Archive for May, 2010

I can’t believe that the days really flew so fast.  This month has been another eye-opener for me. It’s not exactly your “I am on top of the world-I am happy” feeling because the month started unexpectedly.  The very first day, I was admitted to the hospital and was confined for five days, undergone kidney bypass due to a stubborn kidney stone that blocked my urinary bladder.  Anyway, all that is left of the harrowing experience is the DJ stent  (a tube) which my urologist inserted and has to be removed in three months.

The summer months are finally fading into oblivion,  the rains are now visible almost every evening,  somehow diffusing the 38 degree centigrade earlier registered in Metro Manila.  It was a hot, hot, merry month of May.  I love the morning sun though, and puttering in the garden in the early morning is so relaxing.  Have I been well, I could have spent summer in a nicer place, I’ve dreamed of visiting Batanes for a long time now, one of the places I wanted to visit before I die (nope, I am not being morbid here, please don’t get me wrong).  It’s just that I am really envious of a close friend of mine who has been there a week ago.  Lovell called me up this evening and he shared his experiences there.  He has been to most places in the Philippines and he said that Batanes is simply the best.  I wish, I wish, I wish I could go there soon.  And soon enough would probably be next year,  something to look forward to, something to dream about, some good reason to stay well and healthy.

A few nights ago, I discovered a blog here which was published into a book. One thousand list of blogs called The Book of Awesome, added it to my blogroll so I can go back to it when I am free.

Another friend dedicated  his blog to me. Wow, I cried reading it.  It is so touching and I am glad that in my own small way, I am touching lives too.  I am chatting with  a friend as I write this, exchanging TBR list and books that we have read, books that touched our lives and books that we  would read again and again.   And  by the way, this month ended my year-long of blogging here.

Goodbye May, hello June!


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Look what I’ve found earlier today, my intro page at my long forgotten Friendster account.

Pictures won’t really show the real YOU but they really make your life a bit colorful. Come visit my other site at Multiply..I’ll show you my garden, my music collections, my everyday thoughts on a lot of things, recipes that I have tried and some favorite videos that I have uploaded.

My address: http://www.arlene1027.multiply.com

Thank you….see you there!

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I simply love this.

I grabbed this cartoon page from one of my friends at Multiply. She is so sweet to make an album of all her friends at the site.

I love the green pants, and of course the plant pot and water sprinkler….it’s nice!

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I always love looking and buying produce at the wet market.  One can find  fresh things there that you rarely and never see in an air-conditioned supermarket.  Seafood  and vegetables come in plenty and everything looks fresh.  Since I have a restricted diet, I always try to find something delicious and healthy and easy on the budget.  I  crave  for this edible fern every time I have the chance to do the marketing.

We simply call it  pako in our native dialect.   These are grown in some remote areas and they are not your regular choices of vegetables in the market because it takes months before they harvest them again (that’s according to the lone vendor who sells it now and then).

What a nice surprise!  Can’t help but buy at least three bundles  for lunch.  There are lots of ways to prepare this edible fern – you could have it fresh as veggie salad mixed with radish, fresh tomatoes and any dressing that you want.  You could have it  cooked in coconut milk  or simply blanched and mixed with grated green mango and onions.  But one sure way of having a really yummy treat is to saute it  in a little oil, add  about 2 grams of ground pork   and top it with two sliced hard-boiled eggs.

Or you can try this other recipe which is as nutritious and delicious as this one.

2 bundles of pako
6 pieces of fresh tomatoes
1 head of onion
a pinch of salt
coarsely ground black pepper
1 cup of small, fried dilis for toppings

Saute the tomatoes with the onion and diced ginger, set aside. Fry small dried dilis, the smallest ones are better, since they are crispy when cooked. Blanch the pako in hot water for a minute or two then put them in cold water to keep its crunchy taste. Top it with the sauteed tomatoes and serve!

And have you ever tried this crunchy and edible seaweed as starter?  This is  perfect for those freshly catched  tilapia or that daing na bangus. One kilo goes for P120.00 and I bought about 400 grams and mixed it with fresh tomatoes,  sliced onions, julienned ginger and a dash of paprika.

We call  this ararosep but some people call it lato. 

There you go, you might find these a little exotic to your taste but they are family favorites – pako and ararosep. You couldn’t go wrong having these on your table.

