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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Welcome 2012!

We have so much to be thankful for the past year. It may not be the best year for us but Tibs and I both agree that every year since we've been married just gets better and better. So for 2012, we remain optimistic. Things will be better. Our plans (one-by-one) will eventually fall into its proper place. 

For now, let me just post this greeting before the first day of the new year comes to a close. 2011 was riddled with so much tragedies our fervent hope is for everyone affected to finally be able to get back on their feet and move on. 


L-R (clockwise): my handmade ornament, souvenir shot from MOA Snow Village,
another photo from the MOA Snow Village and a recent project I made with the kids.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Recipe/My-Take: Cheesy Garlic Dip

At a recent salo-salo at the office, a colleague prepared this really good taco cheese sauce. It was a hit that everyone asked for her recipe. Last Christmas I tried making my version. I just tweaked her recipe to incorporate the things we like (re: herbs + lots of garlic).

Just the right consistency. Not too runny. Not too thick
My version made use of:

  • 1 cup of filled evaporated milk (I used Angel for this one)
  • about a cup of cubed cheese (I used Cheezee)
  • about 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • chopped parsley
  • fresh tarragon
  • freshly cracked pepper (we only have black but white would be better)

How I did it:

1. Heat milk in low fire.
2. Add in the garlic and cheese.
3. Whisk till cheese has fully melted.
4. Add in the herbs and black pepper (if needed).
5. Enjoy!!!!

This recipe yielded about a cup and a half of cheese dip/sauce. My little girl enjoyed it so much she won't eat her taco if it's not overflowing with cheese. Here's a photo of the soft taco we assembled last Christmas. We just used the ready mixed seasoning from McCormick when we cooked the beef and chopped a variety of veggies that we like - tomatoes, cucumber, iceberg lettuce, bell peppers.

store bought tortilla bursting at the seams when rolled
i sneaked in some carrots when we cooked the beef filling. sneaky mommy! hehe

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Christmas!

Just wanted to post our Christmas greeting before the clock strikes midnight.

I'm off to busy myself in the kitchen in a few minutes to prepare our simple Noche Buena feast. Our menu for tonight is:

- My spicy spanish sardine pasta (I'll be using spaghetti tonight and topping it with kesong puti)
- Ham and Quezo De Bola
- Fruit Salad (I wanted to prepare a fresh one but I was sleep-deprived from our family Christmas party last night and went to the grocery without a shopping list. Not a good idea)
- Grilled Salmon Steak + Steamed Veggies (Brocolli + Carrots + Corn). My mom bought us some fresh salmon steak a few days ago and the steak still looks perfect so we're having that for dinner tonight.

I planned on making a stuffed chicken roll also but forgot to buy some strings so I am shelving that and will probably just cook it tomorrow or the next day when we have some relatives over. I'm still looking for the recipe that would fit my goal which is to serve something healthy but savory chicken dish. I got some chicken breast fillet from the grocery this morning and I wanted to either broil the chicken or boil it. I'll see if I can put together my own recipe from the ones I see online.

Have to rush now. What's on your noche buena menu tonight? Care to share?

Monday, December 19, 2011

My Running Story

I am a running momma.

Initially, I took up running because I thought that would be a great bonding activity for me and my husband. Way back 2009, I just ran a couple of laps with him during his trainings. His buddies were already hooked in the sport and were able to get him to join them.

I was never athletic. I used to be quite good at playing badminton but since Tibs and I got married that chapter of our life got shelved. When I gave birth though and failed to breastfeed, I knew I had to find a way to lose the excess poundage and the fat that was starting to pile up in my mid-section. This encouraged me even more to try running. So I did. I ran with my husband.

I ran with no pressure. There were days I can't get past 10mins and would be huffing and puffing and eventually walking. But I kept going. Then our triathlete friends challenged me and encouraged me to join races. My first race was a 3k which I painfully finished at 35mins. It was a very lousy first time PR and I think I only ran for 1k straight and walked the remaining 2 kilometers. But that felt good already and I was just really glad I was able to cross the finish line then.

I continued running with the hubby. We didn't have a training plan but we just ran when our schedules would permit. The first time I ran I thought running was just that. You put on some shoes, run and then sweat it out. What I didn't know was that running could give you this certain high. And you start craving for that. After that first race, I wanted to join more. And I was bent on making a good PR.

So on Feb 2010, I signed up for my first 'real' race - a 5k. I registered a time of 36mins when I reached the finished line. Not bad the guys said. But I could definitely do better. I should run more often and come up with a better training plan. That was when I started reading and aiming for better PRs. On March that same year, I ran another 5k and finally finished at a better time - 32mins. I was 2 mins shy of my goal of running 5k at sub-30. I ran another 5k race around June but I never got to beat that 32min PR.

I decided to train for 10k after that third 5k race. Last year July 2010, I ran my first 10k but did not bother to check my time. All I wanted and dreamed was to cross the finish line and I was just so happy I did. I ran three more 10k races after that then just this August, I braced myself and signed up for my first 16k.  The first 10k felt really good. I felt invincible. We stuck to our 7min race pace. But the remaining 6k was a different story altogether. The route proved to be hilly and quite steep for my amateur knees. And as I was nearing the finish line, I could feel my calf muscles twitching already. Almost nearing a cramp attack. I alternated walking and running but knew I just can't give up with only 1k left. So I finished my first 16k but it took me 2 hours and 7 minutes to do it. I still got a big pat on the back from our runner friends. Not everyone has the guts to run 16k after all, they told me.  That was 10miles and I survived!!!!!

