The Greatest Gift of our Lives

Wasn’t it just Christmas?  Time flies, doesn’t it?

I am quiet here, as it is every year during this season — catching up with reunions, celebrations and the buying and giving of gifts are my reasons, as always.  So I hope you don’t mind the silence.  I however, have not forgotten to drop by to greet you, my dear friends, a joyful Christmas.


Credits: Alphas by Erica Made; Paper by Sara McCarthy’s RA Ink Design Co.; Frame by Sweet Sunshine.

Let’s not forget the greatest gift this season and the real reason for celebrating.  We are the reason Jesus gave his life, we are the reason He suffered and died… so let’s try to give back to Him and to the people around us, even to those we don’t know.

I leave you with something to reflect in this Christmas.  Have a blessed Christmas, everyone!!

‘Twas A Swell 2011

I’m hoping that it being the holiday season, you wouldn’t notice that I haven’t blogged much.  I had wanted to finish my series on Taiwan but I guess the busyness of the season got the better of me.  That said, I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas as I had with family in chilly Hong Kong doing nothing but eat, sleep and a bit of shopping on the side – couldn’t resist the after Christmas sale.

Credits: Traci Brennan of Prairie Woman Designs and Jan Crowley of Queen of Quirks.

I’m saying hello to 2012 with thanks for a swell year that was and new adventure wishes for the to come.  Have an awesome 2012 everyone!!

Plunge boldly into the thick of life, and seize it where you will, it is always interesting.  ~ Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

This is My Christmas Prayer

I pray for peace

Blessings and honor

Heaven right earth’s despair

This is my Christmas prayer


For those that grieve

God will bring comfort

Laughter will rapture there

This is my Christmas prayer


See I pray that love will rule and reign

And I pray that time will rid the pain of this world

As we learn to trust and care

This is my Christmas prayer


I pray for you (Yes I know you do)

That your triumph and conquer

Poses the strength you need to bare

This is my Christmas prayer


For those in need

There would be plenty

And each other’s burdens share

Oh, this is my Christmas prayer


See I pray that love will rule and reign

And I pray that time will rid the pain of this world

As we learn to trust and care

This is my Christmas prayer, Oh


So let hope fill our hearts (Let’s let hope fill our hearts)

Shine the light through the dark

All around the world

And everywhere

I will pray

This Christmas prayer


See I pray that love will rule and reign

And I pray that time will rid the pain of this world

As we learn to trust and care

This is my Christmas

This is my Christmas prayer


See I pray that love will rule and reign

And I pray that time will rid the pain of this world

As we learn to trust and care

This is my Christmas prayer

This is my Christmas prayer

Yes, this is my Christmas prayer.  Many are grieving this year after the unfortunate flooding that happened last week that jolted us from our merriment. A friend’s father likewise passed away unexpectedly a few days before the tragedy.  A sad Christmas for many and I pray that God’s comfort fill their hearts as they recover from their losses.

For those who still want to help the victims, click here.

A Blessed Christmas to all and here’s to a bright 2012!

Storm in my Kitchen

It’s about time I made public my move.  No, I’m not leaving this blog but I’ve made a bold move to seriously carry through the challenge I’ve set forth for myself.  Remember this?  I have since been building a repertoire of recipes in this new adventure of mine that I have decided that it deserves a blog of its own.

For almost a year now, I’ve been whipping up a storm in my kitchen hence the blog name.  Not always successful, mind you, but this new attempt is lotsa fun.  A different kind of fun.  The kind of fun that satisfies my hunger for food, literally and figuratively.

So if you’re up to it and into it, come join me in celebrating this newfound adventure, there will be a smattering of food related jaunts and featured favorites but mostly we will stay and whip up a storm in my kitchen.

Here’s a glimpse of my excursion, to read more of one of my favorite chef’s burger joint… click here.

I’m Nut’s About This Honey!

At the farmer’s market in front of the Ferry Building, I stumbled on this particular stall selling honey.

What struck me was this Honey Mix-ins, which brought about a lot of ideas on application.  So I bought a bottle of the honey & sliced almonds hoping that it wouldn’t break or spill on me on my way home to the Philippines.  Probably one of the best buys I had from the market.  One real treat that I made from this honey (as soon as I landed) was topped a teaspoonful on Brie.

Melted it a bit on a toaster oven and voilà!  Makes a great hors d’oeuvre or an in between meal.  One time I even had it for lunch!  The sweet and crunchy honey mix added depth to the creamy cheese that keeps me making more.  I just can’t get enough of it.  Use good quality baguette or ciabatta bread.

This mix-in is so versatile; it’s also a great topping for my oatmeal, yogurt or ice cream.  Sometimes I just spread it on toast!

If you come across Marshall’s Farm honey selections at your local market, do give it a try.

Or if you’re feeling diligent, you can probably make your own by adding almonds to your favorite honey.

A Good Start

I got this for Christmas and had it for breakfast today.  I’ve been eating way too much this last few weeks and the parties still ain’t over.  There are still those “let’s just meet up next year” because our schedules wouldn’t match.  So anyway, I promised to eat healthier as much as I can and because I stayed home today, I had this for brunch.