Bon Appetit!

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My daughter Nissa came home last night too excited to share this – a bag of herbs and spices which she won earlier when she joined the special dancing class in her workout at Golds’ gym At Robinson’s Galleria.  Both of them, my daughter and son are now fitness buff, working out at least thrice or four times a week at the gym.

Along with the seven bottles of different herbs is a small compilation of a cookbook entitled Spices for Health. I was elated and she said “I know you’ll like it Ma”.  But of course!  I’ve been using different herbs and spices since I started learning how to cook.  They are healthier than using sodium and monosodium glutamate.   Herbs add life and taste to any kind of food and one can’t ignore the fact that some of them are antioxidants too.  As I’ve said in my previous blog,  I am on a low purine diet.  Doctor’s orders so it can’t really be ignored.  Go easy on the salt. 

Inside the bag are bottles of Cinnamon, Ginger, Oregano, Cayenne pepper, Rosemary, Thyme and Curry powder.  Wow!  Can’t wait to use these spices soon!

Did you know that Cinnamon vies for the top when it comes  to antioxidant properties along with blueberries and pomegranate juice?   Hmm, I love cinnamon in apple crumble.  Cinnamon is the dried ground bark of Cinnamomum cassia, it’s brown to reddish brown in color.   I remember putting some cinnamon sticks in one corner of the kitchen to keep it smelling fresh and heavenly.

Antioxidants are workhorses in our bodies providing a range of benefits that help boost the immune system.  And some studies show that herbs and spices also have anti-inflammatory properties that help promote good health.

Ginger is a tuber that is consumed whole as a delicacy, medicine, or spice. It is the rhizome of the plant Zingiber officinale. It lends its name to its genus and family (Zingiberaceae).  It has many health benefits and it is one of the most common spices which we can find in the kitchen.  It may help relieve the nausea in chemotherapy for people with cancer.  Don’t you just love Ginger snaps?

Oregano is a member of the mint family and it is also known as “wild marjoram”.  My mom swears by the efficacy of oregano leaves in treating common cough.   Taken fresh,  it’s a bit bitter to the taste.  Because of its high antioxidant level, researchers are continually exploring the use of oregano in various food applications to inhibit bacterial growth.

Cayenne, best known as red Chile peppers.  Capsaicin is the powerful compound that gives chile the heat.  Cayenne has the most capsaicin  although all red peppers including the milder paprika and chili powder are surprisingly good source of antioxidants.

Rosemary – I seldom use this except Italian cooking and marinades.  This aromatic herb is packed with flavors and antioxidants too.   I love it on pasta and grilled meat.

Thyme has flavonoids which increases the herb’s antioxidant property.  A teaspoon of this versatile herb has almost the same antioxidant as a carrot or a half-cup of chopped tomato.

Curry powder is a blend of turmeric and other spices.  I love to cook chicken curry.  Curry powder could also be used in salad.

There you have it guys, herbs and spices, ti’s McCormick!

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For several days now, I’ve been waiting for this bud to bloom.  I’ve been on the look-out for that sweet and heady scent of a gardenia.  It reminds me of childhood spent in the province.

My lovely gardenia!

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I love mid-week – the days in between – when you are not much pressured and stressed by so many things to do compared to weekends.  It’s not that I am super busy at home, I’m not but weekends are somehow a little busier than the rest.  And it’s when the kids and hubby are at home when I really think of something to cook. I have survived on left-over food for so many days now because honestly, I don’t want to roast myself in the kitchen when the temperature reads 37.5  centigrade and PAGASA (Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Administration) says that the hot weather would be felt until mid-June.  Moreover, I am on a low purine diet so I got not much choice when it comes to preparing food.

This morning I was able to persuade the hubby to take me to the garden center before he goes to work.  Three of my Eugenia plants died when I was confined at the hospital two weeks ago and we need to replace them.  Katipunan Avenue, in White Plains is one of my favorite places to visit.  One more reason to take shots of the various plants and gardens there.  I really can’t resist the pull of the flowers and blooms.

Know what I mean? I chanced upon this lovely lotus flower in a large pot. Its simple beauty really made my morning and I was grinning from ear to ear when I looked at the shot and there it was – my lovely lotus flower.  I actually asked the saleslady if they sell it by piece but she shook her head and said I have to buy the whole thing, the large pot and all.

