Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thursday Thirteen 05/27/2010

This week went by superfast.  Too much going on.  Too many calls and appointments to make.  Therefore, on with the Thirteen.

1.  I baked Blondies.  I saw a recipe for Congo bars but that particular recipe called for 1 pound of brown sugar and THAT did not appeal to me, so I found a better recipe for Blondies.  Wanna see?

2.  We hung out at Adventure Plex again.  My husband won a “Buy One, Get One Free” admission and we had limited time to use it.  I think I like that place more than the kids because they play basketball with my hubby while I sit down and read.  My plan worked!

3.  I also made Raspberry Lemon Whoopie Pies.  Those were very, very good and very easy to make.  Take a peek:

Raspberry lemon whoopie pie-5
4.  My husband tried to burn down the house yesterday!  Well, sort of.  Eh, not really.  He did, however, leave a quesadilla in a pan with the burner still on and went on his merry way to work while I was in the shower wondering why the house smelled like someone was cooking.  Let’s just say that if there were a Cajun Blackened quesadilla, my husband made it.

5.  Thank you to those who voted for my son in the Adventure Plex photo contest.  He didn’t win, but we got a goodie bag as a consolation prize.  I’m glad I didn’t mention it to him.  He would have had a meltdown.

6.  I took my son to a gymnastics class.  He’s taken it before, but this time we’re going to enroll him in the gymnastics camp.  The coach wanted to see how much he remembered, and according to her he did really well.  I’m very excited for him.  He has so much energy and I think it would be a nice change of pace for  him.

7.  I made Beef Caldereta, in case you didn’t see my last blog.  My husband is really enjoying the weekend cooking.  Not that he didn’t before, but he gets more Filipino food now.

8.  As I type this my son is home sick.  Poor guy has been coughing the past few days.  He had a rough Monday so I kept him home on Tuesday and sent him back to school yesterday.  I was up all night with him.  He couldn’t sleep, woke up hungry, woke up coughing.  It was not a good night.  I hope he gets better soon.  Oh, and he’s also eating a small bag of Lay’s chips.  The only “junk food” in the house because I said he can have this month.

9.    I’m waiting for a check for $58.00 on all the recalled Children’s Tylenol and Motrin I had.  If you need more info and want to get in on it click here.

10.  In case you didn’t know, Lost is over and so is my interest in television now that it is.  Well, except for Grey’s.  So far, Friends and Lost are the only two shows that have never lost my interest.  Now, I don’t know what to watch, but then again summer is coming and who wants to be stuck inside!

11.  I read this and it made me giggle so I thought I’d share:  “Beauty always comes from within; within jars, tubs and compacts.”

12.  Speaking of beauty, my daughter is singing in her music class.  That’s not usually a problem, but it becomes one when she gets up in the middle of class to start dancing to and singing her own made up song.  It’s hilarious!

13.  I received a hand written note from a Nordstrom employee thanking me for making my purchase with them (I bought a scarf and a headband).  It was a Nordstrom note card, which was nice, but I thought it was a little weird.  Apparently they have my address!  I will say, it was a nice, albeit eerie, touch.  I feel like they’re watching me and my shopping habits.  Ha ha ha!

Alright, I think that’s enough for now.  Have a wonderful and safe Memorial Day Weekend.  If you plan on drinking please do not drive.  That is selfish and irresponsible and if you do I’m going to hope you get pulled over!

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Weekend Dish: Beef Caldereta

Ah, it's that time again; Saturday, when my house is filled with the tantalizing smell of a Filipino dish simmering in the kitchen.  This week I chose Beef Caldereta.  It's a beef dish (duh) stewed in a tomato based sauce.  I called my grandpa for tips on this one because I LOVED when he made it and I wanted to replicate it as much as possible.

Marinate for at least 2 hours.  During the last 20 minutes of marinating prep your other ingredients and sauté your onions.  If doing this on the stovetop you’ll have a cooking time of 1 to 1.5 hours.

Using a slow cooker there is no need to marinate, though you can if you’d like and your prep time is 15 minutes with a cooking time of 6-8 hours depending on your slow cooker (please refer to your user manual.)

Here are your ingredients:
Beef Caldereta-1
My hubby chopped these for me:DSC_1681

My hubby cut these for me:DSC_1680  
Marinade (optional, see note above):
  • 2 Tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, cracked or pepper to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 pounds of boneless beef sirloin
Marinate 2 lbs of beef sirloin for at least 2 hours, no more than 4.

