Getting Cozy w/ (Carb) Lovers & Friends – Sweet Potato Rosemary Pasta Sauce

Hey everyone!! Thanks so much to those of you that tuned in & watched Chicken Adobo for the Soul. From what I’ve heard, many of you across the country made adobo last week! How’d it turn out?? (If you missed it — click here!)

Last week, we talked about moving forward after hard times. This week we are talking about the next step, moving on — especially in terms of relationships. How do you decipher the distinction between a meaningless rebound and your next significant other?

Before figuring out if someone is the kind of person you want to be with, you must first figure out what kind of person YOU want to be. Period.

Before entering a relationship with anyone, friendship or romantic, it’s crucial to know yourself fully; it’s important to be a whole person. Be the purest version of yourself, unadulterated by what you think others want you to be. Get comfortable with yourself.

To illustrate this process, tonight’s episode is about how whole, natural foods can teach us lessons about being whole, pure people! Plus, we get to get nice & cozy with some carbs. ;)


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In times of vulnerability, it can be tempting to find or complete yourself in another person — they can become your safety blanket, your hiding place, your source of approval. This can seem satisfying, but in the end, it’s not fulfilling. In fact, it can be downright dangerous.

Getting comfortable with yourself isn’t an easy feat — it’s a process that can feel like a war. So, if we are fighting to find ourselves while simultaneously trying to pursue a relationship with someone else, everyone gets hurt — you are distracted from conquering the battles you must face, while the other person is put at risk of becoming a casualty.

That sounds dramatic, but it’s a theme I’ve noticed lately about the relationships unraveling around me.

If you’re a visual person, think of a healthy relationship as a venn diagram. Each person should have a whole circle & share some with their partner. If one of the circles is incomplete, their unique characteristics will fall out & their existence will be dependent on that space they share with the other person. Eventually, that broken circle will have to fuse into the other. No bueno. Everyone needs some space & love for themselves, too!

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I know a lot of my closest friends & dear family are all about serving & giving in relationships — it’s a beautiful thing. But I want to leave you with a quote from one of my favorite books that can keep us in check about loving others from a place of wholeness:

“When you are overgiving, you are not living in abundance, but in scarcity. When you give from a place of service, honesty, and fullness, you are left feeling revitalized. When you give from a place of responsibility and obligation, you negate the gift and nothing changes. You may in fact be left feeling resentful and drained.”

“What lack are you trying to fill in yourself by overgiving?”
- 29 Gifts, Cami Walker

Sending good vibes & prayers to you all as you find fulfillment. For me, wholeness is about serving from an inner place of faith. My circle would be pretty broken without it. God bless <3.

With love,

Tiffany R.

Dining At Tiffany’s

Sweet Potato Rosemary Pasta Sauce Recipe (Vegan)
I love this recipe because it’s a good framework for other recipes. For example, I created a similar recipe back in the day when I worked at the San Diego Food Bank: Carrot Sauce – 2 Ways! Feel free to vary the herbs & spices. I imagine sage or thyme would make a good substitute for the rosemary. Get creative! & let me know if you want any suggestions based on those spices that have been hanging out in your pantry!

If you’re not vegan, you can also serve it with meat! It tastes particularly delicious with pork tenderloin. Chicken works too! If you’re not into carbs (no one’s mad..) you can use roasted spaghetti squash or just slap this sauce directly on meat, you primal thang! ;)

Ingredients:

- 2 large sweet potatoes (or yams. the orange ones)
- 2 tsp. fresh chopped rosemary
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- 1 can of all natural coconut milk
- light oil (like olive oil or grapeseed oil)
- 1 box of whole grain rotini pasta
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 dash (or MOAR if you like spicy) ground cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp. korean pepper powder (if you don’t have this, try smoked paprika)
- 1/2 tbsp. ground coriander
- salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

1. Prep ingredients
- Bring water to a boil & cook pasta following directions on box
- Chop garlic & rosemary finely
- Poke each potato with a fork about 4-5 times to vent
- Place potatoes on a microwave safe plate and top with a damp paper towel
- Microwave for 5 minutes, flip them, then microwave for 5 more minutes
- Cut potatoes in half & let them cool for a bit

