Happy 2013 ! Random Thoughts and Foodie

May you all have a prosperous and fruitful 2013 !

Hello ! Renxkyoko Iglesias here.


My European tour made 2012  quite an eventful year , and I’m glad I get to share it with you.  It was also quite an experience to be given an opportunity to help re-elect Pres. Obama.  My sister and I and several  thousand  Californians went as far as Nevada, Iowa, Colorado, and Wisconsin  as part of Pres. Obama’ s ground campaign.  ( Just Reno for me, though… specifically Washoe County, the poor part of  Nevada , totally Republican, dirt roads, trailer parks, all white * don’t they know they will be thrown under the bus by Romney, he he he, someone on a truck yelled Eff you at us , it was scary…… Anyway,  it was difficult ,  but we managed to turn  Nevada into a   Blue state.  ) But then, if not for those 2 above, 2012 would be same-o, same-o… school, work, home, study, check out if there are any manga updates of my favorite shojou romance, daydream or rant, sleep, go to school again… yep, story of my life. I must have sinned in my past life.

Well, we all got a love letter from WordPress, right?  My stats are modest, but I ‘m happy . I  get a fair amount of comments, and to me, that’s more important.   To be honest, I don’t know if those who click LIKE  really like my post. He he he…. One time, I was online when I heard a ping on my Messenger.  That means, there was  a reader who just clicked LIKE. But surprise, surprise, I heard 4 pings , one after another,  in 3 seconds duration.  Gotcha ! lol ! !  The blogger couldn’t have read my post in 3 seconds flat, could he/she?   As for me, rest assured I read your post word for word. This is also the reason why I have 5,471 unread emails , to date. I don’t delete. I read all, but……. my fellow bloggers, I cannot cope anymore. I have 50 subscriptions, and each day that I don’t get to open my email folder adds  about 200 emails.  I kid you not.

According to WordPress, I  had 24 posts in 2012.  That’s 2 a month.  And the blogger with the most comments is 35andupcynicismonhold.  What is most interesting  is the post that got the most number of views …… it also  got the most number of comments, 139 I think?  WordPress also says that it has the most ” staying power”.  I posted All About Nothing , as usual in February, 2012, and believe it or not, I still get  at least 10 views a day from that post for almost a year now. WordPress didn’t give the total number of views, but I’m sure it must be in the thousands already. Happy Valentine’s Day comes second.  OMgosh, I was so pathetic here ! !  Well, I’m still pathetic.


There is one  post in 2011 and one in 2010 that also got tons of views.  I mean, I still get so many views from these old posts.  WordPress suggests I  should consider  writing about these topics again.  Uhm, not really, except  this one….. HAPPY NEW YEAR, 2012 ! ! !  I like the foodie post myself.  When I reread this, I was surprised to see the paella and the empanada that I cooked that year.  Yeah, I cooked those ! Here are  the pictures…..

paella (2)


untitled (2)


.Empanada….. by the way, I made a mistake with the dough. I used a fluffy dough.  It was store dough, ready made…. I don’t know how to make a dough, haha. I’m intimidated.

Empanada dough should look like this.


.I mentioned these two because the best food I had eaten by far  in Europe were Spanish empanadas and the paella in Spain, Both are very common foods in the Philippines.  In the Philippines, Paella is sometimes called Arroz a la Valenciana. Philippine dishes are basically of Spanish origin.  The Philippines was under Spanish rule for almost 400 years, so the similar palate shouldn’t come as a surprise….. for example, Filipinos eat pig’s blood too. In Spain, it’s called Morcilla.  I had Morcilla in Burgos and it was good. The blood sausage in London wasn’t that good though. Well, I love pig’s blood.  It’s one of my favorite Filipino dish.  It’s an acquired taste, so don’t hate, lol.  I’ll talk about this soon. (  Filipino stores here in the US sell pig’s blood  )

Below are some photos of our New Year spread. Not much this year, though. It was just family, all 6 of us.


