Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Force of Habit

When my hb contacted amoebiasis in one of our visits in my homeland, he got very careful the next time around. No kidding, I had to rush him to ER due to dehydration. Actually he didn't get it from drinking water in my house as we always have supply of purified drinking water. He must have caught it in one of our out-of-town escapades in the north. I'm not sure if they have water filters installed in the inns where we stayed, though I was sure we only drank bottled water because I didn't have any stomach problem at all. Hb by force of habit probably drank water from the tap since it's perfectly ok to drink it here in US. Well that was a hard lesson learned for hb. It's not fun to take a trip to ER and missed the flight back home ;-).

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Tuna Cakes

Yesterday while planning our lunch, I felt like using whatever canned goods I have in the pantry instead of thawing meat and slicing veggies. I wanted a quickie meal for my 'two' hungry boys. One of the staples I have in my pantry is Tuna in can, then I also have a pack of stuffing mix left over from Thanksgiving Day. I thought I could make a dish out of them so I checked my fave Kraft Foods website for tuna recipe and found this very easy Tuna Cakes. I was glad I've got the other ingredients in my fridge like shredded cheese, mayonnaise and pickle relish too so I didn't have to make a trip to the store anymore. So here's what we had for lunch and they didn't last long. I ate it with steamed rice, but hb ate it as appetizer.

TUNA CAKES





INGREDIENTS:
2 cans (6 oz. each) light tuna in water, drained, flaked
1 pkg. (6 oz.) STOVE TOP Stuffing Mix for Chicken
1 cup Shredded Mild Cheddar Cheese
3/4 cup water
1 carrot, shredded
1/3 cup Mayonnaise
2 Tbsp. Sweet Pickle Relish


DIRECTION:
1. Mix all ingredients. Refrigerate 10 min.
2. Heat
large nonstick skillet sprayed with cooking spray on medium heat. Use ice cream scoop to add 1/3-cup portions of tuna mixture, in batches, to skillet.
3. Flatten into patties with back of spatula. Cook 6 min. or until golden brown on both sides, carefully turning patties over after 3 min.

Source: Kraftfoods.com

Horrible Experience at ER

One of the things that we do when we visit the Philippines is to have executive check-ups. A thorough check-up in the Philippines is nothing compared to how much one major procedure might cost in US so it's obviously a worthwhile part of the itinerary. It's also not a problem walking-in a doctor's clinic or emergency room when you don't feel good. I remember in one of our visits to the Philippines, I had to rush my hb to the ER due to dehydration from diarrhea. He was reluctant to go to a hospital but was too weak to complain and it turned out he had amoebiasis. He was amazed at how a pathologist was available at midnight and his condition was diagnosed in few minutes. When he was discharged he felt like new again. We only paid a little over $10 back then.

Unlike here in US, in 2003 I had to be rushed to ER due to profuse bleeding through my menses. I was very pail and weak and I must have lost a lot of blood already. But when we got in, the staff was more interested in getting my insurance information than checking my vitals. I waited and waited for hours in the waiting area while my hb kept checking at the counter to see if they were ready for me yet. Six hours later a doctor was finally available to see me, and right there and then she said I needed blood transfusion. I was kept for the night in the hospital. I wonder what would have happened if we didn't have insurance or
health savings account? After that horrible experience I would never go back to ER ever.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

One Sunday at Edaville

Last Sunday we brought our son to Edaville, a family amusement park in Carver, MA famous for their old trains. My son is a Thomas and Friends fanatic so needless to say he had a blast. It was very cold and most people were in their winter gear. We left our place with temperature in the 60's so we were only wearing light jacket. It's a good thing that I keep extra jackets for my son in the car all the time, so he was all set. But the cold temperature didn't stop us from enjoying the rides; the lights; the food; and the festive mood of the place. We took the train and admire the lighted animal displays in and around the park. My hb and son rode the Ferris Wheel and Jumbo Elephant rides while I joined my son in the Carousel. I was glad I brought a lot of recordable cd's for camcorder with extra micro sd to capture our wonderful night at the amusement park. My son is still crazy about watching the video and pictures over and over again.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Plans for Next Summer

Hb and I have been talking about taking a European tour and we thought we could do it next summer. My FIL has hinted already that he couldn't visit us anymore next year like he always does every year because the long trip is taking a toll on his back, oh well he's 85 years old already so it's understandable. So we're thinking of visiting FIL and some of hb's relatives in England and then do France and Italy. But then we realized that our son is still too little and it might be a hassle to take him on a long trip again, so we might do orlando vacations instead. I'm sure he will appreciate Disney better at his age, and I'm ready to be a child again too.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Looking For the Right Kind of Home Lighting

One thing I haven't done in my kitchen yet since we had a semi-makeover awhile back is to change the outdated lights. Though the project was sidetracked for a little bit, it's never forgotten. I always frequent home lighting sites online to browse through different styles and designs of lights to hopefully find the right kind for my kitchen. I am looking for pendant light for my island; chandelier for the dining area; and light for above the sink and work area all in stainless steel finish.

I'm glad to stumble upon Lighting Sale website because they have a wide array of lights I can choose from. Their website is so easy to navigate because they categorized their products as to height and weight; finish; manufacturers; style; and special features. So it was easy to search and find the right kind of light I was looking for. I also liked that some of their products are energy efficient, so that's a plus factor in making a decision. In any products that I buy online, I always go for affordability but without compromising the quality. Also I look for great deals like free shipping; discount; and no sales tax too if possible. And the product being an energy saver as well is really an icing on the cake. All these features are offered by Lighting Sale, so obviously it is the place to shop for home lighting.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Christmas Present for Myself

I'm usually excited to visit the mall at this time of the year and sort of hang out at the home and kitchen area and admire their dinner sets and sterling silver flatware among many others. There are tons of different designs and patterns of dinnerware on display during the holidays, and I must admit that I'm literally drooling over them.

Two years ago I bought a set of dinnerware with Christmas pattern and this year I'm planning to buy a new set of stoneware for everyday use. I truly deserve to get myself a gift for Christmas, and I will go for things that get me weak on the knees, lol. I saw different great patterns that I like at Pfaltzgraff and they can be used not only for everyday meal but for sit-down dinner to entertain friends and family as well. And also they will easily compliment the food that I'm planning to make on Christmas dinner. By the way, do you know that you can get a lot of dinner idea recipes at Yahoo! Food? Yup, despite my numerous cookbooks, I still get recipes online.

