Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Geeks and their Ride

We went to Best Buy (one of Zola's Dad's happy places) to check out some deals they have for Black Friday . . .  and saw the cutest service transport I've ever seen!

Just in case you're wondering, The Geek Squad is Best Buy's Tech Support Team.  They offer a wide range of services (that are not only computer and gadget-related).  To know more about Geek Squad, please click on this link. 

Who says "Geeks" can't have cool rides? =)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Of Thanksgiving and Good News

I grew up in Philippines where Christmas is the most anticipated and most celebrated Holiday.  But thanks to Auntie S, our American family friend (and neighbor), we also had a "taste" of what Thanksgiving is like.  During Thanksgiving, she would send over some of her Roasted Turkey with stuffing, cranberry and gravy sauce and for dessert, her awesome baked sweet potato topped with marshmallows.  Because of her, I grew to love eating Turkey!

It is my second time to spend Thanksgiving here in the US . . . but the funny part is, I haven't had turkey, Haha!  (We usually have a Filipino fare for Thanksgiving. . . Oh this year, we had roasted turkey ham!).  I was telling Zola's Dad that I hope we can get some Roasted Turkey and the works. . . somewhere. . . even after Thanksgiving, Haha!  

But more than this Turkey story, I would like to share with you some good news for this Thanksgiving. . . .

Yes, we are having a BOYYYY!!!!

I had an ultra sound a few weeks ago and everything looked good for our baby boy!  I cried when they told me he was a boy.  Well, besides being hormonal (Haha!), I cried because I just feel so blessed in my life.  I was overwhelmed with God's love and grateful that He answered my prayers. . . AGAIN!

I will be the first one to tell you that I am not the most prayerful person you will meet (but I would like to believe that I've developed a personal relationship with God).  I forget to say my prayers, there are times I fall asleep when I pray the rosary, and I know, there are times that I take Him for granted.  But in spite of my shortcomings, it amazes me how He makes His presence felt in my life. 

In my life experiences, I learned and witnessed that God answers our prayers. . . and if you ask me why He doesn't answer some, I don't have an answer to that question.  But I do know that He loves us so much, that He has a reason for letting things happen . . .and that He gives us what is best for us . . . in His perfect time.

Happy Thanksgiving!  There are so many things to be thankful for!

I wish you beautiful days ahead filled with good news! =)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Warm as Toast

We went to COSTCO (love this place!) yesterday and saw something new (at least for somebody like me who comes from a tropical country, haha!) . . . an "electric fan" (well, it looks like one) that doesn't emit cool air but actually radiates heat!  Cool!!!

As explained in COSTCO's website:
The Presto® HeatDish® Plus parabolic electric heater uses a computer-designed parabolic reflector to focus heat, like a satellite dish concentrates TV signals, so it feels three times warmer than 1,500 watt heaters, yet uses a third less energy. Because it warms you directly, you feel the heat almost instantly without first heating the entire room.

Autumn is here and the weather is getting cooler now . . .  but I'm perfectly fine.  I have Zola's Dad and our Little One to keep me warm . . . and toasty =)  

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Christmas Medley

I can't believe it's only 34 days to go before Christmas!  (Where has the year gone?!)

One of the thing I love about Christmas is hearing Christmas songs.  Some songs bring back fond memories of my Childhood.  I remember waking up every December morning to Nat King Cole's "The Christmas Song" (Chestnuts roasting in an open fire. . . ) because my Dad loves playing music every morning.  Those were the days of vinyl long playing records!

The song "Donde Este Santa Claus?" (I actually call it the Mamacita song, haha!) brings me back to that day when I was in Grade 2, and we had to dance to that song for a school program.  My partner's name was Peter, and I remember we even had maracas as props! 

One of the songs I learned earlier on in school was "Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer".  I'm sure it was for a school program too!  Haha!

Can you name all of Santa's reindeers?  

The song "Christmas in Our Hearts" (sang by Jose Mari Chan, a Chinese-Filipino singer) makes me miss my sister because this is one song which we sing (does not necessarily mean we sing it well, haha!) when we're lying on our beds, doing nothing.  (I miss you sis!!!)

I am going to miss spending the Christmas Holidays in Philippines (we have the longest Christmas season!) but I am glad we are spending it with Zola's Dad here in LA . . . it is definitely something we are all happy about and something we look forward too!


Monday, November 19, 2012


I was writing a blog post and when I looked up to check on the Little One (who has become a little bit too quiet. . . Hmmmm)

Guess whose hand is in the "cookie jar" (literally)!

Uuuuuy, pa-simple!  Haha!

And before the love affair between the Little One and this chocolate chip cookie can even begin, I was able to get the cookie from her.  (No chocolates for you Sweetheart . . . not yet).

Have a nice week ahead!

