Wednesday, January 28, 2009


I was just going over the pictures that we took during our vacation in California and I came across these pics that we took at the memorial park where my Angkong is interred.

We were quite surprised to see a lot of graves with seasonal decorations - check out the Christmas trees and the smiley face. This is a strange custom indeed.

Monday, January 26, 2009


I scared myself yesterday.

I had a Costco coupon for $4 off of a pack of Charmin tissues. These are normally sold at $18.75 so $4 is a huge chunk off of the price. The coupon I had was valid between Jan 5 and 25. At the start of the promo season, I went to Costco and found out that they just ran out. A shipment was on its way to the warehouse but nobody knew when it would arrive so I left without buying anything.

Yesterday was the last day of the promo period so we went to Costco again. When I got to the section where these tissues are normally stored, I only saw empty pallets.

I was so disappointed.

I stood there for a few seconds and decided to wait for any Costco staff to pass by, maybe they would restock the shelves again (but I doubt that because they keep all stock in the store). I looked around and saw an overflowing cart and there's a pack of the tissues that I wanted stacked on top of the other groceries.

It looked so inviting. So tempting. I felt that it was calling out to me.

For a full minute (or maybe two), I stared at that seemingly-abandoned cart (the customer pushed it away afterwards) and debated with myself. I was convincing myself that the cart was abandoned and that it would be okay to take the stuff inside.

Hubby saw that I had locked my eyes on another customer's cart and nudged me. He brought me back to reality.

For $4, I was tempted to take stuff from another shopper's cart.


A minute later, I saw some people walking off with these tissues. I traced their paths and found out where they were coming from. There was 1 last pallet with a dwindling number of tissues. I ran and was able to buy mine guilt-free.

--- Note to self: Speaking of guilt-free, I am writing this reminder to myself to go and order some concrete cleaner for my sis. She recently found some streaks on her concrete driveway and being the neat-freak that she is, she can't just let it be. And being the internet-shopping-phobe that she is, she asked me to buy some for her. Haha!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Kong hei fat choi

Guess what we had for dinner ?


We still had a lot of food left over from the Hotpot dinner on Saturday night so we decided to finish them off, didn't want to stick them back in the freezer. We got ourselves some more sliced beef (we don't consider it a proper hotpot without our favorite sliced beef) and got it going.

Masarap pa rin.

Kiong Hee Hwat Chai to all of you. Have a happy new year.

Lunar New Year

This was what we had for our hot pot dinner:
1) broth made from pork broth boiled and simmered for hours, this was later flavored with Sate sauce
2) spicy broth was from #1, but with some Chiu Chow spices

and the dippers:
1) sliced rib eye (shabu shabu beef)
2) vegetables - Sweet pea & Baby bokchoy
3) shrimp

4) shrimp balls
5) cuttlefish balls
6) fish cake - balls and sheets
7) kani - crab sticks
8) Enoki mushrooms
9) sweet corn

We also had 2 kinds of noodles - sotanghon and soba.

... and this is us, taken just before we dug in.

Times like these make me realize how much I miss working in an office setting. I remember and see & talk to real people. I miss those days when we would have activities such as those offered by TOOBEEZ Teambuilding. Those were fun times.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

We spent the afternoon preparing for the hot-pot dinner that we were hosting to celebrate the lunar new year.

Hubby and I had great fun setting up the table and the place settings, it was tiring because we didn't know the exact # of people to expect - we had invited some HS friends over but they couldn't commit, eventually, they cancelled.

Anyway, our friends should be coming by soon, hope everybody has a good time tonight.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Baby boom

It seems like there has been a baby boom among my friends these past few years. Off the top of my head, I can think of 4 couples who had new babies since 2008. Hubby and I are hoping for a little one ourselves but our prayers have not been answered yet.

Because of our own interests in having a baby of our own, I've found myself paying special attention when the pregnant moms congregate with each other and start exchanging pregnancy and child-rearing stories - funny anecdotes, tips, and other what-nots.

