Friday, November 13, 2009

Quick and Easy

A few days ago I stumbled upon a recipe of Pinoy-style Custard Cake by a Pinoy Foodie Blogger - Kusina ni Manang. After reviewing her recipe, I was tempted to make one myself since her recipe only called for leche flan ingredients and cake mix in a box.

Custard cake would probably one of my top 20 favorite desserts. The cake is simple yet I love how you get 2 textures of creamy and light in one dessert. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water.

Although this recipe was inspired from Kusina ni Manang, I made some adjustments. And here's what I did:


~ Custard Topping~
1 egg
2 egg yolks
1 cup evaporated milk
1/2 can large condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon juice OPTIONAL ( I wish I did this, this usually tempers the sweetness of the custard )

sugar and water, adjust according to your preference
Boil mixture in a sauce pan, then add to your cake pans when once the syrup turns amber colored.

I used French Vanilla Cake Mix from Duncan Hines, I just followed what the box asked for. I think the French Vanilla Mix is the best cake for this, it was a good bargain for $0.76 cents!

Preheat your oven 350F
I used 2 pans 6" and 8" round baking pans.
Mix all your custard ingredients until well combined. Add a thin custard mixture to your caramelized pans. Prepare your water bath for your pans. Fill a larger pan (such as a roasting pan) with warm water, make sure it is large enough that will fit the pans you're going to use for the cake. This is called Bain - Marie method. The water should be in the mid level of the larger pan when you add your cake pans.

Bake Custard Topping for 30mins. uncovered.

After 30mins when the custard is set ( jiggly in the middle ), start mixing your cake. Then add your cake mixture to the pans and bake for another 30mins or so. The cooking time for this last part is dependent on the size of cake pans used. You still need to use the Bain- Marie method for this second part. You may need to add more water to your bath.

When you cake is set and a tester comes of clean, your cake is ready. Cool for 10mins or so. Loosen the sides then invert in the pan. I found it best to chill the cake in the fridge overnight.

I really love the outcome of this experiment. I may use chocolate cake mix next time. Thanks Manang for this wonderful recipe!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

What to do with your green tomatoes?

A week ago I cleaned up my garden space starting with the tomato plants. I know some of the fruits will not ripen anymore and I remembered that I have a pie recipe for them from a Food Network Magazine. I did have a lot of them about 4 pints, the plant was given by a friend and I think they were volunteer cherry tomatoes from her compost.

These tomatoes were very sour and I usually add them when I saute stuff. I already froze the other ripened ones and I already have a lot in my fridge. I never knew before you can make a pie out these green ones. So with my favorite pie crust recipe I made a green tomato filling to try this southern dessert. And it was later that I found out that this was southern when I searched from Food Network. A recipe of Paula Deen popped and right there I knew.

My Review: The pie was like a "sweet 'n sour" pie. A little too tart for me maybe next time I will cut the amount of lemon juice but aside from that it was good with my favorite all-butter pie crust. I did take half of the pie to friend's house and she liked it. And this pie would be best served with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. At least now I don't have to worry about my green tomatoes.

Monday, August 3, 2009

My Pie Week

For the past few weeks, I have been daydreaming about making my own pie - Peach Mango Pie specifically. This is a deep-fried pie filled with luscious creamy cubed Philippine Mangoes and Peaches. Since mangoes are abundant back home as apples are here in the US, Jollibee ( most popular Filipino owned fast food chain ) probably made use of what's most available. It's what they offer since Mickey D's have the apple pie on their menu. The Peach Mango Pie is my favorite, I even bought some in California last Feb.

Being here in the US, I have been a trying hard DIY girl on almost everything I think is possible to accomplish most especially in the kitchen. So after a few weeks of research I decided to make my own Peach Mango Pie. But I warned myself mentally that I may not achieve the exact same thing that Jollibee sells. One thing is certain though, I know it will be a fun and fulfilling journey.

The Fruit
Number one on the list is the Mango, since I got here the closest thing that I ever had to our mangoes are the Ataulfo from Mexico and they're $1.25 ea ( what the F*!) Meijer price. It was definitely impractical to use them for my experiment. But I found those Apple-Mango kind ( as we call them back home, they're not sour even if they're not ripe ) on the same isle and on sale 2 for a buck, I thought they will hold well since they will be cooked with the canned sliced Peaches.

