Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving weekend in Boston

Hubby and I drove to Boston, MA during the Thanksgiving weekend. We figured that it was the best time to go back to Boston to use the Go-Boston cards that we had purchased long ago.

The first stop of the day was 5 Wits, a wonderful hands-on museum that has an egyptian tomb theme. The entire tour lasted around 45 minutes. The goal is to solve puzzles to move on to the next chamber. There were 3 chambers all in all. If you ever have a chance to drop by Boston, this would be a fun place to check out - lalo na if you have kids. :) Note that it does get pitch dark in some places so if you get scared in the dark, keep away.

One of the highlights of our trip was our visit to the New England Aquarium. Hubby - and I think I've mentioned this before - is a great fan of aquariums and this was no exception. We were in awe of the great tank in the middle of the building and used up a lot of our SD cards filming the sea creatures in the tank - I got on the internet and ordered new SD cards when we got back to the hotel. We really need bigger capacity ones.

We've visited a lot of aquariums in the past and we still saw some new varieties here in the New England Aquarium. It was a fun and satisfying finish to day 1 of our trip.

We wanted to do the Freedom trail on day 2. I've walked it way back in 99 (or 2000?) and hubby saw parts of it last year with another friend and this time, we wanted to do it together.

It wasn't comfortable walking the 2.5 miles in 30 degree weather but we did it anyway and finished the trail. I swear, my muscles were so sore the next day. Hubby was tired too but he complained a lot less than I did :)

Considering that it was Black Friday - probably the biggest shopping day in the US - we didn't get to buy anything at all. Given that my uncle serves with the LAPD, it might be nice to get him something that he can use on a daily basis. My search has led me to the LA Police Gear site where I'm thinking of getting him one of these Blackhawk CQC Holsters. He'll surely love this and hopefully, this will remind him that his family loves him and wants him to be stay safe.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

i heart your blog

Thank you, Sheryll for this award :)

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The rules of the award are:

1. The winner can put the logo on her blog.

2. Link the person you received your award from.

3. Nominate at least 7 other blogs.

4. Put links of those blogs on yours.

5. Leave a message on the blogs of those you have nominated.

Previous awardees: Mabelle, Prily, Ate Norma, I Love Philippines Too, Shenga, Nova, WebbieStuffs, Nancy, Webloglearner, Pinay Wahm, and My So Called Life, Let’s Spice Things Up, Beauty and Shop, Idealpinkrose, allin, kimchiland, Korean Food, The Paper Vision, Embrace Simplicity, Me and Mine, A Window To Our World, A Grateful Heart, Can of Thoughts, A Mother’s Stuff,, MommaWannabe, Lourdes Mia, Praning’s Shoutout, When Silence Speaks, Etc Atbp, Aeirin’s Collections, Life is What we Make it, Underneath It All, Cellulitic Bliss, 100% Kelly, C'est La Vie, Our Family Adventure!, PopcornsThoughts

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Super late na to, I've seen this tag is most other blogsites but I'm tagging my blog-buddies Mandy, Berry, and Mec in case wala pa :)

Monday, November 17, 2008


One sign that you over-indulged over the weekend is getting on the weighing scale and seeing numbers you've never ever seen before.


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Skinless Longganisa

My sister in California buys the yummiest longganisa at her local asian market. Whenever I visit her, Mom would surely prepare some for breakfast one day and serve it with sunny side up eggs and garlic fried rice. I love my longganisa paired with vinegar infused with garlic & chili too.

The Asian food store that we go to sells longganisa by the bulk and since hubby isn't exactly a fan, I hesitate about buying a package.

A few days ago, I was browsing the web for recipes for ground pork and found a recipe for skinless pork longganisa.

1 kilo ground pork, 10% fat
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp rock salt (or 1.5 tsp fine salt)
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Blend all ingredients together.

Roll a small amount of the mixture in a 4.5 in x 3 in piece of waxed paper

Store in the freezer for 3 hours or until ready to cook.

I have to admit that I did have some doubts as to whether the mixture would stick together while being cooked because there's no egg or cornstarch to serve as a binder for the sausage. But this works.
When ready to cook, heat oil in a wok or frying pan.

Unwrap the sausages and fry in batches until fully cooked.

Drain on paper towels.

