Coconut Spread Cookies?

Unlike cakes and muffins, cookies have always intimidated me. Partly, it’s because all cookie recipes in Chloe Coscarelli’s cookbook called for vegan butter or margarine, which is expensive and scarce in my province, and also partly because mama never baked cookies when we were growing up. My cookie experience were limited to packaged, crisp, crumbly, and overly sweet ones available everywhere. I never had homemade cookies until I got a job – and literally a couple of years later I decided to go vegan (I would take a step back to the lacto-ovo vegetarian territory a year later) so whatever cookies were available in the market became off-limits for many years.

More importantly, I have decided to take the healthy vegan route and try to stay away from refined sugars and processed oils as much as I can. Even when I began baking, I made sure I used wholesome ingredients as much as I can. After all, I wouldn’t waste my time baking things that I won’t eat.

Last December though, I stumbled upon this beautiful vegan on YouTube, Sadia Badiei, of the channel Pick Up Limes. For weeks I stationary jogged while watching her videos. She’s a vegan nutritionist and she’s really pretty, so I was drawn to her.

One of her videos under her Teatime Tuesdays theme featured a healthy double chocolate chip cookies that seemed easy and yummy. The ingredients she used were mostly wholesome (she used white sugar, as her blog was about nourishing the soul AND the cells) and the procedures seemed easy. I kept that recipe for future referece, in case I decided to whip up some cookie dough.

I swear I’ve baked five batches of her cookies in the last thirteen days and I can honestly say it’s fool-proof. You can even tweak the ingredients to your liking and the results will be the same.

Like, for my fourth and fifth time baking these delicious cupcakes, I decided to use the last two jars of my favorite coconut spread Buko Foods (cacao variant) and it worked! Pure magic.

Buko Foods is 100% natural, vegan, nut-free, gluten-free, zero preservatives and no refined sugar coconut spread. The cacao variant which I used in this recipe only has three ingredients: organic coconut milk, organic coconut nectar, and organic cacao. Now if that’s not healthy enough for you…

So without further ado, here’s the recipe.

Coconut Spread Chocolate Cookies

Yield: 33 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 265g Buko Foods Organic Coconut Spread with Cacao
  • 3 tbsp agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup plant milk (I used Kirkland organic unsweetened rice milk)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 cup Enjoy Life semisweet mini chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Celsius and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Mix together the coconut spread, agave nectar and plant milk in a large bowl and stir until thoroughly combined.
  3. Add in the baking powder, baking soda, and salt and stir.
  4. In three batches, stir in the flour. Make sure not to overwork the dough.
  5. If desired, add half the chocolate chips into the dough and reserve the rest for topping.
  6. Scoop 1-tbsp dough balls onto the cookie tray and press each ball with your palm to flatten. Top with the rest of the chocolate chips.
  7. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes.
  8. Cool in a cooking rack.

This recipe is not too sweet, and soft and pillowy. Even my mother and father who adhere to a low-carb animal-based diet love these.

It’s also easy to turn whole foods plant-based by just subbing some of the ingredients like the flour and chocolate chips.

The only drawback is that this recipe is fairly expensive because of the coconut spread. But medicine and surgery are more expensive.

Enjoy!

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It’s #Veganuary! + Healthy Tahini Chocolate Cookies

Happy New Year, everyone! 2018 is finally o-v-e-r and I’m one of those personally victimized by those 365 days that I’m just so glad it’s finally done for. I hope 2019 is infinitely better.

Also, Happy Veganuary! Various news sites forecasted that 2019 is going to be the year of veganism so if you’re not yet vegan, this January is the perfect time to start.

To celebrate the New Year and Veganuary, I’m sharing my healthy and mom-approved cookie recipe.

By the way, I adapted this recipe from the one-bowl double chocolate chip cookies from one of my favorite vegan YouTube channels Pick Up Limes.

