Countdown to the Thirteenth: 13 Days

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In our culture, the number 13 is seen as a bad omen. There’s Friday the 13th and even buildings eliminating the 13th floor label. I was never a believer of these and now I have even more reason to love the number 13.

In 13 days, our daddy bunny will be coming home from his 2-month stint in the U.S. Surely, a lot of people will say that 2 months is not THAT long and technically, it isn’t. But in our household, where time is high priority, 2 months is two long months.

To say that we’re excited for his homecoming is an understatement. On several occasions, Yui would just call out to her daddy out of the blue. Whenever she’s not feeling well, she would call for daddy as well. When daddy went on a 4-week Japan trip, Yui can’t stop hugging and touching him when we fetched him from the airport. I can just imagine how she would react after missing him for 2 months.

Anyway, to kill some time while waiting for daddy, Yui and I are just doing silly things everyday. And to countdown daddy’s arrival, I’d post some of the silliest moves that we’ve been doing the past weeks.

Can’t wait for the 13th! 

13 Days

13 Days: We will party when you come home, daddy. Here’s my party girl badge and hat all ready!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Purple

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I came across the Daily Post blog just recently and spent the whole week thinking if I should join the Weekly Photo Challenge. I wanted my first time to be special so I kept thinking of what to post for that week’s challenge. I ended up thinking too long that the theme changed. Ha!

Then I saw this week’s photo challenge which is PURPLE. You see, purple is not really my favorite color but as the little one grows up, the color just stuck with our family. Yui has a lot of purple things and clothes because I think sometimes pink is just too much and too girly. Purple is just right. It’s cute but not too flashy. Eventually, when Yui started expressing her likes and dislikes, she just decided that her favorite color is PURPLE.

I wanted my first post in the weekly challenge to be special and what best way to join than posting a photo of my little girl in her favorite color, purple. 🙂

My little purple girl

The Little One

My First Recipe Scrapbook

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Two of my long-time teammates in Cebu recently moved out of the project and we planned to give them tokens as a thank you for all their efforts. One of them loves to cook so we decided on a recipe book for her. Since I was in the mood for some scrapbooking time, I volunteered to create her recipe book instead of just buying something from the store. I collected recipes from the whole team – be it their favorite food with recipe from the internet or the specialty dish that they love to cook. After gathering their inputs, I was all set to make my very first recipe scrapbook.

I loved how it turned out and wanted the book for myself. Haha! I hope Kat will have the time to make the dishes that we shared in our little scrapbook. So, here’s our favorites…

 

 

The Joys and Pains of Condo Living

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Who doesn’t want to have a house with a huge backyard where you can set up a barbecue picnic and where your children can play and build a tree house? I would definitely love that! Early on in our relationship, Daddy Bunny and I wanted to have a house as well but as we build our family, living in a condo started to have an appeal to us. We weighed our options and in the end we decided that driving 2-3hrs from up north or down south to our office in the metro will eat up a lot of our time. So here we are now, living several floors above sea level.

After 2 years of living in a “box”, I’m still in a love-hate relationship with condo living. I’ve listed down some of the things that I love and hate about our place:

The Good

1. Location. Right now, condos mushroomed everywhere and try to make it convenient to dwellers by building near key areas around the metro. There are condos right outside MRT stations, malls, and business districts. Ours is just a 5-minute jeepney ride from the MRT, a 10-minute drive to the great north malls and with restaurants and “gimik” places on our street.

2. Everything within reach. Condos also offer different features and amenities to attract homeowners. One of the things that I like about our place is that I only have to go down and I can do a lot of things – have coffee with my loved ones, do the grocery, transact in the bank, sing my heart out in the karaoke, or have my eyes checked by “Dr. Eyes”.

Establishments just an elevator ride away

Establishments just an elevator ride away

3. Friends abound. I heard somewhere that condo dwellers live too close to each other but still they don’t know their neighbors. Good for us, we met very good people that became our friends. Most of them we met through Yui’s playgroup and the bonding became stronger as days go by and our kids grow bigger. There are several times when Yui’s teachers came to the families’ rescue. One time, lola Joy (Yui’s classmate’s lola) had a mild stroke and there were only her and the grandson at home. She called her daughter at the office who in turn called teacher Pia. Teacher Pia arrived immediately with her husband and together they helped bring lola Joy to the hospital. We all feel lucky to have each other. 🙂

The Bad

1. Security. There are a lot of reported home robbery since we came here and we even know some of the victims personally. Given that there are a lot of possible exits in the building and even if they deploy A LOT of guards in the area, it really is difficult to stop the crime. We also think that some of these goons’ MO is to rent out a unit so that they just have to bring their loot in their home. Scary!

2. Discipline. Some people are just irresponsible. Sometimes I pity the building administrators because no matter how hard they try to educate the people, there are still those that don’t follow. In our corridor alone, several neighbors just leave their garbage outside their door even if the garbage chute is only a few steps away. Some would even leave their garbage outside the chute’s door. Like duh, how hard is it to open that damn door and put your trash inside? Really?!?! And even if there’s a BIG NOTE, people still defy it. Tsk. Tsk.

Mga Pasaway

Mga Pasaway

3. Construction Noise. As units around us get constructed,  sometimes the noise is just too much. Babies wake up from their sleep from all the loud noise and the dust coming out of the opened door cause asthma on some of the kids as well.

The Verdict

Although sometimes I get high blood from our neighbor’s trash and other pain in the neck that living here can bring, I’m still happy with our place.  Maybe someday we can still get that house and lot but today, condo living is enough. I feel lucky to have my family and friends close by and a roof on my head.

