Christmas Eve 2008

27 December 2008

Hi guys! It's been a long time since my last entry. Busy, busy with family activities this holiday season. Here in the Philippines, the government announced an 11 day vacation for everybody. No work from Dec.25- Jan 2. All families are taking advantage of the gift of time given. To bond and to simply enjoy a stress free and pressure free week.
Since we celebrate Christmas on my side every 25th of the month. I asked my sister Ella to join us on Christmas Eve. It looked easy to prepare Noche Buena good for 4 people. Guess again! it's not. Especially, when I still wanted everything to be extra special even if there's just the 4 of us. My sister helped me cook our Christmas grub for 2008.

Later on, we had gift giving. Over-all my husband & I were the only ones who had an exchange of gifts. The rest, are for Ella and Franky. I got my hubby a 320 GB storage disk. He keeps on forgetting to buy one for himself, and he needs it badly. So, I thought I'll make sure that he gets it this time. The moment he received it, he unwrapped and started transferring files from his computer.

By the way, here's our Christmas table:

I prepared--- Baked Macaroni, Grilled Liempo, Dory Fish Fillet, Chopsuey, Keso De Bola, Fruit Salad. As I was preparing, a bad cold hit me. I was still thinking of buying flowers and cake but, I wasn't feeling very well. So, I missed those this year.

Anyway, it was a blast for the family. Being together with our loved ones is already a gift, a blessing. We're very thankful for the food we shared and gifts we received.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

In Celebration Of The True Meaning Of Christmas

24 December 2008

The Birth of Christ Our Lord and Saviour

The Filipino Version of The Holy Family

Setting up The Holy Family every Christmas' been part of the family's holiday tradition, commemorating the birth of Christ. My family inTaytay had let go of the Christmas Tree and replaced it with The Holy Family as the center for the holiday season. I am blessed to have given a set of Belen ( Holy Family from my in-laws) for my very own home.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."
John 3:16-17source

The true meaning of Christmas is the celebration of this incredible act of love.

Happy Holidays Everybody!
I Wish You All The Blessings for the next Holiday Seasons to come...
Have A Meaningful One...
Big, Warm Hugs!

Chocolate Lover

22 December 2008

I'm back in making chocolate candies and other chocolate goodies this Christmas. It's an easy procedure. All you'll be needing is a double broiler, basic spatulas and chocolates!

Double Broiler--- Pots stacked together with water in the bottom one heating the top pot. Preventing scorching and separating. Ideal for melting chocolate or perfecting sauces.
I had to go to Chocolate Lovers---a famous place that povides the basics and extras for baking and making pastries. I started making chocolate candies when I was in college. From chocolate lollipops, chocolates stuffed with the finest, imported nuts and plain chocolate candies of different molds. It replaced the usual Kutsinta (a native Filipino dessert) that we used to give away every Christmas.
I prefer using Dark or Bitter Chocolate Bars. Of course White Chocolates are also included. It's our xmas giveaway for close family and friends. This year, I used walnuts, rice crispies, combination of white and dark chocolates as the main highlights.
I had to finish everything yesterday. Today, while making this entry, I'm also waiting for my ride to attend a whole day affair. Tomorrow, I need to pass some papers for my bro-in-law before Christmas. Next thing I'll know, I need to prepare for our Noche Buena already. How time flies by so fast.
2 months ago I was just planning about the holidays. And now, in 2 weeks it will end already. Anyway, here are some of my finished product. It was very tiring rushing my chocolates, but fun. My kitchen is a one whole inspirational room inside my home.

Merry Christmas Everyone!
Big, Warm, Hugs!

What's Cookin'---Salmon Salad

16 December 2008

Salmon (particularly the Pink Salmon) has been part of my food shopping list. It is the smallest and most abundant of the Pacific Salmons.This fish doesn't require so much to improve its taste. Naturally, it is rich in flavor. This is a borrowed recipe from a Travel magazine I read over the weekend.
The original recipe has the ff:
6 tbsp olive oil
salmon fillet
2 tbsp garbanzos
2 mid sized tomatoes (chopped)
2 tbsp pitless black olives (sliced)
1 tbsp choppedparsley
2 tbsp fresh orange juice
1tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. capers
1 tsp.grated orange peel
1 tsp. grated lemon peel
2 tbsp chopped basil

How to:
Stir fry salmon fillet in olive oil with the rest of the ingredients except the chopped basil.
When fish is cooked, set in a platter, top with chopped basil.

