Tag Archives: cooking

When Life Gives You Bananas Instead

20 May

Recently the pandemic SOP restrictions for travels and visits have been lifted. So we visited my aunt and cousin – it was a fruitful visit, literally. We came home with papayas and bananas. So wonderful! It wasn’t a case of getting lemons and making lemonade, but bananas and making a bunch of yummies!

The papayas tasted very different from those from our garden, but nice nevertheless. We couldn’t figure out what species was the bananas, so we had to wait for them to ripen. And when they did, we still couldn’t pinpoint the species. Lol! Oh well.

We discovered the banana tastes best when combined with something. Eating it on its own does not taste as good. So what do you do or make when there are so many bananas?

First, there was the banana smoothie, which was so good and filling. I used lactose intolerant milk so that I could drink the smoothie too. Then there’s the banana bread baked by hubby. Delicious! After these two efforts, there were still a lot of bananas left, so I made a banana sorbet, which tasted simply heavenly.

Banana galore!

It’s such a simple recipe that I found online using just three ingredients. Bananas, which we had plenty of, and lime and honey! Blend them several times to be as smooth as possible, then freeze. Best eaten during hot days. So now you know, when life gives you bananas, make bread, smoothies, and sorbet!

A Welcome Celebration

29 Apr

What a difference with another year passing by for birthday celebrations! The existence of Covid-19 makes it hard for us to predict what can happen with its spread making daily situations so volatile. We cannot plan special occasions so far ahead because things are constantly evolving. Even as I write, the SOPs will change again come next month.

Two years ago, my birthday dinner celebration was a muted affair. We stayed home because of the pandemic and had food delivered. There were scores and scores of containers for the meal. It wasn’t the best in presentation, but being at home made up for it, given the virus fear and lockdown circumstances. Last year, it was a blur, and honestly, I don’t remember what we did on my special day.

This year, things are a little bit different. A spontaneous four-day gastronomic journey that began on Sunday to celebrate instead of a golf getaway like we usually do. Moreover, we just went on a golf trip to Forest City recently, so another trip now is too soon. This mission to discover new food to savor in the run-up to the actual birthday is much appreciated for the chef in me to have the week off from making dinner nightly! Woo hoo.

Lovely fine dining Japanese dinner
We ate to our fill!
We came home to cut my yummy Lemon Pistachio birthday cake
We played a post-birthday round of golf!

The birthday dinner was also a welcome change for various reasons. It was the first fine-dining experience after the many lockdowns we had during the pandemic. Secondly, it’s the first year with M1 joining us, being away for her education, and missing my birthday celebrations for the last six years. All in all, a welcome celebration. A toast to a good year ahead for me, and be in the best of health and mind.

A Terrible Start, Part 3

7 Jan

I can’t seem to shake off this terrible start to 2022, for it has continued! Dang. It was after dinner when the latest mishap happened.

It’s been a long time since I last rewarded myself with a piece of dark chocolate. I find that I will be alright eating dark chocolate but not milk chocolate because of my Endometriosis problem.

Two nights ago, I thought a piece or two of chocolate to reward myself would be nice after such a mentally draining day.

So there I sat at the kitchen counter and popped a piece of chocolate into my mouth. As I was chewing, I felt an unusual and solid morsel suddenly. It did not taste like honey brittle pieces or hazelnuts as the texture was different and felt more like a tiny stone. Dense and hard as a rock!

That is a one huge chunk off my molar!

I fished out the tiny stone-like morsel, and lo and behold – it was a chip off my molar! I was aghast. The last time I chipped my tooth was when I was eating crabs and attempted to bite the shell. It was not the smartest thing to do. Oh well.

But this, a piece of chocolate that pales in density compared to the crab. Could my year get any worse than this? Geez.

A Terrible Start

3 Jan

My new year got off to a terrible start. On New Year’s Eve, I scalded my fingers while preparing dinner. Ouch! We decided to eat at home than be out somewhere crowded to usher in the New Year. It was the beginning of more misfortunes.

The yummy cheese board

The dinner spread was simple and easy to prepare. The ham and cheese board especially was good, and I ended up eating a little too much cheese than I should. Tsk, tsk.

Then right before the countdown began, I started feeling nausea. Oh no. My Endometriosis problem of not agreeing with dairy has suddenly resurfaced. It must be the cheese more than anything else! I threw up half my dinner right when the fireworks went off!

It was spectacular, my retching and not the fireworks. In my moment of discomfort, the external background noise and celebration were happening! What a terrible start to kick off the new year. Could it be any worse?

Well, right before dinner, I found out I had one outstanding traffic summon that I never even knew! The comforting consolation was settling before midnight to enjoy the discounted rate.

Sigh, what a start I am having. I can only look upon these misfortunes as clearing all the negative chi to face the year better.

The Year That Wasn’t Again

31 Dec

The never-ending year 2021 finally concludes today. I look back, and what a year it has been! I feel history has repeated itself, with the year being another year that fell short of expectations like 2020 because the pandemic has dragged on.

When the nation went into lockdown again in May, we were short-changed for several months to have a good year. And the lockdowns implemented under the Movement Control Orders (MCO) had so many versions, I lost track of it all.

But life goes on. With what we had experienced in 2020, we handled 2021 a little better. We became more accepting of the situation and were more productive, and the hobbies picked up in the year before continued. We also got vaccinated against the Covid-19 virus, and it was our passport to venture out (if needed) without hassle.

Towards the end of the year, I picked up another new hobby – felting. What fun this turned out to be! Felting is immensely enjoyable and therapeutic when I am not carving or crafting miniatures as it is a short and fast activity to complete.

