Monthly Archives: September 2007

don’t walk this way

view
quick before i change my mind….

yes i put on the shoes again, i adjusted the laces to accommodate my little pinky toes. (malapit nang mapaltos–on the verge of a blister!)

i just realized i hate sweating! i hate smelly-sweating! i know sweating is good, it means you’ve worked your body hard and your metabolism rate has increased and blah blah blah…but i don’t like it at all.
i walked a bit further away from the car and to a pretty point in the causeway, no egrets or cormorants or swans to see but dogs (oooh a very handsome English bulldog! i had to quit staring, lest its owner think i’m admiring him)…
thoughts while walking: i hope i don’t step on doggy-doo-doo, why are we all women? where are the men, aren’t they out of shape too? no eye candy for me today?
hey that old lady is walking faster than me!

thought while walking and seeing a lithe, lean twenty-something girl w/ belly button peeking out and halter top with plunging neckline: out of my way! scram! (and something nastier actually)
thought while hobbling home, huffing puffing, the last quarter mile: i’m gonna die i’m gonna die i’m gonna die why did i eat that lechon pork belly…
images in my mind while thinking above thoughts: my twenty-something body, my three kids, and cats, the damned pill box that i fill up with meds to the brim and how i want to flush them down the storm drain that’s closing in on me as i wish to crawl back to the car but then i see the old lady is now a half mile ahead of me…….

now i’ve got to make up a bowl of artificially-sweetened oatmeal instead of gulping down all the buns in the big bag of pan de sal toasted and slathered thickly with butter…! :fryingpan

oh and tomorrow i musn’t gorge at my mother-in-law’s birthday banquet. heaven help me.

keep on walkin’! plus, a RAFFLE REMINDER

i’m certifiably hooked on “You Are What You Eat” the BBCAmerica daytime reality show. it’s about a star acupuncturist-holistic-nutritionist helping mostly morbidly obese clients out of their deadly eating habits and lifestyles into healthier, fitter regimens.

“Dr.” Gillian McKeith has got me. yeah she’s gimmicky, and eyebrows have been raised over her claims and qualifications, but i must say, it’s truly mind-boggling and eye-opening. obese? no i’m not there yet. if i had to choose a celebrity to represent my figure (take note, i didn’t say looks) it’s more Valerie Bertinelli than Kirstie Alley. but i do see a glimpse, a possibility, of my figure turning into a Spongebob Squarepants shape, much like Dr. Gill’s clients.

she discusses meal plans and healthy food all in an attention-grabbing way. for example she examines tongues, hair and skin, and ummm…body “by-products” :faint: for tell-tale deficiencies, and she palpates their bellies and ankles for the harmful effects of excessive junk food consumption.

she also asks them to keep a one-week food diary which she then lays out on a table so the clients can ogle just how awful the food is…in one episode she had to hire out a function room because the table she needed couldn’t fit in the client’s home!

she then gives them a meal and exercise plan tailored to their needs.

i wish she’d come and help me with my diet! (oh, what diet?) at least, i have become more conscious of what i pop into my mouth, and of how i treat this poor aging body of mine.

results: i now gravitate to and linger at the produce section and try to cut up the fruits and vegs straight away (as opposed to letting them sit and wait in the veggie bin) and set out bowls for us to nibble on. i’ve TRIED to banish the junk food….but! confession: yesterday i caved in and bought a teeny bag of Kettle-cooked salt and pepper potato chips (oooh bad mommy! bad mommy! spank yourself on your big fat belly).

while kids were clamoring for their favorite spaghetti with Bolognese sauce, i told them i’d make something similar but with grilled vegetables and just a few meatballs thrown in for their carnivorous cravings.

