Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Lunch Plan

It good to be back. The company firewall proved to be beefed up that all the proxy servers I've tried are shot. I tried this almost forgotten proxy and what do you know... :)

The week started with the enrollment period looming and had to make calls to my daughter's grandfather and ex-hubby. Sent enrollment statements through courier and everything went surprisingly well. Waited for the accounting office to open and fought to keep awake. Lugged eight, thick pieces of 4th grade textbooks home. Still wondering what kind of backpack will carry school stuff AND books. Maybe, Fem will end up using 2 bags this school year again. These things are important since there is a direct relation to the heaviness of the pack and to your estimated growth. With my daughter's future height, I'm keeping my fingers crossed for willowy. Oh dear God, not my side of the genes, please.

Along with all the others, I've prepared recipes since I've promised myself that Fem will and should be eating home-cooked meals from now on.
More veggies, fruits, and milk for her. Less of a shortcut mom. OH GOD HELP ME!!!!

I was also told that my daughter has a choice of getting a lunch pass. Should I? Can she take a jeep and go home for lunch? Alone? Will it constitute oversheltering if I still bring and fetch her from school? Will she be scarred for life if her classmates can see me at the school gate with her lunchbox? Is there hope for all harassed single moms in the world?

Interestingly in Mumbai, India, having home-cooked lunches reaching your kid or husband is not even an issue. Dabbawalas, or people who deliver these lunchboxes or tiffins, have this impressive, efficient, and intricate system for deliveries. Intricate because about a thousand deliveries are made everyday. Efficient because there is only one mistake for every million deliveries. Impressive because the dabbawalas are illiterate. Amazing. Most of them have held their job for 20 years. And not even a single complaint on the service in 100 years!

Since there won't be any chance that they'll offer their services in the Philippines anytime soon, single moms will have to make do with what they have. In silent salute, I roll up my sleeves, tighten my apron, and submerge my hands into culinary domesticity.

Friday, May 2, 2008


Clocked the last stretch of 40 hours of work this week and heading to a well-deserved weekend. Woohoo! My angel will be home by the 5th of June :) Our room is begging for a general cleanup (Alright! Will do something about it!) Was told quarterly bonus will be coming on the 15th instead of the 5th :( (booooooo)
Sorry, my langga, raincheck on the homecooked-anything request.

I got to see my pretty little bundle of a niece at So cuuuuuuute! Got bitten with a little mommy-envy there. Check her out. Leave comments for my radiant sister-in-law please. New mothers deserve a pat on the back. These people deserve it :) Type, type, type.

Here's some love to go around.... mmmmwwwwaaaaaahhh!


Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Get Yummy May Ish Now!

Hey guys!

I just have a copy of Yummy magazine May issue. Fresh and I mean really fresh. Just happened to walk in one of my favorite magazine stands and being still April 30 I wasn't expecting to see the latest issue just yet. Wow! Thats early for me.

Notes on the issue:
-Somebody else won the 10-food-books giveaway. *sigh I wish it was meeeeeeee!
-Sharlene Tan's Flower Power pick. That blue serving plate is just plain gorgeous.
-Their BIG FAT KNOW-HOW Special is so loaded with information like knowing the setting point for jam or marmalade, how to properly stir fry, how to clean a fish. Recipes accompany those techniques and demo pics just hooks you in.
-Wake-up Call features breakfast recipes. My daughter would love to help me prepare these. She is a big brekkie fan.
-Thank you, thank you, thank you for pictures on oriental ingredients.
-Perfect it!, Learn it!, Try it! Know-How pages are so on target for practical stuff you always forget to ask.

Quite obvious that I'm so impressed with Yummy's new issue. I've been collecting since May 2006. Tried 5 recipes in the June 2006 issue for my boyfriend's birthday and my daughter's homecoming but sadly lost that mag. Couldn't find a back issue :(

Anyways, get a copy and one way or the other you'll get hooked!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


My To-Try List

*Climb Mt. Apo
*Create and run a blog
*Grow vegetables in our terrace
*Prepare meals 90% of the time
*Workout 4 times a week
*Try Pilates
*Be debt-free by March 2009
*Learn to swim
*Learn to ride a bike
*Audition for a reality-tv competition
*Get a decent haircut and maintain it!
*Have my teeth fixed
*Build a library of 1,000 books
*Stash 3 months worth of salary as savings
*Bring my daughter to Disneyland HK

This might be a long list but it'll be fun to check off stuff that you've accomplished. No aim is too high when you have set your mind to it :)

Thank You

My boyfriend gave me a pleasant surprise last Saturday. He bought me two Everyday with Rachael Ray magazines!
I love her 30-minute meals and they truly are time savers. I've tried her spicy chicken with pepper. Well, I omitted difficult-to-find ingredients but it still came out great.
I knew she had a magazine out when she had a new show but knowing how much a US mag would cost I haven't really tried looking for one.
That's why I'm so grateful he bought me my first 2 copies. 30-minute meals is a feature in her mag as well. The recipe I'd like to try:

Tilapia "Clubs"

