Thursday, January 29, 2009

Chicken Adobo ala Rice Cooker!

Have you ever seen Filipino local dish "Adobo" cooked from a rice cooker? Well, here it is...

More rice cooker dishes here...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Best Place on Earth!

For Reese, it will be the nice playgrounds in the planet. But if I will be a little bit selfish here, the best place for me is Albertville Premium Outlets in MN. :-)

I was back to my favorite place last Sunday. Even though the temperature was -20 Celsius, that didn’t stopped me from doing some shopping, not really for myself, but for Reese & loved ones.

The outlet stores really got bunch of good deals, too many to mention here. But one of the things I got so crazy about were Corelle dish sets sold 50% cheaper than in Manila! I got 2 sets (16 pc & 20 pc), and 2 serving dish bowls. For me, that’s a good investment. We had 1 set at home which Gani bought from Texas and it didn’t get worn out from almost 3 years of daily use.

Needless to say, all outlet stores offer nice brands with good deals. So I’m keeping inventory list of what I already got for myself and family members. And true enough, it helped me buy things that I just “want” (read as not necessary) at a minimum. I still got 7 weeks here, so I need more perseverance to stick to the essentials for my shopping. Fingers crossed! :-)

Hell's Kitchen

Last Sunday, I had breakfast with my colleagues in Hell’s Kitchen at downtown Minneapolis. As the name implies, it has a “hell”theme and just like hell, the colors are red and black. Servers were greeting us “Good evening “ and “Good night” early in the morning just to be aligned with their theme. So far, this is the most interesting restaurant I’ve been to. Everything looks so weird, the servers wore sleeping robes and even the restrooms were made even more weird! Below are some pictures I took out of fancy.

part of the menu for kids, see that little devil? so cute!

picture taken just few seconds before it's totally gone

with Susan

inside the creepy restroom

those pictures are 2 dimensional showing the dark side...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Rice Cooker Saved Me!

I was able to borrow a rice cooker from my colleague here in the US and finally got the chance to cook rice! My dinner last night was my left over steak from Houlihan's and steamed rice. Then this morning, I experimented with the rice cooker and found out that it can fry food! That means, I’ll be able to sautee something here. And here is what I got so far:

This definitely looks so simple but this will save me from feeling down without having means to cook on my own. These franks don’t taste really good but for all I care is that the way I cooked it is very much better than microwave cooking. So happy to have done it!

After the successful frank frying, here are some more dishes I was able to cook with the ever reliable rice cooker. (excluding the sardines I sauteed) ;-)

chicken adobo

chicken tinola

chicken afritada with broccoli

corned beef, with broccoli again

beef bulalo with young corn & broccoli

salmon in tomato sauce with baby spinach

For recipes, just leave your comment on this post.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I Want Real Food, Please?

I am writing this to make my brain function again. It’s only past 1 p.m. here and my energy is very low. I wasn’t able to get enough sleep last night. I woke up at 2:30 am this morning and wasn’t able to go back to sleep until my alarm clock rang 3 hours later.

This morning, I talked to Reese and Gani via webcam and voice chat. It was pretty short and the connection was not good today. Then I had a very early conference call at 7 am which I did in the hotel. All these can be tolerable… including the cold weather that can be avoided by not staying outside very long.

But maybe, I feel weak because I don’t feed myself that much. I don’t like any of those that are available to me… not a big fan of American food. And my hotel doesn’t have a stove wherein I can cook so you can imagine how difficult that can be… I need to figure out this soon before I lose all my energy and not be able to keep myself alert for the training.

Time is up! Counterpart is back for our brainstorming.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Long Scheduled Trip

This training was planned more than a year ago, but due to circumstances it was only now that it did push through. Usually, I only travel for 2 weeks to 1 month. But now, I was requested to stay longer, 4-6 months. Thinking about my priorities and having a family and an 18-month daughter, I only committed 2 months.

So here I am, now in MN. And looking back, I was able to spend quality time with Gani & Reese during the holiday season, the weekends and 3 more days before I left Manila. I hope it will be enough to sustain me for the next 2 months. I hope I will be able to conquer all my worries, my fears and the challenges I have to face. And these are all I asked God through my prayers. May He take care of my loved ones back home, and for Him not to leave me at any point in time of my life.