Monday, November 23, 2009

My Sanctuary

My kitchen is like a sanctuary to me, it is my favorite part of our home. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen doing not just cooking and preparing food for my family, but also doing a lot of things. I have a computer table in the kitchen which serves as my little office. That is where I plan the meals; pay the bills; answer phone calls; check emails; and a lot more. While sorting through tons of junk mails the other day, I saw this magazine with colorful pictures of kitchen designs and styles. Oh how I admired those copper sinks; top-of-the-line appliances and to-die-for kitchen styles. Now I couldn't help but daydream again of my ideal kitchen. Well though I am not feeling it coming true anytime soon, its just good to dream after all its free to dream.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Grocery Shopping List Made Easy

I always make a list before I go food shopping. But sometimes despite preparing a grocery shopping list, I would still forget to include an item or two which I would normally realize as soon as I get home. It would be a waste of time and gasoline to make another trip to the store just for one item. I found this website that I know will be very useful to all moms like myself out there because it saves them a lot of time figuring out what to buy for their next trip to the store.

List2Shop.com gives a list of usual or normal categories of products and a run down of common items under each categories. To register in this free grocery shopping list website is free and easy and can really make moms' life a little easier. You can actually create a shopping list and organize it by store and print even without logging in. But it would be advisable to register so all your shopping list history will be saved, so that the next time you logged on, you can easily access the last list that you created. You can also define your list in 'My Favorites' so you can quickly prepare your list next time you logged on. If in case you can not see the item you were looking for, you are free to add any item just by clicking the add button. If you want to keep up with all updates at List2Shop be a facebook fan by clicking their profile
http://www.facebook.com/pages/List2Shopcom/104914421584?v=wall.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Escape from the Chilly Weather

I haven't been to the Caribbean but it is one of the places I thought is worth visiting because of the great beaches. I missed going to the beach while on vacation in the Philippines and I think the closest to experiencing the warm weather and amazing beaches would be the Caribbean. I wonder if this summer there will be a chance for us to make another out of town vacation. If the budget permits, then it wouldn't hurt to look into Caribbean hotels as early as now. This place would be a great escape from the chilly weather because it has warm weather all year round, I can't wait.

Freak Accident

I had a freak accident over the weekend, I fell down the stairs in the garage and it really hurt. My little son and I were in a hurry to leave to attend the 12 noon mass. My right foot slipped and I twisted my body for trying to break the fall. I fell hard on my right side. My right ankle, right arm and right hip are still sore and bruised until now. The day after my accident, I didn't feel like going out at all even if I promised to bring him to the playground. My son and I got stuck at home. I didn't care about the mess and chaotic sight of his toys and books all over the floor and sofas because I was in pain. I took it easy, I was in my pj the whole day and didn't even bother to get the mail.

And what's worse, while nursing a sore body, I was also busy munching sweets. For some reasons I craved for sweets and finished a big container of caramel popcorn with pecans and almonds. I feel bloated literally and seriously need to get out of my sedentary mode. I've been trying to get back in the gym for the longest time, I'm not even into any sports anymore. I wish there is a
ping pong table I can use to get my sweat glands working for a little bit. Anyway, hopefully by next week I can really get around driving to the gym and formally enroll. My girlfriends have been bugging me already, and there's a new gf I've met who's also into Zumba whom I promised to join with on the next class. I wish I'll be much better then.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

A More Useful and Convenient Refrigerator

When we upgraded our kitchen about two years ago, we were supposed to upgrade the kitchen appliances as well. But our plans were put on hold by the economic downturn. All our appliances are still working perfectly anyway, except that we wanted them in uniform stainless style to match the new look of the kitchen.

I've always wanted to replace our fridge with one of those Shallow Refrigerators with bottom drawer freezer which I find more fitting and convenient to use in my kitchen, than the side by side refrigerator we have right now. I always have difficulty getting into my freezer because the wall restricts the freezer door to open wide. Most of the times I prepare food in advance and freeze them in vacuum-sealed bags so I would have food anytime I wanted and especially that I can't always cook everyday. My freezer seems always crowded though since I can't get around it easily I just load bags of food whichever way I can. I sometimes buy food that I already have only because I couldn't dig them out of the freezer. The shallow refrigerator with bottom-freezer would be the perfect refrigerator for us. I saw different brands of bottom-freezer refrigerators at shop.com and hopefully early next year we can finally buy the refrigerator that will be a lot useful for us.



Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Cookware That I Like to Have


To say that I love kitchen stuffs is an understatement, I'm crazy about them. When my aunt came over for a visit, I took her shopping in the mall but I ended up buying bagfuls of kitchen items instead. Oh and she came home with a photo frame. Now that the holiday season is almost here, I am drooling over a lot of items again in the kitchen section, I'm just trying to control myself from buying. Well I guess I just have to content myself by looking at different home websites online for now.

Like I saw this website of Wasserstrom restaurant supplies that are used by professional chefs. I'm a regular viewer of Food TV Network and I really admire the professional cookware that they use on the show just like the ones shown on Wasserstrom website. I've been wanting to have this enamel coated cast iron Dutch oven and French oven dish, but they're quite pricey. But of course the price goes with the high-quality cookware products and I'm sure they are very long lasting. I hope to get one of these someday.

Taking My Sweet Time

I'm taking my sweet time today because my son is staying in school for an extra hour. I packed him four little triangle sandwiches of ham and cheese; few pieces of grapes and some flavored water. He will eat lunch with his teachers and some classmates. It should be a lot of fun. I should have gone to Bed Bath and Beyond to get the stacking wire cubes that I needed to organize the closet in the study room, but instead I got stuck here browsing through a website with Grohe faucet. But I guess it would be better to stick around because I might get carried away when I see kitchen products again and not get to school on time to pick up my son. But the good thing is, while online I got the chance to read through my online course and also finished some online work. So this is a very productive three hours so far. But in less than an hour my energetic little tot will be all over me again, so I better type away to get more things done.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Cappuccino Crinkles

I bought this special edition magazine of Better Homes and Gardens that contains 100 best cookies recipes. I've been into baking mood lately and all the recipes here are very easy to make. And most importantly the ingredients some require, I already have in my pantry. So here's the first recipe I tried - Cappuccino Crinkles. My hb and I both love to drink tea and these cookies will make a perfect pair with my fave green tea or hb's black tea. We could forget about how to lose belly fat for now while we indulge in this soft and chewy cookie.


CAPPUCCINO CRINKLES

INGREDIENTS:
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon instant coffee crystals (instant coffee)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 egg whites

1/3 cup vanilla low-fat yogurt
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 350 deg. F. In a large bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar, cocoa powder, coffee crystals, baking soda, and cinnamon. Beat until combined, scraping side of the bowl occasionally. Beat in egg whites and yogurt until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour.
2. Place granulated sugar in a small bowl. Shape dough into 1-inch bowl. Roll balls in a sugar to coat. Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are firm. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; cool.
Yield - 32 cookies
KITCHEN TIP#10
Using egg whites instead of whole eggs will make these cookies extra light and tender.

