Monday, February 27, 2017

Together Not Alone





Knowing this warms the 
heart. We are in this dance called 
life. Let's go with flow.




Sunday, February 26, 2017

Vegan Parmesan Stuffed Mushrooms


This is a simple recipe and surprisingly delicious and addictive. It uses vegan Parmesan cheese which provides the almost real thing taste plus more. It is creamier when baked than the real cheese. With the additional flavor from the green onions, you do not need any other stuff to stuff your mushrooms. The drizzling with the coconut oil is optional but it gives that roasted taste. You do need to watch that you do not burn your mushrooms when you use it.

Vegan Parmesan Stuffed Mushroom

  • 8 mushrooms (I used cremini mushrooms)
  • 1 recipe vegan Parmesan (recipe below)
  • 4 stalks green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp coconut oil, melted (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Clean the mushrooms with a damp cloth. Remove the stems. You can chop these stems and mix with the Parmesan and green onions if you wish.

Combine the Parmesan cheese with the green onions.

Using a small spoon, fill each mushroom cap.

You can drizzle the mushrooms with coconut oil if you wish.

Place them in an aluminum lined pan. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.

Vegan Parmesan (make twice the recipe to be sure you have enough to use)


Adapted from The Chew

  • 1 cup walnuts (the original used cashew)
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
Place all the ingredients in a blender and pulse till the mixture turns to a coarse powder texture.

As you pray










Don't just ask for stuff.
Be still. Behold His presence
within you. All's well.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Mango Chia Pudding




This is an easy, delicious pudding. The taste of the mango really shines through every bite.  You do not notice any coconut milk taste if you are not a fun.  I decided to add water instead of more milk to this pudding recipe and I like the result.

Mango Chia Pudding

  • 4 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup canned coconut milk, full fat
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup mango pulp from the Asian Store or 1 mashed fresh mango
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup or to taste
Mix all the ingredients in a small container and mix with a fork. Refrigerate for about an hour.  Enjoy.



Friday, February 24, 2017

When the heart answers




Life's questions are not
an either or affair but
full of nuances.



Vegan Sweet Potato Spinach Meatballs






Being a vegan is a journey as our Plant Based Community moderator stated last night in our meeting.  She made this statement to a member who said that she has been falling off the bandwagon in terms of her vegan way of eating.  I have also been struggling lately especially with eating those irresistible meatballs coated with spaghetti sauce I prepared for my husband.

I decided to solve the craving by making a vegan version.  Four years ago, I used a vegetarian meatball recipe from this source and brought it to a potluck shower party.  It was a hit.  It needs some tweaking to make it vegan since it used eggs and cheese.  To accomplish this conversion to a vegan dish, I substituted chia seeds dissolved in water for the eggs and nutritional yeast for the cheese flavor.

I supplemented the mixture with spinach and sweet potato for more nutritional value.  The sweet potato actually helped tone down the saltiness of the mixture due to the soup mix. The only thing I wish I did was use the Homemade Onion Soup MIx recipe I had instead of the Lipton Onion Soup Mix from the pantry. However, I read from the source of the vegetarian recipe I adapted this from, PETA list Lipton Onion Soup Mix as vegan.  If you prefer non processed food all the way, use the provided Homemade Onion Soup Mix recipe below.

In the original recipe from this source, they further baked the baked meatballs over vegetable broth.  In my case I have been munching on the meatballs as is. They are very moist and full of flavor. One can can cook it with marinara sauce and serve over linguini if one prefers or stuff into a bun as a meatball hoagie.

Vegan Sweet Potato Spinach Meatballs

Adapted from this source.

  • 4 tbsp chia seeds, crushed or ground, dissolved in 3/4 cup water
  • 1 (1 1/4 oz) envelope Lipton Onion Soup Mix (note 1) or 4 tbsp Homemade Onion Soup Mix (recipe below)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs or dry breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp dry oregano
  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 cooked sweet potato, mashed
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees centigrade.

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.  Using a small ice cream scoop or by hand form around 1 1/4 inch balls.

Place the balls in a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.


Note:  According to the source of the recipe I adapted this from, PETA has a list of vegan products and Lipton Onion Soup Mix is one of them.

Homemade Onion Soup Mix

Adapted from the heavenly homemaker website)

  • 2/3 cup dried, minced onion
  • 3 tsp parsley flakes
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp celery salt
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper


Mix all ingredients in a jar and then shake the jar.  Always shake the jar before each use.



