Thursday, March 30, 2017

Blue Fish, Orange Fish, Green Fish

beauty. Alluring colors.
Feast, joy to tired eyes.

Note:  This photograph was taken at the PPG aquarium at the Pittsburgh Zoo.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Celebration Surprise Carrot Cupcake with Strawberry Laced Frosting

I have noticed that the carrot cake is the first to go in any buffet or potlucks.  I for one am a fan of this cake which is usually topped with a cream cheese icing.

This carrot cupcake recipe is based on the Surprise Carrot Cake recipe that I found on the Softasilk cake flour box. It is named so because it has mayonnaise as one of its ingredients when most recipes use oil or butter.   I adapted this original recipe by tweaking the type of flour, mayonnaise and amount of crushed pineapple used. I have prepared this many times and every time my picky taster, my husband, always gave it two thumbs up.  Others have asked for its recipe.  It is moist and delicious especially with the frosting.

The frosting recipe is also adapted from the Softasilk cake flour box. One can use plain cream cheese but I did not have it on hand but had instead a tub of strawberry cream cheese spread. The result was marvelous with the added surprise flavor.

This is a wonderful cupcake or cake recipe for any celebration, birthday or anniversary. It would be a wonderful surprise for the celebrant(s) and guests.

Celebration Surprise Carrot Cupcake

(Adapted from the recipe found on the Softasilk Flour box)

Makes 24 cupcakes
  • 2 cups all purpose flour (note 1)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup Hellman's low fat mayonnaise (note 2)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1-16 oz can crushed pineapple in juice, undrained (note 3) 
  • 2 cups finely chopped carrots (note 4)
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts or other type of nuts, (note 4)
  • baking spray
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line two muffin pans with paper liner (note 5). 

In a medium bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Set aside.

Combine the mayonnaise, eggs, and pineapple with juice in a large bowl and mix with an electric mixer or by hand.  

Add the dry ingredient to the egg mixture and beat with electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds.  Beat on medium speed for three more minutes.

Stir in the carrots and walnuts to the mixture.

Distribute the batter to paper lined muffin pan using a large ice scream scoop.  

Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Cool and frost with Strawberry Laced Frosting, recipe below


  1. The original recipe called for cake flour.  I have used both but did not notice much difference.
  2. The original recipe used regular mayonnaise.  I prefer a lower fat cupcake and opted for low fat mayonnaise which still resulted in cupcakes with still moist light texture.
  3. The original recipe used an 8 oz can crushed pineapple undrained.  I used 16 oz can instead and it resulted in very moist but not soggy cupcakes.  It is difficult to buy 8 oz can crushed pineapple and I hate to waste the rest of the 16 oz can so I dump them all.
  4. I used my Vita Mix blender to chop the carrots and walnuts together.  
  5. This is a low fat recipe and the batter clings to the paper liner after baking.  You might want to spray the paper first.  I did not and after being refrigerated I noticed the cupcake did not cling as much to the paper.  

Strawberry Laced Frosting

  • 1-8 oz strawberry cream cheese spread 
  • 6 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 to 2 tbsp milk, optional (note)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
Mix the ingredients until smooth.


If using cream cheese and not a spread, you would use milk to thin out the frosting. 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Like Wine

With yeast of life, we
ferment into who we are,
aged and better.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Once Upon A Time

There was a boy who
turned one. Smash cake he ate and
ate till there was none.

It's a guy thing

Speed's their need. Chrome's their
bling. Shiny car of their dreams 
rather than a ring.

Note: Painting by Ed Diaz.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Slow Cooker Pork in Lechon Sauce or Paksiw na Lechon

In every big feast in the Philippines, lechon, or roasted pig will be the central focus of the buffet.  A whole pig, with its skin,  is roasted slowly over burning coals to produce this beautiful roasted masterpiece with glistening amber skin that crackles when you bite into a piece of the finished delicacy.  One can also choose to cook pork belly in the oven or deep fry it on the stove which will result in what we call Lechon Kawali.

The lechon during our wedding roasted by the Filipino community of Ames, IA where Bob and I were graduate students at Iowa State University.

