"Kusina" = Kitchen; "Manang" = older sister

A Filipina's unabashed chronicle of her adaptations in the American kitchen. Includes step-by-step photos on how to make pan de sal, ensaymada, pan de coco, siopao, hopia, pandelimon, pianono, atsara, crema de fruta,etc., and if you are lucky, you will find videos too!

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Baking & Cooking

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A Filipina's (unabashed) chronicles of adaptation in a kitchen in rural America. Some recipes (and photos) might offend the typical American, so be forewarned! Recipes featured here are what I usually cook/bake/prepare, without paying much attention to the visual appeal. No gourmet effect here. Just plain homecooking, Pinoy-style, in my rural American kitchen. If you are looking for some fancy foods that look great but taste so-so, this is not the place for you. I would say a lot of recipes here taste great as far as my Pinoy taste buds are concerned, which may not be the same for foreign tongues.

This blog started (in old Blogger) as a means to evade insanity and for me to maintain self-esteem by being useful although unemployed at the time; e.g., I had hoped to be of help to other Filipinas newly married to foreigners by blogging about my kitchen (and garden and housebuilding) experiences as I try to adjust to a new life in a new country, and I am glad that my call for other Pinay expats to share their own experiences was answered. I have a list of other Pinay foodbloggers if you scroll down the page, and adjusting had become a breeze because of them. If you are a foodblogger who is not in my list, kindly drop me a note so we can exchange links. I would love to have additional references!

This blog, obviously, chronicles my adaptations in the kitchen, and my posts include also anything about food and kitchen in general, whatever comes to my mind.  Having said that, I did not start knowing already how to prepare these. Let's just say, when I started this blog, I only knew the basics of cooking: nilaga, ginisa, pinirito, inihaw. The only special foods I knew how to make (and I make them really good, according to my relatives) were leche flan, lumpia, and pancit. I did not even know how to use the oven at that time, so I had no experience in baking prior to blogging. However, my father used to have a small neighborhood-type of bakery and I was around the bakers a lot when I was a child. I helped shape the dough and pack the baked goods. I also ate a lot of them freshly baked -- pandesal, monay, cheese cupcake (the cheap-o kind), ensaymada, etc.

As of this time of editing this "About" page (1/10/2013), I have received thankful emails praising me for my kind heart of sharing my recipes, at awe at how many foods I know how to make. Well, this blog started in 2004, and it really helped me keep track of how I improve recipes, and to keep notes of tricks. I wanted to be able to duplicate those successful attempts, and be able to share them with others. However, I also have received some poisonous types of comments, that did not sound at all like constructive criticism, but somehow pointing out how I SHOULD BE MAKING/PREPARING some foods. Or that MY METHOD WAS WRONG. May I reiterate that this is my personal foodblog, and as such, is a chronicle of my experience. This is not an online manual of how to prepare foods. This is MY experience as I adapt. Anyone with a thinking brain would know how "experience" varies from person to person. So if someone leaves a comment in that tone, it either gets ignored or deleted, or I might be provoked to spew up some poisonous response as well, depending on my mood.

While this blog serves as an online notebook of my adaptations, it is also an answer to homesickness, trying to re-live my Philippines days, creating a blanket of Filipino-ness that warms my heart, a process of keeping traditions in the family by passing on to my kids what I had as a child. Blogging about it has greatly widened my Filipino blanket, so while I cannot share my products of toiling physically with other Filipinos, at least other Filipinos worldwide get a share of the recipes. Some recipes here might be valuable to others, some might be useless because they are ubiquitous, but I do keep note nevertheless at least for my kid's reference...so they will know "exactly how Ma made it." (I hope blogger does not lose my files, though.)

Please feel free to print or copy any post, just DO NOT CLAIM THEM AS YOUR OWN and kindly cite my website as your source. Also, if you want to display my food photos in your facebook account, kindly also provide a link to the webpage where you got that photo (Yes, I have seen some people display my own food photo, then putting a different recipe there as if she made that food using that recipe. I felt violated, but I did not want to embarrass that person by pointing out that she got that photo from my site, and I did not even ask her to provide a link to my webpage. I just tagged myself hoping she would actually get it.) Kindly observe ethics in online posting, whether or not you are just using a social networking site of you have your own blog. One more thing that I ask is, if you want to brag to your facebook friends about what you have baked or cooked that is based on my recipes, please share your source to your fb friends. Some of my followers feel thankful for my generosity in sharing my recipes and techniques and tips here, but I don't get much luck by some of them who are selfish and don't want to share my site with others. I really hope you will, the only exception being when you are going to turn into a homebusiness what you learn from my website. I would understand that you would not want to have competition. In that case, maybe some "kliking on gugel ads" will be fair enough a payment for my generosity?

