Saturday, June 16, 2018

Slow Cooker Coconut Chicken

Happy Father's Day to all the dads. If you want to serve something easy to prepare for that special dad in your life here is one dish he would like. My husband, a proud dad of two daughters, gave this two thumbs up.  This was inspired by a dish prepared by the new Iron Chef Stephanie Izard.  I used chicken breast instead of the beef cheeks in her recipe.

Slow Cooker Coconut Chicken

  • 2 lb chicken breast, cubed
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper 
  • 1 1\2 cups coconut milk from a can
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped ginger 
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1 tbsp sambal oelek
  • Cilantro 

Add salt and pepper to the chicken and place them with the rest of the ingredients except the cilantro in the crockpot.  Cook for 3 hours at high setting or 6 hours at low.  I cooked mine in an Aroma brand rice cooker/slow cooker for 2 hours at slow cooker setting.

Scatter cilantro on top and serve over rice.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Radiant Chicago

From the ashes, a
city rose transformed into
something magnificent.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Monday, June 4, 2018

Vegan Eggplant with Garlicky Sauce

This is one of my favorite Chinese vegetable dishes. However the restaurant version is swimming in oil. One does not have to use oil to cook the garlic, ginger and onion to get the most of their flavor. I just used vegetable broth to obtain that signature Garlicky taste.

I used ordinary eggplant and not the Asian variety and utilized the microwave method to roast them  It is a fast and easy approach. The resulting eggplant dish is as good as the one I have had at the restaurants but much healthier.

Vegan Eggplant with Garlicky Sauce

  • 1 eggplant (I used ordinary ones)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth or water 
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch ginger, minced
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup more broth or water 
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch in 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp basil roughly torn (optional)

Peel the eggplant and cut lengthwise into four or five slices. Place a paper towel on the microwave and place the eggplant slices on top and cover with another paper towel. Microwave on high for five minutes till soft. Cut into bite sized pieces and set aside. 

Place 1/2 cup broth, garlic, ginger and onions in a skillet and heat the mixture till broth boils. Cook the aromatics in the boiling broth till they are cooked. 

Add the eggplant, soy sauce, sugar, additional 1/2 cup broth and red pepper flakes into the mixture in the skillet. Heat the mixture at medium heat until the eggplant absorbs the sauce. Add more water if the mixture dries up. Add the cornstarch mixture and heat till the sauce thickens. 

Add the torn basil pieces on top if using. Serve over rice. 

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Slow Cooker Chicken in Texas Roadhouse Barbecue Sauce

I fell in love with the Texas Roadhouse Baked Chicken when my husband and I ate lunch there recently. I asked the waitress if they sell their barbecue sauce and I found out they did not though their steak sauce was available.

I googled the recipe and came up with this one that I adapted and used below. It is on the sweet side and mildly tangy and perfect for slow cooker chicken recipes. And so I just did that.

Slow Cooker Chicken in Texas Roadhouse Barbecue Sauce

Adapted from this recipe

  • 5 lb chicken thighs
  • 1\2 cup vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1\2 cup tomato paste
  • 1\2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp onion powder or flakes
  • 1 1\2 tbsp molasses
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1\4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1\4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1\4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
Combine all the sauce ingredients in the slow cooker and mix well.  Add the chicken pieces. Cook for four hours at high setting or eight hours at low.  I used the Aroma brand rice cooker/slow cooker for two hours at slow cooker setting.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Vegan Korean Jackfruit Bowl

I have read about the latest trend in meat substitute, the green or unripened jackfruit, for a year now but never tried it. I am familiar with the fruit which we call langka in the Philippines. Growing up I ate the ripened jackfruit or sweetened ones cooked in syrup. The latter is used in our native dessert called halo halo and with saging na saba in special fried turon. I have never had the green Jackfruit in a savory dish, however. So I was a bit skeptical about it being this new meat substitute rocking the world of foodies.

I am getting tired of tofu and beans as meat substitutes so I finally gave the jackfruit a try. I bought canned green Jackfruit from Patel Brothers and decided to cook it in bulgogi marinade since I was into Korean flavors these days. Boy I was surprised! It absorbed the sauce readily without getting mushy. It really tasted like pulled pork and did not have the rubbery texture of tofu. I am now a believer.

Here is the simple recipe.

