No-Fail Easy Champorado Recipe

It seems like summer has just started with heat wave making it difficult for all of us. But before we get comfortable with the summer heat, rainy season seems to be creeping in slowly. And we all know when rainy season arrives – Champorado for merienda! Here is a no-fail and easy Champorado recipe that you can try or use.

The secret to this recipe is the cinnamon powder which can be optional if you do not have. But if you do have cinnamon powder in your pantry – you won’t regret it!

No-Fail Easy Champorado Recipe

1 cup Glutinous Rice
5 cups Water
6 pcs Table/cocoa tablets
3/4 tsp Espresso powder or instant coffee
1/4 tsp Cinnamon powder (optional but great to add)
3/4 cup Dark Brown Sugar
Evaporated/Condensed Milk
Dried Fish or Tuyo (if you like)

How to make Filipino Champorado

  1. Add the glutinous rice in a saucepan and wash it thoroughly with clean water to remove any dirt particles
  2. Add 5 cups of water and bring to a boil in high heat
  3. When it starts to boil, lower heat to low or simmer and add in the tablea or cocoa tablets.
  4. Stir the rice mixture to dissolve the tablea or cocoa tablets.
  5. Add in espresso powder or instant coffee, cinnamon powder and sugar.
  6. Make sure to occasionally stir to avoid burning at the bottom of the pan. Cook time will be around 15-20 or until it is with your desired consistency.
  7. Add in a cup of water every time – only when you feel it needs more cooking time or more liquid in your champorado
  8. Remove from heat when desired consistency is achieved.
  9. Serve in a bowl with evaporated/condensed milk drizzled on top.
  10. If you like, serve with a side of dried fish or tuyo.

6 Steps to Become an Online Freelancer

Working from home and becoming an online freelancer is something everyone is now looking into. The job can be a source of decent earnings and, if lucky, can be lucrative as well.

I’ve work as a digital freelancer for nearly 10 years now. I like the perks of not having to go to office and waste my time commuting. I highly encourage friends to become an online freelancer if they can. With the Covid-19 outbreak, everyone is considering online freelance, especially those who were laid off work and those still needs to go to the office.

How do you drop your traditional day job at the office and find work online and work from home? Here are four steps to help you become an online freelancer.

Find out what skills you can offer

There are a lot of jobs available on the digital landscape. There are administration, finance, marketing, management, programming, or creatives. The list can go on and can be overwhelming. The best thing to do is know what skills you have and what you can bring to the table. If you’re a graphic artist, you will most likely look for jobs that require that skill. If you’ve work as a call center agent, you can apply for client support roles. If you’re strength is into management, you can

Build your online presence and portfolio

You might hear a lot of online freelancers saying “create a portfolio” and you do not know what that means. It is basically creating your presence online so potential clients can see information about you and the kind of work that you do. You can create your own website or manage an online community in social networks if you want to land a marketing position. You can also showcase your work on online portfolios for graphic artists or videographers, if you’re into that field. You can create a professional portfolio at LinkedIn and show you previous work and history of work and a list of your skill sets.

Improve your skills

One of the difficulty of landing a job online freelance positions is having a lot of competition for a position. Not only should you need to have a well-made resume, it should also reflect how versatile you can be for the job. That means should have good set of skills to begin with. One the ways to do that is pick up online classes related to your skill set or field you want to be hired in. The are courses on how to be a star virtual assistant, classes on video editing or graphics design, or certification classes for digital and social media marketing. The list is endless. Which is why every home-from-from-home veterans will say that the “I never worked (online freelance) before” line will get you nowhere. You need to be proactive.

Learn the digital landscape

Since you’re applying for an online job position, it is expected that you know your way around the internet. You can’t expect to get hired if you don’t know how to use a spreadsheet or other basic admin software. You do not have to be the best at it, have mastered using it, or know all software to relating to the work you want. You just need to familiarize yourself with it. So if the job listing says a bunch of software it uses, look it up study what it is for and how use it.

