Love in Spoonfuls

“I was a really picky eater as a child. Because I was obsessed by Popeye, my mum and aunts would put my food in a can to represent spinach and we’d hum the Popeye tune and then I’d happily eat it. ” ~ Paul O’Grady

As my toddler grows up, it becomes increasingly challenging to feed her. They say, the stage of picky eating may be overcome by giving your child a variety of healthy options. This way, she can be introduced to different tastes and textures. Nutrition is priority, but aesthetics and presentation can also play a vital role. Mealtimes are not only feeding times, but opportunities to stimulate the child’s senses as well.

Sounds like a big challenge! Good thing I’ve found some resource materials to help me plan a weekly menu. 

Enter Parenting’s Love in Spoonfuls 👏🏻

This cookbook features easy-to-follow recipes for your little tots. They also recommend other healthy alternatives for some ingredients that may be hard to find in stores. But what I particularly like about this book are the tidbits of nutritional trivia per recipe. Very helpful for newbie moms like me. 

Can’t wait to cook pasta stars in tomato sauce this weekend!


Boodle Fight

“People who love to eat are always the best people.” – Julia Child

How to make Fathers’ Day special? Create a special, memorable lunch—a.k.a.  Boodle Fest! Perfect for the hubby and the grandpa who wants a simple celebration at home.

On the Menu: fried fish (tilapia), ensalada (mangoes, tomatoes, eggplant and bagoong), liempo, BBQ, menudo, shrimp and rice over banana leaves, enjoyed with our bare hands.

Yummmm! Happy Fathers’ Day!

A New Year, A New Hope

“The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.” ~ Melody Beattie

Hello 2016!

A new year deserves a new entry. After all, the new year always brings a surge of hope for new beginnings—a time to start new things. That’s why new year’s resolutions abound during this time: a lot of gyms are full nowadays and most people are on a no-rice / no-dessert diet, especially after all the holiday binge. I might be quick to jump on this bandwagon, but I have another idea on how to lose all those excess holiday pounds.

A colleague of mine from the office has told me about his weight loss journey, all because of the Soup Mate Pro. For seven days, he only cooked, ate and drank soup (based on a soup cookbook and this soup making machine), and he quickly lost 20 pounds after a week! WOOOOW! I’m hoping to try this for myself and my husband too. Dieting is no fun when you’re alone, so we promised each other to shed those pounds and share in the misery 🙂 I purchased the kit already (another new thing, as this is my first purchase from home tv shopping!) and we’re going to start Day one come Monday next week.


Here’s hoping that our soup journey will be successful!

Ginataang Gulay recipe

Long weekend means family time at the dinner table. And when there is time, the family always requests for my cooking. Since we’ve been eating out a lot lately, I thought to try out a healthier dish: Ginataang Gulay for dinner. My toddler loves kalabasa, and my husband needs to learn how to appreciate vegetables, so this was the perfect dish.

Ginataang Hipon, Sitaw, at Kalabasa Recipe

(from Panlasang Pinoy)


  • 1 lb shrimp, cleaned
  • 10 strings beans (sitaw), cut into 2 1/2 inch length
  • 2 cups kalabasa (squash), cubed
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons bagoong alamang (shrimp paste)
  • 1 cup malunggay leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons cooking oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cooking Procedure

  1. Heat oil in a cooking pot.
  2. Saute the garlic and onion until the onion becomes soft.
  3. Put-in the shrimp. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the pot and set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, put-in the bagoong alamang and pour-in the coconut milk. Stir and let boil.
  5. Add the kalabasa. Cook for 8 to 12 minutes or until tender.
  6. Put the shrimp back in the pot. Stir and cook for a minute.
  7. Add the string beans (sitaw) and malunggay leaves. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
  8. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Transfer to a serving plate. Serve.
  10. Share and enjoy!

We didn’t have malunggay at the time, but it was alright. The saltiness of the bagoong balanced the sweetness of the gata. The shrimps added more flavor to the vegetables. Very easy to prepare and cook.

