Chicken Sisig

Since moving to Central Oregon, I have been cooking and learning to cook Filipino food. Basically, I’ve been finding recipe ideas for Filipino food that agrees with Ben and his American taste buds. Mind you, Ben has been respectful enough to eat whatever food my father offered him – including pinapaitan (a popular dish in the Northern Philippines, specifically in Ilocos where my father was born and raised. It is a stew consisting of goat (and/or beef) meat and innards, flavored in bile and chilies. Definitely not for those with weak stomachs).

I have been documenting the food I’ve prepared for Ben on instagram (#bensbaon) upon the suggestion of a friend who was enjoying the photos I’ve been posting. In reality, I don’t get to instagram anything else since I have been stuck at home without a job to pay for any unnecessary trips to shopping centers, coffee shops, or (just) anywhere really. Not to say that I am not enjoying cooking, I love cooking. It’s the clean-up I hate but I have started to clean up after myself almost immediately. Dad would be proud. Again, I digress…

So yesterday’s “baon” (takeaway? lunchbox!) was Chicken Sisig. NO LIVER (yech) on a bed of garlic jasmine rice. Sisig is traditionally made with chopped up pig head and ears. With the lack of Asian markets in this town or in Central Oregon, I’m not sure where to find pig heads; not sure if I even want to work with a pig head. Inspired by another instagrammer (@tenthousandthspoon), I added the ingredients needed to make Chicken Sisig to our shopping list.

In case you want to give it a try, I am sharing my recipe. I used panlasang pinoy’s Chicken Sisig recipe as a template but tweaked it a bit.




  • 1.5 lbs grilled chicken breast, finely chopped (I used chicken thighs)
  • 1/4 lbs chicken liver, chopped (I used 3-4 strips of bacon, chopped)
  • 1 cup minced yellow onion (used red because I didn’t have yellow onions available)
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder (I used about 2)
  • 2 pieces long green chili or Serrano peppers sliced diagonally (mostly for decor, so if you’re not eating it or taking pictures to show it off, I say skip this.)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce (more if you want)
  • 1/4 cup butter (I used about 2 tbsp and it tasted ok.)
  • 4 to 5 tablespoon mayonanaise (I’m pretty sure I used less too!)
  • 1 egg (if you like egg on your sisig.)
  • salt and pepper to taste.


  1. Heat about a tablespoon of oil in pan (I cooked it right on the cast-iron)
  2. When the oil heats up, sauté the onions til soft.
  3. If you’re using chicken liver, add and cook til brown. (I used bacon instead, because bacon.)
  4. Throw in the grilled chopped chicken  and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.
  5. Stir in garlic powder and soy sauce. You can probably use garlic salt but I’d be cautious, don’t want to make it too salty.
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir.
  7. Add mayo and stir well until all ingredients are well incorprated.
  8. Add about 2 tablespoons lemon juice (more if you want it more tarty/sour) stir.
  9. Crack the egg and drop on top of the chicken. (I personally don’t like runny eggs on my sisig, so I mixed it up with the sisig to cook the egg.).
  10. Arrange the green chili on top.
  11. Serve, share, and enjoy!

If I were to guess how much this Chicken Sisig recipe cost, I would say it was less than $15 for the whole recipe (serves 4-6). Living away from the spoils of my family and being able to “shop” my parents’ pantry taught me how to work with a budget for our (Ben and I) meal planning. I actually plan a whole week’s worth of To-Cooks for #bensbaon. This week’s meal plan only cost us $50!  

Bon appétit! Enjoy!

10 Happy Steps: Lynn Newman for Tiny Buddha

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”  – Mahatma Gandhi
Here we go again, #transformationtuesdays (am I allowed to hashtag?), another week of 10 Happy Steps. This week, our ten steps are from Lynn Newman who described her past-self as someone who was not a picture of happy, wild, and free. Having gone through phases “peppered with depression, darkness, and hopelessness”, she wondered what it felt like to be happy, wild, and free.
She said, “I fantasized about living in Europe, writing in cafes like Hemingway, having wild crazy affairs with sexy men, or even moving to Hawaii and wearing nothing but sarongs and flip flops all day. But in truth, these fantasies were empty.”
None of these brought true happiness or freedom. Yes, they are instantly gratuitous but at the same time fleeting.  After “consumption”, she is left with whatever it was that longs for happiness and freedom.
Through mediation and attuning to the simple things that brings her joy, she felt truly alive and happy. Worry-, stress-, and complication free, she faced her personal storms and tackle the demons that kept her stuck in a rut.
According to Ms. Newman, “Here are 10 stupidly simple tips to live happy, wild, and free”:
1. Write out a short-list of the simple things that give you pleasure.
Keep them in front of your consciousness and make sure you engage with them at least a few times a week. As you do these things, stay present and mindful of the joy they bring you.
For example, I love eating a fresh juicy nectarine on a summer’s afternoon, and meditating in the morning after a fresh brewed cup of tea, and taking a walk with my husband and window-shopping. What are some of your simple things?
2. Get moving.
Maybe you like the openness and relaxation you feel after a  yoga class or the sweat and wild release of spinning. You may enjoy seeing your dog run happily in circles as you throw balls at the park.
Whatever moment inspires you, do it and observe the happiness and freedom it brings. Also, take a short walk after having a meal. This not only helps with digestion, but also instantly relieves any heavy feelings.
3. Eat light.
Support your body/mind/spirit with simple meals three times a day. On retreat, we eat out three small bowls, usually a grain, a soup, and a vegetable. Eating light helps us to feel lighter and also increases concentration, digestion, energy levels, and productivity.
As a practice of mindfulness, I put my eating utensil down between each bite and wait to pick it up again until the food is completely swallowed. It takes 20 minutes for our meal to be digested so I know if I eat slowly for 20 minutes, I will feel completely satisfied without having to eat large portions.
4. Take a cold shower.