Running has become more of a passion for me now. It has brought me a certain level of addiction that probably most 'runners' can relate to. There are times when I'd listen to my running playlist and I'd wish I can run my way to the office instead of taking the daily commute. Sometimes when I'd feel stressed out at work, I'd wish I can put on my shoes and run a few laps first just to let the bad vibes out.

Since September I have been training for my first half marathon. It took me a long time to find the courage to try my hand at this but with proper training I know I can do this. Here is the training plan that I am currently following. Even if we still have a lot of mileage to cover, I am confident my preparation will help me reach the finish line. I still aim to finish strong (by my standards of course).

Beginner's Half Marathon Training Schedule

Yes I'm a running momma. Squeezing in training hours are always difficult especially if you have an adorable kid begging for you to stay and play but I am quite passionate at pursuing this because I know that this is a way for me to keep myself fit and strong for my family.  One of these days, I know this adorable kid will be running with us too!

"if you want to live long, walk. If you want to live longer, run."

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Tree Is Up!

This tree has been standing in our living room for almost a month now but we didn't light it up till last weekend since it felt bare then and I was hoping to fill it up with A LOT of handmade ornaments

Fast forward to four weeks after Tibs finished wrapping the tree up with 6 rolls of garland, my holiday project was only able to produce 25 pieces of handmade ornaments. What I deemed to be something simple and easy turned out to be a lot more tedious to make that I'd imagined. Since we only have 12 days left before Christmas, I've resigned and decided to just content myself with whatever I was able to finish. What matters after all is we were able to achieve our goal - that is to come up with a tree that is both storage and budget-friendly. The handmade part was just a bonus that spurred from what was supposed to be just a weekend project for me and Maia which eventually got me hooked.

Anyways, without further ado, I present to you -- Our Christmas Tree!

(I am apologizing in advance for the chop chop look because I do not know how to 'merge' the photos using a photo software other than Picnik. Poor me)

Pretty Tree, Pretty Tree
You definitely brightened our Holiday!

Update: My Holiday Project - More Handmade Ornaments

I have to warn you. This is just a photo post. I just feel so proud I was able to make all of these so I'm making a separate post for the other ornaments that I was able to finish for the past two weeks. These just got me hooked on sewing. Now I'm dreaming big and planning to make more hand-sewn items even after Christmas. (Thinking of making toys for the little girl actually)

These were really pretty easy to do.
The challenge is coming up with nice embellishments.
I really will have to give credit to Pinterest for all wonderful ideas being shared over there.

The christmas ball was really fun to make. I got the design inspiration after seeing the Mister Donut billboard over at EDSA. I wanted to make more but I had limited colors of the felt fabric and didn't want to duplicate each ornament so I settled for this.  At least this is all making me look forward to next Christmas! :)

This star ornament is one of Maia's favorites. 
These ones were fresh from this weekend. I recently stumbled upon the pattern for the bell, candycane and santa's hat and thought they'd make interesting ornaments too. Maia says we are almost complete with Santa's wardrobe and is asking for me to make Santa's beard as well. I might just reserve that one for next Christmas too. (making a mental note here)

So there! I don't think I'll be making more ornaments since the coming days are going to be busy already. I will be just showing photos of our tree on the next post :)

Thanks for taking time to look at my creations!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Recipe: Hearty Sausage and Tomato Macaroni Soup

Tibs loves this soup very much! 
I first made this soup using shell-shaped pasta (it looks better for this recipe) but today I only had macaroni in our pantry so I used that instead. This is one of my hubby's favorites well mainly because it has sausage which is one of his favorite comfort foods. Well, next to fried chicken of course (men will always be men - hehe).

This is another perfect wake upper to a rainy morning. I wish I had my homemade marinara sauce in stock when I made this soup this morning because it would have just been perfect. But tomatoes are quite expensive these days so I wasn't able to stock up on the sauce. Anyways, I'll just post an 'upgraded' version when I re-do this recipe using my marinara sauce. Moving on to the recipe.

You will need:

200g cooked macaroni
2 pieces sausage, chopped into bite size pieces (I used hungarian for this recipe)
1/2 of a medium sized white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 cups chicken stock (I used pasta water in lieu of the stock)
fresh italian oregano + basil, chopped coarsely (i used about a stem of italian oregano and about 6 pcs of basil leaves)
2 tsps tomato paste
1/2 cup tomato sauce
salt + pepper to taste

What I did:

1. Saute onion and garlic till translucent.
2. Add in the sausage and cook for about 5 minutes.
3. Add in the tomato paste. Pour half of the water/stock to dilute. 
4. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10mins.
5. Add in the cooked pasta and tomato sauce. 
6. Season according to taste and simmer for another 5 minutes.
7. Take out from the heat and garnish with fresh herbs. 
8. Serve with a SMILE.

This recipe can feed 4-6 hungry stomachs. This will go best with some toasted garlic bread, too!


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Happy 55th, Daddy!

He taught me to stand for what is right and fight for it. He taught me the real meaning of compassion. He taught me to be critical and study my options before making important decisions.

We might disagree in a lot of issues and he may not be the perfect Dad but he sure was the best teacher my siblings and I ever had. He was never demonstrative but I know his love for his family is unwavering.

Happy birthday Daddy! Thank you for teaching us to keep seeking for perfection. Thank you for teaching us not to settle.

By the way, Maia picked flowers for you this morning!

