Category Archives: Happenings

My Top 8 Vegan Face and Bodycare

natural-bodycare1

I’m no fan of big label skincare that are expensive. There are ingredients in my kitchen that could also do the job at a fraction of the price. But when I do buy for skincare products, I go for the ones that are made of natural ingredients and vegan, and of course affordable.

Below are the products I’ve bought or made myself that I highly recommend for you. These products are tried and tested over the years and have personally worked for me with wonders.

For the DIY directions below, the amount of oil and astringent are ultimately up to you as each skin is different so feel free to adjust to your preference.

 

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1. Coconut oil as make up remover (among other uses)

Honestly, I think makeup removers are overpriced and they leave my face feeling gross. I use coconut oil instead. I simply swipe a cotton ball in coconut oil and gently wipe on my face. The coconut oil removes the makeup instantly and leaves a pleasant aroma. Depending on how heavy your make up is, you might need to use more than one cotton ball.

Coconut oil could also run expensive so I buy the ones that are in the lower end quality. I save the high quality ones for cooking and baking, but I wouldn’t mind grabbing some in the kitchen if I run out of the cheap kind. I just make sure to transfer to a different container so I don’t contaminate what I use in my food.

Sometimes, I also use coconut oil for my scalp and hair as deep conditioning cream. I’ve been lazy these days to do it but if you are inclined to try, simply dip a comb in melted coconut oil (make sure the oil is not hot), then comb through your hair. Cover your hair and scalp with a plastic bag to conceal the moisture, wait for at least 30 minutes then rinse.  I suggest trying this right before taking a shower.

There are TONS of other uses for coconut oil including: facial moisturizer, body oil, lip balm, etc.

 

tea sugar scrub2. Tea Sugar Scrub

I love tea. I have it every morning as part of my morning ritual. Although I could drink a whole pot to myself, I sometimes end up with leftover.

Instead of throwing it away, I add about a tablespoon of sugar to about two ounces of leftover green tea then I scrub my face with the tea infused sugar.

Tea has tons of antioxidants. In fact, there are fancy skincare lines that brag about having green tea in their products, so why not use the tea directly to yourself and skip the fancy shmancy tea infused skincare?

 

rice lemon scrub

3. Purple Rice Scrub with Lemon applicator

I think I got this tip from famous YouTuber Michelle Phan but instead of using plain white rice, I use purple rice for the extra nutrients.

Simply ground the rice using a food processor. Cut a lemon in half to use one half as the applicator. Gently squeeze the lemon to bring out a little bit of its juice then dab the lemon to about two tablespoons of ground rice. Apply the rice all over your face. To reapply, just keep squeezing the lemon before dabbing on to the rice.

Wait for about 20-30 minutes. It might sting only a little bit at first as the combination dries up on your face. After 20-30 minutes, rinse your face. I highly suggest to do this at the kitchen sink so nothing gets clogged in the bathroom. You will feel your face to be super soft! I usually do this practice every other week.

 

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4. DIY Face Cleanser

This is a simpler, cheaper, and lazier version of the recipe I found on Luminous Vegans (I adore this blog!). Basically, fill up your container 1/2 with filtered water, 1/4 jojoba oil (or almond oil for cheaper alternative), 1/4 castille soap. If you have an oily skin then add more castille soap than jojoba, and vice versa if you have a dry skin.

Shake the bottle before each use. The texture may seem runny but once you apply and gently rub on your face, it’ll be a bit creamy and thick. Rinse and pat face dry.

 

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5. DIY Toner

Just like the DIY face cleanser, the recipe to this is also simple and straight forward. Fill an empty bottle half way with filtered water, 1/4 witch hazel, 1/4 lemon juice. Shake before each use.

I apply this toner after washing my face. I use a cotton ball to apply the toner then I gently dab all over my face, then I apply coconut oil as moisturizer.

