Posted in baking, family life, food, guilty pleasures, life, recipes, what's cooking?, tagged Apple Pie, baking, family life, kitchen adventures, recipes, the joy of baking, Vanilla Cake on March 10, 2014 |
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“There was a mood of magic and frenzy to the room. Crystalline swirls of sugar and flour still lingered in the air like kite tails. And then there was the smell-the smell of hope, the kind of smell that brought people home.” - Sarah Addison Allen
One thing I love about baking, be it a simple banana bread, moist carrot bars or cookies is the smell that permeates the whole kitchen once you place the baking pan in the oven. I love the combined smell of cooking raisins, nuts, vanilla or cinnamon or whatever ingredient a particular recipe calls for. This afternoon, I baked my second apple pie confident enough to tweak the recipe a bit and experiment on brushing just egg whites on top instead of a beaten egg with the yolk. The top part of the pie may not be as silky as when you use the whole egg but it adds a flaky feel combined with sprinkle of sugar and cinnamon. Whereas before I didn’t even know how to make a dough, it’s now as easy as kneading something for our local steamed bun called “siopao”. I also sliced half and half of Fuji apples for a natural sweet taste and the tart flavor of Granny Smith. It came out good, son said, “it’s yummy”. I laughed when he asked, “did you take pictures?” He knows that I document almost everything that I cook in the kitchen just like I do with my flowering plants when they are in bloom. He cut a slice even before it cooled down. I got three remaining apples, would love to try making apple sauce and use it on my next baking adventure.
Here’s one more that I experimented on a month ago, a simple recipe for vanilla cake. I didn’t put icing because I love the flavor without being too sweet.
I love the quiet, concentrating on the task at hand , the calming effect of kneading, measuring and mixing to make something yummy and scrumptious.
I got a lovely surprise this afternoon when a friend sent me a lovely tin of Fannie May Colonial Assortment chocolates via LBC. Aren’t I lucky? Can’t wait to take a bite. Thank you Ex.
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Posted in books, more books, guilty pleasures, entertainment, reading, Letters From Skye, book review, tagged books, thoughts and ramblings, book review, literature and Fiction, guilty pleasures, Letters From Skye on February 28, 2014 |
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Yay, I didn’t take an afternoon shuteye just to finish Letters from Skye. It took me more than two days (on and off reading) to finish the book. Since it was my first book of Jessica Brockmole, I really didn’t know what to expect, there is nothing to compare it with previous books she has written . What a nice surprise because I enjoyed it. Pen pals, making friends through letters, finding love in an exchange of words and thoughts – you would think it is an old-fashioned way to communicate, right? Compared to the modern way of communicating nowadays, you would even say it is boring but it’s 1912 and 1940 fused together and the historical aspect makes it more poignant because letters are the only means one could get through.
I could not remember reading a book without a dialogue except letters. It is an epistolary novel. It must be hard to write something like it without losing the plot of the story and getting the message across to the reader. Thoughts of Mary Oliver’s writings entered my mind while reading it and I was hoping the author would give examples of what Elspeth Dunn wrote about, she was a poet and poets are dear to my heart. Come to think of it, I was tempted to jot down some quotes as I usually do with other books that I read but I didn’t want to lose the momentum, excited enough on what the answer would be to the last mailed letter. Imagine the thrill and joy of receiving one, the anticipation of knowing that there is something to look forward to. The story is common enough but the way it was told made it a fascinating read. I would not attempt to make a real book review here with the story summarized in chronological order. Find it for yourself if you are also fond of writing and receiving letters. Yes, there are quotes that comes to mind.
“You’re my breath, my light, the one my heart flies towards.”
“A book is like a garden carried in the pocket.”
“… that a letter isn’t always just a letter. Words on page can drench the soul.”
It was worth the two cups of coffee I consumed just so I could finish the book. There is that feeling that reading a love story once in a while is an afternoon delight.
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Posted in 2014, blogging, city gardening, Close to Nature, Closer to God, guilty pleasures, journeys, photography, tagged blog stats, blogging, Close to Nature, Closer to God, flowers and blooms, gardening, photography, thoughts and ramblings on February 17, 2014 |
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My blog stats say I have 250,038 views right this moment. I can’t believe it. I’ve been blogging for a little more than four years now, on and off, when I feel like it and have something to share. The only time I blogged religiously every day was when I took up the 2011 WordPress Post A Day challenge. That was when my stats started to climb. For the last three years, I always get a surprise when one particular blog registers an average of 2,600 views in one day and that is during Mama Mary’s birthday every September 08. I don’t know how it happens but the search engine seems to be busy during Mama Mary’s birthday.
I wonder though which is better, having so many views in any particular day or having a lot of followers. A bit of both probably, I don’t know. I only have 678 followers at the moment (not that I mind so much if they follow me or not). There must be something they like about my blog so they read it. I am glad that some readers come back and read my older posts. Sharing my plight as a cancer patient/survivor has definitely evolved to some sort of an online diary – some experiments in the kitchen, some shots that I love to share, my garden blooms that get the largest share in my SD card, local places I’ve been to the past few years, books I’ve read and reviewed, thoughts and prayers. Imagine having a hodgepodge of topics encapsulated in 1,393 posts.