To completely relish this Filipino iconic dish, we dip the lechon pieces in pork liver sauce we call lechon sauce. This sauce is made of mashed pork liver or one can resort to using liver spread or even liverwurst from the deli. It is thickened with bread crumbs and cooked using lots of garlic, vinegar and sugar. After the feast we usually end up with left overs which we then simmer further in vinegar, brown sugar and leftover lechon sauce. This dish is what we call Paksiw na Lechon.  Paksiw is a term we used for any meat or fish cooked in vinegar. This recipe is a slow cooker version of this leftover dish.

Here is the liver spread I bought at our Asian Store.  A more popular brand is Reno from the Philippines.  One can use liverwurst from the deli also.

In this recipe, since I am a lazy cook, I just dumped raw pork butt and pork spare ribs in the crock pot together with what would have been the ingredients of lechon sauce. The result is "puede na" or good enough.  Nothing beats having roasted pig itself as the meat because the pork rind and any fat from it lend richness to the dish. But if you are hankering for Paksiw na Lechon in some form this will satisfy.  I was surprised my picky taster, my husband, who is an American, said it was good except for the sweet taste. Come to think of it this is a dish I can serve to non Filipino friends.  It has a universal appeal. Who knew!

Slow Cooker Pork in Lechon Sauce or Paksiw na Lechon

  • 3 lb pork butt, cut into pieces or country style spare ribs or use both, Note 1
  • 5 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 8 oz liver spread from a can, Note 2
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 -2 tbsp soy sauce or to taste
  • 1 tbsp whole peppercorn
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 chicken bouillon
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs

Place all the ingredients in the slow cooker (see note 3).  Cook for 4 hours at high setting or 8 hours at low. I cooked mine in an Aroma Brand rice cooker/slow cooker for 3 hours at slow cooker setting. Cut the whole pork butt if using to bite sized pieces.  Serve over rice.


1.  You can use left over lechon or roasted pig.
2.  You can use left over lechon sauce or store bought Mang Tomas Sauce from the Asian store.
3.  You can saute first the raw pork with the garlic and onions in oil if you have time and motivation.  


Well Tended Soul

Verdant with hope and
trust in the human spirit. 
Sees good not the bad.

Note: This is a photo of part of the garden in a resort and spa located in Pampanga, Philippines.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Ever Present

"God is all.  God is
in all"*. In every face
we meet, liked or not.

Note:  *This quote was on the wall of a bar in New York and was cited in the beautiful sermon by Father Tony yesterday. The painting above was done by my friend Win.  

Foil Baked Tilapia with Jalapeno and Olives

I love the beer battered deep fried fish served at the Fish Fry in our parish but once in a while on a Lenten Friday, I just want a simple but delicious fish dish.  I could choose baked fish at the Fish Fry but they are swimming in butter. I wanted something light and healthy.

This recipe uses no butter, oil or wine at all.  The foil bake method seals the juice from the tomato that keeps the tilapia moist and tender.  It is packed with flavor using readily available ingredients like olives, jalapeno, green onions and spices like garlic and cumin. If you are not into spicy food, you can decrease the amount of the jalapeno in the recipe or just delete it completely or serve it on the side. You can also adjust the salt after the dish is baked.

You can serve this with baked potato, rice or pasta or just a plain piece of baguette to soak the broth. You will love this rustic and delicious dish not just on Lenten Fridays but any day you want something easy to prepare that is light and refreshingly good to eat.

Foil Baked Tilapia with Jalapeno and Olives

  • 4 tilapia fillets
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 16 whole olives
  • 1 large whole tomato, chopped and divided
  • 8 jalapeno slices from a jar
  • 2 stalks green onions, sliced into 1 inch pieces and divided
  • 1 tbsp dry minced garlic, divided

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cut two aluminum pieces measuring around 12 inches long.

Place two fillets in the middle of one piece of aluminum foil.

Combine the cumin, salt and pepper.

Rub the two fillets with half of the cumin, salt and black pepper mixture.

Stack the two fillets on top of each other and place 8 olives, 4 jalapeno slices, half of the tomato pieces, half of the green onions and half of the garlic on top of the two fillets.