High Quality Kitchen Products

In one of my previous posts I mentioned about browsing online already for my Christmas wish list. Whenever I make a list, jewelry and kitchen items are always on top of it if not the only two items in it. When I go to a mall shopping, even if I went there for another item in mind, I always gravitate towards the kitchen section and then stay there forever. I admire high quality kitchen products that will last long. I usually browse online and compare items so I know exactly what to ask my hb to buy me for Christmas.

I never had copper cookware before but I've seen quite a lot of them at my aunt's house. She even had these copper molds of different designs that hang on her wall. While browsing online I saw this ruffoni cookware that I found quite interesting. When I read through the website I found out that ruffoni copper cookware is an excellent heat conductor and cooks evenly. But they're quite expensive and require polishing, but still they are the choice of many professionals. I'm still on the lookout of high quality cookware that I want for Christmas and I will keep ruffoni in mind. I have yet to look for other kinds; compare the quality and prices before I decide on which one to buy.


Pumpkin Cake

My bff and I created this tradition of gathering in my place for some trick or treating and dinner and we've been doing it for three years in a row now. We accompany the kids to go house to house for Trick or Treat and then come back to gather for dinner and other treats with our families and some other friends. This year I tried my hand on this Pumpkin Cake I saw in Kraft Foods website. It's my first time to make a cake with frosting and though it didn't turn out exactly as in the website's photo, it tasted great I thought. The sweet frosting complimented the chocolate cake mix that I used, very soft and creamy you might consume more than what you're allowed to eat if you are counting calories ;-). But you can always use the best fat burners afterward. Anyway, here's how you can make the Great Pumpkin Cake.

PUMPKIN CAKE



INGREDIENTS:
1 pkg. (2-layer) cake mix, any flavor (I used chocolate)
1 pkg. (8 oz.) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
Few drops each: green, red and yellow food coloring
1 Ice Cream cone (Comet cup)
DIRECTIONS:
1. Prepare cake batter and bake in 12-cup fluted tube pan as directed on package. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Invert cake onto wire rack; remove pan. Cool cake completely.
2. Meanwhile beat cream cheese and butter in medium bowl with mixer on medium speed until well blended. Gradually add sugar, beating until well blended after each addition. Remove 1/2 cup of the frosting; place in a small bowl. Add green food coloring; stir until well blended. Spread half of the green frosting onto outside of ice cream cone; set aside. Cover and reserve remaining green frosting for later use.
3. Add red and yellow food coloring to remaining white frosting to tint it orange. Spread onto cake to resemble pumpkin. Invert ice cream cone in hole in top of cake for the pumpkin's stem. Pipe the reserved green frosting in vertical lines down side of cake.

KITCHEN TIP#9
If you don't have piping bags like I do, just use a resealable plastic bag instead. Just spoon the frosting into the bag and seal. Cut off a tiny piece from one of the bottom corner of the bag. Twist the bag at the top to let air out. Hold the bag with one hand and guide the tip with the other.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Christmas Wish List

Time flies so fast, Christmas is not very far away. The other day I was browsing online for Christmas presents for loved ones and friends already. I also have my own wish list and one of them is a pair of diamond earrings. I saw these earrings that I've long wanted to buy. I always love to have a pair of solitaire diamond earrings but lately since I'm into dangling earrings, a pair of dangling with diamonds isn't bad at all. I've been hinting it to my hb as early as now so he'd have more time to order them for me, lol. Anyway, I hope to buy all presents before the stores get crowded, otherwise I'll stick to the favorite way of shopping I know,,online of course.

Another Great Halloween

I thought my son would not have a nice Halloween night because of all days, he had to be sick on that day. But thank God we gave him medicine just in time plus the weather though windy was pretty warm so his Trick or Treating night turned out fabulous. Some of our friends came and joined us and we had dinner afterward. I was up till past 3am the previous night so I got really tired and fell asleep with my son when I read to him at bedtime. I planned to get up before midnight but couldn't so I missed going online to get free life insurance quotes that my aunt was asking me to do for her. Anyway, I'm looking forward to another great day today especially that I earned an extra hour of sleep. Yup today we adjusted our clock one hour back.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

School Morning Blues

When I took my son to school today, he was unusually clingy. He didn't want to walk from the car to his classroom. It was very chilly this morning so I thought that maybe he was just cold and wanted to be held. But when we got to the classroom, he asked me if I could stay with him too. Though the classroom desks were filled with interesting things about their Farm Theme, my son was just ignoring them. But I know there's one thing that he couldn't resist, the sand table. So I took him to the sand table and played with him for a minute or two. And when I saw that he was having fun already, I kissed him goodbye and he let me go without a problem. Well even pre-schoolers can have first-day-of-school morning blues too, but the sand table saved the day.

Help in Emergency Situations

Two years ago my father had a stroke while doing his daily morning walk. It's a blessing that some neighbors noticed him clasping his chest in pain and rushed him to a hospital. If not for the quick thinking of these neighbors, he would have suffered enormous damage to his brain. It's a good thing that he didn't suffer much and after only few therapy sessions you couldn't tell anymore that he had a stroke. My mother is doing a great job of monitoring my father's diet too. He had a total turn around from eating too fatty and too salty to low sodium and healthy dishes. But I still worry about not being around my parents at their old age. In emergency situations, I wish that a Lifeline AED would always come handy so my parents would still have protection even if my siblings and I are not around to help.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I Feel Light

Believe it or not, despite pigging out in my recent vacation in the Philippines, I didn't gain any weight at all. In fact when I weighed today, I was only 125 lbs! I was lighter than when I left, wow! Probably because I moved a lot and sweat a lot while on vacation. It was really hot when we arrived, and there were a lot of things I needed to accomplish, so I was on the go most of the times. Here in US even if I workout in the gym, I don't sweat as much as I did in the Philippines. I feel very light as if I finally used some weight loss pills that work. I wish I could maintain this weight though. The thing is it's very cold here again and cold makes me lazy to move again, lol.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Back to Reality

As soon as I arrived from my two-month vacation, the first thing I did was to clean the fridge. I threw a lot of left-over food that have gone moldy, and I took out and washed all the shelves and drawers. Then I cleaned the kitchen counters and kitchen sink really well and also vacuumed and spot-cleaned the kitchen floors. I just couldn't function properly with a dirty kitchen, I really had to clean it before I retire from that 27 exhausting hours flight back home, call me OC but I guess I'm proud to say that I am, lol. We all went to bed at past 2am, I woke up at 11am while I let my two boys to get as much sleep as they can. I'm already missing my Nanay (mom) who always made life so easy for me. I practically lived like a single woman while on vacation. My Nanay was always there to take care of my son while I do my errands out. I practically did nothing while I was with Nanay, she took care of everything. Now that I'm back to reality, there's nobody to turn to but me.