Oh. . . and don't let your hand get caught in the cookie jar too. . . this time I mean it figuratively, heehee

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Hot Seat

One of the challenges the Little One had to face upon arriving in LA. . . was using her car seat!  (We didn't use one when we were in Philippines)  We couldn't leave the parking area at the airport, all because the Little One won't let us put her on the car seat, she was clinging on me (for life), she was crying out loud. . . and so hard that it was really heartbreaking for me to see her that way.  But we have to do what we got to do.  She was still crying when we buckled her up until she fell asleep on our way home. (I'm sure she got tired from all the crying and from the long flight).

It took her just a couple of days to get used to the car seat (and I think she did an excellent job!).  It's true what they say, kids are like sponges.  They learn and absorb everything quickly. 

Happy to say that the Little One is enjoying her car seat and has even learned the importance of using a seat belt.

Have a nice weekend!  

And don't forget to buckle up! =)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Comfort Cravings

I had a sudden craving for dimsum the other day.  If I were in Philippines, I know where to go to satisfy my craving.  In LA, I have to thank Yelp for helping me find a restaurant (a 15 minute drive from the house) in our area which serves good dimsum.  So we went to Sea Empress in Gardena for my dimsum fix.
DIMSUM!!!  I can eat this everyday!

Filipinos are used to dipping their dimsum in a sauce made of calamansi (our local lime), soy sauce and chili garlic oil.  In Sea Empress, they gave us this dipping sauce. . .

Chili and . . . hot mustard!

I know that chili goes well with dimsum but I wasn't sure with the mustard.  But you know what, surprise, surprise, it actually worked for me!  It's like eating your dimsum with wasabi, haha! 

For the Little One, we got her Congee.

I still prefer the Filipino lugaw (our version of Congee). . . because it is more flavorful.  But this is one Congee I can eat because it is tasty enough for me.

And the best deal we got during lunch was ordered by Zola's Dad.  He ordered a Set Lunch (Salt and Pepper Fried Porkchop) which included a cup of rice and soup.  . . which I thought was good for one person since it was a set lunch.  When the order came, we were surprised to see this!

I had to ask Zola's Dad if he was sure that he ordered a set lunch and NOT the standard order, haha!  The portion was good enough for 2-3 persons.  The pork chop was so tender, with a touch of spice and love the garlic bits!  This set lunch was definitely value for money!

It was another food trip that made our tummies happy!
Wherever I am, whatever part of the world I'm in. . .the time zone may change but one thing would remains the same, my comfort food will always be dimsum.

What is your comfort food?

Thursday, November 15, 2012


I've been teaching the Little One to say her 3-syllabled name.  One day, I asked her what her name was and she said. . . Niiii-Na. (Never mind that she missed the first syllable)

Two Syllables.  Happiness.  Music to our ears. =)

Oh and she has become Mommy's Little Helper too . . .

She discovered that pushing the cart is much more fun than sitting on it, haha!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


The Little One crawled under the table (the one behind her) and when I took her out, her hair looked like this . . .

Ummm. . . Okay, I think we overlooked THAT part of the table when we were cleaning!  Haha!

Repurposing Coffee Filters

I wanted to strain the cooking oil we used (we fried some spring rolls) and reuse it for some other time.  I was looking for a strainer and Zola's Dad told me to just use coffee filter.  Coffee filter?!!  (My thought bubble:  Are you sure? Hehe)  He said he read it from the manual of the deep fryer he bought last year.  And being the good wife that I am (Haha!), I got a filter and started working on the oil.  (My thought bubble:  Would this really work?  Not that I don't believe you dear,   Haha!)  

And after a few minutes. ..


Goodbye unwanted food crumbs. . . .

Lesson for the Day:  The next time we need some kitchen solutions, ask our husbands . . . you'll never know. . . they might surprise us!  Haha!

I love you Hun!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Getting cozy with Tea

While walking down an aisle in Target (a happy place of mine, a department store in the US), this teapot caught my attention.  I am not a tea drinker . . . but I want to have it!  All because of this cute knitted thingie (which resembles a knitted hat).  Haha!

And this "thingie" actually has a name. . . it is called a tea cozy!  I didn't know there was such a thing, a tea cozy, until I read this pot's tag.  Guess it only shows that I'm not really a tea drinker, haha!  It's even in Wikipedia!  According to WIkipedia:

A tea cosy (American English: tea cozy) is a cover for a teapot,[1] traditionally made of cloth. It insulates a teapot, keeping the contents warm. They may have padded inserts that can be removed and washed.

Who knew that a regular trip to Target has become educational too! 

Nice to learn something new each day, right? =)

A Breakfast Treat - Bread Pudding

I woke up at 6am this morning and couldn't go back to sleep.

