Monday, October 23, 2017

Vegan Butternut Squash Apple Soup

Panera Bread is a favorite place to have meetings large or small.  I went there to meet with Peg to discuss what I would teach for her CCD religion class that I was to sub for her.  As I waited for her, I ordered Panera's Squash Autumn Soup. It was delicious and had that heartwarming, homey taste to it. I waited for Peg and waited and panicked I might have gone to the wrong Panera. When I called Peg, it turned out we switched the meeting place to King's during our previous phone conversation. The initial one we agreed on, Panera, somehow stuck in my memory.  Senioritis kicked in.

Anyway, the taste of the soup stayed in my memory with no problem and made me search the web for copycat versions.  I opted for an easy vegan one from this site. I tweaked the recipe to exclude oil and relied on my Vitamix blender to do most of the steps in the original recipe.

This present version of mine is different from the one I posted in the past. I added apple to this new version and used curry powder. I skipped the coconut milk and green chilies. Both versions are delicious with its own personality. This new version is the more reserved of the two but so comforting like your worn out blanket.

Vegan Butternut Squash Apple Soup

Adapted from this site

  • 2 cups butternut squash, roasted, seeded and peeled (note 1)
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and quartered
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder
  • 1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup almond milk (I used the original, unsweetened)
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1 tsp maple syrup (optional)

Place all the ingredients in a blender and mix till homogeneous. If using a Vitamix blender increase the setting to 10 and blend till mixture is heated. Or transfer to a pot and heat through.


1. I cut the butternut squash lengthwise in two, placed the pieces cut side down in a pan and baked for 20 minutes. I then remove the seeds and skin. You can also microwave the pieces till soft.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Beautiful Sharing and Caring

The hand on his waist
Says "I care, I do not want
you to fall". Great start.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Monday, October 16, 2017

I Wonder Why

At times, it's hard to
believe we've been forgiven
by Him who loves us.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

The Art of Being a Humble Conversationalist

I heard these tips during the reflection given by Jordan Sonnett, a seminarian doing his pastoral year at St. John the Baptist Church, at one Saturday Mass. Everytime he mentioned one habit to correct I heard myself saying, Ouch I have done that.

It took me awhile to publish this list since I broke most of them in several meetings I attended right after I heard them. I decided I better figure out why it was becoming too challenging a task.

It has something to do with motivation. I was still looking into my ego or self or what happens to me if I do not follow the tips. When I switched into realizing what my brattiness during meetings or conversations do to the other person, my heart softened. It really was about using the two great commandments to motivate me. Love God. Love your neighbor as yourself.

Making the other the focus has helped me to listen, wait to give opinion, not to correct, allow the other to talk about him or herself and not to interrupt. One important bonus - it has helped me get out of trouble of hurting other people's feelings and as a result I sleep better at night.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Sister Paula's October 12, 2017 Prayer Meeting

The messages in the handout above are all so beautiful and comforting I would just say peace and joy to you all.  Do reflect on its message as you listen to the powerful video below about God's loving assurance that He will always take care of us.  Have a nice day and weekend.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

From Longaniza to Hot dog, Part 6. Memories of Places and Faces

This is me in front of the Washington Monument in the seventies.

After I read my piece on places I lived at while I was in Washington DC during one of our life writers group meeting, Margaret, one of the members, asked me what I did for fun while in the nation's capital. She herself stayed in the same city and mentioned several places she visited and parks she took strolls in.

When I thought about what I did aside from study and do research in the lab during my stay in the nation's capital as a grad student at the George Washington University (GWU) from 1974 to 1977, the images that came to me were not only the places but faces of people that made my whole experience in this tourist spot fun.

My memories of those times were against the beautiful backdrop of the city's beautiful landmarks. First of all let me tell you how a friend's son who was a taxi driver nicknamed the city's famous tourist spots. He called the White House, the Clown Box, the Washington Monument, the Pencil and something else obscene, and the Kennedy Center, the Kleenex Box. The monickers he coined are pretty fitting especially the first one considering its present main occupant.

GWU is just a few minutes walk from all of these edifices. I remember having picnics with Filipino friends eating adobo and rice at the grounds where the Washington Monument was. I used to go grocery shopping at the supermarket of the infamous Watergate apartment complex close to the Kennedy Center. I walked past by the White House on my way to shop downtown. None among my friends had any car and the Metro was not constructed yet then.  I wore out several shoes I brought with me from the Philippines those two and half year stay in this city from walking long distances.

