Monday, November 29, 2010

Holiday Survival

Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, I've already seen Christmas trees on top of cars and all lit up in apartment windows.  Hanukkah is right around the corner, and the Winter Solstice is already showing itself in the dimming daylight.

I have to admit that the crisp air has already made me crave snow.  I'm super excited about all the holiday parties and get-togethers.  But, I'm also quite excited about the holiday shopping.

Now, the shopping is probably the part that will get me in trouble.  I know I shouldn't even be thinking about it, considering that my funds are unbelievably low right now.  But, as you'll see from my Holiday Shopping Calendar, there are some amazing events taking place.

For the most part, I'm going to limit myself to 3 events that are consistently fruitful in the gift-giving arena.  In chronological order, I am planning to hit up:
As you can see, I really like the handmade, local and/or small business, one-of-a-kind type of gifts.  I love some of the imagination that I see in all the crafts that I come across at these events.

I promise that I will try not to overdo it when I attend these events.  I will make my rounds, and then I will purchase.  I can't make any promises on any cute things that I want to keep for myself, though. *grin*

Otherwise, I have worked on creating another Holiday Survival Plan that shouldn't cost me much of anything.  It mainly involves listening to holiday music (which I'll admit I started listening to the week before Thanksgiving), hilarious and uplifting movies, and generally keeping cozy.

I'm really looking forward to the holidays, with all the merriment, togetherness, and cheer.  Even though it's going to be a bit of a challenge to not grab up every cute item I come across, I'm feeling quite confident about my Holiday Survival Plan.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Simple Pleasures Sundays - Coffee Our Way

After starting to live in with the boyfriend about 3 years ago, he introduced me to the French Press.  I was used to putting lots of sugar in my coffee to offset the bitterness, but then he taught me to just add more milk.

Now I've learned that if I just fill my cup halfway with milk, then pour the coffee, I have the perfect blend of caffeine and sweetness.  I'm proud to say that I have stopped using sugar in my coffee.
My mornings
Sometimes, it's difficult to travel and stay at someone else place when they don't have anything but an automatic coffee maker.  I mean, we'll make do, and we're just genuinely happy that there's even coffee at all.

But it's always nice to come home, boil some water, grind our dark roast coffee beans, and make our own coffee our own way.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful that Tomorrow is Another Day

There's nothing like getting devastating news to make you really sit down and think about what you're thankful for.

I finally got word via letter that I was not chosen for the Program Manager position.  I am devastated to say the least.  I really wanted that job and I know I could have been a super star at it.  I've really put a lot of other things on hold for that job, and maybe that wasn't the right thing to do.

I thought about what I might have done wrong.  I thought about what I could have done better.  Honest to goodness, I tried my best to stay positive about it and to not let it really get to me.  But it did.  I wept like I had lost something that was really only briefly mine.

So, now I feel like I'm back at square one.  Time to start over.  The Wheel of Fortune stopped there for a brief time and said, ", I don't think so."  Just when I thought that maybe Saturn had loosened his grip, he just tightens the hold.

And now I'm back at trying to find the positive at a moment when I feel like nothing is.

It's times like these that Facebook really shows it's power.  As I had publicly declared how much I wanted the position (foolishly thinking that that little bit would help me get the job...okay, I take that back...positive thinking is just really difficult right now...), I felt that I had to publicly share that I did not get the position.

The comments from my friends showed their support.  Though I always feel bad that they are sad for me, I really felt that their comments were little hugs helping to strengthen me.  Their comments helped me feel the sadness, but reminded me that it just means there's something better.

Then, my mom shared a sequence of videos from Disney's "The Rescuers." 

The first one made me ball up in my chair and just wish for simpler times when everything felt in order.  But it also felt the most comforting.  I could almost fell my mom's hand on my head, in an attempt to shelter me from all the hurt.

As I wiped the tears from my eyes, I watched the second video.  Though watching it only caused more tears, it reminded me that part of who I am is to find that silver lining.

I will have my good days and my bad days, but each day is only a tiny step into a lifetime.  Take from it what you can and learn and apply it to making things better.  The absence of a full-time position is an opportunity to build my side job into a real part-time job and maybe more, a chance to really take part in self care, and time to really develop my ideas for my nonprofit.

I won't stop looking for a full-time position and I won't stop building my side job into something that could still supplement my income.

