In the non-veg section of Hypercity, I was about to buy my usual handful of prawns when I saw fresh sardines. As far as I can remember, it was my first time to see fresh sardines. I’m used to eating the 555 ones in a can, drenched in tomato sauce, salt and pepper. Cans dug out of the cupboards on a rainy Manila day, poured on top of fried eggs and fried garlic rice.

But that’s not what this post is about :). Here’s a recipe for one that takes around 30 minutes to prepare.

2 medium sized sardines
olive oil
salt and pepper
6 cloves of garlic (chopped)
1/2 cup of lettuce (chopped)
1 medium sized tomato (chopped)
1 teaspoon of anchovy
1 teaspoon of crumbled feta cheese
balsamic vinegar

Rub salt and pepper onto the sardines. Pan fry the garlic and sardines for ten to fifteen minutes.

On a salad bowl, lay a bed of lettuce. Place bits of the sardines on top of the lettuce. Add the garlic, tomatoes, capers, anchovy and feta cheese. Sprinkle balsamic to taste.

Bon appetit!

It’s been quite some time since I featured a healthy eat.

This is grilled garlic chicken in balsamic with Alfez Tahini dressing on top of lettuce. I sprinkled some green olives after taking the photo. Oooohlala! It was delicious!

I stumbled upon The World’s Healthiest Foods (TWHF) website, while doing research for my entries. It became a useful resource for me because the author, George Mateljan, and his team have done extensive scientific research on different types of food and are able to articulate why these are good for our health.

The website has a list of 130 foods and some recipes that go with these. Here is a summary of their criteria for choosing the 130:

1. Their nutrient dense, which means that the level of nutrients is high in relationship to the number of calories the food contains.

2. Their whole foods. They are not over-processed and they don’t contain synthetic and artificial ingredients.

3. You’ll be able to find these foods in most grocery stores in the US. I’ll need to modify my list of the world’s healthiest foods for my local setting, which is India. I prefer local ingredients that don’t go through long journeys to get to my grocery shelf.

4. These foods are affordable.

5. They taste good, otherwise it would be challenging to eat them!

I adopted the following recipe from their website and it was deee-li-cious! This recipe serves two!


1 cup chickpeas or garbanzo beans
1 cup shredded lettuce
2 medium cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 medium tomato, diced
1/2 medium red onion, chopped
2 TBS parsley, chopped
4-5 squeezes of fresh lemon juice
1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup feta cheese
6 sliced olives
1 tsp rosemary

To cook the chickpeas:

Soak them overnight and boil for 30 minutes until soft.

For the salad:
Plate the lettuce. Put the chickpeas, garlic, tomato and onions on top. Sprinkle the olive oil and drizzle with fresh lemon. Add salt and pepper as you wish. Sprinkle the feta cheese, olives and rosemary on top. Bon appetit!

I first heard about quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) from my colleague, J, while discussing the range of cleansing diets we would venture into in the future. I then happened upon a pack in Nature’s Basket (Hiranandani Garden branch) but decided to delay the purchase until the basmati rice in my fridge showed signs of dwindling down. So it wasn’t until B decided to grab one from the Tops supermarket in Cortland that I tried this high protein grain, which was originally grown by the Incan mountain tribes of South America.

Frankly, it is the best staple food I’ve eaten. (Couscous comes a second close.) The tiny grains pop in your mouth, and there’s a mild nutty-sweet taste that brings out the flavors of fish and fresh vegetables. My only regret is not having the foresight to buy the organic Bob’s Red Mill brand that we consumed. I’ve emailed them and although I won’t be able to order via internet, they’ve asked me to call. But alas, B said that he would grab a pack for me and mail them over. (I hope he remembers.)

I found this recipe on the Bob’s Red Mill container and tweaked it according to our preferred taste. This recipe serves 2 to 3.


To cook the quinoa:
1 cup quinoa
1 cup water

To make the tabouleh, an Arabic word for a specific type of salad:
1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped
1/3 cup leeks, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
5-6 mint leaves, finely chopped
2-3 squeezes from a fresh lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds (optional)

Pour the water and quinoa into a pot and let them boil together. I tried boiling the water first before adding the quinoa, but the grain expands more when you do the former. Boil for around ten minutes or until the grains absorb the water. Let it cool for five minutes.

Add the tabouleh ingredients and mix. Refrigerate for at least an hour so the flavors blend and settle.

Quinoa tabouleh with baked zucchinis, goat cheese and balsamic vinegar

Healthy Eats Facts:

Quinoa is a complete protein which contains all nine amino acids. It also contains a good amount of magnesium, a mineral that helps migraine relief and cardiovascular health.

The World’s Healthiest Foods

I know that I got carried away with my story in my last entry. My purpose in doing this blog is to eat healthy, and practice photography and writing. Sometimes I find myself stumbling upon personal stories about traveling, people, art and life. I don’t want to restrain this organic progression, thus the off-the-beaten-track posts. Bear with me! 😀

During the fourth of July weekend, Linda whipped up a taco salad for me and B, which coincidentally, is also a popular salad in Manila. Here’s a healthy recipe that serves two!