2. Get Saucy! 
- Heat oil to medium/medium high heat
- Saute garlic & rosemary until the garlic is golden brown, then transfer to small bowl
- In a blender or food processor, alternate adding sweet potato, coconut milk, & garlic/rosemary mixture
- WARNING: Don’t overcrowd the mixer. Also, make sure that the sweet potatoes are completely cooled down. Trust. (I may or may not have broken a few blenders back in the day, lol!)
- Once the mixture is fully blended & smooth, transfer back to the saute pan. (If it’s too thick for your liking, add a bit of water and/or oil)
- Stir in spice mixture & reheat on medium high for 4-6 minutes

3. Put it all together!
- Ladle the sauce onto the pasta
- If you want to get fancy, garnish with your leftover rosemary (or just put on your sweatpants & get down with your bad self ;D)

Enjoy, carb lovers! <3

Chicken Adobo for the Soul (a.k.a. – How I Moved on after a 5-year Relationship)

Exactly one year ago, my 5-year relationship ended abruptly, at a time when I was 110% sure that we were on the brink of getting engaged. I’ve certainly moved on by now, but even just typing that first sentence makes me choke up as I recall that experience.

When you wholeheartedly commit to something — anything — for so long, whether it be college, a relationship, a living situation, a student organization, a job, a pet, a car, etc.,  it’s hard to imagine your life otherwise. Letting go is never easy; the mere idea of doing so can be painful. The moment the last fiber of connection is broken, overwhelming feelings of emptiness start to darken the place where there was once light.

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As the darkness settles in, we seek comfort; a bit of warmth for our cold hearts, a brief reprieve from the yearning.

Walking away from something you love can seem like an impossible quest, but we humans are resilient. In the times you feel the weakest, you might just find your greatest strength. You can find your comfort from within.

You can choose to see the emptiness as darkness. Or you can choose to realize that you now have extra space in your life that wasn’t there before.

So what can you do with that newfound free energy, time, or headspace? Start moving forward; move toward whatever makes you feel happiest or in your element. Do something productive and/or fun. This is a blessing & opportunity to fill that space with your passion.

I know it’s not going to be easy.
You likely won’t feel like it’s helping at all.
I’ve been there before.

But I can assure you that moving forward, no matter how slowly, will build momentum toward a stronger, shinier you.  It gets better.

For me, it started to get better when I went back to my roots & revisited my passion. This is the story of how a simple pot of Chicken Adobo helped me to heal & find fulfillment. I’m here to help you get yours too.

[Click photo below to watch Episode 2.1 – Chicken Adobo for the Soul]

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Click photo to watch Episode 2.1!

Recipe: Adobong Sitaw (Chicken Adobo with Long Green Beans)

Ingredients:
- 1 entire bulb of garlic
- 1.5 lbs of boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 bunch (about 3 cups) sitaw (long green beans — if you can’t find these, fresh or frozen french green beans can work)
-  1/2 cup white vinegar
- 1/2 cup soy sauce (Marca Pina is my favorite brand! Bragg’s Liquid Aminos work if you’re paleo!)
- 3 tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
- rice (if you want it)

Instructions:
1. Prep your ingredients
- Roughly chop garlic.
- Slice the tips off the sitaw & cut into 3-4 inch pieces.
- Cut chicken into large chunks & place in large pot.
- (if you’re planning to serve it with rice, now’s a good time to get that going)

2. Braise the chicken 
- Add garlic & vinegar to the pot to join the chicken.
- Set heat to medium high, then WALK AWAY (this is good practice for letting go & having self-control)!
- Don’t touch anything for like 10 minutes or so, until the vinegar is almost gone (just like I wouldn’t recommend contacting an ex til the feelings are almost gone, haha just kidding.. kind of.).
- You can, however, add half of the black pepper after about 5 minutes (I’m out of metaphors.)
- taste the sauce. if it’s too sour, let it simmer for a few more minutes until it’s to your liking (like I said, sometimes moving forward to the next step can happen slower than you’d like).