I've noticed that maternity wear has been one of the topics that the mommies like to talk about, mostly because everyone still wants to look good and interesting even though they're all bloated and big with the baby in their tummies. Among the brands and stores that they talked about, Baby ParTees Maternity Shirts offers the cutest maternity shirts I've ever seen. Can't wait to get one of my own :P Right now, they're offering black or white shirts that have crystal lettering that announces the sex of your baby, you can get them in short or long sleeved versions.

I wonder if they plan to offer more options in the future ? Maybe offer custom letterings or wordings ? I would love one that says "future in the making...".


Kalbi or Korean BBQ is one of my favorite dishes because:

(a) it's beef - all meat!
(b) it has bones (we all know that the meat near the bones is the tastiest) but the cut makes it easy to separate the meat from the bones if you don't want to gnaw on the latter
(c) the marinade, once you get it right, is easy to prepare
(d) you can marinade the short ribs before hand and have it ready for cooking any time
(e) you can pan fry it, bbq or grill it - perfect for any season

I first got the recipe for the marinade from my Aunt last June and we have prepared several batches since then and have refined / modified the recipe to our taste (hubby's tastes, mostly). Hubby has a keener sense of taste than me because I didn't have any complaints for all those times that we were experimenting with the measurements of the ingredients.

Marinade Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1 cup soy sauce (we used lite soy sauce)
1/2 bulb garlic (original recipe calls for 1 big bulb)
1 red onion
pepper to taste

Toss ingredients in blender, add just enough water to get the blender going (not thick).
When done, marinate the sliced short ribs in the mixture.

Snow banks in MA

I just got back from my monthly business trip to HQ and I just wanted to share what greeted me when I got to the office.

See that mound of snow on the sidewalks ? It's higher than my rental (a sedan) and it made driving around so much harder because there's all these snow piles covering your line of sight so you'll have to make sure you slow down as you approach intersections or when making turns.

My trip to HQ went well but I was glad to get back to good 'ol Jersey. We do have snowpiles on our sidewalks but they're not as high as the ones in MA.

We invited some friends over for a small salo-salo on Saturday night to celebrate Chinese (lunar) New Year. Hubby and I need to stock up on food - and thankfully, we won't have cook anything before hand so this saves us a lot of work - and we also need to tidy up a little. We have too many stuff at home as it is and our basement storage is already full. At the rate we're going, we might have to get a storage rental soon.

I've started doing some decluttering activities but it's going really slow (translation: tinatamad).

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Roast Pork in Soy Sauce

It's been a while since I last posted a new recipe. I've tried a few recipes but those didn't make it to this blog because frankly.. uh, they didn't turn out too well and I didn't really want to bother posting if it wasn't good enough to share.

We got a huge piece of pork loin on sale from the grocery store last week and figured that this was a good time to try out this recipe from my cookbook that I've been eyeing for a long time.

  • 1 lb lean pork fillets
  • 6 tablespoons dark soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry

  • 1 teaspoon five-spice powder

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 1 inch piece fresh ginger, finely chopped

  • 4 tablespoons superfine sugar

  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  1. Mix together the ingredients for the marinade. Spoon over the pork, cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Drain the pork, reserve the marinade.

  3. Place the pork on a roasting rack over a roasting pan. Cook in the oven, occasionally basting with the marinade for 1 hour or until cooked through.

  4. Place the superfine sugar and vinegar in a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil and simmer for 3-4 minutes, until syrupy.

  5. When the pork is cooked, remove from the oven and brush with the sugar syrup. Leave for about 5 minutes, then slice.

Verdict: This recipe turned out so-so, I think. It's not exactly like how my Ama used to make it, but close enough. Next time, I would use a different kind of dark soy sauce. For this recipe, I used Mushroom flavored dark soy sauce and the roast pork turned out too dark. I would use Silver Swan soy sauce next time.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Let it snow!