In a Shopping Mood

It's good to be back home again, though I'm not thrilled at the chores waiting for me to get done. Just imagine how it is to come back to a house that has not been cleaned for two months. I haven't stopped cleaning since Wednesday night, I only grabbed a few winks here and there, then went back to my date with the vacuum cleaner and duster again. Anyway, I look forward to unpacking a luggage-full of native Christmas decors that I bought in Manila. They are export over-runs so I got them at very cheap price tag. So part of my holiday to-do-list has been taken care of, all I need to do is list down the holiday gifts that I need to get for loved ones and friends. Every year I planned to get gifts in advance to avoid the crowds in shopping malls, but unfortunately that seldom happens, so I hope this year I can really shop in advance. After all I'm still in a shopping mood since coming back from our vacation.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Keep Indoor Air Fresh

The weather is getting cooler again and it means our windows will remain shut for most days. I hate to not have fresh air circulate inside the house but I wouldn't like to get frozen by chilly air as well. So what I do is to make sure I replace our HAVC filters as often as necessary to keep air pollutants at bay. My hb is prone to allergies so I use HAVC filters that are effective in reducing pollen, dust, pet dander, and other fibers from our indoor air.

Fish Pond in the Backyard

We had lunch with my parents at Dencio's Grill in Tagaytay yesterday. That was our second time to dine there, the first time was two years ago. It was not only a great place to eat but it has a nice view of the famous Taal Volcano at the background as well. But since it has been raining the past days, it was colder in Tagaytay and a bit foggy so we didn't get a good look of the volcano. So my son contented himself to watching the gold fish at the other side of the resto instead. When it was time to leave, my son was still fascinated with the fish and wouldn't like to go with us. As young as my son is, he is already asking for a pet fish. I guess fish is a better alternative to having another dog to train. Another pet dog can wait when my son is old enough to care for one. My hb and I are now thinking of building fish ponds in our backyard to grant the wishes of our son. Hopefully we'll get pond pumps and other supplies in the pond supplies soon.

Few Vanities

It's been ages since I had my last facial treatment. I used to do a lot of facial regimen and must have tried the best wrinkle creams there are while I was here. But when I moved to US things changed. Facial treatment was one of the few vanities that I had and it felt wonderful to have it again a few days ago. It is quite expensive in US so I seldom do it. So to take advantage of the cheap price here, I might get another treatment before we leave for US.

Food Here Is Much Better

Since I arrived here in the Philippines for my two-month vacay, we've been treated to lunches and dinners by our good friends and some new friends. When Filipinos get together, it's always with sumptuous food involved. Here are the few restos that I remember going to - Recipes; Banana Leaf; Haiku; Persian Resto; Dencio's Grill; Mushroom Burger; Aussie Resto; Gerry's Grill; Almon Marina; Friday's; Tony Roma's; Italiani's; and a lot more. My hb has been complaining that since he's back to a three-meal-a-day routine again, his waistline is getting bigger again. Unlike when I left for this vacay ahead of him, he sort of regulated his food intake and only ate one full meal a day and few small snacks. When you're married to a Filipina you should expect to eat a lot,lol. Well, hb confessed that the food in restos here are far better than in US, and there are a lot of choices too. And I of course agreed to that big time!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Vacation With Friends

My good friend with her whole family are thinking about visiting US again early next year to make use of their visas before they expire. They are going to visit their relatives in Chicago. My hb thought that we might join them in Chicago since we haven't really seen the best places of the state. When we went to Indiana two years ago we only made a side trip to Chicago and stayed there overnight. Not only would it be fun to visit the place again, but it would be even more fun to stroll with our good friends. We have another good friend in North Carolina and they might visit them too. So it would be a great idea that they take Gatlinburg vacations as well so they can cover a lot of places. But we won't join them in North Carolina and Gatlinburg anymore since we were only there few summers ago.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Don't Come Home with Bed Bugs

Before our little boy came, my hb and I loved to travel a lot even if it was not summer vacation. We could drive to New York in a spur of the moment when we felt like watching a Broadway show or to Canada when we wanted to take a breather from busy schedules. We stayed in different hotels from three stars to five stars. Everywhere we went we brought home different souvenirs but one thing we didn't like bringing home were bedbugs. Despite some hotels appearing to be spotless, bedbugs could be anywhere like under the bed or behind the furniture. I heard about how difficult it is to treat bedbugs and I know it costs thousands to get rid of them once your home get infested by it, not to mention the skin diseases you may get as well. So now that hb travels every three weeks as required by his new work, I won't allow bedbugs to get a chance to cling to his luggage and come home with him and infest our home.


I saw at NorthShoreCare.com these bed BugZip travel products that will help prevent bed bugs to attach to luggage while in hotels where bedbugs are commonly acquired from. BugZip Bed Bug Resistant Luggage and Clothing Encasement are designed to protect the luggage; clothing; and other personal belongings from bed bugs and critters as they are tightly zipped and durable and will prevent the bedbugs to cling to the luggage. BugZip come in different sizes and can safeguard large suitcases; carry-on luggage and garment bags from bed bugs. With the use of BugZip I can now have peace of mind that my hb won't bring home bedbugs from his trips. BugZip is definitely a great solution and safeguard to preventing bedbugs to come home with my hb's luggage and other belongings. Aside from BugZip Travel encasement, there are still other great bed bug products from North Shore Care that I'm also interested in like
mattress encasement, bed bug monitors, PackTite Bed Bug Heater and more.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Browsing Through Old Pictures

My parents' 50th wedding anniversary is a few days away. I had to divulge the 'secret' plan to them since I was caught calling up some immediate relatives on the phone. They didn't want to have any big celebration at all, they wanted to be as practical as can be. But since this is a great milestone and not a lot of couples are fortunate enough to reach this far, my siblings and I wanted to have something memorable for our parents.

We're going to have a very small celebration with very close relatives and friends on the invite list, to respect my parents' wishes. My siblings and I contributed to make this happen and I'm very excited that all three of us are here to celebrate with our parents. It's very seldom that my brother and I can take time off and fly here at the same time.

Right now I'm very busy prepping our house for the occasion. I felt nostalgic seeing through the albums of our childhood while looking for my parents' old pictures. I even saw some of the pictures of our orlando vacations with my hb, that I've been looking for in a while. I thought I brought everything with me to the states. Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing our friends and relatives this weekend. I don't know how long ago I've seen them last. And this will be their first time to see my little boy.

