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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Define Happiness

After a recent petty fight with the husband, I decided to list down the things that make me happy. Well, basically as a reminder for me more than for him.

What really is happiness for me? These are the few things that immediately came to my mind:
  • a healthy, nurturing marriage
  • an improvement in the house (repaint? pwede! new furniture? pwede din!)
  • good health for our entire family (and that includes the extensions most especially)
  • new running gear (GEAR and NOT GADGET)
  • a good camera (not necessarily expensive)
  • new school/art supplies
  • an oven or maybe even just new pots to use in the kitchen
  • a big bar of dark chocolate (no particular brand, even Goya would do the trick)
  • a positive balance on our bank account at the end of the month
  • date nights
  • lots of hugs and kisses
It's a mish-mash of both tangible and intangible stuff. But you would see really, how mababaw I am. Some days though, I do get swept by the materialism of this world and would wish for things that would probably fall under the category of WANT rather than NEED. And I guess this list can help me get back to my senses when I am overwhelmed by my material desires. 

What makes you happy? Please do share.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Recipe: Pancit Molo Soup

A heaping, hot bowl of pancit molo always transports me back to my childhood home. During school breaks (back in the day haha), my siblilngs and I would cook a potful of this for meryenda. I couldn't make it from scratch then but my mom always had several packs of the soup in stock for us. 

This was only my second attempt to make the soup from scratch. I got the recipe from a college friend and tweaked it a bit to include carrots for the kid. Our first time was a huge mess because majority of the meat balls came off the molo wrappers it eventually looked like a meat ball soup instead of pancit molo. This time around though I'm happy to report that we were almost successful  and so when Maqui requested for the recipe, I did not hesitate a bit. So here it is:

Prep time: 30 mins
Cooking time: 30 mins

What you will need:

1/2 kilo lean ground pork
1/2 kilo chicken soup pack, boiled and flaked
2 big white onions, chopped
1 bunch of green spring onions, chopped
1 medium sized carrot, minced/chopped finely
1 pack store-bought molo wrapper
1 small can full cream evaporated milk (optional if you're not fond of milky soup)
about 8 cups chicken stock (saved from the chicken soup pack)
olive oil
2 tbsp patis (fish sauce)
salt and pepper to taste
1 head garlic, minced and fried over low fire till slightly brown (for garnish)
All-purpose flour (to dust the balls and prevent them from sticking together)

How I did it:

1. Boil the chicken soup pack till meat is tender. It usually takes just about 10 mins for chicken meat to tenderize but since I plan to use the broth, I boiled it for 20-30 mins. I threw in a handful of chopped onions  as well to make the broth more flavorful.
2. Set aside chicken to cool for flaking. Set aside flaked meat and discard the bones.
3. Combine spring onions and carrots with ground pork. (I usually work with my hands. I'm confident they're mixed evenly that way). Season with a dash of salt but with more pepper (maybe half a teaspoon)
4. Spoon about half a teaspoon of the ground pork mixture over the molo/wanton wrapper and seal as tightly as possible (the way you would seal dumplings). Do this till all your mixture is wrapped up. Once in a while dust with all-purpose flour to prevent the dumplings from sticking together.
5. Saute your onions in olive oil till fragrant and translucent.
6. Add in flaked chicken meat and stir fry for a minute.
7. Pour in chicken stock and boil.
8. When stock is boiling, lower fire to simmer and drop the dumplings one by one (dumping them slowly is the key to preventing them from breaking)
9. Simmer for 15-20 minutes. Season again with fish sauce, salt and pepper according to your taste.
10. Pour in the evaporated milk about 5 minutes before you put the fire off.
11. Garnish with chopped spring onions and fried garlic.
12. Enjoy!!!!