Not exactly the healthiest kind of granola—there’s white chocolate mixed with the oats, chopped macadamia nuts, raisins and craisins (mine) and loads of honey, that’s why.  But I love it.  With fresh milk (low-fat), a bowl of this homemade granola filled me up till dinnertime.  Seriously.  Methinks I’m off to a  good start.  I hope you’re having a good 1st day of the year too.   🙂


Credits: Daniela Austen’s In the Meadow Quickpage, LivEdesign’s Best day brush set, LivEdesign’s Sing 4 Spring Button Accent 1 & 2, LivEdesign’s Twill2 delight accent

…has been one amazing year.  There were lots of travels within and outside the country, a bit of adventure and exploration with lots of eating in between.  I hope it was a blast for you too.  I look forward to sharing with you more adventure of all sorts this 2011.  Fresh from a very wet vacation, I wish you all a blessed and grace-filled new year!

Christmas Like A Child

Credits:  Christmas Treasures Bloghop kit.  Papers from PWD, S Lane AT Snow, S Kelly D-Treasure dots;  Elements from Nadi Designs frame, SFj, T Circeo Dicken’s Word Art, Jaki A Red scallop border, C Queen border 02.

Do you ever get side tracked by life in general?  It has been my story lately.  There were too many on my plate – work and the routine of Christmas shopping, get-together etc.  So busy has my life been that I felt that Christmas just came too quickly.  I didn’t get the chance to look forward to it.  I remember when I was a child and I would always enjoy Christmas because of the festivities that goes with it – the parties, the decoration and the gifts, they all culminated into one huge celebration, Christmas dinner and then Nochebuena.  I also remember the excitement going to Cubao would bring.  I  can imagine now how a nightmare it must have been but we’d be with the crowd to witness this splendid, mechanized decoration at the COD department store.  At that time this was huge for us kids when theme parks were practically unheard of and Disneyland is this fantasy far, far away.  This was the next best thing, I guess – this just aged me, I know   :-D.  Because things were simpler than, we were easy to please.  Those were fun times…

I chanced on this Christmas song that describes my thoughts succinctly and I instantly fell in love with it.  Written and performed by my favorite Christian band, Third Day, it is about feeling Christmas like a child and how it used to be.  But more importantly, it reminded me of the baby child born for us.  That baby asleep in the straw is the reason for the celebration and that, my friends, should be the true essence of Christmas.  Honor it in your heart and try to keep the spirit all year round.  Have a joyful Christmas everyone!

Christmas Like a Child

by Third Day

I want to feel Christmas, how it used to be
With all of its wonder falling on me
This season has felt so empty, oh for quite a while
I want to feel Christmas like a child

I want to see snowflakes fall to the ground
My brothers and sisters all gathered around
Singing “Away In A Manager” as we sit by the fire
I want to feel Christmas like a child

It’s been so long now, I can’t say
Just when I lost my way
But I’m going back to how it was
When this day meant everything
And we spent our time remembering
The baby Child born for us

It’s all about Jesus, asleep in the straw
This infant, this King, this Savior for all

So I don’t need bells to be ringing
‘Cause I’ll join with angels singing
And I can feel Christmas like a child
I want to feel Christmas like a child…

PB&J and Oatmeal

So I love oatmeal.  I didn’t always but learned to love it when I discovered this and this (available at Healthy Options).  Unlike the oatmeal my mom forced on me every single school day of my elementary years, these provided some texture that took my fancy when I first tried it.  I’ve acquired the taste for oats since my recent illness.   It’s supposed to be good for me.   😉

Also available at Healthy Options

Sweetened with some kind of sweetener – honey, muscovado or a recent discovery, agave syrup and a sprinkling of some dried fruit, that’s how I normally like my oatmeal.

I recently uncovered though a liking for peanut butter and jelly to go with it. Guava is a favorite but I so happened to have an opened bottle of tomato jam – it worked for me too!  Don’t judge until you’ve tried it.  It can be very addicting!  Umm, that is if you love PB&J as much as I do.  Aside from the sweet-savory taste, the PB adds a certain richness to the oatmeal while the J takes care of sweetening it in a special kind of way.  I would add more liquid than usual so not to end up with oatmeal that is too thick when mixed with the peanut butter.

So go ahead, give it a try – this might just end up becoming a favorite too.   🙂

My take on Kalbijim

A and I love Korean beef stew or Kalbijim as they call it in Korea.  For some reason – with all the delectable authentic Korean dishes we had during our 4 days stay – Kalbijim was surprisingly not part of the menu.  Don’t ask me why, it’s a mystery to me as it may be to you.  So in the spirit of my visit to Korea and missing out on the authentic taste of this wonderful tasting beef stew, I’ve decided one evening to look up a recipe and reminisce the taste of Korea just one more time.

Korean Beef Stew

  • 1 Kilo short ribs or beef flank
  • 4 slices ginger
  • 2 tsps. garlic, chopped
  • 1 pc. onion, sliced
  • ¼ tsp. chili powder
  • 2 tbsps. brown sugar
  • 6 tbsps. Kikkoman Soy Sauce
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 1 pc. carrot, cubed
  • 2 pcs. raddish, cubed
  • 1 tbsp. Manjo Mirin
  • 1 tbsp. sesame oil
  • sesame seeds, toasted
  • leeks

Here’s what you do:

  • Boil beef in 3 cups water seasoned with salt and pepper for 30 minutes.  Set aside.
  • Saute ginger, garlic, onion, chili powder.  Add sugar and beef.  Make sure to cook until slightly brown.
  • Pour soy sauce and beef stock.  Cook until beef is tender.
  • Add carrots, raddish, mirin, sesame oil.  Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and leeks.

I had some mushrooms so I threw that in which explains the inclusion in the photo.  Totally optional, just wanted to use up the remaining mushrooms I had and add more veggies onto the dish.  If you want a truly authentic beef stew, omit the mushrooms.