Can’t free yourself from the $5 latte each morning?

Neither can I, but I did find a cost saving alternative.  I, like many of you, cannot function without my morning fix of caffeine.  I’d leave my house 10 minutes early just so I could get in line at Coffee Bean (my java of choice) and order myself a medium Vanilla no sugar added latte with soy.  Yes! Now my morning is complete.

Then one day (a year ago) I noticed the CBTL Contata Machine.

Home single serve espresso machine.  I thought to myself, “That looks cool, I wonder how much that costs and how much will that save me?”  I bought the machine a year ago at $149 but its now on sale for $89  You can make single serve espressos and drip coffee but I primarily use it to make my vanilla no sugar added lattes with almond milk.  You’ll need to get the frother so you can make a proper latte; $59.95

Look how cute these guys are!  The single serve espresso capsules come 10 in a box for $6.  Yup, thats right, .60 per shot of espresso.

Alright so lets do the math.  With an initial investment of $200 and an average latte costing $5, I’ll need to consume at least 40 lattes to recoup my money back.  I can definitely down 40 lattes under 2 months.  So yeah, I’ve gotten my moneys worth with this machine.  So I would jump on the sale CBTL is having on the Contata right now.

Cheers and enjoy your cup of Joe each morning! 🙂

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Old Vine Cafe – Costa Mesa, Ca

Hello fellow foodies, this will be my very first restaurant blog post. YAY!

Alright, by far, Old Vine Cafe in Costa Mesa, Ca is my FAVORITE breakfast place.  My sister was the one who introduced me to this gem.  Old Vine is located in the CAMP in Costa Mesa.  The CAMP is a like a liberal utopia.  Their menu choices are unique and exciting.  This is not your standard ham and eggs diner.  You come here to excite your taste buds.  They also have a vibrant selection of wines.

So I came here this morning with my fiance.  When you first walk up to this place you get that side street cafe feel.  Small and quaint.  They open at 9am and always have a line of people waiting so its best to get there early.  We got there around 9:20 and had to wait about 10 minutes, which was not bad at all.

We got sat in the far right, right next to the wine racks.  In my opinion is the best spot in the whole place.  Why?  Because you’re really not sitting next to anyone else so its very intimate.

We both started of with a Mimosas.  As I was scanning the menus, (BTW they are a few sheets of paper connected to a painting canvas :P) “Lengua Omelet” caught my eye.  What is Lengua you ask?  Oh its just beef tongue.  Yup that’s right!  A TRUE FOODIE loves food and loves to try new things.  Here is the description off the menu: “Slow Cooked Beef Tongue, Queso Fresco & Spicy Tomatillo Salsa.”  I asked the waiter what he thought and he said it was one of his favorites, DONE!  My fiance orderd the sausage and eggs with a cinnamon roll, yumm!  Oh boy when I took the first bite of the Lengua Omelet I almost died!  The meat was soo tender and flavorful.  The plate comes with spanish style potatoes and toast with home made strawberry jam.

I strongly recommend my adventurous foodie friends to check this place out.  My other favs are; Pizza Omelet, Vegetarian Omelet, Biscuits and Gravy and the Southern Brunch.

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I’m Back!!!!

It’s been awhile but I’m back.  Thanks to my co-worker who inspired me by her daily food blog posts on FaceBook.  Thanks Nikki! 🙂

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Low Carb Dinner

Roasted Chicken with Sauted Yam LeavesSo we are counting down to two weeks until my good friend’s wedding.  It’s time to kick start my Nazi diet.  All protein and veggies, no processed carbs; i.e. Rice, bread or pasta.  Tonight we are having Roasted Chicken marinaded in Korean BBQ sauce and sauted Yam Leaves (Camote if you are Filipino :))

Roasted Chicken:

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup of Korean BBQ Marinade
  • 1/8 cup of water

Sauted Camote Leaves:

  • 4 cups of yam leaves, cut off long stems
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped white onions
  • 2 tbsps Oyster Sauce
  • Pepper
  • EVOO

Marinade chicken for 1 hour.

Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Roast for 1 hour.  Flip chicken breasts 30 minutes in.

Heat up large pan with EVOO.

Sauté onions and garlic until fragrant.

Add yam leaves.  Add pepper and oyster sauce.

Sauté until leaves are cooked down.

Ta-Dah!!!! Hope you like it! 🙂

Roasted Chicken with Sauted Yam Leaves

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Roasted Asparagus & Corn Salad

  • 1/2  a bundle of thin asparagus stalks
  • 1 small can of corn
  • 1 medium roma tomato
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • Red wine vinegar
  • EVOO
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsps chopped cilantro

Set oven to 400 degrees F.

Chop asparagus into bite size pieces.  Drizzle with EVOO and add salt and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes.  Set aside and cool.

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.  Drizzle with EVOO and red wine vinegar.  Salt and pepper.

Chill in fridge.  Then serve.

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Miso Salmon & Garlic Butter Shrimp

I love Japanese food.  So I decided to make some Miso Salmon Braised with Shitake Mushrooms.  I prepared this dish braised not grilled, like most Miso Salmon recipes because most Filipino dishes are prepared braised and I grew up liking dishes with a lot of sauce.  I was going to prepare this dish with a side salad of corn and asparagus but realized I didn’t buy enough salmon so I switched gears and paired the dish with Garlic Butter Shrimp, a recipe I learned from my Father.

Miso Salmon:

  • 1 lb salmon cut into 4 strips
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 chopped red onion
  • 2 cups of sliced shitake mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup miso paste, the recipe called for white but my grocery store only had red
  • 1/4 cup mirin; Japanese sweet cooking wine
  • 3 tbsps rice wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsps soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbsps minced ginger
  • 2 tbsps sesame oil
  • 2tbsps water
  • pepper

Garlic Butter Shrimp

  • 1 lb peeled and deveined shrimp
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsps lemon
  • 2 tbsps chopped cilantro
  • 2 tbsps butter
  • 2 tbsps EVOO

Prepare the miso, ginger and all the wet ingredients in a bowl.

Pour over salmon in a casserole dish.  Let marinade for 20 minutes.

Heat EVOO in pan at medium heat.  Fry salmon meat side down for a couple minutes.  Flip over for another couple minutes.  Put aside on a plate.

Add more EVOO.  Sauté onions until soft.  Add mushrooms and sauté until soft.  Add garlic.  Sauté until fragrant.  Add left over marinade and cook through.

Add salmon back into pan and cook low for 5 minutes.  Shut off flame.  Cover and let it sit.

In another pan warm on medium the butter and EVOO.

Add garlic and cook for a few minutes.

Add red pepper flakes.

Add shrimp.  Add salt and pepper.  Cook until shrimp is pink.

Shut off flame.  Add lemon and cilantro.

Serve with white rice.

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Spaghetti and Meatballs

This is my Finance’s Mom’s family recipe for Meatballs with Tomato Sauce.

Tomato Sauce:

  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 tspn sugar
  • Garlic powder
  • Italian seasoning
  • Salt and Pepper

Pour tomato sauce and paste in large boiling pot.

Add 1 can of water for each can of sauce.

Add garlic powder.

Add Italian seasoning.

Add sugar.

Add salt and pepper.

Bring to boil then simmer for 1 ½ hours.

Add meatballs then simmer for 1 hour.


  • 1 lb ground meat
  • 1 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • Garlic powder
  • Pepper
  • Touch of Italian seasoning

Add all ingredients in large bowl.

Don’t over mix, that will make meat hard.

Roll into small balls.  Wet hands with water to avoid sticking.

Add to sauce and cook on low for 1 hour.

Serve with pasta.

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