I loved visiting the museums in DC and I was glad I had Lawrence that went with me to visit them. He was an undergrad from Hongkong who was in one of my classes. He was younger than me and quite boyish looking. We were sort of an item and another jealous admirer from Iran, Amir, referred to him as somebody so small I could fit him in my pocket.

The favorite past time of a Filipino friend, Lily, that was affordable for me a grad student with a meager stipend, was walking to Georgetown and just window shopping and then capping the day with a double scoop of the fabulous ice cream from one of the fancy creameries. I should not forget to mention we also window shopped for shoes at stores with blaring music where my friend Lily would take her Spanish friend who was with us to dance right there in the store when salsa or meringue music came on.

When I was writing my thesis I asked a friend, Irma, to draw the glass apparatus I helped built with Doreen, another grad student which we called KATE which if my memory is right stood for Kinetic Apparatus for Trifluroethylene Experiments. After spending hours of drawing the apparatus, Irma and I got hungry and the only money we had was Irma's spare coins. We decided to go to the Ruby Restaurant in Chinatown for dumplings. Irma did have a car so we safely got there close to midnight.

I spent hours doing research at my adviser Dr. King's lab doing work on a compound similar to the miracle cancer drug, fluorouracil or 5-FU. Since the gas chromatograph that we used for analysis was in demand, I would take the night shift to use it. One evening one undergrad who adored the Grateful Dead offered to bring me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I could not believe I trusted him despite him having a friend whose grocery list I happened to read listed buying hallucinogens as one of them. Yes I was in DC during times when people smoked funny things and did make love. I did not do either one but I still had fun doing simple stuff.

Seville, my roommate at the first apartment I stayed in, and I baked cakes from boxed mix and prepared casserole from ground beef patties with cream of mushroom and Lipton onion soup mix. We served this to our guests in our living room with our beds serving as the seating area. This is the same room where in the middle of the night, to her chagrin I would ask her questions like "What is life". I prepared a complete turkey dinner at this same apartment which had a separate kitchen for a former suite mate at the grad dorm at GWU, Mary, for thanksgiving. It was my first time to bake a turkey evident by the fact the wrapper with its neck and gizzard was still left in the cavity when I served it.

I was a foodie even then so food I ate are forever in my memory. I loved Manang Cris' spaghetti with mixed vegetables she was proud of at her apartment and the chicken mole during the Friday ukelele soiree at Dawn's place. She was another grad student who was married to a really funny Mexican, Al, who loved playing ukelele all night with the undergrad Mexican students at GWU.  Other dishes I loved eating were Lawrence's green pepper steak and Merle and sister Lily's tuna casserole served with beer biscuit.

Despite having no formal kitchen in the last place I stayed in at DC, I was able to prepare chicken afritada made of fresh tomatoes, green and red pepper I brought back from Philadelphia where I, Seville and Manang Cris attended the International Eucharistic Congress.  We got there courtesy of Mitchell from the lab who could not get over how much food we brought in his car and ate on the way there and the produce we brought back. I served this iconic Filipino dish with rice and pancit, a noodle dish, to the professors and lab mates to celebrate my having successfully passed my prelims. We ate picnic style right on the grounds of GWU in front of Corcoran Hall which housed the chemistry department.

This beautiful city was not always a fun place. On weekends it was quite dead with old people with their shopping carts walking the streets talking to themselves. Everybody in town preferred to go out of town including Lily who always took me with her to Baltimore to stay over the weekend with her relatives. One time when I came home to my apartment it felt so solitary and lonely I even welcomed the sight of the cockroaches running in my apartment. On most days the bustle in the lab and the company of the other graduate students and the outings with Filipino friends kept my stay memorable and a happy one. It really was not only the places at DC that mattered but the faces that came with it.

Below is what I wrote at the back of the first picture shown above.

Looking back, no question about it I did have good luck. I started making my dreams come true at an amazing place in the company of wonderful friends.

Note:  This is Part 6 of the series From Longaniza to Hot Dog which recounts my immigration to the United States from the Philippines. You might want to read the following:

From Longaniza to Hot Dog Part 1 Brooklyn and Sao Paolo
From Longaniza to Hot Dog Part 2 Muito Obrigada and Baden Baden
From Longaniza to Hot Dog Part 3 Life Changing Question
From Longaniza to Hot Dog Part 4 Second Thoughts
From Longaniza to Hot Dog Part 5 Places I Lived At In Washington DC

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Slow Cooker One Pot Pierogie Meal

One pot meals are the rage nowadays. Who wants to wash several pots and pans. This recipe is a one pot dish and also a dump it and forget it at that cooked in a slow cooker.