Tahini Chocolate Cookies

Makes 20 1/8 cup cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 2/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 3 tbsp agave
  • 1/2 cup plant milk (I used Almond Breeze unsweetened original)
  • 1/3 cup cacao powder
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Vegan dark chocolate pieces or chips, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line a cookie sheet with wax or parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl, cream together tahini and coconut sugar.
  3. Add in agave.
  4. Add plant milk, cacao powder, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and mix well. If the mixture is too watery, chill in the fridge for a few minutes.
  5. Add in the flour and mix until just combined. Do not overmix.
  6. Using a 1/8 cup measuring cup, scoop dough and roll into balls, then flatten by pressing between your palms. Press a chocolate piece on top. NOTE: Be careful when tasting because you might end up finishing the dough before it gets in the oven.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes, rotating halfway through baking time, or until the edges start to brown.
  8. Cool in the cookie sheet for about five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to thoroughly cool.
  9. Enjoy!

These cookies are not so sweet and goes well with a glass of unsweetened plant milk. Delicious, healthy, and satisfying. My mother even suggested that I sell them.

Happy New Year again! Let’s eat and be healthy!

What I Ate in a Week: Pig-out Style

Hi, guys! I’m back, I think.

I was getting rid of unnecessary stuff on my phone and PC and found these food pictures that I took last week and I remembered that I have a WordPress blog! Is this the effect of aging or B12 deficiency?

(Yesterday, I was horrified that I had to Google the spelling of “hustle.”)

So, before I delete the foodporn from my gallery, I’d post them here.

The backstory is that I spent the last week of November in Makati City for a national conference of librarians in the Department of Education. I was honestly looking forward to it – even though that meant our small vegan lunch delivery business, which i realize I haven’t shared here yet, would have a brief pause in operations. I felt I needed a break from the routine (and the dullness of country life). Moreover, I’ve been dying to test the vegan/vegetarian restaurants my online vegan friends flock. The week-long conference was an opportunity I can’t pass up.

On Sunday (Day 0), my boyfriend Francis accompanied me to the venue. That and also so we can go to Good Food Sundays at Mandala Park (Mandaluyong City) for the second time.

We planned to do a mukbang using his new Canon DSLR. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to do that because we entertained two interviews for college researches about veganism. Of course we loved those, too. We’re always open to sharing our life as vegans to anyone who wants to listen.

The picture above is everything we ate from 11 am to 3:00 pm. We had the vegan rendang and jackfruit not tuna pie from The Real Happy Cow, pork belly in cranberry sauce from The Good Choices, empanada from Vutcher, ramen from Katsu House, and cinnamon rolls and mango cake from Delicielo. Don’t judge! Living in the province, going to places like this is something of a special occasion.

But my special occasion lasted until Thursday. Haha.

On Monday’s dinner, me and my friend Em ate at this Mediterranean vegetarian/vegan diner Hummus Elijah. Em apparently loves falafel and Hummus Elijah is quite popular amongst my online vegan friends so it was a given. Being located just a few steps from St. Giles was a plus factor.

The falafel sandwich was not over-the-top and was not greasy at all. The falafels themselves were light and soft. I haven’t had a lot of falafels in my life but this is my kind of falafel. Seems really healthy. Rating: 6/5

As for the hummus: it was my first time having it and… hmmm. Am I weird for not getting the hype?

Okay. So, that was Monday.

For Tuesday, I ordered lunch at Plate Mafia. It is an all-vegan lunch and dinner delivery service that caters to select places in Metro Manila. They’re also our inspirations for our business here in the province. For lunch that day, they served vegan tortang talong (traditionally roasted eggplant fried in egg batter), ginataang paksiw (nori-wrapped and breaded tofu stewed coconut cream witg petchay), and red rice. I also got dinner from them, vegan caldereta (traditionally beef stewed in tomato sauce and spices but they made it out of banana heart), which I had for next day’s lunch.

Because for dinner, I went to Cosmic.

Now, I have to tell you my quest to Cosmic. It is this new vegetarian/vegan restaurant that is gaining popularity among the vegan community here because of its food, ambience, and affordability. I was pleasantly surprised to know that Cosmic was just also near St. Giles. But I was torn among Cosmic, another falafel place called Beni’s Falafel, which is also just within walking distance, and 101 Hawker Food House. I literally spent an hour walking around Century City Mall deciding where to eat and trying to burn some of the calories I consumed on the last two days. (Makati is heaven for vegans and hell for the wallet.) By 6 pm, Em DMed me on Insta inviting me to have dinner with her and her boyfriend the following day at Beni’s Falafel. So that’s crossed out. I decided to go to 101 Hawker Food Place in Beacon Tower since Cosmic is just nearby. But there was no available Grabcar afer twenty minutes so I decided to walk to Cosmic, chosen seemingly by default.

