Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year Greetings From My Family To Yours

It's been a busy long weekend, indeed! Cleaning up household mess (partially, yes, but more to be done), clearing the laundry baskets, preparing meals for and bonding with the family. Last minute gift packing (deciding which goes to whom?)! Finishing all my WIPs, yehey! Movie marathon tonight (in my part of the globe, that is) --- the large pack of chips is waiting :) for the goodbye 2012 - welcome 2013 big bang! Multitasking to the max!

As I prepare to go to the market to claim my fish and veggie reservations from my favorite vendors, allow me to leave our family greetings to you all. 
This is a product of our simple bonding yesterday consisting of a few-minute family date at a photo studio, then me and my hubby headed to the groceries while our two daughters did their own last-minute shopping. This was culminated by a dinner at Banana Leaf Asian Cafe. I enjoyed the Pomelo Salad Thai Style, Vegetable Samosas and Steamed HK Fish Fillet with Garlic which I shared with my hubby. Family bonding is one of the greatest blessings in life, don't you think so?
Now, it's market time and it will be a real kitchen marathon for the rest of the day, so in case you don't find me here, I'll just be in my kitchen laboratory preparing my menu line up:
Leek Mushroom Souffle from the Olive Magazine Philippines
Olive Oil and Spanish Sardines Pasta and Sweet Garlic Chicken and Fish with Broccoli side dish from the Yummy Magazine

How about you? Wanna share how you plan to celebrate your New Year in the comment box below? See you again in 2013 for the making of the dishes I've mentioned!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

One Yummy and Healthy Idea a Week: a Year-ender Resolution

In one of my posts as a new blogger last year, I featured the crochet works of my younger daughter, Ana Cristina when she was still a college student. Click here to view post entitled, "Does it Really Run in the Blood?"

Well, many things have changed now. At 20 and having landed a job (a month after graduating from college) in a marketing company (Focus Global, Inc.) that is an exclusive Philippine distributor of several well-known international brands including consumer goods and home furnishings, there had been a shift of her interest from volleyball and entrepreneurship into products showcased by her company. Quite noticeably lately, she has gotten into the habit of bringing home food magazines that I didn't have time browsing until last Saturday. As I entered the door coming from the market, she excitedly showed off a page from the Olive Magazine telling me, "You make one like this! You make one like this!" 
 
The remark seemed like a key opening a new door for me because browsing over the magazines (later that day) made me realize how I've been missing on a lot of new ideas that would enhance anybody's stint in the kitchen. With all honesty, for several weeks now, the feeling of being in a limbo, wondering what meals to serve the family, has taken its toll on me. I've experienced getting into episodes of mental block as I grab my bags for the market. Ideas on dishes to cook just come as I bump into them in my favorite fish, meat or veggie stalls.

Tin's calling my attention to these mags came just in time! Here they are...

 These are just a few of the magazines she has brought home. 

The Olive Magazine Philippines, published by Bella Luce Publications, is a stylish bi-monthly magazine for food lovers who enjoy cooking, eating out and foodie travel.

The Yummy Magazine features easy meals and simple dishes for mothers who have no time to cook. Each page is full of "yummy ideas" including meal planning tips and tricks!

Appetite is where one can indulge passion in mouth-watering guide to everything about food. A good place where to start a foodie adventure to uncover a diverse array of delightful recipes. This site also features useful culinary tips and tricks, with its amazingly appetizing visuals!

Very effective photography, indeed! Appealing to the senses! I have already marked some pages where I found menus that I would like to try soooon! At this writing, my husband is also browsing over the pages and has, in fact, been pointing to me the menus he would like me to try first. Let me give you an idea what these meals are going to be... in the upcoming posts :) Now that would be something to watch out for weekly- in the coming 2013!!!

Thanks to Ana Cristina for introducing me to my new kitchen buddies. By the way, she is not a frequent kitchen-body, except when it's time for her to eat or  use the kitchen sink to wash her hands or the dishes. She's more of a hhmmm... a sofa spud especially on weekends, as she would often bring her meal in front of the TV and declare ownership of the sofa as her bed.

Getting ready to a healthier new year. Care to join me? Please share your healthy food ideas and tips on the comment box below. I would love to read them! Happy holidays!