These look good, no ? The sausages look so rich and yummy and they were.


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Lemon Chicken

Hubby loves lemon chicken. This is actually our 2nd try of this dish, the first one didn't turn out too good.

I've mentioned a few posts ago that we've been making an effort to curb our meat-eating habits and are trying to switch to healthier meats instead (i.e. chicken). Hubby has been talking about his mom's lemon chicken for months and how this would be their default baon for field trips.

We were in Chinatown last week and decided to drop by the neighborhood asian store where we like to do our shopping. We found a packet of Lee Kum Kee Lemon Chicken Sauce and decided to give this a try.

Boneless chicken thighs
cornstarch (we will season the cornstarch w/ a little salt / pepper in our next try)

1 packet of Lemon Chicken Sauce
3 Lemon slices

1. Season chicken thighs with seasoned salt, let this sit in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
2. Beat the egg in a bowl.
3. Dip the chicken in the egg and then coat it with cornstarch
4. Deep fry the chicken until cooked and drain on paper towels.

Sauce: The instructions on the packet only calls for heating the sauce and adding the chicken in. Hubby added some lemon slices and water to adjust the taste.

1. Pour the sauce into a small saucepan to heat it.
2. Add 3 lemon slices and 2 tbsp water.
3. Stir.

To serve, slice the chicken pieces, garnish with a lemon slice and pour some sauce.

Note that we served the chicken and sauce separately because we wanted the chicken to retain its crispyness.

<-- Lemon chicken sauce, costs $1 in Chinatown (NY) Ansarap! We couldn't stop eating and making papak the leftovers.

Btw, we found this packet to be just enough for 4 pcs of chicken.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pork Menudo

For two weeks now, hubby and I have been having our Friday date night at a Filipino carinderia style restaurant in Jersey City. We actually love the food at another Filipino restaurant more - Mama Fina's - but they have been closed for a few months now and we have no idea where and when they will be in operation again.

So anyway, we've been to the Pinoy restaurant in Jersey City twice now and while we find the lechon kawali quite good, hubby (not a pinoy food fan to start with) has been disappointed with their Menudo and Bistek Tagalog. He claims that they didn't taste authentic - I'm not sure where he got his authentic pinoy food taste ideas from because they surely don't prepare that at home.

This menudo dish I prepared is an attempt to try and see what he expected Menudo to be, the original recipe is from Pinoy Menudo in Visual Recipes.

1 kilo pork loin (orig recipe calls for pork liempo, I didn't want fatty meat)
1/2 kilo pork liver (we did not add liver)
3 medium sized potatoes, diced
3 medium sized carrots, diced
1 medium sized onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic
1.5 cups of tomato sauce
1 cup water
2 dried bay leaves
2 tbsp sugar (orig recipe calls for 1 tsp only but we adjusted to suit our taste)
  1. Saute garlic and onion in a pan.
  2. Add the meat and saute until meat is no longer pink.
  3. Add the bay leaves, tomato sauce and water. Mix it around and let simmer.
  4. When pork is cooked (in took me 30 to 45 minutes to get to this stage), add the carrots and potatoes and let it cook.
  5. Season with salt and pepper (to taste).

Verdict: Masarap :) Though hubby says that this is not the menudo taste that he knows - syempre, walang liver. And in retrospect, we just realized that the menudo from home also has green peas and garbanzos (?).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Hot & Spicy Porkchops

We may have converted Mommy and Achi, my older sister, to the wonders of Knorr's Hot & Spicy Bake Mix.

Aliw rin to think of the story of how we found this product. Hubby and I were in our neighborhood Asian grocery store when we remembered this one pork dish that we've been aching to try at home - Spicy Salt and Pepper Pork Chop. It's been a while since we were able to order this dish in Chinatown so we (okay, it was me) were craving for the taste.

Fortunately, hubby (thank goodness that he still remembers his Chinese), knows what spice it is that is used in my fave dish. We asked the cashier, she asked a store clerk, the store clerk asked the manager, and eventually, the manager asked the owner. And yes, we found it.

I sent a box over to Mom and Achi in California (each box has 4 packets and cost around $2.50) and sent some pictures of how we prepared our pork chops.