For cooking the beef:
1 cup lean ground beef
1 cup bottled salsa (Linda’s personal touch)
1/2 medium sized red onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon paprika
salt and pepper to taste

For making the salad:
1 cup shredded lettuce
2 tomatoes, diced
1 white onion, diced
1/4 cup black olives
1/2 cup low fat cheese, shredded
1 cup corn chips (optional)

Heat a pan and pour the olive oil. Add the garlic and onions. Saute for 5 minutes. Add the ground beef and salsa and cook for around 30 minutes. Add the paprika, salt and pepper.

Place the ingredients for making a salad on separate bowls or a platter with dividers. Assemble your own taco salad by filling your plate with lettuce, beef, tomatoes, olives and onions. Add the corn chips if you like. Sprinkle the low fat cheese on top. Bon appetit!

Healthy Eats Facts:
Lean ground beef — good source of protein
Lettuce – besides having vitamins A, C and K, lettuce has manganese and chromium. It also has a lot of fiber.
Tomatoes – has lycopene which contains anti-oxidants and cancer preventing properties
Olives – have monounsaturated fats and vitamin E
Garlic and onions – has anti-bacterial and anti-viral benefits
Low fat cheese – has calcium which can contribute to preventing colon cancer, osteoporosis, migraines and PMS

The World’s Healthiest Foods

Whenever I visit a new country, I like cooking with ingredients that are local and haven’t tried before. I planned to make a fish taco from tilapia but when B and I went to Walmart, we discovered that most of the Tilapia in the States is farm grown (fed dog food according to B), so we decided to grab a pack of frozen wild Cod instead.

The only time I’ve tried Cod was when it was breaded and deep fried and dipped in vinegar and boy is it scrumptious! But it wasn’t a cheat day for me and I was inspired by Giada De Laurentiis’s fish taco recipe from Food.Com, so given the Cod (instead of tilapia), sour cream (instead of creme fraiche) and the short time that I had to prepare this recipe, I decided to make modifications. The salad turned out pretty good so I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do! It serves 2 to 3.


3 cod fillets (about 6 ounces each)
olive oil
salt and pepper
1 cup of arugula, lettuce or spinach leaves (arugula has a pretty sharp taste so try it out first and adjust according to your preference)
1 mango, peeled and flesh cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 cup of finely chopped leeks

For the guacamole dressing:
1 avocado, halved, pitted and flesh cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from about 2 limes)

For the cream:
1/2 cup of low fat sour cream
1/2 teaspoon of wasabi from a tube

I discovered that Cod is more delicate than salmon but it doesn’t fall apart as easily as Flounder. (More on my Flounder flop in another entry.)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Rub salt and pepper on all the Cod fillets and let it stand for 15 minutes. Coat a baking pan with olive oil and bake the cod for around 10 minutes or until the fish flakes. Remove from the pan and let it cool.

For the guacamole dressing, mash the avocado. Mix with the olive oil, fresh lime juice and salt according to your preferred taste. Guacamole is tastier when the ingredients blend and settle, so I would suggest making this a day before you serve it with the salad.

For the cream, simply mix the sour cream and wasabi. I was surprised at how good it tasted!

Plate the arugula, spinach and/or lettuce. Slice the cod into 1 inch pieces and put on top of the the leaves. Spread some guacamole and cream. Add the mango and leeks.

Healthy Eats Facts:
Cod – it’s a low calorie source of protein and good for cardiovascular health
Avocado – rich in vitamin E and K
Mango – improves digestion and lowers cholesterol
Leeks – supports cardiovascular health
Arugula – low calorie and anti-cancer

Health Mango
The World’s Healthiest Foods

Lally with her hubby Chris

Remember those wallets in the 80’s which have photo albums? The first time I met Lally, she flipped open her wallet to show me her ex-boyfriends who grazed the centerfolds of her personal Cosmopolitan. At that moment, I knew that we would become lifelong friends. She’s always been ultra-chic in the way she styles her hair, and meticulously selects her clothing and accessories. Every time we go out, she asks one of our closest friends, Lady, to design a bangle or necklace for her.

Lally is now (as predicted) a designer. She has shop in Makati called Vintage Restore. Besides selling her designer bags and shoes, she also restores bags. She is married to her perfect ultra-chic match – Chris Dizon, and they have two handsome boys.

Recently, she decided to embark on the Healthy Eats train to bring sexy back.

This is Lally’s first of many healthy eats: chicken breast pan fried in garlic, shitake mushrooms, walnuts, sesame seeds, pine nuts and cranberry on top of spinach. Her salad dressing is simply balsamic vinegar. I will definitely try this, and I have just bought some dried cranberries from Walmart to psych myself up.

Lally's son, Lance, posing with her Healthy Eat

Thanks, Lally, for sharing this Healthy Eat! Looking forward to seeing and trying your future recipes!

Healthy Eats Facts:

Chicken – a good source of protein, protects against bone loss in older people, and has nutrients that protect from cancer
Shitake mushrooms – boosts your immune system
Walnuts – rich in omega 3 fatty acids which contribute to cardiovascular health
Sesame seeds – has calcium that helps prevent migraines, colon cancer, osteoporosis and PMS
Pine nuts – rich in protein
Cranberry – has vitamin C and helps prevent UTI

The World’s Healthiest Foods
Today’s Women & Health

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