But that was just the beginning. You see, ever since I was younger, I had this image of Makati as a posh city. But Cosmic is in this congested and scary street that looks like it belonged more in Manila City. (That is not because I dislike Manila’s mayor.)

Now, I’m going to give you a little tip so you won’t get lost: just follow the directions on Google Maps. When you reach Ministop (which is across 7 Eleven), you’d see a small opening on the right, still on Gen. Luna Street. There’d be no sign: just a computer print out on a bond paper of the Eye of Horus. That’s it.

The quest to finding Cosmic ended there. But it was well worth it. The place was small, but had a cozy Boho ambience that I love.

Believe me, I was shocked to see the prices. The food was cheaper than most of the vegan restaurants I found online. I had enoki tempura (P60), miso ramen (P150), and vegan leche flan (P90). Overall, the food was delicious, but the leche flan was a bit of a letdown. (But don’t mind me, Cosmic. The search for the best vegan leche flan is still ongoing.)

For Wednesday, as I said, I had the dinner I ordered from Plate Mafia the day before for lunch. Then, for dinner I went to Beni’s Falafel (not vegan but there’s a separate vegan kitchen), with Em and her boyfriend. (Thank you for the treat!) I had vegan schnitzel – which was yummy and healthy, considering I had all the oil at Cosmic the night before, and a coconut dessert called malabi, which initially smelled like Victoria’s Secret perfume but later grew to my liking. I also took a bite of the falafel and hummus. I must say Hummus Elijah’s were better.

(Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to snap photos because I was a little shy around her boyfriend. Hahaha.)

On Thursday, which was technically the last day of our conference, I finally decided to go to 101 Hawker Food House in Beacon Tower. I did, during lunch, and I was late for our closing program because of the traffic. (So, lunch traffic is a thing!) I had…

Vegan nasi goreng! I think that serving feeds four people. It was cheap (P150) and really greasy and delicious.

101 Hawker Food House is not a vegan restaurant but they have a separate vegan menu, which was awesome. Buti na lang I changed my mind about ordering the laksa because the serving was huge!

That was the last day but if you thing the food stopped there, you’re wrong! I also had some goodies delivered by The Late Night Vegan. Would you believe there’s vegan isaw (grilled chicken intestines) and polvoron (powdered milk candy) now? Courtesy of The Veggie Guys and Dessert First Pattisserie.

In the end of five days, I lost a lot of money and gained a lot of pounds. 😂 But it was worth it.

Would I repeat this week-long eating spree soon? Sure. But I won’t do it alone because I need to split the bill. (I didn’t get to eat Green Bar donuts as originally planned but that’s okay because I’d rather save that special day with Francis.)

By the way, I also had some fruits, bread, rice cakes, oatmeal, nuts, and Veganola peanut butter energy balls in between all that delicious stuff. (I also used the stairs instead of the elevator most of the time and jogged for one hour every morning. But that seemed to do nothing to purge the calories away. Lol.)

So that’s my what I ate in a week blog post. Now I get why vlogs like this are popular on Youtube. It kind of gives me an objective view of everything I put in my mouth and makes me feel accountable.

‘Til next post! Ciao.

Kayla Itsines’ BBG 12-week Program Review + Tips for Beginners

Hi there! I finally got to post something again. I admit I had been lazy and uninspired to write. But here I am again, reporting for duty, sir!

So, anyway. I’m happy to report that I just finished Kayla Itsines’ 12-week BBG challenge last week. Yey, me! I still can’t believe that I was able to get over my fears and complete the entire challenge. I’d tell you all about this later.

I’d also like to report that I decided to redo the challenge instead of moving on to Week 13. This is because I’m still not that confident and I feel like I didn’t give my 100% to the workouts. Personally, I can’t leave things like that so I am starting over with Week 1 and giving it my all this time.

So, here goes my journey.

Flashback: Why I Started to Become Fit

When I was growing up in the province, the adults’ idea of “healthy” was being fat… or at least chubby. Since I was never the skinny kid, I got the malusog compliments and even won in two “healthy child” awards during Nutrition Month, where we were gauged by our physical appearance. So, at an early age, I thought that being skinny was a gauge of malnutrition.