You ask, “Is it worth it?” My answer is a big “YES, definitely”. Here are some shots I took a few hours ago, they are my February blooms.
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I was just but a kid when the Beatles came into the limelight, taking everyone by storm and with their catchy brand of music that defined the 60′s. If you don’t belong to the age of the “baby boomers” (Wikipedia defines them as those who were born between the years 1946 and 1964) you’re not probably familiar with the names John, Paul, George and Ringo but I doubt it, even my twenty-nine year old son is familiar with their music.
Last night, I was searching for the AM band that I regularly listen to every weekend but I could not find it so I switched to another station and found this sports channel playing, what else, The Beatles. They started on the first appearance of the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show, playing tracks that are now so familiar with most of us. It was in relation to the 50 years celebration of the group since they first set foot in the United States back in 1964. It was a lovely four-hour of listening to several of their well-loved songs, live recordings of their guesting at the show. Come to think of it, they are one of my favorite groups but I don’t have a single CD of their songs, I do have several back copies of Jingle Chordbook magazine though, where they were regularly featured. Maybe, in my entire life, they are the only group whose songs I know so much about, lyrics and all. An artist friend who is a Beatles fan all these years named one of his sons John Paul George (I am not kidding) and his nickname (yeah, you guessed it right) is of course Ringo.
I am looking forward to next Saturday’s feature - their love songs as a group and as individual artists. Of course, it is easier to catch them on YouTube but listening to them while you are relaxing is still the best way of appreciating their music. Don’t you just wish you could own this latest 13 CD Beatles collection? I wish
Got this pic from Photobucket, a picture of John, Paul, George and Ringo.
I do remember watching their first movie A Hard Day’s Night with my nine-year old son two decades ago, a feature in one of the newest television channels back then. You can still catch it on YouTube. As with other groups that have disbanded for good, the Beatles will be remembered for their music.
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These, I think, are lazy blogging days for me. For the past two days, our “normal” weather is back and take that to mean that the cold days and colder nights are gone but PAGASA says, we will still experience the cold weather in a few days but not as temperate and balmy as the days we experienced back in January. In the next two weeks, we’ll be experiencing a high 31 °C and a low 22 °C.
I was again lucky to find another book by Catherine Cookson , my 7th read this year. I was impressed with her writing style in A Dinner Of Herbs that I finished the whole book, all 725 pages of it in four days. I love a bit of history and the 18th century England setting was just perfect. It was quite a surprise that I enjoyed the book immensely and when I looked at Goodreads, most readers marked it five stars. I didn’t even know it was made into a series until I read some reviews so I got to watch a few episodes on YouTube. I know, some would say the book is always better than the movie adaptation but it is nice to recall the story while seeing the characters’ faces onscreen. I wonder when the movie adaptation of The Book Thief will be shown here. Some reviews say it’s emotionally flat and does not show justice to the beautiful book by Marcus Zusak. I believe that every film adaptation on any well-loved book deserves some merits because it is completely different from the pages of the book. I’ve read it twice, by the way and got to appreciate it better the second time around.
Our street is showing a new look. I woke up one morning several days ago and saw every light post decorated with red ribbons and rectangular red cloth crazily dancing in the wind. Oh, they dressed them for the V-day. Who celebrates Valentine’s day now? Florist shops would make a killing again with the costs of a few blooms thrice as much on a regular day. I always smile every time I see someone wear a red shirt on Valentine’s Day. Why do you have to wait for Valentine’s day to show and reinforce that love?
Yes Virginia, there’s a St. Valentine and he is a patron of love, young people and happy marriages.
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Posted in Filipino singers, guilty pleasures, Happiness, inspiration, silence speaks, tagged entertainment, Filipino singers, life, Mark Bautista, music, The Sound of Love concert by Mark Bautista on January 21, 2014 |
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♫♪♫Two drifters off to see the world
There’s such a lot of world to see
We’re after the same rainbow’s end
Waiting ’round the bend
My huckleberry friend, moon river and me♪♪♫
Haha, don’t get me wrong and don’t be deceived by the title of this blog. I am just inspired to write about Sound of Love, a musical concert ( a replay actually) I watched yesterday while ironing. I must admit I seldom watch TV because I am more into listening to the radio and reading when I have time. Yesterday though, I found this PBO channel with Mark Bautista, one of our most talented local singers belting out When I Fall In Love with such a cool and powerful voice that I was mesmerized. I was glued to the TV screen until the end. It was held at the Music Museum on August 10 last year and he said between songs that it was his birthday. There is always something too about seeing a live band accompanying the singer, the music was just so lovely and beautiful. And his voice, wow, it fits to a T all those ballads of old that somehow remind you of dreams, first love and lovely memories. What am I saying? It’s his 10th year in the music world.
I had goose bumps when he sang Moon River. He also sang Bato Sa Buhangin, an old-time favorite. I dream of owning a copy of this CD album and maybe relive the feeling of crying (do you also cry when you’re happy?) and at the same time having that wide smile because I witnessed something so beautiful and so lovely.
