Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Round Scad in Tomato Sauce (Sardines Recipe)

For the upcoming Relief Society stake activity in our church, I volunteered myself to present one food preservation technique which I learned lately-- the process of making sardines. Just a few of the sisters is willing to participate so I told my Relief Society president some of my food processing ideas and suggested sardines as one of the entries for our ward. For the first time, I documented the preparation, wrote down the ingredients and the method of cooking, took some photos, and now sharing it here.

This freshly-cooked sardines is perfect with fried rice. Yummy!

Sardines is hard to find in the nearby wet market. Hence, I used round scad or galunggong as substitute. The taste is nothing much different. It's just as good as sardines.

1 kilo fish
300 grams tomato sauce
1 tbsp banana ketchup
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp fish sauce
ground black pepper and salt to taste
1 red chili (optional)
3/4 cup water

Cooking Method:
-Clean the fish. Cut the head and tail. Remove the entrails.
-Arrange the fish in the bottom of the pressure cooker.
-Cover with all the rest of the ingredients.
-Pressure cook in high heat.
-Lower the heat after the whistle begins to blow.
-Continue cooking for 25 minutes.
-Turn of the stove, allowing the pressure to release itself.
-Transfer the fish in dry and sterilized containers.
-Let it cool before sealing it well.

I know sardines is one of the Filipino favorites when it comes to instant viand. They are readily available in cans, bottle and pouch from a suking tindahan for a minimal price. But, if you are a mom who wants to avoid canned goods and prefers homecooked meals, I suggest cooking your own sardines yourself and store it for future use.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Singapore Zoo: Another Reason to Go Back to Singapore

On our quick tour of Singapore, the first tourist spot that we have chosen to visit was Singapore Zoo, a 40 hectare rainforest filled with hundreds of wild and endangered animals, also dubbed as the best zoo in Asia. It is really big that I think one day is not enough to enjoy every corner of the said conservatory. Aside from the Singapore Zoo, there are River Safari and Night Safari too, which we failed to check due to time constraint. So, if there is another reason for our family to go back to Singapore, that is fully explore the Singapore Zoo.

Fine sunny weather and less people in the morning but it can be very humid and heavily packed in the afternoon esp. during weekends and holidays.

This is my elder daughter pointing a snail we spotted up on a shrub. She brought a notebook and a pen with her so she could write and draw her observation throughout the visit.

I got mesmerized by these beauties. It was my first time to see them pink tall flamingos. I wished I could get nearer and touch them. Or do they bite humans?

These two were obviously happy seeing live and breathing creatures underwater.

We couldn't take a decent photo of the white polar bear so eto nalang.

The Rainforest Kidzworld features a mini petting zoo, some rides, and water wonderland inside. In my opinion, this corner of the zoo is the best for families with small kids.

I should have known about this part beforehand. I could've brought swimsuits, towels and extra clothes for the girls. Sorry no photo of the swimming area because my baby daughter cried and screamed a lot upon learning the she couldn't play in the water.

"Hi Mama", said my brave little miss before bouncing on a bungee trampoline.

Spotted a sleepy koala. Shhh. Silence and no flash photography please.

Statue penguins versus..

real penguins. See the difference?

Now that was the biggest and cleanest zoo we ever been too. There is nothing like it. Will definitely go back to this place.

Singapore Zoo
#80 Mandai Lake Rd, Singapore 729826
Tel. (65)6269 3411

Saturday, September 05, 2015

Making Your Tail Gate Games Fun with Essential Gear

Tailgating is a fun way to celebrate the football season. Along with eating great food with friends and family members before the game, you also can get into competitive mood by playing games like cornhole toss. This fun game requires that you keep score, however, and also that you see well enough to play it in a parking lot that may be poorly lit. Rather than let your fun be compromised, you can enjoy your tailgating fun by bringing along accessories like cornhole lights and a scoreboard.

Some people are not even aware that such lighting for this game exists. However, you can find it online and see how it can make the game even more fun. As you browse online, you can also click on the picture and discover what colors are used for each hole and how the coloring can affect your game. The lighting helps you see the game better and allows you to keep playing right up until the stadium gates open. You do not have to stop your fun just because the sun goes down and you can no longer see the board.

Another accessory that people find handy to have on hand is the scoreboard. Sometimes people forget this essential item and instead must keep track of the score mentally. This can lead to scores being miscounted and the wrong people being declared the winner. Even if the game is all in fun, you can make it even more competitive by remembering to bring along the scoreboard.