Our recipe yielded about 50+ dumplings. The big pot lasted us till lunch time. It was my little girl's first time to try eating pancit molo and she liked it so much she requested for me to cook it again. Requests like this from my picky eater is always a huge compliment for me!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Household Tip: Keeping Your Greens Fresh

I blogged here about my favorite way of reusing the brown paper bags that our mall/supermarket purchases are usually packaged in nowadays. I obsess a bit about the way the baggers handle the wrapping of my purchases because I would always want to bring the bags home is the best condition possible so I can reuse them that way. The reality is, however, I would often come home with torn up bags which at first sight would seem to merit an immediate trip to the trash bin. But not in our household. They're always given second and even third chances.

Most days, they are more organized than this. hehe.
These torn up brown paper bags are folded as neatly as their present state would allow and stored for future use. What future use could that be, you ask? Well we normally only do our supermarket and palengke duties once a week but with the help of these paper bags our vegetables especially the green leafy ones stay palengke fresh for at least 3-4 days more. When I was still religiously making my green smoothies, I would stock up more on the leafy greens and I worried about how to keep me crisp. And this solved my problem. 

Only had this two remaining veggies in the fridge today. Too bad, I couldn't show how fresh they still were.
These two veggies by the way were bought 3 days ago.
Amazing paper bags. It really pains me seeing how they're being used indiscriminately (and wastefully, in fact) with no reverence for where they came from or how they came to be paper in the first place. My heart goes out to the millions of trees that were cut down just to turn them into paper. Sometimes I start doubting the real purpose of the plastic usage bans that majority of the cities in metro have adapted especially since I know it doesn't really solve the problem of waste and flooding (you moderate plastic use but were the trees  ever considered here, I wonder). I'm no environmentalist. I just really care so much I just couldn't help but be overly sentimental. 

So anyways, back to the real purpose of this post. What we do is wrap the greens and veggies with these brown paper bag and properly arrange them in our fridge's vegetable crisper. Denser veggies at the bottom and leafier ones on top. And that's it! 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Hello September!

I am blogging from Baguio and while we await check in time I thought maybe I can squeeze in some time to do this hello post.

We're here for the weekend with the hubby's high school barkada and I can't help but nurse a slight stab of guilt leaving our little kid at home. But it's been literally ages since Tibs and I took a trip without the kid so I guess there's really no reason for me to let that guilt linger. We need this. For us. and to reconnect with friends as well.

Baguio is a memorable place for us because this is where we went on our first trip as a couple some 7 years ago. We like to travel but we try to avoid being touristy when we do that. For one, we are really budget travelers (read: kuripot because we have little budget) so we avoid the price-y tourist spots. We take public transportation (aka jeepneys, pedicabs and even motorcycles), we eat in carinderias, we stay in Inns/Pension Houses, we shop at the public market and cook our own food if the accommodation permits us to. But that was fun to do and we really enjoyed those travels. After getting married and having a kid though, we never took trips like that anymore and yes honestly it's something that I miss doing too. 

When this barkada trip invitation came up, Tibs didn't hesitate a bit. I guess he missed going on trips with me too. (Trips where we didn't have to worry about the kid and where we can pack light as light can be, that is). We looked forward to this and prepared the kid for it. Thankfully, our strategy worked and we didn't encounter any difficulty when we bid the kid goodbye last night. She in fact seemed like she was looking forward to taking a break from us too. (hahaha true i tell ya!) We just promised to call when we get to Baguio. I called earlier and she just asked if we're in Baguio already. She gave me a brief report of how her morning went (what she had for breakfast mostly) and told me to have fun and that was it. No crying fits, no lengthy goodbyes. Our baby is now a little lady indeed. (huhu)

Anyways, I am confident we are going to have a great weekend here. The mere sight of the facade of our wonderful villa is already giving me a high. The guys have a lot of activities planned for the day (yes, the guys take charge of everything and the wives are just here to enjoy. Lucky women, we are!) and I'm sure that will extend up to the wee hours of the morning. Sulitin na di ba? 

Sharing with you a photo of our beautiful villa here at the Camp John Hay compound and wishing you a wonderful September ahead! 
such a beauty right? i didn't have photos of the interiors but this is a 3-br place with 3 T&Bs.
big enough to house a large group like ours (10 pax)
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