She is a Lolo's girl,  I can tell.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Making Progress: My Holiday Project

I'm happy to announce that I've made progress on the holiday project that I planned to do for this year. I bought a few supplies (just 3 yards of different colors each - Beige, Red and Green of felt fabric/cloth, a few packs of craft buttons and a few yards of satin ribbons) from the crafts store in SM Makati last week and started doing the handmade ornaments last Sunday while Tibs was setting up our tree.

I aimed to finish at least 10 ornaments in a day but I underestimated the hand-sewing that this activity entailed. Despite that, I'm really glad to report that I was able to finish 5 ornaments already! I've cut up a few more tree and star patterns last night and I'm hoping to finish at least 3 more tonight. I also need to get more supplies of lace, ribbons and buttons but so far, I'm really enjoying this craft thingy. I'm quite surprised to see that these hands are actually capable of creating something pretty. Maia also proudly claims that it's also her project and I'm very happy to be sharing it with her.

Anyways, without further ado, I present to you some of my handiwork :) I get my inspirations mostly from Pinterest but I was also able to pull a couple more cute designs and patterns from various websites in the internet.

These were the first 3 ornaments that I finished last Sunday.
Sorry I forgot to take step-by-step photos. But these are really pretty easy to do. Surprisingly. And I tell you, I'm really not the Martha Stewart-ish kind when it came to arts and crafts so if I can do it, you sure can too!

cardboard patterns at the bottom of the box and christmas tree cut outs
on top which are now ready to be sewn together.
The Basic Stuff - Felt Fabric and a print out of a pattern
Our Tiny Slim Tree (thanks again Marj for the inspiration)
Ornaments Up In The Tree! Yipee!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Saturday At The Dapitan Arcade

We were blessed with really good weather that day.
Last Saturday, Tibs and I seized the wonderfully nice weather and trooped over to the Dapitan Arcade in Manila. It was only our second time there but as always, the place was a treasure trove for people who love local handicrafts and ceramic wares. If I live close to that place, I'd probably be there during weekends scouring for some home decors. 
Festive, colorful candle holders perfect for this season

At this time of the year, Dapitan Arcade mostly showcases holiday items. And we were there for that same purpose. To get ourselves some dainty but cheap items to spruce up and make our tiny home more festive. We armed ourselves with a small budget of P2000 and off we went hunting for items on our list. 

We planned to buy -

1. a 5 to 7-ft slim tree frame (taking inspiration from another n@wie Marj who shared there tree project to the n@w community)
2. enough garlands to wrap on the tree
3. a christmas wreath to hang on our front door
4. extra decors to hang on our tree (since I'm intending to make the ornaments myself this year)

We went home with - 

1. a 5 to 7-ft slim tree frame - CHECK! We were able to score a 7-ft frame for just P500.
2. enough garlands to wrap on the tree - CHECK! We bought 6 packs of 8 ft garland (we used up 5 for the tree and now have an extra one that we can still use in the house). It only cost us P480 (P80/pack)
3. a christmas wreath to hang on our front door - CHECK! And it only cost us P100. It was made of dried grass and some recycled styro balls and ribbons. 
4. extra decors to hang on our tree (since I'm intending to make the ornaments myself this year) - CHECK! We bought tiny angels made of sinamay. I bought an extra pack to give to my American boss as well. Total of which was only P360.
We were able to add 2 dozens of tiny capiz star ornaments (that I have to take photos of) for P220 and a set of horsies made of dried grass for the little girl for P150. 

Total money spent was only P1810. I had to haggle for some of the items we bought and yes, the tinderos and tinderas were generous to give me some of the discounts I asked. Galing ano? 

If you're looking for Christmas gift items, I'd really suggest you visit this place. Your Christmas budget will definitely go a long way here and what's great is it's not as crowded as Divisoria or Baclaran. 

Sadly I wasn't able to take photos of most of the items we bought but here's a glimpse of our tree (Tibs already wrapped the garland around it), of the horseys that really won the little girl's heart and the tiny li'l angels. This trip was so worth it. And I'm planning to go back there for last minute Christmas gift shopping (I'm really a crammer, you see).

7-ft tree standing tall in our tiny living room
Two of the many version of Angel Ornaments that we came across in Dapitan Arcade

These horseys immediately won Maia's heart.
Stalls around Dapitan Arcade

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Recipe: Farfalle with Spanish Sardines and Olive Oil

This recipe is actually an offshoot of a co-worker's recipe. Her's had fried eggplants in it but since my family is not very fond of eggplants (even more of the fried kind) I decided to omit and load on garlic instead which they really love. This was again experimental since it was my first time to try the recipe but I'm glad that it turned out great. I served this when some relatives and friends came over to join us for trick or treating in our village and I'm happy they all went home with happy tummies.

What you will need:

350g Farfalle pasta, cooked per package directions
2 small cans of spanish sardines (deboned and flaked using a fork)
1 head of garlic, finely minced
1 medium white onion, chopped finely
5 medium plump tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
about 10pcs of fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
Parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper for seasoning

How I did it:

1. Saute onion, garlic and tomatoes (I do it in this order usually and I make sure I don't burn any of them) in olive oil.
2. Add spanish sardines and the rest of the olive oil.
3. Season. (I skipped this in my recipe because I usually make sure that the pasta is already seasoned well)**
4. Add basil and toss over cooked pasta.
5. Garnish with parmesan cheese.
6. Serve with a smile.

This recipe can feed 6-8 hungry stomachs. And I think this was the first recipe that I cooked where I spent less than P150 to feed that much people.

**By well-seasoned I meant cooking it in pasta water that taste similar to seawater (I got this tip from a cooking show that Cibo owner Margarita Fores once guested in).