It seems like we've gotten more snow this winter season compared to last year's.

One proof I can offer you is this tiny bulldozer / snowplow that my bldg seems to have rented for the season. This machine is so cute and looks so cool when it does its job and it's small enough to plow the snow off of the individual parking spaces (it is narrow enough to fit in the slots). That picture is how it looks like on a normal day - we didn't even have a snowfall forecasted for that day. It just came. Fortunately, we only got a light dusting. I think the superintendent (I suspect that it is he who drives this bulldozer) gets a kick out of snow-plowing with this machine too, I know I would.

Hubby blames this sign that I put up on our door in early January and has been asking me to put it down, he's just teasing of course ;)

He says that I'm just encouraging old man winter to give us more snowfall and that's not good because he has to go out and brush the snow off the car and shovel the car out of the parking spot.

As for me ? I love this. We do have to get ourselves some new Boots though, preferably those that are well-insulated and water proof so that we could go out and walk on the freshly fallen snow (one of my favorite winter activities, next to skiing).

Let it snow!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Japanese Rice Rolls

We always make sure that we have a few packs of Rice Seasoning (Furikake) at home.

If we find ourselves without anything for dinner, we could just cook a batch of sticky rice, and mix in a packet or two of Furikake. Optionally, you could drizzle a little sesame oil in the rice mixture too.

If you're concerned about the presentation, you can use a sushi form (or rice form?) to form the rice into sliced rolls like we did.

Note though that Furikake comes in many different flavors and is made from different ingredients. The most difficult part is choosing as we find ourselves unable to translate the ingredient list from the product label most of the time.

Fortunately, we were able to try this one out - a Korean brand - at a Korean supermarket. Surprise, surprise!

We've tried other brands and flavors but so far, this is the only one that we like.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Paintball season

Hubby and I are paintball fans - we love BB guns too, he & the guys (our friends) used to play with pellet guns back in high school. One even got hit in the eye with a pellet and had to have his eye treated. Thankfully, he did not lose his sight but I digress, this is a different story altogether.
So paintball fans that we are, I'm still a big baby when it comes to the aches and pains that come with the game SO I've always thought that winter time was the best time for tactical paintball. When else would you be comfortable wearing layers of clothing and protective gear that would be sufficient padding to protect yourself against paintballs ?

If we can find some playmates, we're taking advantage of the Post Christmas Specials and get ourselves a Spyder PILOT ACS Black/Red Paintball Marker MEGA Gun Set and since this is 50% off the original price, this should be a guilt free post-christmas gift. Check out and take advantage of their free shipping offer.

Fried Rice with Chinese Sausage

I love all kinds of rice dishes - wild rice, jasmine rice, basmati, pilaf, risotto, congee, fried rice and even rice pudding.

Working from home, I don't always have the time to prepare my lunch. Leftovers from the previous night's dinner usually becomes hubby's baon and if there isn't enough left over for two meals, I let him bring all the leftovers and I am left to fend for my own lunch the next day :)

On days when I can't figure out or don't feel like cooking much, fried rice is always a convenient option for me. After all, there is last night's leftover rice anyway.

For this dish, the ingredients are:
- chopped garlic
- 1 stalk green scallions, chopped
- 1 pc chinese sausage (lap chiong in Cantonese)
- 1 egg
- chicken boullion powder
- garlic salt

Friday, January 16, 2009

Reinventing America

Came across a new initiative, Reinventing America. This new website aims to revolutionize America. I have to admit that I am the least politically-aware person that I know. Hubby's interest in politics is a little bit better than mine (mine is non-existent!).

So I've been checking out this website and I'm getting a crash course on what issues are present and rampant nowadays. Check it out.

Chicken BBQ - Aristocrat Style

I find myself craving for Aristocrat's chicken-barbeque every now and then. I've been looking for and trying out different recipes for a few years now and this is the ultimate!