Thursday, February 23, 2017

No Fuss Banana Mango Ice Cream


This recipe was adapted from the America's Test Kitchen's book "Naturally Sweet".  We have heard of making ice cream from frozen bananas on TV cook shows as one of those so called popular hacks featured about it in Facebook. As their norm, the America's Test Kitchen tested this approach until the group was satisfied with the result.  They concluded that the best way to prepare banana ice cream is to add some cream to make it silky smooth.  They also tried roasting the bananas first then freezing them which deepened the flavor but the liquid that leached out made the ice cream too icy.

I decided to add some mango puree to the original recipe and a little bit more lemon juice.  The resulting taste is phenomenal.  I can finish the whole thing. It was naturally sweet from both the bananas and mango puree and creamy from the addition of full fat coconut milk which I used instead of cream.


This is a no fuss recipe. You do not need an ice cream machine at all.  A blender will do.

No Fuss Banana Mango Ice Cream

  • 3 very ripe bananas, frozen and cut into one inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup canned coconut milk, full fat
  • 1/2 cup canned mango pulp from the Asian store (see note)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Place all the ingredients in a blender and pulse till thoroughly mixed.  Place in a container and freeze for 5 hours or overnight. If it gets too hard to scoop out, just place the container in the microwave for 30 seconds to soften. Enjoy.

Note:

Though I have not done this myself, you could use fresh mangoes.



You Go Girl





Frustration due to
indecision. Go for it.
Dare to take the leap.


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Slow Cooker Barbecue Mango Chicken Thighs


I do like the convenience of having barbecue sauce and a canned or bottled fruit handy in the pantry to prepare any dish including this easy and delicious chicken dish.  I have used these ingredients, barbecue sauce and canned cranberries, in combination in the preparation of meatballs in this blog and I also saw in the web a recipe using barbecue sauce and apricot preserves for chicken wings.  I wanted to try using canned mango pulp I have had in my pantry shelf for ages instead. It actually worked.  My picky taster, my husband, loved it and so did I.



I cooked the dish in the slow cooker which did a good job in coming up with succulent chicken pieces coated with the smoky, sweet sauce. Try this easy dish.

Slow Cooker Barbecue Mango Chicken Thighs

  • 1 cup barbecue sauce, store bought
  • 1 cup mango pulp from the Asian store (see note)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tbsp chopped bottled jalapeno pieces
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2.5 lbs bone in chicken thighs
  • cilantro for garnish (optional)
Place all the ingredients except the chicken and cilantro in the slow cooker and mix.  Place chicken pieces on top and coat with sauce. Cook at high for three hours or at low for six hours.  I cooked mine in an Aroma Brand rice cooker/slow cooker for 2 hours.  Garnish with cilantro if you wish. Serve over rice, plenty of it.  The sauce is irresistible.

Note:

Though I have not tried it, fresh mangoes would probably work. Just add honey or maple syrup or brown sugar to taste.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Monday, February 20, 2017

Paula's Prayer Group February 2017 Meeting

 

May the love that comes from the heart of Christ be with you all.

The great commandment includes the statement to love others as yourself . But what is the true self? Here is how Richard Rohr views love and the true self.

Authentic love is of one piece. How you love anything is how you love everything.  Love is a quality of relationship more than a statement about the worthiness or deservedness of the object loved. (Read that twice!)
Jesus commands us to “Love our neighbors as we love ourselves,” and he connects the two great commandments of love of God and love of neighbor, saying they are “like” one another (Matthew 22:40). So often, we think this means to love our neighbor with the same amount of love—as much as we love ourselves. We love others from the same Source, with the same Love, that allows us to love ourselves, others, and God at the same time! That is, unfortunately, not the way most people understand love, compassion, and forgiveness, but it is the only way loving truly will ever work. How you love is how you have accessed Love, just as it is between the three Persons of the Trinity.
Love is not really an action that you do. Love is what and who you are, in your deepest essence.Love is a place that already exists inside of you, but is also greater than you. That’s the paradox. It’s within you and yet beyond you. This creates a sense of abundance and more-than-enoughness, which is precisely the satisfaction and deep peace of the True Self. You know you’ve found a well that will never go dry, as Jesus says (see John 4:13-14). Your True Self, God’s Love in you, cannot be exhausted.

Have a nice day.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Four Ingredient Lemon Soy Sauce Pork Chop






Simple, easy and fast Sunday dinner.  Just four ingredients.