3. Add your personal touch (it starts with you!
-  Turn down the heat to medium (sometimes you need to cool off before moving forward)
- Add the soy sauce & remaining pepper. Stir it up! You’re almost there!
- Taste it again. If you’d like it more savory, add a bit more soy sauce. If it’s too savory for you, add some water (figure out what works for you — this is Chicken Adobo for YOUR Soul).
- Once you’re happy with it, add the sitaw.
- Turn the heat back up to medium high. Stir the sitaw into the adobo for about 3-4 minutes, ladling sauce onto the veggies as you go.
- Enjoy! <3

With love,

Tiffany R.

Dining At Tiffany’s
@diningattiffs

Season 2 – Comfort Food Remix is now on YouTube!!

Hello folks!

It feels like a lifetime since my last post, but I am back after a hiatus that was much longer than I anticipated.

I was supposed to film on April 1 and release this trailer soon after. APRIL FOOLS, that didn’t happen, lol! My dear film producer got sick, so we had to cancel filming that day.Given my grad school life, I had to wait another few weeks before I could find time for filming.

Aside from being bummed about the delay, a lot of sucky things started to happen to me and within me, one after the other. As a result, I experienced high levels of anxiety and very low levels of happiness. I didn’t feel like myself at all.

Before we proceed, lemme take a selfie:
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As painful as it was, somehow I feel that the timing is meant to be. I wrote Season 2 over a year ago; little did I know I’d be the one who needed the comfort food the most. Every day, I reflect on methods to build strength and get through the mire. Everything happens for a reason, and I have faith that it will be revealed with time.

So Season 2 is more than just my recipes & musings – it’s my heart healing on camera. I hope it gives YOU (1) hope, (2) a reminder that you’re not alone in your struggles, & (3) some much-needed laughter along the way!

(Click photo below to watch the Season 2 Trailer!)

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CLICK photo to watch Dining At Tiffany’s: Season 2 – Comfort Food Remix!!

Here’s to dreaming that my belief is true — when you find/return to your passion, everything falls into place better than you could ever imagined.

Enjoy the trailer & I’ll see you next week!!

With love,

Tiffany R.

Dining At Tiffany’s

Breakfast at Tiffany’s – A Musical Season Finale!

Dear everyone,

My heart is overflowing with feelings of joy as I write this last post of Dining At Tiffany’s – Season 1: What We Crave. It’s incredible that it was just two months ago that I decided to do this YouTube thing for real. I’m overcome with gratitude as I think about everyone who made this possible, especially you — reading, watching, &  most especially… cooking! THANK YOU!

As I establish myself on YouTube, I’m learning more and more that the most satisfying success is that which you gain by giving. I truly hope that I can add some value to your life through Dining At Tiffany’s or at the very least put a smile or two on your face!

If you’ve been following along, you know it’s been a bumpy ride learning to balance everything from school with YouTube, happy with sad,  and freedom with responsibility. Overall, I’m closing out this season with more strength and clarity than ever in my life and I am blessed.

The most wonderful and pleasantly surprising part is the opportunity to reconnect with friends, classmates, and family that I haven’t heard from in years and make some new homies, too! I’ve read every single one of your messages and comments. I promise I will respond in the next few weeks; I’m just the type of person that likes to put time and thought into all correspondence. With how busy I’ve been, you would’ve only received an abbreviated version of the bunches of love I want to send right back. Get ready, because this begins now (click photo to watch on YouTube!):

pancakes!

^^^Click photo to play! ^^^

This episode is a little different, with something special I dreamed up during one of my many drives from Long Beach to San Diego. Inspired by Anna Kendrick‘s mashup skills and Audrey Hepburn‘s timeless kindness, this is my heartsong for all you sweethearts. Listen closely! :)

Recipe: Moon River Rainbow Dream Pancakes

Ingredients:
Dry:
- 1.5 cups whole wheat flour (all-purpose works as well!)
- 1 cup of granola (if it’s in big chunks, break it downnn)
- 2 tbsp raw sugar (regular works too, but I like it raw!)
- 1.5 tsp baking powder
- .5 tsp baking soda
- pinch of salt

Wet:
- 2 eggs
- 2.5 cups buttermilk  (easy substitute: 2.5 cups milk + 2 tsp vinegar, mix mix mix, bubble!)