The Filling
I followed a Pineapple Filling recipe for this one and it was really nice. I had so much fun eating them and decided to give some to my 90 y.o. neighbor. And she found them very nice too. My second batch - baked not fried, I added some almond extract to see how they turned out. And the taste was a little bit different, I liked the plain mango and peach combo better.

The Crust
I was tempted to buy a rolled pie crust for this project but I remembered my pie crust recipe from FoodNetwork in my "untested" folder file. I decided to try if it would work well for my recipe. They were nice compared to the store brought kind but my second batch was flaky and less buttery. But I made a wonderful discovery from Paula Deen's recipes, she used ready made biscuits for her fried apple pies. And so, I bought some and used them for my first batch.

Ready-Made Biscuits
They are good when you consume it right away but they get soggy from the oil if you dont. The taste was wonderful and you can get a lot of ideas if you use Paula's method. I used buttermilk kind for my first batch.

Pineapple Pie
I was also nostalgic for commercially made Pineapple Pie you can find in most local bakeries back home so I made one too. They're the too commercially-tasting pies you ever tasted in your life but they were good. They reminded me of one summer that I stayed with a relative that owned a bakeshop. It was the most delicious vacation ever, having freshly baked bread everyday was the best ever. I guess that is how I fell in love with the smell of freshly baked goodies.

My Pineapple Pie creation's timing was impeccable since we were having potluck for a pilgrimage to Mama Mary's Shrine for the weekend. I brought the 9" pie for dessert and they were giving compliments of how good it was. I felt like hitting the jackpot, and was pleased with how my experiment turned out.

Pie Crust recipe 2
This I got from Smitten Kitchen, she noted in her blog that she loves butter flavor more than the the flakiness. And having tasted the flaky crust recipe , it made me decide to go for recipe 2. It will be my mainstay pie crust recipe from now on. The aroma is simply divine.

My Style

Peach Mango Pie filling
1 canned sliced peaches in light syrup, cubed
1 large ripe mango, cubed
Procedure is the same with Pineapple Filling
I omitted the lemon ingredient

For Baked
Form dough into a log, then flatten it. Cut into desired shape fill and brush with water on the sides and seal with fork twines.

Bake 375F, for 20 mins or until brown. Cooking time varies with each oven.

For Fried
Follow Paula's method, she even has a video you can watch.

Pie Crust recipe 2 is for a 8" dish but I was able to roll the dough thin enough to fit in an 9" dish. I was under time constraint so I only refrigerated recipe 2 for 30mins prior to rolling it. Pineapple Pie filling was made of (1 of each) 20oz. canned crushed pineapple and diced, there's a little extra. I used the 375F for the temperature to bake my pie.

Taste Review
My Peach Mango Pie is the closest you can get to having the aunthentic Jollibee pie. The filling is a little tart but I like it the way it is without the Almond Extract since I experimented with it too. I think the variety of mango that I was using also played the big factor, Philippine mangoes are incomparable especially the ones from Cebu - fragrant , creamy and they simply melt in your mouth. Probably next time I will try to make the filling with mango puree or juice. And although the pie should be fried the baked ones are my choice - less fat.

As for the Pineapple Pie, its a little tart too but it is perfect with Pie Crust Recipe 2. Tartness never really bothers me, I enjoy bites of sourness in my tastebuds. Although I was craving for the commercially tasting one, I was happy with how it turned out.

This experience surely satisfied my cravings. But for me I can tell you they were wrong about the expression "easy as pie", making pies is not all easy - especially if its double crust. But I guess after your first attempt you can say that line. It's very challenging but it can be very rewarding as well. I'm happy for my pie week, just think of the different recipes that I can make in the future. Sweet!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Color of My Summer

Yesterday, it was a beautiful day. I was attending to my garden and I couldn't help myself but take pictures of the Asian veggies growing in my tiny garden space. I just a few took shots with Kodak Easy Share C613, I bet my shots would be better if it was taken on a DSLR camera - another wish list.

