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.