Four Ingredient Lemon Soy Sauce Pork Chop


  • 8 pieces pork chops
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • Juice of 1 fresh lemon
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce


Add salt and pepper to both sides of the pork chops. Heat a pan to medium heat.  Add the oil.  Pan fry the pork chops on both sides till done. Remove from the pan and set aside. Leave the pan drippings on the pan.

Add the juice of the lemon and soy sauce to the pan, mixing with the brown bits in the pan.  Pour the sauce over pork chops.

You can also fry the vegetables like onions, carrots and asparagus in the pan drippings. Add some oil first.


Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Neighborhood I Grew Up In


I remember my friend saying when I asked her how her visit to her former boss' house in Malabon went. She said  "I could not believe how close the houses were to each other".  That was what made the most impression to her. It is actually an accurate description of the particular neighborhood where her former boss' lived which was not far from my grandmother Nanang Pina's house where I grew up.

No fences divided one house from the other.  No cookie cutter houses like in a subdivision.  Some were huge while others were small and humble.  Others had vintage architecture, others modern and while some were make shift.

I would start with the house directly beside my grandmother's house since the occupants, two unmarried sisters, became close friends of my mother. The house was modern looking from the outside and what particularly impressive was the huge backyard that faced the Malabon River. It was paved and wide with a sort of a fence with pillars which had flower pots at the top. I remember Aling Trining, one of the two sisters, in her long ankle length house dress, watering these plants.  She was tall with an angular, slender over all look about her. She had long dark hair and always wore red lipstick and had long nails painted blood red. She was a toned down version of Elvira one of the characters in the TV show, The Monsters, except she was not at all scary but dignified and friendly.

The two sisters lived on the second floor of that spacious house.  One of the windows of their house faced one of those on the second floor of my grandmother's house where my family lived.  This window of theirs had a suspended addition sticking out that looked like a huge wooden dish rack where Aling Toneng, the other sister, would dry their dishes.  I do not now remember  if it had a faucet but I can recall Aling Toneng hanging glasses on the pointed edges of this rack.

A day did not pass by without my mother looking out of the window facing that of Aling Toneng's with the dish rack to see if the latter was there. If she was, they would talk and laugh with their conversations consisting of little happenings, perhaps even gossips, but always punctuated by my mother's boisterous laughter.

This house also had the clinic of the wife of the two sisters' brother on its first floor.  The doctor was a quiet lady and the only time I got in contact with her family was when they matched me with one of her sons.  This son tried to woo me when I was working at a research center engaged in determining DDT in human fat samples.  He brought me several fat samples he obtained from his mother who took them from the abdomen of people she operated on.

Right across from this house with the clinic and the huge backyard, was a small house owned by Mang Edong with his barber shop in front of it. He was our family barber who also cut my sister's and my hair. Our hair cut featured bangs and came above our ears. Sleek and straight.  The only thing that made it feminine were the ribbons my mother put on our hair for special occasion. He loved to greet our family when we arrived at his shop with "Here comes the sapsap!"  Sapsap is a really flat fish and he compared us to it since he found our noses to be flat which was oh so true unlike his more aquiline nose.

Beside his house was a huge "bahay na bato' or house made of stone.  It belonged to a family with several young siblings which consisted of all girls and one boy.  It looked like a little castle with baroque features and little narrow windows that you see in fairy tales.

An older single lady, the aunt of the siblings, also lived there. She and the whole family had fair skin and hair that was more brown than black.  They are what we referred to in the Philippines as mestizas or half breeds with a large amount of Spanish blood.  I found out that one of my uncles courted this aunt. I heard the story that they used to throw flying kisses from across the street since her house was just in front from where my uncle who lived then with my grandmother was staying.

A street separates this house made of stone from the house of the secretary of the fish sauce company my grandmother and her family owned. The house had wide windows and had those iron grills seen in most houses in the Philippines for protection from robbers.  I remember the secretary having several sisters. One had a name I always dreamed of using for my daughter's name, Liwayway or Eway for short. By the way I never got to fulfill this dream. You could just imagine how grateful my daughters are.

Across from the secretary's house was a house that belonged to Aling Maria and one of her son's family. It had a sari sari store or convenience store in front of it. This type of small stores selling everything from candy, toys, and hot savory merienda or afternoon fare are in almost every street in the neighborhoods in the Philippines. They are decorated by hanging candies and toys to entice customers to shop.

Aling Maria's store was a typical one and it had a couple of stools in front.  I remember particularly her daughter in law Tina preparing pork menudo or the Filipino version of sloppy joes on two pieces of white bread for afternoon snacks.  I loved them.