My What's Cookin' recipes are all based on the available ingredients I have in my pantry, freezer and crisper. I choose the best substitute to the ones that I don't have. And yes, there are also times when I had to go out to buy, just in case I come up with nothing from my own kitchen drawers.
My version:
2 slices of Pink Salmon
2 mid sized red tomatoes (as followed)
3 calamansi (instead of lemon)
fresh basils ( as followed)
romaine lettuce
2 tbsp orange juice (not fresh)
6 pcs. baby corn (chopped)
3 tbsp olive oil
note: I did fillet the salmon myself. It's easy. The bony part is at the skin and fin area. Just chop those off. And cut the fish into small cubes. Why calamansi if you might ask. It serves the very same purpose of a lemon. To eliminate the "lansa". The orange juice will add more flavor. Romaine lettuce to give something extra. As you can see, I don't have most of the ingredients from the original recipe. The lettuce will cover everything.

My How to:
1.Stir fry all ingredients with the salmon fillet in olive oil except for the chopped basil and lettuce.
2.In a salad platter, mix the lettuce and basil together.
3.Once the fish is cooked, mix it all with the greens.
This is a very healthy dish. You can also eat it with rice or any form of carbs/ and protein you want. With this salad alone, its already quite heavy. You can also add walnuts, almonds, fresh mushrooms. Anything that your heart desires. If you don't have salmon, any fish fillet will do.

Happy Eating!
& Watch out for a Chocolate entry! I'm back in making chocolate candies for xmas!

9 Days Before Christmas!
Big Hugs!

The Personal Promise Bible For Mothers

15 December 2008

My Mother gave me a mother's bible today... She was hoping to give it to me on Christmas as a bonus gift, but I saw it already.

"May They Be The One Help Put A Bible In Every Home"
They: that's us ladies!
It contains personal affirmations, meditations, and Bible readings as well as stories of Great Mothers from the Bible and their prayers to uplift the mother in us. It's a small book that can be brought anywhere. I don't know where my mom bought it or got it from, but on my part, I'll be sharing those inspirations from the book, to the moms, wives, & to the rest of the women online. It is very important that we look up to something when we feel lonesome, or we just can't absorb, and understand  certain circumstances.
These kind of affirmations are next to consulting a friend, your husband, or anybody (who might not be around to keep you company). Just recently, I have been thinking of buying a new reading. This handbook came just in time. It was made for daily reflection. A book you will surely open each day.
How to use This Personal Promise Bible:
*Take a verse and memorize it. God's truth in you can then open your eyes to His great love for you. To get truth to an even deeper, life-changing level, take that verse and think on it all day. Ask yourself, "How does this truth affect my life today?"

* Next, make these promises personal and pray these promises to Him. Not only He'll transform you, He will empower you to become a spiritual encouragement in the lives of your children and many others.
Passage of the Day:
A Mother's Heart Reflects God's---Caring
"You are my hiding place; You will preserve me from trouble; You will surround me with songs of deliverance."
-Psalm 32:7-