New Bathroom Fixtures

Every time I come back to my hometown to visit my parents, I find a lot of things that need to be repaired or replaced in my house. Like I had to replace the toilet bowl and sink in one bathroom and the Delta faucet in the master bathroom. They just have gone too hideous to keep. The deep-well water in the village causes permanent stain on the ceramics and faucet fixtures and nothing seems to work to remove them, even the most powerful bathroom cleaner I've seen in the store. Now everything is looking great and presentable again.

What Salt Can Do To Your Health

I have been eating home-cooked meals since I arrived here in the Philippines. Though I'm pigging out a lot, I'm also sharing in my dad's low-sodium food, so I guess it's not too bad. I thought it would not be fun to eat somewhat tasteless food, but it just a matter of getting used to the taste.

I read that salt can be damaging to our health and has been linked to many illnesses, including cancer, asthma, Alzheimer's, PMS, stroke, and cardiovascular disease to name a few. So if you want to be healthy, you should cut down on salt intake. Salt is very dehydrating to our bodies. When excess salt enters our bloodstream, the body is forced to store it between cells until our kidneys can deal with it. While it is there it causes a burning effect on the tissue. The tissue cells protect itself by releasing water to dilute the salt. When cells lose water they lose elasticity and shrink. This causes an imbalance as a result of the low of potassium. Having low potassium results in more salt penetrating the cell walls and when sodium levels rise, waters enters to dilute it. This causes the cell to become swollen and this continuous disruption to the cell's fluid balance in time calcifies and destroys the muscles, valves and arteries of the entire coronary system.

Completely cut out table/sea salt if you want to be healthy and lose weight. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and greens and this will help you completely eradicate salty cravings and also help you enjoy the finer things in life - fresh whole ripe natural foods.

(Source - ezinearticles.com)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Memorable Wedding

One of the most memorable milestones in my life was when I got married. My fiance then was overseas while I planned all the details of a perfect wedding, from wedding invitations to list of menu in the reception. He flew in a week before the wedding while his family arrived just in time for the Despedida de Soltera. My brother and his family also took time off from their busy schedules and flew in to join us. It was a very exciting experience and my sentimental touch was written all over the event. Both our families and close friends were part of the nuptial celebration and also had participation during the reception. It was very intimate. I just enjoy putting together any event, and my wedding was the best one I've done, if I have to say so myself ;-).


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Benefits of Vegan Diet to Women

I read of some people converting to vegetarian lifestyle for different reasons. For women who are going through menopausal stage, perhaps considering the vegan diet would be helpful. A diet full of phytoestrogens in soy foods, beans, and flaxseed helps reduce hot flashes and lowers the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis. It has been shown also in a lot of studies that women who eat lots of fruits and vegetables have a 54% lower risk of stroke than women who do not. And research also has shown that vegan diets with no animal products at all, including milk and eggs, help postmenopausal women lose weight and improve their sensitivity to insulin, which is important for preventing diabetes.

But vegetarians who eat no meat or dairy products need to be certain they get enough vitamin B12, calcium, and iron in their diets. Most breakfast cereals are fortified with adequate amounts of B12, and iron, and soy milk and many brands of orange juice are fortified with calcium. (Source - RD Food Cures)


My Ideal Cruise Vacation


One of the things that drew my hb and I to each other was our love for adventure. We love to spend at least three weeks every summer visiting new places; embracing new cultures and savoring new cuisine. It has always been our dream to go on Caribbean cruise and see the rain forests of Dominica; experience the crystal waters of St. Thomas; immerse in the seaside villages of Barbados; and enjoy the white beaches of Aruba.

A Caribbean cruise is my ideal family getaway as I learned that there are many fun activities in store for every member of the family to enjoy. It is always a challenge to travel with a little toddler and its good to know that there is a Camp Carnival on board where little kids can have their space and enjoy activities like board games; outdoor fun; reading and story time; finger painting; and many more. And another great thing is, they offer great babysitting services on certain hours every night as well, which means hb and I can have some romantic time to ourselves. Of course, we can splash together as a family at the Carnival WaterWorks or enjoy a family movie at the seaside theater.

This is one ideal Caribbean escapade that has always been in the works, and hopefully will push through before the summer is over.

Start Your Day With an Egg

Do you know that an egg has 1 ounce of high-quality protein and 14 essential nutrients such as zinc, iron and vitamins A, D, E, and B12? So since eggs have high protein content, it makes sense that they keep you full. And best of all, it contains only 85 calories. Even if you have high cholesterol, experts say you can safely eat 3 or 4 egg yolks per week and all egg whites you want. Dozens of studies have found that it's saturated fat, not cholesterol, that has the greatest effect on blood cholesterol. (Source-RD Food Cures)

Monday, July 13, 2009

What Diet Pills to Consider

There are so many ads on print and tv about diet pills and it can get very confusing to choose the most effective one from the list of top diet pills. So what do you think are the factors to consider in choosing the right diet pills? I saw this website called TopRatedDietPills.com where their editors conducted thorough research of just about every diet pill on the market and came up with written in-depth reviews. On top of that they also asked the opinions and experiences of consumers and experts on particular product. So for anybody who is considering to lose weight using diet pills, here are the five important criteria to consider:
  1. Effectiveness (weight loss power)
  2. Safety
  3. Value (weight loss/dollar spent)
  4. Guarantee
  5. Marketing Techniques (unrealistic claims)
Just visit TopRatedDietPills.com to see which products made it to the list.

Potato Salad

Potato Salad is a staple at any cookout. Every year I try different potato salad recipe that I find online. And this year, during our 4th of July celebration I tried this very easy and tasty recipe I saw at Food Kraft's website. It complimented my grilled back ribs and chicken bbq very well. It's also my first time to use celery seeds and I must admit it made this dish really refreshing.

POTATO SALAD
INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup Mayonnaise

1 Tablespoon yellow mustard

1/2 teaspoon celery seed

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

4 cups cubed potatoes, cooked
2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced

1/3 cup dill pickle relish
DIRECTIONS
1. Mix first 5 ingredients in large bowl.
2. Add remaining ingredients, mix lightly

3. Refrigerate several hours or until chilled.


Yield - 8 servings

Sunday, July 12, 2009

David's Cookies for All Seasons


If you are running out of ideas of what to give your friends or loved ones on special occasions, visit DavidCookies.com for a wide array of selections of cookies, brownies, cakes, tarts and a lot more. Who can resist oven fresh cookies with loads of heaping chunks of chocolates? Not me! David Liederman is the brains behind these delicious David's Cookies which are made only from the finest, all natural ingredients - pure vanilla, butter, Swiss chocolate and whole nuts.