Aling Maria, after her afternoon bath, usually paid my grandmother a visit. In fact she would come with her hair down and still wet which she would then comb as she listened to my grandmother's opinions of everything that was happening in the world that day.

At the back of the factory was Aling Poleng's humble house.  She was married to one of the workers in the factory.  If I remember right he was in charge of something to do with chimneys.  She had several children one of which was a playmate, Tessie.  I remember being envious of her pencil box which I had to coax my mother to buy for me.

The neighborhood with the tightly close houses I grew up in was vibrant with the variety in the type of houses and the people who lived in them. It was the epitome of inclusiveness. It forms the warm colorful backdrop of the memories that I weave every time I recall my happy childhood spent in my Nanang Pina's house.




Friday, February 17, 2017

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Slow Cooker Honey Jalapeno Chicken



I wanted something sweet and spicy for the chicken thighs I had in the freezer.  I searched the web for recipes that would tantalize my eyes and taste and I settled for the one in this site which had a recipe for grilled honey jalapeno chicken.  I am a very lazy cook and I really not into grilling. You can count on your fingers how often we have used our outdoor grill since we have purchased it more than three or so years ago.  I did not feel like baking the chicken either. I decided to find out how satisfied I would be if I use my trusty slow cooker. Well, it worked.  I was happy with the outcome and my picky taster, my husband, gave the dish two thumbs up.  

I used bottled jalapenos and less than what the equivalent six fresh jalapenos in the original recipe.  You can add more bottled jalapenos if you want or serve them on the side.  

I simplified the original recipe I adapted this dish from and deleted the oil and dry cilantro which my husband who abhors it is grateful for.  It calls for 5 ingredients so how more simple can it get.

Slow Cooker Honey Jalapeno Chicken

Adapted from this site
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 6 tbsp water
  • 3 tbsp chopped bottled jalapeno.
  • 4 garlic cloves, grated or minced
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 pounds boned-in chicken thighs, skin removed 
Place all the ingredients in the slow cooker.  Cook for 3 hours at high setting or 7 hours at low setting.  I cooked mine in an Aroma Brand rice cooker/slow cooker for 2 hours at slow cooker setting.  

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Microwaved Udon Noodles and Bok Choy Bowl with Sweet Spicy Sauce


I am sharing with you how easy and fast it is to prepare an irresistible noodle bowl in the microwave using a packet of udon and a vegetable of choice, which in this case is bok choy.  I actually microwaved the two separately but you can do them together since they have the same cooking time.  I wanted to be sure that my vegetable, bok choy, was not overcooked so I would stop and test their doneness, thus I preferred to cook it separately.

I have introduced udon noodles in this blog in a past blogpost on the Udon Shitake Mushroom Soup recipe. In this past recipe, I used frozen udon noodles which came in separate small individual bundles of four.  The only thing I find inconvenient in using them was I had to freeze them and my freezer was always full.  When I saw udon noodles in 7.2 oz packets similar to the looks of Ramen noodles at the Asian store, I bought several with different flavor packets like, oriental, chicken, beef and shrimp.  In this recipe, I just used the noodles and saved the flavor or soup base for later use.  I was particularly concerned with the presence of monosodium glutamate as one of the ingredients in the flavor or soup base. 

You do not need these flavor packets in this recipe since you will be using a sweet spicy sauce with a Korean flavor that is very addictive.  For the sauce, I used the one I adapted from the recipe for this dish, Soba Noodles with Spicy Sweet Gochujang Sauce, I published previously in this blog.  I used less Gochujang sauce for the sauce for this recipe and substituted ketchup and sriracha for some of the amounts of Gochujang I used in the past recipe.  If you are wondering which of the two noodles, udon or soba, I prefer, I would say udon would be my choice.  It is not as slippery to eat as the soba noodles. But both are good.

This noodle dish is very addictive.  It is very versatile.  You can use any vegetables you want and also if you like add some meat or seafood. 




Microwaved Udon Noodles and Bok Choy Bowl with Sweet Spicy Sauce

1 generous serving
  • 1-7.2 oz package udon noodles (from Asian store)
  • 1 bok choy or other vegetables of your choice
  • sesame seeds (optional)
  • 1 recipe Sweet and Spicy Sauce (recipe below)
Place the udon noodles in a bowl.  Add about 1 cup water or enough to cover the noodles.  Microwave for 3 minutes. I used a 1100 watt oven.