Monday, October 24, 2011

My Holiday Project

I've just recently discovered the beauty of this application called Pinterest. I'm starting to get the hand of it (as a matter of fact i'm starting to feel addiction creeping in) and what's great, I was able to create a board for my upcoming Holiday Project.

I'm so looking forward to completing my materials so Maia and I can finally start working on this project. Time to put these hands to good use!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Some Wedding Photos

I was looking at my 2007 entries here and I realized I've never shared photos of our simple, intimate yet very special wedding.

Our wedding was attended by only 58 guests all of which were family and friends all of whom were very close to us. Here is the full wedding story (but please skip you are not up to reading some boring story hehe).

Let me share with some of the photos I was able to dig up from our memory box.

Listening (as if) intently to Fr. Boying's Words of Wisdom

L - R: My dear friends Ces and Toks; Tita Helene giving us marriage tips;
Mommy taking the stage (lolz)
Various photos of us at the reception and leaving the church after the ceremony
Planning a small wedding was not as easy as I had deemed it to be since most weddings suppliers have pegged their packages at 100 pax minimum. But with the help of WeddingsAtWork, I was able find suppliers who were willing to adjust to our needs. They really made my life so much easier.

Here's a rough list of our wedding partners:

Church - Ina Ng Laging Saklolo (Tagaytay)
Reception/Catering/Cake/Flowers - Josephine's

P/V - KJ Rosales/Ross Calahig
HMUA - Am Yap-Joco
Bridal Preps - T-house Tagaytay
Gown - Annalyn's/Divisoria
Barong - La Herminia/Kalibo Aklan
Invites/Gift Tags/Message Cards - Printed Matter
Giveaways - OA Sweets
Rings - Goldenhills Jewelry
Hoodie - Ade Singson of Runway Bride

More wedding photos here and here:

My family minus one sister and her family (she's couldn't travel yet since Gogol was still an infant then)
My in-laws and Tibs' cousins . They were very supportive during the wedding day!

Our close friends from college and from work
Food c/o Josephine's Tagaytay (awesome staff!)
October 20, 2007
Tibs and I enjoying our moment finally as husband and wife!

A Wedding Story (well, of sorts)

Unlike most brides, I was not the kind who had a dream wedding in mind. My parents were married civilly and we were not raised to be the party-going kind. So no, I was never fond of grand events like wedding parties and big birthdays.

But two years into our relationship, Tibs and I knew we wanted to bring our relationship to the next level and start our own family. So started talking about getting married, the first topic of which of course started with THE BUDGET.

Since both of us agree on one thing, that we do not want a big wedding we thought why not settle for a civil ceremony too. We'll just have our immediate families and really close Aunts and Uncles to witness then share a sumptuous lunch after. It seemed like a good idea. My family was agreeable to it.  And so is Tibs'. But I still asked for advices from close relatives and friends. I ended up with mixed reactions. But the closest people to me really wanted that we marry in Church. 

So Tibs and I sat down again and wrote down the pros and cons of having a Church wedding vs. a Civil wedding. In the end, we decided we'll have a Church wedding but a really small, intimate one attended by people closest to us. We wanted a quite one where we can actually sit down, share and exchange stories with our guests. We are not the giddy, soon-to-wed archetype. We only took what was important to us and didn't adapt the traditional wedding program. 

First off, we did away with the elaborate wedding entourage. I have a big family (my mom has 6 siblings + averaging 3 children each) but most of my cousins are still kids I don't think they would really enjoy going thru an entire wedding ceremony. And besides, I really would like to enjoy my wedding day and wouldn't want to be bothered following up my secondary sponsors etc etc. I want to be stress-free on my wedding day. So we only enlisted the help of our Maid Of Honor and Best Man. At the last minute though, my mom requested my youngest sister and brother to join in the wedding march and they were the ones who carried our wedding ceremony accessories. Our Best Man was in charge of our rings. My maid-of-honor worked hand in hand with him till we were done with the ceremony. 

The reception was a strictly for adults affair. So where did all the kids go? My aunt brought them to the nearby Jollibee store where they enjoyed their meals. Then after they were done eating they came to join us for the remaining of the wedding program which was basically mostly just us mingling with them and exchanging stories. We did away with the AVP Presentation, first dance, wine toasting, and bouquet/garter throwing. The cake-cutting we only did for posterity's sake when most of the guests have left. Basically, it went like this: Eat, Laugh, Bye-byes. 

It was a tiring day and was not as stress-free as I'd wanted it to be. There were glitches of course. I guess no wedding would be memorable without them anyways (in my case, it was my mom accidentally burning my bolero just minutes before I was to wear my gown). Am Yap-Joco, my HMUA, was quick to comfort me though. She told me it was just a bolero and I am still gorgeous without it. (It helps to get suppliers who were also hands-on during their wedding preparations)

Despite how crazy the hours before our wedding went, I cried tears of joy  while I was walking down the aisle. I couldn't believe that I was finally a wife! And that all our efforts (we planned our wedding on our own, no coordinators and with minimal help from families and friends) paid off. All of our guests appreciated and complimented the simplicity of our party and how intimate it was. It was a no-frills wedding party and I guess it really echoed our personalities (Tibs and mine). It was exactly how we planned it to be. 

As long as we do things together, challenges just become a lot lighter.
You'll find the rough list of our major suppliers here

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

50 Promises For Marriage

I cannot remember where I got this originally but I'm sure it came from the yahoogroup - WeddingsAtWork - that I used to be a member of when Tibs and I were still preparing for our wedding four years ago. That group was a tremendous help to me when I was planning our wedding. I gained friends and more from that group. But I will talk about that on a separate post.

