Thursday, August 17, 2017

Discovery in Life's Journey

I found my true self
when I went back to Him and
found His love for me.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Rest and Be Refreshed

Allow the beauty
and quiet of a tranquil
scene be your healer.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Be Not Afraid

Feel the breeze of His
presence at any moment
of the day. Be at peace.

Friday, August 11, 2017

From Longaniza to Hot Dog. Part 5 Places I Lived At in Washington DC

I did not reserve a place at the graduate dorm at George Washington University where I was slated to start for my graduate studies in the early seventies. My friend who I requested to work on it thought I did. Through her insistence I got in and also I got lucky. One of the members of a four person suite quit.  I joined three other girls in sharing a bathroom and two bedrooms. I shared one with Peggy who preferred to sleep in a small cubicle in the bedroom I shared with her.

The first thing I did when I arrived at the dorm was to go to the Murphy's department store to buy my green bed sheets and pillow cases, green blanket and a flowered comforter.  The color and flowers made the room cheery especially that winter. Luckily our room which was at the end of the hall had two large windows which even made the bedroom bright during the gloomy days of winter.

I cooked my own dinner and to some of my dorm mates they were of gourmet standard.  Spare ribs and Congee were impressive to them who were used to eating grilled cheese sandwiches and frozen dinners. The kitchen was at the other end of the corridor on the floor we were in but I did not mind the walk.  I also cooked in large amounts which I ate over several days.

Then summer came and the dorms except for a few were going to close.  Mary in the other bedroom in our suite convinced me to be the third person that would rent an apartment in Virginia for the summer.  The other person was Dan who was in the same program as Mary.  This is reminiscent of Three is Company one of the hottest show on TV at that time starring Suzanne Sommers.  I knew it would concern my mother if the news that I was living with a guy in the apartment reached her.  I decided to describe that Mary and Dan were friends and let her interpret it the way she wanted it.  Actually Dan had his own room and Mary and I shared another. We were clean. No hanky panky.

When summer ended I decided not to go back to the dorm and looked for another place to stay. My friend Seville had this bright idea that we share her apartment at S Street.  It had a bathroom, a separate kitchen and a living room which housed her queen bed.  She said there was room for a twin bed.  The rent was really cheap.  I believe it was only going to be 40 dollars each.  So I agreed to the idea.

Luckily a friend was leaving Washington DC for San Diego and he sold me his bed plus his huge desk. The bed was placed perpendicular to Seville's bed and the huge desk occupied a corner in the kitchen.  I was set.  When a couple of friends came for a visit they made a comment that one could have an orgy with those beds in the living room.  Ha Ha.

The apartment was about eight or so blocks to George Washington University (GWU).  I walked everyday to the university and took a taxi at night.  It was located right at the junction of where the embassy ended and the not so pleasant area started.  My roommate Seville advised me on how to deal with construction workers who might whistle or say "hello there pretty girl" on my way to school. She told me to smile and not get mad.

Seville and I thought we would stay at our apartment till we both graduated from grad school but that did not happen.  The town house we were at was sold and would be converted back to a house.  So both of us searched for apartments.

There was an apartment at I St. located at GWU that had vacancies and had a good price compared to the others that were in that area.  I needed references to apply for the apartment.  I gave the names of the chair and my adviser at the chemistry department.  At that time my stipend that summer was a measly 120 dollars a month lower than during the school year. The rent was 116 dollars. I was not worried I had savings to make up for my other expenses. Thank goodness, the secretary at the chair's office was the one who talked to the apartment manager and told her whatever she thought the manager wanted to hear.  She was a little bit off and I was grateful she was.  As for my adviser, he came down to our lab and was furious for putting his name as a reference without asking him.

Anyway I got the apartment at I St.  It was pretty unique in that the bathtub was painted engine red. It was a so called bachelor's apartment with a huge bathroom which housed a cabinet for my dishes and a hot plate which the custodians in the lab storeroom provided me to cook my food.  I also placed my huge refrigerator in the bathroom.  In the living room, the desk and bed from the last place at S Street I stayed were initially the only furnishings I had when I moved plus a wobbly folding table.  Later on, I salvaged blocks and pieces of wood that became my book case which lined a wall.  I added also to my abode an easy chair and a coffee table disposed of by tenants in the basement.