Pierogies are usually bought frozen in boxes like the Mr. T's brand or at church fundraisers as homemade ones you freeze for future use. The latter was what I used for this recipe. They were prepared by the ladies of our church under Sharon Torick's leadership.

I have baked them before, here and also sauteed them in a skillet with butter. In both cases I had to thaw the pierogies even those I buy homemade which I freeze since I buy truckloads of them.

In this recipe I dumped the frozen pierogies without thawing that I bought from our church in my crockpot. I added other ingredients for an easy one step one pot meal.

I was very pleased with the results. The pierogies held its form and had that pillowy texture without being mushy. The other ingredients consisting of onions, green pepper and hot dog made it a complete comforting meal. Veggies and meat. Checked.

Try this with fresh frozen or the frozen boxed pierogies and your family will have a comforting delicious meal on any busy day. It works. My husband gave it the thumbs up.

Slow Cooker One Pot Pierogie Meal

18 large frozen pierogies or 3 
dozens small ones (I used homemade ones with potato cheese filling)

2 cups vegetable or chicken broth

1/2 to 1 stick butter

2 green or red peppers, sliced

1 large onion, sliced

1 package hot dog or sausage, cut to bite sized pieces

Place all the ingredients in a crock pot.

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

Putting On the Brakes

Slow down and catch up
with ourselves. To realize
we are one with God.

Note: Gleaned from Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation for today by guest writer James Finley.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Slow Cooker Lemon Sage Chicken

My late father did the food shopping for our family at our palengke or market place in Malabon.  He would buy what was on sale that day and he would not hesitate to haggle either.  Haggling is part of the game when shopping in the Philippines whether in the market place or even during large transactions.

I did not haggle for the price of one of the ingredients in this dish, namely, the sage.  This herb was generously given to me by my friend, Antonella when I brought her home from our mahjong session at the canoe club in Verona.  I was planning to just freeze it until I find use for it but I decided instead to find a dish using sage in the internet and  found a recipe for Lemon Sage Chicken from this wonderful source.

The recipe I found was not meant for the slow cooker but for the grill.  Most of the ingredients I included below were envisioned to be part of a marinade for the chicken before it was to be grilled.  I was not into grilling nor did I have the time.  When I cooked this I had people coming to learn how to prepare pasta dough at my house.

I decided to use most of the ingredients in the recipe I found in the internet but skipped the oil in the recipe and added baby carrots and potatoes to make it a one pot meal.  This lemon dish is simpler than the one I cooked previously, here in the sense that no canned soup nor dairy were used but still it is just as delicious.  I have also used sage in another chicken dish, here which also used milk.

The sage in the recipe below was surprisingly not that pronounced for which my husband was grateful since he does not like too much herbs in dishes.  It gave a tinge that makes you say "what is that"  when you eat the dish.  The lemon on the other hand dominated the taste which gave it a refreshing delicious flavor.

I suggested in the recipe to have three things available at the end for people to add to give oomph to the dish, namely,  sea salt in a grinder, whole peppercorn in a grinder and dry minced garlic flakes in a bottle.  Believe me. they make a lot of difference added to the cooked dish.

Slow Cooker Lemon Sage Chicken 

Inspired by this source

  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs or any cut of chicken
  • 2 cups baby carrots
  • 3 potatoes. peeled and quartered
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch in 1 tbsp water
  • 3 tbsp fresh sage leaves (chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • sea salt in a grinder, whole pepper corn in a grinder and dry minced garlic flakes (as garnish for added flavor)

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

When serving, offer the diners the sea salt. whole peppercorn and dry garlic flakes to add to the dish for added flavor.  They are better applied freshly ground or straight from the bottle in the case of the minced garlic flakes.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Kale Black Bean Poblano Burger with Japanese Steakhouse Dip

I wanted to use up the kale I bought which came chopped in a bag.  I thought of incorporating it in a recipe I had used before in this blog, here.  Since I used a whole poblano pepper,  the burger came spicy but good. I needed something to cool down the tongue to complement the heat of the burger.  I decided to use the Japanese Steakhouse Dip I brought from Sawa Restaurant. Wow. It was perfect pairing.  I concocted a no oil and vegan version of the dip from a recipe from this source.  Wow wow. You should try this combination.

