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Archive for the ‘photography’ Category


Locally we call it bangus, it’s  milkfish to you dear readers. It’s considered our national fish. The Philippines is one of the best places to buy fresh bangus. There are a hundred ways to cook bangus. The best part of course would be the belly.  It contains a healthy fat that is good for our health.  We had this for lunch today, three slices of bangus belly. Bear with me, I am practicing on my macro shots on food. I don’t seem to get it right, the focus is not always to my liking. What do you think of this?

Sweet  snd sour Bangus belly. Oh so yummy!

Sweet and sour Bangus belly. Oh so yummy!

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The clouds speak

And the flowers dance in glee.

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It’s not an easy task, gardening I mean. Finally, we’re done trimming the carabao grass which briefly hid the concrete footpath. The  grass seems to grow by leaps and bounds now that the rainy season is here. We have to trim it at least every three weeks.  Even a tiny garden such as ours needs a lot of care and maintenance.

These bamboo cuttings were recycled from our trellis posts at the back of the house.

These bamboo cuttings were recycled from our trellis posts at the back of the house.

Our front garden is all green now except for a few blooms of my Shanghai Beauty plant.

Our front garden is all green now except for a few blooms of my Shanghai Beauty plant.

I also trimmed my gardenia shrub  because it was leaning sideways.  I hope it won’t be completely uprooted  in the next two are three months.

I have plenty of these pink lilies but they are mostly in pots scattered around the garden.

I have plenty of these pink lilies but they are mostly in pots scattered around the garden.

I guess it is time to tackle another area outside our perimeter wall. Who knows, one of these days  I’ll be able to plant some leafy greens to use in the kitchen.

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Good Morning

Have a happy and blessed Thursday everyone!

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Can't get enough so I made two Dragon Scale bracelets last night.

Can’t get enough so I made two Dragon Scale bracelets last night.

A reversible Sailor's Pinstripe bracelet. It was a challenge doing this.

A reversible Sailor’s Pinstripe bracelet. It was a challenge doing this.

 

My kids are really spoiling me. Josef bought more rubber bands in pastel and assorted colors while Nissa gave me this bracelet organizer to display the things I made. I feel like a child given her new set of toys. Some designs are really challenging to make and it is lots of fun to decide on color combinations.

Sorry, this is a bit too short, just to let you all know I am still alive and kicking and   enjoying looming.

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You always get that nice smile on your face once you see a lovely surprise in your garden. I love flowers, they have that allure and beauty that are pure delight to the senses. There was a time when I used to document every lovely bloom in my garden and ambitiously thought of researching their growth patterns, what time of the year they usually show their faces but then being busy with everyday life sometimes keep one from doing just what you want to do. It is more of doing what you need to do.

This morning, I was watering the plants when I saw these lovely blooms growing side by side with my cacti plants. It hasn’t rained in our neck of the woods for quite sometime now although every afternoon, you’ll hear thunder when the sky gets dark. Rain lilies usually grow during the summer months when there is an occasional rain. Rain lilies belong to the hybrid Zephyranthes and this particular variety is called Zepherantes Beni Tama,  a Japanese rain lily hybrid. The small clumps of bright pink, goblet shaped flowers have prominent  yellow stamens at the center. They grow in full sun. I fell in love with these flowers when I saw them at a garden center in a large pot  with pink flowers in almost every tip of the slender leaves.

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Even my Mokara orchids are blooming non-stop. I saw several buds in different branches early this morning.  It makes me remember another quote from Emerson, “Flowers are a proud assertion that a ray of beauty outvalues all the utilities of the world”.  When life seems a  little hard to bear,  a garden is an Eden where peace, delight and peace reign.

Zephyranthes ‘Beni Tama’,
Zephyranthes
Zephyranthes

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The box is labeled 8 and up. So I say I am 8 going 50 plus plus.

Josef bought this for me yesterday from Toys Are Us. We saw it when we had lunch on Mother’s Day and I told him, “I wonder if I could make something like that” and he said, “If an eight-year old can do it, why can’t you?” But then it is so pricey for a DIY starter kit. I had fun sorting the colors last night and starting on my first Rainbow Loom bracelet.

I was pleasantly surprised when he came home with this lovely box and he said it is for me.  Hey, anyone could start another craft which is, I understand, the craze for the last few months. I told him it looks complicated but when I read the manual, one can visit YouTube and take it from there.  We spent the night sorting the different colors included in the kit and attempted my first fishtail bracelet using the enclosed shorter hook.  A perfect stress buster if you ask me.

The starter kit is priced at P987.75

The starter kit is priced at P987.75

Rainbow Loom was created by Cheong Choon Ng, a Malaysian immigrant of Chinese descent who came to the United States in 1991.

Rainbow Loom was created by Cheong Choon Ng, a Malaysian immigrant of Chinese descent who came to the United States in 1991.

Always look for the embossed loom and hook. There are so many imitations in the market.

Always look for the embossed loom and hook. There are so many imitations in the market.

Our first projects - two fishtail bracelets and a single band done in one color.

Our first projects – two fishtail bracelets and a single band done in one color.

Try it for size - that's Josef's arm...hahaha!

Try it for size – that’s Josef’s arm…hahaha!

