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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!
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