The rest of the ingredients:
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil (1 Tablespoon to fry beef prior to simmering and the other for sautéing the onions)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt or to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium sized tomato, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 cups green olives, drained
  • 1/2 cup sweet red pepper slices (I didn’t use any because I didn’t have it.)
  • 2 cups of water (unless using a slow cooker, which in this case you only need to add 1/4 to 1/2 a cup of water)
  • 1-2 hot chili peppers (optional, I used a pinch of red pepper flakes)
  • 1/4 cup of Sharp Cheddar cheese, or more if you're like me! (optional)
  • 1-2 cups of rice
Cook rice according to package

(Optional step) Fry beef over medium high-heat in 1 Tablespoon of olive oil.

Sauté onions in 1 Tablespoon of olive oil for one minute.  Add beef pieces, tomato, tomato paste, water, sugar, bay leaf and a little salt.  Cover pan, bring to a boil and let simmer over medium low heat for 1 hour or until meat is tender, stirring occasionally.  Add green olives and chili peppers (or red pepper flakes if using) and continue to simmer for 8 more minutes.  Remove from heat, add sweet pepper slices and cheddar cheese and cover for 1-2 more minutes.

Serve over warm steamed rice.

I chose to do this dish in a slow cooker, as suggested by my grampapa.  I chose not to brown the meat and just sautéed the onions with a little garlic then threw EVERYTHING at once into the slow cooker and let it cook on high for 6 hours.


It came out yummy!  See:

It didn’t taste quite like my grandfather’s.  It was missing that Grandfatherly love and I definitely can’t duplicate that.

Happy cooking (and eating)!

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Weekend Dish: Chicken Adobo

First, let me thank everyone who sent me ideas for the title of this blog segment.  I had a lot of great ones and it was hard to decided which one to choose, right up to the very end!  My hubby came up with this one.  So, thanks hon!  My other favorite was "Balikbayan Blog" conjured up by my Aunt Mare.  It was funny and witty.  My husband pointed out though, that only a Filipino or someone with a lot of Filipino connections would get it.  I also liked "A bite of P.I. (Philippine Islands) but we nixed that one for the same reason.  We agreed on "The Weekend Dish".  Plus, whenever I do something instead of Filipino food, I can still use that same title!

Now, on with the Chicken Adobo.
I chose a simple dish because I've been craving it for awhile and it was the first dish I thought of when I contemplated starting this blog segment.

Here are your ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 lbs chicken pieces, cut into serving pieces ( I used a combination of boneless, skinless thighs and breast, and drumettes)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon soy sauce (play around with the vinegar to soy sauce ratio.  You can do this by pouring into a bowl and tasting before adding it to the pan.  My mom likes a 2:1 ratio, respectively.  I like a little more soy sauce.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns, cracked (I didn't have any, so I just used ground pepper to taste)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Vegetable oil for frying (optional)
  • 1-2 cups short grain white rice (I usually have brown, but I just can't have adobo with brown rice)

Cook rice according to package directions.

Combine all ingredients in deep pan, coating chicken pieces evenly with spices.  Wanna see it?  Here ya go:

Bring it all to a boil over medium heat, then lower heat to medium low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes until chicken is tender and cooked through.  (If you're using boneless, skinless chicken breasts I would add those pieces during the last 15 minutes so they don't dry out.)  Occasionally, gently turn the chicken over while it is simmering.

This next step is optional.  I didn't do it because I was hungry!  When chicken is done simmering, turn heat off, remove chicken pieces and pan fry them (this is where the vegetable oil comes in).  Brown chicken on both sides.  If you want you can skim any fat from the sauce before adding the chicken pieces back to it and serving over rice.  If you don't want to pan fry it, then just serve over cooked rice and enjoy!
You can also do this in a slow cooker.  Add all ingredients to the slow cooker, making sure all the chicken is coated thoroughly and it evenly covers the bottom of the slow cooker insert.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high 4-5 hours (refer to your slow cooker manual) and serve over hot cooked rice.

The finished product.
It doesn't look "pretty", but I really don't know how else to plate this dish.  It's simple and tasty and that's all that mattered to me when making it.  That and that my kids would like it.  Which they did.  We all got our grub on!
Happy cooking (and eating)!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Thursday Thirteen 05/13/2010

Gaah!  I drafted this last night but forgot to come back and post it! 

Has it been a week already?  It goes by much too fast these days.  Guess I better hurry and get to this week's thirteen.  It covers a couple of weeks:

1.  My Mother's Day weekend was nice.  I say weekend, well because one day isn't enough!  A mom's work is never done.  We went out to dinner on Saturday evening.  Then on Sunday after church we just hung out and my husband cooked my favorite pasta dish for me.  It was a relaxing weekend.