I believe in open source and free information. A little note of appreciation from readers (by comments or emails) is greatly appreciated, and all that motivates me to keep blogging despite a more hectic schedule now that I am working. I would appreciate it better though, if instead of printing my recipes, you just bookmark my site or recipes and refer to them from time to time to increase my traffic stats (and clicking on some goog ads somehow gives me compensation without passing on the burden to you readers). Also, if you want to forward a recipe to a relative or a friend, kindly use links instead of copy-paste. Not that I need extra income (I can earn as an RN in 4 hours what this blog gives me in a month.) but somehow it justifies the time I waste spend in blogging, and the money I invest in my tech and kitchen gadgets.

DISCLAIMER: Manang is NOT a culinary expert nor a nutritionist, and never had a degree related to food. Although she is an MD-RN by profession, her recipes are not necessarily "healthy" by USDA standards. In any case, the cynical Manang has lost her faith in CDC or USDA that tells people how and what they should eat. Why, you ask? Because they change their standards every now and then, mainly to cater to what seems to be good government business (as in, profit-making "standards," most of the time.). Just look at the obesity epidemics in the US...many are trying to follow the USDA food pyramid guidelines, but they are not achieving their goal.

My MOTTO: There is no one right way to cook (or bake) a food item (Canning and preserving are different, though, although there is still a leeway with recipes that I can still make my own and still keep them safe to eat). My procedure or my recipe is what works (or tastes good) for me. It might not work for some, but it might for others. So please don't ask me with questions like, "is that the proper way to make a log?" For such questions, I say, "This is what works for me so I am sticking to it." Or don't tell me, "You don't need a gadget to make fresh lumpia wrappers." Because no matter what other methods I tried, using the crepe maker was what worked for me. FOR ME. I post my experience mainly for MY OWN USE...this is MY JOURNAL.  If others find the recipes worthy of trying, I am okay to share them, and I am glad to find people who like them. If my recipe does not even get a second look, I don't mind, especially if my family loves it anyway that I get to prepare it several times and has become an all-time family favorite. It is not my loss if others have not even given it a second look. I am not the one missing out on it.

Also, when it comes to baking versus cooking, some say baking is an exact science. I dare say, cooking and baking both involve science (chemistry and physics mainly), but they are not exact science in most instances. Canning and preserving, on the contrary, are an exact science with very small range/window, or else you will suffer from food poisoning, or you will end up with spoiled produce.

Note: This blog is an "upgrade" of my old KUSINA which used the old blogger. Since I still have to review and revise some posts I imported from that, I am providing a link on my sidebar, aside from other blogs that I have.I have imported the old posts although I have not edited a lot of them and therefore I have not labeled them yet. If you try to use the google search to look for some recipes it might still lead you to my old kusina. So if you want to see the older posts, kindly go to the archives instead.


I am a Filipina who is quite adventurous when it comes to food, so cuisines I enjoy are a mix of Filipino, American, Italian, French, and others unclassified. Let us just say that most often I am asked "What would you NOT eat?" I used to work as a doctor in PI, and then as a medical transcriptionist upon coming to America, and now is currently pursuing a nursing career; still considering on reviewing for the USMLE but I wonder if that would make me happy and give me the flexibility in schedule so I can juggle family, work, and play (that involves blogging, baking, cooking, gardening and canning)... However, please do not expect me to post about what is healthy for you, or to give you recipes for healthy eating. I eat as I please, with some deeply ingrained healthy must-haves in my menu. In addition, "healthy" eating varies from person to person. My views of healthy eating may not be the same with some. So this blog is not about preaching. Please don't make me.

My husband is an American who is such a fussy eater, even in American standards. His mom confesses of frustration during the time when he was still living with them (his parents). This is my predicament, because then I am very limited to what I can serve him.  If your spouse is as fussy as he is, try my recipes labeled "husband-approved" to make it easy for you.

We used to have a mixed family of two sons (mine) and a daughter (his). We currently are working on our DIY homebuilding (lifetime, it seems) project, and this is nearing completion. We try to maintain a garden during summers. I try to maintain these blogs, but usually do not have the time to do so nowadays since I joined the workforce, so please bear with me.

If you have comments not pertaining to any of the food/kitchen posts, please post them here.


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