& Then Some 
- 3 tbsp buttah (melted)
- 2 bananas, thinly sliced

Topping:
- another banana, cut into moon shapes! (so into discs, then cut those in half.)
- 2 green apples, cut into small cubes
- 1 cup blueberries (frozen or fresh)
- 1 cup strawberries (frozen or fresh)
- 2 tbsp sugar (1 tbsp each for berries!)
- Honey (Local is best, honey! Apparently the pollination eases allergies too!)

Instructions:
1. Stir together dry ingredients!
2. Stir together wet ingredients in another bowl
3. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients until they’re damp. (Don’t stir too much so they stay fluffy!)
4. Melt butter in microwave for 30 seconds. Add to batter!
5. Make berry sauces! Heat blueberries with 1 tbsp of sugar on medium heat until liquids reduce into a syrup (about 8-10 minutes). Do the same for the strawberries.
6. Chop up two bananas and add to batter
7. Ladle 3-4 tbsp of batter onto a nonstick griddle or pan on medium – medium high heat. (No nonstick pan? No problem. Butter up that pan!)
8. Chop up green apples into small cubes
9. Flip the pancakes after 4-5 minutes (do this for each side, until golden brown!)
10. Make the rainbow!
- start with a circle of blueberry sauce in the middle
- add a ring of green apples around the blueberry sauce
- add a ring of bananas around the apples
- finish up with a ring of strawberry sauce!
- add some sunshine with some  honey!
11. Cut in half, so you have two rainbows! 1 for you and 1 for someone you love. 

Enjoy <3

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Last, but not least, if Season 1 was a cookbook, the dedication page would go to my beautiful and extraodinary mom – Precy R. Mom, thanks so much for being my inspiration and support. I still remember making rainbow jello in our kitchen in Paradise Hills; I’ll always remember the recent conversations we had in our current kitchen where you reminded me of my worth and purpose. Finally, thanks so much for picking up unfamiliar groceries while I was in Hawaii and for washing so many dishes as we film. I appreciate you! Love you, mom! Enjoy your retirement.

With every ending comes a new beginning. I‘ll be on YouTube-hiatus until April, so get ready for Season 2 – Comfort Food Remix! In the meantime, I’ll be responding to your comments, posting some behind the scenes content, and cooking up more good food & good conversation. See you next time!

With love,

Tiffany R.

Dining At Tiffany’s

When You’re Here, You’re Pamilya – My Filipina Life

A recurring love-hate moment of my life is when I meet new people and their first question is.. “so… what kind of Asian are you?” I always play along because I’m curious to hear their guesses (usually Chinese, Korean, & Thai.. wrong, wrong, & wrong), but sometimes it gets pretty obnoxious. I can totes relate to this video, haha:

At first glance, most are surprised to learn that I am full Filipina and not mixed with anything else. But if you get to know me, it all makes sense. I very proud to be Filipina because I love embracing the values (and food!) of my culture, like family, generosity & celebration!

For us Filipino kiddos, we are instructed to call anyone around our parents’ age  “auntie” or “uncle,” even if they’re not blood related. Aside from a way to get us to respect our elders, it shows that they see others in our community as brothers and sisters; we treat everyone like family.

Anyone who enters my home will be offered a meal and anyone who is troubled will find comfort and often a solution. Beyond this, we’re also in a constant state of celebration; from weddings to birthdays and baby showers (& a lot of times, just because), there is always a party with tray after aluminum tray of good food, and probably some music (& line dancing, lol!).

I love these gems of my culture and try my best to continue these traditions. At the same time, I  value learning about different cultures, especially new food, of course!  One way I do this is by exploring fusion food recipes.

My good friend Chef AC Boral with So Good & Delicious Food graciously offered to teach us his culinary expertise for the last full episode of Dining At Tiffany’s Season 1 – What We Crave. And trust.. you will crave this Tocino Breakfast Sandwich on Garlic Bread.