These delicious David's Cookies became very popular and well-known not only throughout the northeast and across the country, but also became an international franchise with over 250 cookie shops around the world. In 1980's Fairfield Gourmet Foods Corp. purchased David's Cookies and rejuvenated its brands and introduced other high-quality cookies and frozen cookie dough. David's Cookies is now the leading provider of fresh baked cookies on the internet and was voted one of Good Housekeeping Magazine's 10 Best Mail-order Goodies for Giving (or Serving), in December 2007 for their mini-cheesecake selection.

David's decadent cookies are also perfect for corporate gift giving with their cookie gift basket selections; giant message cookies; and other gift ideas. Whatever occasions, holidays or milestones you are celebrating, David's Cookies are truly a brilliant idea to make the celebration complete and exciting. This summer months, enjoy the gift baskets of some of their unique summer collection like Summer Beach Bucket; Pink Summer Bucket; and Lady Bug Bucket at very affordable prices. Enjoy free shipping too on selected items.

The Importance of Water

I love drinking ice cold water to quench my thirst especially on hot summer months. I prefer water over soda, I only drink soda occasionally when I feel like it or when in a party. Here are some useful facts about water that is worth sharing about.

* * * * *

Water makes up 83% of the blood and acts as a transport system, delivering nutrients to the brain and eliminating toxins.

Your brain needs to be fully hydrated so that the circuitry works well and it functions at optimum levels. Water is essential for concentration and mental alertness.

Studies have shown that most people are permanently partially dehydrated. This means that their brain is working considerably below its capacity and potential.

A study by Trevor Brocklebank at Leeds University in the UK discovered that schoolchildren with the best results in class were those who drank up to eight glasses of water a day.
(source: Bill Lucas, Power Up Your Mind, 2001)

Therefore, you should drink at least 2 litres of water every day.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Acne Treatment that Combat the Source

I have very oily skin and acne has been my face's greatest nemesis. I can't count anymore how many different kinds of acne treatment products I have tried in the past but nothing seems to work as effectively as I expected them to be. Often times, my face became worse than better. Even now that I'm already in my 40's I still get few irritations and breakouts here and there and it's not at all any fun. I came across yet another acne treatment product online which I heard really work wonder. It's good to try products that have been tried by friends and vouched to be effective. Also, the numerous success stories by people who have tried and were happy with the product just make it more appealing.

ZENMED Derma Cleanse acne treatment system help the oil in the skin balanced therefore getting it back to being healthy and clear again. This product has acne fighting ingredients that combat acne at its source, as well as natural healing ingredients that help sooth the skin. The ZENMED Derma Cleanse system differ from other acne treatment products in the sense that it treats acne from surface and internally. It cleans, heals and sustains healthy skin. In just three easy steps, the system arrests the cause rather than just concealing the symptoms. In my desperate quest to find a product that will really help me get rid of acne, this ZENMED Derma Cleanse system looks promising and is worth a try.

Friday, July 3, 2009

I Love Camcorders

I love making memories. For a doting mom like myself, cameras and camcorders are the greatest inventions ever because I can chronicle special events and milestones of my family especially that of my little son. I capture my son's antics every chance I get and he loves watching himself on videos and slideshows afterwards. When we visit my family in the Philippines in August, I will show them the tons of pictures and videos I took of my son. They've got a lot of catching up to do. I'm sure they would love to see the growing years of my son that they missed.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Food Friday - Happy Family

HAPPY FAMILY
This was one of the dishes we ordered at Lilac Blossom, a fine Chinese cuisine resto where we celebrated Father's Day. This dish is called Happy Family, a surf and turf dish of shrimps, scallops, beef, Chinese and roast pork with succulent vegetables in traditional brown sauce.

Drool over other dishes by visiting here:

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Let the Customers Keep Coming

Restaurants keep mushrooming in every corner. Anywhere you go you will surely see a new place to dine in, you might wonder how they survive in this economy. A restaurant has to be unique and interesting aside from good food and service, so customers will keep returning. Here's another way to get your customers to keep coming back to your restaurants if they had a great experience in your service. Keep them informed with your upcoming events like wine tasting; specialty menus; sporting events; coming of celebrity chef guests; theme dinners; and other special events with the use of large Wall Calendars. One restaurant organization has proven an increase in sales by 400% during special events just by hanging large Restaurant Calendar in their entry way.

Large Wall Calendars are custom dry erase calendars made of vinyl that can be mounted easily on the wall by simply peeling off the backing and place on a clean dry surface. You can customize the design of the wall calendar that will suit the specialty of your restaurants. You can actually build your own calendar and personalize or tailor made the design according to your needs by using your own image or photo. This image or photo will then be professionally formatted and finished by the graphic designers of Wall Calendar. Wall calendars are used not only by restaurants but other businesses, offices, retails, schools, residential and others as well. Custom dry erase wall calendars are exclusively produced by WallCalendar.us.

Fried Tofu with Peppery Bean Sauce

I hope you're not tired of Tofu dishes yet, because here's another one worth sharing. You can say that it's Tofu week in our household, hb was so in the mood to cook. So while he's watching his diet closely because of gout (you can read the story here), I also benefit in the process health-wise. Not to mention, I don't cook much like I used to anymore ;-).

FRIED TOFU WITH PEPPERY BEAN SAUCE
INGREDIENTS
14 ounces firm Tofu, drained

1 small leek
1 ounce smoked ham
cooking oil for deep frying
2 eggs, lightly beaten
cornstarch
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons black bean garlic sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved on 2 teaspoons water

SEASONING:
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 Tablespoons dark soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

DIRECTIONS:
1. Cut the tofu into 1/2 x 2 x 2 inches pieces. Combine the seasoning ingredients in a bowl.
2. Cut the leek in half lengthwise, then into 1/2 inch slices. Cut the harm into 1 x 1 x 1/8 slices.
3. In a wok, heat the oil for deep frying to 375 degrees F. Dip the tofu in the eggs, drain briefly, then coat with cornstarch. Deep-fry the tofu, a batch at a time, until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels.

4. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of oil from the wok. Place over high heat until hot. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Add jalapenos, black beans, leek and ham and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the seasonings and bring to a boil. Add the cornstarch mixture and cook, stirring, until the sauce boils and thickens. Add the tofu and toss to coat.

Makes 4 servings

Friday, June 19, 2009

I Feel Naked Without My Rings

I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, I hate to see cluttered counters; messy sink and sticky floors. So I clean and wash a lot that make my hand really dry. Though I have a pair of gloves on the surface that I can use anytime, sometimes I feel like I can do a greater job of cleaning with bare hands. I just use the gloves when pots are really greasy. I have a bottle of moisturizing hand lotion on the side too that I use every after washing, but I still feel tightness in my hand skin sometimes. Last night the skin under my wedding and engagement rings felt really itchy, so I removed my rings and massage my hands and fingers with lotion for a long time, it felt really good. But it just feels weird not wearing my wedding band and engagement ring, I haven't removed them since the time I wore them, and now I feel like I'm naked, lol.