The Master's Bedroom

11 December 2008

To be the most private, the coziest and relaxing location for every individual.
I made this realization early today while all snuggled up with my husband, talking on some sweet nothingness this holiday season had brought us and still, is bringing us. It felt so good. Really... The softness of the bed and the fluffly feel of the comforter added to the wonderful, luxurious moment.
One goal in my list by the time I get married is to create a clutter-free bedroom. I grew up in a house where you can see stuff all over. (Just imagine7 of us living together, of different personalities and interests---4 of my siblings and my parents.) So, I was persistently eyeing on a different environment for my own family. Our bedroom carries only the basics. A Queen sized bed, sidetables, lamps for each, a fan (which is very common in the Philippines), AC, my dresser, franky's detachable closet, TV and a player (a surround sound is a must btw), pictures of the family and a crucifix.
My husband and I agreed to put the rest of the electronics (like the computer, the playstation and the stereo) outside or in the other room. We believe that those things will only contradict the whole purpose of making our bedroom as the family's main sacntuary---stress reliever. I can even call it as our meditation, alone time area.
There are moments, when my husband's at work, my son's sleeping, while lying down, I would think of things, random thoughts that helps me refresh my memory. And sometimes it makes me create instant realizations about life, reality itself, more ideas, events, financial, even politics. But the most important factors it brings us, is the inner peace. And the spiritual guidance, giving us all the time to pray in silence. So, what do you think of your bedroom?
Four walls, three words, 3 lives, one heart
13 days before Christmas!
Big Hugs!

What's Cookin'---Picadillo

08 December 2008

Picadillo is a dish mainly consisting of ground beef (sometimes shredded beef or chicken) typically found in Cuba, Mexico, and other Latin American countries. In Mexico it is sometimes used as a filling, such as for tacos, and can be mixed with vegetables. It can also be prepared as a type of stew. In most other Latin American countries it consists of a common table from where people pick small beef pieces or other food such as french fries. The name comes from the Spanish word, "picar" which means "to chop". Picadillo is a traditional dish in many Latin American countries; it's made with ground meat, tomatoes, and regional ingredients. The Cuban version includes olives and on occasion capers, omits chili powder, and is usually served with black beans and rice. The classic recipe uses ground meat, boiled and cubed potatoes, raisins, slivered almonds, diced olives, allspice, salt, pepper, chopped serrano or jalapeno pepper, and sometimes a little chili powder. This is all slowly simmered and served with hot flour tortillas.
Here in the Philippines we eat it with rice. There are so many ways to make this recipe your own. Picadillo is also good stuffed in any large bell pepper of your choice, topped with cheese (let the microwave do it's thing for 3-5 mins).
This particular dish is one of my favorites prepared by my grandmother. My mother-in-law has her version of Picadillo too (which is in Oyster sauce). Now, I gathered the available ingredients from my pantry and crisper.
What You Will Need:
4 pcs. medium potatoes (cut into cubes)
1 red bell pepper (sliced about an inch long and half inch thick)
4 cloves of garlic (minced)
1 medium onion (chopped)
1 K Lean ground Pork or ground sirloin
2 tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp raisins
1C water
Sauces: You can choose from any of these:
I used this Ragu Old Fashioned Spaghetti sauce.
Tomato Sauce:
1 (227 g pouch plain tomato sauce)
1 (250g Filiino Style tomato sauce)
If you have this same dilemma as mine...
a 1/2 C of any tomato based sauce of your choice will do.
Fresh Tomatoes: Of couse this is the best option. 5 ripe (red) medium sized tomtotoes (sliced)
Oyster Sauce: 2 tbsp.
Note: sauce measurement good for 1K of ground meat

How To:

Saute garlic in olive oil until medium brown
Add the onions and diced potatoes
Add ground meat simmer for a few seconds
Mix it all together
Add water
Simmer for 7 mins or until potatoes and meat are cooked
Add the tomato sauce
note: for fresh tomatoes, just saute it with the onions and continue with the How To

Simmer for another 4mins
Add the bell pepper & raisins
Add water if necessary
Salt and pepper to taste

note: you can also add a little sugar to balance the taste.

Enjoy! and have a Delicious week!
Big Hugs!

My Sunshine To A Beautiful & Meaningful Life

I am truly blessed to become a Mom...This was a stolen shot by my husband. I was playing with my son then...Snuggled in each other's arms.

I'm so glad that God gave me a son like you.
I'm so proud to have you as a son.
I'm so grateful that I have you as a son.
I see a little more of me in you with each passing year.
You grow wiser with each passing year.
You'll always be my little boy.
My Big Hugs To You!

The Night When Heaven Smiled Down At Us

03 December 2008

This was a rare formation of the planets Jupiter and Venus with the moon. A couple of weeks ago I heard from the news about this, and I thought I missed it entirely the whole time. This was after the Meteor Shower in Western Canada (Nov. 20 '08).
Lucky me, I was able to see a rare event last Monday. As we were driving along Marcos Hi-way, Marikina City. We noticed the moon and some stars (which were Jupiter & Venus) aligned in the most fascinating way. In a form of a Smiling face.