Hmmmm, I notice the program on TV… it was The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC.  Eh. We were watching  a political talk show  during  New Year’s Day lunch.




Stewed beef we call Pochero. It’s made of beef, cabbage, garbanzos, long, green beans, potatoes, garlic, onions, tomato sauce.


Lumpia… just ground pork and shrimps, watercress, carrots, etc, wrapped in egg wrapper, then fried… eaten with sweet – sour sauce.  The one on the right is roast pork dip made up of soy sauce, vinegar and  fried tofu.


Roasted spare ribs, we call Lechon.  This one will  give us a massive coronary, but it tastes  so good, especially the crunchy skin. Oh, my. . The dip is the one with tofu, but I prefer liver sauce. You can see the liver sauce bottle in the pic.

006The one above is one of my favorite desserts.  It’s  pandan flavoured agar-agar ( similar to Jello) and lychees . Pandan essence comes from the leaves of Pandanus plant, which is very common in SouthEast Asia.  Sometimes, we add pandan leaves when cooking rice to give that great aroma. ( The leaves are sold in Asian stores here in the US. )


Fruit salad…. A mainstay Philippine dessert.  It’s just a mixture of fruit cocktail,  cream,  nata de coco, and sweetened palm fruits. The last two are  ” must “ingredients  in any Philippine fruit salad. Nata de coco is Spanish for cream of coconut.  According to Wikipedia, nata is a chewy, translucent  jelly-like product produced by fermentation of coconut water by Acetobacter xylinus, a bacteria introduced into coconut water, the fermentation of which produces this jelly -like substance.  The process originated in the Philippines.


Cubed colored nata gels. The white nata has the original color. Nata  is very, very delicious.  There is also nata de pina….. cream of pineapple.


Above is fish with sweet sour sauce . We call the dish Escabeche. Escabeche is Spanish for pickled… the fish is not really pickled, just covered with vinegar- sugar sauce and soy sauce.


We call the juice Sago Cooler. It’s made up of caramel ( boiled brown sugar with banana essence or almond essence ) and sago pearls.


We use a tall glass with long teaspoon to scoop out the sago pearls. Guys, you should try this. It’s very good, If there’s no sago at the Asian store near you, you can float  gelatin, jello, or whatever. Be sure to add banana or almond essence, that’s all.

By the way, you can see 2 more desserts with the Sago Cooler photos.  The black colored dish is Biko, some sort of rice cake. Mom used deep purple rice, almost black rice. ( we also use white, sweet , glutinous rice, available at Asian stores… it’s different from regular rice). The other dish in the photo , the one in red dish is cassava cake. Cassava or yuca comes from the root and do you know it’s one of the most dangerous food in the world, if not prepared properly?  lol


UBE,  ( pronounced  oo- beh )or purple yam, one of the Philippines’ favorite dessert. It’s used as ice cream flavor, in cakes, bread fillings, or as is, like the photo above.  It’s a mixture of condensed milk, butter and grated yam.  We use the Philippine variety, because the purple yam grown in other countries does not have the desired taste and consistency. In fact , that ube in the photo isn’t the real thing, and Mom got so pissed that she almost threw it away. It got saved when we added a Philippine variety that we found in the freezer. The store where we bought it ran out of ube and what we found were purple yams from another country, which we suspected were not really purple yam, just ordinary yam with purple food coloring. It was gooey and tasted weird.




Aaaargh, holiday food ! !  It ‘s always a problem to lose weight after pigging out on all that goodness.


I definitely won’t fit into my newly acquired  Runway dress shown below.


I need to exercise again.


To be honest, I want to make another WP account that will have food and fashion as my theme. Or , another account  where I can write about animes and mangas. (   I know, I know !  I  confess ! I’m an anime manga fan. Don’t hate ! )

So, anyway,  I’m almost done with my European travelogue.  Spain and France  are next.  Paris  was our last stop. From there , we flew back to good ol’ US of A. \

This is all for now. Barcelona and Madrid are next in my travelogue !  Good day to all and Peace ! !


