Thursday, July 31, 2014

Spinach Quiche Muffins

We ate out too much sometime during one weekend the past few month that when I opened my crisper that day, there was an abundance of vegetables that were in danger of rotting if not cooked immediately.  I had broccoli, spinach, asparagus - all bought from the organic market.  Too expensive to throw out.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Ways To Wear Breton Stripes ... And of Birthdays & Biblical Beauty

I noticed that my J's wardrobe lately has been full of basic and androgynous shoes.  Oxfords in brown, black and tan.  Converse sneakers in white, black and charcoal. Those shoes  and Breton shirts, denim cut-offs, skater skirts and origami skorts. Those are her weekend staples.

Her dressing style is casual, simple and practical.  And most of all, NOT skimpy!  Her choice of clothing still has enough fabric to cover ALL the essentials. I am sure for most parents, that makes the perfect style & fashion sense of all!!!

She has also grown so tall over the past year, that she towers over me now.  I am happy that she can now raid my closet... and vice versa!  In the photo below, she wears my brown gingham Max Mara skirt, vintage circa early 1990's, when I was still a Makati banker.  Eeep!  Close to 2 decades na, my age is showing! hahaha! But take that out of the way, for I consider it an honor of the highest order when my teenager rummages through my wardrobe for something that she could borrow.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

{Weekend Footnotes} Sunday Dimsum Buffet at LiLi + DIY Pork Floss Bread Recipe

We had a major feast last Sunday when we visited LiLi at the Hyatt Hotel, and had our favorite Sunday Dimsum Buffet.  I am already warning you that this is going to be a very photo-heavy post because I took photos of almost everything we ate, with a few exceptions because I couldn't take out my iPhone fast enough.

Out of habit, I started my meal with this light congee.  I got this from my MIL who always reminds everyone to start the meal with something light to prepare the tummy for the gastronomic feast that follows.

Next up, the live cooking and roasted station with Peking Duck pancakes and Crispy Pan-Fried Sichuan Pork Dumplings.

BBQ Pork Belly and Honey Roasted BBQ Pork

Haninan Chicken Sushi, Marinated Oolong Tea Eggs, Pig's Knuckle with Jellyfish
The dimsum and main dishes are ordered by ticking off from a menu board.  It is so easy to just order everything, but it is best to practice moderation because we have to be mindful of our waist, and also leftovers are not allowed on the table.:)

Fish Dumplings with Salmos Fish Roe, Vegetarian dumpling, Fresh Scallop Dumpling with Sweet Corn, SioMai with Crabmeat

Deep-Fried Scallops with Shrimp Mousse in Black Pepper Sauce

Pan_Fried Garoupa Fillet with Chilli and Garlic in Coconut Sauce

Wok-Fried Shrimps with Cashew Nut

Becho-Becho stuffed with Minced Shrimp with Steamed Rice Roll

Deep-Fried Norwegian Salmon and Turnip Pockets.  Only 2 pieces ordered by my little girl who really has a curios and diversified culinary palate.

Crispy Fried Taro Puff with Crispy Shrimp.  Pan-Fried Turnip Cake.

Slow-Cooked Spare-Ribs "Wuxi" style. You have to order this one!  The meat is so tender and flavorful.

Deep-Fried Carb Claws stuffed with Cuttlefish Mousse with Slivered Almond.  One of my favorites, too!
We ordered a lot more items, but the food was good that sometimes I forget to take photos before I reach and eat. hahaha!

The dessert selection is housed is a small room but is filled with mostly traditional Chinese desserts

I want to go back to LiLi already!

The Sunday Dimsum Buffet is available every Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m, P1,650 nett per person.

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Whenever the kids are home, the kitchen is the busiest place in the house!  I do not exaggerate! Kain ng kain! So last Saturday, I thought of teaching them how to DIY one of their favorite Bread Talk snacks: the pork floss bread.  It is so good and so easy that even my 9-year old son was able to prepare one by himself, with no supervision at all ha, for Sunday breakfast.  Winner!
1. Spread condensed milk on the cut-side of the bread.  Any bread will do, but a soft bread is ideal.  For this one, the only available bread in the house is a baguette, so that's what we used.  We also tried making it with regular sandwich bread with fine results.
2. Put a thin layer of Japanese mayo.
3. Top with your favorite brand of pork floss.

Our favorite brand of floss is Lim Chee Guan, which can be bought in Singapore.  I remember queueing up for it when we went to Singpore to buy as pasalubongs for family and friends.  So whenever relatives or good friends are in SG, we ask them to buy bagfuls for us, and I store them in the refrigerator for longer shelf life.
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My B is a Harry Potter geek, in part because all of her good friends are so into it, as well.  Last Saturday, one of her friends celebrated her birthday with a play-date, and everyone came dressed in their best Hogwarts School costume, complete with the wizards' wands, Harry Potter chocolate frogs, Berttie Botts jelly beans with the grossest flavors.  