Vegan Korean Jackfruit Bowl

Korean Jackfruit
  • 1-20 oz can young green Jackfruit in brine, drained and rinsed (from Asian store)
  • 1/2 tsp each garlic, ginger and onion powders
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes (or according to taste)
Bowl Ingredients
  • Cooked rice
  • Mango, cubed
  • Carrot sticks
  • Spinach
  • Cilantro

Place all the ingredients for the Korean Jackfruit in a skillet and allow to gently boil till the sauce is absorbed by the jackfruit. You may add water if it dries up but not too much.

Place the cooked rice in a bowl and arrange the  Jackfruit and garnishes on top. Place some sauce on top of you like.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Slow Cooker Mango Pork Bulgogi Taco

This is an OMG taco. I say OMG a lot to my two grandchildren aged 4 and 2 they are saying it just as often. When I ate this I could not help exclaiming just that, OMG over and over again.

It is so simple to make with the help of store bought bulgogi marinade from the Asian store. I have posted in a past blog the recipe of homemade bulgogi marinade.  I have also posted a recipe for korean pork taco before in this blog. This present recipe is simpler with  fewer ingredients and a surprisingly awesome topping, mango. Yes or OMG!

Slow Cooker Mango Pork Bulgogi Taco 

  • 3 lb pork butt or shoulder
  • 1 cup bulgogi marinade (store bought or homemade see this past blog)
  • 12 small tortillas
  • Garnish (coarsely chopped Napa cabbage, bunch of cilantro and mango, cubed)

Place the pork and bulgogi marinade in a slow cooker and cook for 4 hours at high setting and 8 hours at low.  I cooked mine in an Aroma brand rice cooker/slow cooker at slow cooker setting for 3 hours.

Shred the pork and place on top of tortilla and top with Napa cabbage, cilantro and mango cubes. Yum!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Maxim 82 CSJA Monroeville Prayer Group May 21, 2018

Below are the thorough and wonderful notes on Maxim 82 generously  prepared by Natalie for us  to ponder on. Have a happy day filled with the Holy Spirit and the beauty of spring.

Vegan Tofu with Mojo Sauce

I fell in love with the Cuban Mojo sauce that was used in the Slow Cooker Cuban Mojo Pork I posted recently. I decided to make a vegan version using tofu as the meat substitute for the pork. In this recipe, I used the stove top versus the slow cooker method but one can use the latter also for this vegan version.

That addictive flavor of the mojo sauce that my friends drooled over the carnivore version had its compelling presence in this vegan one. It enveloped the tofu pieces with its enticing flavor effectively.  I assure you eating this dish with beans, cilantro and rice is as satisfying as the carnivore version.  You will not miss the meat. The mojo sauce will make you forget it. Enjoy!

Vegan Tofu with Mojo Sauce

Inspired by Simple Eats and this blog

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dry oregano leaves
  • 1 orange, juice and zest
  • 2 limes, juice and zest
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1- block (17 oz) tofu, cut into cubes
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch in 1/2 cup vegetable broth or water

For serving:
  • Rice, cooked
  • cilantro
  • black or red beans 

Add the garlic and the 1/2 cup vegetable broth in a skillet.  Allow the mixture to boil and cook till the garlic softens.  Add the rest of the ingredients except the cornstarch slurry.  Heat the mixture at medium heat until half the liquid is gone.  Add the cornstarch slurry in water and allow the mixture to boil till it thickens.

Serve with rice topped with cilantro and beans on the side or on top.  

Monday, May 21, 2018

Childhood Games We Played

When I was growing up, my parents hardly bought us any toys.  My cousins' parents were not fond of buying them any either except for Olie and Dodie's.

Instead of playing with toys, we played what I call playground games with other kids on any vacant lot we could find.  Most of these games hardly need any equipment at all.  We played "piko" which is similar to hopscotch on bare ground using a stick to make the lines on the soil.  We also played "patintero" where your goal is to avoid being touched as you go through three lines each manned by kids.  Another game I love is called by "tumbang preso" where you hit a can without being touched by the "it".  A very simple popular game that we loved to play is "luksong tinik". Two kids form the fence that the other players have to jump over without touching the fence.  This is very convenient since one uses ones feet and hands to make the fence starting with one foot of the two kids and progressively include the other foot then the hands.

I think having nothing but what you have around you can make you creative to think of ways to use them as your toys.  My cousin Pepe proved that.

He was creative in devising a sort of game to amuse himself and us, his cousins. We usually played in the compound where the fish sauce, which my family made, underwent fermentation in large vats. These large round wooden containers which later were made of concrete. were pretty close to each other creating dark corners where spiders loved to create their cobwebs.