Going Back to The Fort

As I promised to myself, I’m going back to The Fort. And so we went to Market-Market last Saturday for the first time (shyness)! I did like the place except for the lights, for me it was quite so dim. We had lunch in Mannang, and then headed to the playground in front of the mall. Reese had a blast! She can’t get enough of it and was running and going up and down the stairs. I was very happy to see that she enjoyed it.

Afterwards, we went to Bonifacio High Street as suggested by Gani. The place was flat, and shops’ layouts were like the outlet stores in the US. It was kind of a place for the rich. You’ll see a lot of them there walking around with their beloved dogs. I just wonder why they are allowing so many dogs to be there…it just got scary when little kids were also around. Oh well, needless to say, I didn’t have expensive dog to show so I am not rich! Hahaha!!!

Overall, it was a nice place. I’ve got to see things that I don’t usually encounter from my regular mall visits (at least 3 times per week). Like nicely designed water fountains and landscapes. Also, I liked the kiosk of food from different provinces like Bicol, Bulacan, etc. I was able to buy pili nuts and kesong puti there. I can’t wait for my next visit and to explore shopping finds in Market-Market. But I have to wait 2 more months for that to happen...

Well Spent Holidays

I was in a plane ride yesterday and finally got the chance to write this draft. I know… quite late posting. But nevertheless, I would like to share this once a year long vacation and time spent with the family.

Dec 24 - Noche Buena
We went all the way to Bulacan to spend Christmas Eve with my mom, siblings and brother-in law. We arrived just in time for lunch and had grilled stuffed bangus prepared by brother-in-law and mom’s fried chicken. Then for our dinner and Noche Buena, I cooked beef kaldereta, my sister made delicious chicken sopas and Gani prepared his favorite buko salad. After all the food preparation, we joined together for the evening anticipated mass in Ephesus chapel.

Dec 25 – Christmas Day
This year, we made it different by dining out for lunch in a fast food restaurant in Malolos. Then, we went to each of our relatives’ homes nearby to greet them and deliver our gifts. It was a dessert day for me! I had haleyang ube, kakanin, sapin-sapin and different versions of fruit salad. For me, this is more relaxing than having all the preparations and entertaining guests done from home.

Dec 26 – Lunch Date with Ninang Avy

Avelyn, my best friend since high school arrived from SG for a short vacation. So we grabbed the chance to meet up and for her to see her lovely god-daugther.

Dec 27 – Back in Manila
This was the day we went back to Manila. Along the way, we did our grocery shopping and had our lunch in Puregold E. Rodriguez. Upon arriving home, I felt so tired with all the chores we have to do since our Tita was on vacation until 1st week of January.

Dec 28 – Laundry Day
Yes, we had to split this chore between me and my beloved Gani. ;-) I cannot handle the tons of dirty clothes we had so I made Reese clothes top priority!

Dec 29 – Gani is back to the office
Gani went back to the office just for the day to finish some urgent task and to lessen his worries! Reese and I spent the whole day together.

Dec 30 – Malling Day
We’re back to the mall again to buy some stuff for the Media Noche and gift for an upcoming birthday party that Reese will be attending.

Dec 31 – Media Noche
Gani, Reese and I celebrated Media Noche in the apartment as we prefer to welcome the New Year from the place we live. We had simple food just enough for us: spaghetti, cheese sticks, ham, food-for-the-gods, and grapes & orange. Gani & I waited midnight, while Reese was fast asleep and didn’t care about the loud fireworks. ;-)

Jan 1 – New Year
We had family lunch with my in-laws and with Lola Deng. Then my mom visited us too and we brought her to Trinoma. I was able to buy boots for my upcoming travel to the US.

Jan 2 – Mom went back home
Reese clothing was going to run out before the time that Tita will arrive, so I did some laundry this day. My mom was able to spend quality time with Reese, then she went home in the afternoon.

Jan 3 – Jollibee Party
Agatha & Athena, twin daughters of Janice have celebrated their birthday at Jollibee, The Fort. It was Reese first time to experience this and she was so game to dance. As for me, I did like the place and same with Gani. We will surely go there again.

Jan 4 – Going back to work
I thought this is not going to be a busy day for us, but it surely was. Gani and I we’re too busy preparing for going back to work on Monday and taking care of Reese. I knew it was a long vacation, but then again, it was all gone now and all I have our memories. :-)