^^^Click photo for the recipe & the story of how we met!^^

Remember that egg yolk explosion from my trailer? Well now, you can make that dream come true in your own kitchen (click our photo below to watch!):

^^Click photo to watch on YouTube! #yolkSPLOSION!^^

Season 1 of Dining At Tiffany’s, and thus a new chapter of my life has been quite the ride. I’m doing something a little special for the season finale to thank everyone who’s been so down to support me in various ways, so stay tuned for next week’s variety show!

Putting myself out there on YouTube and the life-balancing act that comes with it has been quite the challenge, but it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. I hope you all learned something helpful, or at least cracked a smile (or egg?) because of my videos! More to come for Season 2!

With lots of love,

Tiffany R.

Dining At Tiffany’s

So Good It Hurts – DAT Rotisserie Life Part 2

Hiiii everybody! How’s it going??

As you may have noticed, I’ve started posting my cooking videos on Thursdays instead of Wednesdays. Why? Life got a little too crazy. In a good way, I suppose? Let me explain:

My main jam right now is graduate school; while I take this YouTube thing pretty seriously, I’m a full-time student and that’s my top priority.. in theory. I had these grand plans to balance YouTube so that it doesn’t interfere with school, but I’m definitely still finding my footing. That’s an understatement. I am a mess, hah. For example, in this episode, I injure myself with a knife:

^^Click to watch!

Okay, but really.. life’s been pretty swell lately…

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Click to watch my interview with Superbowl MVP @MalcSmitty!!

..but, all of this is very distracting from my studies. Especially since I have 6 hours of classes on both Wednesday and Thursday nights. So you can imagine how ballistic it was trying to get my videos and blogs posted on Wednesdays.  It’s tough to admit — with all of this going on, I got pretty out of control. Like it was just another Manic Monday.. every day. I was bouncing around haphazardly from happy moment to exciting event. I was having a lot of fun, but it started to become a problem and cramped my productivity. Nooo!

Thankfully,  I had this realization that the good times can impact my life just as severely as the bad times. In both cases, seemingly uncontrollable feelings are strong driving forces. When things are nearing rock bottom, you feel controlled by pain – you want to escape it and get rid of it. It keeps you down.

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“The struggle for peace is real.”

When things are going well, you’re driven by pleasure; it feels good to be happy, but I’ve also heard that “even sunshine burns when you get too much.”  There’s a fine line between living life to the fullest and exhausting yourself.

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“I thought I could fly.”

I’ve already seen that it’s possible to pull yourself up out of dark places when you’re feeling down. At the same time, I’m trying to find my balance and learn to live my life to the limit without burning out and letting my passion fuel into an uncontrollable fire. Okay that’s a little dramatic, but I know that when you have a lot of people relying on you, being exhausted and unable to get things done hurts those around you as well. And that’s just not healthy.

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“Pick dandelions, NOT Natty Light.”

Being in my mid-20s, I’m learning that nourishing and exercising your emotions is important too. Just like you have a an idea of foods that are good for you (Veggies! Fruits! Whole Grains!), and foods that are bad for you (fried food, hot Cheetos, Taco Bell, lol), you start to learn which emotions are healthy to consume and entertain.

For example, it can be gratifying to stay angry and hold grudges, but we know that’s not good for us. It can also be great to give into our wants and desires, choosing what feels good at the moment instead of making progress on your goals.

It’s basically like those days when I am tempted to get a Crunch Wrap Supreme from Taco Bell drive-thru and eat it alone in my car. It will feel great for about 10 minutes, then I know my body will react adversely later on (and that’s putting it politely, lol!).

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“Everything has meaning & a meaning for everything.”

I’ve talked to some close friends about some of my struggles to focus. The one thing that’s helped me to get a handle on emotions is to focus on purpose, whether it’s the big picture of your hopes and aspirations, or reflecting on the reason why these things are happening to you. What are you learning from the situation? What do these feelings say about your motivation or hope in your life?