Pepe loved to catch some of the small spiders and place them in matchboxes.  He would then take them out and allow two of them to walk on a stick.  He would then invite us to watch as the two spiders fight each other and predict who would come out alive at the end.  He delighted on putting this show for us especially when make believe bets were made like the grown ups did real ones during the ever popular Filipino past time, cockfighting.

Who needs electronic games when you have a creative cousin like Pepe?  

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Memories, What a Gift

Brought me back to a
time when I could not only
see but feel all there's.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Vegan Dinakdakan

I had a similar dish at the wonderful Gerarda's Restaurant in Bohol, Philippines during a recent trip there with a group of high school classmates from St. James Academy, Malabon this past February. This refreshing salad/appetizer was one of the favorites of our group. The gracious owner generously shared the ingredients they used in preparing this fusion version of an iconic Ilocano dish.

Dinakdakan is customarily made with pig parts that are boiled till tender then grilled. The sauce is even made with pig's brain. A recipe for carnivores can be found in Panlasang Pinoy.

This vegan version is based on the fusion preparation of dinakdakan by Gerarda's Restaurant. They used green tomatoes and red onions and grilled pork. I really have been been wanting to duplicate their version but I could not find green tomatoes. I decided to substitute green pepper since if one tasted the dish one could mistake this vegetable for the green tomatoes  anyway.

Since I wanted a vegan version, I have to decide between tofu or sweet potatoes as the pork substitute. I opted for the latter and was very pleased with the choice. Done properly the sweet potato pieces had the crunch and flavor of the grilled pork.

The dressing used makes the dish. I followed the ingredients shared by the owner. I utilized balsamic vinegar but you can use white or cider. I combined it with vegan mayonnaise and added a little sugar. There were other ingredients enumerated by the owner but their contribution to the dish was minimal I am skipping or making them optional in the recipe below. I believe coconut milk, ginger and hot pepper were also added. I totally skipped the coconut milk and made the latter two optional.

Here is the simple recipe. My oh my I had this this morning and for lunch yesterday. I would have had it for supper but I was full from a wonderful buffet I attended.

Vegan Dinakdakan

About two servings

1/3 green pepper, cut into small cubes
1/2 small white or red onion, sliced
1/2 medium tomato, sliced into bite sized pieces
1 medium sweet potato, cubed (cooked in vegetable broth till cooked but crispy and doused with hoisin sauce and just heated)
2 tsp vinegar, ( I used balsamic)
2 tsp vegan mayonnaise
1/4 tsp ginger powder (optional)
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
1/2 tsp sugar

Mix all the ingredients in a small bowl and enjoy. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Free Will to Live While Dying

When my friend was at Forbes Hospital two years ago, I paid her a visit weekly.  She was being kept alive by all kinds of contraptions. I knew she could not recognize me or even hear me but I still visited her and every time I had some goodies with me like bars of chocolate that she loved when she could still eat and not fed via tubes through her veins.  I leave them on her table hoping her grandchildren would eat them when they visited.  At times I offered them to the nurses sort of sucking up to them so they would take extra care of my friend.

One time I even touched her with a piece of cloth taken from the clothes of Our Lady of Torumba, one of the Marian devotional destinations in the Philippines.  This was given to me by a Filipina who told me how it had worked miracles on her sister who had suffered a major stroke. A nurse was there when I was doing this gesture which I was afraid he would think to be weird. I did not have to fear, as I turned to him to check his reaction, he encouraged me to just do it with a look of understanding in his eyes.

My friend was in a section of the hospital where most patients with terminal conditions stayed.  After my visit, I used to walk through its corridor and I would confess it was not uplifting.  One particular day the whole experience of being in a place where it seemed the hand of God was pretty heavy got to me.  I was beginning to feel upset and thought He or She should be more merciful and generous and not make their sufferings linger.  I decided to go inside the hospital gift shop for a breath of fresh air and beauty before I got to my car. I confessed to the sales lady that I had no intention of buying anything and was just there to surround myself with something else other than the depressing signs of death and dying.

I told her how frustrating and sad I was that my friend was suffering and totally in a hopeless condition to live any further and yet was kept alive.  It was then, she, a stranger, shared with me her personal story.  Several years ago she had a friend with terminal cancer and was going through a lot of pain.  She, the sales lady, was mad with God for prolonging her friend's condition until an epiphany came to her. I am not sure now how this enlightening thought came to her but it consoled her.  God put in her mind that the decision to die does not rest on God.  The person has still free will and has to decide when to die when she feels she is ready.  Her friend needed more time for some reason. The sales lady decided to join her friend in the final chapter in her journey in life in peace after this gift of clarity from God.