I love B's friends because everyone is just so creative; every playdate is always full activities that are imaginative and full of make-believe. It makes me so grateful that on most days when she comes home from school, my B is so full of kwentos about how her friends are so nice and fun to be with.

- - - * * * - - -
On a different note, I have always wanted to memorize more bible verses because I really find them so useful in motivating myself to be a better wife and mother, and also in encouraging and disciplining my kids.  But I guess I don't really know how to go about it; plus with my busy schedule, it seems to always be pushed back to the bottom of my list of things to do.

I am so thankful that I discovered this wonderful app called SheReadsTruth, which helps me be more intentional in memorizing the Scripture.  The app provides beautiful images with Bible verses, which are available for FREE download.  The image below is already saved as my lockscreen, so each time I open my iPhone, I will remember to memorize this verse. New week, new lockscreen, new verse to memorize. How convenient is that!

Let's all try to make everything we do this week more purposeful!


Friday, July 18, 2014

Japan Day 4: Western Kyoto (Kinkakuji)

The afternoon sun was high in the sky when we left Arashiyama in the Western part of Kyoto.  We took the train for our next stop, Kinkakuji at Northern Kyoto. Kinkakuji or Golden Pavilion is one of Japan’s must-visit tourist destinations. As a UNESCO World Heritage site, you can be sure it is worth the venture.

Kinkakuji is a Zen temple in northern Kyoto whose top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf. The temple was the retirement villa of the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, and according to his will it became a Zen temple of the Rinzai sect after his death in 1408. Kinkakuji was the inspiration for the similarly named Ginkakuji (Silver Pavilion), built by Yoshimitsu's grandson, Ashikaga Yoshimasa, on the other side of the city a few decades later.

Though the pavilion is not that big, it is still impressive because of its brilliant golden walls.  The pavilion and its golden reflection shimmering on the rippled water of the pond water create a beautiful and peaceful atmosphere.

But in reality, this temple was packed on the day of our visit, and is the case for almost any day of the year. I recommend to visit early in the day or just before closing to avoid the huge crowd of tourist.  But personally, I scheduled our visit during sunset because the place is best viewed when the amber tinge of the sky sets off the golden temple. Notice how my photos take on a more golden hue as our stay in Kinkakuji progress.

The rear view of Kinkakuji.
The small structure attached to the pavilion is actually a fishing deck that is called Sosei. They say that a small boat can be moored under it.

Another view of the rear of the pavilion

The place closes at 5pm sharp so it's best to get there around 4pm or earlier.
With people slowly trickling out towards the exit, we headed out the place ourselves, even if I wanted to stay a little bit longer to enjoy the scenery.

We found a secluded spot by the exit... and of course we stopped for some picture taking.  The place was too beautiful to not stop.:)
 This time borrowing the aviators of J kase ang taas pa ng araw

Here's my Big Girl!  Grabbed this from her IG account.  She is so cute!

Do not ride the city bus during the rush hour of 5-6pm as you will get stuck in traffic for my sisters soon found out for themselves.  After we exited Kinkakuji, C decided to ride a taxi to go back to the Kyoto train station to go back to Osaka; he computed it would be more economical for our family of 5 to do so. Had my sisters wanted to take a cab also, we would've split our group into two cabs and let J ride with my sisters, but my sisters decided to ride on a bus instead.

It wasn't a long ride to the station but my Li'l Man was tired and took a short nap in the cab.

We got to the station, and we expected my sisters to follow after around 25-20 minutes, so we checked out the nearby grocery, and bought some food for my hungry bunch.
 Since we were there already, mag shop na din for my kitchen pantry.
When it was time to pay, extra charge daw for plastic bags.  Of course, I didn't want to pay for plastic bags, so ayan... It's good his backpack is adjustable. hahaha!
After 20 more minutes, we got a text message from them saying they were stuck in traffic because the bus took so many stops along the way.  So we went in the bookstore where he freeloaded, and she bought several Japanese drawing books.  Can you just look at his overstuffed backpack full of Japanese chocolates and potato chips?

After another 15 minutes, another text, "kita na lang bukas!"  Tee-hee! it took them that long. We went ahead to Osaka and had dinner at KYK, a tonkatsu place located at Namba Parks.

When my sisters finally got to the Kyoto station, they decided to indulge and went to ride a Shinkansen back to Osaka.  It wasn't really worth it to ride a Shinkansen for such a short journey, because a ticket for the Shinkansen is so expensive. But my sisters did it for the experience or riding a Shinkansen, so that makes it worth it for them.

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