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

Weird-Shaped Radish

By on October 26, 2020

Another amusing features to see, a perfectly white radish with abnormal form, it’s surprising to see vegetables that are equipped with odd features. Most farmers have to contend with this kind of problems at some time during harvesting season, it can come as quiet a surprise to find something intriguing, veggies can grow into a strange weird shape because of environmental conditions.  

Radishes are one of the easiest vegetables to grow primarily grown for its peppery edible roots, the same family as turnips and mustard. There are two types of radish; the large winter type and the long varieties. Grown for use in salads and vegetable soup, usually eaten while they are fresh and tender.

Other radish produced strangely funny features but remarkably unusual. It’s quiet amusing! My best example, the long variety in form which is common in the supermarket. Instead of growing long and straight, it produces unusual course and abnormal fibrous in form.

When growing problem arises, these vegetables make a funny present that appeared to be like a split human leg.

 Thank you for stopping by, I love to share funny vegetable features.

Stay safe and healthy!

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Fresh Fruits in a Cocktail Glass

By on October 24, 2020

The most relaxed way to entertain your friends is to serve whatever you have. On the spot, you don’t need to rush on what to serve, all you have to do is to check what’s inside the refrigerator and look for something that will boost their energy. It would be a refreshing day to welcome them with nutritious fruits, I’m sure, any kind of fruit is always present and available ready to be served. The good thing about serving fruits? it’s a great source of vitamins, minerals and it only takes minutes to prepare it. Today’s choice is something fresh and nutritious. Not daily routine to serve fruits in cocktail glass, just my home-style way of serving when rush hour calls, I always go for it! 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.

Heart-shaped Watermelon

Make your table and refrigerator overflow with different kind of fruits. Mixing and matching flavors of fruits, sometimes, you’ll discover which one is ideal for, which one is not. I have tried mixing and matching all flavors of fruits in different ways as well as arranging fruit slices on a bowl, as individual serving, on a platter, in a cocktail glass, salad bowls, cups, boats and many more.

Cutting of fruits must be neatly done, I used a paring knife to cut my fruits, it’s easier to handle and more comfortable with it. Best blend is completely good if the fruits has both the intensity of sweetness and fragrance.

Note : When buying fruits ,make a good selection of family favorites. It must be firm, free of bruises and fresh.

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Home Cooking during Pandemic

By on October 12, 2020

Note: This is the continuation of my blog, ”Home Cooking during Coronavirus Pandemic”

Home cooking during this season offers another marvelous opportunity to cook more and to eat more, it’s a day entirely dedicated to enjoying home-cooked meals. Nowadays, Planning a family meal is easy but challenging to cater to different tastes and oftentimes ended up preparing more than one meal at a different time, which means more time spent in the kitchen.

When it comes to buying, the pandemic has made it harder for everyone to go out, things to consider; which are the best days to go out, and food is less available when needed. Nowadays, there’s a shortage of food supply because of the increase in the number of people cooking, experimenting with food trying out new ingredients while others still learning the basics luckily, we live surrounded by food shops around. When my time is limited and my main concern is to prepare the meal on the table quickly, I have to move quickly fast, I don’t have any helper. All I have to do is to prepare a meal in advance or a day before, using a few shortcuts, I focused not only on time but economic factor is important. I cannot justify the cost of food. I go for least expensive ones.

Life has changed since the pandemic started, most of the time I feel helpless to think that this would be long-term. I’m not alone to imagine what life be like after, I’ve always been very cautious and careful since then, I created house rules to keep us safe and healthy during this pandemic outbreak, everyone involved in cooking and cleaning. I have to be very strict as most mothers do, I’m no exception to that.

Whatever the new normal life would be, everyday cooking continuously consistent. there’s nothing better than home-cooked foods. Somehow, I’m delighted to get the taste of real home, I feel more connected to my family now. I would also say, It’s a joy to cook food for someone you love, agree?

Here are my home tested family meals in the course of the pandemic

At home, I served 2 kinds of recipes and a soup or a salad for starters. I go for foods with essential food nutrients, following a well balanced diet. I cook vegetables every day, wanting my children to follow healthy eating habits. Everyday dishes made special, this is my way to cheer up my family, my way to express my love and caring interaction through food.

