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Posts Tagged ‘photography’


There is really no contest between the two. I love both and this is actually another experiment because it was the first time I used chicken as the main ingredient instead of ground pork. I haven’t baked anything in a while, desserts or recipes. I am not really that too busy  but the last few days have been so stressful that I have to think of a way to relax and cooking relaxes me. One morning while we were having breakfast, Josef and I discussed about what we used to prepare on the table and I told him, let’s prepare something for mom that she would surely like. My mom is turning 86 in a few days and she’s talking of going home to the province before the month ends. I told her to wait for her birthday here. There is no reasoning with our old folks once they decide on something. She just told me yesterday to call my brother so he could fetch her. One thing I like about her is that she is always appreciative of what I cook. When she is not familiar with it, she watches  me prepare the ingredients and asks questions.  We’ve been on mostly fish and vegetables since the season of Lent started and Fridays are totally “no-meat days”. Sourcing what is available in our pantry, here it is, a yummy chicken shepherd’s pie. It always tastes good with panini bread, just plain grilled slices.

Mom loves the melted cheese and mashed potato on top. Baked it just to melt the cheese.

Mom loves the melted cheese and mashed potato on top. Baked it just to melt the cheese.

Never been good at taking pictures of food. One more try, that is...

Never been good at taking pictures of food. One more try, that is…

P. S. And here’s the recipe,as promised Ren. You would need the following:

1 whole deboned chicken breast, boiled and cut into bite-size pieces

2 boiled potatoes

1/2 stick butter

dash of pepper

white onion, diced but it is better to cut it into small cubes

1 large carrot

1 cup of green peas

1 small can of Campbell Cream of Mushroom

grated cheese

Mash the potato with 1/2 stick butter, set aside. Saute onion, carrots, green peas and chicken then add in the can of mushroom last. Don’t put salt because the saltiness of the cream is good enough. Put in a baking dish, top with the mashed potato then grated cheese. A friend suggested that you can add bread crumbs to the cheese to make it crunchy to the bite  (it’s up to you). Bake for 30 minutes covered in aluminum foil or until the cheese melts. Serve hot with your favorite bread. I used the regular American loaf bread pressed on a Panini maker.

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“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”

I love quoting these lovely words from one of my favorite writers,  Henri Nouwen,  for they exactly describe how friendship should be and what it really means to me, when you could be just as you are with them, when they accept you in their lives and in their hearts, warts and all.

Last Saturday was another lovely celebration of friendship.  A few close friends came over to just celebrate the day with me and mom.  Two of them will be celebrating their birthdays this month and what a fitting way to share laughter, smiles, hugs, serious stuff (you would not believe this  but most of our topics touched on our faith and the beauty of being a Catholic) and food of course. Mom was so amazed to learn that they came from  places outside Metro Manila and she was full of questions like how I met them,  why they are visiting me when we could choose to go out  and spend the day in malls, she asked where they work, things that a typical mom wants to know. When they have left, she said “ang babait nila”. Mabait in English has no exact meaning but it encompasses various traits like being kind, gentle, friendly, generous, amiable, considerate, you name it, it is all in there in that single word.  We had a good laugh of course while we were taking pictures. They brought their cameras  and we took some shots.

That's mom on the extreme right. She was gracious enough to join us in our picture-taking.

That’s mom on the  right. She was gracious enough to join us in our picture-taking.

For WP2

for WP3

Food galore....

Food galore….

Sinful mango cake from Red Ribbon...

Sinful mango cake from Red Ribbon…

IMG_6578

We were all so full  we just snacked on polvoron (yummy powdered milk candy from Red Ribbon), boiled peanuts and adobo peanuts while sharing and discussing so many topics, touching even politics and world affairs.

It was a lovely day to celebrate friendship.

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Gosh,  how time flies!  I can’t believe that it’ll be summer in a week or two. Here comes the sun and probably a series of brownouts that the Department of Energy is warning the public since last year. And it is not a case of I hope we have enough supply because it will definitely happen (according to news reports). I am thinking of buying a rechargeable fan to beat the summer heat.  Despite these setbacks though, summer would always be welcome, never mind the heat, we are used to it. What I love about the summer are the varieties of local fruits you’ll find only during the season, mangoes (we produce the sweetest mangoes), star apples, santol (wild mangosteen) siniguelas (Spanish plum) rambutan, avocado, duhat (Java plum) and many more.  My annuals bear flowers during the summer months and I love the surprise I always see in my tiny garden during this season. I could now see a growing  kamantigue with its dark violet flowers.

This has been a productive week for me. I finished painting two spans of our fence grills, three more to go. I bought garden soil and did some repotting  and replanting of my prayer plants. I have three varieties of them. I found a white vinca growing outside and replanted it too in one corner together with the pink ones. Mom said I should take a rest because every day I am outside trying to refurbish our small garden. We have this old lampshade made of ceramics and  when the electrical wiring was not working anymore, I made it into a garden accessory and repainted it in black together with a water fountain that we no longer use but still a lovely accent piece in one corner. It’s hard work I know but the fulfillment one gets seeing a new look is priceless.

Of course the day would not be complete without taking a few shots.   Here’s a picture of my Shanghai Beauty.

Pretty in pink...

Pretty in pink…

 

It's called Mexican Firereplant or  Wild Poinsettia

It’s called Mexican Fireplant or Wild Poinsettia

 

How was your week?  Happy weekend to all!