2.  I had to ground my son for the first time ever.  He didn't quite understand it and really, it was just an extended time out.  He hit someone at school!  Actually, he hit his behaviorist.  Tsk, tsk.  Either way, he was "grounded" from any tv or computer and had to stay in his room until daddy got home.  He handled it well, considering it wasn't just a time out.  I told him that it can get longer if he keeps up the inappropriate behavior.

3.  My daughter is doing better and is over her infection.  She's back on daily antibiotics though, which I'm not too excited about.  This new antibiotic has side effects that a 2 year old can't express she's experiencing.  I'm keeping a closer eye on her.

4.  Despite my son's hitting episode, he came home with two spelling tests with every word correct!  Two weeks in a row.  I'm very proud of him.  Most of the time he'll get 1 or 2 wrong, which still isn't bad, but we've made some changes when it comes to his testing and it seems to work.

5.  I got my haircut!  Nothing exciting.  I wanted to go shorter but my stylist wanted to keep it long.  I trust him with my hair, so I let him do what he wants.  I did, however, speak too soon when I thought he was almost done and asked him to cut my bangs shorter.  It ended up being too short.  It's finally "settling" down.  Next time I'll make sure he's done before I say anything.

6.  I've been using my slow cooker a lot lately.  I found a new cookbook, Make It Fast, Cook It Slow.  So far, it's been pretty good.  It makes dinner much simpler.  Check out the author's blog :

7.  I've increased my running pace!  I run 3x week, but I've thrown in some interval runs and those have helped me increase my base pace.  Which means, I can run a race faster.  Not that I'm very fast to begin with.  I'm short, with short legs, hence a short stride.  Now, if I were 5'7" I might be able to run 8 mph, but alas, I'm barely 5 feet!  I'd have to work really hard to get that fast.  REALLY hard.  Thankfully, I don't care about being fast.  I just like to run.  I'm running a 11 minute mile right now.  Told you I was slow!  At that pace I'll never qualify for the Boston Marathon, which is the only reason I'd want to pick up my pace.  Maybe when my daughter starts school I can do more focused training.

8.  I found a summer program for my son that requires me to win the lotto!  It's an academic program that is focused and fun.  Seriously, it would be so good for him because it's geared toward kids with special needs and it is individualized, so it's not like he's just thrown into a room and all the kids are doing the same thing.  They even do neurogenic testing.  The cost?  $6800.00 for TWO hours 5 days a week.  I literally started looking for a part time job when I got that news.  It's $9500.00 if I want him there for 4 hours.  I'm still looking for a part time job AND playing the lotto.

9.  My husband bought me the most gorgeous purple orchids!  I wish I had taken a picture.  It was a wonderful surprise to open the door and see him holding them.  I just wish they'd last longer.  Even the kids were surprised.  I'm not a roses kind of gal, so my husband doesn't always have the opportunity to bring home flowers for me.  They made my day

10.  My daughter is talking.  A lot.  A whole lot.  The other day I told her it was time to get her brother and she replied with, "Okay.  I wanna drive."  Oh, and she's always asking, "Mommy, what's that?"  Which is great.  I love that she's so curious!

11.  Congrats to 10x Desserts for a successful show at the Handmade Revolution.  Such wonderful looking (and I'm sure delicious) treats.

12.  I'm not a big coffee drinker (I prefer water or tea) but I discovered a scrumptious Raspberry Mocha form Peets Coffee.  OMGoodness.  Franky, I think I like it because the raspberry syrup has sugar, and well, I don't have sugar often, so this mocha is my "guilty" pleasure.  Still, sugar and caffeine are sometimes an awesome combo!

13.  Last, but not absolutely not least, my son got an All Star award for the month of April!  He was so excited to show me when I picked him up.  I'm so very proud of him.  He was even given a little button that says he's an All Star.  Awesome!

Okay, that's it other than the fact that I'm currently dealing with insomnia!  I think it's because there isn't enough hours in the day and there's so much that I want to do and so much that needs to be done.  Oh, well.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, May 10, 2010

And the winner is

NO ONE! Yet!

I didn't get to cook Saturday night because I forgot we were going out for my Mother's Day dinner that evening. Instead of cooking I enjoyed some prime rib and lobster (mostly lobster!) and a decadent slice of chocolate cake. Needless to say, I did not eat clean, but it was sooo worth it!