Things started to change when I left the very provincial Occidental Mindoro and settled in Nueva Ecija for high school. I was unpleasantly surprised to learn that skinny is the measure of health here. Here, I first learned that I was overweight… and when you’re overweight, you get laughed at. I had always been this it-may-be-my-attitude-but-it’s-your-problem kind of teenager, though, so being laughed at during our annual physical check ups didn’t bother me.

But things turned worse in college. I met my first love and he would always tease me about my weight. I thought I wasn’t really that fat. I was just overweight but I was not obese. He teased me anyway. I would like to believe he didn’t mean to be rude and damage me forever, but in the end that’s what happened: I started to believe nobody would love me because I was fat. (I’m not blaming him. I take full responsibility for reacting to his words the way I did.)

Hence, my self-confidence was totally wrecked. I started to believe whatever I achieved in life would be secondary to my physical appearance. I envied the people who stayed skinny despite eating all that junk food. I even blamed my parents for my genes. Any reference to my weight literally made me cry. I abhorred having my pictures taken because I’d hate the way I looked in them anyway. I loathed shopping for clothes because the pretty dresses on the mannequins looked horrible on me… or didn’t come in my size.

When I started to earn, I became obsessed on weight loss products. There was a time I drank slimming coffee from China and I literally blacked out and palpitated I stopped drinking coffee all together. Then, I bought those expensive fat blockers which promised to allow me to eat my favorite lechon and made me just fatter in the process.

Then, I became vegetarian and banished all the weight like magic.

Here is the point where you ask, “Isn’t this supposed to be a review of Kayla’s BBG? I didn’t sign up for a lecture on the benefits of a plant-based diet!” Hahaha. Yes, I’d start in a bit. Just let me finish.

In short, I became skinny by eliminating animal products in my diet. In 2016, I completely eliminated eggs and dairy, too, and chose to pursue the vegan life.

Alas, contentment is far from me. I was skinny, but I realized that for a woman approaching her 30’s, skinny didn’t look healthy. I did enjoy when people thought I was younger – but not because I actually looked youthful, but because I was teenage-thin. I looked weak and sickly. I started wanting something else. I wanted to be like Doutzen Kroes: lean and strong.

I also began thinking that by looking unhealthy, I was not being a good poster girl for veganism. (Yes, I have this not-so-secret illusion of being veganism’s poster girl here in my city.) Instead of being able to promote the benefits of not eating animals, I’d turn people off because I looked sickly.

I stopped wanting to be skinny. I began to want to be fit and strong.

My BBG Journey

In December 2017, I downloaded the SWEAT app. I discovered it because of Hong Kong Youtube fitness icon Emi Wong, who started her fitness journey with Kayla Itsines’ BBG. I had just started exploring Instagram by then (ikr, late bloomer here), and I was intrigued by the #transformationphotos of #bbggirls and #kaylasarmy.

Just a bit of background first. BBG stands for Bikini Body Guide – a fitness program and community created by Aussies Kayla Itsines and Toby Pearce. BBG started out as two books of two circuits of two sets of four 7-minute resistance workouts. (That was a tongue-twister!) The books covered Weeks 1-12 and Weeks 13-24. Soon, the books became part of the SWEAT app, available on Google Play and the App Store. The app also includes a meal guide. (It has vegan but I didn’t follow it.)

By the way, SWEAT is a paid app. I preferred the one-year subscription, which set me back with $115 (almost PhP6,000.00). Some would say paying the subscription was not worth it since you can just watch free workout videos on Youtube. But I’m the type of person who loses interest easily, and having paid for the program forces me to continue, since I want to get the most out of the money I paid.

Because I was never a #fitnessgirl even in my school days*, I began my BBG journey with two rounds of the four-week pre-training. You can read about my pre-training journey here. I did the beginner’s program twice because I thought I wasn’t ready yet for the 12-week challenge.

After Week 4 of my second round, I’ve decided to move on to the 12-week challenge. I wasn’t strong yet. I still struggled with my burpees, push ups, sit ups and jump lunges. But I knew I was stronger than I had been. Plus, I started to enjoy waking up early and start my day with an intense workout. After all, exercise releases endorphins, so I felt that my days were happier and I had more energy.