8 slices bacon
1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons dried or 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill (eyeball it!)
2 teaspoons ground coriander (about 2/3 palmful)
1 teaspoon chili powder (about 1/3 palmful)
4 large tilapia fillets (2 to 2 1/2 pounds total), halved crosswise
Salt and pepper
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 romaine lettuce heart, shredded
2 plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
Juice of 1 lemon

1. Position a rack on the top shelf of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees. Arrange the bacon in a single layer on a broiler pan and roast until crisp, 20 to 25 minutes; halve crosswise.
2. On a plate, combine the flour, cornmeal, dill, coriander and chili powder. Season the tilapia with salt and pepper on both sides and coat with the flour mixture.
3. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 3 tablespoons EVOO, 3 turns in a pan, over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, add the fish and cook, turning once, until dark golden, 8 to 10 minutes total.
4. In a bowl, toss the lettuce and tomatoes with the lemon juice, remaining 2 tablespoons EVOO and salt and pepper to taste.
5. On each of 4 plates, layer a piece of tilapia, 2 bacon strips, a pile of salad, another piece of tilapia, 2 more bacon strips and more salad.

SOURCE: Everyday with Rachael Ray Aug 2007 issue page 80

I'll probably omit the bacon and the cornmeal. But If I could find cornmeal here in Cebu, I could give it a go.

Thank you, my langga. My gratitude on a plate for you next week.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Time Apart

Summer is when days are longer and less hectic for mothers like me.
Textbooks are set aside.
School uniforms are washed for the last time and then tucked away.
Cooking is now more for pleasure and less for beating the school lunch bell.
Cuddling is your alarm clock in waking hours.

Summer is also the time when my daughter has to go to Davao to see her dad and relatives.
Summer is when I'll see her off to the airport.
Summer is when we are apart.
A long time for me.

She texted after four days of getting no replies from her. 9-year-old that she is I was running through a list of reasons. It turned out she went to the beach with her cousins and simply didn't bring her cellphone. She had always been careful with things. I'm so proud of my angel. She was just making sure that she'll have fun and leaving her cellphone was a way of saying: I'll get back to you, Ma, I promise.

I can see a glimpse now of the inevitable that she'll live her own life.
She is slowly spreading her wings every birthday...An inch every summer...moments everytime we're apart.

I marvel at the changes that happened everytime she comes back. I've always had witnessed all the firsts the minute she was born.
Her first smile.
Her first time sleeping through the night.
Her expression the first time she tasted yogurt.
Her first step.
Towards me.

Away from me.

She had her first time to go to McDonald's with her best friend. Just both of them.
Her first time to cross the street.
Without me.

I marvel at those changes whenever I meet her at the airport. Taller. Sometimes she is sporting her hair a different style. New clothes. Smarter. Defined opinions more than ever.

Sweetheart, what other firsts happened during our time apart?

She stubbornly stays in my arms the whole ride back from the airport.
She needs to hug me, she says.
She needs it.
I need it too.

Summer is the time she needs to see the world and how big it is. It's her very own beach to swim. I can have the waves lap at my toes but I'll forever be at the shore. It's her own water now.

But as seasons end I'm grateful she has grown in a space of time without me. Growth doesn't stop when she isn't in my sight. Grateful that there always be growth.
But no matter how much summer memories she would weave in my absence, I'm grateful she would always be back to me.
With tighter hugs.
Leaving the delicious laziness of summer and ready to plunge into another period of franticness.
No matter.
She is with me.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Comfort Food

The place where I have been staying since January allows me to walk to work. It has a 24-hour security guard. A very reasonable rent. And enough space for me and my daughter's growing collection of books. Very good points indeed.

What it doesn't have is its own kitchen. There is a common area outside though where you could cook. I would have to cut ingredients in my room, bring everything out to cook AND guard the foodstuff from the dogs too.

Since the owners live downstairs sometimes I'm tempted to cook in secret in my room. But being a good tenant that I am, I don't. I don't want to be booted out for starting anything hot. In the meantime I would have to live off wheat bread, tomatoes and cucumbers. Variety would come from a tuna can *sigh. BUT if I can work around this very minor setback, Curry Rice would be the very first thing sizzling on my pan.. It's been so long since I prepared and had some. Light, yellow, and just the right amount of spice.

Here's one recipe that never fails:

leftover or freshly cooked rice
curry powder
chicken buillion cube
olive oil

You can also add: chopped white onions,chopped celery,cubed red and green bell pepper,and chopped Parsley.

Heat oil on a pan. Start with the leftover rice. When its heated through start crumbling the chicken cube. I use two wooden spoon and mix the rice and chicken flavor well. Then add the curry powder and take the time to mix it until the rice has an even yellow color. Serve.

If you decide to add vegetables and onions it would add a different depth and color to your dish and increase nutritional value as well.

I usually serve the rice on a bed of lettuce and with grilled fish or fried chicken or barbecued pork on the side just how my daughter likes it.

I usually cook by taste so apologies that I could not guesstimate the quantity of the ingredients. It helps if you add a little and then taste and adjust the flavors to your liking. Do have fun with this recipe.