Waking up in the morning and taking a cold shower revives and wildly awakes the senses.  Here are some benefits of cold showers:

  • improves circulation
  • relieves depression
  • keeps skin and hair healthy
  • increases testosterone and fertility
  • increases energy and well-being.
5. Talk less, and when you do talk – have noble conversation.
When you hang out with your friends and loved ones, learn to love the spaces in the conversation. Listen more to their tone as they share rather than thinking about how you are going to respond.
Pay attention to what happens to your energy when you talk less and how much happier you feel as you conserve more energy. Plus, you will love the simple intimacy of your relationships as you increase presence and heart-centered listening, freeing yourself of complications and unwanted dramas.
6. Get 10 minutes of Sun a day.
With sunscreen, there are benefits to getting sun. Well-documented research shows there is a relationship between low vitamin D levels and poor health, such as frail bones, multiple sclerosis, and prostate cancer. We need Vitamin D!
Also, light hitting your skin, not just your eyes, help reverse seasonal affective disorder. Here comes the sun! Let the sunshine in!
7. Turn off the TV.
Rather than watch TV, use your time more mindfully. Read, walk, meet friends, or join an evening group or class.Use your time to connect to others and yourself. Or jump in and do something different, spontaneous, and wild!
8. Create.
Even if you don’t consider yourself an artist there are so many ways to express creatively. Cook with a loved one, dance in your living room, sing in the car, journal without editing or crossing out, learn a new joke.
Be happy, wild, and free as you express yourself more creatively!
9. Enjoy nature.
Find the nature that surrounds you—really see it. Observe yourself as you witness nature and appreciate its growth and timing.
If you feel like things are going too slow, too fast, or you aren’t really sure of where you are going, remember there is a natural timing for everything, and all the roads are taking you to the right place at the right time.
Ask yourself, “How can I compare nature’s experience to my life? How am I just like the wild flower that is growing on the path?”
10. Know the simple truth.
With enthusiasm and confidence, state what you know to be true about your authentic self. Ask yourself, “What is true about myself right now in this moment?”
For example, I am enough, I am worthy, I am good, I am loved, I have what I need, or I am a success.
State this affirmation out loud a few times to embody the essence of who you really are in this very moment. Take it in! Believe this and you are free!
Keeping your focus on the simplest things offers an immediate experience of abundant joy. May you embrace simplicity in your daily life filled with lightness, movement, and sunshine!
What are your simple things that bring light to your life?
source: tiny buddha

Bacon-Wrapped Oven-Roasted Kalua Pork



What’s better than eating Kalua Pork (?) – eating bacon-wrapped Kalua Pork! This awesome recipe is a combination of Happy Money Saver’s (HPM) and Tasty Island Hawaii’s (TIS) recipes. HPM came up with the bacon coverage idea and TIS, the toaster oven guideline. HPM used a slow cooker to make her Kalua Pork.

I spent more or less 4 years of my adolescent life in Hawaii and I discovered the goodness that isKalua Pork through Waipahu High School’s cafeteria. Yes, we were served decent meals at a public school cafeteria. We had Teriyaki Chicken, Shoyu Chicken, can’t remember if there was curry, but definitely remember, having Kalua Pork; then again, I skipped school quite a lot so I may have had Kalua Pork elsewhere.. but we were definitely served Teriyaki Chicken and rice.

So anyway, since Ben and I moved to Central Oregon, I have been preparing our meals daily. I love slow cooking because I can basically leave the food alone. What I hate is using the slow cooker because it is so huge and I only had about a pound and a half of pork butt to cook; so i opted to use the toaster oven.

Originally, I was going to roast the pork in a Pyrex but after reading about exploding Pyrex(es?) online, I just wrapped my baconified pork baby in foil. Before I share the recipe, let me tell you, I pretty much eyeballed it so I will just copy and paste TIS’ recipe sans the Ti leaves avec (with) bacon! HPM was spot-on when she said wrapping her little piggy butt in bacon paid off. I usually like to keep with tradition but this is a good twist to tradition.