[i’ve made this before, with store-bought cheese tortellini. this time it is spaghetti with jar pasta sauce (we are partial to Paul Newman’s Roasted Garlic–proceeds go to children’s charities). just cut up zucchini, eggplant, carrots, and any other vegetable you want to throw into the grill pan.]

i have embarked on my new “exercise” routine which entails walking away from my car as swiftly and as far as possible for 10 minutes then doing an abrupt about face and walking back to the car while avoiding being hit by speeding cars on the causeway or swooped down upon by starving seagulls, tasty plump morsel i am to them, i’m sure

tomorrow i will walk more even if my feet are sore and my leg muscles are swooning.

i am looking into buying a mini trampoline for the winter because no one’s bought me a membership at the gym or YMCA yet. *wink*wink*hint* :opera:

i’m announcing it here to shame myself into continuing this regimen, Doctor’s Orders! after all –and i have to prove to myself that i love myself and i only get one body and it has to last me another 50-at-least more years.

wish me luck? no, wish me discipline and self control.
trainers

*now about that raffle…it’s not too late, friends! come on you know you want it! let me know if you want to throw in your name for the “street food” cookbook by Tom Kime. email me with your address by October 15.

bull’s eye marketing!

there’s this global search engine i looked into which i found to be like hitting the bull’s eye, in terms of finding products in a very specific range.

i tested it by searching for an item that would make you recall your great grandma or old spinster auntie Church lady….i have a habit, you see, of using handkerchiefs. :melodramatic:

everyday, i have to have at least one, in one of my pockets. blame it on the nuns who required us gullible little schoolgirls to always carry one, under threat of torture and punishment (mostly public humiliation in the form of written reports pasted on the lobby bulletin board.) they were so strict that at the start i asked our househelper to pin my hanky to my skirt pocket so it would always be there at inspection time. those twisted sisters nuns! they knew how to instill habits all right. now i feel so uncomfortable and agitated if i forget to bring one.

anyway, i need new handkerchiefs! frequent use and washing have rendered my stash from the Philippines in almost tattered condition. and they’re not easy to get here. rarely, i find some at the Japanese goods section of my Asian market, but lately they’ve only been men’s handkerchiefs, not the ultra soft lacy linen-cotton i am used to. and this old habit of mine i find impossible to shake.

so i used masterseek
to look for a retailer.
i found it easier to use because they were listed right there without having to sift through discussions, opinions, dreams, fantasies, or rants about handkerchiefs.
instead a detailed and orderly list popped up that was easy to refine and to narrow down geographically until i found a store nearby that specializes in soft lacy cotton-linen hankies!
this is a wonderful tool for business owners (45 million users in 75 countries!) to gain free access to company profiles and products, and for buyers who are done browsing and know exactly what they need.
talk about zeroing in on your target!

sometimes the well runs dry; another raffle!

just what i need when i’m feeling blah and out of sorts.

i was trying to curtail my cookbook buying sprees (i have run out of shelf space!) but how can anyone resist when they’re free? when the offer came from Dorling-Kindersley Books, i pounced.


i was so thrilled to receive Morimoto’s first ever cookbook The New Art of Japanese Cooking. it is lushly photographed and features his most creative! edgy! outlandish! dishes, some i remember from his days as Iron Chef (take note, the original series from Japan, not that pretender currently airing on that food channel). he specializes in visual puns that remind me of those trompe l’oeil murals i see in some buildings around Boston: his Fried Fish Cake noodles is not what it sounds like (that is, noodles with fish cakes). instead it is delicate fish puree poached in long noodle-like strands then deep fried and served with a dashi broth. the step-by-step photos so amply illustrate the genius of Morimoto.

he mixes up ingredients, literally in an East-meets-West kind of way. i cooked up his eggplant shigayaki Morimoto-style. think eggplant parmesan without parmesan but mozzarella and replace miso sauce for tomato. it was intriguing and unexpectedly good! i can’t wait to try the crispy duck with port wine reduction and red miso sauce, his tempura with 3 dipping sauces, and snapper chips.

but i might wait to get into one of his restaurants to try the vanilla ice cream with lobster sauce.


i wish that we had The Ethnic Paris Cookbook as i and then-fiance-now-husband navigated the cobblestone mazes of the Paris neighborhoods, looking for a bite to eat,

i am sure it is quite different now from what it was 20 years ago! i will surely bring it if when we fulfill our dream of revisiting the city where we got engaged near the top of the Eiffel Tower, before that notorious celebrity couple (so totally unoriginal!) K.H. and T.C. made it so contrived and cliched. hmph . it features recipes from the diverse cuisines that are now entrenched in our favorite city with notes on the chefs and how they’ve adapted to the ingredients at hand.