Patience in finding your first clients

Finding clients is as hard as trying to apply for a job and getting the position. However, to make this easier at your end, what you need to do your research before hand. Find what online sites you create a profile or submit your resume or the social media groups on Facebook that shares open job positions.

You can look at those job listings and find what they are looking at and see if you are a good fit for those positions. If you find that you have some lacking skills that are listed to almost all job listings, it is a good indication that you need to study and do online courses.

Be honest and confident

Most online freelancers started from nowhere. On the job interview be honest about your skills and knowledge. It will show right through that you don’t have any experience on a certain task or software. I would always say, “I don’t know how use the softwares listed. But I did read about it and found out it’s similar to what I used before. I can easily learn more about how to use that software when given a chance to.” This not only say that you’re honest about what you can do but also being open to learn new things for the job.

Homemade Cebuano Puto Maya Recipe

Puto Maya is one of the popular Cebuano Filipino (kakanin) food. It made of sticky rice cooked in coconut milk much like the Indonesian sticky rice (except for the latter’s pandan flavour and sweet sauce). My favourite version of this is the purple puto maya from Iligan City, PH which my Mama would always buy for breakfast when we’re home. Recipe below is good for 2-3 people, depending on your appetite.

Homemade Cebuano Puto Maya Recipe:

1 c glutinous rice
1 c coconut milk
2 tbsp sugar 1/4 tsp salt 2 thumb-sized crushed ginger (large slices)

How to cook Puto Maya:

  1. Soak glutinous rice overnight or at least an hour
  2. In a pan mix coconut milk, sugar, salt and ginger
  3. Add soaked glutinous rice and let boil in low-medium heat
  4. Make sure to stir when it starts to boil and clump up
  5. Remove from stove when rice absorbs most of the liquid and you can see slight oil formed (from coconut milk)
  6. Place in steamer pot lined with coconut leaves or parchment paper and place rice mix on top
  7. Steam for 20mins or until desired consistency and softness
  8. Remove from steamer and remove ginger slices
  9. Serve with sikwate (hot cocoa) or preferred breakfast drink.

Kusina Notes:

  • For coconut milk, I used Coco Mama coconut milk pack.
  • If you can get a hold of fresh gata, it will be richer in flavour. Also if you do not want your puto maya oily with fresh gata, you can cut the fresh gata to 2/3 and fill in 1/3 with water.
  • Large ginger slices will make it easier for you to remove it before serving
  • We don’t have a steamer pot, I used rice cooker and work pretty well
  • I used parchment paper to line steamer pot and did not have any problem
  • If you’re going to use banana leaves, steam or run leaves in fire to prevent it from tearing

Watch how you can easily cook your own Puto Maya at home:

Easy Homemade Pandesal or Filipino Bread Roll Recipe

Want to bake your own pandesal? Overwhelmed or intimidated at the thought of baking pandesal from home? Pandesal is a traditional Filipino bread roll and the most popular bread in the Philippines. It is baked in the wee hours in bakeries all over the country being a staple and typically served during breakfast in a Filipino household.

Baking your own pandesal can be overwhelming, especially for a new homebaker. Here is a simple and easy to follow Pandesal or Filipino Bread Roll.

Pandesal or Filipino Bread Roll Recipe

200 mL milk (warm to touch)
1 1/2 tsp yeast (+2 tsp sugar)
2 c flour
2 Tbsp powdered milk
1/4 c sugar
1 tsp salt
2 medium-sized egg yolks
1/4 c oil (canola/vegetable oil) Breadcrumbs for coating

How to make Filipino Pandesal:

  1. Mix in a small bowl the warm milk, yeast & sugar and activate for 5 mins.
  2. In a larger bowl, add the dry ingredients: flour, powdered milk, sugar and salt
  3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add egg yolks, oil and yeast
  4. Knead by hand for 12-15 mins. When kneading, fold the dough in half and press forward with the heel of your hands to press it flat and fold it in. Turn the dough, press forward to flatten it and fold it in. Repeat the process when kneading.
  5. Cover & let rest for 2 hours
  6. Uncover & knead for another 3mins
  7. Cover & let rest for 20 mins
  8. Cut & shape according to preferred weight and/shape
  9. Cover with breadcrumbs and place in lined baking pan/sheet 10. Cover and final proof for 1H
  10. Bake: 160C for 20 to 30mins (or until golden brown).
  11. Turn the baking tray halfway the baking time for even baking.
  12. Serve hot or warm with you preferred butter or jam and hot sikwate (chocolate drink) or your preferred breakfast drink.
  13. Recipe makes 12-15 Pandesal, depending on bun size

Watch how you can easily bake your own Filipino Pandesal at home:

How Clean Produce & Grocery Items to Prevent Covid-19 from Entering Your Home

Having to stay at home adoes not guarantee us safe from Covid-19 infections. Infact there have been news of an individual contracting the disease even though she never went out of her home. Turns out a delivery guy who delivered her grocery items, fruits & vegetables was an asymptomatic carrier. Crazy, isn’t it? So how can be we prevent Covid-19 from entering our home?

A popular ingredient not only for cooking but also in homemade cleaning solutions is vinegar. It is used as a natural disinfectant because it is acidic nature. This makes a natural but also potent cleaner. But it is also the safest way to clean your fruits and vegetables without introducing any harmful chemical substances in your body.

How can we clean our fruits and vegetables after our market run in the times of this health crisis in the Philippines? Here is a simple but natural way to clean our vegetables after buying it from the local market and before cooking and serving it to our family.

How you can clean your fruits and vegetables:

For fruits and vegetables:

  • Clean your fruits and vegetables with running water to remove any dirt and debris
  • Remove any wilted part or leaves
  • In a kitchen basin, mix a solution of 1:6 cups ratio of vinegar and water in your basin
  • Dip your fruits and vegetables and let in soak for 5-10mins
  • After soaking these, rinse the fruits and vegetables
  • Drain any water and wipe with towel or thoroughly dry.

For leafy vegetables:

  • For green and leafy vegetables, soak in the solution for two to five minutes, then remove.
  • Rinse off with water in a colander or the basket of a salad spinner. 
  • Dry it with paper towels or through a salad spinner. 
  • It’s recommended to do this right before you eat the leafy vegetables, since any excess moisture can lead to decay in the fridge.

How you can clean your fruits and vegetables:

  • Remove any items inside large packaging such as cookies, pack of soaps, 3-in-1 coffee sachets.
  • For cans or plastic packing, you can wash it under running water and clean it with dishwashing soap.
  • For those wrap in paper or any packaging that might leak through, it is best to get some paper towels and spray disinfectant solution on it and wipe the packing

How To Maintain a Tidy & Clutter-Free Kitchen

Our humble little rental is a box open layout of living room, kitchen, and dining room in one. It does not have much storage and we have to make do with what we have being renters as we are.

We are not very strict about tidying up all the time but we do tidy as we go. But there will be times that both Husband & I will be too busy to tidy after cleaning so we kinda leave things around until it piles up.

Here is a home hack to make your kitchen made up without doing

1. Tidy as you go or tidy along during the week.

Remember when we leave things anywhere, the space can easily get cluttered and can take away the empty space.

Before, in the middle and after workweek, we always find time to return things back to where it belong or whenever it get too cluttered.

2. Have a place for everything

Thinking about where to store things can be stressful, time-consuming and can easily demotivate you when you are cleaning and tidying up. So always have a spot or a home for every item you have. The unused plates in the drawers, spoon & forks in a utensil holder, pots & pans inside the cabinet, etc. Having a spot for everything makes it less stressful for you to put things away because you already know where to put and store those items.