So, what am I thankful for this Thanksgiving?

I am thankful for the boyfriend (who's forehead kisses always make me feel better).
I am thankful for the kitties (who keep me on my toes, wake me in the morning, and allow me to love them).
I am thankful for my friends (near and far, who remind me every day even if we don't speak that day about where I've come from and where I'm going).
I am thankful for our tiny, filled-with-crap, 1-fuse-box, stompy-neighbors apartment (complete with comfy bed and "princess" chair).
I am thankful for my feet (which have helped me express myself through dance, taken me to distant lands, and sometimes remind me to take care of myself).
I am thankful for my voice (which reflects my moods, energy levels, and love of cheesy music).
I am thankful for my family (which continues to grow and evolve, reminding me that I will one day be responsible for my own).

Lastly, I am eternally thankful to my two loving parents, who unceasingly support my crazy decision to stay in Boston (not without questions about when I am moving back to L.A.), whose spirits I carry proudly with me every day, and whose love continues to support me and build me up via YouTube.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

City Sights - Fall Colors

These are a few of my favorite things about the fall.

October 2010
Warren St. T Stop, Brighton, MA
While I was waiting for the T, I just couldn't help but be in
awe of the gorgeous colors in the trees. 
It's amazing how the tops go red first

November 2010
Brighton, MA
This is the view from our living room window. 
It's not the best.  But there are some beautiful sunset
colors that we get to witness. It's like the sky complements
the colors of the trees by taking care of the
other part of the spectrum.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Frustrated with Fat or Muscle or Whatever

Recently, I realized that my scale was busted.

There was a crack on the side of it, and the weight would jump 10 above and 10 below what I had thought my weight was.

It was a digital scale, but I needed something different.

So, I bought a new fancy scale that also shows your water weight, body fat percentage, and Body Mass Index.
Mencken disapproves of the scale.
It's been great, and much more accurate than the previous scale.

But my weight isn't really improving.  The whole process just frustrates me.

I've been working out pretty consistently, doing both strength training, cardio, and throwing in pilates and yoga when I can afford a class.  Then, of course, there's belly dance.

In the past several weeks, I feel like I've noticed a change in my body because it looks different.  But I feel like I must have some strange way of looking at things, because the scale is either going up or staying the same.

I know there's the whole belief that muscle weighs more than fat, but I feel like it's just utter bull.  I have a lovely belly dance friend who talks about this in her weight loss blog

What's difficult, in the end, I think is that scale.  Yet it's still something I feel the need to rely on.  There are always different groups of people and activities I'm joining where we see how much we've collectively lost by a certain time.  I'm thinking I need to stop joining those groups because they just aren't working for me.  That is...after this last group I've joined.

So, what then?  What should I do?  If every week, I weigh myself and nothing really changes, what am I doing wrong?

I'm trying not to be negative.  But I do feel like I'm at a complete loss sometimes.

I know that part of my 2010 goal was to get over the damn scale.  But maybe it's time I really make a commitment to that concept.  While it might not happen by the end of 2010, I know it's not something I can just go with for a month.  This is a life's worth of effort.

Here's my plan:
I will still weigh myself every week.
Every month, I will measure my waist, my hips, my arms, and my thighs.
I will have an update on the sidebar as well as a dedicated page logging my progress (linked above), and once in a while I will blog about it.

Let's do this!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Simple Pleasures Sundays - Looking Up

It's definitely true that the time we start appreciating something is usually when we no longer have it or don't have to ability to do it.

With my shoulder pain in the past 2 weeks, I haven't had the same range when it comes to turning my head.  After a certain point, I have to turn the rest of my body to look to either side of me or to look high up.

The worst part is that it wakes me up in the middle of the night.  When I shift around, I need to use my left hand to move my right shoulder up with me.  In the morning, it just feels so stiff and painful.

Strangely, I'm still able to work out quite a bit, and not really limit myself.  In fact, it almost helps to loosen up whatever happens to be stuck in my shoulder.  It's almost motivating me to work out.

At this point, I really have a new found appreciation for the different directions that my head can move in.

But my favorite direction is looking upwards.

I'm a huge fan of looking at clouds, watching them move across the sky, and taking pictures of them.  I think I might actually start posting pictures of the clouds I fall in love with.