Here is the finished product:


Here’s the husband’s quoted review: “had this for dinner! This is one for the books @gladysjpadilla … sarap grabe!! Sarap na healthy pa! ‪#‎sabawsagata‬ ‪#‎healthyfood‬ ‪#‎yummy‬

Thanks for the kind words, Ling. This inspires me to create more healthy meals for the family 🙂

Baked Macaroni recipe

Last Saturday, we had leftover ground pork. Rather than cook traditional spaghetti, I thought of learning a new pasta dish: Baked Macaroni. It’s been a while since we have used the oven too, so I thought this will be a good time to get it up and running.

*Bloggers’ Note: Most of my recipes come from Panlasang Pinoy. I will be posting and linking recipe info to the abovementioned website. 

Baked Macaroni Recipe

Author: Vanjo Merano

Prep time:  10 mins
Cook time:  35 mins
Total time:  45 mins
Serves: 8
  • 1 lb uncooked elbow macaroni
  • >>Meat Sauce:
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 ½ cup diced tomatoes (canned)
  • 1 small onions, diced
  • ½ cup green bell pepper, diced
  • ½ cup tomato paste
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 piece beef cube
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • >>Mornay Sauce:
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups fresh milk
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 ounce grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese
  1. Prepare the elbow macaroni according to instructions in the package and intentionally cut the cooking time so that the macaroni is not well done (the macaroni will be fully cooked once baked) then drain and set aside.
  2. Prepare the meat sauce by heating a cooking pot and melt-in the butter.
  3. When the butter is hot enough, add the ground beef and cook for 5 minutes or until the color turns medium brown.
  4. Add the onion, green bell pepper, and diced tomatoes then stir and simmer for 3 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
  5. Add the tomato paste and paprika then stir and cook for a minute
  6. Add the beef cube and water then stir until everything is well distributed. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  7. Put-in the sugar, salt, and pepper then mix well. Turn of the heat and set aside.
  8. Prepare the Mornay sauce by melting the butter in a sauce pan over medium heat.
  9. Add the flour stir constantly for about a minute (color must be yellowish and not brown).
  10. Slowly whisk in the milk and continue to whisk until the sauce thickens and comes to a boil.
  11. Add salt and pepper then simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.
  12. Stir in the cheeses and whisk until melted. Set aside
  13. Combine the cooked macaroni and meat sauce in a baking dish then toss until the meat sauce is well distributed.
  14. Arrange the macaroni and pour the Mornay sauce over it. (Spread the Mornay sauce over the macaroni and meat sauce mixture ensuring that every space is covered)
  15. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  16. Remove from the oven and allow to cool down a bit.
  17. Serve hot. Share and Enjoy!

Followed the recipe, except for the parmesan cheese which we didn’t have. I used grated cheddar cheese instead which I mixed with the mornay sauce and added more grated cheese on top. I mixed Italian and Sweet style spaghetti for the sauce to enjoy the combined flavors. Here is the finished product:

baked mac

And to quote my husband: Baked macaroni made by @gladysjpadilla the perfect caption to this… GONE IN 60 SECONDS!!! grabe!!! ANG SARAAAAPPP!!! good job ling! Now i could say… alam ko na kung bakit masarap lahat… Dahil lagi mong hinahaluan ng pagmamahal ang mga luto mo!!! Kaboom!!! #bakedmac #cheeseoverload#servedwithlove

Ang Lutong Nanay

“Years later, when children become parents themselves, they will remember what matters: the time spent with family in the kitchen making and at the dining table eating food infused with flavors that only mom can make.” #LutongNanay

home cooking

Sharing this link I found on the Knorr website: Lutong Nanay: Preserving Home Cooked Meals in a Changing World.

I think that no matter how busy we get, we need to connect with our husbands and children through home-cooked meals. Which is why these past few months, I have been saving my weekends to learn how to make their favorite, comfort food– sinampalukang manok, escabeche, pork binagoongan, kare kare, kaldereta, and more recently, baked macaroni. (I will be sharing these recipes also in separate entries). I want my children to enjoy good food and bring these good memories with them as they grow older.  I want my husband to be proud of his wife who can cook really delicious meals for the family. And I want my family to treasure eating at our dinner table, despite our hectic schedules and busy lives.

Kudos to Knorr and their #LutongNanay advocacy. May we all learn the value of home cooked meals and sharing these with our families.