Meanwhile, going back to the list. I had it printed and posted at the most conspicuous corner of my office cubicle so I always get a good glimpse of it. It serves as a guide and reminder to me. And to Tibs as well. We don't get to follow all of it but somehow it helps us especially when we're getting into each other's nerves already. I'm sharing it again here thinking it could/might benefit other married couples too.

50 Promises for Marriage
By Dr. Steve Stephens
  1. Start each day with a kiss.
  2. Wear your wedding ring at all times.
  3. Date once a week.
  4. Accept differences.
  5. Be polite.
  6. Be gentle.
  7. Give gifts.
  8. Smile often.
  9. Touch.
  10. Talk about dreams.
  11. Select a song that can be "our song".
  12. Give back rubs.
  13. Laugh together.
  14. Send a card for no reason.
  15. Do what the other person wants before he or she asks.
  16. Listen.
  17. Encourage.
  18. Do it his or her way.
  19. Know his or her needs.
  20. Fix the other person's breakfast.
  21. Compliment twice a day.
  22. Call during the day.
  23. Slow down.
  24. Hold hands.
  25. Cuddle.
  26. Ask for each other's opinion.
  27. Show respect.
  28. Welcome the other person home.
  29. Look your best.
  30. Wink at each other.
  31. Celebrate birthdays in a big way.
  32. Apologize.
  33. Forgive.
  34. Set up a romantic getaway.
  35. Ask, "What can I do to make you happier?"
  36. Be positive.
  37. Be kind.
  38. Be vulnerable.
  39. Respond quickly to the other person's request.
  40. Talk about your love.
  41. Reminisce about your favorite times together.
  42. Treat each other's friends and relatives with courtesy.
  43. Send flowers every Valentine's day and anniversary.
  44. Admit when wrong.
  45. Be sensitive to each other's sexual desires.
  46. Pray for each other daily.
  47. Watch sunsets together.
  48. Say, "I love you" frequently.
  49. End the day with a hug.
  50. Seek outside help when needed.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

My Running Playlist (Aug-Oct 2011)

For the past 2 years I have desperately sweated my post pregnancy flab out by running around our village. They never went away mind you. But what started as an obsession to lose the flab has now become sort of a passion for me. I say passion because running now brings me a different high. It's now something that I look forward to doing after work.

I used to be able to run for just 20mins max. But for the last few months, I've started increasing my weekly goals by 10-20%. This running thing has also started me to challenge myself to do better each time. Lately I've been doing 35 mins already (yey!). And what helps me going these days is my running playlist. During my daily commute, I listen to this already so I'm all pumped up when I get home. Trick always work. At the risk of sounding overboard, there are days when I just feel like I want to run my way to work instead just by listening to this playlist. :)

Starting Easy (usually 5-6 minute slow, this serves as my warm up as well)
All in All - Lifehouse
Small Wonders - Dog's Eye View
I'm Yours - Jason Mraz
You and Me Song - The Wannadies

Steady Run (Usually a two-three miler if I'm gunning for a 30min run, I don't get to finish all these most of the time but my goal is to run past 12 songs these days)
A Life Less Ordinary - Ash
Hush - Kula Shaker
Perfect Day - Collective Soul
Aurora - Foo Fighters
Uncharted - Sara Bareilles
Designer Skyline - Owl City
Energy - Collective Soul
Fidelity - Regina Spektor
Fireflies - Owl City
Flat Top - Goo Goo Dolls
Halfway Gone - Lifehouse
Just Say Yes - Snow Patrol
Turn My Head - Live
Science and Faith - The Script
Reach - Collective Soul
Wrecking Ball - Lifehouse
Vanilla Twilight - Owl City
Ripcord - Radiohead
Signal Fire - Snow Patrol

Winding Down (5 minute slow run)
Fix You - Coldplay
Hold My Heart - Sara Bareilles
Marry Me - Train

Yes as you can see they're limited to just a couple of music artists which are not exactly big favorites but I don't know this playlist just stuck with me. Usually when I feel like I can't go any further I just tell myself to just  finish the song and yet I always end up adding another song and another till my legs give up. I might probably get tired of this list by the end of October but I'm hoping by that time, I can already run for an hour straight (I'm aiming for at least 1 long run of 10km every week).

Do you run with music too? Care to share your playlist with me?

The Road I Always Travel errrr...Run On

Recipe: Crab Aligue Pasta with Lemon and Fresh Basil

On her last visit, my mother-in-law brought us a bottle of Taba ng Talangka. I've long wanted to try making Aligue pasta so it was just perfect timing. Two weeks ago, I was inspired to finally try the recipe but I was already done with our weekly grocery so I made use of whatever was in our pantry and fridge at that time. Most of the recipes I came across in the internet made use of other seafood (tuna, clams, mussels). I was able to whip this recipe in less than 30 mins (prep time including). It turned out to be amazingly easy.