105 responses to this post.

  1. Hi Ren, Happy New Year to you,

    I do not activate my ping, but I also found some people like 4 or 5 my posts in just one minute. While there’s a chance that they just like the posts get noticed, it could also be possible that they read them all, and genuinely like what we post and then click like to notify their presencein our blog. So in the end that depends on how we see it. What do you think?

    Subhan Zein


    • Hi, Subhan Zein ! happy 2013 to you, too !

      My ping is automatically activated everytime I open my email folder. Yes, it is very possible that they have actually read the posts on their emails, but…. aren’t the emails just snippets and then there’s a note, ” Read more ” ? lol !

      No, it’s okay if they just click LIKE. I do that too. although I really try to comment. I also click LIKE to let the bloggers know I visited and read their posts. I like poetry, and I just love reading it, and I appreciate it, but I don’t usually comment. And of course I click LIKE. I love looking at awesome photography, too.


      • Oh, with the ping, that’s because you’re using BB? Do you think it could also be the case that they read from their Reader? They can just clik like without necessarily going to the page. This has become a heated discussion among many bloggers I know. But I guess there are also some people who open several different posts simultaneously and read them one by one, and then like them almost at the same time.

        I guess the only possible way to track it down is to check the stats and cross reference with their country of origin. That’ll show whether they actually read the posts or not-but unless we really want to have some Sherlock Holmes-mindset I don’t think this is necessary, hehe


  2. And by the way, the Paella… Mmmm yum! 🙂


    • Oh, you’ve eaten paella? It’s good, huh. Easy to make.


      • No, I haven’t! It looks yummy though, would love to try some. 🙂


        • It’s very easy to make. It’s just a different way of cooking rice. I can give you the recipe if you want to.


          • Hehe, yes, please do, as long as it is not too difficult, I will give it a go. Thank you, Ren, you are one generous soul. 🙂


            • You’re welcome ! I’ll visit you and post the recipe over there. By the way, the real Spanish paella uses saffron. Here in the US about 4 tablespoons of saffron is like, $12.00. We then use tomato sauce for the color and of course for the taste. It’s not really hard, you’re just like cooking regular rice except you mix a few stuff in in it.

            • great! you’re one sweet, girl! Thank you so much, Ren! I’ll take a look too whether they have the ingredients down here in Canberra. Thank you so much, many blessings and much love to you, Ren! 🙂

  3. taga saan ka nga po uli? para alam ko na kung saan ako makikikain next time! 😀


    • hay naku, naghahanap ang nanay ko ng kakain sa food namin. We ate the left-overs for 4 days . ha ha. wait a sec, bakit may ” po” … hindi ba pang oldie yan, ha ha ha !


  4. Well here I am reading a wonderful blog again. You have a wonderful family to spend the holidays with. Treasure every moment with them. I love the food… OMG what a spread. I would follow your food blog if half of the foods that you show are there. I have loved your vacation blog. I lived in Italy for two years and wish that there was some way to communicate with the world back then.


    • Whoa ! Lee Devine ! You’re here ! ! It’s been awhile ! I miss your blogsite. I have subscribed and i didn’t even notice there wasn’t any update from you until this last one. Was I glad !

      Ah, I wish you could write about your life in Italy. Did you like the food, weather, etc. Please write about it Lee Devine .


  5. Oye, You damn cute eh! beautifully worded personal note to share with blogger friends . And yeah, will catch up with your standout posts. Keep traveling, you deserve to. Your travelogues are the best. Also, the idea for a new blog on food is good one. Do it!