This is the 2nd time we've tried this recipe. The first time was a big of a flop because
(1) I was too impatient and didn't want to wait to 2 days before grilling the chicken. It turned out too bland.
(2) We didn't have peanut butter at home and wasn't able to make the Java sauce.

Today's try was perfect! special thanks to _TS who posted her Yaya's Philippine-style Chicken BBQ recipe on [Eating Club] Vancouver.

_TS's Yaya's Barbequed Pork

1 big head garlic, crushed
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
4 tbsp. soy sauce
4 tbsp. sugar
1 7-up or Sprite
10 pcs. calamansi (substituted lime juice)
3 to 4 pcs chicken leg quarters. or 1 kg. pork, sliced thin into 1-1/2" pcs. (shoulder butt)

Mix all ingredients together including the pork/chicken. Marinate pork overnight in the refrigerator, if using chicken, marinate for 2 days.

Basting Sauce:
To make the basting sauce, use some of the marinade, add catsup, worcestershire sauce, a touch of oil and adjust the sugar and soy sauce levels. Heat the sauce in a pan and cook until it is thickened. Baste the bbq on the grill.

Peanut sauce
Use some of the marinade and add the same things above (not so much ketchup, though) plus some peanut butter*. Heat this to cook the marinade and make the mixture smooth. Serve peanut sauce with your chicken barbeque.

* this was why I made my own peanut butter

Naruto fan

I love talking to my nephews on the phone but the little one's attention span is so short.
He usually says "Hi" then follows it up with an update of his favorite anime show, Naruto, and then gives the phone to someone else.

I do want to keep him on the phone longer, but I think I would need to read about or watch more anime these days. He keeps asking me who my favorite character is and each time, all I can come up with is "how about you ? who's your favorite ?" and then when he answers, I'll respond with a "hey, he's my favorite too!". This used to work a while back but he asks more questions now and I can't fool him anymore, haha!

I am starting to put together an action plan, starting with Naruto, then Bleach Manga. I better drag hubby into this too as he's always been an Anime and Manga fan. Sometimes, he would even feel the need to point out that he liked DragonBall Z even before it started showing in the Philippines and everyone else started liking it too.

I think I might just start with watching a show or two and go on from there. I figure, if I could pick up enough character names or some specific scenes in some episodes, I might be able to talk about it more and longer with my nephew.

What do you think ? Does this sound like a good plan ?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Where does it go ?

I initiated a bank to bank transfer Tuesday night and was notified that it takes 3 days for this transaction to get completed. By Wednesday morning, the funds have already been deducted from the source account (Account1) but there is no indication of any pending deposits for the destination account (Account2).

I'm not really worried because I've done this lots of times before and my $ always gets there eventually. I just feel a bit cheated because I do know that transfers are done electronically nowadays and it takes less than a second to complete the transaction. Don't tell me that they just record the transaction and have to wait for the actual cash to get transferred.

So, the question is, for the 3 days that my funds disappear (neither in Account1 or Account2) who gets it ? Where does it go ? Does my bank get temporary "custody" of my money and invests it somewhere and earns from it ?

Can anybody explain this to me ?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


My mom and I were on the phone for a couple of hours today. She was telling me stories about friends and family in Manila and I was trying to get caught up with all the happenings since I left - all those things that I missed.

I have been posting a lot about babies recently and one story caught my attention again. It seems like a distant relative on my father's side's adopted daughter fell in love with a guy who's a drug addict. She got pregnant and eloped with the guy when her belly grew too big to be hidden. When she was about to give birth, she called up my Mom and pretended to be sick, she was asking for money for a goiter operation that she claimed to need. Mom, unaware of her situation, agreed to help but wanted to bring her to the hospital to make sure that she gets good treatment. She refused and never showed up to claim the money that she asked for.

