Arts/ Home Ideas | My Indoor and Outdoor Photography | Recipes for busy moms/Fruits/Desserts/Salad/Decorative Ideas

Home Cooking During the Coronavirus Pandemic

By on July 31, 2020

The pandemic season has given us more opportunity we never thought we would experience but up to now we are still facing similar crisis following the given protocols and restrictions under each level of quarantine from ECQ—MECQ—GCQ and of all measures, ECQ is the strictest. The COVID 19 stay home orders to keep us safe and minimize the risk of spreading, the great concern to wear mask and comply with social distancing measures to stay homebound but our country cautiously to loosen slowly back to the new normal life adopting to new rules to follow. No one knows when the pandemic will end and we don’t even now how long will it take to recover, we can’t expect people to stay home for forever.

Multitude of questions in mind when uncertainty rules, we have a grim economy, the lack of income because of stay-home orders indeed, this is hard to those struggling to survive from day to day basis, the closures of other restaurants , bars and tourism suffered greatly during this pandemic season but my big thanks to gov’t support programs given unemployed citizens cash handouts and food packages, it’s a mass need.

After the lockdown, I’ve almost done everything. I spent most of my time attending to my family needs since everyone works from home and till this time, I want to make sure everyone is safe because I’m scared, worst is yet to come. Recently, I ‘ve deactivated my Facebook for 5 months so I can firmly focus on family needs, I buy things online and be more specific to essential needs, the basic only.

One thing to withstand the strain and pressure during this pandemic, no matter how hard the situation, I was enjoying discovering new cooking trends and special recipes be the kitchen and food is the perfect bonding. Summer months (March-May) was a productive one, good supply of fruits in season with special prices, almost the best fruits and some of my favorites at their peak, I enjoy buying necessities online good for one week. When refrigerator is full, it gives me lots of option on what to cook. For me, quarantine time is really a meaningful journey of cooking, this is the only way I know to maintain love and happiness amidst pandemic isolation. Do you think the long months lockdown is a well-deserved break?

Here are my home-cooked foods prepared for my family, I have photographed every dish made before serving, you’ll see here other menus done in the course of pandemic.

Our simple breakfast in the garden (with the generous presence of our family pet, Frosty)

Quick and easy seafood recipes, it’s Cooking from the garden

My Chicken Congee with Century egg

It’s our favorite breakfast every Sunday. With family members around, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

Bulalo is a beef dish, you can clearly see the bone marrow present in all bones. It’s all time family favorite.

Steamed Crabs with Black Bean Sauce

Sizzling Sisig With additional effort, they can be transformed into just like this.I grew up familiar with this kind of recipe and I feel confident making it.

Sizzling Spicy Squid with Vegetables is another sizzling recipe of the day.

Beef Burger with Mushroom Gravy, additional side dishes arranged on a base are steamed broccoli and French fries.

My Japanese Gyoza

My Special Cheezy Morcon is delicious and addictive.

Steamed Shrimps with Fried Slices of Eggplant. Beautifully arranged on a plate, the circular order or rounded form presentation, my family will be able to enjoy the rest of the meal.

Snacks and Desserts

Cooking, cooking and more eating, I consumed high calories, thus I gained bit weight, my failure to count and cut high calorie foods but I’m not expert when it comes to calorie counting unlike my sister Anne who is a registered nutritionist-dietitian, She’s expert to that field.

Every meal became an adventure seems to be created just for my family to enjoy during the pandemic season. The variety of simple courses has the advantage of extremely adaptable and irresistible that you can try, it’s easy and simple anyway. How to prepare? well, see you next post, it’s impossible to upload multiple pictures in one single post.

 Late afternoon, I’m fortunate to view the sunset from our own garden.

It’s a pride of owning our own pomelo tree, pomelos in our own backyard brings excitement.

I used to cut sleeping hours shorter every Friday night so I can blog but to catch up on Saturdays and Sundays, I made sure to turn off electronics, laptop, cellphone, TV to avoid distractions when off to dreamland and it’s about time to go there now, Goodnight everyone and Thanks for reading my blog.

Stay Home and Keep Safe Always

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My Quarantine Activities

By on July 3, 2020

Its been more than 3 months since ECQ but still infection rate is high, to the rest of the world we see similar numbers raging. Coronavirus pandemic, dangerous as it sounds, more and more people being infected, it’s effecting the entire country and the world.