The apartment was conveniently located just a block from the chemistry department where I usually did my research till midnight. I usually ran to my apartment when I was done at the lab. The area was not exactly a safe one.

Four places in two and half years. I was blessed I had a roof over my head and a bed to sleep on the whole time.  I was lucky I had also money to pay the rent. Life was simple and good.

Note:  This is Part 5 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

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Slow Cooker Greek Chicken Tortilla with Tzatziki Sauce

We had our parish festival recently and my favorite food was the chicken on the stick. I found out that the chicken was marinated in Greek dressing. I did not have any Greek dressing and I did not want to substitute Italian dressing which they used the next day and it was not the same.  I just googled a recipe for Greek dressing and combined a couple to come up for the marinade for the chicken.  I should say rather sauce since I used a slow cooker to cook the chicken which combines the marinating process and the cooking step.  I did not grill the chicken after the slow cooking process like they did during the festival but instead sliced the cooked chicken and placed them on tortillas (I did not have any pita bread) and topped them with tomato, lettuce and what else, Tzatziki Sauce.  To prepare this sauce, I did not have yogurt so I used instead Miracle Whip dressing and some vinegar to take its place.  Wow, the cucumber in the Tzatziki Sauce gives it a very smooth refreshing taste.  I could drink them all.  Here is an easy version of a Greek gyro without you stopping at your favorite gyro place with ingredients straight from your fridge and pantry.  By the way the Greek Chicken can be eaten as is with some baked potato and steamed veggies if you do not want to go the quasi gyro or tortilla route.

Slow Cooker Greek Chicken Tortilla with Tzatziki Sauce

Slow Cooker Greek Chicken

  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp mustard
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp basil leaves
  • 1/2 tsp oregano leaves
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 lb chicken tenderloin or other cut
Mix all the ingredients except the chicken in the crock pot bowl.  Then add the chicken pieces and coat with the sauce ingredients.  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.

Tortilla Assembly

  • 6 tortillas
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 6 lettuce leaves, whole or cut in half
  • Slow Cooker Greek chicken prepared above, sliced
  • Tzatsiki Sauce (recipe below)

Arrange the lettuce, tomato slices snd chicken slices on one side of the tortilla. Add the tzatziki sauce and place the other half of the tortilla over the filled side.

Tzatziki Sauce

  • 1 cucumber, peeled and seeded
  • 3 tbsp Miracle Whip dressing or yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp vinegar (skip if using yogurt)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp dry dill
  • salt and pepper to taste
Place all the ingredients in a small blender and mix till smooth in texture.

From Longaniza to Hot Dog. Part 4. Second Thoughts

I was very happy when I obtained the assistantship at the chemistry department of the George Washington University in the early seventies. Before I left for New York and then for Canada to change my visa to a student one, I stayed for a short time in Washington DC with my friend and toured the city. During this time I had second thoughts if pursuing graduate studies was the right decision. I was tempted to think I should I go back home to the Philippines instead.

To appease my self doubts, I made an appointment to see a priest at the St. Matthews Church in Washington DC for advice. After Mass on a weekday, I went to meet the priest who had an impatient growl in his face. I asked him what I should do. He looked at me and said I was not in any condition to make a decision. I must have appeared a worried wreck to him.

Since the representative of God above was not that patient in resolving my dilemma, I decided to go straight to Him, God Himself with the help of intercessors. 

Catholics in the Philippines like to pray to their favorite saints like St. Theresa of the Child Jesus or St. Joseph, to intercede for them.  They say nine day novenas and usually they would ask for a sign if their wish would come true.  I forgot now whether I prayed to St. Theresa or St. Joseph for that sign if I was making the right decision.  If I receive a red rose or any red flower during the nine day novena or after, that would mean it was a yes that I pursue graduate school.