Under the Shadow of His Wings

In my post entitled, "The Birth of a Hobby" I featured about how I became enamored with plants.  In that post I said I'll share about the plants I have in my coming posts. Well, it's been more than a year now and I'm sorry I haven't posted any sequel to that. I'm afraid I haven't been a good mother to my plants for months now.  Oh, I'm so guilty of not spending much time with them the way I used to in the past. I'm so glad the Christmas holidays allowed me to give them a shower twice a day. Every time I do, I couldn't help but notice the flowers in one of the flower pots, that remind me of a picture I took more than a year ago. Inspired by Psalm 17: 8 that says, "Hide me under the shadow of Your wings..." I wrote the caption. 
 


I'm not very good at names of flowers and plants so I really do not know the name of the flowers featured here, which seemed to be so contented as they enjoy the shield offered by the ferns against the scorching heat of the sun. 

"Under the shadow of Your wings...," this verse kept on playing in my ears every time I see these flowers in bloom. That prompted me to take a look at the whole Psalm 37 from where the verse came. Come, let us join David as he prayed with confidence at his final salvation from his enemies.
 
Psalm 17
I have called upon You, for You will hear me, O God;
Incline Your ear to me, and hear my speech.
Show Your marvelous lovingkindness by Your right hand,
O You who save those who trust in You
From those who rise up against them.
Keep me as the apple of Your eye;
Hide me under the shadow of Your wings,
From the wicked who oppress me,
From my deadly enemies who surround me...

If you would like to meditate through the whole Psalm, click here.

By the way, would anyone care to tell me the name of the flower? Please feel free to write in the comment box below. 

Oh, I almost forgot... enjoy the rest of the holidays! I'm just getting my posts ready to be featured next.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Savor the Flute Aroma

I arrived home one day to the smell of cumin. I asked my daughter, Ayana Grace, "Why the Mexican smell?" Well, her seeming invasion into my kitchen laboratory is fast becoming a habit!  (Honestly, I like it especially after working more than eight hours in the office. What could be a better relief than going home to a hearty meal?) An avid fan (errr stalker?) of the Divas Can Cook YT channel and website, she was into another experiment. Oh yes, she's living up to her profession as a chemist, indeed! Last month, I posted about the Pepperoni Pizza Quesadilla dish she made, also from Divas Can Cook.

This time, I'm featuring her Tuna Flautas wrapped in tortillas. Ayana Grace used the Chicken Flautas recipe (minus the cayenne powder and cilantro which were not available in our laboratory) from the Divas Can Cook but used tuna flakes instead of chicken.  

Well, it was my first time to get a taste of Tuna Flautas  and truly, her stalking the Diva Channel was worth all the effort! Oh, by the way, I also like the Divas Can Cook web site because it doesn't only feature recipes. It includes video tutorials of the featured dishes as well. :)


Bestseller of the day
Tuna Flautas
No, no, no, these are not lumpia shanghai. These are Tuna Flautas. Hmmm... sorry, I'm at a loss for words right now!
Okay, I got it here... it was simply.... P-E-R-F-E-C-T!!!! Even without the toppings! Yummy! I so love it, I can have it over and over again! But I would like to add some veggie and more cheese toppings on it next time.
Sour cream for the dip
 
Desiring to perfect the flauta craft, Ayana did a second experiment. Hours before I left the office another day, I received a "hurry up" text message from her because she was preparing a surprise. What could that be? Well, here it is... another flauta experiment, this time, with beef as filling and pan fried, unlike the deep fried Tuna Flautas she did the first time.
Ayana's second flautas experiment using beef as filling. They look like burritos?!!
Ana Cristina, my younger daughter, went home late that night she didn't get to taste her share, so I wrapped the Beef Flautas for her lunch the following day. Guess what, I received a text message from her at lunch time, asking who made her lunch? She also loved it! (grrinnn) Now, it's with great certainty that flautas ---be it tuna, beef or chicken---will be a frequent dish at home. 

Try it... you'll ask for more, promise!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Crochet Necklace

For this post, I'm featuring the  Crochet Necklace by Creativeyarn from Crochetme.com.

Photo from Crochetme.com
 I made one like this last year which is featured in my post entitled, "Holiday Season Crochet Marathon Part 3." Remember this?

I used black so that it would match any color of blouse or dress. I like this crochet necklace so much that I couldn't resist making another one now. This time, of similar color as the original design as featured by Creativeyarn.



For its embellishment, I used the pattern of Art Threads in making large and small petals. It's the same pattern I used for the flowers I featured in the Flower Necklace. Then, instead of using a button at the center of the flower (see original design from first photo), I crocheted an apple green bud using the pattern from Crochet Flower Fridgies to enhance the effect. I also sewed a small bead from a broken bracelet to fit into the button hole.
 