Then later on my son and I explored the compound for other picture worthy scenes. There was plenty of things to see and I enjoyed that I was sharing this with my 3 year old. I told him the story of how bees cook up nectar from flowers into honey. He loves honey so it was fascinating for him.

Some of the pictures that I took were from my Bok-choy ( pechay ) - they had tiny yellow flowers but I was not expecting to see them this early since they looked small. I also had shots of thistle flowers, the plant wasn't much to look at when it was growing from my space. I had to pull it out too since it was too prickly, but the ones growing in the pond had nice flowers. And there were those tiny lavender wild flowers, they were lovely too. Even the bees agree with me, my son spotted a busy group collecting nectar and that was when I shared the honey story to him.I also took pictures of my son's hand, he found two blossoms of Dandelions and he wanted me to take pictures of them too. I find them really cute.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Baked and Easy Crispy Pata

My Crispy Pata Gallery

Whenever I think of Crispy Pata, my memory would take me back to my mom's kitchen. My mom was a great cook, and she loved it. She is also a great influence in terms of my love food and cooking itself. Crispy Pata whenever it was prepared it would always mean that there's a special occasion. When I was still single I never tried to make it since my mom was always there to whip it up for us.

But when I dated my husband, I later found out how he loves Crispy pata. I myself am a big fan of it. So its always present when there's a special occassion since we moved here. And it can be recycled into other dishes. My definition of Crispy Pata is seasoned whole pork leg ( pata is leg in Spanish ), boiled and deep fried to perfection until the skin is crispy. I have seen my mom make it a couple of times back home in the Philippines but I never realized how challenging it was until I made one myself.

Mommy's Style
My mom said there is a specific sign that you have to look for before you fry the leg. When boiling, you shouldn't overdo it. The skin has to be tender and so is the meat but it shouldn't fall off the bone. When the meat is ready, you can season it again with rock salt. But she always used seasoned water (salt and pepper ) when she boils the leg. And then you can finally deep fry the meat. So this was how she prepares her crispy pata.

First Time
One thing that I try to avoid in my kitchen is deep frying. I find it too messy in the kitchen and too unhealthy. Crispy Pata is comfort food to some but it is very sinful as well. My first Crispy Pata experience was not very good. I don't have a deep-fryer so I had to resort a small deep pan for frying. The results was very impressive, my husband enjoyed it so much. But the preparation left a mess in my kitchen, and I didn't enjoy the oil splattering in my stove.

Bagged and Baked
A few months after that experience I found out from Connie Verneracion's recipe that you can bake Crispy Pata. My second one was baked knowing that it could be done. Though it takes a lot time to achieve the crispy stage of the leg I couldn't complain since I just had to let my oven do the work. So now the deep-frying part which I really dislike can be eliminated. And by accident, I found out that I can eliminate the boiling process too. This happened when I prepared my first turkey for Thanksgiving last year. My friend suggested oven bags for a fool-proof Thanksgiving turkey prep. Oven bags keep the moisture in the meat and it make it tender as well. So there I had my "eureka" moment. And it definitely saved me from the hassles of finding a big pot so it can fit my huge Pork Shoulder Picnic for boiling.

The Recipe

1 Pork Shoulder Picnic not less than 8lbs.
1 Reynold's Oven Bags for 8lbs and up
salt and freshly cracked pepper ( you can add other dry seasonings as well )
meat thermometer
large cookie sheet or baking pan

Preheat your oven to 375 F

Wash the meat and rub desired dried seasonings, place the meat in the oven bag and follow instructions on the bag (varies with the weight of the meat ) (Please Read the Instructions in the Bag, ITS IMPORTANT!)

1st Part
I usually cook mine at least 2 hours @ 375 F until the juices are clear and the skin & meat of the pork is tender, and the internal temperature ( insert meat thermometer at the meatiest part, its okay to puncture the bag) is at least 165F.

2nd Part
Once the meat is cooked, remove bag then put it back on the pan for the second part of baking - skin side up. Sometimes there's a generous amount of meat juice in the oven bag, I keep in my fridge in the container to solidify the pork fat then I remove it. This meat juice is concentrated pork stock that I save for future use. You can adjust the temperature from 350F - 400F (not more than that, as per bag instructions). If you start with 400F, it will brown your meat in a short period of time. Then once golden brown you can lower the temperature to 350F or 375F. This will allow it cook evenly without burning the meat. Check for the internal temp (at least 165F) and if the skin makes a hollow sound when tapped your Crispy Pata is ready*. Remove from oven wait at least 5mins. before serving. Garnish as desired.