While the Little One and her Dad were still in Dreamland, I thought of baking a nice treat for this cold morning . . .a warm bread pudding with vanilla sauce looked appealing!  I haven't had bread pudding for quite some time now.  While it is not really up there in my list of favorite eats, it is something I enjoy eating once in a while.

I googled for the simplest recipes for bread pudding and found it here and for the vanilla sauce here (Thanks to Allrecipes.com!)  Luckily, the pantry has all the ingredients I need. . . a better way to use our 2-day old bread!

I haven't tried baking bread pudding so I was crossing my fingers the whole time!  But after getting a whiff of the newly baked bread pudding and tasting the vanilla sauce, I just had to say, it was surprisingly good!  Haha!  (Yeah, I wasn't really confident while baking this, haha!)  I wish though that my vanilla sauce was smoother.  But I was happy and extremely satisfied with my first bread pudding!  *I'm doing the dance of joy here*

And how did Zola's Dad find my bread pudding?  In the words of my loving husband. . . "It's good. . . but I hate raisins" . . . BUT I like raisins!  Haha!  He is actually thinking of buying condensed milk and pour it in his pudding the next time he is having it.  Not a bad idea, huh?  (But I would still go with my vanilla bean sauce sweetie!)

If you have old bread at home, you might want to try using them for a bread pudding =)

Happy Baking!

Ingredients (for the Bread Pudding)
8 slices of white bread
4 table spoons butter (Melted)
Raisins (optional)
4 eggs beaten
2 cups milk
3/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2) Break bread into small pieces into an 8 inch square baking pan.  Drizzle melted butter or margarine over bread.  If desired, sprinkle with raisins.  (Didn't have a pan so I used a circular baking dish)

3) In a medium mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Beat until well mixed. 

4) Pour over bread, and lightly push down with a fork until bread is covered and soaking up the egg mixture.

5)Bake in the preheated oven (350F) for 45 minutes, or until the top springs back when lightly tapped.  (Mine went for almost an hour)

For the vanilla sauce
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
a pinch of cinnamon
1 egg
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 cups whole milk
a pinch of salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For vanilla sauce, whisk 1/2 cup of light brown sugar, the flour, a pinch of cinnamon, 1 egg, 2 tablespoons of melted butter, 1 1/4 cups of whole milk,and salt together in a heavy saucepan until smooth. Heat over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and the sauce coats the back of a spoon, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the vanilla extract. Pour sauce over warm bread pudding, or serve on the side in a bowl.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sippy What?

Ummm, yeah, we skipped the sippy cup stage . . .

And no, she didn't have any of the orange-flavored drink from this bottle! =)

Hope you had a good weekend!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Tonight's Dinner: Garlic Butter Shrimps

I wanted to eat shrimps again but I want to save myself from some work (heehee).  So I cooked something which didn't need me to do some peeling and deveining!  (So that means no Gambas for tonight, haha!).  If you're looking for an easy peasy shrimp recipe, this Garlic Butter Shrimp is the answer.  (Garlic and Butter?  Love, love, love!)  Found this recipe in Panlasang Pinoy's website and added a few touches of my own. 

For the original recipe, you can go to this link.
- 1 lb shrimp
- 1/2 cup butter
- Garlic - okay, LOTS of garlic, heehee
- Ginger - chopped - I used a thumb size of ginger
- 1 can of lemon soda
- salt and pepper
- garlic powder - (as if the chopped garlic isn't enough, haha!)
- spring onions - chopped
- 1 tsp brown sugar (my star ingredient, haha!)

Cooking Directions
  1. Marinade the shrimp in lemon soda for at least 30 minutes.  I used at least half of the canned soda (just make sure your shrimps are covered with the soda)
  2. Melt the butter in a pan and add the garlic and cook it until the color turns light to golden brown.
  3. Put the shrimp and let it cook (wait for it to get that nice orange color)
  4. Pour-in the remaining lemon soda. 
  5. Add salt, pepper and a dash of garlic powder - according to your taste
  6. Let it boil until the liquid is slightly reduced
  7. Add the brown sugar (and let it do it's magic, haha!) and reduce the liquid a little bit more - according to the consistency you want
  8. Put the green onions and give it a stir .quid
  9. Serve it with hot steaming rice and a smile =)
I love this recipe!  It's simple, fast and YUMMM!  I'm glad I added brown sugar, I got that taste I was looking for. . .and next time, I'm going to cook 2 lbs of shrimp! Haha!

Yes, we got happy tummies after dinner!

Happy Cooking! 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Homemade Banana Cupcakes (for real!)

I am not really good at baking but I want to learn at least a few basic recipes.  We have some over ripe bananas sitting at the kitchen counter and I thought this is a good time to learn one recipe, Banana Bread!  Something I can claim to be homemade, made from scratch and not something from a box (for a change!  Haha!).  Remember the banana loaf we baked last week?