For my version, I used the following ingredients:
  • 200g spaghetti (cooked al dente. don't throw away the pasta water, by the way)
  • about 4-5 tbsps of Crab Paste/Taba ng Talangka (we used Navarro's); some recipes I came across also made use of almost a bottle but I was just too scared of the cholesterol
  • 2 medium-sized tomatoes, chopped (I would have used more but that was all we had)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Fresh shrimp (we only have about 8pcs on hand), shelled and deveined (I chopped it so everybody will have a taste of it hehehehe)
  • 1/2 large white onion, chopped
  • juice of half lemon
  • a handful of Fresh Basil, torn in half 
  • 1/2 cup pasta water
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese (since I omitted salt on this recipe)
My version: Aligue Pasta. 
How I did it:

1. Saute garlic, onion and tomatoes in olive oil till translucent.
2. Add crab paste. Saute for about 5 minutes (well I'm just OC on this but I'm sure there's really no need to saute since the crab paste is already cooked anyways).
3. Add the pasta water and simmer for 2-5 minutes.
4. Add the shrimp and wait till pinkish.
5. Toss over cooked pasta.
6. Add fresh basil and squeeze in the lemon.
7. Top with parmesan cheese and you're good to go!

This is good for 4 hungry stomachs (and I was even able to bring in an extra serving for my co-workers to taste). 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

My Take: Getting To Know Me

Inspired by Neva's and Toni's entries (which I truly enjoyed reading), here's my take on this meme. I am fervently hoping that by doing this post, I'd be sparked to write again and be lifted off this blog drought that I am currently experiencing. 

1. Were you named after someone? 
Yes. After the actress Faye Dunaway, according to my parents. Superman was a big hit the year I was born (okay so I gave my age away...hehe)
2. How did you name your blog? 

My blog has a cheesy name. I couldn't think of any title to put on then but I associated marriage to me and my spouse making our dreams come true hand-in-hand...thus, the title.
3. Where did you meet your husband? 

We were workstation buddies. Yes, we were a product of office romance too.
4. How long were you guys dating before you got married? 

3 years
5. How did you bond? 

Badminton. Road trips. Bookstores. Furniture stores. Thrift store hunts (think: Evangelista St/Bangkal and Cubao)
6. If there is one song to describe your life right now what would it be? 
Alanis Morisette's Ironic
7. What did you first notice about your partner when you first met? 

Uhmmm his super boyish looks. And he was super shy. But then again, ours was not love at first sight. It was the product of my husband's persistence.
8. If you could have any superpower what would it be? 

Time Travelling
9. Have you ever sung in front of a large number of people? 

Nope (or maybe I blocked it in my memory already). I'd probably usher in a super typhoon had I attempted to do so.
10. As a child, what did you want to grow up to be? 

A Nobel Prize (for scientific breakthrough) Winner (I really dreamt big didn't I?). Oh, and I adored Rainbow Brite so much I wanted to be like her too (at some point lolz)
11. Do you remember where you first spent your paycheck? 

Bought myself a watch (can't remember where I kept it though, have to check with my mom)
12. Favorite Social Network? Facebook
13. Favorite place in Manila? 

España. No I'm not from UST but the first few months of my 'independent' life I lived in this area and that was a big turning point in my life. And it housed Mayric's too. I loved that place.
14. What are your favorite TV Shows (local and foreign)? 

Dexter, CSI, Grey's Anatomy, Chuck, Castle (I actually like TV shows that make me more paranoid lolz)
15. What’s your silliest pet peeve? Over-accessorizing (yes, that Christmas tree look. I feel like snatching some of those jewelry sometimes)
16. What’s your favorite quote? 

“No pain, no gain”
17. What’s your favorite smell? 

The smell of an infant. Kakagigil, I just couldn't get enough of it! (hehehe)
18. Say a random thing about yourself: 
I can survive the day with just coffee as my liquid intake (and no, I've never overdosed yet. My all time high is 5 heaping mugs of barako coffee)
19. If you could meet anyone (dead or alive) who would it be? Bono
20. If you could drop everything now and do something what would it be? 

Go home to my home province and play all day with Maia and train for a marathon.

Now it’s your turn: in the comment box, answer one question AND if you want to ask me another question go ahead and do that as well and I’ll answer it!

If you do continue this chain in your blog, leave the link to your entry too. I’d love to read more about you.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Recipe/My Take: Yellow Cab's Charlie Chan Chicken Pasta

I have always been a big fan of Yellow Cab's Charlie Chan Chicken Pasta. One weekend I was terribly craving for it but being a bonafide denizen of the hills of Cavite we will need to travel the least an hour before we get to the nearest Yellow Cab outlet. So each time a battle between Laziness and Food ensues, it is always laziness that wins by default.

Living in the hills has its share of advantage and disadvantages. But I'd like to believe that apart from the traffic congestion and the occasional feeling of deprivation especially when terrible cravings hit me, we are still at big advantage. We have fresh air, the feel of Christmas air during the Yuletide season with us waking up to foggy window glass on most days, and wide play spaces for Maia. Also, one big advantage is me learning to make homemade versions of my favorite dishes.

So enough with the blabbering, I present to you my version of Yellow Cab's Charlie Chan Chicken Pasta. As my fans would say, nothing beats the home cooked version! :)

What I used to cook this recipe:

300g cooked spaghetti (al dente)
150g boneless chicken breast (cut into strips) or you can used chicken fingers too (less hassle)
1 tsp sesame oil
Olive oil for sauteing
1 pc med sized onion, finely chopped (I used white for this one)
garlic cloves, minced (I used about 5 since our household loves garlic)
Lee Kum Kee Char Siu Sauce (I used a small pack)
Lee Kum Kee Chili-Garlic Sauce (I used half of the pack/sachet)
9 tbsps Oyster Sauce (I used 4 tbsps to marinate the chicken)
3 tsp muscovado sugar
1/4 c water from the cooked pasta
salt and pepper to taste
toasted peanuts (preferably unsalted)
spring onions for garnish
chili flakes (optional)

What I did:

1. Marinate the chicken breast using 4 tbsps of oyster sauce for about 20 mins.
2. Saute onion and garlic till translucent in olive oil.
3. Add chicken and stir fry till browned. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Mix the remaining oyster sauce with charsiu, chili garlic sauce, sesame oil, muscovado sugar, and water well.
5. Pour over stir-fried chicken, stir and simmer.
6. Toss over cooked pasta and garnish with toasted peanuts and chopped spring onions. You can also add chili flakes for that extra kick if you like it spicy.