3. Don’t overdo with shopping.

And since we are challenged with storage – every home item we consider purchasing always go through series of questions that includes budget, how long we will use it and if there’s an alternative that we can use with what we have. But these two questions are important in our decision-making:

  • Do we really need it? (Husband’s favorite line)
  • Do we have a place for it? (My favorite line)

Keeping Healthy While Working From Home

Working from home 4-8 hours a day can take the energy out of you. How much more if you’re stuck in your desk and the only form of activity you have is getting up and walking to the kitchen to get a glass of water.

Work from home individuals are at risks of sedentary lifestyle-related diseases. These includes heart disease, diabetes mellitus, and other lifestyle disease due to prolonged sitting hours. Since prolonged sitting is considered unhealthy and bad for your overall health and called the new “smoking”.

What are the ways to combat these diseases when your work is mostly done sitting and infront of your work computer? Check out these healthy tips to get you in top shape despite sitting all day.

Eat healthy meals

Most of the time our default when we get tired or need some distractions to keep us attentive is snacking. It is also not new that the best snacks are either the salty or the sweet snacks. This is nice if you’re a light snacker and reaches for it maybe once a month. But for frequent snackers, this can become a problem.

Prepare healthy snacks like fruits of veggies slices to munch on. You can also work on your meal prep to make sure you are eating enough calories so you won’t feel hungry later in the day.

Make time for exercise

Always set aside time for exercise on a daily regular basis. Even when it is just standing up and doing bending and stretching exercises. It can help boost your efficiency by making you more alert and motivated and increase your work productivity.

Breaktime is important

Aside from scheduling your work hours, you also need to schedule your break periods. Establish a routine taking a break for lunch, to get a drink, check the kids, or to even check your social media accounts. It will give you some rest from screen time and allows your circulation to get going.

I also suggest a 20 minute power nap if you need it. This allows you to re-energizes your brain from all the mental activities at work.

Prepare the day before

Your weekly work schedule can be irregular but it’s best to always stay on top of things. This include writing tasks you need to do for the following day. You can write your tasks by priority that way it’s easier for you to see which tasks need your attention first thing in the morning. It is also better if you clean you workstation and prepare it. It will save you time organising your worktable and starting your workday.

Emergency Fund: Why It’s Important & How To Save Up For It

We always hear about Emergency Fund (EF) when we start to manage our finances. Financial advisers advises it, family & friends with good finance practices encourages – but what is an emergency fund? This will serve a financial safety net for those unexpected expenses. It is money stash aside to cover the family’s monthly living expenses and basic needs when you are unable to work or earn.

Continue reading Emergency Fund: Why It’s Important & How To Save Up For It

How to Start Saving Money for the Family

While saving money is second nature to some people, not everyone is good at keeping their money in their pockets. However, not everyone who are good with managing their money started off smoothly. In fact most have struggled and failed multiple times before finally gotten the hang of handling their finances well. Here are ways to prepare yourself and to start saving your money:

ASK YOURSELF THE DIFFICULT QUESTIONS

One of the effective ways to address a difficult situation is to confront it. You can confront your problem by asking the difficult questions and allowing yourself to answer these honestly:

  • How much do I earn? Is it enough?
  • Am I earning less or spending too much?
  • Where is my money going?
  • Why do I feel that my money is never enough?
  • How do I need to lessen my expenses?
  • What if something happens to me or my family?
  • Where do I get the money for emergency situations?
  • What will happen to my children if something happens to us (parents)?
  • Do I have enough funds when I get old?
  • Where will I get the money when I/family member is terminally-ill?
  • Will my future self and family be financially secured?

This list of questions goes on and the answers will come quite shocking. Hence the very reason why people do not ask these difficult questions to themselves. But this will show you the real financial situation you are in. And will give you a glimpse of what it might be for you and your family in the future.