Cut the bok choy in half and place in a bowl with 4 tbsp water and microwave for three minutes. 

Sweet and Spicy Sauce 
  • 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • 1/4 tsp sriracha 
  • 1 tsp Gochujang sauce
  • 1 tsp dry garlic flakes
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/4 tsp sesame oil
Mix all the sauce ingredients with a fork.  

Assembly

Place the drained udon noodles and bok choy in a bowl.  Add the sauce to the noodles and  mix.  Sprinkle sesame seeds if you like.



Valentine's Gift







It is wonderful
to love and be loved.  I am
immensely grateful.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Apple Crostinis Topped with Caramelized Onions


This is the vegan version for the crostini recipe I posted recently. In this past recipe where I used leftover pork ribs, I posted how to make the caramelized onions in the slow cooker which you are also using in this vegan version. I assure you this recipe is just as good. It is a good option to serve for an appetizer at a party when you have also vegan or vegetarian guests.

Apple Crostinis Topped with Caramelized Onions

(Inspired by this recipe)
  • 12 baguette slices
  • 1 garlic clove
  • olive oil
  • 1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup horseradish sauce
  • 3 apples, core removed and cut into thin slices
  • caramelized onions (recipe here)
  • Maple syrup (optional)
  • Cilantro 


Rub the garlic clove on top of each baguette and drizzle olive oil on top.  Bake at 375 degree oven for 3-5 minutes.  Flip and bake for another 1 minute.  Watch the baguette.

Mix the mayonnaise and horseradish sauce in a small bowl.  Spread the mixture on each of the baked baguette.  Top with three apple slices and caramelized onions. Drizzle with maple syrup on top if you wish. You can also top the crostini with cilantro if you like.


Before They're Gone





Things come and go like
snow. Enjoy them while you can
in the here and now.


Saturday, February 11, 2017

Prayer


I beautiful insight about prayer from Richard Rohr.  It takes a lot of practice to get to this point and to attain this way of praying.  Contemplation does help.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Pork Rib Crostinis Topped with Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions





Who does not like crostinis?  They are crunchy and full of delicious goodness.  Top it with whatever leftover meat you might have and caramelized onions and you are in heaven.

Caramelized onions take about 30 minutes to slow cook over the stove and entails some watching over.  I resorted to using my slow cooker and just dump the onions and forgetting them. At the end you have oodles of caramelized onions one can use for a lot of recipes including this crostini which uses leftover pork ribs which in this case are the Korean Pork Ribs I prepared recently.  You can also use beef leftovers you might have.

The spread I used is the perfect complement to the sweetness of both the ribs and onions plus the drizzle of maple syrup.  It is just a combination of mayonnaise and horseradish sauce.  I have to confess I just ate and ate the crostinis I prepared for the photo shoot.  Can't help it.  They were addictive.  Have plenty of these for your party as the appetizer.  So good.

Pork Rib Crostini Topped with Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions


  • 12 pieces baguette
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • olive oil
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup horseradish sauce
  • 2 cups sliced leftover pork ribs (see this recipe for Korean Pork Ribs)
  • 1 cup caramelized onions (see recipe)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (optional)
  • cilantro (optional)

Rub the garlic clove on top of each baguette and drizzle olive oil on top.  Bake at 375 degree oven for 3-5 minutes.  Flip and bake for another 1 minute.  Watch the baguette.

Mix the mayonnaise and horseradish sauce in a small bowl.  Spread the mixture on each of the baked baguette.  Top with a piece of the pork ribs and caramelized onions. Drizzle with maple syrup on top if you wish. You can also top the crostini with cilantro if you like.

Slow Cooker Caramelized Onions

  • 3 lb onions, sliced thinly
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp soy sauce, optional
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar, optional
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar, optional
Place all the ingredients in the slow cooker.  Cook for 8 hours at low or 4 hours at high setting.  I cooked mine in an Aroma Brand rice cooker/slow cooker for 2 hours at slow cooker setting.







Focus Shift




Concerned about life
after death? How about the
life now before it?


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Easy Slow Cooker Pot Roast



This is an easy recipe for a pot roast.  I like to try to do away with as many steps as much as possible when I adapt a recipe from the web and find out if I can get away with it. When I cooked this pot roast,  I did not brown the rump roast before I placed it in the slow cooker as most recipes call for and I did away with adding wine as some others do. Neither did I make a flour butter roux for the gravy or used canned soup for the ultimate short cut. I just used ingredients which when combined together magically gives a flavorful stew. I practically just dump everything in the slow cooker and forget it. I could not believe how good the roast turned out. It was moist and melt in your mouth.  Most of all it was very tasty. My picky taster, my husband, gave it two thumbs up.