There you go. Enjoy! This recipe can feed for 4 hungry stomachs.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

On The Road To Being The Wife I Never Dreamt To Be

Fresh from the 6am mass
in Ina Ng Laging Saklolo in Tagaytay during our 3rd Anniversary

Remember that cliche which goes like: "Don't look too far, what you're looking for might just be right in front of you"? Well, that sort of applied to me and my husband. You see, we were workstations buddies long before we became a couple. Well, I never thought it was a love story worth telling but come to think of it not a lot of women end up as a wife to their workstation buddy, don't they?

While we were not the best of friends we did share a love for indie/alternative music (I was floored by his CD collection) and were badminton buddies.  Apart from that and the workstation however that was all we shared. Our personalities are set on opposite sides of the pole. I was Ms. Congeniality and very outspoken while he was the uber-silent,  extremely shy and the I-only-get-close-to-a-limited-few you know what I mean kind of guy. He hated crowds and being around people while I constantly craved to be in the company of friends. You get the picture, I’m sure.

Add to that long list of personality differences, I just really could not imagine us being attracted to each other. As far as I knew then, the attraction merely zeroed in on the CD collection and that was all to it. But a common friend did us a favor and made the move for us. What started as a dare (no make it a command from our friend - ligawan mo na nga tong babaeng to!) turned out to be a test of resilience on his part and a test of compassion on mine. It was a long courtship riddled with countless rejections but he eventually proved it – PAG MAY TIYAGA, MAY NILAGA.

In  the next 3 years we would prove that opposites do attract. Our personalities eventually worked out for us. I was the talker, he was the listener. I made friends; he chose which ones are worth keeping. We complemented each other. That was probably the reason why in the 3 years that we were dating, we never fought big time. We embraced that because even with our differences we both abhor fighting and arguing.

But I guess, when you become husband and wife it's an entirely different story. I guess being too secured for comfort has its disadvantages. So you could say that it was whole new world for us when we jumped into married life. We fought (albeit not the physical kind, thank God) like kids. There were a lot of disagreements and nights when one of us had to move out of the room and sleep on the couch. Even with 3 years of dating to back us up and a year of that spent together in one apartment we were not spared. We had a rocky start.

Having a non-sociable (for the lack of better term) husband could mean a week or (*gasp*) sometimes a month going by without me knowing what’s going on with his life outside of the house. Even with the constant prodding from me for him to talk about how his day went, he’d only share bits and pieces but never the kind that would engage us in a conversation. He also has this obsession with gadgets that would sometimes have him create this wall/barrier around him that nobody can put down except him. It seemed like there’s this DO NOT DISTURB sign hanging on his head all the time. I eventually felt alienated.

In spite of this, I still consider myself lucky for having a husband who listens. I was never the nagging kind but when something bothers me, I have to let that out. Otherwise I'd feel like I'm going to explode. So he listens, keeps silent and gives me space. And later he would woo me into bringing my old cheery self back by either playing stupid or buying me sweets (which I really have a soft spot for).

Every time I'm asked to give a newly wedded couple friend a message only these two things come to mind - constant communication and prayer. It was probably because those are the two things that kept me and my husband together despite of our differences. In our relationship, I already took the responsibility of initiating conversations having realized that I could never really demand that from my husband. Prayers make us stay rooted to our faith and make us realize that we are merely humans who can commit mistakes and should be willing to forgive when forgiveness is sought.

Yes I know at 4 years, our marriage is far from stable. But I think, this somehow gives me a preview of the years to come. Yes there will be constant disagreements and dead air which I really, really hate. And I know that I will have to pray for more patience to withstand those nights when he'd heed off my call and choose to sit in front of the computer till the wee hours of the morning instead of sharing to me how his day was.  But nobody forced me to sign up for this. So I will carry on the commitment I made when I said my wedding vows. I am confident too that despite my husband’s personality he will somehow deliver his part of the bargain.

I never dreamt I'd be a wife. I thought I had a shot at being a career woman and marriage was just not my thing. But somehow when that time came, I was very sure it was something I really want. I just knew that committing to being married to this guy was my destiny. I was and am still happy I took that plunge.

The smile says it all. 

I am far from being the perfect wife. But I really do not wish to be. There are days when I had to be nudged big time to remember that I was a wife first before I became a mom. I do tend to go overboard with my dream of becoming a super momma. I realized that I too sometimes alienate my husband. I also build my own wall when I assume the role of being the mommy. But it is clearer to me now why my husband and I decided to marry in the first place. We balance each other. 

To me and my husband, one thing is essential - that despite our ups and downs we remain HAPPY. So we made a promise to always ask each other – are you happy? and how can I make you happier today? Happiness might be vague but to us that embodies our ultimate dream. And when we answer that question we define our needs at that moment. We do not discount the fact that one day one of us might have a No for an answer. We also promised to work it out first and not give up at the onset.