If you want a slow and low cooking ( that is if you have enough time ) you can start @ 350F or 375F. It will still yield the same result but only its a longer cooking time. For me, I choose the cooking time that fits me.

*Based on my experience it usually takes at least 4hours to make Crispy Pata. The cooking time varies on the weight of your meat ( based on a Pork Shoulder Picnic cut )so it is important to check the internal temperature with your meat thermometer to avoid under cooking it.

You can do the 1st part the day before or in advance then do the second part on your desired date or occasion. And by the way, about the meat I use Pork Shoulder Picnic cut since its the closest thing I could find that's good for Crispy Pata and the price per pound is a good bargain. Always choose the one with skin. I buy this part at WalMart or Save-a-Lot but if you have a butcher you can ask for the usually Crispy Pata part. And remember to specify with skin since I had a bad experience with that last December. I went to a local meat shop and ordered the part - whole pork leg with the hocks and I specifically asked and noted on the order slip "with skin". The following day they gave me a skinless leg! I said nicely I cant take it since I was specific with my order, the lady said the butcher doesn't want to do anything with it anymore. He said he's fed up of how specific my order was and didn't even apologize. They were so rude and good thing they gave me back my deposit. I never came back to that shop and get my meat elsewhere.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Recycling Food

100_6769 - Share on Ovi

One habit that has been helpful to me back home is shopping for groceries that's good for a week. And I still practice that here. But there are also some few disadvantages that can go with that practice. Since you buy more there's always a risk of having your fruit or veggies to go bad. So I always try to find ways to recycle a fruit or a veggies including cooked dishes.

These cookies are the result of an almost funky 3 small bananas in my kitchen that my family wont eat anymore. I am not a big fan of banana, hubby thinks bananas that have spots are too sweet to eat and my son is not in the mood for bananas lately.

The bananas still look good to me for baking but not for muffins. So I searched for a good recipe online for cookies. At least when they're turned into cookies, I am positive that they will be consumed without hesitation.

The cookies were soft and cakey but was nice, and I really enjoyed making it with my son. He sprinkled the chopped walnuts and mini - morsels. When he proudly mentioned to his dad how helped me in the kitchen, it was so amusing. I made some adjustments with the recipe :

1/4 cup of each - raw wheat germ & rolled oats to replace the 1/2 cup of flour  
(recipe calls for 2 cups of all - purpose flour
1/2 cup of each - chopped walnuts and mini -morsels.
1/2 cup of each brown sugar and white for the 1 cup of sugar

At least now, I have an alternative to banana cake, banana muffins and banana bread. And with cookies, you can be confident they will be gone soon. 

Shown here are dishes that I have made and recycled into something else:

Click the slide to view the album with full picture and descriptions

Friday, May 8, 2009

Ode to Bruce

A dog is the only thing on earth that willl love you more than you love yourself ~ Josh Billings

 Dear Bruce,

I dont know how to begin this letter. I know it has been awhile since I probably held you in my arms. But the very first day I saw you is still fresh in my mind. It was funny we never got along at first and yet you have been a big part of my life. In a weird way, it always seemed to me that it was you who taught me to become a mother. And hence, I have treated you as my baby -my First baby. They say when you experience motherhood you become fragile, and indeed I felt this with you. And I will never forget that day you almost died in my arms, your life was so meaningful to me. That day will always tell me that I am never going to be prepared if you leave, it will surely break my heart. 

And now that you're gone, it brought great sadness that will take a very long time to erase. I recall those days that I have ignored you because of Thames but that special place for you in my heart has never changed. I thought it would but its still here. When I learned that you got sick again, I have entertained the thought that maybe you will be bidding goodbye anytime soon. But not once did it occur to me how much it will sadden me or if I will be able to let go.