Easy Slow Cooker Pot Roast

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 beef bouillon cubes
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp peppercorn
  • 2 cups baby carrots
  • 3 stalks celery, cut into two inch slices
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch cubes
  • 2 tbsp corn starch in 4 tbsp water
  • 2.5 lb whole beef rump roast
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Add all the ingredients in the slow cooker except the rump roast, salt and pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Place the roast on top of the vegetables.  Add the salt and pepper on the surface of the roast and pour the Worcestershire sauce over it.  Push the roast down with the other 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.  

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Mindfulness





I block the future
Forget the past, and relish
what is around me. 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Contemplation






In silence thoughts drip
in softly, rhythmically
like fresh snow from skies.




Sunday, February 5, 2017

An element of learning


Piaget contends that disequilibrium is part of the learning process. When I was interviewed for a position at the University of Pittsburgh, the department chair asked me a question I was not prepared for. He asked of all things who my favorite teacher was. I prepared for all questions they might be asking including non academic ones like "what book have you read lately" but I forgot to dwell on this question. I searched my id and came up with my late chem professor, Moises Soriaga at the University of San Carlos as my answer. My rationale for my choice even surprised me.  I said, "He confused me".

Mr. Soriaga was the type of teacher who was unpredictable in his exam questions and equally so during the class discussions. His questions were not direct but thought provoking and yes, confusing. I might have chosen him because the mental calisthenics he conducted in his questioning made me remember and feel I understood what he taught in that dreadful physical chemistry class decades later.

My choice of Mr. Soriaga made sense to me when I took education courses for my certification to teach high school chemistry which I incidentally never got to and studied Piaget. Confusion is the start of thinking more deeply. Thus when my friend Sue in my prayer group said that quote in the poster, I knew learning though frustrating was taking place.


Chia Pudding with Walnut Coconut Sugar Topping



This is an easy and delicious pudding to prepare. I particularly love the topping. I used coconut brown sugar but you can substitute plain brown sugar but the former imparts a special exotic twist to the taste. You can use any fresh fruit like mango instead of the fruit cocktail.

Chia Pudding with Walnut Coconut Sugar Topping


  • 1/4 cup full fat coconut milk from a can
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 small can fruit cocktail, drained
Mix all the ingredients except the fruit cocktail and blend well in a bowl.  Add the fruit cocktail and mix. Top with the walnut sugar topping, recipe below.

Walnut Sugar Topping
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1-2 tbsp coconut brown sugar
Using a small blender, mix the ingredients and blend till fine.


Saturday, February 4, 2017

Pasta with Chickpeas, Olives and Vegan Parmesan


I wanted something light for dinner and plant based and this is what I came up with.  I drew inspiration from Giada's recipe of Rigatoni with Greens on her show (check this site ).  I modified it using what I have.  As I said I wanted to have the dish to be totally vegan so I used a recipe for Vegan Parmesan that I saw on The Chew which was made by the hosts, Michael Symon and Clinton Kelly instead of the Parmesan that Giada used.  This is a light and refreshing dish.

Pasta with Chickpeas, Olives and Vegan Parmesan

Adapted from this site 

  • 1 lb pasta (I used mcaroni), be sure to reserve the pasta water when you drain
  • 1-15 oz can chickpeas, drained and washed
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 12 olives with pimento, chopped 
  • 1/2 head of iceberg lettuce, sliced to bite sized pieces or two handfuls of leafy greens like Swiss chard or spinach
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 3/4 cup vegan Parmesan (recipe below)
  • zest of one lemon


Cook the pasta according to the package directions.  Reserve 1 1/4 cups of the pasta water

Heat the oil at medium heat in a large skillet.  Add the chickpeas and heat with stirring until golden brown and crispy. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes and the chopped olives and cook with stirring until garlic is lightly brown. Stir in the lettuce or leafy green of choice and the salt and cook till wilted.  Add 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water and simmer for a minute.  Add the drained pasta and add 1 1/2 cups of the vegan Parmesan and lemon zest and mix till the pasta is coated with the vegan Parmesan.  Add 1 cup of the reserved pasta water.  Simmer till the sauce has thickened.  Top with remaining 1/4 cup vegan Parmesan.


