Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Ice Ice Baby

In less than 24 hours we will be on a plane to be with family in San Fransisco. AND this is what we are leaving behind in Toronto ..... ice and ice everywhere!

Shared with : Weekly Top Shot

Friday, December 20, 2013

December Daily {Day 20}

 Twenty seven years ago today, after dating for almost a year, you asked me if I can be your girlfriend. With a shy smile I said yes. Twenty seven years after, we still celebrate....always with gladness.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Arroz Caldo {Lugaw or Filipino Style Chicken Congee}

In the Philippines, Arroz Caldo {also known as "lugaw"} is a common street food usually eaten for breakfast specially during the rainy season. When we moved here in Canada, I made it a point to cook "lugaw" during winter. Served steaming hot, this tasty inexpensive  treat is a delicious way to beat the cold winter blues.

There are several ways to prepare this dish. The soup base can be chicken or beef broth. But either way, what makes it even special are the toppings that go with the dish.

Arroz Caldo


2 tablespoons canola oil (or other vegetable oil)
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 thumb-sized fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
5 cups homemade chicken stock (recipe below)
2 cups shredded boiled chicken meat (from Chicken stock recipe)
1 cup jasmine rice
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 hard-boiled eggs, quartered for topping
2 spring onions, thinly sliced for topping
1 cup fried tofu, diced for topping
Calamansi or lemon


In a large stockpot,  the garlic, onion and ginger in oil over medium heat. Cook until onion is translucent. Do not burn the garlic.
Add the rice. Stir and coat the rice with sautéed garlic, onion and ginger.
Add the shredded chicken meat (pre-boiled from chicken stock recipe) and cook for another minute while stirring. 
Pour chicken stock, and fish sauce.
Cover the pan and simmer over medium to low heat.
Stir frequently and simmer until the rice are cooked through, about 25 to 30 minutes. Add more chicken stock if rice is getting too sticky.
To serve, ladle arroz caldo into bowls and garnish with spring onions, hard-boiled egg, fried tofu.
Drizzle with lemon or calamansi (optional)

Homemade Chicken Stock


4 pieces chicken thigh{leg attached}
3 liters of water
1 large onion, quartered
2 carrots chopped
3 ribs celery
2 bay leaves


Put chicken  into a large stock pot and cover with 3 litters of  water. Add  onion, carrots and celery.
Season with salt and pepper.
Bring to a boil and immediately reduce heat to bring the stock to barely a simmer.
Simmer uncovered at least 1 1/2 hours, occasionally skimming off the foam that comes to the surface.
Remove chicken and let it cool. Remove chicken meat from bones and set aside for Arroz Caldo recipe above 
Strain the stock. Use 5 cups of stock for the recipe above. The rest can be stored for later use.

Monday, December 16, 2013

December Daily {Day 15}

[snow.storm] a storm with widespread snowfall accompanied by strong winds

We had our first major snowstorm of the season this weekend. It started on Saturday afternoon and lasted until Sunday evening. We relished the warmth and comfort of home the entire Saturday watching our favorite Christmas movies while munching on anything and everything in our pantry.

By Sunday morning, we are so ready to get some fresh air so after church, hubby and I drove to the nearby Hy-Hope Farm for some hot apple cider and freshly baked bread pudding.  We had so much fun that hubby said we will make this a tradition from now on : a trip to the farm after the first winter snow storm.

Can't argue with that!

As they say, when it snows, you have two choices : you shovel or make snow angels. We did both : had fun first then we shoveled!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Naked Trees

One of my obsessions in photography is capturing the beauty of a tree's bare limbs against the dramatic colors of the sky. Unmindful of the cold and damp wind last weekend, hubby and I went to Lynde Shores Conservation area just before dusk. 

And there they are - the trees in their naked glories - intricate, delicate and simply amazing!

The beauty of creation knows no boundaries!

Shared with : Weekly Top Shot

December Daily {December 13}

[in.dulge] allow oneself to enjoy the pleasure of
I came home from work bearing gifts of sweet {but sinful-on-my-waist}goodies from friends and business partners. It will take a lot of will power not to indulge! But hey, who's watching?