The road that I will travel towards being the ideal wife is long and I’m sure bumpy. I have yet to realize what I really want so I can be better at serving my role as the wife. Most days I’d probably still have my hands full I can hardly breathe but I will hopefully remember to call and ask for help because that’s what husbands are for. And each time I feel like picking a fight, I will remember to remind myself how lucky I was I never had to search far to find what I was looking for. At least I was able to save up some energy to fuel me for the remaining part of my road trip.

Together We Can Do It!

This is my entry to a blog carnival called It's A Wife's Life hosted by Toni of Wifely Steps

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Recipe: Pancit Lomi Soup for the Rainy Day

I initially planned to cook Chicken Mami this morning. But our helper ended up buying thick egg noodles so I decided to try making Pancit Lomi Soup instead. I told my hungry customers not to expect too much since it's my first time and I'm cooking it from memory. Meaning, from how I recall the taste of the best Lomi soup I've ever eaten.

Pancit Lomi Soup for the Rainy Day
(serves 4-6 hungry stomachs)

200 g. thick fresh egg noodles
1/2 kilo chicken soup pack (breast/rib part), boiled and shredded
4 pcs chicken liver, cubed
8 pcs store-bought squid balls, quartered
1 small red onion, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 small sayote, sliced thinly
1 med sized carrots, sliced thinly
1 small head of cabbage, shredded
a few stalks of spring onion

3 cups chicken stock (from the boiled chicken)
2 tbsps cornstarch
2 pcs egg, slightly beaten
2 tbsp olive oil/vegetable oil


1. Saute garlic and onion till translucent. You can slightly brown the garlic if you like the somehow toasted/bitter taste.
2. Add liver and saute till half-cooked.
3. Add the carrots and sayote and stir fry for about 2mins.
4. Add the squid balls, shredded chicken and chicken stock.
5. Dilute cornstarch in a few tsps of water and add to the soup.
6. Add egg noodles (make sure it's cleaned)
7. Add shredded cabbage. Simmer for one or two minutes.
8. Add fresh egg and stir.
9. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
10. Garnish with spring onions.

Best eaten while still piping hot on a cold, rainy day.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Recipe: Spaghetti with Homemade Tomato Basil Sauce and Ham Bits

This makes a Perfect Sunday Merienda.

As a working mom, I am always on the lookout for easy to prepare recipes. I feel happier if I come across easy to prepare and delicious recipes.

We have a helper at home who is tasked to cook for our little family of 3. But most days, I really prefer to cook our meals by myself. Cooking is a great therapy for me, a respite from all the typing and reading and all-that-boring-stuff-office-people-do kind of thing.

I am a pasta fanatic. Although I have been desperately trying to cut down on carbs recently, I would often choose a pasta meal on my cheat days. A pasta recipe is always easy to whip out. Actually, it was after learning to cook pasta al-dente that I fell in love with cooking. The rest is history, as the cliche goes.

In my side of the family, we've always preferred to prepare homemade tomato sauce for tomato-based dishes. Through the years, we've finally learned how to make the perfectly easy yet tasty homemade tomato sauce. So if you like tomato-based pasta, let me share with you my version which was a recent hit with my co-workers. Their admiration of my home cooking inspired me (and gave me the confidence as well) to share the recipe in this blog.

Fast and Easy Tomato-Basil Sauce

You will need:

1.5 kilos of fresh tomatoes
¼ cup of olive oil
1 medium size red onion (1 large if white)
1 head garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
A pinch of pepper
1 small pouch of tomato paste
1 cup fresh basil or
1 teaspoon dried basil
Parmesan cheese (optional)

Simmering Tomato Sauce
  • Wash the ripe tomatoes properly.
  • Make a small cross on the bottom of your tomatoes (this trick is just to make it easy for you to peel off the skin later)
  • Blanch the tomatoes, drain and put in ice bath or run through cold water. Peel the skin off.
  • Chop the tomatoes. Make sure to save the juice as well. You can take out the seeds if you want (but I leave them since seeding takes so much time). Add about a teaspoon of salt and a dash of pepper. Mix then leave overnight in the fridge.
  • Saute chopped red onion in olive oil  until translucent . Add minced garlic. Do not brown the garlic to retain taste. 
  • Add Tomato Paste (I used 2/3 of a small pouch on 1.5kilos of fresh tomatoes)
  • Add the chopped tomatoes (including the juice), stir and simmer for 5-10 mins. (I personally like to have tomatoes chunks on my sauce so I just simmer for 5mins). Add a cup of fresh basil or a teaspoon if you’re using dried.
  • Transfer to blender or food processor and puree. Sauce is good for 1 kilo of cooked pasta (best to use is angel hair/spaghetti pasta). Top with sauteed mushroom-ham and Parmesan cheese. 
This recipe can feed 10 hungry adult stomachs.

To make the mushroom-ham/bacon topping:

You will need:

1 big can of button mushroom (pieces and stem), chopped coarsely
1 med white onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pack sweet ham/or whatever cold cuts you prefer/bacon bits
1 tsps olive oil or bacon fat if you use bacon instead of cold cuts (if you use bacon, cook it ahead so the fat is rendered)
1 tsp butter


  • Sauté onion and garlic till translucent over olive oil and butter. 
  • Add chopped mushroom and cold cuts/bacon bits.  
  • Top over tossed tomato sauce and spaghetti.

It's super easy and you can store the topping and the sauce separately. You can also opt to store the sauce on a sterilized jar for future use. You can probably store it for a week in the fridge or you can opt to freeze it for longer shelf-life and just thaw it in the microwave if you already intend to use it.
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