From my previous blog last month, I have mentioned (with back-up photos) on how pandemic has quitted Pasig city and my hometown Piat Cagayan. Before I forget, today is the feast day (July 2) of ”Our Lady of Piat” the patroness of Cagayan Valley, the Sambali celebration deferred this year but devotees will gather for a special mass at Santo Domingo Church on Quezon Avenue, Quezon City. You can just imagine how coronavirus disrupted our lives, no more public events, no gatherings, the need of wearing mask and social distancing, it seems to be a normal part of life already. This year 2020 is a big blow following 2 patterns of events, after the major eruption of Taal volcano in Batangas last January and now faces COVID 19 pandemic, this is a big blow to our economy and its relatively hard to face the crisis.

The government COVID 19 Task Force extended quarantine measures with new rules to adopt, we are still undergoing new restrictions except for essential purposes following appropriate measures. During challenging times, we are experiencing concerns, many have been working from home for almost 11 weeks now, we don’t know how long coronavirus last with another new rules to adopt upon reopening this coming July and still raising hopes there is vaccine. Other countries cautiously reopening from months long shutdown and Phils slowly reopening.

Oftentimes, my sisters would talk about fiestas, missing social events like birthday celebrations, fancy night out parties, graduations, buffet gatherings, get- together with friends and traveling. Mindful of social distancing blues, no more face to face bonding, other people are very eager to go out as I’m also missing social gatherings with my buffet friends too. Months of March-April-May and July, it was a summer homebound for the family and now, rainy season coming up next, we are really facing a new phenomenon, summer 2020 is not like no other this year. Coronavirus has disrupted everything and I’m trying to live by it.

What’s the impact might be? Would be sharing some of my quarantine activities here, got 5 family members here, a sort of, like prisoners staying inside the room for long hours working that I have to feed them, preparing home cooked food and of course clean water for them, not to mention all the alcohol, hand sanitizers all around ready to use.

Mobile Palengke in Pasig to lessen public trips around, it is ”Presyong Palengke” and it’s very convenient.

My daily life is no boredom, being flexible coming up with a schedule that keeps me busy all day long, the entire day devoted to my family, it’s a home to share bringing family closeness together, the good bonding and dedication will hold us firmly.

While at home, it’s really a homey feeling of togetherness, my family is complete and I’m keeping a master list on hand, there are a hundred things to do and this is also the best time to appreciate the beauty in our own backyard, we are the Backyardigans experiencing beautiful adventures in our own backyard. Moving productively, more and more things done in one day and in the coming days and months. The things I’ve missed before, those things I’ve always wanted to do but haven’t done yet, this is the perfect time to get things done, it’s a big opportunity to finish and not to rush. Cheers!

Here’s sharing with you my stay home ECQ activities that keeps me going from day to day, just a few list of stuffs:

Enjoying my daily cooking for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

My Mango Float is an easy recipe and it’s everybody’s favorite.

Everyday Photography

I have captured few morning visitors in the garden, this kind of pleasurable activity keeps me going from day to day.

Gardening/Landscaping

Gardening includes planting, morning visit in the garden and harvesting fruits. Photo above, just one of few snapshots taken around, a lovely butterfly pollinating a wide variety of flowers.

Morning walk with my favorite pets

Excellent date to take out our dogs and cats for a morning sunshine.

Among others, of course I need to update my blog, daily exercise, cleaning, afternoon nap, playing piano and electric guitar, listening to my favorite songs, reading my latest books and watching TV for the latest coronavirus pandemic updates. All these activities saved me from boredom blues during this pandemic season and dreaming we would be back to normal life soon, to welcome friends without any mask and social distancing.

Take time to take to check my daily photography snapshots going on for the best subject in our own backyard. I’m really hopeful we will overcome this crisis soon and hoping our economy will bounce back before the end of this year. I wish you all well and keep updated.

To all those who are in the frontline,”our COVID Warriors” I’m inspired by your courage, Thank you very very much and May God bless us all. Keep safe and Take Care!

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Double-Boiled Winter Melon Soup with Assorted Seafood

By on November 2, 2019

The Double-boiled Winter Melon Soup with assorted seafood standing on a large holder for support.  The winter melon shell is a very attractive serving bowl for soup although it’s quite heavy and tough but it can hold up to the heat of the soup. Peking Garden, 4th level, Greenbelt 5 Makati City serves the best Double-Boiled Winter Melon Soup with Assorted Seafood. The big size is suitable for 10 to 12 persons, it is a hot clear soup almost boiling when served. The most delicious soup is when you bring up the total hotness on the table, the natural freshness of seafood and vegetable brings up the good flavor.

Peking Garden, 4th level, Greenbelt 5 Makati City

Double-Boiled Winter Melon Soup with Assorted Seafood, the shrimp tails hanging over the edge of the winter melon bowl.