Have a safe and fun snowy weekend!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

December Daily {Day 11}

[warmth] the state, sensation, or quality of producing or having a moderate degree of heat;  friendliness, kindness, or affection


Winter is still a week away but baby, it is cold in our neck of the woods! Wind chill warnings have been issued since Tuesday and it seems like it will continue until the end of the week. With wind chill temperature readings between -16C to -20C {3.2F to -4F}, it is time for a few of my favorite things @ home sweet home.....
  • ice wine tea in dainty tea cups
  • thick white fleece blanket
  • bright colored wool socks
  • pine tree scented candles
  • and a bear hug from hubby!
Keep a warm heart everyone!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Bites and Nibbles @ Taste Ramen + Fusion

When we were in Ottawa some weeks ago, it was cloudy and bone-chilling cold. I wanted to stay inside the hotel and swim but when hubby said we can walk outside then have some hot soup for lunch. Who can argue with that?
Bundled like a pair of Eskimos, we walked along Bank Street and found this restaurant with Ramen on its name so we gave it a try.


The place was not big {just comfy} and was still empty when we arrive but  was full after 20 minutes with clientele from office buildings on Bank Street. 

Between the takoyaki (octopus balls) and gyoza that we shared for  appetizers, I enjoyed the latter (gyoza was crispy and the filling was delicious}.  I have been eating takoyaki since I was in my teens. I even know how to make them. Normally, takoyaki  are grilled in a special cast iron molded pan. But here, it has too much oil and it tasted like they were deep fried than grilled.

Now for the ramen - we decided to order 2 different kinds - seafood spicy ramen  for  my hubby and BBQ pork for me. Servings were generous and the soup on both bowls were hot {perfect for a cold day!}.  As for the taste, let's just say that I will not order the BBQ pork again. It was bland and oily. The redeeming factor was the spicy seafood ramen - both hubby and I loved it - very tasty and just enough spiciness to crave for more.

  Taste Ramen + Fusion
197 Bank Street Ottawa Ontario

Taste Ramen + Fusion 味 on Urbanspoon

Monday, December 9, 2013

December Daily {Day 8}

[pre.pare] to make ready beforehand for a specific purpose

Today, I used one of the photos I took last Saturday afternoon at the Lynde Shores Conservation Park. I love how the pavement narrows at the end of the road as if leading to the blue skies. When I shot this, I have no idea that this photo will be perfect for this Sunday's Gospel.


Sunday, December 8, 2013

December Daily {Day 7}

[] sense of significance

The temperature is below zero so hubby and I ditched our plan to walk along the lake and go to the mall instead {what a compromise!}

Shopping and Christmas unfortunately go hand in hand. If the intent to shop is to find something to make somebody in on your list happy, somehow that tilt the balance on the positive. Anyways, giving is one of the true essence of Christmas. BUT if shopping transforms someone to become violent over a large television that is sale, I can't help but ask - "are we losing the real meaning of this wonderful celebration?" 

I hope not!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Painting the Town RED

At around 5 PM last Saturday, I was in my craft studio working on a paper project when I heard my hubby downstairs calling me and telling me to grab the camera and hurry up. In this house, capturing the moment is a BIG thing so I know I am in for a treat. I run excitedly towards the porch and this was the first thing I saw ...

My jaw dropped and the first thing that came to mind was there was a big fire down the street and flames were causing the red clouds. But there was no smoke. Then I heard my hubby who was now standing beside me said ...."isn't it beautiful"! We walked near the pond at the end of our street for a better view of the sky.

The temperature was below zero but I hardly noticed the cold air. We just stood there gazing at heaven in its crimson splendor. It was flaming red for a good 3 minutes until it gave way to a paler shade of magenta and the blue tinge of night started to claim its domain.


These captured moments truly painted the town RED!

Shared with : Weekly Top Shot

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

BBQ Roast Beef with Sunny Side Up Egg Surprise

If a dense fog is the first thing I see from our bedroom window upon waking up, comfort food is surely on the way to our kitchen table.  Yesterday was definitely one of those days which calls for a meal that boosts the energy and shakes off the cold and damp weather.


A crackly-crusted, chewy, light-textured, freshly baked bread and a hearty bowl of steaming soup are staple comfort foods here at home. Today I kicked it up a notch by topping a slice of artisan bread with barbequed roast beef and fried sunny side up egg. A real treat indeed!