I think when someone you love dies you will never be prepared for that day when it will come. You will always wish they will stay with you forever. I try to hold back my tears in my melancholy triggered by your loss but it is not easy. I thought that because I am here I wont be affected but I was wrong, and Im somehow wishing now I was near when you left. My heart is crushed in a way I can never begin to understand but this is it. Im wishing right now that Michelle will be able to overcome this grief she's experiencing right now. Its not easy to lose someone who is close to your heart.

Inspite of all this, I am grateful that you came into my life. I dont know how much I have affected your life but you're one heck of a dog. And for this, your memory will remain in my heart forever.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Breaking the Rules

Yesterday, I broke my own rule - No Specials on Weekdays Rule. Since I've decided to lose some weight I had to change my cooking habits as well. But its just  been so long since I've wanted to try this Puto recipe from I did it and I was pleased  Thammee loves it. I also wanted to try my new silicone mini baking cups, they were fabulous with portion control *winks*. And I kept reminding my guilty self that it didn't have any egg yolks in them. :) Now what to do with the yolks?

It snowed...

 It truly is unpredictable.... snowing April. This is not my kind of weather.

Could it be?

In my previous blog entry about my weight I mentioned that I will weighed myself again after a month. But I just couldn't help myself last weekend and decided to peek how much progress I've made for the week. My scale read : 143lbs. I was ecstatic and told Thammee about my achievement. But I was still in doubt of 2lb. drop, so I weighed myself again today. Unexpectedly, I guess I must have made clear progress since its 140 now. 

So I changed my weight loss ticker:

Right now I'm happy but doubtful and asking myself how I managed to lose 5lbs. in 1 week? I don't know if the Wii-kend helped me lose it and its the reason my shoulder is painful right now. I don't feel lighter but I feel hungry..hehehe! Well, at least I see an improvement for my sacrifices. But I am hoping that I will lose more flab than the weight since that has always been my issue.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Mi Mancherai

Mi Mancherai is how you say "I miss you" in Italy. And I learned this because of the foreign film "Il Postino" - The Postman. I would have never known how beautiful this film was if not for my friend - Kenny. He is my one-of-a-kind friend I have who feeds me with stuff about foreign culture. 

I always had this fascination for Italy, so when Kenny tells me of this beautiful Italian film I told him I should see it for myself. But his introduction was not about the film, it was about the poem "Tonight I can write the saddest lines - Pablo Neruda". And that started it all, since then I already have a beautiful imagery of what the film would be like.

It had been probably about 3 years since Kenny first mentioned the film to me.  But my intense interest for this film has never left me. So when I found out it was available in the library I was so happy that I will be able to get the chance to watch it. 

The movie never failed my expectation. It was wonderfully funny but moving at the same time. But few months ago prior to watching the film, I was already enjoying the motion picture soundtrack of the movie. It contained poems of Pablo Neruda that were read by famous Hollywood personalities such as Andy Garcia, Glenn Close, Madonna and Julia Roberts to mention a few. 

The movie plot is not that complex, but it is heart-warming. And ever more I am very fascinated with the language of Italy and the country itself. Its definitely on my wish list on the places I want to visit in the future. This movie made me fall in love with Italy.

here's the song of the movie:

Mi Mancherai (Album Version) - Josh Groban (Featuring Joshua Bell)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Flat Tummy Aid

One the main part of my body that I dislike the most is my abs. A few months ago I found this video. And it  looks interesting, and I'm trying it. I'm hoping it will remove those hideous muffin top. 

Monday, March 30, 2009


I was nostalgic today of my preggy days when came across a Hil's Blog. As a first time mom, I was overwhelmed with the feeling of "first time everything", even until now. Pregnant with Thames, there was one of the many things I remember that never fails to put a smile on my face on a weekly basis..a newsletter from Pregnancy Weekly. Aside from the details on what you need to expect, they include a similar cartoon picture like the one I posted above. And thinking about it now, it helped my get through it all. 

In life whatever challenges you are faced with, I believe that any simple funny situation that can make you  smile or even laugh will work wonders for you as it did with mine. 