The other day, the boyfriend and I were walking to Trader Joe's, and I pointed out to him that one of the fun things about all the leaves falling (besides the obvious crunch factor) is that the birds nests are exposed and you can see which trees have more "life."

He said that he had never noticed that, but that it's such a positive way to look at it.  It honestly struck me by surprise.  Doesn't everyone like looking up and seeing what's in the sky?
How many nests do you see?

I definitely encourage you to start if you haven't yet.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Oh, How the Cookie Crumbles

For those of you who might not know, I started working on another blog about fortunes.

I've been collecting my fortune cookie fortunes for many years now.  First, they were housed in a pocket in my wallet.  Then, as my collection grew, they moved to a little box that used to carry jewelry. 

While the physical fortunes are still in the box, I decided they needed to have a new location as well.  So, I've been posting 1 fortune a day - from fortune cookies, Yogi tea bags, and other food items that might share some words of wisdom.

Check it out by clicking on the image below.
I'm hoping that if you come across a thoughtful tea bag or a funny fortune cookie message, that you will share it with me to post!  There is a submission form on the page where you can submit your fortunes!

Happy Eats!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Mermaid Collages: Treasures

In the past several days, I've finally sat down and played around with  That site is somewhat addicting.

Firstly, you get to be really creative and have fun with the clips.  Secondly, you can "clip" images from public websites (like Old Navy, for example, which is where I got stuff from my first Polyvore set).  Thirdly, it's like making collages - but without the need for wasting paper.

So, I present to you, my first collage via Polyvore.

What do you treasure?  Wealth, Freedom, or Love?  How about all of the above?

It's a bit inspired by my current unemployment state. 

Concerning wealth, I've still got a lot of thinking and convincing to do with myself, especially in terms of my financial situation.  I realized that I have this opportunity with my "side job" to really profit from it.  Why haven't I continued to pursue it?  Why should acquiring a day job prevent me from continuing to pursue it?

Concerning freedom, the fact that I've been at home without a schedule has made me feel like I am less able to handle spontaneity.  And that makes this Aries Taurus Cusp a bit depressed.  I need to really re-frame my way of thinking and really take advantage of my "free time" to really build my small business and work on my future dreams.

Concerning love, I am lucky to have people who love me in my life.  But I'm in the search for a lifestyle that I can love.  I know it's so available to me, yet I've hesitated, almost as if I'm waiting to get approval from others around me.  I know I know what I love, and it's time to just go for it.

It's a start, right?

My goodness, Polyvore is like going shopping for things you can never actually afford, but then being able to play with them!  I'm looking forward to creating some more sets of things as well as using it as a creative and mental-emotional outlet.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Inked: The End

I'm clearly on a kick to get new tattoos.  I've suppressed it for the most part, especially knowing that the Boston Tattoo Convention was in September.  But wintertime just seems like the best time to get a tattoo, so that it'll be ready for the sun come summertime.

I've mentioned this before in my long post about my tattoo's, but recently I've discovered several fonts that I'd love to use for my "The End" tattoo.

What do you guys think?  Do you like #1 or #2?  I'm king of thinking that #2 would be easier to read on a tattoo.

At this point, I feel like I'm just waiting.  It would be great to get this when I turn 30.  And by then, I might have other tattoos.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tosies of the Month - November 2010

I declared today my self care day.

Since I last got a pedicure, I decided I deserved it because of the interviews I had done.  It's been about a month since my first interview at the Boston Center for Adult Education, and I'm still here waiting.

Why, Job Gods, must it take so long?

After a second interview and after checking in with the Human Resources woman, I still have yet to hear a yea or nay.  It's been somewhat torturous, and kind of irritating that it's taking so long.  But I still really want that job.

With all the anxiety and stress and shoulder pain, I decided to get myself a well-deserved massage.  One of the people I used to work with is luckily dating a massage therapist, and I had been meaning to see her.

Mitzie, of Mind Your Body Wellness, is awesome!  She really talked me through a lot of what might be causing me pain, and after the intense but relaxing massage, she showed me some stretching techniques to help prevent further pains.  This is really the first time I sought out a massage to help me with pain I'm having, so it was great to leave feeling relaxed and prepared.

On my way to the massage, I decided that I should continue taking care of myself and head on over to get my monthly pedicure.  While I was originally planning to wait until the week of Thanksgiving, I figured I should just use the majority of my money to pay for the rental car.