Josef bought an additional plastic pack of rubber bands  in purple color. My daughter is a purple girl – she loves everything purple. I showed her what we did last night and she said she is excited to try to make one.

 

 

 

 

 

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Let us not talk  about whether it is a fruit or a vegetable.  All I know is that fruits grow on trees and vegetables are harvested on the ground just like pumpkin, cucumber and squash. If it is a fruit, it is a healthy and refreshing one but then you’ll wonder if it is also considered a vegetable.

Yesterday, son and I bought a large watermelon at P100/head.  Watermelons are in season now and every summer you could enjoy them  served as desserts, mixed with other veggies as salad, refreshing coolers or if you are enterprising enough you can mix them with jellies or you can make them into ice pops. I love them cold and plainly sliced. They are anti-oxidants and so rich in vitamin C.

water melon

This reminds me of a recipe I tasted last week when some friends and I dined at Crisostomo Restaurant at Ayala Fairview Terraces.  It was my first time to visit this mall and  dine at Crisostomo. All branches serve authentic Filipino recipes and all the recipes are named after some characters in Rizal’s book, Noli Me Tangere and some biblical characters too. Crisostomo must be Crisostomo Ibarra.  One of the recipes we ordered was called Sinigang ni Eba and I was pleasantly surprised that they mixed it sliced watermelons. Oh boy, it was simply delicious. The blend of the tangy tomatoes and tamarind and the sweetness of the watermelons is just out of this world. Even their Laing (taro leaves cooked in coconut cream) was just as yummy. Would love to explore more of their recipes one of these days. Although, it is a bit pricey to dine there, you have lots of menu to choose from. Good ambience, friendly wait staff. They have a branch at Eastwood which is very near our place.

crisostomo

(note: second pic culled from the official website of crisostomo)

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The family  celebrated Mother’s Day today, a day earlier than May 11. We decided to meet at SM Megamall for lunch. Another day worth-remembering. One thing that highlights  the day is of course Nate’s presence. The moment he saw us, he let his dad undo the strap of  his stroller and let Josef carry him along. There is a special affinity between the “magninong” (that’s a Tagalog word for godparent) even if they don’t see each other often.  He can pronounce Nonna clearly now and I was so glad when he took my hand and planted a loud kiss on my face.  Nissa said he learned new words in the three weeks that I haven’t seen him.

We opted to dine at the newly opened wing of SM  Megamall. The Mega Fashion Hall  is the new high-end extension of the mall. It houses several restaurants and other international clothing brands. The set-up is somehow similar to the Ayala Malls. Aside from the more popular Vikings, there is another branch of  Lugang Café where we took our lunch. So it’s Chinese food for lunch. I took some shots but mostly of Nate banging a spoon and fork on the table and playing with the plastic green cup which they provided for him along with a green plastic plate and bowl. I had a good time watching him eat what was served on the table. He loved the Fried Beef Noodles and Fried Rice.

He was behaved...at first but he clearly knows when to stop and say sorry to Mom and Dad.

He was behaved…at first but he clearly knows when to stop and say sorry to Mom and Dad.

Mother and daughter team.

Mother and daughter team.

Three generations of Abuel.

Three generations of Abuel.

Nothing is more important than having the family around.

Nothing is more important than having the family around.

Busog na baby? Our little man!

Busog na baby? Our little man!

That's his way of saying,  "I'm full, it's your turn to eat Dad".

That’s his way of saying, “I’m full, it’s your turn to eat Dad”.

I love the Garlic Pork Roll and Steamed Fish Fillet. No room for dessert...

I love the Garlic Pork Roll and Steamed Fish Fillet. No room for dessert…

He is probably looking forward to going swimming tomorrow  with his Dad’s side of the family. Enjoy Nate  but be careful with the sun. I know how much you love to paddle your feet and splash water with your hands.  Until we see each other again.

(Note: This is my 1,440th post…can’t believe it)

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It’s been a while and I felt quite lazy to sit in front of the computer and blog. This afternoon, I experimented on another dessert recipe culled from the net. I was looking for a simple recipe for chocolate brownies, something easy to do with a minimum of preparation and found this. As usual, I tweaked it a bit adding grated Belgian chocolate truffles on top instead of frosting.  My son was all praise for it and said it taste more like a chocolate cake than a simple brownie mix. I smiled and said, “the one on top makes it so yummy” plus the unsweetened dark chocolate I used.

Yeay, it's so yummy!

Yeay, it’s so yummy!

Look at how it looked when I finished baking it and topping it with truffles.

brownies

Here’s the recipe if you want to try it. You can double the amount of ingredients if you want a thicker slice.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter

1 cup  white sugar (since I used unsweetened chocolate, this is just enough)

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking powder

Frosting:

3 tbsp. butter

3 tbsp. cocoa powder

1 tbsp. honey

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

Procedure:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and flour an 8-square inch baking pan. (I just greased it).

In a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter, remove from heat and stir in sugar,  eggs and 1 tsp. vanilla extract. Beat in 1/3 cup cocoa powder, salt, 1/2 cup flour and baking powder. You don’t need to use a mixer, a spoon will do. Spread batter into prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes.  Garnish with grated chocolate truffles while still hot. Slice into squares when it is cool to the touch.

 

 

 

 

 

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