Lesson#2 : Don't forget to smile / laugh

You can see more cartoons here :

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Almost Everything

I'm an avid fan of the book Sneaky Chef because of my son who's a picky eater. But prior to the wonderful book discovery I was already a "Sneaky Chef" by heart, I guess any mom who has a son like mine would become one. I've experimented with carrots and broccoli in pancakes just so he could have a healthy breakfast. And then I moved to cupcakes/muffins since they became his favorite, I make it enticing as well by buying colorful liners.

Making these healthy breakfast/snack item also prevents me from throwing common fruit favorites when they're close to being over-ripe. Honestly, even for a fruit lover like me I still get tired of eating the same thing for a week and my hubby is not a fruit person at all. Since I have tried making these baked goodies they are always a hit with the boys. Now, no fruit goes to waste in my kitchen - almost.

I also discovered a good recipe from Sunny Anderson a couple of months back, you can even add your desired healthy ingredients. I'm not a big fan of blueberries ( I like to eat them fresh) in a baked recipe so I omitted it from the original list of ingredients. In the picture shown, I used strawberries, zucchini,carrots, bananas and walnuts. And I'm calling it my "almost-everything-in-it" muffins. Its moist,filling and I must say the healthiest I've made so far.

These muffins will still taste better even after days in your fridge. So for people on the go, you can just pop it in the microwave oven and viola! you can have something wholesome and enjoy it without getting your hands messy.I think muffins also are good when your watching your weight since you have portion control. Making these cupcakes/muffins is the most effective way to encourage my child eating his fruits and veggies even at breakfast without the fuss.

Here's also a collection of cupcakes/muffins I've made in the past:

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Late Dessert

Its probably ages since I last made Brazo de Mercedes. The recipe came from my home economics class in high school. My mom was ever so proud that I decided to make it for her birthday when I was yet in college.

Yesterday, I decided to make the dessert again. Thammee and I celebrated our 3rd year, I made his favorite crispy pata and he bought champagne for us to enjoy. But on the 23rd I did not make any dessert to go with our special homemade dinner because I was not very confident that I would be able to make it on time. And besides serving an 8lb. chunk of meat, I knew that there will be no more room for dessert. I told him that we will just have our sweet treat anytime this week.

I made instant pasta - (my definition of cooked pasta with bottled sauce) for dinner, and it can be done in less than 30mins. including the cooking time of the frozen garlic bread. I needed something challenging so I whipped up the Brazo. The recipe was sitting in my "UNTESTED" recipe folder for more than a year now, but its not the same old recipe from home economics class anymore.

The results did not exceed my expectations - presentation wise but the taste was really exquisite. Thammee's reviews agreed with mine. And now the recipe can finally move to my "tried and tested" folder.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

My Top Movi(e)ng Quotes

Ever since I became a mom, my trip to the theaters to watch movies on the big screen lessened. But I still watch movies at home most of the time. My hubby is a movie buff so I'm always updated with what is playing currently.

One of the wonderful perks my family have enjoyed here in the US is being able to watch movies for FREE. Yes, because their public library provides these resources. They have DVD copies of movies that's available to the public. My hubby enjoys this privilege as much as I do. And with today's economy its the most PRACTICAL form of entertainment especially for people like us who loves watching movies.

Most of the movies I watch are new on DVD. But recently I started borrowing old movies, these are some of the movies I enjoyed so much back in college. One of my favorite genres is Romantic Comedy. And lately I have watched Sabrina and The Bachelor as if it was my first time. These movies made me hark back to my early days when I was single and enthusiastically awaiting for "the One". But one of things immediately came to mind was the my previous wondering "When would be that day come when I would fall in love as if nothing else mattered?".  Thinking about that now, it makes me feel satisfied knowing that I was certain of the things my heart desired. But I just feel bountied knowing I got what I wanted. 

Its not hard to figure out why people like me are into Love Stories. We want to have the same love story that we saw or we can just simply relate to it.  And here is a collection of quotes that moved me in the most exceptional way. 

Once upon a time, on the north shore of Long Island, not far from New York, there was a very, very large mansion, almost a castle. And on this very large estate lived a small girl. And life was pleasant there and very, very simple. But, then one day, the girl grew up and went beyond the walls of the grounds and found the world. 

