I can do all things with God who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:13

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,

that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 3:16

What I am is a gift from God. What I become is my gift to God.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Psalm 23

I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 14:16.

Dec 7, 2012

Feast of the Immaculate Conception Day




Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a holy day of obligation.  The solemnity of the Immaculate Conception celebrate Mary's conception without sin. The day does not refer to the conception of Jesus in the womb of Mary but rather the conception of Virgin Mary in the womb of Saint Anne by Mary's father St. Joachim. Her conception was immaculate as she was filled with grace by God who knew that she will become the mother of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  Exactly 9 months later, we celebrate Mama Mary's birthday on September 8.

On December 8, 1854, Pope Pius IX declared the Immaculate Conception a dogma of the church.  As written in the Apostolic Constitution Ineffabillis Deus,  "We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful."





Incidentally, today is also Day 7 of the Advent, last day of the first week. First week of advent reminds us of the 'promise' of God. It gives us time to prepare; to reflect; to be hopeful. It allows us to let go of our sins and accept God. Let us all be inspired by Jacob's story from Genesis 28:12-15.




Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,for I am meek and humble of heart;

and you will find rest for your selves.For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.   
                                                                                        


Mathew 11:28-30

Jul 21, 2012

Siomai (Steamed Dumpling)

Siomai using lumpia wrapper


Filipinos love Chinese food so it follows that one of Pinoys' favorite snacks is siomai.

Siomai as Filipinos call it is also called as Shumai which according to Wikipedia is also called pork dumplings (although oftentimes other types of dumplings could also be filled with pork). It is a type of traditional Chinese dumplings served in dim sum.  Dim sum refers to a style of Chinese food prepared as small bite-sized or individual portions of food traditionally served in small steamer baskets or on small plates.

If you are like me who currently lives in Middle East with my family, then I guess, siomai is hard to find or it's worth like gold.  So the best way to have it is to prepare it by yourself.  After this, you'll never miss siomai again :)

Ingredients:
1 kilo ground beef
1 medium-sized onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
1-2 medium-sized carrot (used as extender)
5 tbsp. sesame oil (this will give an authentic flavor)
1 tsp. salt
1 large egg
ground pepper to taste

Siomai using wonton wrapper

Procedure:
  1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Scoop 1 tbsp. of the mixture into a siomai wrapper, fold and seal
  3. Arrange the siomai in a steamer and steam for about 10-15 minutes, depending on the type of wrapper you used.  If you are using wonton wrapper, steaming might take longer and it is the other way around if you are using rice paper or lumpia wrapper
  4. Best served and eaten with chili sauce

Happy Cooking!

Cheers :)






Chili Paste

This all-around chili paste can be stored and re-used as flavoring when cooking or as base for siomai sauce.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup of fresh chilis (siling labuyo)
1/2 cup garlic
1/4 cup oil, olive oil recommended

Procedure:

Put the fresh chilis and garlic in a food processor and give it a good whizzing.  Add the oil and blend until smooth
Transfer the mixture in a pre-heated pan
Simmer until the chilis turn dark and the oil separates from the chili/garlic mix




TIP FOR USING AS BASE FOR SIOMAI SAUCE
Put a smal amount of chili paste in a small bowl, add soy sauce and lemon


Happy cooking!


Sweet, Chili, Buttered Prawns


Hubby and I are spending a long summer break and we keep ourselves busy whipping up some delicious treats for our 3 kids.  We bought 2 kilos of tiger prawns in the supermarket and had our daughter's guests try "Sinigang na Sugpo". We thought of something different for the other kilo -- so, we decided to have sweet, chili, buttered prawns!

Ingredients:
1 kilo tiger prawns, cleaned
1 stick butter
1 7-up
1 big head of garlic
chili paste (see recipe here)


Procedure:
  1. Marinade the prawns in 7-up (or any lemon-based juice) for 10-15 minutes
  2. Pour a little bit of oil in a pre-heated pan and put 1 stick butter
  3. Saute garlic
  4. Add the prawns with juice
  5. Add chili paste to taste
  6. Let it simmer until cooked
  7. Place prawn to a serving platter. (we don't have parsley so i just put cucumber while plating^^)
Best eaten with steamed rice. 

Nom nom!




Jun 30, 2012

Power Search with Google



Do you want to become a powerful internet searcher?


Enrol on a short course to become one. According to Google Inside Search, Power Searching with Google is a free online, community-based course which features 6 50-minute classes, interactive activities to practice new skills and opportunities to connect with other users. A Certificate of Completion will be emailed upon passing the post-course assessment.