Read more of this Xtraordinary event:
The orbits of the two bright planets appeared closest in the night sky Sunday (Monday here), an event known as a planetary conjunction. While they appeared to be just two degrees apart on Sunday, the close formation is misleading: the two planets are actually about 800 million km apart.
The same two planets appeared to meet in our sky earlier this year on the morning of Feb. 1, but planetary conjunctions visible from Earth are normally relatively rare events.
The next visible conjunctions between Venus and Jupiter will be in May 2011 in the morning and March 2012 in the evening, but neither will be as close as Sunday's.
Their appearance close together Monday will also be unique because of the position of the moon. For those in the Southern Hemisphere, that meant they saw the two planets above the moon, forming a smiley face in the sky about 20 to 30 minutes after sunset.

The wonders of God's creation...

Inspirations On Staying Healthy

02 December 2008

The season to be jolly is just around the corner. It is going to be full with days of non-stop eating and drinking. Let these positive thoughts help us stay fit and still enjoy the yummylicious feasts that the holidays will give us and for our everyday inspiration to a healthy living.

My body is a reflection of my thoughts and feelings. I think about my body in positive ways.

I recognize the whispers of my body. I act upon them before they become shouts.

I am committed to making healthy choices. I deserve to feel good.

Everything I eat contributes to my health and well-being.

If I'm Getting Into Photography?

29 November 2008

After I introduced the Canon Eos 1000D, people had been asking if I am getting into photography or is it my new passion. I'll be honest, I wanted a DSLR because I want to take "better" pictures.  My only mistake is that, I bought a new digicam early this year without doing any research or reviews on the available options. Early today, my parents visited us, I showed them some of the pictures I took from the 1000D. My dad asked me: "so did you study about photography?"
My answer: I am still in the process of learning and studying the camera, and yes, I am opening myself in loving photography. I am willing to learn. It would be a waste if I will limit the soul purpose of the camera, especially when the package includes a 3 day Photography Lessons with Canon. But... I "might not" get into it 100%, my life is at home,  most of my joys are with my family. The pictures that I will be able to share are with my loved ones.

Right now, I am just concentrated with what my Eos has to offer. I had some pics assessed by a friend who is very much into photography as a hobby and his dad professionally.

Assessment: The camera per se is really good. The features has the basic and professional combined. My shots are okay for a first timer. All I have to do is to study the gadget, angles and maybe think on what kind of photos my heart & mind desires the most.With regards to the type of photo, it's too early to tell. I want to experience everything first. Landscapes, portraits, art, everything! Part of it, is studying the different types of lenses that are "essential". So far, I am very satisfied and happy, that now, I am able to get better pictures of my family. (which was my main goal) It's such a fulfillment reaching a certain goal. All I had to do is to learn to wait. With the holidays' just less than a month away, oh boy, am I very excited to take more pictures.
I hope this entry will answer the question : Are you getting into photography?

What's Cookin'--- Tanigue Friday

28 November 2008

It's an easy dish for today ladies. All you will be needing is your favorite fish, olive oil, salt and pepper, and herbs of your choice. Part of my mommyism is to serve white meat every friday or as much as possible, most of the time. Last week, I came up with my version of chicken cream.
It's been a busy week for the family. After my birthday, I didn't have the time to do serious blogging at all. And today,I made an easy meal for lunch.

Pan fried Tanigue
Fresh Salad & Rice
Nothing much. But it's healthy and my boys loved it.

Season your fish with olive oil on both sides, a tip -spoon of salt and pepper. Add a pinch of dried rosemary and thyme (my choices) on both sides of the fish. The taste will vary on the amount of herbs. Fresh herbs are always best in every meal.

No oil is needed in the frying pan. Heat up the pan. The olive oil will do the work and the fish will secrete it's own oil. Fry on low fire. Salmon, Tuna, Blue Marlin are perfect.
Have a healthy Friday everyone!
Big Hugs!
And oh, finally, I was able to learn how to make a watermark for my pictures. Happy!