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A few days ago, I posted a blog at Gardens and Empty Spaces, some shots of my garden blooms.  I was excited to see my Amazon Lily in all its white glory. Here it is finally :)

It belongs to the family of Amaryllidaceae.

It belongs to the family of Amaryllidaceae.

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I seldom endorse a product,I am not even a lover of donuts (meaning, I don’t crave for it) but I can’t resist sharing this.  They’re the best I’ve ever tasted, not too sweet but melt in the mouth goodness. Compared to other brands, J.Co donuts are just so good and they come in many flavors with such eye-catching names. Fancy this – Alcapone, Mr. Green Tea, Oreology, Berry Spears, Forest Glam, Tiramisu, Coco Loco to name a few.  These bite-sized donuts come in a box of two dozen different flavors, they are soft and chewy because they are baked and not fried. They have 29 branches here in the Philippines (next to the 135  chain of stores in Indonesia).

J.Pops baby donuts. They're quite expensive but people line up in their outlets to buy donuts or fat free frozen yogurt.

J.Pops baby donuts. They’re quite expensive but people line up in their outlets to buy donuts or fat-free frozen yogurt.

Pair it with their unique flavor of Italian blends coffee and you’re good to go. I prefer my own Twinings’ Green Tea and Lemon or Celestial Seasonings’ Raspberry Zinger.

Donut, anyone?

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I would have loved to add  more pictures here but I am saving on space for future blog posts. According to WordPress, I have consumed 68% of my allowed limit so I just used two of my other blogs for some updates.

My camera was silent for a few months  (no pics taken, no pics uploaded except for some previous shots) but I have it fixed finally three weeks ago. Yesterday, I tried taking a few shots of the sparse flowers growing in our garden before the one month warranty expires in a week. It’s working well, thank God!  Take a look at our garden, I just posted some pictures there and updated my photography blog too.

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The Catholic church celebrates Ash Wednesday today, 18 February and it is the official start of Lent, the beginning of our Lenten journey. I attended the 6am mass at St. Jude Parish,  a beautiful celebration of reminding us what the season of Lent means, what the  ashes symbolize.We are encouraged to attend mass in order to begin the Lenten season with proper reflection, conversion and repentance. It is a day of fasting and abstinence. Fasting means restricting the food we eat and the number of meals and the size of it while Abstinence is abstaining from eating meat.The imposition of ashes is a reminder of our sinfulness and unworthiness, it is a renewal of our commitment to follow Jesus and acknowledging the sacrifice He had made for our salvation.  I think next to the Christmas blogs that I write every year, my Lent posts come close. I would like to share a post that I wrote four years ago because I think the message is never too old to appreciate and remember. I particularly like the beautiful Lenten reflection I found on EWTN entitled What To Give Up.

Give up complaining – focus on gratitude

Give up pessimism – become an optimist

Give up harsh judgments – think kindly thoughts

Give up worry – trust Divine Providence

Give up discouragement – be full of hope

Give up bitterness – turn to forgiveness

Give up hatred  – return good for evil

Give up negativism – be positive

Give up anger – be more patient

Give up pettiness – become mature

Give up jealousy – pray for trust

Give up gossiping – control your tongue

Give up sin – turn to virtue

Give up giving up – hang in there.

Beautiful, isn’t it? And you might say, it is easier said than done, after all we are just human, capable of making repetitious mistakes, capable of abandoning good deeds  and choosing the easy way out, more focused on material things that make life easier, or so we think. But everyday of our lives we are given the chance to do something good for others if not for our selves.  I remember the time when I was in the hospital almost six years ago, it was my first time to undergo chemotherapy. I was expecting that just like the rest of the patients at the Ambulatory Care Unit at the hospital, I would lose my hair but the chemotherapy nurse assured me that I won’t . I was apprehensive at first, who wouldn’t be, but  I gave up the thought of going bald and I was elated and grateful that chemo drugs for colon cancer treatments do not result to that grim scenario. That’s a small miracle  for me. God must be thinking , I don’t trust Him enough.

We are sometimes too quick to judge other people. The thing is, we must look at our own inadequacies first. Unless we know what makes them the way they are, we are not in any position to pass  harsh judgment.  Think kindly thoughts and think positively.  Trust in Divine Providence, give up worry. How often do we feel anxious  about everything in our lives?   We are endlessly worrying because we want everything to be perfect but this is not a perfect world. If it is, we won’t need friends or our neighbors or our families even,  to make us smile.  Benjamin Franklin said, “Do not anticipate trouble or worry about what may never happen. keep in the sunlight.”

Give up discouragement, be full of hope. I’d like to think that’s something I got lots of. Giving up hope is like giving up life.  When you  are  confronted by  a life changing situation, hope is a precious commodity that you cling to.  No matter how painful your situation might be, you can and you will survive it as long as you don’t lose that thin thread of hope. Sometimes, trials are really just blessings in disguise. They are God’s way of telling us to trust Him, always.

It is not easy to forgive when you are full of  hatred and bitterness. Let  us not plant hatred in our hearts because in the first place, we are the ones greatly affected. Mahatma Gandhi wrote, “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”

What better life this would be if only we can follow these simple steps. Happiness is the simple thought of trying not to give up, just hang in there.

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