Vegan Parmesan (make twice the recipe to have enough to use for the pasta dish above)


Adapted from The Chew

  • 1 cup walnuts (the original used cashew)
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
Place all the ingredients in a blender and pulse till the mixture turns to a coarse powder texture.

Both Are Priceless




Friendships there are that
are instantly made and some
develop with time.


Friday, February 3, 2017

Bits and Pieces in Our Memories







Like quilt we put them 
together into one large
collage of love, joy.


Mami Aka Lola May

She came to our family when she was only eighteen or nineteen years old through our relative's agency for obtaining maids or household helpers. She was hired to help my mother take care of my parents' oldest child, my sister.  She was given the nickname Mami for Mommy since she was our lived in nanny or yaya in Tagalog and that name stuck for decades until grandchildren were born, our own children who referred to her as Lola May. Lola stands for grandma in the Philippines. She was referred to most of the time as Lola May until her death and also at times as her original moniker, Mami.

Though she helped took care of all of us six children, I observe that the even numbered children namely the second, fourth and sixth of us siblings were more attached to her when we were young than the odd numbered ones, first, third and fifth. Could it be because my mother was still busy nursing an odd numbered child when an even numbered one arrived and passed on the latter mostly to Mami's care? That might be the case since there are only two years in between the six children, actually only one and half between the eldest and myself the second child.

Mami, to the chagrin of my relative who had the agency for household helpers, imported all her brother and sisters as helpers from her province of Negros Occidental in the southern part of the Philippines, miles away from Malabon where we lived.  She passed them on to my uncles and aunts as nannies or maids or workers in the fish factory my grandmother owned. Mami's mother and some of her siblings were able to put up a nipa house in Caloocan, a nearby town beside Malabon where I lived. On her day off, she would visit her relatives.

I, the second child, was one of those who had strong attachment to Mami. One thing I remember vividly to show how attached I was to Mami was when I would insist on accompanying her when she visited her mother and other siblings in Caloocan.  I would cry and cry until she would just take me along on supposedly her day off. Well little did I know they had a monkey for a pet which they let walk on a sort of narrow catwalk around their house outside their nipa house in Caloocan.  Of course I was scared but I wanted to be with Mami.  I clung to her skirt as she listened together with the rest of the neighbors to that big radio blaring the dialogue in the soap opera that people in the Philippines at that time referred to as "drama".  That was the only radio in the neighborhood and they purposely and generously let the volume be as high as possible for all to hear.  The whole time I was petrified of the monkey as it walked around that narrow walkway provided for him. No wonder the whole scene stayed with me up to now.

The fourth child in the family, the second eldest brother, I would say was the most attached to Lola May. We referred to this brother as having Toyo or soy sauce in his brain since he had terrible tantrums as a child. He would specially throw these tantrum fits at night.  He would not let Mami out of his sight and he would insist that she slept on the floor beside his bed until he fell asleep.

The sixth and last child, my youngest sister, was the last one that was in the care of Mami. Their bonding was interrupted by the time when Mami fell in love and lived with a security guard who worked in the compound where our house we moved to when I was ten was located. I was in college and out of town when Mami left.  I heard the story of how they had to hide my youngest sister when Mami packed her bags. I could just imagine how sad and heartbroken my youngest sister was. The romance between Mami and the security guard was short lived and when it ended she was back with my family.

All of us eventually grew up and Mami's role in the family was to be our cook and she was really good at it as she was as our nanny or yaya. Her pancit Malabon, a famous Filipino dish and biko, another iconic Filipino sweet delicacy were legendary.

When my father died, there was another person who became very attached and dependent on Mami, my mother. At about that time Mami's name switched to Lola May since we were having children of our own. My mother and Mami were inseparable. When my mother came to the United States to stay with my sister, Mami or Lola May came with her.  After my mother passed away, every year on my mother's birthday, I heard the story that a beautiful bird would appear in the garden and perch on Lola May's shoulder. They said it must be my mother visiting her.

Lola May without my mother to take care of found a lot of free time to go back to and indulge in her love of drama or soap opera.  She loved to watch them in the Filipino TV channels. Her health started deteriorating to the point my youngest sister with whom she was living with could not take care of her. My siblings decided that Lola May was better off staying with my oldest sister's son in the Philippines.

It was a summer day when she left Los Angeles and all the memories she had there especially with my mother. With tears in her eyes, she bid goodbye and we left for the airport.  I was the one who accompanied her on the trip to the Philippines.  I was worried the whole time how I would be taking care of her as she was in a wheelchair and also I had to change her diaper in the middle of the 24 hour flight.  All went well. In fact the passengers just nodded in understanding as I did the dreaded task right while she was in her seat.

