Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Blondies...Opposite of Brownies

I took a lovely evenening stroll here at our village. It was such a balmy evening and I just couldn't resist. I even sat on a swing in the playground and swung for a little while.

When I got back, I had excess energy, a cup of unusued chocolate chips and a few packs of cashew nuts in the pantry, I thought maybe I could bake something easy and fuss free. Blondies!

I got so caught up in the movie I was watching while waiting for the Blondies to bake, the edges got a little "toasted". Surprisingly, the center was still moist and crumbly. I'm not sure if that's how it was supposed to be but the Blondies tasted great anyway. The house smelled heavenly, too! Nothing beats the smell of butter and sugar baking.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Nostalgia Gone Wrong

I got home surprisingly early today. Feeling bored and cocky at the same time, since I lost a little bit of weight already, maybe I'll try putting on my wedding gown again. It's time to have it's yearly dry cleaning anyway. I haven't worn it since my wedding day in April 2002. Hmm, I still feel the same, I sometimes Ithink I still look almost the same so maybe the dress will fit the same. This photo was taken before going to the church, while my dog Wiggle poses with me.

Now, my wedding gown wouldn't even zip up past my waist!

The dry cleaners shrunk my dress! That's my story and I'm sticking to it! Ha ha ha :-)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sa Malamig... the sosyal version

"Sa Malamig" a local Filipino street beverage usually composed of milk, gelatin cubes and a healthy dose of sugar and pink food coloring.

I made my version from a recipe from the Nestle website, I don't remember the exact measurements so I just eyeballed everything. Turned out great and will defenitely make again. Milky and refreshing. This version is a more "sosy" version with the addition of the melon shavings.

Anyway, here's the (estimated) recipe:

2 packs unflavored gelatin, cooked per package directions
2 Big cans of evaporated milk
Sugar to taste
Shavings from two small melons (cantaloupe)
Sago (tapioca)

1. Cook the sago, per package directions. Set aside and let cool completely then refrigerate. This process probably takes only about four hours, he he he. I suggest you buy the cooked ones, if you can find it.
2. Cook the unflavored gelatin per package directions, when set, cut in half-inch cubes, set aside and refrigerate.
3. In a separate pitcher, mix evaporated milk, some water and sugar. Mix well and refrigerate.

To assemble:
1. Place sago, gelatin and melon shavings in a glass.
2. Pour cold milk mixture. Add ice if you like.

Slurping is optional :-)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Gawad Kalinga Build - GK Tribu in Batasan, Q.C.

The company that I work for donated three homes for the poor last Christmas, through the Gawad Kalinga foundation. Gawad Kalinga is a non-profit organization that helps the less fortunate create communities by providing homes, livelihood seminars, spiritual guidance and bayanihan. Their main thrust is to build communities to eradicate poverty.

The land usually is donated to squatter communities by the government to the poor. Gawad Kalinga helps organize these lands into neater and more easthetically pleasing communities (with drainage, plumbing and sewage system). The objective is to provide a nurturing, sanitary, organized and safe comminity for the people that will inhabit them. The homes themselves are donated by corporations and individuals. For just P85,000 (US$1,800) per house, you can provide one family with a home that they can be proud ,of. The homes are sturdily built, with a clean, tiled bathroom and kitchen. The communities are masterplanned by the volunteers at Gawad Kalinga.

What I like about Gawad Kalinga is that they promote "bayanihan". It's an old Filipino tradition that mean's helping your community. Usually, neighbors work together to help build your home, build parks and such. In the olden days, when you need to move house, literally, the bahay kubos (local huts made of bamboo and nipa) are heaved and carried in the men's shoulders for transfer.

Gawad Kalinga helps to promote bayanihan through what they call, "sweat equity". If you are one of the families awarded by the government with land (usually the communal land is awarded through the efforts of Gawad Kalinga and the local government), you are required to help build your home by providing manual labor, hence, "sweat equity". If you provide equity of so many hours, the house is awarded to your family. The idea being to promote pride, sense of community and unity among the communities' residents.

For donors like the company that I work for, aside from the cash donation to buy materials, we are also encouraged to meet the community by helping them build their homes through manual labor. The communities do really need all the help that they can get, demolishing old homes, moving debris, digging holes for the foundation, laying bricks, mixing cement and such. This way, not only will you help the comminities, you will also foster team building with your peers.

The "squatters" are no more. I like that. I applaud the efforts of Gawad Kalinga for providing a safe and sanitary haven for these families and for giving them a sense of pride for homes that they can be proud to call their own.

Go help. It will be worth it, I promise.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Welcome 2010

Hi everyone! I know I'm a slacker, I haven't posted anything new these past few weeks. I was thoroughly enjoying the Christmas holidays and spent almost the entire time catching on some ZZZZZZZZZZs and attending parties and reunions.

Gosh, I don't want to think about the anount of lechon, pritchon and other uber delicious and fattening dishes that we had consumed in the span of two weeks. Eeeek!

This holiday season was in fact the most stress-free for me. I didn't cook one single thing! Can you imagine me staying away from the kitchen in such a festive time?

I did manage to bake some goodies though for our New Year's day celebration. The staples, nothing serious or gourmet-y. I just baked the usual brownies, chocolate cupcakes with chocolate icing and some Russian cookies. All from scratch by the way, he he he. I had a fantastic time baking alone in my small kitchen.

I have so many things to be thankful for. Our travels! I had five stamps in my passport last 2009 (Australia, Bangkok -twice!, Hong Kong and Macau). That's a record for me :-)

My family has been so wonderful as well. We've laughed and cried together and I am so grateful I was born into this family.

I also thank my fairy godmother that hubby came uninvited to my 21st birthday party in 1994, such a wonderful gift, fifteen years and counting :-)

I hope that 2009 was great for you as it was for us.

Happy new year!

Looking forward to 2010...........