When you shop online, you get the assurance that you can have these game items sent directly to your home or workplace. You may not be able to find such items for sale in stores, in fact. Even sporting goods stores may not have gear on hand for cornhole toss. Rather than go without or being forced to create your own accessories, you can instead get the gear you need by shopping online. When you buy these essentials online, you also get fast shipping so that you can have them in time for your first tailgate with friends and loved ones. Football season is a time to gather and celebrate your favorite teams. You can loosen up and get ready for the big game before the gates open by playing a competitive round of cornhole toss with these accessories.

Source of Photo:

My Changing Looks and Half a Dozen of Mistaken Identities

I just read a blog entry on mistaken identity from one of my favorite blogs, Chuvaness, and was prompted to write my personal experience on the topic. Whenever I get mistaken to be someone else, I always have a mixed reaction, sometimes amused and flattered, other times embarrassed and scared.

The very first time I experienced a mistaken identity was in the Department of Foreign Affairs in Manila, way back year 2002. I remember I went there one day to pickup my passport. As the officer in the counter called my name, he asked me if I were Chinese, I said no, though according to one of my aunts, we have a Chinese ancestor, too, aside from Malay. Anyway, the guy thought my name sounds Chinese and that was it.

Age: 22
Location: Manila
Mistaken Identity: Chinese

The next time, while in Hong Kong, a couple of policemen and another one in civilian attire came to me while I was sitting on a bench somewhere in Wan Chai, waiting for my aunt to come out of 7 Eleven. They asked for my ID and started calling the police department. I know I didn't do anything wrong so I was confident those men won't detain me whatsoever. I was being cooperative, waiting for them to investigate until my aunt who speaks Chinese well finally came. She talked to them and then we left like nothing happened. While on a bus going home, I asked my aunt about the business of those men in uniform. My aunt revealed that I was mistaken as a runaway girl from Nepal. Whew, glad that she was able to talk to them in Chinese and saved me!

I was also assumed of another identity while in queue to enter Hong Kong Central Library in Causeway Bay, an Indonesian woman kept looking at me, smiling and later on saying things in her native language. Clueless of whatever she said, I told her my nationality with a smile and she was like, sorry, I thought you're Indonesian too! It's just funny because the same thing happened to me while at McDonald's approximately a month before that. That time, I was the one thinking the young woman beside me was Filipino. I kept saying things in Filipino to her and she was just nodding and smiling until I guess she couldn't take it anymore, mumbled shyly that she's Indonesian. Lol.

Age: 22
Location: Hong Kong
Mistaken Identity: Italian, Indonesian and Nepalese

On a separate occasion, in a public washroom at Island Resort in Sui Sai Wan in Hong Kong. As I was doing a retouch of my makeup, a lady asked about my age, I said 22, then she uttered I resembled an Italian woman. Flattered by what she said, I answered something like 'thank you but I'm 100% Filipino'. Pretty weird because I am a petite person, plus I do not have a pointed nose nor a fair complexion.

Age: 31
Location: Istanbul
Mistaken Identity: South African

Now another story. Dining with my mother-in-law, her younger sister and my elder daughter in a small restaurant in Istanbul, the waiter asked in a friendly manner if I were South African. I replied, no, I'm Asian. He said I totally looked liked one.

Age: 35
Location: Ak├žay (Aegean Region)
Mistaken Identity: Japanese

Lastly, this one happened in May while in a bazaar somewhere in the Aegean. I was with my sister-in-law and my 2 daughters. As we walk around, buying some fresh fruits and vegetables, a few people asked if I were Japanese. My sister-in-law explained to them in Turkish that I am from the Philippines, not Japan. They couldn't believe it, maybe because they seldom see a Filipino, all that they know is Japanese or Korean.

Our family went to Singapore for a quick vacation last weekend. Surprisingly, no one said I was looking like this or that. With our scheduled trip to another country next month, I wonder if someone will mistake me for a different nationality again. We'll see.

Thursday, September 03, 2015

How To Make Your Own Yogurt

Yogurt is a Turkish word meaning a custard-like food with a tart flavor, prepared from milk curdled by bacteria, especially Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, and often sweetened or flavored with fruit. Yogurt is not only yummy, but it has a lot of health benefits. It can replace ice cream or milkshake and added as ingredient to smoothie. It contains more calcium and protein compared to milk. It is a good source of protein, calcium, riboflavin and vitamin B12.