Temple Yoga

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One of my colleagues in Cebu recently started attending yoga classes. When I was there last June I got the chance to attend one. But it wasn’t just an ordinary yoga class. It was a yoga and meditation class that will be held in a Buddhist temple, the very first time that the Surya Nanda Yoga studio organized.

Temple Yoga Invitation

Temple Yoga Invitation

It looks to be a promising experience so despite our tired bodies (coming from an outing the day before), we woke up early Sunday morning to attend the yoga class. There were a lot of participants, ranging from the young to the senior citizens and with different yoga experiences. Newbies like us and veteran yoga practitioners all joined together in a one-hour sweat-inducing, body-flexing yoga class.

Yoga attendees

While waiting for the class to start. Once it started, the temple was filled with participants.

After the yoga, we immersed in a 30-minute meditation with Mr. Erwin Go from the Chu Un temple. It was a very relaxing experience and something that we can all practice in our daily routines.

Inside the temple

You can pick one spot to look at when meditating, like the corner post in front of the temple

The registration fee of Php 200 included a vegetarian breakfast after the yoga and meditation session. We all feasted on tofu, mushrooms and fruits. It was a different breakfast spread from the usual tapsilog and tosilog but it was a great way to end the program. We went home with a clearer mind and a happy tummy.

Vegetarian breakfast

Vegetarian breakfast

I was able to talk with Ms. Jean Torrefranca, one of the owners of Surya Nanda studio and she mentioned that their group frequents the meditation sessions of Mr. Go every Thursday nights. Their yoga studio is less than a year old but their classes are always full, according to my colleague who goes there. Even doctors and lawyers who are regulars in the yoga classes mentioned that yoga helps them in their cases by clearing their minds and bodies. Surya Nanda’s yoga classes are also way cheaper than in Manila which makes me wish it was also that affordable here. If it is, I’ll be sure to go weekly.

All in all it was a great experience and something that I will try again soon when there’s an opportunity.

Chu Un Buddhist Temple

Chu Un Buddhist Temple

Our First Banapple Experience

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Despite living in a very busy area, teeming with restaurants left and right, it’s very seldom for us to venture and eat out as we would normally just stay at home especially Sundays. So it’s not surprising that I’ve never been to Banapple. For me, Sunday brunch is a great time to go and experience what the kitchen has to offer.  I guess not only me but a lot of people feel the same way, seeing that the place was jam-packed when we arrived a little past 10 am.

Banapple has a homey appeal with its interior decor and lighting fixtures. It reminds me of country side homes that I used to see in magazines. The only downside I noticed is that their aircon units are not strategically placed. It keeps on blowing really cold air to the diners. So our food also gets cold really fast. Maybe they’re challenged with the little floor area, that’s why.

We ordered a lot for a group of 6 and really had a hard time walking after. We were so full! 🙂 The first to be served are our drinks. Yui became our official drinks taster as she sipped from the Banapple smoothie, homemade Iced Tea and Iced Choco. Her vote went to the Iced tea. If I was eating the pancake only, I might have finished my Banapple smoothie but I had some Banapple salad, longanisa with caramelized onions, pancakes and chips. So I only drank about half of the smoothie.

Everyone had a great time sampling the dishes and picking out the baked goodies to bring home. Speaking of goodies, the glazed almond and carrot loaf and cookie fudge crinkles were also such a treat. Surely, it was a fun gastronomic experience at Banapple. Not bad for a first-timer. 🙂

Asian at Home

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Whenever I encounter a recipe that requires special asian ingredients, I would normally balk away. I guess it’s mainly because I feel “hindi sulit” to buy something expensive and not use it regularly. But after experiencing Teriyaki Boy’s Tofu Steak and seeing a similar recipe in my latest Yummy book, I got the guts to finally made the big asian food leap.

One rainy night, I went to a nearby Japanese/Korean supermarket and purchased my first ever Sake and Mirin. Expensive, yes. But looks like I’ll be using them frequently. Sarap kasi! 🙂

Asian Cooking Ingredients

Sake and Mirin. The Gods for Asian Cooking.

Having completed my ingredients, I ventured into a new adventure and tried this.

Crunchy Tofu

Crunchy Tofu Steak and Mushrooms

Crunchy Tofu Steak and Mushrooms

Ingredients:

500g firm tofu block, drained and sliced into 16 squares

3/4 cup flour, seasoned with 1 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper

1 egg, lightly beaten with 2 tbsp milk or water

1 1/2 cups Japanese breadcrumbs

oil for deep-frying

For the mushroom sauce

3 tbsp sake

3 tbsp mirin

1 1/2 tbsp light soy sauce

3 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp butter

1 tbsp oil

1/2 cup chopped onions

2 tsp minced garlic

2 cups chopped fresh mushrooms (I used oyster)

1/2 tbsp cornstarch, dissolved in 1/2 tbsp water

salt and pepper to taste

1. Dredge tofu squares in flour, dip in egg, then coat with breadcrumbs. Deep-fry in hot oil until golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels.

2. Make the mushroom sauce: Combine sake, mirin, soy sauce, and brown sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.

3. In a frying pan, melt butter and heat the oil. Saute the onions then add garlic and cook until fragrant. Over high heat, add mushrooms and cook until tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the soy sauce mixture and mix well. Add the dissolved conrstarch and let mixture thicken slightly. Season with salt and pepper and mix well.

4. Arrange tofu squares in serving dish then pour the mushroom sauce on top.