Overlap and fold the ends of the aluminum piece and then seal the two sides.

Repeat the same procedure with the other two fillets.

You will end up with two aluminum packets.

Place the two packets in a pan and bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Five Ingredient Vegan Lemon Linguine

Quick and easy.  Five ingredient recipe. I should add it is a healthy one as long as you eat it in moderation. No oil, butter or dairy was used.  The lemon gives it that zing while the nutritional yeast and dry minced garlic satisfy your palate.  You do not need the Parmesan cheese or butter as most non vegan versions include.

Five Ingredient Vegan Lemon Linguine

  • 8 oz linguine
  • 1 cup pasta water
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • 2 tbsp dry minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup - 1 cup vegetable broth 
  • dry parsley flakes, optional
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cook the linguine according to package directions.  Save 1 cup of the pasta water.

Place the pasta water in a saute pan and add the cooked linguine.  Heat to medium heat and add the rest of the ingredients with stirring until the mixture is heated through. Add the broth to adjust the consistency of the dish. You can add dry parsley flakes on top if you like before serving.    

I was sad

Then realize, she
is not alone. God is with
her to bear the pain.

Note: Painting by my friend Win.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Slow Cooker Meatball and Sausage Macaroni Casserole

This is an excellent crowd pleasing dish to bring to potlucks and family gatherings. I just came back from a fellowship luncheon at our church and I brought this dish to share. It was a hit with several people asking for the recipe.  They were surprised how easy and convenient it was to prepare.  You just dump the ingredients except the macaroni and Parmesan cheese in the slow cooker and you forget it.  In my case I was able to go to morning mass and my dental appointment while the meat and sauce mixture were slow cooking in my crock pot.  I cooked the macaroni in the microwave before I left for church and my dental appointment and reheated it in the microwave before I poured the meatball and sausage sauce that was kept on the keep warm mode in my slow cooker. This is a two thumbs up dish.  They requested me to bring this dish again for the next luncheon.

Slow Cooker Meatball and Sausage Macaroni Casserole

  • 1 12-oz bag frozen cooked meatballs (24 meatballs), I used Rosina brand Italian style meatballs
  • 1 lb Italian sausage (3 links), cut into pieces and skin removed
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 large green pepper, sliced
  • 1-24 oz jar spaghetti or marinara sauce
  • 1-16 oz package elbow macaroni, cooked according to the package
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Combine all the ingredients except the macaroni and Parmesan cheese in the slow cooker bowl.  Cook for 4 hours at high or 8 hours at low setting.  I cooked mine in an Aroma Brand rice cooker/slow cooker for 2 hours at slow cooker setting.

Place the cooked elbow macaroni in a 13 x 9 inch casserole dish and pour the cooked meatball and sausage sauce on top.  Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.  

From Longaniza to Hot Dog. Part I. Brooklyn and Sao Paolo

A movie can evoke memories and warm feelings related to them.  That was what happened last year when I watched the exquisitely directed film, Brooklyn, one of the movies nominated for best picture during the 2016 Oscar award ceremony.  It was based on a book by the same title about a young girl from Ireland who came to the United States to work.  It brought back memories of my own journey from the Philippines to this land of opportunities where I fulfilled several of my dreams.  While viewing the movie, the same feelings of excitement, fear and joy that the young girl in the film experienced came back. I particularly felt these emotions when she entered the US for the first time. The actress' face at that scene made me recall how it was for me.

I felt young again and experienced this nostalgic warmth in my heart that lasted for many weeks after viewing this movie. As I now recall the events leading to my immigration here in the United States for my memoir writing group assignment, I am amazed about how much I could recall of the details of the events leading to my coming here.

I was born in the Philippines where in my twenties I found a job in a research center analyzing the pesticide, DDT, in human fat. I was lucky after working for two years in this place, a course in pesticide residue analysis using radioisotope techniques was offered which would be held in Sao Paolo, Brazil.  My boss thought it would be a wonderful opportunity for me to know more about this topic related to my work through this six week training course and before I knew it I was preparing for my trip half way around the world.