And in my haste to take this shot, I forgot to adjust the setting of the camera. I was aiming for that lovely pot of horsetail and I wanted to take home some of these lilies to add to the smaller ones at the pond.  I eventually bought some actually in another  store.

And I wish my garden is big enough to be able to decorate it  with these lovely garden accessories.

I love those  imported ferns lining the walkway – everything is so eye-catching. I have this big dream of taking them all home and planting them there.  Wishful thinking!

Ooh, the Koi,  just watching them  swim with  their their lovely colors and graceful twist and turns makes me grateful I was able to visit here again.

This coffee tree trunk is simply ideal for hanging vines.

We finally bought a couple of Fukien tea for P200.00 each.  The bigger ones, shaped like a winding tree cost as much as P1,500.00 to P3,000.00 each.

Lovely, lovely bromeliads in different colors.

I fell in love with this lovely Red Orlando plant but it costs an arm and a leg.  It is best grown indoors.

We bought a few pots of these violet Cuphea which we used as ground covers.

Finally took a good shot of the horsetail and lotus plants I  was aiming at earlier.

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I hate it when some people play daredevils  without a thought of what might happen next.  We were about to go home from the 9am mass this morning and in front of  our car was a parked motorcycle, so we waited for the owner to go through before we turn around for home.  There was  a couple standing besides it, the man stuffing some baby clothes in one of the helmets he was holding and the girl holding about a three-month old baby in her arms.  I guess the baby is even younger than that since she could not lift her head yet.  Holding on to the pants of the girl is about a three-year old kid.

I was shocked, really shocked when the man lifted the little girl in front of him and the girl holding the baby, probably his wife rode at the back of the motorcycle.  “How irresponsible”, I uttered and my daughter also reacted by saying “oo nga”.  How could they do it?   If I had a camera in tow, I would have taken a shot of this couple and tagged them here.  They were putting the lives of their two kids at risk.   There were lots  of “what if” playing around my head on our way home.

Statistics show that everyday, there are lots of accidents caused by motorcycle drivers who think that they own the road.  Almost everyday, you could see fatalities on television.  I always cringe and utter a silent prayer every time we are on the road and out  of the blue, one or two motorcycle drivers are right beside the car, a hair’s breath away, some not even wearing protective head gears.

Only in the Philippines!

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One Of Those Days.  Some shots I took of the garden.  And I’ve always said time and again that this is my sanctuary.   I find peace of mind just looking at the Koi fish at our small pond and delights in taking photographs of  some annuals and perennials thriving here.

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Being sick sometimes makes you less privileged to taste all those yummy and delicious food on the table.  Either you get through following doctor’s orders or take a furtive look  and sneak a bite when no one is looking.    I am on a low purine diet and the choices have become limited somehow.  I am allowed fruits, any kind, gelatin, milk, coffee, tea, sugar and syrup, eggs, breads, cereal and cereal products and cheese with a list of vegetables some of which I have to take in moderation, same with poultry, meat, fish and sea food.

I am allowed tea and coffee but I have stopped drinking coffee for quite sometime so tea it is.  I always love Twinings because their tea comes in different flavors.  One such flavor that I love is their passion fruit, mango and orange.  I love the mixed flavor of the three . Raspberry is good too.

There are a lot of studies made on the benefits of green tea in fighting cancer cells.  I normally buy  Lipton Green Tea but I found a better substitute, green tea with mint. I take it plain or with a spoonful of honey sometimes.

A few months ago, I discovered Oishi’s Cereals – a local brand which are cheaper than Kellogg and Nestle’s.   They have Honey Crimpies, Fruity Rings and Choco  Flakes.   Since I am lactose intolerant, I never put milk when I eat them.  Weird?  I hope not, but I just can’t tolerate the taste of milk unless it is mixed with ice cream or some other milk products like chocolate.   I don’t know, but just the smell of it makes me gag sometimes.  Mom always says that I was breast-fed as a baby and never ever taken those cow’s milk which they have as substitute for the real thing.  I could not even stand the taste of coffee with cream.

Spending  the early hours  in the garden, listening to the sound of water in the pond,  greeting the day with a smile while waiting for the sun to rise – these are my morning fix.   The simple joys of being alive!

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