I had decided that November would be a purple month.  My toes needed to see some purple action.  The last time I got purple toes was for a belly dance show in August and before that it was in May for another belly dance show.

But who would've guessed that I inadvertently chose the same purple that I got back in May?  This time around, I'm much happier with the design.
Designed by Wendy at Dana's Nail Salon, Brighton, MA
Color: OPI Merry Midnight
Occasion: Self-care day and Thanksgiving
November 2010
Last month's pedicure design was so strange, and the last time I got this color the design was too girly.  But I got to say, I love the abstract stuff.  In the picture, you can kind of see the large flecks of sparkle, which I'm a huge fan of.

I was a bit inspired to start planning Thanksgiving outfits with this nail color, and I finally gave myself time to play around with  So, here's some outfits I would wear with this color featuring clothes that I own/clothes similar to ones I own.

That website is unnecessarily fun.  But it was a nice way to cap off my day of self-care.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Inked: Blooms

This is sort of a rough idea of what I've been thinking of lately.

I've wanted to get a cymbidium orchid for a while, being that it's my favorite flower for the green shade.  That got me thinking about how roses used to be my favorite flower until I discovered the orchid.  That led me to think about how my paternal grandmother reminded me of orchids, which then lead me to realize that there is a rose that is named "Leonidas," and Leonida was my maternal grandmother's name.

Both sides of my family are very important to me, so I want to pay tribute to that and to the two women who I believe are the backbones of the families.

But, I also want to acknowledge my grandfathers and the legacies they've created.  The baybayin (pre-Filipino script) says "Rodriguez" and "Villero," respectively.

I've been thinking about having a tattoo on my shoulder blades that graze the top of my shoulder.  I think that each of the flowers on each should would create a really nice symmetry while framing my mermaid (which I've really wanted to modify a bit to give her a bigger tail and bigger hair).  I only want one of each, instead of a whole bouquet.

I think I'd like some swirly vines going down my back towards my spine, with the baybayin letters intertwined within the vines.

It might be quite a large tattoo.  So, it might cost quite a bit.  I'm thinking it would be a good 29th birthday present for myself, or I might get it on the anniversary of my Lola's death in February.

I need to work on the idea and the concept a bit more.  But I think it would be more helpful to get a tattoo artists feedback and suggestions.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Winter Wear Woes

These colder seasons have always caused a lot of grief for me.  Not just because it's freezing cold and it gets so much darker earlier in the day.  But because I have a hard time knowing how to dress.

When I first arrived to Boston, I bought a big coat that went past my hips.  I soon found, however, that I would heat up quite quickly and I would just be a sweating mess after walking around a little bit.

One time, the zipper of that big coat got stuck.  Luckily, I was already in my apartment.  But I kind of freaked out.  I couldn't get out of the coat!  The only thing I could think of doing to free myself was to grab my scissors and start cutting.

Soon after, I bought a new puffy coat from Gap, and that kept me warm and visible in my first two Boston winters.
Keeping warm during a Pub Crawl by dancing in the street

I retired that coat after graduation, and graduated to a less bright puffy coat that I've had for about 4 years now.
On the way to a ski trip...I don't ski.

My next issue was finding the right type of shoes.  I had a pair of Merrell waterproof shoes that were fine, but they weren't tall enough to keep me completely waterproof.  So, if I stepped in a puddle and wasn't aware of how deep it was, my feet were pretty much soaked.

Then I got myself some Tretorn boots, which I loved.  They were comfortable, fit around my ginormous ("Pacific Islander" the boyfriend calls them) calves, and they survived the rain and snow.  But, I wore them for multiple days at a time, and I would wear them all day instead of packing extra shoes for work.
My boots in snowshoes!
Because of all my wearing and tearing around, I would need to replace them every year as they developed a tear in the Achilles tendon area.  I probably bought a new pair ever year for the past 3 years.

This season, I decided I need to get separate rain and snow boots.  Unfortunately, boots and I have a strange relationship because of my ginormous calves.  So, the first pair of rain boots didn't work out very well, and were a bit too uncomfortable when I took them out in the rain.

I might actually just buy another pair of Tretorn boots, because they're relatively cheap and they fit really well.  But I'm also looking at some Keen boots and other rain boots.