I remember a wonderful girl who was living together with my best friend and other housemates at an apartment a few minutes away from the research center I worked at. I hanged out there after work and even would stay overnight. This girl became my unofficial trip adivser. She thought it would be good to utilize the opportunity to travel after the course was done. She included a visit to her family in Venezuela where her father was working for Proctor and Gamble. Since the fare back amounted to the distance of half way around the world, we planned trips to the United States before Sao Paolo and the US again and Europe after. Being a seasoned traveler, my tour guide also suggested what to wear and my budget for my European tour.

As the norm in the Philippines, I was given a despedida or farewell party by my parents which was attended by my office mates, friends and family.  Before I left, I asked friends if they wanted me to bring gifts to their loved ones in the United States. This is a gesture customarily done by Filipinos.

Since I was going to stop first in San Francisco en route to Sao Paolo, I asked the family I was staying with for the few days I would be there, what they wanted as pasalubong or gift.  They requested a mortar and pestle made of stone. They could not find something of the same material in the United States. They were heavy but I gladly brought them.

I also brought an engagement ring for my friend who was studying in Tallahassee, Florida for her graduate degree in nuclear chemistry. Her fiance requested me to give it to her. It turned out they were secretly married in the Philippines before she left and this ring was the belated engagement ring.

The other item that I had in my luggage was a gift from another office mate to give to her then boyfriend who was also attending a course in the United States.  I was not sure whether I actually saw it before I brought it. I think I did but did not think too much about it.

I do not remember much about the goodbyes at the airport when I left probably because I was excited and frightened at the same time. It was my first trip abroad after all and by myself. It was not my first plane ride though but this was a marathon flight lasting more than twenty hours.  What I remember was how we ate several meals on the plane every time we passed a certain time zone. Though my tummy was still in another time zone, we ate breakfast including eggs and longaniza, Filipino sausage, since I flew PAL, the Filipino flag carrier.

My port of entry to the US was Hawaii and I unluckily got a strict custom inspector who gave me a hard time about the ring which was in a box.  I said it was a gift to a friend from her fiancee but he still charged me a sixty dollar custom fee for it anyway. As for the other gift, this custom inspector had a sarcastic chuckle when he opened the box. It had a wooden carving of a guy wearing a barrel which when lifted showed his precious elongated possession. He said to another inspector, "Look at the idea of Filipino humor". All along I was terrorized by this custom inspector and still could picture his chubby features and pot belly stomach and I could still hear his grating laugh and the sarcasm in his voice.

I had a stopover at  San Francisco before Brazil where I stayed with our family friend from our hometown for a couple of days. My host picked me up from the airport and I had dinner with his family who was staying with him including his daughter, my classmate from high school and his son who was my late brother's best friend. I then presented the mortar and pestle they requested. We went sight seeing the next day including Ghiardelli square and had our picture taken on a famous photo spot on top of a hill. I was drowsy the whole time because of the twelve hour time difference during the tour but I am grateful for their hospitality.

I also visited a relative of theirs, another high school classmate, in Los Angeles. She had married a Chinese guy and they just had a baby.  The husband helped me buy my Canon camera and taught me how to use it. They gave me a tour of Los Angeles including the Graumans Chinese Theatre. After two days of the wonderful visit, I bid good bye to this wonderful hospitable couple at the airport on my way to Sao Paolo where a new chapter in my life was going to start.

I would say this trip to memory land is turning to be as good as watching the movie, Brooklyn,  for me. It is also turning to be a catalyst for me to recall my past. I would say I am enjoying the ride.

Note: This is Part I of a series of blogs of my immigration to the US. The title reflect my foodie obsession. Longaniza is a Filipino version of a sausage much like the iconic American sausage, hot dog. It is eaten usually at breakfast with rice.

Opposition into Opportunity

Working with the view
opposed to yours, solutions
spring forth, a third force.

Note: Insight from Cynthia Bourgeault, The Law of Three in Action, that appeared March 19, 2017, in Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation.  

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Thank you

Two words that uplift.
Awareness of the person
not just what was done.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Are you relishing life to the fullest?

