Friday, November 30, 2007

Kids Says The Darnedest things

I sent over some DVDs to my nephews a few weeks ago and the kids decided to watch X-Men one afternoon.

After the show, Lyle (the 3 year old) walks over to his Mom ...

Lyle: Mommy, I want to be a mutant.

Mommy: Why ?

Lyle: Because I want to be popular.

Mommy: Why would you want to be popular ?

Lyle: Because Iceman is a mutant and he's very popular and all the girls kiss him. They kiss him on the mouth!

Mommy: You shouldn't be thinking about kissing girls yet, only Mommy can kiss you, okay ?

Lyle: Okay.

He then starts to run off but comes back to his Mom

Lyle: Mommy, my classmate Olivia likes me because I'm cute.

Mommy: but no kissing, okay ?

Lyle: okay.

*laughs* something tells me that we should be more vigilant in checking out what the kids are watching nowadays. Especially this little one, he gets influenced too easily.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Rent a husband

Saw this sign along the road. Rent a husband ? Do I get to choose from a catalog ? *wink*.

I've taken a leave of absence from work for the rest of the week. We really really do need to tidy up the house and start packing up for our tentative open house this weekend (I say tentative because we have not gotten a confirmation from our realtor yet).

Our plan is to clear up the basement by getting rid of stuff that we don't need anymore, box up a few more unused items from the house and then move all these boxes to the basement. From the way things are looking, being the packrat that I am, we need an extra "husband" to help us out with the packing and the carrying. Heehee.

will blog for food ?

Inspired by several n@wies, so I've joined the bandwagon and signed up for sponsored blogging. Somehow, I feel like I should now put up a sign like those that I see on the streets saying, "will work for food".

In line with that, I am thinking about the things that I will blog for... gadgets, maybe ? accessories ?

We'll see where this goes. :)

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Our first thanksgiving

I wanted to make something special for our first thanksgiving. I couldn't decide what to prepare but I knew that:

1) we are not standard thanksgiving fare fans (i.e. turkey, yams, stuffing,...) ; and,
2) given that we'll probably be spending thanksgiving by ourselves, there's no sense in having too much food that we'll be eating as leftovers in the next few days.

Inspiration struck when we were wandered, quite accidentally, into the supermarket's seafood section. There were crabs, shrimp, fish and scallops. It was then that I decided to prepare an all-seafood meal. Given that we're usually red-meat eaters - aside from the occasional chicken - this would be unique. Special, even.

Found a great recipe on the web for Shrimp and Crab stuffed flounder by Linda Reir.

2 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onion
2 (4.5 ounce) cans small shrimp, drained
1 (4.5 ounce) can sliced mushrooms, drained
1/2 pound cooked crabmeat
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
8 (6 ounce) fillets flounder
2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/3 cup chicken broth
2 tablespoons water
2/3 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish and set aside.

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt butter and saute onion, shrimp, and mushrooms until onion is tender. Stir in crabmeat, salt, pepper, and paprika; heat through.

Spoon the shrimp and crab mixture onto each flounder filet. Roll the filet up and fasten with toothpicks. Place rolled filets in prepared baking dish.

(Note: Either the flounder filets I got were too small or I was trying to stuff too much of the crab mixture in so instead of rolling the fish, I just folded it over.)

In a small bowl, whisk together soup, chicken broth, and water until smooth. Pour over the filets. Sprinkle cheese over the top.

Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and remove foil. Sprinkle the parsley over the top of the filets. Return the dish to the oven and bake uncovered for an additional 5 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

... and voila! Obviously, this dish is sorely lacking in presentation, but I swear, this is good!

We did make one concession in deference to turkey day, in addition to the stuffed fish, we had baked scallops wrapped in turkey bacon (hubby's idea). These turned out very good too. The scallops were huge - at least an inch and a half in diameter - and very very sweet, I just sprinked them with some seasoned salt and wrapped them in bacon.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Stir fried noodles

Hubby and I decided to try our hand at preparing a Chinese egg-noodle dish. It didn't turn out so bad, considering that this is our first dab and neither of us had a clue.

Egg noodles
Straw mushrooms
Quail Eggs
Carrots (julienned)
Veggies (was supposed to put in some broccoli but I forgot)
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp lite soy sauce
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 cup water
minced garlic
2 tbsp oil

Given the above ingredients, this was what we did:
  1. We pre-boiled the egg noodles in some chicken stock left over from an earlier dish. Do not boil till noodles are completely cooked otherwise, they'll soften and become overcooked when you stir fry them.
  2. Combine the cornstarch, lite and dark soy sauce, oyster sauce and water in a small bowl.
  3. In a skillet, heat oil and saute garlic. Add the shrimp, carrots, straw mushrooms and broccoli. Saute until heated.
  4. Add the cornstarch & sauce mixture. Stir constantly until sauce thickens. Add a little broth as necessary.
  5. Add the noodles and mix.
  6. Serve.

