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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

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 ;-).

14 ounces firm Tofu, drained

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

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

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.


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

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

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.


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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.


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

3 Tablespoons ketchup
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons chile garlic sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon chile oil
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

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.


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.