Quarantine Recipe: Pasta De Lata

I’m sharing this very old recipe I learned from my mom when I was a little child. Curious about cooking, I would annoy my mother in the kitchen. I’d beg her to let me hold a pan, a spatula, or anything that would merit “being a chef,” I’d say. At first, she would let me peel stuff, wash pots, and slice vegetables. While I begrudgingly obeyed, I would insist on cooking a real dish. This was probably the first recipe she let me try to make on my own. It’s very easy for a 10-year-old novice. You literally just open up canned goods, put everything together, and pop it in the oven!

I haven’t made this dish in ages! Because of the enhanced community quarantine in our area, our grocery trips are limited and my pantry is stocked with canned goods. What can I make using just de latas in my pantry, I asked myself one night. And then I remembered this recipe. My mom didn’t have a name for it, but I’m calling it now as “Pasta de Lata!”

We use corned beef, cream of mushroom soup, corn kernels, spaghetti, and quick melt cheese. You can use mozzarella, of course, if you happen to have some in your kitchen. For this batch, I used just one can of mushroom soup because I didn’t have more. Preferably, I’d use two cans for a creamier yield. Also, I would have liked to use cream corn kernels, but I also didn’t have a can in stock.

Recipe’s below, and also a video of me making this dish. I hope you try to make it! It’s a dish from my kitchen to yours—creamy, salty, with a hint of sweetness from the corn. Since it’s very easy and simple to make, you can have the kids help out in the kitchen. It’s a great activity for this quarantine season!

Pasta de Lata

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A very easy dish you can make using only canned goods--for when you want something delicious but you can't go out to buy stuff!


  • 2 small cans of corned beef
  • 2 cans of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • 1 can of Cream-style Corn Kernels
  • 1 cup grated cheese
  • 250g spaghetti


  1. Cook pasta until al dente
  2. Sautee corned beef in olive oil or butter, with onions and garlic.
  3. In a deep baking dish, layer all ingredients: pasta, cream of mushroom, corned beef, corn, pasta, and repeat.
  4. Top with the cheese.
  5. Bake in 200C oven for 30 minutes.


Recreating Starbucks’ Cold Foam Iced Espresso at Home

This quarantine life makes me miss a lot of things, like our usual coffee runs at Starbucks. In hindsight, craving for commercial, overpriced coffee seems so trivial now with all the world’s problems. If anything, this ECQ serves a reset button for many of us, myself included–a reminder that often, the most meaningful things in life are also the simplest.

I find myself making a lot of things in the house, using simple and affordable ingredients. You wouldn’t believe how easy and cheap it is to enjoy a venti cold foam iced espresso at home! All you need are some coffee, ice, sugar, and skim milk.

Here’s a video I made while I tried to recreate my all-time favorite drink from Starbucks: (shameless plug: please like the video and subscribe to the channel! :))

This drink is a great way to relax and refresh during a hot afternoon. Try it yourself and let me know how it goes!

~Ingredients (for a venti-sized drink)~

2 tbsp instant coffee powder mixed with 1/2 cup of water (or 2 shots of espresso)

Ice to fill the glass

1 cup skim milk

2 tbsp white sugar


Blend the milk + sugar using a high-speed blender for about 3 to 5 minutes.

Make your coffee while the blender is running.

Put ice into the glass, then pour your coffee.

Top with the milk and scoop out as much foam as you can.


Baguio Trip 2020: Where to Stay and Eat With a Baby

We decided to go up to Baguio after our week-long stay in La Union. Baguio is one of our favorite and memorable places and we wanted Lucas to experience it, too. This would be Lucas’ last travel, last car rides, last dine outs before this lockdown. We were in Baguio from March 2 to 5, and when we got back in Manila, the COVID-19 threat was getting more serious so we decided to stay home even before the community quarantine was announced.

Where We Stayed

Enzo and I have always stayed at budget hotels in Baguio’s city proper before. The last time we were there was in December of 2016, and the traffic was hell. I vowed that the next time we went, we would stay inside Camp John Hay and never go to the city. I booked a room at Le Monet Hotel, which is just a stone’s throw away from The Manor. Le Monet has the same gorgeous views, at a lower cost. Tip: It pays to book through Agoda, or other travel apps because they give out discounted rates. I got our standard room for around P4,500 per night (with breakfast for two). The published rate at the hotel’s website was at P8,000.

If you’re traveling with kids, it’s really a wise decision to just stay inside CJH. There’s no traffic, so you can take advantage of the peace and quiet the place offers. You’ll be surrounded by pine trees everywhere and have a really relaxing time. Camp John Hay also has several picnic areas where you can rent a table and let the kids explore and gather pine cones. We skipped the other kid-friendly activities (zipline, mini-golf, horseback riding) because Lucas can’t do all of those yet. Instead, we simply strolled around and had lunch in the forest.

There are diners and restaurants just outside Le Monet Hotel. We bought hotdogs, sandwiches, and hot chocolate to bring for our picnic. They also have a separate bakery where you can buy super good Ube and Cheese Pandesal–perfect for pasalubong!