It’s not oily, it is clear and tasty as I’ve mentioned previously, you don’t see any tiny floating particles on top.

Individual serving, Small bowl of Winter Melon Soup.

How it was served? The Double-Boiled Winter Melon Soup brought inside the room by the server.

The winter melon flesh It’s still smoky hot!

 Wheeled by the server using a service cart ( 2 shelf cart with wheels) along with soup bowls and a ladle.

The server carefully ladled in assorted seafood inside the shell and scraped the flesh of winter melon using a long-handed cup-shaped spoon followed by the clear soup to fill each bowl. For our finale, picking a piece of shrimps over the edge of the winter melon bowl.

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Best Selection of Fruits for Growing Teens and Kids

By on October 24, 2019

One way to encourage a family member to eat fruits regularly is to buy some and store it in the refrigerator. Once they arrived earlier than expected especially during hot days,they go directly to the refrigerator and see something refreshing that will attract their taste buds, it would be tempting for them to take a bite of fresh cold fruits. Another way to make it easier for them to pick it up, make it readily available and ready to eat.

While it’s simply tempting to young kids and growing teens from buying junk foods, fruits make the best alternative for them, it is a good source of fiber, vitamins and natural compounds that helps the body to fight against diseases. For moms out there, when shopping food or planning family meals, vow to be organized, explain the nutritional value and make buying fruits a weekly habit. Be open to special requests, you ask your kids to make a list of their favorite fruits. It’s good to serve fresh fruits any meal of the day better than turning into unhealthy junks or fast food items.

Sliced fresh fruits with some selection. For the kids, it’s a choice of their favorites. Choices to choose from; kiwi, strawberry, dragon fruit, oranges, apples, grapes, avocados or any fresh fruits with the natural sweetness. 

Shown here, our daily selection of fruits for good health and everyday freshness.There’s no substitute to self-prepared fresh fruits, it requires only 10 to 15 minutes of your time to serve these kind, just a short time preparation without cooking at all. What a  handy effort to rush on. You may also want to add more ripe fruits and additional drops of Pineapple sauce, Yogurt, Ice cream, Cherry syrup and Sweet honey flavor is good too.

Have fun and enjoy eating fruits!

Thank you readers/ viewers for visiting my website! See you next posts!

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Creative Ways to Serve Fresh Strawberries

By on August 2, 2019

Freshly picked strawberries has the best flavor, With the looks itself, it’s not only fresh but perfectly ripe and moist with redness. Frequently, we only think about the sweetness of the fruit, that’s important but many fruits have even more to offer, they may have both the sweetness, scent, nutrition, color and health benefits. Strawberries has it all!

The good variety of strawberries grown in La Trinidad, Benguet, it was all planted in rows and a feet apart with each other. La Trinidad has the good type of soil and a climate which is considerate to these kinds of fruits. Strawberries are people’s favorite, Indeed, my favorite too.

In La Trinidad strawberry farm, you can pick your own strawberries. The owners will guide the strawberry pickers around charging  Five hundred pesos per kilo. It is costly compared the price in the public market of Baguio city. Heavy cropping and picking done in the month of March to April when the fruits are abundant. The good thing about picking on your own, you can feel the excitement and the refreshing fragrance around that makes you more excited. It’s worth it!

Strawberry fields of La Trinidad, Benguet

The strawberry field is a very good example of a clean landscape, you can see here growing in many rows. The white flower appeared here is white in color, that’s the strawberry flower, it will soon turn into a white fruit. Details shown, beside the flower is the fruit which is partly red and white, the other one is still full white. When unripe, the fruit is white in color, however, as the fruit ripens, it gradually turns into color red. You can only pick strawberry when it is fully ripe.

Freshly picked strawberries in a box

Using fresh strawberries, I’ve created different arrangements such as; heart-shaped strawberries on a platter, forming letters using strawberries, circular-shaped arrangement and the standard grouping of strawberries.

Here are some ideas on how to serve it on a platter at the center table. With the guest around, it is also good to serve strawberries in the garden or in the backyard while having barbecue outdoors.

I used these fruits for making fruit salad delights, it looks attractive when mixed with other fresh fruits too. It is also a nutritious snack, a refreshing dessert, good for jams, jellies, ice cream, and shakes.

My Valentine masterpiece

I will show you example on how to please your loved one on Valentine’s day. This is just a simple art using fresh strawberries as the center of attraction on the table. It’s good to serve strawberries on this special day because the red color and heart-shaped not to mention the sweet fragrance represents love, it’s just like serving your love using these fragrant fruits.

