiness Project is a commitment to just write one sentence about a happy part of your day. But the important part is that you do this for FIVE YEARS. 

Challenge accepted!

Everything I got was nothing short of awesome in the sense that it is a gift that I never expected, that I've always wanted and more. I truly, truly love it~! I use this bag daily because it's an anti-slash bag, and has an amazing lock mechanism that makes me feel like everything I have inside is protected (not that I have anything worth stealing .___. this bag is worth more the contents, I believe!) and it's a unique form and immediately gives anything I wear an oomph because of its tailored neatness and quite-English elegance.

Thank you, Cecile!

At first I was like (' u ' )
And then I was like :DDDD
All photos by Mike Tan