I never forgot this insight which had helped me understand why God was prolonging another friend's life who was in a helpless and painful condition these past few months.  I somehow was able to get a  handle on something that was incomprehensible and confusing.  Perhaps indeed as somebody said, life is not a problem to be solved but a mystery to be lived even during its death and dying stages.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Slow Cooker Cuban Mojo Pork

This is a simple dish with few ingredients that comprise the so called Mojo sauce popular in Cuban cuisine. It has garlic, two citrus fruits, orange and lime and lots of oregano.  The latter herb gives the dish that distinct taste that surprisingly is loud and clear but not a turn off. It makes it addictive with its spirited flavor.

The slow cooker method is the perfect alternative to the usually arduous long baking time that the Cubans use to prepare this dish. This recipe was inspired by the one found in Simple Eats. I skipped the olive oil and mint in the list of ingredients and used dry oregano not fresh.  In this website, the author mentioned the first time he winged preparing the dish the pork was dry.  If only he knew to use the slow cooker.  But you do.  No excuse.  Make this and you will eat it morn, noon and night.  Delicious. Complete the Mojo Cuban experience and eat it with black beans, rice and cilantro.

Slow Cooker Cuban Mojo Pork

Inspired by Simple Eats

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dry oregano leaves
  • 1 orange, juice and zest
  • 2 limes, juice and zest
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 lb pork shoulder or butt (I used pork butt)
  • 1 tsp dry oregano leaves
  • 1 tsp salt
For serving:

  • Rice, cooked
  • cilantro
  • black beans (I used straight from can, drained)

Add all the sauce ingredients in the crock pot and mix.  Coat the whole pork with oregano and salt.  Place the seasoned pork on top of the sauce ingredients
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.

Serve with rice topped with cilantro and black beans on the side or on top.  Serve with the sauce on the side.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Saturday, April 28, 2018

My Hometown

I could not leave. Is
it the memories that have
my soul I cling to?

Friday, April 27, 2018

Vegan Linguine Insalata

What can be more satisfying than a pasta and a salad in the same meal. Well, you get both in this dish. The combination of the various vegetables give this Italian inspired dish its flavor. The balsamic vinegar sweetened with sugar rounds up the tastiness of the dish.

Vegan Linguine Insalata

  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth 
  • 1/2 cup sliced red onions
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 large pieces of roasted red pepper from a jar, sliced into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1 green pepper, sliced into pieces
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 eggplant, (microwaved for 5 minutes on high and then cut into 1/2 inch squares)
  • 1/2 cup canned black olives
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 tsp dry red chili peppers
  • 8 oz cooked linguine
  • 1 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast 
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp sugar

Heat the broth in the skillet. Add to the skillet the onions, garlic, tomatoes, roasted red pepper, green pepper and eggplant till vegetables are cooked. Add the olives, baby spinach, dry red chili peppers, linguine, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, salt and pepper and heat the mixture. Mix the vinegar with sugar and pour over the mixture and toss. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Balsamic Garlic Chili Chicken

I wanted an easy recipe for a tantalizing chicken dish with a short list of ingredients that I could just dump in the slow cooker and forget it. This fits the bill. My picky taster, my husband, gave it two thumbs up.

Balsamic Garlic Chili Chicken

  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tbsp garlic chili paste
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 3 lbs chicken thighs or legs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp thyme or other herb (optional)

Place all the ingredients in the slow cooker. Cook for 3 hours at high setting or 6 hours at low. I cooked mine in an Aroma brand rice cooker/slow cooker for 2 hours at slow cooker setting.

Serve over rice with a green salad.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Sounds of Early Morning in My Hometown

The painting depicts the scene from the third floor window of my brother Benjie's house, in Letre, Tonsuya, Malabon, Philippines. It was lovingly painted for me by my sister-in-law, Aurora "Pinky" Singson Lucas.

I know I am back in my hometown, Malabon, Philippines when I wake up to the neighbors' roosters', fighting cocks, loud piercing crowing during the wee hours in the morning. It is definitely not the same as the sweet chirping sound of the birds outside my house in Pittsburgh, PA.

My brother Benjie and my sister-in-law Pinky.