 E ʻai kākou! Let’s eat! 


Bacon-wrapped Oven-Roasted Kalua Pork


  • Pork Butt (shoulder) – approximately 5 lbs. and no larger than what will fit on pan on a rack in the oven. (I had about 1.5lbs)
  • Liquid Smoke – approx 2 tbsp. (I used a cap full, told you – eyeballed!)
  • Hawaiian Salt – approximately 3/4 cup (I used the Pink Himalayan Salt from Costco, about a tbsp)
  • BACON! (I believed I used about 6-8 strips of Smoked bacon from Costco)
  • OPTIONAL:  4 cloves garlic, 5 ti leaves or banana leaves (enough to wrap pork) and cabbage  about 2 cups (I used coleslaw mix instead)

Now we prep!

For ease of transport, place a sheet of aluminum foil on a cutting board or whatever surface you’re prepping on. Make sure foil is long and wide enough to wrap around the pork butt. If you decided on using Ti or banana leaves, layer them across the foil. According to TIS, you can “debone” the ti leaves but he doesn’t. He only cut the thick and stiff stems off.

Then you place your pork butt on the ti leaves.

Take a knife and poke holes over the entire pork butt. Tuck the pieces of garlic in the holes that you just poked into the meat.

Pour about a tablespoon of liquid smoke on the pork butt and rub it evenly over the entire surface. Don’t over-do the liquid smoke, if you feel it needs more smoke, just add a little after your done roasting. After coating, take your salt and “let it rain” evenly over the entire surface. Again, easy on the salt because your bacon will help with the salitness as well!

Then comes the genius idea of HMS!! Wrapping it up in BACON! So yeah, wrap that baby butt up!

[img via]
Then you basically, wrap your bacon-wrapped pork butt with foil. Make sure it’s sealed tightly so that the moisture stays inside. Place your wrapped pork but on a (toaster oven-sized) roasting pan with a rack on it. Rack is important to help the heat distribution and keeps the pork elevated out of any drippings in the pan beneath.Place in a preheated oven (or toaster oven in this case) set at 300ºF. It will take 7 hours to cook. After 1 hour of roasting, reduce the heat to 275ºF and leave it there for the remaining 6 hours of cooking time. Some folks roast their kalua pig at a higher temperature, like the standard 350º, but TIS believes that “LOW ‘N SLOW is the WAY TO GO.”After 7 hours are up, turn off the oven and open the door. Now let the kalua pig rest for another half hour to an hour to cool down in the oven. This will not only make it easier to handle, but also helps to retain moisture.

After its resting period, remove the kalua pig on the rack from the oven, place on counter and open up the foil. Grab two forks and shred the bacon and the pork. Serve on top of rice.

If you want to do the cabbaged plate, what I did was throw the shredded kalua pork in a pan, added about two cups of water and used a chicken cube (because my roast wasn’t fat enough to have drippings). Dump the cabbage (or in my case, coleslaw mix) and let it “steam” until it’s soft enough (depends on how soft is good enough for you).

So there you go, bacon-wrapped, toaster oven-roasted Kalua Pork. If you want to use a slow cooker, read HMS‘ recipe for instructions on how long to cook the pork.

bon appétit! enjoy!

10 Happy Steps: Pope Francis


Happy Kisses from Pope Francis!
[img via pinterest]
In an interview with Argentinian weekly “Viva” (July 27), Pope Francis encouraged people to shun commercialism, be anti-war, and respect/protect the environment; and most importantly to “live and let live”. Here are the 10 tips he believes will bring happiness in one’s life: (more…)

Turkey Lettuce Wraps (lazy version)

10523545_1468703403383268_2078754084_aSometimes the cheapest way to cook meals is to cheat. For #bensbaon, I opted to make Lettuce Wraps with ground turkey, onions, water chestnuts, roasted peanuts, lettuce and….


Sinigang na Corned Beef


If anything can replace the warm hugs of family for a homesick Filipino-American girl, it’s Sinigang. Whether it’s with pork (which is actually my favorite), fish, shrimp, or beef, it’s just one of my comfort food. (more…)

bonjour, mon cook!


The real reason behind this website is to post anything and everything that makes me and my heart happy.  Lately, I’ve been cooking a lot and trying to cook within a budget. Something I’ve never done before.  I come from a house with a fridge and pantry that are always full of ingredients to play with: Asian condiments, various types cuts of meats – including the least desired parts.

I miss having an Asian supermarket a few miles away. I miss being enveloped by multicultural cities. Yes, multicultural Orange County.  It’s true what they say about missing things when they’re gone but life goes on and all we can do is grow from there.

Anyway, before ennui sets in, Oregon is not bad. In fact, I love Oregon. I love being surrounded by trees, breathing fresh air. Yes, all the comforts of Orange County may not be within reach but it’s not like I’m not coming back to visit. For now, I just have to find comfort in her strangeness.

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