The program was a never ending struggle. In the beginning, I can’t do standard push ups yet, so discovering that I had to do mountain climbers with push ups was frustrating. Then, I found myself doing standard push ups, but before I can celebrate, burpees with push ups and raised push ups were being demanded of my unfit body. I also have a hate-hate-relationship with jump lunges that I want it removed from the program entirely. Lol. By the way, jump lunges exist in the program almost every week. How cruel, right?

But as the weeks progressed and the workouts became harder and more complicated, I found myself looking forward to every new week. I’m continually surprised at the things that my body can do and my endurance. I realized I love donning my workout clothes and I even have more sport bras than regular ones now. Haha!

By Week 8, people started noticing slight changes in my body. My boss even asked me if I worked out because my body was looking “sexy” – to which I happily said yes. Francis also noticed my not-so-jiggly arms anymore. As for me, I’m loving my arms and thighs, and I can see the subtlest signs of abs when I wake up in the morning. Lol.

Now, I’m not going to lie and post all raves about BBG here. After all, this is not a paid ad. Lol. But my BBG Journey is not all pleasant. There were times when I doubted myself because I can’t see the awesome transformations of other BBG girls happening to me. Some of them saw an incredible transformation in weeks’ time. Every now and then, Kayla would share transformation photos of others who are in her program and I’d ask myself, “What am I doing wrong?” Also, I have this bad habit of lurking over some people’s Instagrams and when they post their gains and mine do not measure up, I’d hate myself and sulk. No, I don’t blame the program, Instagram or Kayla, but all these #gains posts pour negativity over me.

The best thing is Kayla would post motivation messages on her account. She would constantly reminded us, her girls, not to compare our progresses with others. Everybody is different and every body is different. My journey is unique.

Right now, I’m on my Arms and Abs day of Week 1 (second round). I’m also incorporating HIIT workouts by my ever-favorite Emi Wong on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays (just because I discovered that my body isn’t really in good terms with LIIS, which makes me sleepy and lethargic afterwards).

All in all, my 12-week BBG challenge journey was an awesome experience. Would I continue? Of course! After all, I paid for it. Lol. More importantly though, BBG 1.0 is a great way to kick start one’s fitness lifestyle, just like it did Emi Wong’s.

Tips for Beginners

For all those who wish to start with BBG, here are some of my tips to begin your own fitness journey:

  1. Get apparel you enjoy working out on. I love sports bras and yoga pants. Even if you’re working out at home, it’s more motivating if you’re channeling sporty vibes.
  2. Designate a specific space where you will workout ALL THE TIME. I forgot where I got this tip but the point is have a space that will remind you to workout each time you see it. Mine is this small rectangular space between my bed and dresser.
  3. Have your water bottle within easy reach. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
  4. Having said that, replenish those lost electrolytes by taking a teaspoon of sea salt with water after your workout.
  5. Get enough sleep! This is an absolute necessity, regardless of what program you follow. Your muscles have to recover. Currently, I get seven hours a night, but my target is nine.
  6. In the end, any workout program will not work without proper nutrition. BBG has a built-in meal plan, which I don’t follow, but I still make sure to eat clean and check my calories and macros. I’m fortunate to be vegan, cooking my own food, and following a whole foods, plant-based diet, so eating clean isn’t hard for me.
  7. Having said that, don’t stress over dieting. Don’t be overly obsessed with your calories and macros. Make sure you enjoy your food or else you’d start to think healthy eating is a burden and unnecessary suffering.
  8. You don’t have to buy special equipment. I have two 9-pound dumb bells for all the workouts that involved lifting (including squat and press, step ups, and crab walks). If you don’t have any, you can use filled up water bottles, or none at all. IT’S OKAY TO MODIFY.
  9. Listen to your body. If you can’t do the specified workouts, find alternatives. There are always modifications. Personally, I still find jump lunges hard, and I modify spider push ups and raised push ups.
  10. Probably counter intuitively and she might hate me, I don’t recommend following Kayla on social media. Or at least I limit myself to the motivational posts. The reposted transformation photos cause me distress and make me second-guess myself, so I’m learning to avoid seeing them. Don’t compare your progress with others. EVERY BODY IS DIFFERENT.
  11. And finally, have a positive mindset over exercise. Psyche yourself that exercise is not a chore, or a burden, but a beautiful gift you are giving to yourself and to the world. After all, by keeping yourself healthy, you contribute to a healthy world. Through another app (Fabulous), I created this mantra that I tell myself before I start exercising: “Discipline is my asset. My discipline is for myself, for the planet, and for the animals.” Repeating my purpose keeps me motivated to continue despite the struggles.