As I sometimes do,  I walk to the San Antonio Church, a few minutes stroll from my brother's house where I stay when I visit the Philippines, for the early 6:30 morning Mass.  As I step out of the gate of the house, I am greeted with the whirring sound of the engines of passing tricycles and honking of the horns of the jeepneys making their way through the narrow busy streets.

A typical tricycle , my husband, Bob, got a ride in during his last visit this February.  

The church bells ringing in the background call me to walk faster as I hear the splash my flip flops make as I accidentally step into a puddle as I hurry to get to church on time. I usually am distracted, soaking in the scenes I pass by, like the sari sari or variety stores with the candies and toys hanging over their small windows, and never notice the occasional holes and puddles on the sidewalk.

The sound of the opening prayers in Tagalog greets me as I enter the church. Later I am in awe of the harmonies made by the choir as they sing hymns, so impressed I wish my husband, a choir member back in Pittsburgh could hear them sing. At the end of the mass, the joyful clapping by the worshipers which is not customarily done back in the States, both surprises and touches me. They sound eager and grateful to go out to begin their day with the Lord’s blessings.

The newly renovated San Antonio Church, Tonsuya,  Malabon.

As I go out of the church door, I hear a vendor calling me, Ate or Ma'am, and feverishly convincing me to buy a lei of the sweetly scented white buds of sampaguita with an intoxicating fragrant ylang ylang dangling from it. I usually succumb to the vendor's tempting offer and buy two leis and place them over my head.

I stop by one of the bakeries selling pan de sal enticed by its freshly baked aroma. As I fish out coins from my little wallet to pay for this bread that I miss so much, I hear the rustle of the thin brown paper bag or supot in the background as the tindero or salesman creases it shut after he finishes placing the piping hot pan de sal in it.

I get home to my brother's house and press the timbre or doorbell to make that deafening sound to call the maid to open the door of the gate. Then I hear the big clang that the heavy metal gate door closing makes as I enter the house.

I set the pan de sal in the kitchen table and nab a couple of the pan de sal and decide to set aside the rest for my brother's family to eat when they wake up. I  go to the bathroom, get the tabo or large cup, dip it into the vat of water and relish the sound of water washing my dirty feet and flip flops. I change into my duster, go back to bed and sleep. My morning is half done and I feel I deserve the sound of silence now. And more sleep.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

I was in the middle of my Tai Chi class when this craving for Indian food hit me. I had an hour or so to kill before a talk I wanted to attend at our library so I went to India Garden to satisfy my yearning with their buffet offerings. 

The next day I decided to make my own Tikka Masala. I have a recipe in this blog that I used. It did not disappoint. I did have another recipe in a past blog I could have also used but it called for garam masala which I did not have.

The dish was creamy and with just the right amount of heat. It has all the flavor I expected from a good Tikka Masala. All the spices blended and cooking it in the slow cooker made it an easy fare to prepare. Have plenty of rice and do not miss the cilantro on top. So, so addictive.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

Inspired by this recipe

  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric 
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk from a can
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch 
  • 1-12 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 tbsp Sriracha
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • 3 lb chicken thighs
  • 1 bunch of cilantro

Mix all the ingredients except the chicken and cilantro in the crock pot. Place the chicken on top of sauce and mix.

Cook for 3 hours on high setting or 6 hours on low. I cooked in an Aroma brand rice cooker/slow cooker for 2 hours at slow cooker setting.

Serve over rice topped with cilantro.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Ah Aging

Wrinkles, aching joints.
Losses yes. Stop to relish.
What we wanted do!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Maxim 81 Notes Monroeville Prayer April 16, 2018 Meeting

For a start, below is the way a group of students from St. Joseph's College interpret Maxim 81. I photographed the two photos below from the card shared by Mary Cay during our meeting.  Note how close the simplified versions are to the original and oh so refreshing and easier to understand.

And here is Maxim 81 simplified printed at the back of the card.

Below are the notes thoroughly and thoughtfully prepared by Natalie from the Monroeville Prayer Group that met at the St Bernadette Convent April 16 to further deepen our understanding and use of the maxim in our daily lives. Have nice day in our never ending winter on this spring day.

Sounds Are Eternal

They hound you with the
memories they evoke, the
feelings brought to life.

Thai Ginger Peanut Veggie Wrap

I got a pleasant surprise when I boarded my American Airline flight from Phoenix, Arizona back to Pittsburgh. I had one of their meal offerings, Thai Ginger Chicken Wrap,  for ten bucks and it was delicious. It came with an equally yummy sauce. I did not expect airplane food to be that affordable and of gourmet quality in the economy section of the plane.