It was the Christmas holidays during this time when I was in Washington DC prior to my trip to Canada for my visa status change. When I went to Mass one day, I saw the church decorated with pink poinsettias not the usual red. Wow, God was playing tricks with me.  So what was His answer then? 

Despite the unclear direction from God,  I made the decision to go ahead and proceed with the process of applying for my visa. In retrospect, the pink could be interpreted that God was telling me that there was no such thing as a wrong decision. This is one lesson I learned from one book about how to proceed on making decisions.  According to the author that thought will help you relax and not be too anxious and thus think more clearly. I did not know this then during an important crossroad in my life. I wish I did.

Note:  This is Part 4 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

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Why Worry

With the sun and rain
they grow unattended. Trust
the Lord's providence. 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Strawberry Mint Ice Cream

This was inspired by the No Fuss Banana and Mango Ice Cream I posted in this blog. I used ripe bananas as in the source of the recipe but this time I used strawberries for the mango.  I added mint leaves to the list of ingredients for added flavor.  For some reason the mint plant I had in my deck planter survived the winter and came back this summer even when I just let it grow unattended.  

Mint growing with other herbs etc I could not recognize in an unattended planter. 

Other modifications in the original recipe I made was use almond milk instead of full fat coconut.  I also did add maple syrup in this present version.  I also used the blender as in the original recipe making it a another No Fuss recipe.

Strawberry Mint Ice Cream

Inspired by this blogpost

  • 3 ripe bananas, frozen and cut into one inch pieces
  • 8 oz strawberries
  • 8-10  mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4  tsp cinnamon
Place all the ingredients in a blender and pulse till they are well 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 it.  

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Darkness

Darkness we go through
makes us see the light. The path
from down to upwards.

Vegan Crab Cake with Spicy Brown Mustard Vinaigrette

I went to eat at Eighty Acres Farm to Table Restaurant in Plum, Pennsylvania about two Sundays ago and I had their fabulous crab cakes during Sunday brunch.

Crab Cakes served at Eighty Acres Restaurant Plum, PA.

I could not take that wonderful taste off my mind and was set to make crab cakes when I heard Giant Eagle had the canned crabs on sale.  Alas I missed the sale. I decided to try making the so called Mock Crab Cakes I have heard of that were made of zucchini and obtained a recipe online which I based this vegan version on.  I tweaked it based on the suggestions of one of the reviewers plus adaptations I made to suit a vegan version.

I used chia seeds in water to substitute for the one egg called for in the original recipe and replaced the butter with coconut oil.  I also added herbs and spices to approximate Italian Bread Crumbs which I did not have.

I really liked the whole grain mustard vinaigrette used in the crab cakes at Eighty Acres Restaurant so I again searched for something I felt was close.  I made it healthier by decreasing the oil in the recipe but you can stick to the original if you want.

Vegan Crab Cake with Spicy Brown Mustard Vinaigrette

Crab Cake

  • 2 1/2 cup zucchini, unpeeled and shredded
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 cup or more panko or bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dry parsley leaves
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp dry oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dry basil
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds in 3 tbsp water
  • 1/4 cup flour
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.

Sprinkle some salt to the zucchini and place in a colander together with the onions.  Allow the water from the zucchini to drain into a bowl for about 30 minutes.

Mix the panko crumbs in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients except the coconut oil, chia seeds in water and flour.

Combine the zucchini, onion, the panko crumbs with the herbs and spices, the coconut oil and chia seeds in a bowl.  You may add more panko crumbs if it is too soft to form into patties.

Form into 8 patties. Dredge in the flour and place in the prepared pan.

Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes flipping half way through.

Serve with the Spicy Brown Mustard Vinaigrette (recipe below) over some greens.

Spicy Brown Mustard Vinaigrette

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tbsp spicy brown mustard or whole grain mustard
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp agave extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
Mix all the ingredients in a small jar and shake.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

I Want to Play Too

Hi there. Peek a boo.
I want to play too. With all
these balls just like you.