Strawberry Valentine

This is a big Valentine party arrangement on the table.

Heart-shaped Strawberries

Lovely Strawberry Hearts 

A heart-shaped arrangement strawberries on a platter.

Modern Ways to Serve Strawberries

Rounded Form or Circular-Shaped Strawberries

To create a circular form, it is best to choose the firm and the ripe ones.

Strawberry Robot

My illustration of a Red Robot using strawberries, this is a big strawberry robot. It’s just a funny arrangement of fruits.

Strawberry Alphabet

I’ve arranged strawberries using the letter M it represents the first letter of my name on a platter, you can create one for you too.

Strawberry Pink Sprinkles

Strawberries in a Cocktail Glass

Unequal-sized strawberries, the big one must always at the center. This kind of arrangement will create specific mood on the table.

The freshness inside, strawberry slices with other fruits.

Strawberry Cocktail Delights

New ways on how to serve strawberries on a platter emphasizing the red color of strawberries, I used a clean white plate.

Serving fresh strawberries on the table without removing the stalk, it serves as a holder as you eat and it would be easier to pick it up, that’s the natural way to hold a piece of strawberry.

Strawberry Fan

Strawberries with other fruits.

The trendy arrangement of strawberries.

This kind of serving will emphasize the freshness of fruits.

One way of introducing strawberries as a pretty snack and dessert on the table.

Individual serving of fresh strawberries

It’s more enjoyable to pick your own strawberries and eat with your hands, you’ll appreciate more the freshness in natural state. To serve it fresh, you don’t need to clean everything, just after washing it, save the stem and calyx to show freshness and to the complete the whole fruit. It’s just a fresh fruit ready to go. All you have to do is to pick,wash and eat.   

Thank you for reading my blog!

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How to Arrange Fresh Fruits in a Small Glass

By on March 23, 2018

It’s an easy way to serve dessert or a pick-up healthy snack that’s refreshingly good and in addition, the simplest individual touch to catch your own mood. Here’s how to arrange all-time favorite fresh fruits in a small glass, Fruit medley on the table gives you the freedom to choose your best favorites as well, a few slices of Kiwi, fresh pineapples, red strawberries, green/red apples and pomelo as the best example of my favorites.

You can try-out mixing different kinds of fruits to enjoy the balance of sweetness and refreshing taste.The basic arrangement and good combination applies here, fruits on the served should be fresh, bright and not cluttered.Using the appropriate size and right glassware for individual serving, it looks elegantly clean and at the same time, it’s safe for your health better than the plastic containers. I’m avoiding using plastic containers at all cost. Check other fruit servings and arrangement next posts..

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Biggest and the Longest Avocado I’ve Ever Seen

By on March 15, 2018

I haven’t seen a fruit like these before, it was exceptionally long and big avocado ! I was lucky to discover such a huge one. Awesome! It was shiny greenish skin, firm and hard fresh. When I bought it, it was still hard and green, it aren’t ripe yet. Day after, the color starts turning into a reddish one and the next day, it was already dark reddish and purple in color. That means, it was already perfectly ripe. However, some varieties when ripen stays the same in color but this one undergoes color changes.

Avocado is good when ripened on and off the tree. Ripening affect the flavor and texture so, it is good to eat when it is still firm and perfectly ripe. When underripe, it tastes bitter, however, when overripe, starts to become soft and the taste you might not like it. For a sweeter version, it is best eaten raw with honey and all purpose cream. Others, they like to eat it with a full cream chocolate milk. Other uses; avocado is good for snacks, salads, soup, sandwich, dressing and sauces.

Avocados nutrition facts is good. It is rich in potassium and vitamins. It is also very rich in fat and high in calories. My dietitian always reminds me of some benefits you can get with it and at the same time, it is bad to people with high cholesterol level and high blood pressure. You must also think of what you can get for the calories that counts also, just eat moderately to be safe.

Here’s the funny thing, I’ve measured it with a piece of foot rule, one foot in length or 12 in inches I’m curious, I want to find out how long?

Got 2 big avocados to measure. Amazing! You can see the foot rule here in between 2 avocados. The foot rule is by inches and centimeters. The measurement of one avocado is 12 inches in length while the other one is merely closer.

Viewing per piece, both avocados has tapered neck and this one is longer than the other one.

It was completely ripe inside, the color is just right, the flavor is perfectly great. The big size is just enough for the whole family to enjoy. Now, I want to prepare something using these fruits, there were many uses and what I have in mind is to make Avocado shake.