 

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6. Baking Soda

Like coconut oil, baking soda has so many uses including in cooking, bodycare, skin care, dental care, and even cleaning pots, pans, clothes, upholstery, etc.  Not to mention, baking soda is super cheap! I couldn’t believe only few people I know use baking soda. It’s like a miracle product that people tend to ignore.

I use about a teaspoon of baking soda mixed in with a few drops of water to exfoliate my face, paying more attention to areas with black heads.

I also swear by using this in the shower to exfoliate my underarms. I rub baking soda to my underarms and exfoliate well then I do a final rinse. As a result, I leave the shower very clean and odorless. My shower is never without a container of baking soda.

 

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7. Mineral Deodorant Body Spray

I’m very cautious of using vegan deodorants that don’t last long. Unfortunately almost all of the vegan deodorants I know don’t last long.

I remember in the Philippines, Filipinos use a crystal mineral called “Tawas” that act as a deodorant. I have used it before and it didn’t work well for me.

The only brand I could trust is Crystal Essence. I am not sponsored by this brand by the way, they probably don’t even know I exist but I’m telling you to use their product because it works.

Crystal Essence does have “Tawas” crystals but also other ingredients that keep me odor free for full 24 hours. I also like that this comes in a spray bottle. I got this product at Rainbow Grocery San Francisco. I’m sure you could grab one at similar stores like Whole Foods or online.

 

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8. Vegan and Natural Bar Soaps

When I was a kid, my family would use bar soaps as our main soap in the shower. Then on to my teens and 20s, I switched to using liquid body wash and body puff. Now I’m back to using bar soaps but with a little upgrade.

I’ve come to appreciate the natural, fragrant bar soaps similar to the French milled versions. I just make sure they are 100% vegetable oil based and the palm oil is sustainably sourced. Some brands like Pacifica would disclose this kind of information so you don’t have to do the legwork.

Anyway, I’m particularly fond of Rose flavored bar soaps that has a romantic, soothing aroma. Funny thing is, I used to despise this kind of scent because it smelled “old” to me, I guess I am getting old! If you’re not fond of the French Rose scent, I suggest to go with Gardenia, Vanilla, or Coconut.

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I hope you find this list helpful. The list has worked well for me over the years and I hope it’ll work for you.

If you have your own list, please feel free to share. I’m constantly learning and in search for great vegan face and bodycare products.

 

 

Vegan Soups Collaboration

Aside from this blog, I also share my recipes on my YouTube channel. At first I thought, because everybody uses YouTube I would have instant slew of subscribers watching my cooking tutorials. Little did I know that it takes a lot of hard work to produce a shoot and there’s no guarantee if somebody aside from your family and friends, whom you urged to check out your page, would organically click on your video let alone recreate the dish you’re featuring in the episode.

Despite the sobering realization, I kept at it. Slowly but surely, more folks discovered my channel. After my Sisig recipe, people on Instagram started tagging me showing off the Sisig dish they made from the tutorial. Of course I had to repost! It’s so rewarding and humbling to find out that people have tried my recipes and enjoyed them.

Another great news came when my YouTuber friend, Cobi at Veggietorials, emailed me asking if I’d like to participate in a vegan collaboration on YouTube, called “Soup-er Vegan Soups Collaboration“. I had the least number of subscribers out of everyone invited so once I again I felt humbled and honored.  Of course I said yes to the collab.

vegan soups collab

I knew the collaboration was going to boost my views so I thought I better step it up and produce a great episode with a kick ass recipe.

Cobi was so organized and detailed. She sent us deadlines for the beauty shots, recipe name, etc. Although she was very diligent and on point, she was also very flexible and pleasant, never pushy. No wonder she has tons of YouTube followers, Cobi has a great personality.

By the time we had to decide which soup to make, I chose to stick to what I know best: vegan Filipino. I chose a childhood favorite, rice porridge or Lugaw.  The traditional version is far from vegan. You would think that because it’s rice porridge, it’ll be easy to veganize. After all, similar dishes from other Southeast Asian countries have congee and juk. The Filipino version has great Spanish influence so we had only two kinds: the chicken and the beef kind. I thought it would be fun to do a vegan version.