However, I'm excited to report that I found some really cute shoes that will keep me warm and fashionable all winter.  They fit really well, and they're extremely comfortable so far.  I made sure to do a quick walk-around in my apartment before deciding they were awesome.  But I'm quite satisfied!

Sorel Mackenzie Lace Holiday Boots
For the first time, I'm looking forward to the first snow fall, just so I can sport these babies.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Simple Pleasures Sundays - Brunch

Hands down, my favorite meal is brunch.

Usually a meal had on weekends, it's just the perfect combination of sweet and savory.  Not only can you have your egg-based meal, like a simple scrambled egg concoction or a fancy strata.  But you can also have your fill of carby goodness, like french toast, seasonal breads, and various pastries.  Now, of course, you can throw in some bacon, breakfast sausages, and fruit salad as well.

But you don't have to stick to breakfast-type foods only.  That's the beauty of brunch.  You want a pressed sandwich?  You can have a pressed sandwich at brunch.

Brunch can be creative, and it can also be quite decadent.

Then there's brunch meals from different parts of the world.  Filipino breakfasts and brunch is usually very meaty and is accompanied by rice, though sometimes the meats are sweet themselves.  Dim sum is a whole thing in and of itself, both with savory and sweet items.

I don't think I even need to mention how awesome a mimosa is.

Perhaps one of the other aspects about brunch that I love so much is the fact that it's usually a social gathering.  Friends will go out to brunch or someone will host a brunch in their home.  It's almost less about the time of the meal and more about the action of having the meal.

I can only hope that when I have my own home that I will be able to host regular brunches with all my friends.

For now, I am quite content when the weekend comes along and I get to indulge in a carefully crafted meal of various treats with friends or cooking at home with the boyfriend.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Part or In The Middle

So, I don't claim to be an expert on anything other than what I know about myself.  But even then, sometimes I have no idea.

I know the 20's is really a time to be learning more about who you are, making friends from all different parts of the world, and exploring different places.  It's about a lot of change and, hopefully, a lot of growth.  Now, this isn't to say that the rest of your life doesn't include any of those experiences.  But it sometimes feels like the 20's are more saturated with that, seeing that many of my friends who are older are a little more set in their ways.

More recently, however, I've felt more like isolating myself.

Home Is?
With the holidays upon me, I can't pretend that I don't get homesick.  But now the question is, what is home to me?

A good friend of mine recently moved back to the U.S, and he is a much wilder person than I could ever be.  His point of view of the whole thing is that "home" isn't a location, it's the people, so you can be at home anywhere.

This really made me think quite a bit.  I know that I feel at home here in Boston, but I also feel at home in Los Angeles.  The difference right now is that I also feel like a visitor in Los Angeles.  While L.A. is where my family and friends are, Boston is a place where I am also building a life.

Now, if "home" is the people, then it can also be fluid and it can also come to where you are.

Then, why is the impetus always on me to go back to Los Angeles?  Don't get me wrong.  I love L.A.  I love California.  I want to move back there eventually.  But for now, Boston is my home.

I guess money is part of the issue.  It costs more for people to visit me here because of plane tickets and possible hotels.  If I flew to California, I would most likely not have to pay for a hotel.

But there's just something about that that doesn't seem fair.  I like visitors just as much as the next person.
You can find me among the clouds,
drifting between spaces.
Where is the Heart?
In the past year, most of my travels home have been to spend time with family.  Though I wanted to see my friends as well, my family would take precedence. 

In my mind and memories, I've always considered myself extremely close to my family.  The fact that my parents have trusted me to stay in Boston means that they really love me and want me to experience a wide variety of things.  I love my siblings, and I have always encouraged them to explore the world and not get stuck in L.A.  I love my extended family, and though we are so varied and spread out throughout the world, I feel like they are part of what keeps me grounded.

However, I was always somewhat separated.

When I was younger, I was also the oldest of the Los Angeles cousins, older by 5 years.  When I was away at college, they were all still in middle and high school.  Now that I'm in Boston, they're all going through their late teens and early 20's.

On the other end, I'm also the youngest of the group when I consider my older cousins.  Many of them were getting married and having kids when I was in high school and college.

I do have a couple of cousins that are my age, but I didn't grow up with them he way I did with my younger family members.

But more recently, I've just felt so distant.