My before and after cooking pictures

Before

If I cook, I want the aroma wafted through the house, I tell you, it usually brings family members right away on the table.

After

Here’s one I prepared earlier, it’s a Classic Morcon a dish everyone likes I tend to increase the quantity so I can leave a small portion for another day, have something to hand on last-minute dinner the next day. It’s a pre-prepared meal on a busy weekend, reheating would be easy after all.

Before/After pictures of Mango Float

Cold delights dessert, Mango Float is an icebox cake with layers of fresh ripe mangoes, graham crumbs, condensed milk and of course you can see on hand the Alaska Crema whipped cream. This kind of dessert is very easy to prepare.

Before/After Pictures

Cholesterol Free Pancake with fresh fruits for breakfast. I want to try something different adding fresh fruits for my cholesterol free pancake. Making our own breakfast is good, I know exactly what my family is eating.

Before/After cooking pictures of Garlic Buttered Crabs

We want male crabs with claws larger that contained the white meat but I really believe female crab’s meat is more sweeter especially the orange crab fat called,”aligue”

Before/After pictures of Oysters omelette

My Oysters omelette is great addition on the table and very easy to prepare, it’s a quick meal during busy days. I bought these oysters in SM Supermarket, packed in clear plastic brick and priced accordingly. One thing to watch out when buying oysters at the supermarket is to know which ones are the type intended for cooking. It’s safe to buy oysters there but in the wet market, I usually ask wet market vendors where the oysters come from, it’s a common question. I don’t buy oysters or any shellfish from Cavite waters because I just think they are dirty, the red tide poisoning with oysters from Cavite, it’s deadly. Buying oysters from supermarkets is one way of getting them easy and safe, it must be cooked the day they are purchased.

Easy Beef Nachos our favorite snack.

My homemade Assorted Fruit Shakes and Smoothies

I love surprises! This is something a little special to serve.

Pineapple-Pear Shake

Kiwi-Strawberry Shake

When the kitchen rules, there’s nothing better than home-cooked foods. With all my cooking methods for both modern and traditional, it requires a bit patience to achieve great results, everything to make our home a better place….

Thank you for reading my blog! Stay safe and healthy

Take care and Goodnight fellas!

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Mid-Autumn Festival / Mooncake Festival 2020

By on October 1, 2020

My greetings to all Chinese worldwide

”Happy Mid-Autumn Festival”

It’s time again to celebrate the brightest full moon of the year, the ”Mooncake Festival also known as Mid-Autumn Festival” it falls on this day Thursday October 1, 2020. In Hongkong and Singapore it is also referred to as a celebration of harvest and ”Lantern festival” Every year on the 15th day of the 8th month of Lunar calendar Chinese countries such as China, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia and all countries throughout East and Southeast Asia celebrated this important event.

Today, fellow Chinese families will gather to celebrate the moon fest with good luck food, family reunion, moon gazing and it is already a tradition to go out in the evening to admire the brightest full moon of the year while partaking their favorite mooncake and it is usually accompanied by a tea. This is also a romantic time for lovers, they usually stay up late to view the dramatic full moon outdoors.

This year 2020 would be a different celebration because of travel restrictions and to practice social distancing, not to gather in groups but still celebration will go on as long as you ‘ll legally take safety measures.

Wishing you all good health and safety!

Mooncake is a sweet Chinese delicacy usually rounded in form contains a thin or thick pastry including the yolk of salted duck eggs to symbolize the moon. The sweet filling is made from red bean paste, mung bean paste, lotus paste to name a few..

Versions of Mooncakes

Mooncake with sesame

Other versions depends on the Chinese country you’re in.

Thanks for reading my latest blog!

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Rare Pink Atis or Sugar Apples

By on September 28, 2020

Sugar Apple or Annona Squamosa, a tropical fruit in the Philippines with a pink or green heart-shaped fruit with pronounced green scales. Widely considered wild fruits thrive rapidly in any types of soil, grown from seed and can be planted in rough corners of the garden, it also looks attractive outdoors bearing many fruits at the same time and the tree never become tall enough with no disturbance to other plants. It is well adjusted even in a small spaces, the garden doesn’t need to be spacious to plant this kind of fruit.