We're still skeptical about the noodles. I believe that we shouldn't have pre-boiled it but should've just soaked it in water and cooked it during the stir fry process. Any thoughts on this?

Hubby thought the noodles came out bland and said that it could do with a dash of salt. I thought it was just right.

btw, when hubby was mixing the sauce (soy sauce, cornstarch, etc), I saw him tasting it... ganon pala magluto, dapat tinitikman ? *grin* I always just go by the color & texture, kaya yun, hit or miss :D

Monday, November 19, 2007

Lemon Chicken ala Popcorn

We got some boneless chicken breast halves during our last shopping trip and we decided to try our hand at preparing one of the hubby's favorite chicken dishes - Lemon Chicken.

Did some searching and found a recipe on which listed ingredients that we already have at home. It turned out quite well, even with our revisions, and yeah, the picture that I took could do with some improvement (and better presentation) so this doesn't do the dish any justice.

The original recipe calls for 2 egg yolks for the chicken batter. I didn't want to waste the egg whites so I opted to just prepare the chicken cutlets Japanese style as we did last time - dredged in flour, dipped in egg and then coated with panko bread crumbs.

Lemon sauce:
2 tbsp cornstarch
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger (instead of minced, I grated)
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

In medium saucepan, place 2 tablespoons cornstarch, brown sugar and ginger. Stir in 1/2 cup water and broth. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until thickens and comes to a boil, boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat, stir in lemon juice.

Pour sauce over the chicken cutlets and serve.

* Note, we found the sauce to have a strong ginger taste, will lessen the ginger next time.

First Snowfall

I'm looking out the window and I see snow falling.

Wonder of wonders! It's our first snowfall of the season. Better get those skis out and get them conditioned for winter.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Grocery Shopping

I remember tagging along with my parents during their monthly grocery shopping trips when I was younger. It always puzzled me why they'd buy our supplies from two or three different stores. I also noticed that they would use one credit card at one store, a different card at another and pay cash at other stores (later, I'd find out that some credit cards have better promotional offers when you use them at certain stores).

I remember asking Mom about this and I'd get answers like "[Baby food brand] is cheaper at Parco while [laundry detergent brand] is cheaper at Ever Gotesco". Still, those answers didn't seem so sensible to me at the time because I thought that even if laundry detergent is cheaper at one place, surely the savings that we would get would not cover the gas that we'd burn getting to the other place, not to mention our time too.

Now that I have a home and a family of my own, my parents' way of buying groceries don't seem so odd anymore. When I was still single and living alone, paying an extra dollar or two didn't really seem that big a deal so I shopped where it was convenient or where it was fun (of course, I loved it when I'd get extra savings because of sales and coupons, right ?)

For the past few months, I've tried to keep track of the prices of our staple items in different stores. Unfortunately, I keep losing my list. Recently, Sammie found my old Sony Clie lying around and tried plugging it in. It still worked! Now seemed like a good time as any to get back to the electronic age (goodbye notebooks & post-its!). So I hunted up old receipts, old post-its, and price tag pictures that we've taken using our camera phones and started comparing. I was surprised by what I saw, here are a few samples:

Lactaid (lactose free milk) 64 oz - 4.49 at SR, 3.48 at FB
Broccoli - $1.50 / lb at SR, $0.98 per bunch at FB(each bunch is around 1.5 lbs)
Heavy Cream (1/2 pint) - 1.98 at SR, 1.28 at FB

The price difference, especially for the Lactaid milk, is astounding. One whole dollar ? This made me wonder how much we've overspent, given that we spend around $400-$500 on groceries each month.

This comparison just cemented my resolve to be a smart shopper. It wasn't a big deal for us to shop at different stores since they're all (including a Costco branch) within a 5 mile radius of our place.

Friday, November 16, 2007


My sister likes to give me updates about my nephews everyday. She tells me about their grades in school (syempre magagaling, am a proud aunt), their antics, and their activities.

The other day, she tells me that she and our uncle were talking and making kwento... the little one (Lyle) was sitting on the floor with his toys. So my uncle starts telling my sister about this lady that he saw, she was dressed inappropriately (too sexy) for her age and stuff. Basically, it was adult-talk and they didn't even know that the little boy was listening until he jumped up and shouted - with a grin and a knowing look - "hey! you said boob! you said boob!" and he started running and dancing around while chanting "you said boob!".

Hangkuhlet! *smile*

Kinda makes one wonder how kids have this radar for bad words. You could talk to them and use a thousand words and they'll focus, instinctively, on the one bad word that you said. Galing no ?