Kale Black Bean Poblano Burger with Japanese Steakhouse Dip

Adapted from previous blogpost

  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 1/2 or 1 whole poblano pepper, stem and seeds removed
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 head of a cauliflower
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp chipotle from can
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds in 3 tbsp water, allowed to steep for 10 minutes
  • 2-15oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups loosely packed kale leaves, chopped
  • 2 cups panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place all the ingredients except the panko bread crumbs in the blender or food processor in the sequence given and pulse before adding the next item in the sequence if using a blender so as not to overload the blender.  Transfer to a bowl and add the bread crumbs to the mixture and blend well.

Form into large or small patties.  Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes. Serve with the Vegan Japanese Steakhouse Dip (recipe below).

Vegan Japanese Steakhouse Dip

Adapted from this source

  • 1 cup vegennaise (I used low fat)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • a dash of cayenne pepper

Place all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix with a fork or a whisk till smooth.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Easy Ramen Shrimp Vegetable Bowl

When I want a quick noodle dish to comfort me, I resort to using instant Ramen noodles that come in packages for a quarter or so. I do skip using the dry soup flavoring packet that comes with it but I have to confess on some occasions I have succumbed to utilizing it when I wanted a sure proof flavored Ramen dish. How can one beat salt and MSG to satisfy who you are feeding?

Before I get to the recipe in this blogpost, I would like to mention the book Prison Ramen. It is a book written by a former prison inmate with his friend that gives a glimpse of prison life while providing us the creative ways a prisoner like him use instant Ramen with whatever available staples their situation allows. For example in one dish he added orange flavored kool aid and pork rind to his Ramen concoction. Necessity is indeed the mother of invention.

In my case, it is convenience and laziness that move me to use Ramen noodles in many ways. I am grateful I have fresh vegetables in my fridge and a freezer where I store frozen shrimp. This Ramen dish can either be a soup or a stir fry noodle dish. No flavoring packet is used but instead vegetable broth is resorted to for flavor together with what the shrimp and vegetables impart.

Part of this recipe is very similar to this past blogpost on Mixed Vegetable Shrimp Delight.  I simplified the stir fry step by skipping the sauteing of garlic and onions in oil and just used dry onion flakes and dry garlic flakes.  I cooked three vegetables with the vegetable broth and added the shrimp in the shell with it later. You can use other vegetables like green beans and zucchini also as well any meat either fresh or cooked in this flexible and easy dish.

I prefer to cook my Ramen in the microwave so I do not over cook it.  I submitted a Ramen dish , Thai Hot and Sour Soup with Ramen Noodles, in a soup contest and one judge made a comment my noodles was overcooked.  In this particular recipe I submitted, I cooked the noodles with the other ingredients thus rendering it soggy. It would have been better if I had the Ramen noodles on the side.  I find 3 minutes to cook one packet or even two packets are sufficient.  Do check.  Ramen noodles easily cook further after the actual cooking time.

Easy Ramen Shrimp Vegetable Bowl

Inspired by this recipe, Mixed Vegetable Shrimp Delight

  • 2 packets instant Ramen noodles, skipping the flavor packet
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth (or more as needed)
  • 1/2 head of cabbage, cored and cut into pieces
  • 1 cup baby carrots
  • 1 cup celery, sliced
  • 1 tbsp dry onion flakes
  • 1 tbsp dry garlic flakes
  • 1/2 lb frozen shrimp in its shell, (you can use fresh peeled or unpeeled)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Place the Ramen noodles in a bowl.  Add water enough to cover the noodles.  Microwave for 3 minutes for 1 or 2 packets.  Do not overcook.  Drain and set aside.

Place the vegetable broth in a large skillet.  Allow for it to boil.  Add the cabbage, carrots and celery and braise them till they are cooked but not soggy.  Add more broth if needed.  Add the onion flakes, garlic flakes and the shrimp.  Allow the mixture to further heat, adding just a bit more broth if needed, to cook the shrimp.  Again do not overcook.

Arrange the Ramen noodles into four bowls.  Distribute the vegetables and shrimp among the four bowls.  If you want it more a soup add more heated broth.  