I was so excited to discover the first fruit of an atis grown in our own backyard, it’s a pink Thailand variety, the fruit tree was abundant. Thailand varieties are much larger and far more luscious than the native ones.

My First harvest, pink in color with no bruises and black spots at all. The sweet taste is refreshing especially when it is cold but the most intriguing is to see the scaly- rough skin and the fruit itself contain numerous seeds. I’ve collected more than 15 seeds from one medium Atis alone.

Freshy-picked, you can see the internal parts, the creamy white in color of the flesh and the big stalk inside. From the picture itself, you can now imagine how many seeds inside it. To eat this kind of fruit, you need to be patient to remove the seeds however, it’s worth to taste the sweetness.

One thing good about picking fruits in your own backyard, well assured to be guaranteed fresh, clean and first hand to touch it. I’ve reduced and produced my expenses for fruits growing in our own backyard, it’s a big help and the excitement to get up early to pick the fruits is a blessing!

Atis tree continuously bearing fruits all year round, indeed, it is designed for our weekly consumption throughout the year, I just hope the tree will live longer.

When Picking Atis

Fruits can be left on trees until fully ripe or you can pick it after maturity, that is, if you know the indicator of maturity, you wait 2 days after picked up. If you have this kind, the only problem after maturity, birds and bats present a big problem in growing sugar apples and maybe necessary to cover the fruit before ripening time.

When buying Atis

Having bruises and black spots is not good, just represents how many people have touched it. Blackening of scales makes the fruit dirty and annoying to see, much as safer to buy a fresh one and the first hand.

Take care everyone, see you next posts

Thanks for reading my blog!

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For Snails, Fork or Toothpick? Helpful Tips

By on September 24, 2020

In the restaurant, they serve some of my seafood favorites like; Black tiger prawns, crabs, lobsters, oysters, octopus. Beside the seafood platters, there’s a separate saucer for toothpicks to extract flesh of snails. If you noticed, toothpicks are often provided when snails are served especially in buffet restaurants. Informal way, they provide toothpick for snails and for formal is always with tongs accompanied by steel snail fork.

Now, in Buffet restaurants, what are those toothpicks for? If you hear the word toothpick, would immediately come to mind the definite purpose is normally used for picking the dirt of teeth and now we are using for food, that’s two different thing which is not good for two different purpose of one kind. Is it a yucky thing? It is already a common practice around. Oftentimes, following a good dinner when guests are dressed up and toothpicks are served first when snails are present for appetizers. However, after eating, usually you ask for the same kind.

It is already a common practice that you can see around. It’s probably the easiest way to keep table setting simple because of the number of guests involved that they can’t provide the proper fork intended for the purpose. Normally, in rural areas, they don’t use toothpick for snails either, they use their mouth to suck up pieces inside.

Ginataang Kuhol

I will now share with you my unforgettable but funny experience. I never forget the first time I tried snail in the province. At first serious sampling,I threw up! I’ve tried it again the 2nd time, this time is a more serious tasting. The good recipe was Ginataang Kuhol, the aroma you can smell inside the house and thought it was delicious. I carefully imitate what the olds are doing. Following it, I carefully picked one and goes directly to my mouth and sucked it. Glorious! I’m a damn sucker! I sucked everything including the flesh, watery part and sandy portion. The bad thing? I almost sucked the whole piece of shell. LOL! It was here that I learned to love the taste minus the shell.

My helpful tips calling for a change

For more successful and safe results, I suggest to use and select the best fork suited for seafood. It is improper and unpleasant to see toothpicks beside the food itself. Simple rules are easy to learn following basic rules in using appropriate fork. We have different kinds of fork for seafoods like; lobster fork, prawns fork, fish fork and cocktail fork for squid and octopus too.

Which fork works best for snails? Seafood is considered safe and special using appropriate fork which is easier intended for this purpose. If you don’t have the steel snail fork or silver one, there’s a decorative fork which is plastic but firm and disposable like toothpicks too, the price is just right especially the small ones just like the price of toothpicks in a box. Check photos above of Ginataang Kuhol with decorative snail fork that has a firm pointed tines.

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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 must 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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