With its ups and downs.
Or are distractions used to
escape challenges?

Note: Insight gleaned from Fr. Joe Freedy's talk at Our Lady of Joy Parish, Plum, PA, March 2017.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Life Changing Questions

Asked by those who knew
you then more than yourself did. 
Rest is history.

Slow Cooker Mediterranean Gumbo

This is a wonderful soup to have during lent.  Just use vegetable bouillon cubes or vegetable broth or none at all instead of the chicken bouillon cubes.  You can use shrimp that are fresh or frozen, cooked or uncooked or peeled or unpeeled.  What ever you prefer.  I like to use shrimp that are unpeeled and add them that way in order to get the added flavor from the shell.  I just leave to the one eating to peel the shrimp which my husband hates to do.  Or you can do what I suggested in the Note below.

This is an interesting recipe I obtained from a book, Easy Home Cooking Slow Cooker Recipes, I bought for a couple of dollars from the sale of unsold used books from a local library during one of our International Women's Club meeting.  It uses orange juice and fennel seeds.  These two ingredients added delightful notes to the dish which I would not have thought to add if not for the suggestion in the recipe in the book. The book was published in the nineties when spices like cayenne pepper were not in vogue but the palate nowadays have changed including mine. I was hankering some heat from the gumbo so I added cayenne pepper to the dish and that made it complete to me.  I also added carrots and celery to the list of ingredients for added bulk, flavor and nutritional value.

This is an easy soup to prepare packed with flavor and excellent for meatless Fridays in lent or anytime of the year.

Slow Cooker Mediterranean Gumbo

Adapted from the book Easy Home Cooking Slow Cooker Recipes

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red or green pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 2 celery stalks. sliced
  • 4 shitake mushrooms or 1 jar (2 1/2 oz) sliced mushrooms
  • 4 tbsp olives with pimento centers, whole or sliced
  • 1- 14 1/2 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1- 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes or vegetable bouillon cubes
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup beer or white wine (optional)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp fennel powder
  • 1 tsp dry basil
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1 lb shrimp. peeled or unpeeled which I prefer (Note 1)

Place all the ingredients in the slow cooker except the shrimp.  Cook at low for 4 1/2 hours or at high for 2 hours.  I cooked mine in an Aroma brand rice cooker/slow cooker for two hours at slow cooker setting. Stir in the shrimp at the last 15 minutes of cooking or you can microwave the fresh or frozen shrimp in 1/4 cup water for 3-5 minutes till cooked and stir in the cooked shrimp with the broth to the soup at the end of cooking. See note.  


I prefer to use unpeeled shrimp so the juice of the shell can add flavor to the broth.  Or if you prefer peeled shrimp, peel the shrimp and cook the shells with the shrimp.  Discard the shells, and just add the flesh of the shrimp and its broth to the soup.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

One Pot Spanish Rice with Chicken and Sausage

One pot meals are becoming more popular ever since busy people are opting to cook their meals at the end of the day instead of ordering food or dropping by stores or take out places.  One does not have to subscribe either to Hello Fresh or Blue Apron services to the rescue with mailed packaged ingredients.This dish is an easy one with pantry and freezer friendly ingredients one can cook over the stove.  Once you allow the ingredients to boil, you lower the heat to simmer with the skillet cover on and you can go do other chores in the house. The sausage gives the dish added flavor because of its smokiness.  One can choose to skip the chicken and just stick to the sausage. If you do not have any smoked sausage you can use hot dogs in its place.

One Pot Spanish Rice with Chicken and Sausage

  • 8 skinless boned in chicken thighs
  • 1 /2 lb smoked sausage, cut into coins 
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 red or green pepper, cut into small pieces
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1-28 oz can whole tomatoes, (mashed with your hands or potato masher)
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube in 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp whole peppercorns
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups long grain rice
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 3 tbsp olives with pimento centers
Place all the ingredients except the frozen green peas and olives in a large skillet with cover and allow the mixture to boil. Once it boils, put the stove on low and allow the mixture to simmer covered.  Cook till the rice and chicken are done.  During the last five minutes of cooking add the frozen green peas and olives.  