Monday, October 2, 2017

Toughing It Out

One comfort in life,
some bad things do pass. We wake
up and the hurt's gone.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Carrot Apple Raisin Salad

This side dish or dessert is inspired by the Jewish dish called Charoset which I had during the Seder Meal during Holy Week at my church.  The one who prepared it gave me the recipe but I could not find it. So I googled what I thought were the ingredients and came up with this source which had a recipe for Carrot Apple Salad with Raisin Nuts and Honey. I prepared the dish according to the direction of the recipe except for substituting maple syrup for honey since I would like it to be a vegan dish.

When I brought it to my Plant Based Group a member suggested that I add wine and vanilla and eliminate the maple syrup and lemon juice.  The final recipe below is a result of that suggestion. I kept the lemon juice, eliminated the maple syrup and added the wine and vanilla.  I am glad I heeded the advice because the salad was brought to a new level.  I understand Charoset is not customarily made with carrots but I wanted a carrot filled version for bulk, fiber and crunch.

Carrot Apple Raisin Salad 

Adapted from this source

  • 1/2 lb baby carrots
  • 2 apples, cored and quartered
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4-1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup wine 
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
Add the carrots, apples and walnuts in a blender and pulse till they are in small pieces but not pulverized.  

Transfer the mixture to a bowl and add the rest of the ingredients and mix.

Snapping Out of It

Wallowing in self
pity he'd no shoes then he
saw one with no feet.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

English Tea Cucumber Sandwiches

I brought these tea sandwiches to our Life Writers Group Wednesday meeting at the Monroeville PA library.  It was in celebration of Ellen's belated birthday and Keith Neill's new book Growing up in Eighty Four, Pennsylvania, A Slice of Americana which is available in Amazon.  We had fun eating the wonderful fare consisting of turkey pepperoni, hummus, crackers, chips, Indian style tuna salad, this cucumber tea sandwiches plus caramel chocolate pretzels, lemon squares and cupcakes for dessert.  

Keith Neill's new book Growing up in Eighty Four, Pennsylvania, A Slice of Americana which is available in Amazon

After we all had a filling late lunch munching on the goodies, we then read what we wrote for that day.  What were shared was a mix of lighthearted and serious pieces all written with a lot of heart and soul. Beautiful time with wonderful friends. As Win said, we have a good group.  Amen.  

Keith and Ellen

Vandana and Margaret


Win in foreground with Roz at back.

English Tea Cucumber Sandwiches

Adapted from this source

  • 1-8 oz package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder (or more to taste)
  • 1/8 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 dash Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 English Cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced (Note 1)
  • 1-1 pound loaf sliced bread, crusts cut off (Note 2)
  • dry lemon dill seasoning for garnish or fresh dill

1. Mix the cream cheese, mayonnaise, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl.

2.  Spread the cream cheese mixture on one side of each slice of bread.

3.  Distribute the cucumber randomly if not cutting in shapes.  If you are cutting in two later, place the cucumber in two rows over half of the bread slices so cutting in half will be easier. Sprinkle dry lemon dill on top of the cucumber.

4.  Place the other half of the bread slices with spread sides down over the cucumber slices to make a sandwich.

5.  You can cut each sandwich in half between the two rows of cucumber.  

6.  If transporting, place the sandwiches in a tray.  Cover with one or two layers of paper towel wet just enough but not soaking wet to prevent the bread from drying out.  I stored the sandwiches this way and then placed the sandwiches in the tray with wet towel in a large plastic bag and placed them in a cooler with two ice packs. I had to do this since I had several errands starting at nine in the morning till we met at 1 pm for the meeting and did not have time to go home.  The sandwiches remained moist and cold.


1. If you use English cucumber which does not have seeds you do not have to drain the moisture from the cucumber. If you are using regular cucumber follow the instruction from the source of this recipe.

2.  I used Pepperidge Farm white bread and also plain Italian bread.  I found them both equally good with the latter to be cheaper.

My Cousin Rosa

I, Ondes, on the left of the table, holding on to my cousin Rosa.  Other children in the picture, clockwise, are Rosa's sister, Nida, Bebeng, my older sister, Boyet and Mita, my Kaka Viring's children, Lorie, my Kakang David's only child and Anton, my late brother.  The priest on the left is Monsignor Agcaira.  Behind Rosa is Ely, a family friend, the adult with glasses at the table is my Kaka Edong and the guy at the back is Rosa's father, Kaka Ruben. The title Kaka is uncle or aunt in Tagalog. This was taken during the annual fiesta held on the feast of the Immaculate Concepcion in Malabon.