So, there goes my BBG 12-week challenge journey! If you’re a fellow #bbggirl or a fitness newbie, you can comment on this post to share your journey and struggles. Stay healthy and strong!


Add-ons:

*My chosen PE’s in college were PE 1 (lecture), walking, duck pin bowling, and cheer leading (which involved nothing but learning the cheers and arm movements and cheering for our basketball team). In high school, I pretended I had asthma to skip volleyball.

Restaurant: Juicesabel

I say Francis and I succeeded in our very short Singapore food trip last weekend. And the crazy couple that we are, as if spending all that hard-earned moolah to eat vegan in a foreign country was not enough, we decided to drop by another vegan restaurant the minute we landed back on Philippine soil.

This time, it’s Juicesabel.

Juicesabel is a small 100% vegan restaurant located at (the rather scary) The Collective at Malugay St., Makati City – an around 20-minute Uber ride from NAIA T1. Honestly, once we got there, Francis and I were suddenly unsure if we wanted to eat there, given the location. It was what Francis called “artsy” but – call me a snob or an illiterate – I saw no art amongst the vandalism. (And the yellow goo dripping down a pillar would have made me run instantly if I had breakfast that day.) By the way, what limited knowledge I have on art I learned from undergrad so.

Going back. Juicesabel. As a constantly hungry vegan, I always research about restaurants. Juicesabel, I first heard about on Manila Vegans. Their specialty, if I’m right, is cold-pressed juices, but they’re also quite known for their burgers.

We choice Juicesabel because the other choices (Green Bar and The Vegetarian Kitchen) were too expensive for this #TeamKuripot.

Juicesabel is a tiny restaurant with four tables. There’s a stairway but we’re not sure where it led. We didn’t ask.

It was nice that when we came in, there was already three people. Two of them were having a conversation about veganism in the Philippines. Soon, three more entered and the small space became crowded and cozy at the same time.

Because I still can’t get over the to die for rice from the Indian vegetarian restaurant in Singapore, I was in the mood for more rice. Normally, I’d keep to pasta or salad, but I ordered the mushroom tofu sisig with vegan egg, which came in with red rice and a side salad. Francis ordered the burger steak.

Eveything was yummy, especially the egg yolk, which tasted like the real thing! Huhuhu. My poor boyfriend has a certain distrust in food that tastes and feels like animals. For me, though, the sisig needed a littlr kick.

But what really took our hearts was the vegan lechon sauce that accompanied the burger steak. The burgers themselves tasted like okoy (or squash fritters) with a dash of cumin. (My palate is starting to remember Indian flavors. Hahaha.) But the sauce was the real deal. It was like every Filipino’s favorite Mang Tomas – sans the cruelty!

We also had mocha and red velvet frappe. Unfortunately, were too excited to take pictures before devouring them. But wth. My red velvet sent me to vegan heaven.

We also had burgers and fries for take out. Francis had the double patty cheese burger (which he said was awesome but I won’t know because he ate it at home) while I had the smoky BBQ (which was also the burger steak patty, huhuhu).

All of this for the surprisingly low price of PhP1,000. Now that’s something. 😎

I left a fully satisfied vegan woman… who’s also 10 pounds heavier.

P.S. Pets are allowed in Juicesabel. Plus plus plus.

Foodtripping Singapore

It’s our first anniversary month!  To sort of celebrate this, Francis and I did two things for the first time: 1) we traveled abroad, and 2) we traveled abroad together. Our first stop (among hopefully a gazillion more stops)? Singapore!

He’s too tired to wake up for the obligatory pre-check in photo 😂

Why Singapore? Our first reason is it was on sale on Jetstar when we booked last July pa. Second, it’s in Southeast Asia so it’s Visa-free. And we found out there were a lot of vegan and vegetarian food there. (Although not as many as Thailand, of course – Thailand’s heaven.)

Touchdown!

The moment is we stepped out of the plane, I was 100% sure that I was going to fall in love with this Singapore. Changi Airport is beautifulllll. (I’m a city woman, you know. Shopping is my happiness.)

And I suck at fake walk shots.

Since we’re both amateurs at this, Francis and I actually got lost on the way to immigration and ended up in the Sanrio display.