Registration is until July 16 and the first class will begin on July 10, 2012.

If you are interested, click here to register and get more details. I just did :)









Jun 16, 2012

Happy Father's Day


This is a re-post of the father's day newsletter I made last year as a gift to my hubby Jun. I really exerted time and effort to complete the newsletter and I cannot think of any other gift better than this.

 Happy Father's Day once again to our 
Cool Dad, Super Dad Jun! 

I also extend my best father's day greetings to all the Dads out there.

Cheers!


Jun 7, 2012

Don't Forget to Greet Dad

Father's Day is just around the corner, Sunday, June 17th. The right Father's Day card does more than tell your dad you remembered - it shows him how much he means to you. Dads are truly one-of-a-kind, so create a FREE personalized Father's Day Card and make it as unique as they are. You can include such memorable "Dad" quotes from growing up as: "Don't make me stop the car!" and "Close the door, you're heating the outside". Also, share your favorite heartwarming memories like how Dad taught you the art of alternating lawn mowing patterns, how hard he worked to French-braid your hair just like mom did, and that look in his eyes that said "My little girl is all grown up, whether I like it or not."

Cardstore.com's wide variety of Father 's Day cards let you make a unique statement beyond just "Happy Father's Day". It's easy to get started. Just choose a modern or funny Father's Day card, add your own sayings, memories, photos, and even your own signature, and remind Dad how important he is to you. It's just like sending a little you!


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May 26, 2012

Pastillas de Leche : Simple, No Cook Recipe

Plain and Melon-flavored Pastillas de Leche

Many of us have the pleasure of eating powdered milk from childhood.  If you  enjoy milk, then you will love pastillas de leche.

Pastillas de leche is a candy made from milk.  This milk candy has many variations but I will share the "no cook recipe".

Ingredients:
1 can (395g) condensed milk
2 cups powdered milk
sugar for rolling
flavoring (optional)

Procedure:

  1. In a bowl, pour the condensed milk and add flavoring (optional).  You may try melon, ube, chocolate or coffee flavors. 
  2. Gradually add powdered milk mixing the ingredients until well combined making sure that you get the right consistency for rolling the candy.
  3. Let stand for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Take 1 tsp mixture and shape into a ball or 2-inch cylinder.  If you are doing it with kids, you may try different shapes like star or heart.
  5. Roll into sugar for coating.  Caster sugar is recommended.


I used Nestle condensed milk, 395 g I used Nido powdered milk and a measuring cup
You may use any flavoring as you like (chocolate, melon, ube). Here, I used melon flavorThis is how the mixture would look like after adding 1 cup powdered milk
Here's how the mixture would look after adding the 2nd cup of powdered milk ..the mixture after 10 minutes. The more you let it stand, the more it won't stick to your hands
Roll the mixture into a ball. If you let it stand for more than 15 minutes, make sure to knead the ball for a smoother surface
Knead the ball to a cylinder shape  Roll the candy into sugar. Caster sugar is recommended


If colored japanese paper or plastic wrapper is available, you may wrap the candy individually. 

This is a good homeschooling/bonding activity that you and your kids will surely enjoy.

Cheers!


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May 24, 2012

Egg (Custard) Pie


Egg pie is a childhood favorite.  I always buy this in the local bakery and I remember that it was available only in the afternoon.  It was already expensive at that time so the supplies were limited and were soon gone from display.

Egg pie is universally known as custard pie.  I don't know why Filipinos call it egg pie when it is actually made up of milk, egg, sugar and vanilla/nutmeg mixture known as custard.  The custard is used as a filling for pastry dough casing and baked until the custard is set.

Egg (custard) pie is so easy to prepare.  So if you're like me who loves egg pie, bake away with this simple recipe:

For the Crust: (you may also use ready-made crusts if you prefer)
200g all purpose flour
140g butter, cubed
1 egg

For the Custard:
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 12 oz. evaporated milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon or lemon zest

Procedure for Pie Crust:

  1. Mix and knead ingredients into a dough.
  2. Knead pastry in a lightly floured surface and keep kneading until  ingredients are well combined. Be careful not to overwork the pastry or it will toughen.
  3. Form a ball and wrap in  ziplock bag and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Transfer dough in a lightly floured surface and flatten with a rolling pin until wide enough to cover your baking pan.
  5. Arrange in the pie pan and flute the edges.
  6. Put back in the refrigerator and prepare the filling.
If you prefer to blind bake (pre-bake pastry before putting the filling) your pie crust, pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  1. Cover the pie crust with aluminum foil and put pie weights to avoid sliding or rising up.  If you don't want to put pie weights, you can also use the double panning technique - that is putting another (empty) pie pan on top.  Bake the pastry for about 10 minutes.
  2. While baking pre-baking the crust, prepare the filling.
Procedure for Custard Filling:
  1. Heat the milk in a microwave oven for 2 minutes.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine 3 eggs + 1 egg yolk (put the egg whites in a separate bowl), vanilla and lemon zest and whisk together.
  3. Gradually add the sugar making sure to mix all the ingredients well.
  4. Add the milk and whisk continuously until well combined.
  5. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until it forms soft peaks. (this is the secret for making a nice brown top on egg pie)
  6. Fold the egg whites into the mixture.
Baking the egg (custard) pie:
  1. Pour the filling in the refrigerated or pre-baked pie crust.
  2. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. This process will brown the top of the pie.
  3. Lower the heat to 325 degrees and bake for another 40-60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the pie.  Another tip to check whether the custard is set is to slice the middle with a knife.
  4. Remove from oven and cool down.
  5. Best served when chilled.
Enjoy a delicious egg pie. 

Happy baking. Cheers!




May 23, 2012

Migraine Attack



It is quite normal for me to have migraine that lasts for 3-4 days but it was my first time to have a severe migraine attack while at work. Through the years, I have learned to continue “business as usual” while having migraine, just pausing once in a while if the throbbing in my head gets unbearable. Although I don’t leave home without my Advil (liquid-gels are the best), there are times that the painkillers just won’t work and I will just have to request for back/nape massages from Jun or from my kids OR have to do hand/foot reflexology by myself.

Today is the 4th day of my migraine and while finishing some report, I got dizzy and my head was spinning like crazy. My body became weak and my hands were shaking. I want to bury my head in my hands and just rest my head on the table but my mind was telling me to call for help and I dialed Jun’s extension number. Every little movement of my head builds nausea and Jun arrived just in time to hand me the bin to throw up.

I felt so weak and the pain was too much. I was in panic that I was asking Jun to get someone to take my blood pressure. (I had no time to think that my sugar level might be low and request for a can of coke ala Corona).  Somebody called clinic for help and when the nurse came he immediately told me that he had to give me injection. What?! I wanted to protest but I had no energy. When I regained my balance, I was brought to the clinic and nurse administered the injection and asked me to lie down and rest for a while.

I was able to recover but had to file for short leave and rest at home. I still have migraine “hangover” – I still feel weak, have body pains and feels I could sleep all day. Some get depressed after a bout with migraine but I try to keep myself busy with small things like baking, keeping in touch with friends, write or go out with my family.

Such is the life of someone with migraine. Different people have different triggers. I usually get mine from change of weather, stress, adrenaline going down immediately after too much pressure and recently PMS is added to the list. As I’ve said, Advil, massage and reflexology work for me and since caffeine works wonder, coffee is my comfort drink during bouts with migraine.  I understand that what works for some might not work with others so I would be glad if someone will share how they managed to cope with migraine and would be more than happy to hear if someone had found a way to cure their migraine.





Apr 23, 2012

life notes: Giving

life notes: Giving: My mother opened the issue up a few days ago saying, “…it’s quite embarrassing that you’re still the one giving even on your birthday.” ...


Mar 20, 2012

A Mother's Prayer

I will never get tired of listening to this song because it hits close to home.


When I heard this song for the first time, I did not stop until I found it in youtube. It is quite difficult to search for something especially if you don't know the title. But as luck would have it, I found the song and read the story behind it.

From then on, I made Rachel's prayer my prayer because it narrates exactly the same emotions i feel as a mother. I know that all mothers (even fathers) will also agree.




A Mother’s Prayer (HANNAH'S SONG) Words by Rachel Aldous
Music by John Mandeville

Verse:

My sweet baby on loan from above.
No better treasure could I more love.
I stand here beside your bed as I pray
I lay my hand on your head and I say:

Chorus:
May you grow up to serve Him
all of your days.
May He lead you and guide you
in all of your ways.
May His hand bless your future with
friendships that last.
May you cherish your youth
and not grow up too fast

Verse:
I stare in wonder at your tiny frame.
Just to think that God knows you by name.
He knows every hair on your beautiful head.
He knows your thoughts before they are said.

Chorus:
May you grow up to serve Him
all of your days
May He lead you and guide you
in all of your ways.
May His Hand bless your future with
friendships that last.
May you cherish your youth
and not grow up too fast.