Basically, I get a huge piece of pork - usually, pork loin because it's tender and cut it up into smaller slices. Smaller slices mean that more of the spice gets into the meat and thus, tastier. Mix in 1 packet of the spice for every 2 lbs of meat, massage the spice into the meat and let it stand in the refrigerator for an hour.
Just before frying, I coat the pork pieces with camote powder (because I like the texture, but you can use cornstarch so that it becomes crispy) and deep fry the pork pieces.

The outcome is delish, I tell ya.

And yes, the pic on the left shows that I have no patience for cutting / chopping whatsoever and don't care about uniformity at all. But, however my pork chops look like, they do taste good and contrary to what the label on the spice package says, these aren't spicy at all.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The (crazy) day that was my birthday

I mentioned in a previous post that we (my family) don't make a fuss during birthdays. I expected my birthday this year to be more of the same - same ordinary day, except I was a year older.

A couple of weeks before my day, hubby was already asking questions about what I wanted to do. I told him, "nothing." I just wanted to stay home and rest.

I woke up on Saturday morning to the phone ringing, it was Mom. Still groggy and half-asleep, I allowed the answering machine to pick up and listened to the message "Hi! Are you still sleeping ? or nag ce-celebrate na ng birthday?" I smiled, made a mental note to call them up later in the day and closed my eyes to sleep again.

A few seconds later, my cellphone started ringing. It was my family again. I peeked at the clock and saw that it was 10:30,... I figured it was time to get up. Kwento kwento... then friends started calling. Aliw, I even got a birthday song.

At around 12nn, I prepped the rib-eye steaks that we were having for lunch - that was supposed to be the celebration na - and I decided to make some spaghetti, para may noodles for long life. I wanted a cream-based sauce but couldn't decide on what to include. So wala na lang. I cooked some whole wheat pasta, heated up some bottled Alfredo cream sauce and made bacon bits (crispy fried bacon, cut up into smaller pieces) for the topping.

By 2pm, lunch was ready and I woke hubby up*. After the meal - masarap! - we cleared up the dishes and that was when it hit me.

"This is it ?"

Now that we've had these steaks and the spaghetti for lunch, tapos na birthday ko ? It was a depressing thought. The night before, it had seemed like such a wondrous idea to have the steaks for lunch because:

(a) I wasn't maarte so I didn't want people making a fuss over me on my bday
(b) good excuse to cook the steaks (they weren't cheap) and look at dem steaks, so succulent and cooked perfectly.
(c) tamad to go out

... and I realized that I don't get to go out daily anymore since I work from home and it's such a shame that I would want to spend my birthday cooped up indoors too.

So I cried.

It wasn't the dab-the-corner-of-your-eye-with-a-hanky kind of crying. I sobbed. Ugly, loud sobs. I sounded really pathetic and sad - hubby might have a different take on this, btw. In fairness, I really felt so depressed and insignificant. I was so mad at hubby too. Of course, I said that I didn't want anything special and that I didn't want to do anything BUT he should've made an extra effort. He should've made plans or at least did some research on where he could take me if and when I changed my mind.

My friend, V, commented that I'm "being such a girl" when I told him about this incident.

Thankfully, it wasn't too late to go out for dinner when the drama ended. We had dinner at a small carinderya type pinoy restaurant (my choice) in Bergenfield. We had lechon kawali and pinoy style pork barbeque, we loved the lechon kawali - it wasn't as good as Mama Fina's but this comes a close second. They also serve a lot of rice so Pinoys would be really pleased by this. I swear, we ate so much that I started thinking about having to find a lapband doctor just so I could fit back into my clothes.

After dinner, we stopped by a few stores: Bed bath and Beyond, Christmas tree shop, and a department store where I found my perfect pot. I bought a set and let Mom & Achi know that I was able to find their bday gift for me :P

... and then I was finally happy. Hubby is really such a patient and loving man. I am so blessed.


* hubby wakes up very early in the morning to get to work on weekdays so he likes to sleep in during the weekends, also, we usually stay up late - until early morning - watching movies on Friday nights.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Birthday Kaldero

Tomorrow is my nth birthday and I am enjoying my birthday leave today. Yes, we have that in our company.

Mom has been calling me on and off these past few days, mostly to remind me to check out some cookware (sets) that she wanted me to buy as a gift for myself, she will reimburse me later. She also reminds me not to be kuripot and get a good set raw. Cookware is really her and my sister's xth gift idea, I rejected raw kasi her other suggestions.