Where We Ate – 5 Restaurants in Baguio to Try

  1. Cafe by the Ruins – 25 Shuntug Rd, Baguio, Benguet

We always start our Baguio food trip at Cafe by the Ruins. We would eat brunch here even before checking in at the hotel. This iconic local restaurant was destroyed by fire a few years back, but I’m happy that the owners decided to renovate and re-open. The newer structure has more modern interiors, but it still exudes the same nostalgia.

2. Foggy Mountain Cookhouse – San Carlos Heights, Baguio, Benguet

On our second day, we had dinner at Foggy Mountain Cookhouse. It’s a private, by-reservation-only dining place by Chef Babes, a Baguio resident who I believe also worked as a meat exporter in Manila. You message him on Facebook, book a table, and order a day before so he can prepare the ingredients. There aren’t many options on his menu, but every dish seemed sumptuous and carefully thought of.

We ordered Split Pea Soup, Porchetta, Angus Rib Eye, Bottarga Pasta, and Pumpkin Puree for dessert. It came with free salad and humus. Everything was great, but the star of the night was the Bottarga Pasta. Ask if it’s available and grab the chance to try it. It’s actually dried fish roe that’s crunchy and full of wonderful flavors. Chef Babes told us that he tried once in Italy and decided to recreate the dish here in the Philippines. It’s beyond amazing.

Tip: Foggy Mountain Cookhouse is inside a private village. It’s Wazeable, but the roads are super narrow and it’s easy to miss. There’s a sharp right turn that’s pretty dangerous so drive carefully and slowly!

Tip 2: Go before 6pm to catch the sunset. Foggy Mountain has an impressive viewpoint!

3. The Farmer’s Daughter Restaurant – Tam-awan Village, Long Long Benguet Rd, Baguio, 2600 Benguet

Tam-Awan Village isn’t the best place to go when you have a baby. Or if you’re traveling with a senior (Enzo’s mom was with us). I wish I knew before I planned our itinerary. But nobody mentioned this tiny tidbit in all the blogs and reviews I read. While it’s certainly nice to marvel at local and native artworks, you’ll have to go through more than a hundred steps to get to different areas. Many of these steps were steep, some without handrails. I had to carry the heavy boy on a hip-seat carrier, kangaroo-style. Gasp.

Outside Tam-Awan Village, though, is a lovely nice little restaurant called The Farmer’s Daughter. It serves authentic Ilokano dishes with super fresh vegetables. Just look at those greens! Props to them for their cute native high-chair. Thank you for thinking of babies and toddlers!

4. Cafe Sabel – Ground Level, BenCab Museum, Km 6. Asin Road, Baguio, 2603 Benguet

After Tam-Awan, we proceeded to BenCab Museum. Another place with STAIRS! :) We ended our day with a sweet merienda of coffee, turon and suman. 

5. Chocolate de Batirol – Igorot Park, Camp John Hay, Baguio, 2600 Benguet

Here’s another local mainstay in the Baguio food scene. Chocolate de Batirol, located within Camp John Hay, is always packed with tourists. We were lucky that we were there on a weekday and so we were able to choose seats. Our full breakfast consisted of arroz caldochamporado, longganisa, and tocino. Burp!

Ahh, Baguio, when will we see you again? We are grateful for the chance to travel. Now, as I share these photos, I reminisce and pray for better days ahead. Stay strong, mamas!

La Union Trip 2020: Where to Stay, Eat, and Go With a Baby!

Last February, the husband had work in La Union and needed to stay there for a week. Because we had no yaya, I couldn’t imagine being left alone with a giddy baby for seven days. So off we all went to LU! I’m glad we were able to travel and sort of go on a vacation before our country enforced strict quarantine. It will be a while before any of us will be able to do this again–but I’m posting photos and short stories here because they’re happy memories and for future reference!

Where We Stayed

While most tourists would prefer to stay in San Juan, La Union–the country’s surfing capital–we had to book a hotel in San Fernando since Enzo’s job was there. We stayed at Sunset Bay Hotel, a beachside resort near the Airport Road. It’s a three-star “budget” resort so we didn’t expect anything fancy. The hotel surprised us, however, with its friendly service, clean facilities, and breathtaking views!

The standard rooms are privately tucked behind lush bushes and have their own patios.


The resort’s pathways are neatly landscaped and decorated.


Their beachfront al fresco restaurant serves a wide array of dishes (from pasta to burgers and Filipino meals), with huge servings. They were surprisingly delicious too! We enjoyed our daily breakfasts here with the boy, who learned to eat pancakes and french toasts.

They also have a small infinity pool, which Lucas loved. It was his first swimming pool experience!

We had previously stayed at Aureo Resort, which is just a couple of meters away. While Aureo has more modern amenities, I truly recommend Sunset Bay if you’re on a strict budget or traveling with a large group. We stayed at their standard room, which comes with its own patio. Just a tip: bring an insect repellant lotion or spray to ward off pesky mosquitoes!

