My friend Maricel’s New Year “Round Things”

No squares for the New Year, unless you happen to be in New York City’s Times Square…gotta be or gotta have lots and lots of “round things” for good luck!  Well, I love a prosperous New Year and I’d always wear blouse or dress with polka dots lol!  My friend Maricel called me up from Canada and begged me (and how can I say NO to her, she’d always make me believe I make the best kakanins in Chicago…definitely not true, but I’ve been making her native sweets for years, for the record!) to make her some “round sweets” to celebrate the New Year.



SAPIN-SAPIN (Layered Rice Cake)










Happy New Year to All!  And I’m not yet sure about my New Year’s Resolutions…more of some things…less of many things.


Ube Haleya (Violet Yam)

You will need a pack of frozen grated ube, available in frozen section of Oriental or Asian stores.   Butter a foil-round pan with plastic lid.

1 pack (1 lb) frozen grated ube, thawed (if somewhat moist, strain first in sieve)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 tall can evaporated milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter

In a wok or saucepan, combine grated ube, condensed milk, evaporated milk and sugar.  Cook over medium fire until very thick, stirring constantly to prevent sticking.   Add butter, mixing well.

Spoon into buttered pan.  Cool.

This is recipe I used for the ube haleya I brought to 4th July celebration at the Rebellos that the guests enjoyed spoons after spoons of these better-than-storebought ube haleya.  A bit of arm exercises was involved in the cooking, but paid off great in the end.   This was supposed to be spooned on top of Halo-halo (various fruits in shaved ice), but one spoon was just not enough.

July 4th at the Rebellos

I hate summer outdoor parties — if ever I’m forced to attend, you’d find me staying indoors watching TV instead.   But yesterday’s July 4th BBQ party at the Rebellos (Tito Gerry and Tita Ellie) was simply perfect.   Not much traffic driving to their place (took us an hour to get to Franklin Park).   Clouds and little breeze were celebrating with us — no sun-protection lotions needed, no electric fans and somehow mosquitoes weren’t disturbed with all the celebration noises.

As soon as the grill was fired and Tita Millete’s 24-hour marinated pork belly were laid out, everyone was ready for “good eats”.    It was all about the bbq — pampano (fish), shrimps and pork, with some diced fresh tomatoes, chopped onion, vinegar dips (with garlic) — and boy, no forks and spoons this time, so casual, so Filipino, so much FUN.

And when it was time for dessert — Chocolate fountain (with fresh strawberries and large marshmallows), Selecta-brand Ube and Mango Ice cream and Halo-halo (shaved ice with all the wonderful goodies: leche flan, ube haleya, sweetened beans, and macapuno, evaporated milk, omg!).

I think this is my favorite holiday from now on — casual dress, no gifts to bring, no special party foods to make.   It’s 4th of July — and it’s a party, baby!