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Sinabalu / Piat Cagayan

By on March 9, 2018

Sinabalu is a local specialty famous in Cagayan Valley especially in Piat and neighboring towns of Tuao and Rizal. Sinabalu is a part of native cuisine, a glutinous rice wrapped with layers of treated banana leaves flavored with salt and coconut milk roasted in a bamboo tube over a low heat .The light taste is delicious that goes well with brewed coffee, hot chocolate and tea as well. With no artificial flavors, coloring and preservatives I’m sure you’ll like it. It smells really good and tastes its best when cooked over natural wood charcoal too.

Over the years, people of Cagayan developed their own unique cuisines and local specialties. Christmas, wakes, fiestas, weddings and special holidays would not be complete without the presence of Sinabalu and other local specialties like Pawa, Puto and Patupat ( all dekats fairly starts with letter P) to name a few.. It is a breakfast favorite, a mid-day snacks, and my favorite since childhood. When my brother and his wife pays a monthly visit here in Manila, they bring some local specialties from Piat, I live in the city and I don’t get to eat the same favorites all the time, this could be your favorite too. Be with friends with a cup of hot brewed coffee and slices of Sinabalu is a mellow accompaniment to any conversation.

The good quality you can buy it fresh in  Piat Public Market first hour in the morning and food stall vendors near “Basilica Minore de Nuestra Senora de Piat Church” You can find the best Sinabalu in a reputable source from Barangay Accusilian, according to my relatives from Tuao, a 2nd class Municipality in the Province of Cagayan.

The two versions; White Sinabalu which is the original one cooked with white glutinous rice and the newest version, Brown Sinabalu cooked with brown glutinous rice which is a good health benefits especially for the diabetics. It must be eaten fresh, it has a very short life and can only be freeze for 2 days and after that it deteriorates easily.

Visit my birthplace Piat Cagayan to taste all local specialties. I’m sure you’ll love it!

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My Chopsticks-Special and Memorable Collection

By on November 27, 2017

I’ve been keeping  different kinds of chopsticks  for quite sometime now. I know for sure that’s it’s not that valuable but it holds a memorable value, a very sentimental one that I will cherished forever. I inherited this chopsticks from late ancestors, we’ve been keeping it for centuries passing from hand-to hand and it has been in the family for generations. Some of it was more than a hundred years old, it is already a  traced of history. Let me show you. Here are my beautiful chopsticks collection.

Everyone in Asia  loves chopstick. Nowadays, It is already common to all. According to my grandmother, it was first introduced in China throughout the Ming Dynasty. What is chopstick anyway?  How do you use it? I can just simply describe it as,” 2 small sticks use to pick up foods”. If you want to  know more about chopsticks history here.

How to use

Hold the top stick like a pencil, a little above the middle, small end down. Grip loosely between the tips of index and middle finger; anchor gently with the thumb.  Hands must be relaxed and flexible. Do not hold and pressed it too tight. Practice to move sticks few times till you get it.

Next slip lower stick into position. Rest it lightly in V-formed by your thumb and index finger and on the first joint of the ring finger. Resist temptation to watch the lower stick with the middle finger. Do not move the lower stick. Keep it still.

The most challenging to pick up is a whole peanut, it’s slippery and quite hard to hold but constant practice makes it perfect.

Beautifully prepared. We used chopsticks for most foods just like this. It’s the proper way and easy to pick-up foods using  chopsticks and spoon for the soup. In using  chopsticks, rice is usually served on a bowl. It would be easier per serving on a medium bowl, just like this.

A modern classic colored with a very unique design. A beautiful black/red bamboo inspired chopsticks.  Engraved as an art of Southeast Asia.

 

See how beautiful it is!

A unique ceramic chopsticks. It’s a bit heavier compared with the traditional ones. This is durable and an attractive reward selection.  It was a delicate art design , It’s my favorite.

This type of chopsticks reflects the style of old tradition. This piece was inspired by a late eighteenth century. It is made of fine wood, lighter in weight, and has its own box holder with a Chinese art design.  I prefer to use the lighter ones for everyday use.

 

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Fruit Farm

By on October 11, 2017

With so many kinds of fruit and vegetables to choose from; Kiwi, banana, strawberry, red watermelon, papaya and grapes. With a combination of different kinds, I’ve made the right selection suitable for my design to complement everything. Combining fruits and vegetables looks attractive with the striking effects even though, it was irregularly shaped forming all kinds in many shapes and sizes to a beautiful farm effect. All fruits was arranged and shaped according to today’s theme, full view of landscape farm on a plate .

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