Where to Go/Eat in La Union

For a yaya-less mom like me, surfing was out of the equation. I conceded that I won’t be able to do that, at least until Lucas learns how to confidently walk and entertain himself. For now, all we could do was explore new restaurants and sight-see. We also didn’t have much time, because Enzo was mostly at his job site. During his breaks, we were able to go to San Juan, which is about 10 minutes away.

If you only had a day to explore San Juan, I recommend you go to The Great Northwest Philippine Travel Stop and Viewing Deck. It’s right smack in the middle of resorts, right in front of the great LU beach. There’s ample parking and hip restos. We had merienda at El Union Coffee and had the most amazing cheese sandwich and ricotta toast.

We wanted to try other food stalls, but we were so full and we can’t stay long. If you’re coming here, please don’t for the love of you miss trying Coco Mama. It’s a small shack that sells coconut ice cream. You can have it with other fruits, but the coconut base is the star. It was soooooo good I’m actually craving for it now!

A few meters away, we discovered Coast Call Kitchen and Bar. It’s a restaurant within the famous San Juan Surf Resort. It serves fusion cuisine that’s really, really tasty! We had their ginormous burger, milkshake, and longganisa pasta. That one’s a winner!

Ah ELYU, it’s been a while, old friend! The first time I came here was when I was a new college grad, to learn how to surf with my friends. La Union was so different then. There were no resorts, no restaurants, and no crowds. While I certainly miss my youth, I’m happy to see a different LU today. I can’t wait for Lucas to grow a bit older so he can appreciate the surf!

P.S.: How are you holding up, mamas? Stay safe and healthy!

Lucas’ 1st Birthday: Camp Quarantine

We decided to push through with our planned camping trip for the boy’s birthday. With the community quarantine strictly enforced though, we just had to camp at home! Sharing with you how we celebrated our son’s special day. Like his conception and birth, his first birthday is one for the books!

Enzo and I woke up early to prepare. We didn’t have guests, but we wanted it to still look festive. After all, Lucas is at the stage where he’s amused with everything that he sees–lights, hanging stuff, trees, animals, etc. I was able to buy a dinosaur “happy birthday” banner right before the quarantine announcement. We hung it above our dining table and it became our theme for lunch. Enzo got a few banana leaves which we used as a table runner to make it look more, er, Jurassic? :)

dinosaur themed birthday

I cooked spaghetti and hotdogs on sticks. Very Pinoy birthday.

And the cake! I ran out of cocoa powder and I couldn’t find any at our nearest mini-grocery. Good thing they sold boxed chocolate cakes! This one’s from Magnolia, and it’s actually good! I still had chocolate bars in my pantry so I made ganache for the frosting. We topped with a used candle (good thing I hoard stuff!) and a Godzilla toy. Because I insist that Godzilla is a dinosaur, lol.

As for the gifts, I re-wrapped (using old magazine pages) some of Lucas’ favorite toys and books so he could open presents. I got the idea from a Montessori mama that I follow on Instagram. I agree that at Lucas’ age, he doesn’t need new toys and he won’t appreciate them anyway. But I do want him to have the sensory experience of opening and tearing wrapping paper. Lucas was thrilled!

Enzo pitched a tent in the boy’s room and we stayed there after dinner. It was missing stars, trees, and real grass but it was a special memory for us as new parents. Wow, has it been a year? Raising a child is not easy, now more than ever. The world is changing right before our eyes. What challenges will we still face, what hurdles will we encounter? Many more, I am sure. But this boy, our wonderful boy, is a reminder that there is beauty after every battle and that whatever it is, this too shall pass. <3

DIY: Sensory Board for Baby

Day 18 of our “enhanced community quarantine.” We’re holding up pretty well, despite not being able to access delivery services and go to huge grocery stores for more food options. We miss having the option to go out, see new things and experience new places. And we miss our family!!! But in the grand scheme of things, our “difficulties” are nothing compared to what other people and our frontliners are dealing with. So we stay put, and hope to lessen their burdens.

Here’s an easy DIY idea for those who have babies or toddlers that’s perfect to make if you’ve got lots of time in your hands— a sensory board! The husband made this just before the baby turned one. We call it a “kalikot” board, which is Filipino for fiddling. It’s meant for babies who are getting curious of their surroundings. Aside from entertaining them, the different objects on the board should stimulate their senses.

It’s fairly easy to make, too! The husband made this as a cabinet that opens up, which we could hang in the boy’s room in the future. But you can use any simple flat board, just make sure to choose a sturdy one. For this, and so you can screw the objects, wood is best. Ours is 24″ x 32″ in size. 

As for the things to put, you can literally use stuff that you already have in the house. We put a calculator, magnetic board, color wheel, battery-operated lights, bells, different locks, a switch, and a faucet. Other great ideas for tactile objects include sponges, zippers, rope or shoelaces, and a clock.

Try making one for your little tot! What DIY projects are you making during this time of social distancing? Share ideas in the comments below!