Funny. I don't have a lot of birthday memories. Maybe it's because we don't celebrate with as much hoopla as other people do. The last birthday I remember celebrating with my family was when I turned 18 and even then, I wasn't so keen on the idea of a party because I wanted a car... (or just the cash) and my parents had already agreed to skip the party. Two weeks before my 18th birthday, an aunt succeeded in convincing my parents that throwing a party would be better for me and that it would give me lifelong memories. So yun. I had a formal debut party and it was indeed memorable. In fact, I still remember NOT getting a car that birthday. I guess this is something I'll remember the rest of my life, my aunt was right :P

So back to Mom's calls. She keeps asking, "have you seen the Calphalon na ? The Calphalon is nice. Check out the Farberware too or the Cuisinart... Choose anything, don't be kuripot ah, ako bahala. Farberware is cheaper but maybe not so good quality, check it out."...

... and I keep thinking that I just need a pot. One pot. That's this big and this high *gestures with hand*. Because my pots now are either too big or too small when I make adobo and this would also be perfect for when I make ma-chang (sticky rice wrapped in bamboo leaves).

... but Mom wants to get me more. Kasi 1 pot is .. cheap ? and after all, it's my birthday. and she's feeling guilty that she and dad have not come to visit us here in NJ. You see, they're in the US a lot but they stay with my sister because she "needs them raw because of her kids". So now, Mom and sis are both feeling a bit guilty and sad for me because they don't get to see me... and are trying to shower me with pots and pans.


But *looks around* where am I going to put the rest ? Bahala na, looks like I'm going kaldero shopping this weekend.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


I've never followed politics. I only read the newspapers when I'm bored, I only get to watch the news on TV if someone else has switched the channel. Even when I was still in school and needed to be familiar with current events in order to keep up with Social Studies ? Nako, my Dad would always have to quiz me and drum the details into my head. He was like my Cliff Notes for the news around the globe.

The past few weeks, I find myself uncharacteristically drawn to the presidential elections. Probably because my 5 year old nephew has declared himself to be Obama's #1 fan because "he's a good man, I saw it on the news" to which his 8 year old brother would respond "what ?? Obama ? But he does not have enough experience! We should vote for McCain!"

Now, I cannot imagine where they got their views from. It certainly was not from the parents because I am sure that they aren't the type to discuss politics, especially in front of their children.

Last Tuesday, Nov 4, I watched the news voluntarily. *smile*

I wanted to see who would win and be the first to tell my nephews. I also wanted to see for myself. After all, our lives would be (indirectly?) affected by this event somehow. When Obama was declared the winner, I rejoiced along with his supporters. Not because I'm an Obama fan but because they were so visibly happy and to be completely honest, I rejoiced because I had not expected Obama to win because of his color. Obviously, America is more open-minded than I thought and this pleases me.

Watching McCain's speech moved me. If I were to judge his possible presidency by his speech alone, I'm sure it would have been a good one. He was very gracious about his loss and when he asked his supporters to support Obama and cooperate ? Wow.

I remember an election in our organization back in college, there were no other candidates for my position so all I needed was a confirmation - at that time, the required # of votes I needed to get was 2/3 of the members, I think. When I was declared the committee chairman, one of the guys* came up to me and told me that he will not support me and that he really thinks that I will not succeed without his help. Over the summer (my term does not officially start until next semester), he would call meetings with my committee members and made plans to impeach me.

He did not succeed. But really. Such hatred!

Having had that experience, it amazes me and moves me whenever I see grace despite these circumstances.

And so, let me end this post with a description of my nephew's reactions when I told them the news:

5 year old: Really ? Obama won ? He's the pwesident ? He is gonna wive in the white house ? Wow! He's a good man. Ahya, Angkong, Ama, Obama won! He's the pwesident!

8 year old: What ?? Mc Cain lost ? Haaaaaay! (sounds of fainting) what's gonna happen to us now ?


* He wanted the chairmanship for himself but unfortunately, he was not qualified to run. He later campaigned, unsuccessfully, to have our org's constitution amended to lessen the residency requirement for officers. We did become become friends again when he apologized months later.