I stayed in the Philippines with my brother for a couple more weeks after we arrived.  At that time, the internet was not easily accessible and I had to go to my nephew's house where Lola May was staying which had an internet cafe to send emails to my husband. During this time I would order every morning sago or bubble tea and arroz caldo or chicken porridge.  I could not finish them and I would share them with Lola May.

Lola May was able to have time to be visited by her relatives and friends who were very excited she was back. After only a few months of her arrival in the Philippines Lola May passed away. She was cremated and her ashes is now in an urn on the altar in the house of my brother, the one who insisted she slept beside his bed when he was young. He never let go of that attachment. She is now with him at the altar of his house a place of honor she well deserved.


Thursday, February 2, 2017

Slow Cooker Korean Pork Rib Taco




This is an easy slow cooker Korean Pork Rib Taco.  You cook the meat in the slow cooker with Korean Bulgogi Beef Marinade from the Asian store and flavor it with any cola drink you like which in my case is root beer.  Use this meat for your taco for example this Super Bowl Sunday and top it with beets, feta cheese and cilantro for a change or you can always use your favorite coleslaw recipe.  Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Korean Pork Rib Taco

  • 3 lb pork country rib, bone in or boneless
  • 1 cup Korean Bulgogi Beef Marinade
  • 1 cup root beer
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch mixed in 2 tbsp water
  • small corn or flour soft tortillas
  • 1 can beets, drained and cubed
  • cilantro
  • feta cheese
Place the first four ingredients in the slow cooker.  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 3 hours at slow cooker setting. Pull the ribs apart with couple of fork or chop it.

Assembly

Place the pulled ribs on top of the corn tortilla.  Add a bit of the sauce.  Top with beets, feta cheese and cilantro.




Openness







Detach from the old.
Open to the new. Going
with flow like water.



Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Bean Brown Rice Burrito with Vegan Cheese



My favorite morning program has an Impossible Question segment and one of the questions asked a few weeks ago was, "What do 70 % of the population said they eat once a week"?.  The answer surprised me, it was Burrito.  Not hamburger. Not fries. Not bagels.  Yes, Burrito.

It is probably because it is portable and less messy unlike another Mexican favorite, tacos.  One feels like one is eating a complete meal with the vegetables that usually are packed with the meat and beans. Not to mention it is delicious with the cheese that burritos are mixed with giving burritos both its gooey texture and salty flavor.

This vegan recipe has everything except the meat.  Yes it has cheese too and a good one at that.  It is also vegan which means it is dairy free. But it is so good.  I got the recipe for this amazing cheese from this wonderful vegan food site.  It is not the gooey variety but its spicy tangy taste beats even the real cheese in flavor that goes really with Mexican treats like burrito and nachos.

I decided to mix the ingredients rather than assemble separately along the center of the burrito which most people like to do to make a beautiful strata of a creation which you can do.  I wanted something I can bring with me during the day when I have back to back errands and must eat in my car as I go from one to the other of these tasks.  It must therefore be compact and not falling off all over me as I drive. As usual I included my two favorite super food, sweet potatoes and spinach in the mix.  That sweet potato really imparts a good sweet break in the mixture. You can add any other vegetables you like.

Bean Brown Rice Burrito with Vegan Cheese

  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1-14 oz can red beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1-14 oz can whole kernel corn, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup prepared salsa
  • 1 cup fresh spinach
  • 1 cooked sweet potato, cubed
  • 1 recipe vegan cheese
  • 4-5 large tortillas
Mix all the ingredients except the vegan cheese in a saute pan and heat through.  Add the cheese at the end and mix. Place a portion of the mixture in the middle of a large tortilla leaving about an inch space on the left and right side.  Fold the two sides and then fold the side closest to you and roll pushing the contents as you roll the tortilla into a cylinder ending with the overlap of the last side.

Heat a non stick pan at medium heat.  Place the burrito seam side down and put a weight like a cover on top and brown one side.  Flip and brown the other side.  


Vegan Cheese


Adapted from this site
  • 1/2 large red pepper or a small one, chop into big pieces
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 4 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 4 tbsp walnuts
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • juice of half a lemon
(I used a small blender). Add the garlic clove and blend till minced.  Add the chopped red pepper and blend till almost liquid.  Add the rest of the ingredients and blend till well mixed. 

When best intentions go awry






Don't quit. Remember
your vision. Think of other
ways to fulfill it.