There are a lot of banana bread recipes in the Net but I think this recipe with Chocolate Chip and Walnuts which I found on the Epicurious site is the best (because it has easy to find/buy ingredients, haha!).  It also helped that there were reviews/comments written by those who tried the recipe (91% of those who tried it said they would make it again).  I've read some of the comments and have adjusted the recipe accordingly.  In case you want the original recipe, please click on this link.

I was supposed to make a banana loaf but since we have some cupcake liners at home, I thought cupcakes would be nice.

This cupcake may look simple . . .

But it was moist and just flavorful!  Whew!
I can taste the bananas, the right amount of chocolate chips and walnuts in every bite and a hint of cinnamon to bring it all together.  Definitely not from a box!  Haha!  I couldn't be any happier how the cupcakes turned out! 

If you don't bake and you want to try baking, but you don't know what to bake (and you don't have a mixer!  Haha!). . . this recipe is for you! It's Mom-Tested, Husband and Kid-approved too!

Here's the recipe (with adjustments):

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup (1stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Whisk first 4 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Combine chocolate chips and walnuts in small bowl; add 1 tablespoon flour mixture and toss to coat.

Beat butter in large bowl until fluffy. Gradually add sugar, beating until well blended. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Beat in mashed bananas, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Beat in flour mixture.  Add the choco chips, walnuts and cinnamon powder.

Use an ice cream scooper to put the mixture in the liners.  (I had one scoop for each cupcake)

Insert toothpick or fork in center.  If it comes out clean, your cupcakes are ready!

Baking Time: 15 mins.

Yield: 20 cupcakes 

Happy Baking! =)

Puss in Boots is in the house!

The Little One hit her Dad in the face so I told her to say "sorry" to him.  I said that in a good tone, low voice in a calm manner  . . . and then I saw her lips curl down, tears welling up and gave me this look . . .just like that!  This is isn't the first time.  It's like she has a switch that automatically turns on when she hears the word "Sorry" . . .

I've seen this face before (and you might have too . . .)

Puss in Boots is in the house!

I've mentioned in the previous post that I should start teaching her how to sit like a lady.  I guess I know what our second lesson is. . . saying sorry (something which grown ups have a hard time saying too, heehee)

I think this is not the last time we are going to see this face!

My Fair Lady

One of the things my mother taught me early on was to sit properly, make sure I keep my legs together and  sit like a lady.

Something which I should be teaching the Little One. . . NOW!  Heehee

Have a nice day ahead! =)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Musical Chairs

I think the longest time that the Little One can sit in her high chair is 10 mins.  Then she wants to go and sit on her Papa's lap while having her meals and after a few minutes she would go and sit on mine.

But things have changed . . . she can sit still now during her entire meal, but  NOT on her high chair . . .

But on our chair!  She likes doing what grown-ups do.

And that is why we have this directory in the dining table . . .

Our improvised booster seat!  Thank you Yellow Pages! 

Goes without saying, resourcefulness is one trait we have developed, haha!

Monday, November 5, 2012

While Zola's Dad was sleeping . . .

We played around with his phone and took photos of ourselves (spell "bored", haha!) . . . 

And let PicMonkey play with our photos =)

Hope you had a picture perfect and fun weekend!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

It's Play Time!

We went to Target to get some stuff (just diaper and distilled water) for the Little One.  So we knew what to buy, we know what aisle to get it from (after countless trips!),  it was supposed to be a quick stop.  But we ended up staying for at least an hour I think!  Haha!
All because Zola's Dad and I played Dress Up. . . with the Little One.  The grown ups enjoyed this game for the most part, haha!  

I let her try on this sequined beret (cue Music - Aladdin's A Whole New World - shining, shimmering, splendid, haha!)

Saw some cute  ear muffs too . . .

Zola's Dad put on her this hat . . .
Trivia:  This is called a Trilby hat, a narrow-brimmed fedora (I googled!  Haha!)

I love this tweed hat, which I think is a newsboy cap

Couldn't get enough of the sequined beret, this time, I got a pink one!

I just had to get this one too . . .see the look on her face, she's getting impatient already with Mama and Papa's play time!  Haha!

Trivia:  This type of hat is called an Ushanka, also called shapka, trooper or Trapper's hat.  It is a Russian winter hat with ear flaps.  (Thanks Wikipedia!)

I thought I was done with the hats but I couldn't leave without letting her try on these cute cropped vests!  (Sorry Sweetie. . . )
Rock star-ish??? Haha!

Inspired by Suri's style again, haha!

Photo Source

I think we just found a new way to entertain ourselves, haha!  We just keep on doing it . . . 

I can't wait for our next trip the mall!  Teehee

Have a nice weekend ahead!
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