Roast Beef and Egg Surprise

Ingredients {serves two}

1 tbsp. cooking oil
1 Pound  store bought good quality roast beef {from the deli section; sliced 1/4 inch thick}
1/2 cup of your favorite BBQ {any flavor}
1/4 cup water or beef broth
2 fresh eggs
2 tbsp. butter
2 thick slices of artisan/country style bread
pickled vegetables {optional}


Heat cooking oil in a pan.
Add sliced roast beef in a single layer. In batches, cook meat until light brown on both sides.
When all the slices of beef are cooked, put all the meat slices back in the pan.
Add BBQ sauce and water and simmer for a minute or two. Turn off heat.
Meanwhile, fry eggs {one at a tine} sunny side up. Set aside
Heat another frying pan.
Spread butter on both sides of slice bread.
Toast bread on frying pan until both sides are golden brown.
Put slices of BBQ roast beef on bread and add fried egg on top of beef.
Garnish with pickled vegetables and enjoy with a glass of  Merlot!

December Daily {Day 3}

[calm]  serenity; tranquility; peace; undisturbed

[bright] glorious; splendid; shining

All is calm, all is bright! After the day's work, we went to our usual twice a month Library Date at the Whitby Public Library followed by a simple {not-so-healthy-but-oh-my-so-good} dinner at my hubby's favorite local place serving Kuhchia {Hakka} Cuisine.
In these days of iPads, Kobo, Kindle, Bookeen. etc., both hubby and I still find pleasure in reading real books and magazine. Don't get me wrong, we love new technologies but when it comes to books and magazines, there nothing compares to the joy of holding and smelling the pages of a real book in our hands. We will hold on to this Library Date until we are old and grey - until there are still real books lined on book cases. We hope and pray that libraries will not be one of the casualties of modern era.
Surrounded by books and letters, ALL IS CALM, ALL IS BRIGHT!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

December Daily {Day Two}

[com.fort]  A condition or feeling of pleasurable ease, well-being, and contentment 

[joy] Especially ecstatic or exultant happiness


After a whole day of rain yesterday, we woke up this morning to a dense fog that lasted until mid morning. It was one of those Mondays that hubby and I would rather snuggle  happily under the covers instead of going to work but the power of the alarm clock is mightier than the fog! I promised hubby we'll have some comfort food for dinner tonight and somehow that gave me the energy to go through the day.


Comfort food for me is freshly baked artisan bread - oh yeah -  crackly-crusted, chewy, light-textured, delicious bread is always a treat. Before heading home after work I went to my favorite bäckerei {bakery} Dimpflmeier for a sunflower-crusted-ancient-grain loaf which will be the base for my  "Roast Beef and Egg Surprise" recipe.

Fog on a December day can come anytime but we'll always have our comfort and joy here @ home!

Find Recipe Here

Monday, December 2, 2013

December Daily {Day One}

[twin-kle] to shine with slight, intermittent gleams; to be bright or sparkling

This word somewhat captured the mood today here @ home sweet home. Outside, it was freezing cold, grey and wet so after attending the first Sunday of Advent service at church, we spent the whole day @ home feasting on vegetable samosa, chicken biryani and mint tea. I don't know about you but for me rainy days and Indian food seems to be the perfect combination!
Hubby also took all the Christmas décor boxes from the basement and we finished decorating the house and our tree with garlands, twigs, ribbons, angels and scented candles. By 6PM, the tree was lighted and finally I can say that's it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas at home!
Lastly I want to remember the homily of our Pastor this morning. As we prepare our home for the coming holidays, I will take time to let the light from my heart shines as well. For in my  heart dwells the true reason why I wait for Christmas....

I am also sharing on today's post the Title Page of my December Daily album .... oh yeah, there's twinkle on it too!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Hello December

December is here! 

I am one of those who can't wait for December to come. The wonderful  moth when every thing seems  lovely and nice. Every body {well, almost} is cheerful and friendly. Every day is filled with activities related to the coming holidays. Coincidentally, today is also the first Sunday of Advent in the Christian Calendar. To capture {and preserve} the spirit, the cheer and traditions shared with family and friends,  I will participate in Ali Edward's annual Daily December.

From today until Dec 25th, hubby and I will document the next 24 days days {through photos} leading to Christmas. Memories that will be worth remembering  many years from now.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...