street food by Tom Kime is a little book that’s packed full of street food from all over. i am a pushover for cookbooks that are chock-full of beautifully styled dishes. this book has that and more: well-written concise little notes on the where and when of a well-traveled chef’s adventures.
duckbookwokbook

this recent batch i picked up from my favorite “salvage store” where a good bulk of my collection comes from–you know, at bargain basement prices.

as if that weren’t enough inspiration i went and borrowed some more from the library.

it was so gratifying to see  four Filipino cookbooks now on the shelf.  i checked out “The Filipino American Kitchen,” written by Jennifer Aranas, the former owner of Rambutan restaurant in Chicago. (shameless self-promotion ba?) our favorite comfort food cooked with innovations while reflecting her American upbringing. she presents Filipino food as “the original fusion cuisine.”

now for the joyful part of this post: i would like to share the love, and host another raffle! yes!

a couple of years ago i raffled off a couple of books to celebrate a “virtual night out” on my old blog. (it involved a neutral yet unbearably cute ceramic version of cookie monster and a real boy version :dash-d-knight: .)

just submit your name and contact details by October 15, 2007. the winner will receive the Tom Kime book “street food”! my #2son is so eager to draw the winner’s name so hurry and email me for a chance to win!

“what’s the buzz, tell me what’s a-happening?”

i’ve been trying to resist for so long.

blogging for pay, that is.

first and foremost reason: i didn’t want to lose “creative” control over this blog, the outlet to my aspirations and ambitions in the kitchen.

you see, i have been solicited so many times before, for writing jobs and freebies. the cynical me decided they were just too good to be true, or i found out that they offered tiny little rewards for a lot of work and clutter in the blog. i flirted with the idea by looking up paid food-blogging stints, yet i was concerned that i would be lured away even more from the more most important job i have: mommy.

with one child away at college and two more at home who are in school full-time i have taken a long hard look at my goals and dreams for them, and there was no question that i wanted to go back to work, and actually get paid.
not just for the money! oh no, when you have children, the work must be interesting and fulfilling enough to make it worth your while. i decided i am not ready for full-time work outside the home, and i really wish to be here when my children come home from school.
we are lucky that husband and i are totally on the same page on this, and we know what is important to our whole family.

since i have been keeping up this blog of mine somewhat regularly, it keeps my brain functioning! and i get to meet so many wonderful new friends along the way (and i even bumped into old friends who were also blogging!) i now succumb to the temptation because i have heard from many bloggers out there who have recommended it as a sort of painless way to earn some extra restaurant meals?-TOY?-gasoline? money for just a few little extras in life, without losing control of my time, yet still be able to feed the creative self i believe is within, and not shortchange time for the children.

a lot of bloggerfriends have been raving about the efficiency particularly of Bloggerwave and about the interesting topics available to blog writers.

you just submit your blog, and await approval. when you see an opportunity, a topic you feel you can vouch for or offer an opinion on, you sign up for the “job” then begin writing following the guidelines they have set up (minimum number of words and links to include, for example) .

you get to choose your topics. this is what got me hooked!

then you submit the URL of your post for approval. then you get your payment.
simple as that! they are looking for more blogwriters. so come on, ride the wave!

i’m feeling snobbish


You Are A Little Snobby


And being a little snobby every once and a while is totally allowed.
Because if no one was ever snobby, no one would ever try to dress up or look pretty.
And while you do enjoy the finest things in life (that you can afford), you tire of superficiality.
You know there’s more to life than what’s just on the surface.

Are You a Snobby Girl?

according to this latest tag from marie!

pass it on to everyone who likes these mini quizzes!, where i found out i belong in London and if i were a cat i’d be a Persian. thanks marie :glasses-slip: !

tea scones

for breakfast!
golden scones

#1son is home for the weekend! and hungry for Chinese food and rice. so we got some of our favorite take-out dishes from our neighborhood joint and this morning i decided to bake some scones (also had to use up the jar of clotted (Devon) cream–our once-a-year indulgence.

from Craig Claiborne’s The New York Times Cook Book, everyone just loves this scrumptious buttery scone . served with my favorite raspberry jam, Bonne Maman!,  i eat it with such an overwhelming feeling.   guilty as sin.