My cousin Rosa is one of the many children of my prolific Kaka, uncle in Tagalog, Ruben and his wife Kaka or aunt Iska. Rosa just died of a heart attack this past Sunday in Malabon Philippines at the age of seventy.

Rosa's family lived just a block from my grandmother's house where my own family stayed till I was 10 years old. She and her siblings were my playmates till I was ten.  One fond memory I had playing with her was pretending we were pregnant by stuffing our dress with newspaper.  At this time, both our mothers were getting pregnant almost every year in her mother's case and every two years in mine. This past Monday morning when I was in the bathroom my grandchild came in with her tummy stuffed with a blanket. It made me think was this a sign from Rosa? My sister and I were just talking on the phone just a few minutes before about her passing.

When I was seven and she nine years old, the company my grandmother owned had a huge party to celebrate the mechanisation of the bottling step in the making of the fish sauce or patis.  It was a big event since it was the first time that this condiment was being bottled untouched by human hands.  A photographer was hired to take pictures of the guests including government officials and also the American manufacturers of the bottling machine.  I convinced Rosa that we photobomb every picture that was taken and we indeed did. You could see us squeezing ourselves into every picture.

Rosa is on the extreme right in this picture.  The children featured in this picture are from the left, Connie, Rosa's sister, me, Edna, another of Rosa's sister.  Behind are my Kaka Uring, my grandmother, Nanang Pina, Kaka Viring and then Governor Rodriguez.  This was taken during the inauguration of the newly installed bottling facility at compound number 1 of Rufina Patis in Malabon.

Every year the Catholic school we attended had a Christmas pageant which included coming in different costumes and offering a gift to the Child Jesus at the stage. I still could picture in my mind the year Rosa came in an all white Indian sari with a diamond pasted in the middle of  her forehead like the princess in the Aladdin movie.  She was gloriously beautiful and regal.

Time flew and we got married, got pregnant, this time for real, and had children who eventually grew up.  A few years ago, we were together celebrating my late brother's birthday at a casino buffet in California.  We even shared a room after the buffet at my sister's house in Los Angeles.  My sister is a very clean person and when I visit her she always offers to launder my clothes.  One day as I was putting away my newly laundered clothes, Rosa saw me folding my underwear in a haphazard manner.  I remember her showing me how to fold with the crouch part over first and then the two sides folded over the middle to form a square.  I was really impressed.

This was taken during the joint celebration of my brother Anton, Vicky, Mama Sol and Bubut's birthdays.  From left seated are Mama Sol, Chet, Anton's wife, Anton, Chet's aunt, and Vicky, Rosa's sister.  Standing from left are Rosa and my sister Bebeng.

Rosa arriving at my sister's condo in Los Angeles.

Rosa was famous for her Pancit Malabon, a noodle dish named after the town we grew up in. This dish is characterised by its sauce but most importantly by the trimmings one puts on top including crushed pork rind, shrimp, boiled pork belly, smoked fish chopped and sometimes boiled oysters plus green onions and boiled eggs.  Rosa masterfully concocted this pancit in such a way it was rich but not overbearing.

She lived her life just as admirably.  I seldom heard her say a bad thing about anybody.  Neither did she complain about the trials and tribulations she had to go through in life.  She was a wonderful example on how to carry them with dignity. This was what she and her life taught me.  Thank you Rosa for all the things I have learned from you and for the warm memories. Rest in peace.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Good morning

Another day I'm
blessed with. Whatever is in
store, I am grateful.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

It'll Be OK

It'll be an OK
day. You're OK. You're held in
the palm of His hands.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

CSJA Maxim 77 St. Bernadette Convent Prayer Group 9/18/17

The two page handout above was prepared by Natalie for our prayer meeting at the St. Bernadette Convent this past Monday on September 18, 2017.  Maxim 77 was discussed which was on Love. The scriptural passages suggested in the flip up book on the Maxims were also provided in the handout for our convenience and so was the suggested application. To complete the discussion we covered what Marcia Allen, CSJ says in her pink book on the Maxims.

At the end, one would note that Natalie pointed out that we have come full circle starting with love in Maxim 1. She also referred to other maxims which touches on this subject.

Thanks Natalie for this wonderful handout.  We share this with all of you as we are in union in spirit as you read this post.  Have a nice day.  God is good.