I was the first to be offered the meal options and when I wanted to wait until I was hungry during the four hour flight to order this wrap, I was warned by the attendant that they usually run out of it. I had no regrets buying it. By the way before the flight I had just eaten a disappointing chicken salad sandwich I bought from a store in the airport that failed to satisfy me in taste and this wrap made up for it. It was that good.

When I got home, I had that strong urge to duplicate this wrap. I found a recipe in a wonderful online source, Creative Bites which had ingredients that looked close to what I envisioned what the wrap was made of.

I then tweaked the recipe to make it vegan by making the chicken optional and substituting vegetable broth for the milk in the peanut sauce. I also lessened the amount of the broth since the sauce made the wrap mixture runny after it has set for awhile. I intend this wrap to be a to go lunch for me and I did not want this to happen.

The author of the recipe I adapted this from suggested to eat the wrap immediately after its preparation because it gets soggy. The alternative is to just add a bit of the sauce to the vegetable mixture and use it as a dip while eating the wrap. Again that is not so convenient when you are eating the wrap in the car while driving between errands. Using the broth sparingly is a recourse.

Thai Ginger Peanut Veggie Wrap

Adapted from Creative Bites

  • 4 c. coleslaw mix
  • 2 c. carrots, shredded 
  • 1 c. green onions, chopped (about 2 bunches)
  • 1/2 c. cilantro, chopped 
  • 1 English cucumber, chopped 
  • 2 c. Thai Peanut Sauce (recipe below)
  • 1/2 c. peanuts or other nuts, chopped 
  • small flour tortillas

Mix all the vegetables in a bowl and then add the sauce (note 1) and peanuts and toss.

Add the vegetable mixture along the middle of the tortilla leaving one inch space at the bottom and two sides. Fold the bottom over and fold over one side and roll over to make a cylinder.

Thai Peanut Sauce

  • 1/4 c. or less vegetable broth (note 2)
  • 1/2 c. peanut butter 
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce 
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder 
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder 
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes 
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup 
  • 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar 

Place all the ingredients in a blender and mix till creamy.


1. You can add only 1/4 of the sauce and use it as a dip if you are not eating immediately.

2. Use as little as possible.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Slow Cooker Pork Chop Agrodolce

This recipe has been adapted from the Food Network show Giada in Italy. Giada's version was pan fried while this was prepared using a slow cooker. I  have had success in the past converting pork dishes done in a conventional manner into slow cooker ones. I knew this would work.

My picky taster, my husband, gave this two thumbs up. I for one could not stop eating it with rice. The tanginess from the balsamic vinegar combined with the sweetness from the honey plus the subtle flavor of the thyme make this simple dish enticing to the taste buds.

Serve this with rice or mashed potatoes with a side of any steamed vegetables or salad and you have an easy no fuss Sunday dinner. We did yesterday. Bravo for this dish.

Slow Cooker Pork Chop Agrodulce

Adapted from Giada in Italy. 

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar 
  • 6 tbsp honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp dry thyme powder 
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste 
  • Black pepper to taste 
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch 
  • 3 lb pork chops, any cut (I used thinly sliced ones but thick ones would be prettier)

Mix all the ingredients except the pork chops in the crock pot. Add the pork chops on top and coat with the sauce.

Cook for 3 hours at high setting or 6 hours at low. I cooked mine in an Aroma brand rice cooker/slow cooker for 2 hours at slow cooker setting.

Serve with rice or mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables or salad greens.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Love and Hope

If you have love, there
will hope be. Fear and anger
cease with God's presence.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Paula’s Prayer Meeting April 12, 2018

It was a perfect spring day when we met with Paula today. The handout she gave us shown above just fitted such a day. Click on the YouTube video for background music as you reflect on the message conveyed in the beautiful handout.

Sr. Paula told us the story of a sister praying on the porch who heard in the silence a sound and when she opened her eyes she saw that it was coming from a lily opening up.

Sr. Paula also suggested a book to someone struggling with humility. It is called The Humility of God by Ilia Delio OSF.

One commented that sometimes in our sadness or when we struggle with our limitations as our lack of humility we forget that God is within our midst.

Let us embrace our humanness and God’s presence amidst the magnificent beauty and splendor of spring.  Alleluia!