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tbsps. sugar

3 tsps. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

5 tbsps. unsalted butter, cold

3/4 cup whole milk (approximately)

1 beaten egg

1 egg + 1 tbsp. milk for egg wash (save extra for scrambled eggs)

preheat oven to 425F.

sift or whisk together well flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. cut in the butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.

mix the egg and milk together then sprinkle into the flour-butter mixture, folding with a spatula, until dough is soft and easy to handle.

knead about 15 times, roll out to 1/2 inch thickness then cut into rounds. glaze with egg and milk wash.

place on lightly greased cookie sheet and bake about 12 minutes.
w/ cream and raspberry

to serve: split into halves then spread cream and jam. pop into mouth and slurp some milk tea or cafe au lait. jog 5 miles.

pasta with golden onions, tuna and beans

i did something seemingly insane on the weekend that my son moved into his new habitat.

i scheduled a cookout-sleepover for my daughter and her friends.

it was MAD! but of course it was also the antidote to driving myself mad, for this event took my mind off the launching of my son into his new almost-adult life, apart from us, and kept me frantically preoccupied.

we set up our old picnic table and bench, dusted off the grill, marinated and soaked, sliced and diced.

we had a bon fire which was a big hit with everyone–they toasted marshmallows and played theatrics by the fire.

since i had no implements for making s’mores i set up the fondue pot on the picnic table and melted some honey-nougat chocolate bars for dipping strawberries, bananas, and homemade yogurt cake.

i prepared this pasta dish to be the anti-meat and it was a big hit with the young women, with its subtly tangy tuna flavor (canned yes! but the good Italian, in-olive-oil, brand).

pasta with golden onions, tuna and beans

recipe adapted from Gourmet Magazine, August 2006Gourmet Magazine, August 2006; i added tuna and replaced parsley with basil from my windowsill.

you can safely wager that the girls did not sleep much! fortunately we have doors to separate the living room from the upstairs bedrooms. there was much squealing and giggling from the 12 and 13 year olds….

and a bit of snoring from the old folks upstairs.

apologies

…for being absent, my dear friends, i have been kind of blue these past few days. the empty room upstairs, i pass by it everyday. my son’s been home to visit us since he moved away. he’s all bouncy and excited and bursting with youth. but.

i will get over this hump as bravely as i can. husband’s work colleagues, moms who have been through it all before me, have been kindly asking how i did, and in answer i say,

just pass me another big box of tissues, please.

the circle game

yesterday a child came out to wonder
caught a dragonfly inside a jar
fearful when the sky was full of thunder
and tearful at the falling of a star
and the seasons they go round and round
and the painted ponies go up and down
we’re captive on the carousel of time
we can’t return we can only look behind
from where we came
and go round and round and round
in the circle game

then the child moved ten times round the seasons
skated over ten clear frozen streams
words like, “when you’re older,” must appease him
and promises of someday make his dreams

and the seasons they go round and round
and the painted ponies go up and down
we’re captive on the carousel of time
we can’t return we can only look behind
from where we came
and go round and round and round
in the circle game

sixteen springs and sixteen summers gone now
cartwheels turn to car wheels thru the town
and they tell him,
take your time, it won’t be long now
till you drag your feet to slow the circles down
and the seasons they go round and round
and the painted ponies go up and down
we’re captive on the carousel of time
we can’t return we can only look behind
from where we came
and go round and round and round
in the circle game

so the years spin by and now the boy is twenty
though his dreams have lost some grandeur coming true
there’ll be new dreams, maybe better dreams and plenty
before the last revolving year is through
and the seasons they go round and round
and the painted ponies go up and down
we’re captive on the carousel of time
we can’t return, we can only look behind
from where we came
and go round and round and round
in the circle game

-joni mitchell

[audio:circlegame.mp3]

dance-i.jpg Dance I, Henri Matisse, Museum of Modern Art, NYC