    • The food blog…. yes, I will ! * if I have the time, ha ha ha. * I can’t even post more than 2 on my one blog, and I’m supposed to post at least 4 for my Post – A- Week promise. * sad *


  6. I read the stuff you write too, and I like anime and manga too 🙂 happy new year!


    • Thanks ! ! ha ha ha… I’m not complaining, really, he he he…

      About anime…. some people think they are for kids, coz they’re comics? But most animes have fantastic storylines and engaging characters… same with mangas. there are mangas that I have been following since high school, and I’ve never gotten tired reading them… like Skip Beat . It’s amazing that it;’s been ongoing for what, 7 years ?, and it’s still on top.


  7. OMG, did you seriously cook all that? It would be nice to read your food blog, as i seriously have no clue about any of the food you’ve mentioned here.I would like to learn about it. Indian food is sompletely different and that’s the only food i know about.
    Happy new year. And ya i love your dress. 🙂


    • Some , yes. they’re easy but a bit labor intensive like the lumpia. We wrap it individually, then fry, and that will take at least 4 hours, and they’re gone, in like, 30 minutes.

      I love masala. and there’s an Indian food that my sister loves to cook for us. I like it too, I forget the name though. I’ll ask her .


      • That happens, we struggle to make something for hours and its finished in minutes, but that’s the greatest reward for a cook. If you love masala you’re definitely gonna love Indian food, masala is the heart and soul of Indian food.


  8. Now I’m hungry… 😉

    Looks taaaaasty… 🙂


  9. Posted by Rhence on January 8, 2013 at 11:00 am

    I’m starving. Your fault! Hahaha. Hey nice read. I really like your humor. Hehe. Happy new year po 🙂


    • I’m glad you like my humour ! That;s very important to me. Oh, no, another ” po”…. TT.TT I think I’m still young. Hu hu hu ” looks in the mirror* hu hu hu


      • Posted by Rhence on January 9, 2013 at 1:18 am

        Hahahah. You don’t look old Renx. Doesn’t mean I say po, then this just mean that it is for the oldies – that you look old. It is also a sign of respect in such case. 🙂
        Good morning. 😉


  10. Happy New Year Renxkyoko!!
    Wow look at all the delicious food, have a lovely week!!!


  11. Hello! How are you? Happy 2013!

    Wow… Can we have another New Year’s Eve party or something? This post got me REALLY hungry. My gym membership will cry though, and I only started the whole thing this year!

    Also, I’d like to travel too. But, of course, I still have a lot of money to earn before I could do that. I’d like to travel to Europe someday!


    • We have several exercise gizmos in the garage… treadmill, bun/thigh tightener, Bowflex and other stuff. he treadmill is the most often used.

      You have to start saving. It’s very, very expensive in Europe, unless you want to eat slices of pizza and sandwich 24/7.

      I’m going to post travel tips when I’m done with the travelogue.

      Cheers, The deranged Writer !


  12. Hi, happy 2013! Looking at this post made me really hungry… I’m craving lumpia now (which is hard since I’m vegetarian, lol)! I love reading your posts, make sure 2013 is filled with posts, too! 🙂 Have a happy new year!


    • Most lumpias that we cook are veggie ones. In fact, veggie lumpia is more common . The sauces are different too.

      Thanks ! I’m glad you like my posts ! Cheers !


  13. Oh my! So much food! And Happy 2013 renxkyoko! I agree with the too much eating part this past holiday season. I’m in the process of going on a mini-diet myself. I suppose it’s typical of the holidays, huh? 😛 I love ube and fruit salad. Every time either dish is made at my parties, my friends either love one or the other. Lucky us we get to eat this stuff fairly often!


    • My sister’s BF at first thought it was weird because of the color…. but now, he can eat half of what’s in the dish, all by himself , that glutton. He’;s whitey. In fact , he has acquired the taste of most of our ethnic foods, including the liver sauce which he said he would never eat. That glutton. ha ha ha


  14. I read every word. I love lumpia and nata de coco! Don’t confuse us old folks with too many sites. Just make this one a versatile blog.
    Happy New Year Sweet One! Enjoy Life to the fullest!
    P.S. Good job in Nevada!!! 😀 Fae.