Finally, life often throws you quite the basket(case) of ingredients.. like a crazy episode of Chopped or something. You can either freak out and give up, or make something delicious! And if your life gets crazy busy too, I got you. Here’s an easy one:

Recipe: Zesty Chicken Burrito

Ingredients:
1/2 rotisserie chicken
- 6 tortillas (I used whole wheat. You know how I do)
- 2 medium tomatoes
- 1 avoCAdo
- 1/4 cup cilantro

Sauce
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- 2 tbsp taco seasoning** (no MSG, please!)
**make your own!
- 1.5 tbsp cumin
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- Tapatio or Cholula hot sauce
- love

Instructions:

1. Chop stuff!
- Take leftover Rotisserie chicken (or new chicken) and shred into bite-sized pieces
- Chop tomatoes & avocados into small cubes. Don’t cut yourself like I did, hah.
- Coarsely chop cilantro and add it to a bowl with the other veggies

2. Make Sauce!
- Mix together sour cream, taco seasoning, and hot sauce. Donesies!

3. Assemble
- Place chicken and veggie mix in center of warmed tortilla
- Add cheese if you please (bonus points if you warm the cheese with the tortilla for melty fun
- Wrap it up and enjoy!

Let me know if you made it! This will help me with my emotions, hah. Luv ya’ll!!  @diningattiffs #diningattiffs!

With love,

Tiffany R.

Dining At Tiffany’s

Unemployment/College Cooking – DAT Rotisserie Life Part 1

Trying to make it in my mid-20s, the struggle is real. Okay, it’s not so bad (I’m actually having a lot of fun!), but working in nonprofit/education has taught me the value of getting the most bang for my buck, especially with food!

I will very rarely succumb to instant noodles, though I’ve lived through unemployment, lower paying jobs, and the not-so-glamorous college kid life; Stouffers lasagna yes (because why not?), but never the ramen or cup of noodles. I believe with a bit of crafty resourcefulness, you can make food for you and your equally hungry friends on a budget that is rich in flavor, easy on the wallet. One of my favorite meals to make for my friends while we’re on the hustle is Buffalo Chicken Salad. Here’s the video tutorial:

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^Click picture to watch!^

For those of you who’ve been to my place in real life, you know I always cut the small talk; we’re busy — no time for that! I will often find out very quickly what you’re about, and what you want to be about! I love helping others chase their dreams, so I’m recreating that  here on my website. You can find my guides on resumes, cover letters, and finding your passion here on my website since that is one of my favorite topics for Good Conversation!

Recipe: Buffalo Chicken Salad

Ingredients: 

Buffalo Chicken
- half of a Rotisserie Chicken, the breast and leg
- ¼ cup Louisiana red hot sauce (or more if you want it hotter!
- 2-3 tablespoons of butter. oh yes.
- 4-5 cloves of roughly chopped garlic
- freshly ground black pepper

Salad
- 2 bunches of romaine or green leaf lettuce chopped into about 1 inch pieces
- 3 carrots, chopped or shredded into small 1 centimeter cubes
- 3 pieces of celery chopped into 1 centimeter cubes, plus chopped celery top greens

Ranch
- 1 cup of sour cream
- 1 tablespoon vinegar (white, apple cider, and cane have worked for me!)
- 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
- a bit of fresh chopped parsley
- salt to taste

Instructions:

1. Prep your veggies!
- chop lettuce, carrots, and celery & put in separate bowls
- chop garlic and set aside

2. Buffalo Chicken, yayy!
- Pull off one breast and one leg from the Rotisserie chicken & shred into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
- Add butter and garlic to a medium bowl. Cover and microwave for 1 minute.
- Carefully discard garlic pieces
- Slap in that hot sauce. Mmmmm.
- Stir together, add chicken, and coat it in all that buffalo sauce goodness you just made! Good job!

3. Meanwhile, make ranch!
- mix sour cream, vinegar, garlic powder, and salt together. Add parsley. Done son!

4. Time to eat!
- Plate in this order: lettuce, celery/carrots, chicken, ranch!
- Enjoy! I recommend storing the chicken leftovers separate from the veggies and ranch so it lasts longer in the fridge.

Let me know how it goes @diningattiffs #diningattiffs! Stay tuned next week to learn how I use the other half of the chicken!

With love,

Tiffany R.

Dining At Tiffany’s