I don't feel like I'm part of the family.  I don't feel like I'm included in anything.  I feel like I'm last to hear about a lot of things.  Honestly, I feel like I'm being punished for having moved so far away on my own.

This holiday season will be the first time that I'm not going back to L.A. to be with family.  Because the boyfriend hasn't been able to see his family at all for more than a year, and I've been to L.A. 3 times this year, I wanted us to be able to spend time with his family as well.  Plus, with the kitties still young, we don't want to leave them alone for too long.

Now that my maternal grandmother passed earlier this year, I feel like there isn't necessarily a need to have family parties in our house anymore.  So, I know my parents and brother are going to San Francisco to be with my sister for Thanksgiving.  It's awesome that they all get to be together, and I'm sad to miss the experience.

But in the next year, it'd be nice if I got a visit.  From anyone.  Maybe because they're also homesick for me.

Friday, November 12, 2010

'Tis the Pre-Season

Alrighty, folks.  I've gone and done it.  I'm posting something holiday related before Thanksgiving.

But this is important, since some of the dates are right after Thanksgiving, I figure it would be good to get this to you all now.  So here it is, the calendar of Boston Holiday Shopping & Craft Events.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Countdown of 7 Weeks

With about 7 weeks left of 2010, I believe it's time to review my 2010 Goals.

1. Go to Greece in the summer to celebrate my friend's and my 28th birthdays!
Santorini Sunset

2. Adopt 2 kitties with my boyfriend.
Yoni (a.k.a Yoners, Choners, Chonies, Chones)
Mencken (a.k.a Mencky, Mencky-poo, Poodles)
The boyfriend's and my boodle babies

3. Focus more on being healthy and eating smaller portions rather than the number on the scale.
     I really wish I was doing better on this one.  I do feel like I'm paying a lot more attention to what I'm eating.  However, I recently bought a brand new scale to replace my busted one (it was fluctuating 10+ and 10- lbs!).  It's all high tech and telling me the correct weight as well as my BMI.  I know that I'm building lean muscle, and that is probably affecting the number on the scale.  So, I'm not giving up.  But this goal will probably be continued into 2011.

4. Do some serious purging so that our apartment isn't so cluttered.
This is 2 bags out of now 4 bags!
I got those skinny hangers, and replaced a lot of my old busted hangers
as well as giving away my awesome wooden ones.  Those wooden ones made me
feel like I was finally an adult with an adult closet.
But it also gave me the opportunity to really go through my clothes, try stuff on,
and put aside clothes to bring to a clothing swap this weekend.

5. Learn to let go and move away from things that might be holding me back.
     Still learning this one.  At this point, what with still waiting to hear back about a job I really want, I feel like I can't do too much moving forward.  Everything still feels a bit stagnant.  I do have to say that cleaning out my closet and other sections of our apartment has helped to create some movement.  But I feel like being jobless is actually holding me back.

Alright, then.  I've got 3 out of 5 down.  For the final 7 weeks, I will work harder on my portion sizes, stick to the "1-In 1-Out" Rule, try to sell some things on eBay, and start implementing ideas from my business plan.

7 weeks left.
Ready, set, go!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Cookie Simplicity from My Teen Years

As long as I've made cookies, I've used this cookie recipe that my best friend and I used back in high school.  I don't remember where the recipe came from, but I feel like it was a book she checked out from the LA Public Library.

I've copied the recipe into my personal recipe book, which I've carried with me to all my residences.

These cookies were perhaps my first real venture into baking.  Through this recipe, I learned how to double and triple recipes (since this one only makes about 12 cookies).  Through this recipe, I really learned to appreciate the pleasure of making cookie dough balls.

I recently found some dark chocolate and mint chips and excitedly bought 4 bags.  Though I initially wanted to use them only for brownies, I realized there would be no better way to introduce them into our household than with cookies.
Perhaps a seasonal item, 'tis the season indeed.

With the Boston days getting colder and darker, I really start to get homesick.  Now, don't get me wrong.  I really actually enjoy the autumn here.  That crisp air is like no other, and it just makes you feel alive as you breath it in.  But it also makes me miss my family and friends.

These cookies are almost the embodiment of that feeling.
The mix of the old and the new.  Homesickness while walking through a sidewalk filled with crunchy leaves, my scarf wrapped around my neck that stretches to take in any bit of sun.  The tingly fresh air and the comforts of home.