This reminds me of the time when Sammie visited me at home and I was so sleepy and had to take a nap. I gave Lance (my elder nephew), whom I was babysitting at the time, to Sammie and they went to watch a video. Later, I'd wake up to Lance shouting in my ear "A-i, I'm a man-horse!"

I was puzzled, of course, but didn't think much of it until I asked about the video that they watched. Apparently, they'd picked out Deuce Bigelow: Male Gigolo to watch and guess what ? Man-horse turned out to be a mispronounced man-whore. Haaay.

Just goes to show that we should always monitor what the kids (and babysitters) watch and we should always be careful of what we say or talk about when there are kids nearby - they have very big ears!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Belated Birthday Lunch with friends

Met up with the MOCPLG (M... Office Complex Pinoy Lunch Group, as we like to call ourselves) peeps at our local chinese buffet place for lunch this afternoon. They got me SpaFinder gift certificates and a new Wii game - Mario & Sonic Olympic Games. Can't wait to try these out :)

Thank you all!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

An hour with the dentist

Sometimes I wish that I had one of those dentists who has staff dedicated to calling up patients to remind them of appointments and whether or not we're already due for a cleaning. I was brushing my teeth the other day and happened to see the 2007 datebook that I got from my dentist during my previous visit.

That got me thinking, when was the last time that I visited ? I knew that it was before I got married... so I was long overdue. So I made our appointments and cajoled the hubby into going (he's terrified of dentists).

Turns out, we both have cavities. Argh! I haven't had cavities in a long time, kainis. Aside from that, the trip turned out well, we did get a lot of goodies today. Aside from the usual toothbrush and travel sized toothpaste, we got a packet of mouthwash and dental floss as well.

I read from another blog that Sonicare toothbrush works well in preventing cavities, can anyone else attest to this ?

Friday, November 9, 2007

Birthday shopping!

I filed for my birthday leave and took the day off today. We must have spent at least 9 hours outdoors - a rare occurence these days, considering that we don't go out anymore. Spent a good amount of $$ at DSW, we both got new shoes. Next stop was Bed, Bath and Beyond where we got that saucepan that I've been eyeing since last week and finally to Kohl's, where we got some pants and shirts.

Yep, we both got gifts for ourselves :) It was a fun, fun day.

Also, we got an email acknowledging the receipt of Sammie's RFE response (for his GC). The email that we got also said that processing will be resumed on his GC. *fingers crossed*

Thursday, November 8, 2007

My Birthday Dinner

I got another year older today. THIS birthday is special because this is the first one that we get to celebrate together. In the 7 (or 8?) years that we've been a couple, we have never been in the same country during any of our birthdays. So this year,.. this birthday... we wanted it to be all about us.

Friends have been asking us where and how we planned to celebrate my birthday and we couldn't give a definite answer. You see, all these questions put a lot of pressure on me. I felt that we had to go out in order to celebrate. Sammie and I are homebodies. We're perfectly happy just staying at home - curled up with a nice book, trash-talking each other over Guitar Hero 3 or just getting caught up on our recorded shows (Tivo). By now, you should already know where I'm going *smile*...

The thing is, we wanted this celebration to be so special that we couldn't decide where to go. It was almost 8pm and we were still home, wondering where to go. Eventually, it hit us. There isn't a better place to spend a special day than in our own home - our very first home - and besides, if we sell our house soon, this (and sammie's birthday in December) would be the last birthdays we get to spend in this house.

Thankfully, our fridge was fully stocked *grin*. Shabu-shabu beef, baby bok choy, mushrooms, japanese noodles, mini pork buns (xiao long pao) and potstickers cooked in chicken broth made a wonderful meal. Oh and let's not forget the custard bun (on the rack) that we had for dessert (nope, didn't like it).

Friday, November 2, 2007

The Phantom of the Opera

I'm enjoying a much-needed time off, it's about time that I use up this floating holiday that we're all entitled to in our company. I will be taking another day off again next week to use up my birthday leave. Fun, no ?

Hubby and I watched a broadway play (his first, my nth, but our first together) last night. We were lucky enough to be able to get affordable front orchestra seats for the Phantom of the Opera. I've been meaning to watch this show for the longest time but TKTS - the place where you can get discounted tickets for musicals - always seem to run out of seats for that show whenever I'm in line.

Anyhow, it was a wonderful evening which started off with a bus ride from NJ to NY, followed by a steak dinner at Tad's (cheap steaks!) and a walk in Times Square to pass the time. We thought it would be prudent to get to NYC early in case we hit traffic.

Of course, we couldn't resist having our picture taken with M&M over by the Hershey's store at Times Square.

The Phantom did not disappoint. We love :-)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Gallery 1

Lady Liberty

Old Central Railroad of New Jersey Train Station & ferry terminal at Liberty State Park

Ellis Island