Look Who's 30 And Still Looking Fabulous

26 November 2008

Here's my Birthday Roundup guys! This was one of my best birthdays ever. It's been a day full of surprises. Just a few weeks back my husband gave me the go signal to purchase a new camera. Which was the best news I received this year. But...I have to wait til December or longer than that to be able to purchase it. I agreed with all my heart as long as he already said yes.
Last sunday, I accompanied my Dad to Sm Megamall. Since the shop he went to was beside Canon, I asked him to take a look at the camera I wanted. Tuesday, yesterday, My Birthday! My husband took me to Canon and we purchased our precious camera.
But without me, wishing for it, we wouldn't have had the intention of buying. Well, Canon Eos 1000D will answer our every need. It was built for those who are in transition from point and shoot to a more advanced one.  It has a well-set package. The features? Just right! Nothing much, nothing less.

My husband took a day-off, had lunch at Almon Marina. While waiting, we played with our new toy and took pictures.

Had an awesome meal of Stuffed Porkchop, Pasta and Burger

May I also include that early yesterday, my husband surprised me with these cool bags. I asked where he purchased it. He said: "I bought it online". I was really happy and touched by this loving gesture. I can't imagine him shopping for bags, without asking for any help at least from a friend or family.Late in the afternoon, we had some Tea at Bubble tea. I had Jasmine. Milk tea for Him. Jasmine is my favorite tea. (Aside from the fact that it smells so good) I had to try it cold, and I love it! We had dinner at Terriyaki Boy in Galleria and decided to go grocery shopping at SM Tiendesitas before heading home.

I am very thankful that I was able to celebrate my 30th birthday with a blast. Thanks for the greetings everyone. Right now, I am still having some hang-over. I need to study and practice my new buddy and update my blogs at the same time. Which is kinda making me lazy...doing both.

What's Cookin'--- Chicken Cream

21 November 2008

Let me share my version of Chicken Cream

What you will be needing:

2 chicken breasts (adobo cut or chopped into desired size)
5 garlic cloves (minced)
1 medium onion (chopped)
6 celery stalks (chopped)

Celery leaves chopped
4 potatoes (cut into quarters)
1 red bell pepper (cut into quarters)
1 Cup full cream milk (this is a powdered milk & water mixture)
salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup water
2 green chilis
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil (or any oil)

note: milk and water measurement are based on liquid measuring cup

How to:

Saute garlic with olive oil until golden brown. Add onions.
Add chicken breast
Add 1/2 cup water (add enough water if needed)
Simmer until chicken is half cooked
Add potatoes
Simmer until potatoes and chicken are cooked
Add milk
Simmer until the milk is a bit thickened
Add the celery
Salt & pepper to taste
Add red bell pepper

Top with Green Chili
Simmer for a minute
Ready to serve

note: you can slice the chili a bit to add a little spice.
Servings: 3-4
There's a big difference between simmering and boiling.
Simmering is below boiling point. Food that is simmered in milk or cream instead of water is referred to as creamed. (wiki)
Reduction is performed by boiling liquid (whether stock, wine, whiskey, vinegar, or sauce mixture) rapidly until the volume desired is reached by evaporation.
Big Hugs!

Becoming an Inspiration

Yesterday, was a pretty bad day for me. I was down with colds and at the same time, I needed to purchase some supplies for our house and tried to keep my son busy with some stuff so he won't get that close to me (I don't want him to catch my colds). Getting sick gave me a lot of advantages in a sense that I didn't do any house work for the day, I surfed and surfed the net, which eventually, gave me the strength to visit my blogger friends.
One thing officially made my day, was a YM chat with my classmate from Montessori. She's one of the nicest people who welcomed me when I transferred from Assumption. I won't mention her name...
Our chat started with a question, if I worked before I became a housewife.
 My answer: I was literally a full-time housewife. I didn't enter any work of any kind.
All she said was...your blogs inspire me... In a way, you changed my perspective in life.
I'll be honest, I told myself that I will not blog about it. But her story inspired me more, that's why I am here sharing it to you. Girl, you are one of the few who touched my heart. Now I know why I'm blogging.