Tofu With Straw Mushrooms

I have posted here a while back that hb was recently diagnosed with gout so he is closely watching his food intake. His diet always includes tofu as one of his sources of protein. He's made three tofu dishes this week and here's another one to share.

TOFU WITH STRAW MUSHROOMS

INGREDIENTS
1 Tablespoon cooking oil
14 ounces firm Tofu, drained and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
5 ounces straw mushrooms, sliced (or white button mushrooms)
2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 1 1/2 Tablespoons water

SAUCE:
3 Tablespoons white vinegar
2 Tablespoons Ketchup
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon chile garlic sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar

DIRECTIONS:
1. Combine the ingredients for the sauce.
2. Place a wok over high heat unti hot; add oil, swirling to coat the sides.
3. Add the firm tofu, mushrooms, and the sauce bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low; cover and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the cornstarch mixture and cook, stirring, until the sauce boils and thickens.

Family Trip to Vegas

Before our son came, my husband and I have been to many places in and out of US. Every summer we have at least three weeks of vacation. It has always been in the plans to visit Las Vegas but for some reasons it is always sidetracked. We love watching live shows and this is one of the reasons why we want to visit Vegas one of these summers. I remember when it was just me and hb, whenever there was a broadway show that we both wanted to see, at a spur of the moment we would drive to New York to see it.

But of course
it's a different story now. Since we have a little son already we just couldn't do what we used to do anymore. And we have to choose kids-friendly shows and shows appropriate for the whole family as well. So I started browsing through Las Vegas kids shows and Vegas hotels already so that when vacation time comes, everything will be all set.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tri-Color Ruffles Salad

Here's a very easy macaroni salad recipe that you can make for dinner. You can use any pasta available in your pantry like elbow macaroni. I used tri-color ruffles pasta just to add more color to the dish and for presentation.

TRI-COLOR RUFFLES SALAD

INGREDIENTS
1 package Tri-Color Ruffles noodles
3 Roma tomatoes, remove seeds
1 small red onion
1/4 cup sweet relish
1 cup chopped black olives
6 hard boiled eggs
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup mustard
salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:
1. Boil pasta until soft, drain, rinse and let cool in refrigerator, while preparing the rest of the ingredients.
2. Dice tomatoes; cut onions finely; and cube eggs. Mix together all ingredients. It is best if made the day before.

HOW TO HARD-BOIL EGGS:
1. Place the eggs gently in a pot and cover with tap water completely with about 1 inch of water over them.
2. Add enough salt to make it easier to peel later.
3. Bring the water to a boiling point on high heat. As soon as the water boils, turn off the heat; don't remove the lid; leave the eggs in hot water and start the timer for 15 minutes.
4. After 15 minutes, remove the eggs from hot water and place in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.

KITCHEN TIP #8
Don't let the eggs linger in hot water for a long time,
otherwise the yoke will turn slight greenish color and will smell like sulfur.

What Gift to Give

I'm looking forward to Sunday when we celebrate Father's Day. Now that my little tot can pretty well comprehend what's going on around him, he's more involved now and knows we need to get a gift for dada. While we were at a store I picked out several stuffs that we could give his dada, and I let him choose the one he wanted to give dada. He made a choice but won't reveal it yet as my hb is reading my blogs, lol.

But I have yet to decide what to give him. I've been spending a lot of time browsing online for stuffs that my hb would like to receive on his special day, but it's just too hard to decide. He's got everything already so I need to find something that he will get excited about. Electronic gadgets will surely excite him. I came across laptop and iphone accessories; and even travel paraphernalia since he travels often now. Father's Day is three days away so I need to make a decision soon.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Affordable Health Insurance

We all know that health insurance is one of the basic necessities every family should have. If you are employed, you are lucky if your current employer offers good health insurance benefits. If not, in the present economic situation the more affordable health insurance you could find the better. If you live in North Carolina and is looking for an affordable health insurance for your family, Blue Advantage plan is the one for you. To name a few, Blue Advantage offers great coverage; and a range of premium and deductible options that will surely fit in your budget. To learn more about Blue Advantage plan and get a rate quote in less than 30 seconds, visit NCHealthPlans.com.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Benefits of Tea

I'm not a coffee drinker, coffee gives me palpitation. But I love to drink tea. My favorites are Japanese green tea and English black tea. I consume up to three cups a day. Green tea calms my nerve and my stomach when its grumbling. I'm married to a Brit and his family are big tea drinkers. I guess that's one reason why they live long. Would you believe that my father-in-law who is turning 85 years old drinks tea like water? And his mother died 5 years ago at the age of 101 years old.

It's believed that one reason the Japanese have lower rates of many diseases (including cancer) is that they drink so much green tea, a major storehouse of immunity-boosting compounds, including potent antioxidants like EGCG. Some research suggests that green tea is helpful for fending off the bugs that cause flue and diarrhea, whooping cough, pneumoniam, and even cavities. Even black tea appears to have immunity-enhancing properties. A small study at Harvard Medical School that examined immune function in coffee drinkers compared to tea drinkers found that when blood taken from all the study participants was exposed to E. coli bacteria, the tea drinkers' immune cells responded about 5x faster than the coffee drinkers'. Researchers believe it's the compound L-theanine in black tea that helps to rally immune function.

HELPFUL HINT:
Aim for one to two cups daily for general health.
If you are sick, try to drink three to four cups
.

(Source - Reader's Digest Food Cures)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Keeping Memories and Documents Safe

I love to take pictures even before my son arrived. I carry my digital camera anywhere I go, so I'm ready for any photo op anytime. I want to capture my son's antics in photos and videos whenever I get the chance. With the tons of shots I've taken, you can probably imagine how much of our computer memory contains just my photos. So my husband bought an external hard drive to accommodate all my photos and videos and other important documents and files and keep them safe. This external hard drive freed a huge space in our computer memory and enhanced its speed.

Upgrade Computer Memory

Hb bought me a new Sony Vaio laptop for my birthday, so I decided to just give my old laptop to my brother when I go to the Philippines. Actually I don't have any problem with my old laptop, though my very high-tech hb finds it to be very slow. Well if you compare its speed with hb's work laptop, you can say that it is really slow. Anyway, I don't think I'm in any position to complain with a brand new laptop right? My brother is very technical too so he might want to get cheap computer memory to upgrade the memory and enhance the speed of the laptop if in case he will find it slow too.

Tomato Tofu

My hb was in the mood to cook today. He was craving for tofu dish so we went to the Oriental store to buy the ingredients for this Tomato Tofu dish. Tofu is one of the foods allowed to be eaten by people with gout. Several studies show that soy reduces uric acid, making it a terrific way to get protein and combat gout.