With that said, there's still time to submit your ideas for my new blog segment. I'll choose one and post it next Monday. Check back later this week for a Thursday Thirteen!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thursday Thirteen - Mother's Day Special 05/07/2010

In honor of Mother's Day this Sunday, I thought I would write the thirteen things I love about being a mom or what I love about my kids. I didn't get to do a Thirteen last week because my daughter was sick with a kidney infection. Poor girl. She had been on antibiotics since she was 9 months old, but her urologist wanted to try and stop them. Well, three weeks later she ended up with an infection, so she's back on them! Anyway, thank God she wasn't hospitalized as she was when she was 6 months old. I know the signs to look for and it was caught in time. Still, no fun for her and no rest for me.

Anyway, on with the Thirteen!

1. I love that when my son gets a snack for himself while his baby sister is napping, he leaves some in a bowl for her to have when she wakes up.

2. I love that both my both my kids say please and thank you. Always. And people notice, which I think is a bit sad because they comment on how polite my kids are and I wonder what kind of kids do they deal with? Aren't 8 and 2 year olds supposed to be polite?

3. I love that after I pick my son up from school, my daughter just HAS to do homework like her brother.

4. I love that when I workout they know what type of workout I'm going to do by the clothes and shoes I'm sporting and they try and do the moves with me. It makes me laugh when I'm donning my running shoes and my son asks me, "Are you going to do intervals?" or when my daughter asks, "Go for a run?".

5. I love when my son comes up to me, gives me a hug and says, "Mommy, you're my best friend."

6. I love when my daughter is sitting next to me and stops what she's doing to look up and me and say, "Hi, Monny." and then leans her head on me. And yes, she calls me "Monny". Not mommy. I like to think she's calling me "money" and "mommy" in one. Hee-hee.

7. I love the snacks theses kids have and that I get to try them! Yes, one of my jobs as their mom is to make sure their snacks are not only healthy, but tasty.

8. I love that I get to bake fun stuff and they get to taste. Well, not my baby girl. She's too small to have all that sugar. She gets a nibble of a cookie every now and then though.

9. I love that whenever my daughter is talking on her pretend phone and I ask her who she's talking to she answers, "Papa!". That's my dad. It's always Papa on the phone.

10. I love that my son prays with me in the morning and then prays for everyone before bed. Sometimes, he takes it upon himself to say prayers for those with extra needs.

11. I love how excited my son gets about dinner. Especially if there's fresh tomatoes involved. He jumps for joy. Literally.

12. I love how my baby girl holds her hand up like one of the Supremes when she says, "Stop!". I have no idea where she got it from.

13. I love that God has blessed me with these two kids. I love that despite their special needs they are so, so happy and it shows where ever we go. It is not always easy. But nothing worthwhile ever is.

Happy Mother's Day to my mom. I love you. Thank you for your strength and love that continues to empower me.

Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there. Take a day for yourself, alone, to relax and rejuvenate. It's just one day from the other 364 days a year you're "on the job". Enjoy it, guilt free.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Something new

Whew! What a week. I know I didn't do a Thirteen last week. Sorry. I'll fill you in as to why on this week's Thirteen so be sure to check back!

Anyhooo, most people who know me know that I love to cook and bake. I especially love to plan meals for the week. You can find me on my couch on a late Friday or Saturday night surrounded by my trusty cookbooks or the latest foodie magazine with pen and paper in hand (Yes, I know...exciting, isn't it?). I'll list the meals (mostly for my son because he always asks what's for dinner) and then make the shopping list.

However, I find that I don't really know what to cook on Saturday night. After cooking 4-5 days during the week I blank when it comes to Saturday. I think it's because for awhile there we would go out to eat on Saturday simply because we were out and about anyway. Now, though, we're trying to cut back on expenses and decided that we would only eat out once a week, no more than twice. That means I have to come up with another meal to cook.

With that said, I've decided to make a Filipino dish every Saturday night and come Monday, blog about it. Why Filipino? Well, for one...duh! I am a Filipina! Second, I'd like my kids to have it. I grew up with my parents and grandparents cooking those yummy dishes and I want my kids to be able to experience that as well. I'm already bummed that they can't speak Tagalog and may never understand any of it (I can't speak it but I can understand it). So, this is the least I can do.

But wait, there's more! I need YOUR help. I need you to help me title this new blog segment. So, please comment below with your ideas. Think about it....your title can be here every Monday for all to see ;-) Lol. Okay, maybe not all, but hey you can take pride in knowing that you helped me out. Every Monday I'll use the title and then put the name of the dish. For example:

"GOOD FOOD -Lumpia"

Send your ideas my way via the comment link under this post (you can even do so anonymously). Check back next Monday for the "winner".