Not a Hello Kitty fan but swings are my weakness.

Anyway, soon we found our way to immigration. The first thing we did was get the 2-day tourist pass for approximately Php630 (SGD26, with SGD10 refundable upon return). This is truly every tourist’s magic key to the country. It gives you free rides on the incredible MRT and the public buses.

Please don’t mind my nail. I forgot. Hahaha.

From Changi Airport, we headed to our hostel in Little India to check-in our things (which we weren’t a lot). Then we set forth onto our first mission: our first meal of the day.

Meal 1: Pizza and Ice Cream (Dinner)

Having done our research beforehand, this pizza guy and ice cream girl decided to go to Brownice, a 100% vegan restaurant at Sin ming Centre. It pegs itself as an Italian vegan ice cream and kitchen.

Forgive us for choosing Western first. But February 9 is apparently world pizza day!  We’d hoped to show the omni pizza houses that vegan pizza can beat them anytime.  Hahahaha.  Plus, I read that the ice cream at Brownice is really nice.

Burrata

As I expected, Francis almost spat out the pizza on his first bite. Unlike me, he isn’t amazed with our food tasting like meat. But soon, he began enjoying it.  Because what’s not to enjoy?  The soy ham really did taste like ham… or at least as I remember, since I haven’t had ham since 2012.  It also has sundried tomatoes, which I really love in pizzas.

Since I’m an ice cream woman, we also had the ice cream. I got strawberry (the recommendation of the kind lady who led us to the store when we got lost) and Francis had the earl grey. Mine was seriously the best strawberry ice cream in the world – including non-vegan variants. But Francis’ was the best ice cream ever.

We spent SGD24 for our dinner and Patti was a happy woman.

We were too tired to do more walking so we returned straight to the hostel after dinner.

Meal 2: Two Indian Breakfasts

Ananda Bhavan Restaurant

The next morning, we set forth to make our very short Singapore experience a fruitful one.  We started by looking for Ananda Bhavan, a vegetarian restaurant at Serangoon St., which was just walking distance from our place. We passed by this pretty flower elephants by the intersection.

Then we walked on to our destination. According to our research, the oldest Indian vegetarian restaurant in Singapore would be open by 7 a.m. and it was.

Unfortunately for us, it was very early so they didn’t yet have rice meals yet. So, we helped ourselves with what was available: samosas and something that looked like a corndog but had a huge chili inside… but not after a difficult convo with the cashier whose English we can’t quite understand. Haha.

The samosa was yumminess. It was the second samosa I had in my entire life and now I know what it’s supposed to taste like. Heaven! I’m officially in love with vegan Indian food.

The chili corndog was not delicious at all. In fact we left our leftovers at the Chinatown hawker center later.

Anyways, it was so cheap. Two delicious samosas and three not delicious chili corn dogs just cost us SGD4.

Komala Vilas

Being itinerary-less, we were surprised to discover that the Little India we were looking for was just a few steps away.  Personally, I’m excited to explore Little India and find that iconic colorful house where America’s Next Top Model once held a photoshoot.  I especially loved the colorful buildings.  Then, we found this by accident:

and of course we cannot pass up the chance to have another breakfast.

The helpful cashier/manager showed us which of the items were vegan.  Envious of an Indian man eating there, Francis was determined to try the paper dosai.

Which, like many Indian dishes, was supposed to be eaten by hand.

And OMG. I thought I make decent curry but this is curry. It was heavenly. The spices were just perfect.  Of the three dipping sauces, my favorite is the tomato-based one on the left.  The flavors were so subtle yet so yummy.  Francis loved the curry in the middle.

Francis would soon declare that this was his favorite amongst everything we ate.

After our satisfying paper dosai breakfast at Komala Vilas, we walked around to check out the heritage walk and look for the iconic colorful house I mentioned before.

Finding this, coupled by my delicious hearty breakfast, my day was officially done.

In-between Meal?

But that’s crazy. We only had a few more hours left at Singapore and we’re not wasting them. We rode the MRT to Chinatown, hoping to find vegan noodles.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t find any.  And honestly, we were getting dizzy and sick with the sights and smells of dead ducks everywhere that we immediately left after a mug of sugarcane juice at the hawker center.

We headed straight to Marina Bay to have the obligatory Merlion shot.