PS Thanks also to Dottie for the awesome coffee chocolate bars she brought for the meeting and the hospitality of Sr. Bernadette.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Paula's Prayer Group Meeting September 14, 2017

It was the national day of prayer when we met and Sr. Paula gave a handout featuring a prayer by St. Augustine above.  During our meditation period, Paula played the song, "You Are the River, I Am the Flow" by Jan Phillips, which you can play by clicking the arrow in the image of the Youtube video below.

Paula shared after the reflection period, that as one of the lyrics say, her wish is to be the breath to refresh the world.  As I was opening my refrigerator after the meeting, I saw on my refrigerator door, the card that was given out during the last annual retreat to identify and remember our prayer partner that year. I was struck by the phrase in it that carries the same message."Let your life speak".

I hope the prayer in the handout and the words and music in the video give you comfort during these times of uncertainties and chaos. Someone up there is in charge. We should not fear but feel His unconditional love and mercy.  See you at the recollection this Sunday.

Separation and violence

Lose oneness with God,
and love, ego kicks in, non
violence ceases.

Note: Inspired by my reflection on today's Daily Meditation by Richard Rohr.

Sunday, September 17, 2017


Happiness is to
be shared not kept to oneself
fearing losing it.

Note: Gleaned from the reflection given by seminarian, Jordan Sonnett during a Saturday Mass.  Jordan is spending his pastoral year at St. John the Baptist, Plum PA.

Slow Cooker Pepper Tomato Marinara Sauce for Vegan Meatballs

Last Saturday I was at the McGinnis Specialty Store in Monroeville PA for their Authors Event featuring 17 authors who showcased their books to the public.  A couple of my own friends who have published books were there namely, Sally Lipsky and Margaret Soboslay.  Sally has just recently published her book       while Margaret featured two of her published books.  See photos below. Sally's kindle version of her book is free till this Thursday, September 21, 2017 at  Hurry and order! Click on the book below to order.

Beyond Cancer: The Powerful Effect of Plant-Based Eating: How to Adopt a Plant-Based Diet to Optimize Cancer Survival and Long-Term Health by [Lipsky, Sally]

Margaret with two of her published books.  They are also available at  

This event was organized by the indefatigable McGinnis Monroeville events coordinator, Karen Novak. She also has been the organizer for many years of the McGinnis Book Club which I belong to.  In fact several authors who have been guests at our book club monthly event were at this Authors Event.  Here are the pictures I took of some of the authors as well as vendors who shared tasting samples of their goodies.

I had to hurry home since my husband was singing at the Filipino dance recital of the Philippine American of Performing Arts of Greater Pittsburgh (PAPAGP) Association  that same afternoon. I had the option at McGinnis to eat one of their fabulous lunch menus or take home some awesome to go items but instead I could hardly wait to go home to eat the Vegan Spinach Sweet Potato Meatballs in the easy amazing Pepper Tomato Marinara Sauce.  It is that haunting and delicious. Even my picky taster my husband gave it a thumbs up.

I have featured this meatball recipe in the past where I have suggested to use store bought marinara sauce from a jar.  In this blog post, I am highlighting an easy but amazing sauce made from just four ingredients to use with these meatballs. Here is the simple easy peasy recipe.

Slow Cooker Pepper Tomato Marinara Sauce for Vegan Meatballs

This was inspired by the ingredients I saw in the Mancini Brand Marinara Sauce

  • 2-14 oz can stewed tomatoes (Note 1,2)
  • 1 bottle grilled piquillo peppers in water (Note 1,3)
  • 2 tbsp dry onion flakes
  • 1 tbsp dry garlic flakes
  • vegan meatballs or other type of meatballs (see this recipe)
Combine the first four ingredients in a slow cooker.  Place the baked meatballs (see this vegan recipe) on top of the sauce. Cook for 3 hours at high or 6 hours at low.  You can also do this in a skillet.  Allow the sauce mixture with the baked meatballs on top to first boil and then simmer.


1. I prefer to add the tomatoes and peppers whole but you can chop them or even blend them after cooking for a more homogeneous mixture.  I like putting the sauce in my hoagies even without any meatball so I prefer them both whole for texture (see photo below).

2.  Stewed tomatoes are sweeter than the other types.  I highly recommend them. But you can use other types of canned tomatoes.

3.  Piquillo peppers are one type of peppers which are milder.  I again highly recommend them. But again you can use other types of bottled peppers.