HOW MUCH ARE YOU EARNING

Are you living below, within or above your means? It starts off with knowing how much money you have and how much you earn each month. Knowing how much you earn will help you see if the lifestyle you choose is financially sound for you or if it is time that you need a bigger stream of income.

List all the income streams you have: salary from work, income from a rental property, small business, side projects, etc. Make sure you know the rough average monthly income you have.

BUILD A BUDGET

Some people take budgeting the wrong way. Budgeting is to plan where to spend your money and allocate how much money you can spend on each.

The 50-20-30 Rule is an ideal way to help you build a budget by using three spending categories:

50 %
LIVING EXPENSES
20%
FINANCE GOALS
30%
FLEXIBLE SPENDING
Rent
Utility Bills
Groceries
Children’s Tuition
Commute to work
Etc.
Insurance/s
Mutual Funds
Investments
Etc.
Dine out budget
Clothing expenses
Etc.

– 50% : living expenses and essentials
– 20% : financial goals: savings, investments, and debt-reduction payments
– 30% : flexible spending which is everything you buy that you want but don’t necessarily need. 

SOURCE: Forbes | New in Budgeting? Why you should try the 50-20-30 rule

As per priority: Living Expenses > Finance Goals > Flexible Savings

Your first priority should be the current living expenses. This will give you the security that you have the money to pay the rent, bills and cover for food for the rest of the month. It should be followed by setting aside money for the future in different forms. And while flexible savings is also important (so that you will not feel choked and you get to enjoy some of your earned money) – it should be the lesser priority.

If you are spending above 50% of your income to living expenses – that may well mean that either of the two: 

  • You are living beyond what you can afford
  • Your income needs to grow more

WRITE DOWN WHERE YOU ARE ACTUALLY SPENDING YOUR MONEY

Sit down and list where your spend your money on. This is to keep track and give you an accurate picture of where you spend your money on.

The list should included the monthly rental/mortgage, utility bills, subscriptions, children’s tuition, commute to work expenses to afternoon snack or coffee dates with your friends. Categorise each these as Living Expenses, Finance Goals & Flexible Spending. 

Keeping list will makes it easy for you to see how you are spending your money. It will also allow you to work on areas where you can lessen your expenses or increase your income (sell baked goods, etc)

It might be difficult to achieve at first but this is, nonetheless, achievable.

LESSEN EXPENSES WHERE YOU CAN

Spending impulsively, reckless buying of whatever you think you need are some expenses that cut the bulk of. But there are also ways to curb your expenses in some practices that you already have but don’t know that you’re spending too much on.

  • Practice habits to lessen electricity/water bills. 
  • Prepare a thorough list every time you shop, and do not stray from it UNLESS it’s something that you NEED but forgot to write down. 
  • Buy cheaper alternatives/brands for food items, toiletries, detergents, etc. 
  • Grow your own food: tomatoes, siling labuyo, kangkong, calamansi, onions, herbs, carrots, potatoes, etc.
  • Cut off unnecessary subscriptions (Netflix, Spotify, the likes) if you are not even using it or simply can not afford to continue
  • Move to a cheaper/affordable rental – expensive at first but will pay off greatly in the next months/years.
  • Decline/Lessen social gatherings where you will spend either on commute, food or gifts.

GET THE FAMILY INVOLVED & BE ACCOUNTABLE

Involve everyone who will in some way be affected by this finance practice. Everyone should know and understand that you, as a family, are trying to keep a budget and curb the expenses. If it means switching to affordable food alternatives, eating out once a week/month instead for your usual, cooking food instead of ordering delivery, etc. Do not be afraid to let them know that this is a way to protect & provide.

Setting aside money is not just a practice you need to do to buy an expensive gadget or buy a home appliance, etc. It can also come in the forms of Savings that your future self and family can/will use, an Emergency Fund for the unforeseen situation or crisis, for Insurance Policies for protection and security, or on Investments so your money can earn and grow.