We also had our short stint at Jubilee Walk but we were so hungry by then.

Meal 3: The Chicken Rice

Then, the highlight of my weekend: my faux chicken rice experience.

From Raffles Place, we rode an STS bus to Ang Mo Kio. The bus itself wouldn’t be driving to Avenue 10, where the hawker center we were looking for was. But the kind and cool bus driver – he said I’m a cute girl, hahahaha – asked us where we were going and said he was going to drop us off at Avenue 1 where we would ride Bus 45. It was a very long drive and I fell asleep one quarter of the way.

Then finally, 33 Vegetarian Food.

I seriously won’t leave Singapore without having chicken rice.  Along with laksa, sambal, and nasi lemak, chicken rice is a quintessential Singaporean dish I’d always been curious about.

And the long, boring ride was sooooo worth it.  I almost cried as I savored the poached faux chicken.  You really don’t have to miss your favorite food once you go vegan.  (But we’re more WFPB vegans so faux meat is just an occasional treat.)

By the end of the meal, Francis and I were so full.  My biggest regret is I didn’t get to eat vegan laksa… but someday I will.  Maybe next year?  Hahaha.

Two sets of chicken rice was for SGD15.60.

We shopped for pasalubong at a nearby store before going home.

Last Supper: The Most Delicious Rice Meal Ever

We went back to the hostel for a quick rest before dinner, since we decided to head back to Changi Airport before 9:30 pm to return our passes and refund our SGD10. We decided to have our last dinner at Ananda Bhavan because Francis still hasn’t moved on from wanting that dinner set meal he’d missed at breakfast.

But before that, a quick stop at a nearby mall’s foodcourt to have taho and would you believe it? Vegan pan de coco!

You don’t know how I feel. Soft bread stuffed with coconut is my favorite bread and I haven’t had it in years.

So anyway, Francis bought the dinner set and I had two sweets from Ananda Bhavan. Sorry to say we were too overwhelmed by the size of the dinner set (apparently enough for four people of our appetite) to take a photo. But it was delicious! Francis liked the spicy curry with squash while I loved the eggplant one with the peanuts. (If my research skills are as good as I think they are, it’s called “baghare baingan.”) And their rice is so soft and fluffy.

I think I gained 10 pounds after this trip.

Back Home

Our flight home is at 6:25 in the morning. I know right? Anyway, our Changi experience was so tiring and a bit frustrating, not because Changi is frustrating but because we were super sleepy. Good thing we found beds at the snooze lounge and got some sleep. We even got a free foot massage through the massage chairs.

Thoughts

  1. I love Changi Airport! I haven’t been to many airports but the restrooms alone are enough to convince me this is indeed the best airport in the world.
  2. Singapore is hot – even hotter than where I live. But the heat isn’t painful on the skin.
  3. I’d go back for the chicken rice. And by then I’d make sure to eat laksa.
  4. I’m obsessed with Indian food now.
  5. Singapore is a vegan-friendly country.

Well, that’s my long narrative of our Singapore trip. It’s more like a food trip, isn’t it?

Now every February, you’ll be my Valentine

It’s our first anniversary month. Last year, I posted a list of things I love about you on my blog. I still love all those things but of course things change in the course of one year. So… why do I love you?

1. You sacrificed your obsession with cheese for the animals, for the Earth, and for the greater good of all mankind.

2. You’re loyal to the things you believe in. Even if that means you will not shake hands with the mayor. Or sneer at other frats. Or go into arguments with anti-Catholics. Once you even spat out the mock tapa I cooked because you thought it was for real.

3. You can make fresh coconut milk using your hands. I can only imagine the endless possibilities in homemade plant milk career

4. You have this enchanting public speaking voice that turns my knees to vegan jelly all the time.

5. You put God first… just almost everytime, because on some days we oversleep.

6. You’re so adorable when you show appreciation for yummy food.

7. You’re my type of funny.

8. You don’t shy away from correcting my mistakes, but only do so in private.

9. You think highly of your mom, which is always very important.

10. You cook better vegan kaldereta than astigvegan. And you don’t use boullion. Hahaha.

11. You’ve seen my Sleeping Ugly before yet you still chose to love me.

There’s still a lot more, you know. Don’t think for one second this is all. But I’ll reserve the other elevens for the next gazillion anniversaries we’re spending together.

I love you.