TOMATO TOFU

INGREDIENTS:
1 Tablespoon cooking oil
10 ounces tomatoes, peeled and diced
1/4 cup cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
2 Tablespoons chopped ginger
14 ounces soft tofu, drained and cut into 1-inch cubes

SAUCE
3 Tablespoons ketchup
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons chile garlic sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon chile oil
DIRECTIONS:
1. Combine the sauce ingredients in a bowl
2. Place a wok or wide frying pan over thigh heat until hot. Add the oil, swirling to coat the sides. Add the tomatoes, cilantro, and ginger. Cook stirring for 2 minutes.
3. Add the sauce and tofu; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the tofu is heated through, 2 to 3 minutes.

Yield - Makes 4 to 6 servings


HELPFUL HINT :
Eating soy foods once or twice a week in place of meat or poultry is a smart idea.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Total Change of Eating Habit

Since hb's diagnosis of gout, he's been watching his diet really closely. He doesn't like to go through pain and discomforts again, just like how he felt before he knew he had gout. Back then the uric acid in his system was on its highest level.

In the morning he eats variety of fruits like blueberries, strawberries, pineapple, watermelon, raspberries and blackberries. He eats them with cottage cheese, or mixes them with cereals. Sometimes he blends them into smoothie using only fat-free milk and plain yogurt. He eats mostly chicken and tofu and a lot of salad. His diet was a total turn around from the way he used to eat. So you can just imagine how he is losing some weight like he's been taking
diet pill. I guess the gout has an upside to it, it served as a wake-up call for my hb to change his eating habit.

What is Gout?

In the latter part of May, my whole family went on a long weekend get-away to Maine. We had all sort of fresh seafood in every restaurant we dined at and of course beer was always part of the meal. We had a great time despite my hb nursing a sore foot. He was limping the whole time, he thought he must have broken his left big toe. But as the vacation progressed, his left foot swelled making it difficult to wear sneakers. He was really in pain and in great discomfort. So he made an appointment with a podiatrist to see him as soon as we get back. The diagnosis was he's got gout! The doctor, just by looking at his foot was 99.99% sure that he had gout even before examining his foot. Since then he's been watching his diet closely. He's been into fruit and vegetable diet and eats mostly chicken.

Gout is characterized by severe pain and tenderness, especially in the big toe. Gout is caused by a buildup of uric acid, which forms crystals that nestle into the joints and inflame them. Uric acid results from the breakdown of purines, compounds in body tissues and in many foods, especially red meats and alcohol. My hb has cut down on these to avoid flare up of his gout.


BLUEBERRIES


Here are some food that offer relief of gout:
  1. Fresh cherries, blueberries and strawberries
  2. Fresh or frozen pineapple
  3. Tofu, edamame, soy milk, and other soy foods
  4. Tomatoes, bell peppers, and other foods rich in vitamin C
  5. Olive oil, canola oil, avocados
  6. wather and other non-alcoholic liquids
  7. Cabbage, kale, leafy greens, celery, and carrots
Food to avoid are those rich in purines that will increase uric acid level:
  1. Red meat and fatty fish like anchovies, sardines, mackerel, and herring, as well as scallops and mussels;
  2. Purine rich vegetables and grains;
  3. Alcohol and yeasty food like bread and beer;
  4. Large amount of table sugar and corn syrup
(Source - Reader's Digest Food Cures)

Family Comes First

There are many moms I know, myself included, who have sidetracked careers in favor of raising a family. It is a lot of sacrifice to lose one source of income especially in the present economy when security of tenure seems to be very shaky as well. I'm blessed to have a husband who can afford to let me be a stay-at-home mom rather than juggle work and family. But at the back of my mind, when my son is already in school, I still want to pursue one of those admin careers in the corporate world. I was in the middle of reviewing for the CPA board exams when my son came, so I'd say my promising career was abruptly interrupted. But I don't have any regret putting everything aside in favor of raising a family, I would not do it differently.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Keeping Rugs Clean

Even if I will start the day wearing a pair of slippers, for some reasons I will end up walking around the house barefooted again. When I sit on the sofa or in a bar stool, I normally remove the slippers then I will forget to put them back on before I get up. I guess I'm more relaxed walking in the house barefooted except in the kitchen where we have cold terracota floor tiles.

It's good that I've got area
rugs in every spot I frequent like the area of the sink, oven, fridge, dishwasher and the doors to the deck and garage; they keep my feet warm. Since the rugs get a lot of foot traffic I always keep them clean and allergen-free by vacuuming them daily. And also since my little tot would sometimes sit or play on the rugs too, unless there are spills that I need to address right away; I run them in the washer every two weeks and air dry them on the deck. I've got a lot of nice rugs with the skid-free rubber ruined in the dryer so as much as possible I refrain from drying them there.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Scallion Pancakes with Ginger Dipping Sauce

Whenever I go to Oriental store, I always buy scallions because they are usually a bargain at three big bunches for a buck. I use them in just about any dish like omelettes, fried rice, soup, sauces and many more. There is one good Chinese resto that we frequent where I always order their delish scallion pancakes. So I thought I should try making them since I've got tons of scallions in my chiller all the time.

There are a lot of recipes you can find in the net though, but I chose this recipe of Ming Tsai because I find it easier to make. Ming Tsai is also one of my fave chefs from Food TV Network who also owns Blue Ginger resto in the Boston suburb of Wellesley, MA where we've been several times already.


SCALLION PANCAKES WITH GINGER DIPPING SAUCE

INGREDIENTS:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup sliced scallions
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 cup canola oil
salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 cup ginger dipping sauce, recipe to follow

DIRECTIONS
1. In a bowl, sift flour. Slowly add water in a steady stream while mixing with a wooden spoon. Keep adding water until a ball is formed. With the same procedure one can use a food processor with a metal blade. Let ball of dough relax for about 30 minutes and cover with damp cloth.
2. On a floured surface, roll out dough into a thin rectangle. Brush an oil mixture, cover with scallion and season with salt and pepper.
3. Carefully roll dough like a spone cake. Cut into 4 pieces. Take one piece and twist 3 times. Make a spiral out of this and roll again and flatten to achieve a 5 to 6 inch pancake.
4. In a hot non-stick pan, coat with canola oil and pan sear both sides until golden brown. Cut into wedges and serve immediately with dipping sauce.

GINGER DIPPING SAUCE
1/4 cup thin soy sauce
1/4 cup Chinese chinkiang vinegar (I used regular white vinegar)
1/4 cup sliced scallions
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon sugar
Combine all ingredients

Yield - Makes 4 servings