    • Hi, Miss fae ! ! I know … I can’t even update this one blog . I can only post 2x a month. (6.6) So, yes, I’ll have to think hard about making another one.


  15. A very happy New Year! That’s a nice spread you’ve got there!


    • Actually, this year , there weren’t much food, compared to last year, and the year before. Just the same, it took us 4 days to eat up the left-overs. Ugh !


  16. I always wonder about that “Like” thing, and I’ve written about it in the past. LIke you I have always read the post I liked, and I think I always comment. Happy New Year to you as well, if I have’nt already said it. After Christmas I’m fretting over my weight, so those pictures of your delicios food were a bit unsettling, but in a nice way.I love paella. I loved your travel posts. I got a message from wordpress about the visitors to my Blog. Let me tell you there are not many of them sadly, but perhaps a few more will trickle in during 2013


  17. Hi 🙂 it has been quite a while. You’ve def posted more than i have! I deleted that post from WP and decided to start all over again. New year new blog fresh start! My blog site name is myemptyramblings if you get a chance to stop by.

    I just ate dinner but now I’m hungry looking at all those pics of good food! Lol


  18. Posted by Asha Seth on January 10, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    Hieeee Ren(Waving out to you with my hand high in the sky)
    You’ve been traveling a lot and enjoying hell lots. Good! I feel envious but happy nevertheless that I get to see all these lovely places in the pictures you share.

    All the best and lots of fun for Barcelona & Madrid.
    And yeah, a very happy new year!



    • Hi, Hi, Asha Seth ! * waves *

      I’m now a loyal reader of your blog. You write interesting stuff there, and I mean that !

      A fruitful 2013 to you too ! Cheers !


  19. […] cravings so far, except for lumpia. Luckily, my friend Renxyoko Iglesias informed (after making me drool) veggie lumpia is more common in the Philippines. Maybe I need to go back just for the […]


    • Kuya, You can use any veggie and wrap it with the usual wrapper. I hope there’s an Asian store near you. You know what, you can use mexican tortilla… although the taste won’t be the same….. and it also depends on the sauce.


    • Hi ! I commented on your blog, but I think it went to your Spam Folder.


  20. The food looks wonderful. Good luck with all the emails.


  21. “I must have sinned in my past life.” – 😉 hullow, Ren!

    thanks for the shout out, btw… really? i posted the most number of comments here? you’re the second blogger to say i did so. am i really madaldal in comment sections or your posts are too engaging? i’ll go for the former, hahaha… i guess it’s a case of two chatters crossing digital paths, huh? 😉 🙂

    you’ve plenty of food. i’ll definitely search your house should i happen to be in California. am a good eater, could be relied on to finish 6 lumpia rolls…

    happy, busy and prosperous New Year! have a merry winter… 🙂




  23. Hi Ren! After months of being busy, I am still busy. Haha But today is a lucky day because I was able to drop by your blog. As for the emails, I thought I am just the only one who reads all the emails. Haha…I also don’t delete unless it really is trash or if I have already read it. You are lucky to have 5, 000+ emails. I have like 11,000+. No kidding. I guess I should start reading them now or they’re gonna blow up my email. Haha…

    I love “Dinuguan” too! and the lumpia, yum yum. Sometimes, I use the salmon like the Pink Salmon in can from the US in making lumpia instead of chicken or ground pork. For dessert, I love Leche Flan although we had those fruit salad and macaroni salad during the holidays. And the ube too. I like that one too. Though the one in the picture is so light. Hehe…

    Happy New year Ren! 🙂


    • We went allout Filipino this year.

      11,000? Lol ! Ha ! I thought I was the only one! Great ! I have company in my misery, he he

      The ube was a product of Vietnam. The store had ran out of Philippine ube. We thought it would be the same ube. It didn’t even taste like ube. It tasted yucky, but there was another ube in our freezer. We mixed it with that one, and it came out more palatable. Anyway, thre was so much left-over we had to thow it away . 3/4 uneaten.