Looking back, being home this time around wasn’t so bad because there’s so much to do at home, and I love it. There is no rush or fear but simply comfort and ease. As long as there is good time management, the days go by quickly.

M2 came back for her Summer holidays, and it was great to have her home. My cooking skills improved from last year, and there were many great mealtimes together at home as a family since we couldn’t go out at all.

Then M1 came home for good after completing her Master’s degree, and both of us are very blessed to have the family as a complete unit. But soon after, M2 returned to Ireland, and M1 started working. By the third quarter, we were juggling work, albeit not much, and playing golf when the country reopened to more activities.

But just when we thought things were improving with vaccination and economies opening everywhere, the world saw a new virus variant! The Omicron. The pandemic management globally was sucker-punched with this new development. Travels, activities, and economies were restricted once more, and many countries faced fresh lockdowns. When will this onslaught of the unknown ever end?

So we start 2022 with uncertainty again. I see no point in toasting the New Year for better fortune and goodness. Just brace yourselves to stay negative (Covid-wise) in a positive way, stay healthy, and stay safe. Goodbye 2021, I wouldn’t say it was the best, but we survived. Happy New Year, folks!

A New Hobby

29 Nov

M1 recently gifted me a new hobby kit – a complete felting kit. I talked about wanting to try felting but never followed through because I was obsessed with crafting DIY miniatures. She must have remembered and bought the kit for me to try. Of course, I was thrilled when I received it.

The latest activity to try

But I was also afraid to even start on it. What if I don’t like this new hobby? What if I do like it? Then, how do I plan my schedule? As it is, I have so many things to do to keep me busy.

There’s the crafting of DIY miniatures. Currently, I am at the tail-end of DIY project number 22. And there’s carving on balsa and meranti wood to make my Citizens of Gigglesville and gnomes of all shapes and sizes.

Let’s not even delve into painting, which I have my easel and several canvases sitting there collecting dust. Throw in the cooking, cleaning, golf, and occasionally, some design work – there’s hardly any time left. And now, with a new hobby venture, how do I divide my time? Tough.

Returning to DIY Project #17, Part 3

25 Oct

DIY project number 17 is finally a wrap! Dang, this project is by far the longest one that I have taken. There were so many hiccups along the way in so many forms. Time management and the appeal of the tasks in hand were the two main reasons that stalled the progress, as in housework, cooking, golf, clay work, and mini plants to make.

The original version
My version with the Little Guy enjoying the setup

Along the way, I did not like what I had to do, so I changed the layout, color scheme, and pieces to put the whole set together. In the end, I must say I like what I have done, so this made up for the duration I took.

Well, now that it is a wrap, I can finally move on to the next project!

DIY project #17

A New Gardening Project

13 Aug

The lockdown this time is endless! So much so, we have decided to do sustainable things, like recycling used items and growing our food. Besides having hobbies to keep busy, we have embarked on a new gardening project to complement our baking and cooking endeavors.

The pandan leaves, chili, and curry leaves are not sufficient to make a meal, for they only complement the flavors. Only the bean sprouts can make a meal or two. The new papaya tree has just started fruiting, while the pineapple patch still has a long way to go. So we decided to grow some vegetables that can make a meal.

Recent harvest of chili and papaya

The planter boxes, seeds, and garden soil were purchased, and we started a mini nursery to get started. A few days later, the okra sprouted. How exciting! Eight out of the nine seeds made it. The next thing we have to do is ensure enough nutrients and sunlight, and proper care to deter the snails from coming at them. So far, it is rather rewarding to see some results.

The latest gardening project

The other seedlings are taking slower to sprout. We will have to monitor to ensure success with them. And when that happens, the sense of reward will be even greater. I can’t wait!

Groundhog Day

9 Jul

Lately, the will to do things is not quite there. I feel as if we are experiencing Groundhog Day. Sometimes even with a busy routine, there is a sense of repetition getting to the mind. Mental fatigue?

Day in, day out, we wake up, eat breakfast and go about the daily routine. Then before we know it, it’s lunchtime. Then we eat again and go about the daily routine again. Then it’s dinnertime. The next day, same old, same old. My goodness.

It has become predictable, repetitive, and so taxing on the mind. Sometimes I wake up unsure what day it is. Is it the weekend already or still a weekday? Then again, does it make any difference?

The worst part, we are under EMCO after the MCO was revised to this status and did not end on 7 June as initially planned. And with Covid cases on the uptrend even more dangerous now than ever, Groundhog Day will go on and on. Sigh.

DIY Project #15

6 Jul

Soon after completing the Gnome Trio, I started on the next miniature, DIY project number 15. Initially, it started at a good pace, but I got distracted again. I was having fun with the Gnome Trio, placing them at all possible sites in the house. I wanted to have their visual presence felt.

DIY project #15

But they dwarfed in comparison to the walls of the house. What I thought was big of the carved piece turned out minuscule! So I was determined to ensure the gnomes are more visual. Hence, I deviated from DIY #15 and started on a new set of gnome carvings that are double the original in size.

New gnomes are 8” tall, twice the height of the Trio

Three separate pieces this time, I have been working on them simultaneously. During the day, I would be at the garden terrace carving, hammering, and shaping the gnomes. And during the evenings, I am inside the house working, albeit slowly, on DIY project number 15.

And with the EMCO still ongoing, I think this routine is good to keep busy. And yes, I do cook to feed the family too.

The Gnome Trio has overshadowed DIY project #15