St. Patrick's Day with Grandpa

All green and happy.
Tales of leprechauns, clover
leaves, green eggs and ham.

The Big Yes

And so it was. She,
despite not understanding,
let God's will be done.

Note: Garden at the Sisters of St. Joseph Motherhouse, Baden, PA.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Why Do I Worry

When things around me
speak of One who takes care of 
me and what I need.

Note: Painting by K. Stromple.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

In Control

Power I found when
I gave it up to Him who
holds me in His hands.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Vegan Broccoli Pepper Tofu Steak

I want a simple way to stir fry using tofu of any kind and texture.  One cannot always get hold of the really firm tofu that are hardy enough to withstand this method of cooking without disintegrating. I have been using tofu that does not need refrigeration from the Asian Store for convenience.  Even though they are labeled firm they are still very delicate to stir fry.  I devised a method where the shape of the tofu is maintained. I cooked the vegetables first till they were still crisp and added to them the tofu that I marinated separately.  The resulting dish was delicious and the tofu retained its shape and still was flavored with the marinade.

Vegan Broccoli Pepper Tofu Steak

  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch in 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1-12 oz tofu, cut into one inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth and more if needed
  • 1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 bunch of broccoli, cut into florets including peeled stems
  • 2 green bell peppers, sliced into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 while onion, sliced
Combine the first five ingredients in a small container with tight fitting lid. Mix well. Add the cubed tofu to the marinade and close the lid and turn upside down carefully for the marinade to coat the tofu. Set aside. 

Meanwhile, heat a skillet and place the broth. ginger, garlic, broccoli, green peppers and onions and allow the boiling broth to cook the vegetables. When they are cooked but still have some crispiness to them, make a well in the middle of the mixture and pour the marinade and the tofu.  Heat the mixture through at lower heat while stirring gently so the marinade can coat the vegetables and tofu and the sauce thickens.
Serve over rice and sprinkle with sesame seeds if you like.

I was broken

Only to be made
whole by Him who decided
to be broken too.

Note: Insight from Dr. Patrick Doering's talk during St. Bernadette Parish's Parish Mission, March 2017.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Slow Cooker Pepper Steak with Water Chestnuts

The green pepper was on sale at Shop and Save two weeks ago so I had several in my fridge waiting to be used. The same grocery chain also had a sale of round steak a week ago.  This must be the reason, I woke up just craving pepper steak the way a former boyfriend, a native of Hongkong, from my grad school days at the George Washington University used to make. Researching the web, I came upon several recipes and I based this one on the wonderful slow cooker blog site, The Magical Slow Cooker.  I added several items to the original recipe like red pepper flakes for some heat and water chestnuts for crunch and also increased the amounts of ginger and garlic powder. Easy and convenient dish for any busy day of the week.  My picky taster, my husband, gave it two thumbs up.

Slow Cooker Pepper Steak with Water Chestnuts

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch in 1/4 cup water
  • 2 beef bouillon in 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1.5 lbs round steak or other kinds of beef, cut in strips
  • 2 green bell peppers, sliced into 2 inch pieces
  • 1 while onion, sliced
  • 1- 8 oz can sliced water chestnuts, drained

Place the first eight ingredients in the slow cooker. Stir the sauce mixture.  Add the meat and vegetables in the sauce mixture and mix.  Cook for 3 hours at high setting or 6 hours at low setting.  I cooked mine in an Aroma Brand rice cooker/slow cooker for 2 hours.  

Serve over rice.

Restless Hearts

Be filled with the Lord
first before giving. Then to
give will find you rest.

Note: Insight from Dr. Patrick Doering's talk during St. Bernadette Parish's Parish Mission, March 2017.

Monday, March 13, 2017


How we show our love
depends on where we draw it
from. What is your source?

Note:  Flower sculpture created by my friend Emma's relative.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Salt of the earth

One can see Jesus
when she speaks, acts and just be.
Comforting, peaceful.

Note: Wooden bowl created by Sr. Sue Clay, CSJ for my late friend Lena.