      • OOhhh…so much wasted food. You know our leftover food from the holidays…me and my siblings were eating them like for a week haha…at least there were just a few food wasted and thrown into the bin.


        • Oh, goodness, same here. One week of left-over food. You know the cassave cake ? It’s still in the freezer, almost uneaten . I got a small slice yesterday, microwaved it, and It was still okay. =_=’


  24. Wish you all the best for 2013 🙂 Hope this year will be filled with much more adventures!


  25. Posted by WordsFallFromMyEyes on January 14, 2013 at 11:36 am

    Love the cartoon. You’re so sweet 🙂

    But the food… the FOOOOOOD. Um, invite to dinner? 😉


    • I would , if you were here ! We had to ear left-overs for 3 or 4 days. We didn’t have anyone to share the food with this year, but we still cooked so much.* The fruit salad is in the freezer tight now, barely eaten,


  26. Hi- Just wanted to stop by & let you know that I nominated your work for “Blog of the Year 2012!” http://fictionalmachines.com/2013/01/14/blog-of-the-year-2012-six/ Enjoy the day! 🙂


  27. Happy new year Ren. Wow Lechon… I missed crispy pata also. The best Philippines food.


  28. hahaha..i’m guilty too of eating too much over the holidays! but instead of working out, i am trying diet therapy. hasnt gone so well though, i couldnt resist the urge to have a burger and a soda this morning 😦 i will just hit the gym when i can.
    happy 2013!


    • We just threw out our old treadmill, and got a new one. We’re cleaning out our garage . My sister wants to make it a proper gym, ha ha. Meanwhile, I do some sit-ups. My tummy is not looking – good.


      • You’re lucky you even have time to work out. I’m at work 8 hours a day and I spend 2- 3 hours in traffic daily so when I get home I’m too tired..I just go straight to be. I rarely even cook dinner, I eat take out which is not good for my waistline. Maybe I should start starving myself to loose a few kilos 😦


  29. Posted by jalal michael sabbagh.http://gravatar.com/jmsabbagh86@gmail.com on January 16, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    Sweet post.May your new year be filled with happiness and success.jalal


  30. You have a awesome blog the food looks so yummy


  31. You’ve inspired my soul and awoken my hunger!


    • Well, you know what they say…. the way to a man’s heart is thru his stomach, ha ha ! Kidding ! ! No, but really, I really want to make a food blog. I kinda like cooking.


  32. Yum Yum Yum!~~~ that food looks delicious 😀 but i’m vegetarian 😛
    Well… nice work 😀 happy new Yr Dear


    • Just curious… do vegetarians eat fish… or does it include all kinds of meat, including fish meat. ?

      Cheers parth893! And thanks for visiting ! I hope to see you here again !


  33. wow andaming nagcocomment..goodluck na lang sa blog mo!


  34. Foods are awesome especially paella one of my fave, ok the ube, the nata and I guess all hahaha…. kidding aside foods are yummy….


    • Will of heart… Filipino foods are so underrated. Thai foods are even more popular here in the US. It’;s strange because Filipinos are one of the largest ” minority ” group in the US. Afghan foods are getting popular too. I guess it’s because Filipinos are not entrepeneurs, and don’t open restaurants.


      • oh that’s sad, our foods are truly yummy especially our version of adobo, bicol express, and a lot more and if someone open up a resto there for sure it’s a big hit….


  35. Posted by 최다해 gongjumonica on February 4, 2013 at 7:20 am

    Yummy! I love being a Filipino. It is like almost all of the tasty dishes are made here.


  36. Posted by 25pesocupnoodles on February 4, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    sarap naman ng mga handa, enticing…


  37. all of the food looks so amazing and yummy


  38. yum…but where’s the sisig…and the pata??? continue…


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