Mark Bautista, you rock!
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Posted in AFCC Global Tambayan, Apostles Filipino Catholic Community, blessings, blogging, Closer to God, entertainment, food, friends, friendship, guilty pleasures, journeys, photography, tagged Apostles Filipino Catholic Community, Closer to God, Faith, food, friends, friendship, get-together, guilty pleasures, life, photography on January 14, 2014 |
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Oh, the comfort – the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person – having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but pouring them all right out, just as they are, chaff and grain together; certain that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then with the breath of kindness blow the rest away.”
- Dinah Maria Mulock Craik
I’ve been a lazy bug lately. No, don’t get me wrong. I am just resting my weary body from fatigue. The last few days, I was so busy that I was not able to check my blog and post something. Finally, I found time to sit here for a while and update my blog. When you haven’t been blogging for a week, it seems as if you’re starting all over again.
It’s all worth it though because our little potluck lunch party was a success – lots of food, laughter and sharing. Those precious and priceless moments that only friends can enjoy together, something worth-reminiscing and the thought of it makes me smile. We were joined by two priest friends, Fr. Tacky, a Franciscan and Fr. Boy, a Dominican. Not that it matters that they belong to different congregations because they both studied in Rome and met there. We took lots of pictures of course, what’s a party without those wacky poses and shots that make us laugh. We even have to use a tripod so we could all fit into the frame. There is this picture window at our house that never fails to attract our friends and visitors to have their pictures taken there. Believe me, it has become some sort of trademark for the members of our Catholic community who drop by when they are on vacation.
We had an exchange of gifts just for fun. Imagine the laughter we had when we simultaneously opened them and found things like a roll of tissue paper which Darlene said she will take with her on her trip back to Abu Dhabi, a small bottle of efficascent oil from Reena which Matt got, packs of marshmallows and so many more. What do you think, the gift should only be worth P30 and what can you buy with P30? Reymon, aside from bringing three whole roast chicken gave us individual bags of gifts from Bench.
They were surprised to learn that eating green mango with the skin on is the best way to eat one. I asked Joan to bring me some and when they saw me eating a slice, they all tried it except Matt :) Endless laughter!
We can’t get enough so the party extended on to early dinner with ice cream, Fuji apples and suman na pinipig (the best suman I’ve tasted) for desserts. And they all said, “sa uulitin”. Until next time guys.
One of the best gifts that we could ever have is the gift of friendship.
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||Meat & Seafood
||Quick and Easy
The term teriyaki means shining(teri), broiled or panfried(yaki). Mirin, a sweet fortified rice wine is used. This is one of the recipes that I have collected from our BPI Culinary Club many years ago. It is very simple to make, you can use either pork, beef or chicken.
1/2 kilo pork (lomo)/beef(serloin)/chicken
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup Vino blanco or Anisado wine
1 onion, chopped
8 pcs. garlic – poundDirections:
Mix all ingredients and cook over small fire for about 2-3 minutes.
Let cool, then marinate with the meat/pork/chicken for about 6-24 hours.
Grease pan with little oil, stir fry fast until brown
Serve with bun, loaf bread or rice.
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A single rose can be my garden…a single friend, my world. – Leo Buscaglia
It’s been a while since I participated in the Weekly Photo Challenge. I haven’t even been taking pictures lately. It’s an activity that I truly miss. There are so few blooms now in my garden but I still enjoy the peace and quiet that it brings. Life could be stressful at times and I need to see just one lovely bloom and my day would be complete.
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And since I am still on the topic of blogging, I’d like to properly acknowledge those who have given me some blogging nominations the latest of which were just last week and today. When I started blogging at WordPress, I was not aware of these nominations until I got one from a long-time reader of my blog back in December 2011. The Versatile Blogger Award was my very first nomination. Luckily I was able to make a short write-up on the seven random things about myself and was also able to nominate fifteen bloggers to receive the same. Unfortunately, it stopped there but I always acknowledge those fellow bloggers who recommended me for such.
Then it was followed by these.
My new blog Our Precious Bundle of Joy got the following nomination last March 2013 a few months after I started it.
Since the requirements are basically the same, I am reposting the seven random things about myself but it would probably take longer before I could nominate bloggers I follow and I visit because they are equally good and their blogs are all wonderful and interesting. Please bear with me and thank you so much for including me in your lists.
Seven Random Things About Myself:
1. I am a Filipina who loves to write and dabble in photography.
2. I am a survivor. It’s the real reason why this blog exists because I am sharing my plight as a cancer survivor.
3. I love to eat green mangoes, sliced thinly with the skin on and dipped in fish sauce or sprinkled with salt.
4. I don’t drink milk. Weird isn’t it but my mom said I was breast-fed as a baby.
5. Though I love to write and take photographs, I think I am a gardener at heart. I love to feel the earth in my hands and take shots of all the blooms in our garden.
6. I collect books by Richard Paul Evans, Barbara Taylor Bradford, Robin Cook and Rosamunde Pilcher. It’s an eclectic mix of reading genre.
7. Just like most bloggers, I also dream of being published someday, and share my journey on how to cope with cancer.
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