 The soul purpose of my online journal is to be able to release the sweets and spices my life is made of. I am not a writer. I am just your typical girl next door. I don't ask so much in life. And I love discovering things, helping people, and now inspiring them.
Nowadays, being a housewife has become a privilege. A position that requires so much! (emotional, physical, psychological and spiritual) and you don't get paid for all the work you do everyday, 24/7.

Now, how can a person survive this kind of situation? It's the reason/s why you are at home. The chores doesn't really matter. It's all 4 aspects, (emotional, physical, psychological and spiritual).

These are the things you will not only give yourself, but to your family too. To provide some love and care, support to your husband, keeping an over-all healthy relationship with your famiy and developing your child/ children into a God- fearing and loving person.. My statements are all based on my experience for 4 years and inspirations from my mom, full time, for 33 years.
Finding the right partner in life is a big factor too. I wanted to work. But I saw the deeper meaning of looking after my family full- time, and my other half couldn't agree more.
My stories comes naturally. I am also the same in person. Me online, are for the people I couldn't reach physically.

My blogging life started June 2007. Due to some turn of events, I removed my first site, created a new blog on Multiply "One Woman's Tale", and now, another one from Blogger "Sweet Nothings". I couldn't go for a more serious title because my family has a very pleasant personality. My husband alone can make the funniest jokes and pranks with a snap. One Woman's Tale is filled with my personal stuff. That's where my friend got inspired... There are stories in between that my readers outside my friend circle doesn't know. I hope you'll understand.
Here in Sweet Nothings, I share the other part of me. The Nothingness, that makes my own and my family's day extraordinary. It's nice to share to everyone the small things that can spice up life that not all can appreciate and see. I hope this site will also inspire people to look at the smallest things and moments as blessings to a happier disposition.

A Busy Evening Cleaning My Havaianas

19 November 2008

As I was fixing our shoe cabinet when I found these 3. It's been awhile since I wore them. I recently bought a nice slipper from SM department and it's been catering to me since. I stopped buying Havaianas because I noticed, with these, I can't already figure out which one to wear. Anyway, I still need to take care of my little ones.

All black from dust and all kinds of dirt.

All good to go.
To clean, I used an old dishwashing scrub. The old ones are already soft and safe to scrub over the rubber. A drop of an all- around cleaner on each flop did the job. A little woosh- woosh here and a srub there, it's good as new. My clean Havs inspired me to use them again. Now, all I need is a reason to go out....Hmmm...
Big Hugs!

On My Successful 1st Month on Blogger---edited

18 November 2008

I have to say that I am very proud of myself. I was able to keep this site for a month. This was my third attempt. I am very thankful that I was very successful. Not only that, I was able to meet some people of same interests and became knowledgeable of the important things that I am not yet familiar or even aware of when it comes to blogging. It is now a part of my life.

A part? because I know at a certain point in this lifetime, I was able to share my story and was able to inspire somebody else. Who? I don't know... maybe it's you. I thank my other half who gave me this laptop. He is very supportive with the things that I am very passionate about.
Thank God for Family and for the chance given to me to become a mom and to have my own home to nurture.

I guess being true to everybody made Sweet Nothings go all the way with flying colors. Everytime I visit a site, I leave a message, sincere messages I want the person to know that I dropped by and that I enjoyed reading his/her stories. The messages you leave in mine, are very much appreciated. Through that, I was able to discover your lovely sites too. For a time, I thought that I will never meet the standards or create a readership for both One Woman's Tale and Sweet Nothings.
All I needed to do was to wait, be real and not be such a try hard.
Like a break in the clouds and the first ray of sun
I can feel it inside something new has begun
This life this love what sweetness
I feel so mysterious yet so incredible real
It's an uncharted sea it's an unopend door
But you got to reach out and you gotta explore
Even though you're not sure, till the moment arrives.
-First Time-
I now give my BIG THANKS to you...
Keep your stories comin'!
Big Hugs!

And Then There Were 5...