Prayer:
May God grant you peace
in the midst of a storm.
May God give you strength even
when you’re forlorn.
May you answer the door when
Jesus comes knocking.
May wisdom guide when
your mouth is talking.
May discretion protect you
and keep you pure.
May you never stumble
or fall for a lure.
May your heart remain humble
to the very end.
May uprightness and truth
be what you defend.
May the world not ensnare
or change who you are.
May the light that's within you
shine like the stars.
May angels surround you
body, spirit, mind.
May favor and peace be yours to find.
May rejection and pain
never reach you.
May your spirit grow bold
for what you’re called to.

Chorus:
May you grow up to serve Him
all of your days
May He lead you and guide you
in all of your ways
May His Hand bless your future with
friendships that last.
May you cherish your youth
and not grow up too fast.

Singing:
As you rest in God’s care I will rest, too.
Knowing that Jesus is watching over you.
Amen

Hannah speaks: I love you, Mommy…



Thank you Rachel Aldous for this wonderful song.
Happy Mother's Day to all!



Mar 1, 2012

Raisin Scones



I discovered scones in 2005 when I was in Sydney and I loved it ever since especially the raisin scones. For the past six years I have never tasted one because pita bread or khubz is preferred in the Middle East.  Since I have gone back to baking, I thought it would be great to try baking my first raisin scones :)  I found a recipe from Woman's Weekly (just made very slight variations) and thanks to them, I baked my first bread ♥


Ingredients:
250g self-raising flour
1 level tsp. baking powder
50g butter
2 level tbsp. brown sugar
125g raisins (or as you like)
1 medium egg
approximately 100ml milk
beaten egg for glazing
brown sugar for sprinkling


Procedure:
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 220°C (428°F)
  2. Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  3. Stir in the sugar and raisins.
  4. Break the egg into a measuring cup and add enough milk to make the amount up to 150ml. Whisk the mixture and pour into the the flour mixture
  5. Knead the dough very lightly to make a smooth ball. DON'T HANDLE IT TOO MUCH IF YOU DON'T WANT TO MAKE TOUGH SCONES!
  6. Roll out the dough to about 2cm (¾in) thick and cut out as many rounds as possible. Re-roll trimmings and cut out to use up the remaining dough.
  7. Place the scones fairly close together on the baking sheet. Brush the beaten egg on top of scones and optionally sprinkle with sugar or plain flour.
  8. Bake the scones for 12-15 minutes or until light golden.  Let it cool in a wire rack.
The whole process is finished in about 35 minutes! It is so easy to have delicious, freshly-baked raisin scones. Now, I don't have to wait long to have a serving of my favorite raisin scones :)

TIPS:  
  • Scones are best eaten with a FRUIT JAM and CLOTTED CREAM
  • Scones are best eaten on the day they are made.
  • Serve with TEA or COFFEE.
TRIVIA: 
Scone UK(skɒn) US(skoʊn)
Most people pronounce it to rhyme with gone, and the rest pronounce it to rhyme with cone.

I pronounce scones the way Americans do but pronunciation doesn't matter, what matters is we all love scones! ✌

Cheers!


Feb 29, 2012

Today I learned …



…that it is possible for something to go wrong however hard you planned and prepared for everything, especially if you are working with a group.
…to accept that not all people who receive my email will read it; some who read it will value its importance and follow the instructions but a few will ignore it (and there goes all my effort)
…that patience is a virtue but it also has a limit
…to accept that people deal with problems in different ways: some will find solution to the problem but others will find the person to blame and make a mountain out of a molehill 
...that indeed, some of the most important lessons in life is learned the hard way
...that some days will be tougher than other days but it is better to look at the brighter side of things
...that I should thank God because unlike others, I appreciate the value of people and their effort


..at the end of the day, 
all's well that ends well.
THINK POSITIVE!






Feb 26, 2012

Life's Lessons From Traveling


Tell me and I'll forget,
Show me and I may remember,
Involve me and I'll understand.



Traveling is a great way to learn, to experience, explore and discover life and what it offers instead of reading a book or watching a video/documentary. You don't have to travel far to discover things but believe me, you should try exploring and discovering things with the whole family - it is a truly wonderful, amazing and rewarding experience. 

Jun and I enjoy traveling with our 3 kids - it is a great bonding experience and sometimes a test of each other's patience :) We believe that traveling is a great learning experience and our travel belief is summed up in a post by Theodora in her 9 Life Lessons Children Learn From Travel | Travels with a Nine Year Old .

Aside from the things she mentioned in her post, my family believes that traveling is a great way to learn from each other and to discover more things about each other.