It's a wonderful thing, 
as time goes by, 
to be with someone who looks into your face, 
when you've gotten old,
and still sees what you think you look like.
~The Bachelor

Destiny is something we've invented 
because we can't stand the fact that 
everything that happens is accidental.
~Sleepless in Seattle

Don't forget. I'm just 
a girl standing in front of a boy...
asking him to love her.
~ Notting Hill

The best love is the kind 
that awakens the soul 
and makes us reach for more;
that plants a fire in our hearts 
and brings peace to our minds .... 
That's what you've given me 
and that's what I hope to give to you forever.
~ The Notebook

Destiny is the bridge you build to the one you love
~My Sassy Girl

Monday, March 16, 2009


On our recent trip to San Fransisco, we stayed at the Hyatt near the Fisherman's Wharf. The trip was one of the most unforgettable experiences I will ever have in my life. But aside from the key chain that Thammee gave me, I kept the tube of Portico Spa lotion that our hotel rationed us. The scent was just so incredible that I decided to take it with me. It reminded me of a Jessica McClintock perfume, which is a favorite of my Aunt.

Just this week I asked Thammee to buy it for me online. He was reluctant to agree to my wish since he found the scent unsuitable for me. But I reminded him of the night he complemented how fragrant my hands were, then he agreed. "One of these days!" I giggled with delight.

Portico Spa is exclusively sold online - . I just love thier White Ginger scent. I am hoping to try thier other products. But thier body lotion is definitely on my wish list.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Making it Sinful

I was just reunited with a college friend thru the worldwide web. Ahhh.. the power of technology. Since I am online most of the time, we always have short chats every week. On our latest chat, she mentioned that she was making brownies from scratch for a bake sale. And in that instant I was nostalgic of the scent of freshly baked brownies from my oven. That thought alone lead to another baking session in my kitchen.

I once remember a stall in SM who sold brownies that were so divine that each time I go there I always buy from them. I cant remember the name anymore but all I can say is that thier brownies were the best I've ever tasted.

Who can resist brownies anyway, especially when its a healthier version? Yes, I make my brownies healthier. I use healthier ingredients like purple puree - mixture of blueberries and spinach, whole wheat and wheat germ. I didnt believe it at first that it would make a very delectable brownie but you have to make it to believe. I got the recipe from The Sneaky Chef Book. But this time I made it sinful by making it "Rocky Road" style, just added marshamallow, nuts and extra choco chips and viola! It definitely took care of my craving.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Something Fishy

Since I got here in the US, I never failed to have a craving for fish. You rarely can get it fresh in this part of the East Coast. And as far as I can remember fish was always fresh from where I came from. The variety of seafood are so many that each time I think of it I often ask myself when the day would come I can enjoy it again.
But anyway, its now lent so I make sure that we observe the No-Meat Fridays. And having little options I decided to make my mom's fish ball recipe. I did not exactly follow what she told me to do but somehow I think it didn't turn out bad.
Tilapia was my only choice of fish since the taste is already familiar and its the only practical kind I can get here. When I was making this I remembered a poached fish recipe. Curious enough I looked it up in the dictionary what poached meant, its "to cook in a boiling or simmering liquid". Another cooking term discovered, and another way of making food sound fancy.
My hope now just like always after every food experiment I have is that Thammee will enjoy it.(its his lunch for today). As for the rest of the fish ball, its frozen for my future recipe - meatless pancit.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Learning the Hard Way..

"Make a back-up"... this is one I learned the hard way when I realized that my freebie account was just recently deleted. My email linked to a Friendster account and 2 websites ( which contained my new mommy & baby journals of my son) was totally gone forever and cannot be retrieved in any means. I was always aware of the fact that it will not be mine forever but I was always procrastinating on finding time to make a back-up.

For a sentimental person like me it is hard to accept that I lost all those journal entries of my 2 websites. Eventhough it was not updated most of the time, those entries were written memories that I treasured so much. When my sister asked me, " so you lost the pictures, no back-ups"? I felt stupid for letting this happened to me. Yes, the pictures are there but no entries and that simply makes me sad.

But then life goes on, and you learn your lesson. Now I am officially back, back from my supposedly-one-and-only blog/website since I arrived here in the US. I guess this the first official entry to my "Life Lessons to ME" label.

Lesson #1 Make Back Up - for everything!