I definitely needed these cookies this week.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Simple Pleasures Sundays - Extra Time

I hope you've remembered to change your clocks!  Daylight Savings Time has ended, and it is time to "fall back."

I have a digital clock in our bedroom and my Droid that is set via satellite, so I knew that I didn't really need to worry about remembering to change the clocks.  The only clock we needed to change was on the microwave.

I always want to stay up to watch the clocks change or not change, but I'm usually too tired for when it happens.  I like to think that we are time travelers, wielding the power to control time just for that one hour.

While it has to do with taking advantage of the sunlight that we have during the summer, the only "advantage" to changing it again seems to be that we are given an extra hour.  Now, what you do with that extra hour is dependent on you.

Some people try to take advantage of the extra time by sleeping in.  Some try to take advantage of waking up earlier to do things they wouldn't otherwise have time for.

Personally, I can't sleep too much of else I feel pretty out of it the rest of the day.  So, this morning, I'm using my extra time to do some self care.

I woke up with very intense shoulder and neck pains, and know that I need to take it easy today.  Though it might be related to sleeping in strange positions, I know it's probably because my laptop is not ergonomically located.

So, this morning while I sip my coffee, I will be using my extra hour to sit comfortably with a heat pack on my shoulder before using a back massager. 

How will you take advantage of your extra time?
From Wikipedia

Friday, November 5, 2010

Adobo - Filipino Style

One of the first meals that I learned how to cook when I had access to my own kitchen was chicken adobo.  Though, when most people hear "adobo," they assume it's the Spanish version.  But, while we might have adopted the name from the Spaniards and the base is similar in that there is a marinade,  it's really its own beast.

Filipino-style Adobo is really a very simple concoction, but it is truly individualistic.  While it can be considered the "national dish" of the Philippines, every household cooks it differently.

In essence, Filipino Adobo is anything marinaded in a vinegar based marinade.  Anything else that is added to the marinade is purely representative of the region the cook or their family is from.

My family cooks it in a relatively popular way:  add soy sauce, black pepper, and garlic.
All you need...
Obviously, if you prefer something other than chicken, like pork or beef or fish or shrimp, you can easily adopt the adobo recipe to it.  That's just part of its beauty.

2lbs of Chicken (Personally, I think that bone-in tastes a lot better since it really holds in the flavors, but boneless is also delicious and will cook faster.)
2/3 cup of Vinegar (If you can find cane vinegar in your Asian market, you're quite the lucky duck!  This is Filipino vinegar, and it's just got a great twang to it.)
1 cup of Soy Sauce (Any soy sauce will do)
1 tsp of Ground Black Pepper
1/2 a bulb of Garlic...or if you're like the boyfriend and me, the entire bulb!

Additional ingredients added to your liking:
Juice of 1 Lemon
3 or 4 Bay Leaves

Mix all the ingredients together and marinade the chicken while you prep other things.  You should definitely start your rice at this point, and prep any veggies you might want to add to your meal.  I suggest broccoli and baby carrots to add to the rice, but I'll get to that later.

Heat up a pan or a skillet, and put about 2 tablespoons of cooking oil on the pan.  When it's heated, place the chicken and marinade in the pan.  Make sure to turn the chicken around to ensure that it cooks on all sides and all the way through.  Boil the chicken in the sauces until it is somewhat dry and the chicken is cooked thoroughly.

Set the chicken aside.  While the heat is still on and there is still some sauce in the pan, throw in your veggies.  Hopefully, your rice is done cooking at this point, and you can throw in your rice as well.  This will really help to mop up the rest of the sauce and garlic bits.  Fry the rice and veggies until the rice is fairly covered in the sauce and the veggies are somewhat soft.

And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen.  You've now made chicken adobo.  I wish I had pictures of my completed meal to show you.  Alas, I got way too excited and ate it before I got to take a picture.  However, I do have the nutritional value.

Nutrition Facts (Chicken Adobo Only)

Recipe Serves 4 people
Amount per Serving - 2 medium to large pieces of chicken
  • Calories 444
  • Calories from Fat 63

Not so bad for a full meal.  It's fairly healthy when you add the veggies to it, and it's chock full of protein.

But really, the reason you should be having this meal is because someone Filipino has invited you into their home, and wants you to learn more about their culture by feeding you this dish.  You are one lucky son of a gun.

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