17 November 2008

Family is my no.1 in my list of priority in life. I can live without anything else but not without them... I cancelled several attempts to work abroad before I got married, just to save myself from being homesick. I'm glad I made the right desicion. Last Saturday, we visited my parents' home and after a month, the clan got together again. It's the busy time of the year for everyone. I'm glad we're back together. We shared a lot of stories, funny ones, serious and some recent scary stories, that my sister's friends experienced in our old house.

It is one of the famous haunted houses in our area...We're used to it. Before, my mom would see a lady in black going down our staircase, and people from outside would see a white lady going in and out and later they'll find out that nobody was home. For the past 20 years, nothing bad happened to our family. Everyone was very successful, so I guess there's nothing really to fear. The family's aura helped create a pleasant atmosphere even with these elements around.

One of those pleasant-ness is having a fun night bonding with my siblings. We just sit at the dining area, eat dinner together and talk on each other's life. Note: Everything was meant to happen. One by one, the 5 of us sat down. Just the 5 of us. Usually, our parents, pamangkins or our husband and wife would join us. That night was given for the 5 of us...

Meet the Lara kids (L-R) NiƱo, Moi, Ella, Les, Ver

We asked our mom to take a picture of this one of a kind moment. We are looking forward for more of this bonding time as we grow old. I thank God to have given us a big family. A family who will always be there through thick & thin, happy & sad, scary or not. He!he!he!
Bonding with my siblings and my family is a very important "part" in my life. I feel so incomplete if I miss one family event. The support system is very solid. When I talk about family, that includes the people from both sides, my husband's and mine. Our families goes well together... I will say it again...
I can live without anything else, but not without them...

Suddenly, I have 402 friends

16 November 2008

What's happening to Friendster? When I logged-in just now, I found my contacts, boomed from 268 to 402. And I don't know these people. Am I a victim of hacking? I tried deleting and keep on refreshing the page. My gosh! they're still there. I was thinking of deleting my account. Since most of the time, get in touch with my friends through my other networks. But... it's been up way back in 2003, it's worth keeping. It is where I first got in touch with my chums abroad. Friendster people, please do something about it! This happened after your site maintenance this weekend.
To clear things on my part...I use friendster to look for and keep my real friends. I don't just add contacts. For security purposes. (even in my sites) I build a certain rapport first.
Please let me know that I am not the only one who is under this friendster circumstance.

What's Cookin'--- Pork Steak With Basil& Mushroom Sauce

14 November 2008

And let the cooking begin! This is my first recipe to be posted here on Blogger. I thought of CRAVINGS to be my title simply because, most of my recipes are experimented thru the taste I wanted to achieve. I can cook a regular Sinigang, but I make sure I add something to make a distinction saying: "hey! that is my recipe"
Most of my recipes are passed-over by my Mom and Grandmother who rooted all the way from Pampanga. Pure Kapampangan. And they are very famous for their native- cooking expertise.
I also post some recipes from the cookbook. That is, if I was able to get the right result. I am also into gourmet cooking. Fresh herbs are my thing. I keep a bunch of fresh basil in my crisper all the time. For it is the most flexible herb. Gourmet caters to most of my family's occasions.
Sometimes you'll find me cooking late at night trying a recipe or again, experimenting. Like this Pork Steak I will share today. I gathered the ingredients available in my freezer, crisper and pantry. I was stirring 3am in the morning. Boy do I make our neighbors hungry while they're asleep :) Weird for somebody cooking at this time :) I can't help it!

Moving On! I now introduce to you....

Pork Steak with Basil & Mushroom Sauce
What You Will Be Needing:

4 slices of Pork Steak
1 can button mushrooms (fresh is better)
a handful of fresh basil (- the stems) (chopped if desired)
1 red bell pepper (sliced o chopped if desired)
salt & pepper (to taste)
3 tbsp. Oyster Sauce
1 whole garlic (chopped or minced)
2 1/2 tbsp. cornstarch mixed in 1 taza of tap water
2tbsp olive oil (for sauteeing)

How To:
1. Treat Pork with salt and pepper
2.Pan fry until golden brown

note:you can use regular oil for frying.