My vegan Filipino Rice Porridge:

vegan lugaw side shot

vegan lugawAnd here’s the playlist featuring my vegan Lugaw recipe as well as recipes from Eco Vegan Gal, Veggietorials, Brown Vegan, Vegan Cooking With Love, Fellowship of the Vegetable, Simply Bakings, and Divine Hostess. I hope you enjoy!

 

From this collaboration, I’ve gained at least 80 new subscribers on YouTube. I’ve also seen more than five recreations of the Lugaw recipe on Instagram. The result is very encouraging and makes me very excited about making more videos.

Still, I have to remind myself that even if there’s only person who I’ve convinced to watch and recreate my dishes, then I have made significant progress.

 

My Top 12 Vegan Food Basics

my top 12 vegan food basics

Over the years, I’ve developed my favorite vegan food ingredients that I couldn’t live without. These ingredients dominate my kitchen, my purse, and my travel bag. These products help me cook delicious food as well as keep me full when I’m on the go. 

If you’re vegan then I’m sure you also have your own list. If you’re not but curious as to what does a vegan eat, or at least what does a Vegan Filipina eat, then please do watch the video below.

I’ve teamed up with Rainbow Grocery, an all vegetarian grocery store in San Francisco, to curate and show you my top 12 vegan food basics.

Although I shot at an all veg market, I still made sure that the products I featured are something you would find at a regular grocery store.
 

I hope you found this video informational. If you’re curious about the vegan lifestyle, please feel free to ask if there’s something I haven’t answered yet on my food essentials.

If you are already vegan and have your own list, please do share! I’d love to hear about your list too!

 

Scenes from Savor Filipino Food Demo, Plus Kare Kare Videoa

Here are some highlights and my favorite moments from my first (live!) food demo at an event called Savor Filipino, a Filipino Food festival in San Francisco.

Thanks to my friends who snapped these photos. My mind was preoccupied on the demo that I didn’t get a chance to take any photos at all. And to think I was planning on doing a vlog on location!

Here’s my set up. A nice demo table with angled mirror on top to show the audience what I’m cooking. I also asked for volunteers in the audience to come up and cook with me. I think it was nice to get the audience to interact with me especially because the demo was at an open tent with so many distractions around where I could lose the audience’s attention easily.

savor demoHere are my mom and dad waving and saying hello after my brief introduction about myself and the demo.

parents looking over
Thanks to my good friend Julie who went to see my demo and took this photo.
savor demo julies pic

After the demo, I served my vegan Kare Kare to those who purchased for a ticket. My friend Rosie was beside me, making sure everything runs smooth.

Backstory: I was encouraged to cook a separate pot of Kare Kare ahead of time so by the time my demo is done, my crew and I will be handing already prepared Kare Kare dish to the patrons.  Unfortunately, on events like these, there’s always something that doesn’t go as planned. My prepared pot and ready to serve Kare Kare was going bad!

An hour before my presentation, my crew and I were deliberating whether we should serve it to the crowd because some people say it tastes delicious while some say it’s bad. I didn’t want to risk anyone’s health and safety so I decided that I won’t use the one I cooked ahead of time and I’ll just serve what I’ll be making during the demo.

My concern about serving the one I’ll be demonstrating was that the eggplants might not cook through and soften enough by the time I have to end the demo (we were given an hour per demo and I was already running late in schedule). Also, my crew was supposed to start plating half way in my demo. We needed to scratch that plan out because they’ll have to wait for the Kare Kare to cook! Rosie suggested that they plate everything else, the rice and Bagoong on the banana blossom to at least cut back on some time.