Eventually, we found out that she was trying to raise funds so that she could give birth. She now has a daughter who looks a lot like her, her parents have since found her and convinced her to come back home. The bad news is that the guy she was with has influenced her to use drugs and she is now addicted. Her family has put her in one of those rehab centers and hopes that she can get out soon.

I feel so bad about her and am wondering what happened and how things progressed to this point. She was doing so well in her studies and even graduated from her Physical Therapy course with honors - Magna Cum Laude - and made her (adopted) family so proud.

Back when I was still based in Manila, I would see her once a year during All-Saints-Day when we made our rounds to visit the graves of our relatives who have passed away. She always struck me as a sensible girl and the last time I saw her, she was telling me about her plans of going to medical school and immigrating to the US eventually.

Now, she's in rehab :(

Monday, January 12, 2009


An old student of mine my Girl Scouting days found me on Friendster and left me a message a week ago. We've been exchanging emails since then and I've found out that a lot of things happened since I last saw her when she was in grade school.

She now has a 1 year old boy but unfortunately, her relationship with the father & his family did not work out. My first thought was that she was too young to have undergone such an experience. But then again, at 25 ? Maybe not. She does sound mentally & emotionally equipped to handle her situation - at least, that's the impression I get from her emails.

I also got some news from her about her other batchmates. Professionals na sila :)

Anyway, this piece of news about my former student saddened me. I find myself greatly affected whenever I hear about someone getting pregnant out of wedlock nowadays. I'm sure that most of these women - while they're perfectly happy with their little ones in their lives now - would much rather have done it differently if they had a choice. But that's just me.


edit: Okay, I just underwent a procedure to check out my insides (HSG). I realize that this is partly the reason behind my slight depression when I wrote this post earlier.

Doc tells me that everything is normal and that got a huge sigh of relief out of me.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Shot on the Spot Tag

I've been tagged by Berry and I was supposed to take a picture of myself right there and then and post it without editing.

So here I am at 8am in the morning. Thankfully, I've just come back from an early morning appointment at the laboratory (blood test at 7am) so I had already brushed my teeth and run a brush through my hair. *whew*

Oh and for those who has not seen me in a while, this is my new 'do. Mom and sis dragged me off to their favorite Korean hairdresser and got me a haircut. The first time I saw myself in the mirror after the haircut, I thought I looked like a boy. Now that it's grown out a bit more, I love my hair na, especially how it looks when I've just woken up and have NOT combed my hair (yeah, it's much nicer if I do not brush my hair).

Here are the rules:
1. DON'T change your clothes.
2. DON'T fix your hair.
3. Just take a picture.
4. Post that picture with NO editing.
5. Tag 10 people to do this.

This is such an old tag and I see that my blogger friends have already done this so I'm not going to tag anyone anymore. If you feel like doing this, please feel free to snag this and do leave a message to let me know.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Welcome 2009!

Ah, my first post of the year :) *smiles*

I've been staring at my monitor and keyboard for a few minutes, trying to figure out how to sum up two weeks in a single post and couldn't come up with an answer. I guess I'll just update you guys popcorn-style and by that, I mean writing things down as I remember them.

We started our 2 week vacation with a quickie trip to the west coast to visit my folks. We kept this trip hush-hush because we planned to surprise our friends with a visit too. Unfortunately, I came down with the flu during the trip, I started feeling sore and achy at the airport. By the middle of the flight, I started having chills and couldn't take it anymore (hubby has been giving me massages) and asked the flight attendants for aspirin.

This bout with the flu lasted the entire 10 days that we were in California. I'm still disappointed that we weren't able to visit friends.

Everything went by in a blur - mostly due to the medication that I've been taking for the fever, aches, cough and cold. Hubby has been taking such good care of me - massages, medicines and pitching in for the chores at my sister's place. I am blessed.

We got back to NJ on a red-eye flight and made it home in time for a short nap before we hied off to the Villareals' place for New Year dinner. All in all, getting to spend time with family & friends, we had a wonderful Christmas season.

How was yours ?