In Turkey, different brands of yogurt is available and they are consumed plain, used as salad dressing, mixed with salt and water to produce ayran, a kind of yogurt drink, used to marinate meat and poultry, and so on. They are sold in big buckets from 500 ml up to 5 kilos. They have a great supply of cow's milk in Turkey so I understand it's pretty cheap in there. Here in the Philippines, yogurt is expensive and comes in small cups weighing only 125 ml to, I think, 350 ml. At home, my girls love to eat yogurt with fresh fruits and drink fruit yogurt mixes and smoothies. They also love eating plain yogurt on its own just like their hubby.

My favorite plain yogurt topped with fresh strawberries and a scoop of vanilla ice cream..

Almost 10 years ago, my boyfriend (now husband) taught me how to make homemade yogurt. Since then, I would make yogurt every other week for our own consumption. I already shared this recipe in my old blog before, but sharing it here again.

Turkish Yogurt Recipe

-1 liter fresh milk
-125 grams plain yogurt

Heat the milk. Transfer in a container. Let it stand until the temperature is a little lukewarm. Add in the creamy natural yogurt. Mix well. Cover or seal the container tightly. Place in a dark area of your kitchen either inside a cabinet or oven. Leave it for 12 hours. After incubation, put the yogurt in the refrigerator for another 12 hours. Serve.

Do not disturb the yogurt container during the entire process of incubation.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Tips for Dealing with Troubled Teens

As much as you love your kids, you may not feel quite the same way once your children reach their teen years. Between dating, puberty and problems at school, it's not surprising that so many teens choose to act out. Whether your kids begin experimenting with drugs and alcohol, engage in some risky behaviors or simply act out in the classroom, you might find yourself reaching the end of the rope. Before you give up hope or react to your kids in negative ways, you can try using a few tips to deal with your troubled teens.

Keep Your Teens Active
One reason why some teens act out is because they simply aren't as active as they were before. This doesn't mean that you should plan activities for your kids every day or make them follow a set schedule, but it does mean that you should look for some ways to get and keep your kids active. Plan fun trips to local attractions on the weekends, encourage your teen to bring some friends on a family camping trip and suggest some after school activities that your kid might love. The more things your teen has on his or her schedule, the less time that teen has to get in trouble.

Take Time for Yourself
Parents of teenagers often make the mistake of focusing more on their kids than they do on themselves. Dealing with an emotional or troubled teen can leave you feeling stressed, and you might find yourself taking out your stress on your spouse or your coworkers. Reducing your stress is easy when you take time for yourself. Something as simple as taking a day trip to your favorite museum, unwinding in a hot bath or sitting down with your favorite book can help you focus on yourself again.

Getting Professional Help
Once your teen reaches the point where you can no longer care for him or her, you may want to look at programs for troubled youth like the Wood Creek Academy and other schools. These programs accept teens who engaged in risky behaviors and those who broke the law. Your teen will have someone watching over him or her every hour of the day. These programs offer plenty of activities and the structure that teenagers need. When you cannot help your teen at home, a program like this might be your best option.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Changi Airport: One of the Reasons to Go Back to Singapore

Let me tell you a little secret, I've been to only 7 international airports in the past, and with my family's recent trip to Singapore, Changi Airport makes it 8. I have seen just a portion of it, mainly Terminal 2, but I can definitely say that Changi Airport is the best in my list. So far, the second best that I've been to is the Chek Lap Kok Airport in Hong Kong. The third would be the Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul. Now, how is it that Changi Airport is considered the best airport in the world? Let me share my observation and site some personal notes.

This is where my kids enjoyed a lot-- the koi pond. They had fun tossing coins in the pond and admiring the colorful fish that were swimming around. It was just relaxing to watch.

My elder daughter posed like a nymph in the forest. :)

One can sit in that wooden bench, read a book or chit chat with friends while waiting for flight.

Most airports have plants to please the eye of travelers, but Changi Airport exceeded my expectation after seeing trees, plants, and flowers in almost every corner of it. The orchid garden in particular is very beautiful. Never seen something like it in all the airports that I've visited.

Having this kind of beauty inside a terminal is a breeze. I just wish we can have them in the Philippines, too!

I know there is more about Changi Airport that I am yet to discover. I heard they an awesome slide at Terminal 3, a swimming pool and a sunflower garden somewhere in the rooftop, a snooze lounge, a butterfly garden, free movie screenings, MTV zone, and many more. Indeed, Changi Airport is one reasons for me to go back to Singapore. Looking forward to seeing it again!