The plan worked! The eggplants were cooked nicely and we finished on time. The audience enjoyed their meal and had no idea there was a slight hiccup in the plan.

savor demo plating

I also had some of my vegan Bagoong available at the event so I was happy to give one to my friend Chuck who also went to support my demo.

savor filipino bagoong

Chuck’s wife and my good friend, Julie got a free tote bag for participating in the demo. She helped me make and adjust the sauce.
astig vegan tote bags

A photo collage courtesy of Rosie who, along with Jen, helped out as my assistants during the demo. I could not have done it without them!rosies pic Here’s a photo with Joanne Boston, the head organizer and brain behind Savor Filipino. with joanne savor filipino organizerAnother awesome friend of mine, Ava, was kind enough to videotape the live demo.  I had asked her to film the demo so I could share the recipe with YOU!

I hope you’ll find this video helpful and informational. If there’s something you didn’t understand, just leave a comment and I’ll reply to your questions. I couldn’t have a mic at the time so I had to adjust my voice and sort of yell to the crowd. I think it went well and people didn’t mind. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the video. Kain na, let’s eat!

Vegan Filipino Food Demo at Savor Filipino Festival

vegan kare kare social media

 

I would love to invite you to a Filipino Food Event called “Savor Filipino“, where I’ll be teaching how to make Vegan Kare Kare, a Filipino stew that tastes savory and delectable with various vegetables, seasoned with toasted peanuts, toasted rice, onions, garlic, and many more.

After the demo, guests will have a taste of it with my vegan Bagoong, a salty, umami condiment. The photo above is a sample of what I”ll be serving: Vegan Kare Kare stew on top rice with a side of vegan Bagoong.

It’s such a bummer that most of my followers and friends from the blog and social media are outside of the San Francisco Bay Area, where the food demo will be held. I was hoping to livestream it but not sure how to do it?

savor filpino flyer


savor filipinoI am one of the invited cooks and chefs to hold a demo and tasting. I am not trained by the French so by no means a chef, but it’s still incredibly humbling to be considered one!

The event itself is free of charge, but the workshops are $15 each. Not bad for a one hour workshop where you get to taste the food. Nowadays I have to pay way more than that just to have a good foodie experience.

Anyway, I hope you could make it. If not, please feel free to spread the word to family and friends who may be in town. (I’m really pushing it because I really have NO IDEA who will be there because it’s not a vegan event, crossing fingers!). Feel free to reuse any of the photos above when forwarding.

For more info about Savor Filipino, please visit www.savorfilipino.com

Thanks and hugs,

RG

 

5 Vegan Food Themes For Your Potluck

My friends and I love to get creative with our vegan potlucks. Sure, vegan is already a theme, but why stop there? It’s fun to challenge yourself and see what kind of yummy dishes you could share to your friends. Besides, almost all kinds of recipes could be found online now. If they’re not online, you still have your imagination.

Here are the potluck themes we’ve done so far. I hope this list could inspire or help you decide on what theme you’d want to incorporate at your next get together.
 
 

5. VEGAN CHEESE AND WINE

This theme is great if you’re the type who seems like you’re always running out of time (like me). You could make or purchase your nut cheese days before the event. Unlike food that needs to be hot or fresh, you don’t have to make nut cheese the morning of, risking being late or being the last one to arrive at your party. Not to mention, it’s fun and yummy to find out the many different flavors of vegan cheeses-vegan brie, gruyere, smoked cheddar, sriracha cheddar, pili cheese, and so much more!

We enjoyed the cheeses with white wine (sparkling grape juice for me). We also enjoyed some sweets like Bibingka cakes and chocolate bars.
vegan cheese potluck collage
 
 

4. VEGAN SOUTHERN COMFORT FOOD

How the heck do you veganize Southern Comfort food? After all, the south is all about meat and dairy. With some research and imagination, we came up with red beans and rice, portobello and tempeh barbecue, vegan Gumbo, vegan pumpkin pie and cinnamon rolls, corn on the cob, and sweet tea. Talkin about Southern hospitality.