3. Set aside pork in a serving platter

4. In a sauce pan saute garlic in olive oil until golden brown
5. Add chopped mushrooms
6. Add oyster sauce (medium heat, Keep stirring)
7. Add cornstarch Mixture (low fire)
8. Taste---add salt and pepper if needed
9. If all thick and perfect, add the fresh basil or (you can all top it first on the pork, then the sauce)
10.Top over the pork
11. Add red bell pepper to garnish

Best served with a platter of Fresh garden Salad & Vinaigrette.

Enjoy!Happy Eating!

Big Hugs!

Edited---I will be using What's Cookin' for my ecipes :)

Christmas Thoughts and Shopping-edited

11 November 2008

  Last year was fun. My in-laws watched us open our presents online :) Then they saw the Christmas dinner table. We exchanged greetings and even reminded each other to hear mass on this special day.
Speaking of Christmas and presents, I officially started my Christmas shopping. While looking for a nice Christmas wrapper, I accidentally bumped a rack of this cutie paper bag.

All I can say was "you were meant for me...(wink-wink)" it's cuteness everywhere. My son helped me pick the bags too. It's accidental to have passed at this side of the store. Some people were blocking the main path going to the wrapping section, so I went around. I don't really know what to use it for, I bought a lot thinking, I might use it for future gift giving.

The special ones? I have 2 nieces and a nephew. Looking something for the kids isn't that hard. You'll just have to know their age, their interests and buy something that will be useful for them even after Christmas. One thing I love is giving multiple presents. This is where "smart buying" comes in.

  • It's not necessarily buying something cheap or way too expensive.
  • Every year, a budget should always be allotted. May it be big or small. It will help lower the stress level.
  • And it will take more than a day finding the right present. Even for a person who has tons of cash. Window shopping is my partner in this kind of situation.
My purpose of giving out more than 1 present, is to see them enjoy tear the wrapper with anticipation on what's inside knowing that there's another to open. I saw it with my son. I want every little kid I know or my future children, to experience those simple joys. My theme this year are Disney's Princesses for the girls and Superhero characters (Marvel & DC) for the boys including my son.

Looking at the princesses made me want a girl for my next child :).

With regards to the gifts for the grown-ups, I really spend for them. One gift of value is good. But I'm still thinking... I want to make it individually this year. Last Christmas we gave presents by couple.

Here are samples of my "almost" Xmas Presents. I used metallic. Plain but will make your loved one remember you... Almost? because I'm still thinking if I should tie a ribbon or just buy a ready- made bow & sash. What do you think?

Well, there goes my Christmas thoughts on gift giving. I also plan to prepare some goodie bags for the children for our Christmas party. It will add some more excitement. The laughter of the kids alone, makes Christmas joyous and worth remembering.

HighSchool Musical I'll Miss...

10 November 2008

The girls (yours truly & Ella) had a night of HSM last Saturday. The boys (father & son) had their own too.
Finally I was able to watch it! I went all the way to Robinsons Galleria late that evening just to be able to see this flick... I'm now a fulfilled person. I followed these kids from the very beginning. I enjoyed the first, fell in love with the second, and almost cried with the third.

The movie went well. Now or Never, A Night To Remember and Dance With Me are my favorites.
It's nice that they made the expected finale the beginning. The dance moves? Woooooohhhhhh...The best of all HSM. By the way, Zac Efron is a perfect future superman. Keywords-Tree house. The roof top scene was lovely and sweet.

I love Gabriella's dresses, sexy but nice. Sharpay, still cute. You just can't get mad at her. Chad, happy to see him do basketball and theater together. I particularly like the fact they brought the basketball dance on stage with Chad as lead.

This HSM was the ultimate musical. Every scene had either a song or dance number. I got teary eyed as the camera focused on each character. The kids are growing, they can't do HSM forever.
As what the director said Kenny Ortega: The feeling is like a parent seeing his children go to college. Go to conquer Hollywood.
*I read online that Ashley Tisdale is going to do HSM on Disney Channel. They also introduced some characters for the new HSM series. Matt Prokop, Justin Martin, Jemma McKenzie-Brown