This theme is great because for sure you will leave the party happy and full. They don’t call it comfort food for no reason. Yes, it’s heavy, probably not as healthy, but sometimes you gotta live a little. Perhaps you could choose this theme when you’re not on a detox, and preferrably right before you go into one.
vegan southern comfort food collage 1

vegan southern comfort food collage 2
 
 

3. VEGAN FRENCH CUISINE

Yes, we went there. French cuisine. Not that it’s rocket science to veganize French cuisine but yes, it was pretty darn challenging. Good thing VegNews magazine did a feature on French food in one of their issues, and thanks to the YouTube videos I found of Miyoko Schinner cooking some delicious Gateau de Crepes.

Some of the other vegan French dishes include vegan beef Bourguignon, vegan French onion tarts and eclairs, Mung Bean de RG (based on Gather‘s chickpea panisse), vegan French macaroons, and more.vegan french potluck collage
 
 

 

2. VEGAN FILIPINO CUISINE

My favorite cuisine, Vegan Filipino cuisine, of course made it on the list. I used to throw vegan Filipino potlucks every summer. Most of my non vegan friends would come out and I would hold a contest based on people’s votes to find out which dish is the best or most delicious. Those were good times.

People brought vegan Sisig, vegan Maja Blanca cake, vegan cassava cake, and vegan Binagoongan topped with mango shreds, and many more.

If you need recipes for this potluck theme, feel free to use this blog as your resource. You may also contact me anytime!

vegan Filipino potluck collage
 
 

1. JUST VEGAN FOOD

Sometimes, I would invite my omni friends to the potluck and the thought of making something vegan is already intimidating enough for them. In those cases, I would usually leave it to just vegan potluck with no specific cuisine in mind. The result is a feast of delicious food of different flavors, texture, and form. We had a delicious spread from vegan Menudo stew to Phyllo dough, to gluten free Apricot tart, to Quinoa stuffed bell pepper, to vegan tofu Sisig, and many, many more.
vegan potluck collage

My friends and I are organizing yet another potluck. This time, we’d love to invite YOU. If you happen to be in the Bay Area on August 17th, please feel free to join us at Temescal Regional Park. The potluck is hosted by me, Rosie (@rose_petalz on IG), and Jen (@whollyvegan on IG). Feel free to bring your favorite vegan dish. Just RSVP your dish to bayareaveganpotluck@gmail.com

We’ll be raffling off giveaways like cookbooks, cupcakes, and more.

Here’s a short video I put together for your viewing pleasure. Anyway, let me know if you could make it. I hope to see you then!

Scenes from the “Sariwa” Filipino Food Pop-up

When Aileen Suzara of Kitchen Kwento emailed me an advance invitation to her upcoming Filipino Food Pop-up event, I knew I had to buy my tickets right away. I had a feeling it will sell out. Sure enough, it did and within just a couple of weeks of the announcement.  I was relieved I was able to lock tickets for me and Chris.

Aileen Suzara is a farm-to-table educator as well as advocate for sustainable farming and food practices. Not to mention, she would also throw Filipino food cooking classes every now and then.

The pop-up event was held at La Pena restaurant in Berkeley. Much to my pleasant surprise, the guests were a diverse mix. Goes to show, more people are warming up to Filipino cuisine. Hopefully, more people will also warm up to vegan Filipino cuisine. A girl can wish.

Chris and I opted for the vegan options of course. We had the vegan Bicol Express which is a spicy coconut milk dish with fried tofu and vegetables. The entree was served with a side of turmeric rice and mixed greens salad. vegan bicol express The combo meal was pretty filling but Chris and I couldn’t pass up dessert, especially when they’re vegan too. Chris and I had the vegan Kalamansi cheesecake, which was so decadent. How I wish Aileen would sell this commercially. I would buy a dozen just for myself. kalamansi cheesecake We also had Chocolate Bibingka made of chewy glutinous rice. I enjoyed the texture as well as the sweetness, plus I just love that it had chocolate. Topped with fresh strawberries and glazed around with strawberry sauce. chocolate bibingkaHere we are, sharing a table with Aileen’s sister, Aimee. I was happy to have finally met her as she’s a vegan Filipina too!sariwa pop up Me with the Suzara sisters. I couldn’t wait to hear about what’s next for these ladies, hopefully more pop-ups! aileen suzara