 So how do you like it? Lovely, aren't they?

I took photographs with the necklace on some pages of the crochet magazine given to me by a friend yesterday. Simple yet elegant, this necklace is very easy to make although Row 2 of the pattern may be a bit confusing, as I have noticed from the questions asked in the comment box of the blog post in Crochetme.com. I had one or two guesses on the interpretation before I was able to decipher the direction correctly.

Any plan to start crocheting your own necklace? If you make one, I would like you to post your creation to my Facebook page. Click here to like it so that you can share your work with others.

Have a craftsy holiday season!

Flower Necklace

Last year, I posted about the crocheted gifts I gave away for my friends (click here to view post). These are the Rainbow Coasters, the Lacy Hair Scrunchies, the Crocheted Necklace, Coffee Sleeves, Flower Basket Corsage, Beverage Cozies and the Retro Neck Band. For the past weeks, I've been posting also about the making of each of these crocheted gifts.  So far, I have featured individually the making of the Retro Neck Band, the Lacy Hair Scrunchies, the Rainbow Coasters and the Flower Basket Corsage. I haven't posted yet about the making of the Coffee Sleeves and the Beverage Cozies. But I will, yes, very, very soon!

For this year, I've been thinking of making floral give-aways. In fact, I have already started another flower crochet marathon! To start with, I made a rose which I featured in the post entitled, "Rose Buds as Identifiers." Click here to view post.

And now, for my second flower project, here, take a look...

 It started with this flower applique. The pattern for the flowers I got from Monday Project - Crocheted May Flowers by Art Threads. The post offers a tutorial on how to make small and large pieces of flowers.


The tutorial from Art Threads also includes a simple and easy pattern for crocheting leaves but for this work, I made my own by just looking at the beautiful piece of crochet art in the photo below, from where the whole idea came from.

Crocheted flower necklace floral cotton yellow blue purple lilac dolphin from Etsy
This is a real beauty, don't you think? To inspire you more, watch the video below showcasing a variety of designs.


Now for the cord, having in mind my plain blue dress in the first photo above, here is what I did... SCs round and round and round all the way from beginning to end. I was able to do that while watching my favorite TV shows!
Pattern from How to Make a Necklace Cord from Crochet Flowers
So here, take another look at my finished product! This crocheted flower necklace indeed makes a perfect accessory for my plain blue dress. Don't you think so? It already got more than 20 likes on my FB page :)



 Do you like it? It's very easy. Now, why don't you start making the flowers, then the leaves and the cord? Then share your crocheted flower at my FB page at https://www.facebook.com/GardenchefsNeedleAndPen or click here to view.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Bamboo Shoots with Coconut Milk (Ginataang Labong)

As a week-ender, let me feature one of my favorite native recipes, a very popular dish among Negrenses in the Visayas region of my country, the Philippines. Bamboo shoots are best cooked with shrimps and saluyot (jutes or Corchorus Olitorius).

I can still vividly remember the first time my parents asked me to taste this dish. A preschooler I was then. Imagine the usual drama at the dining table as my mother and father would repeatedly and alternately say in our native Ilonggo dialect, "Tilawi lang bala!" ("Just taste it first!"). It wasn't easy... I mean, on their part, because it was with much resistance before I would succumb to their prodding. And, take note, only after my father would start rolling his belt on his hand, ready to strike anytime his temper is provoked any further!

 
But wait, again, I remember how I would continue, in disguise, the tearful drama as I consumed the serving, concealing the truthful realization that the creamy taste of the coconut milk and the shrimp flavor make it a delicious dish indeed! 
Click here for my recipe of Bamboo Shoots with Coconut Milk, popularly known as Ginataang Labong which is featured in Petichef.

Hope you had a productive week-end! 

Linking to:

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Moebius Headband Earwarmer

This is my second mobius. The first one I made, the  Neckie Mobius Cowl, is featured in one of my previous posts last month. This time it's another mobius but a headband and earwarmer in one, the pattern for which I got from PDDesigns: Crochet Patterns, Crochet Accessories and More.

I believe I was love struck the moment I saw this headband. 
The original pattern from PDDesigns
I love the color, yes, and the design at a glance. I didn't look for a similar color though, because I had left-over yarn from my stash. I had somebody in mind when I first saw this and so I didn't waste any time. 

The pattern was very easy to follow although in this pattern, I discovered another way of making the twist needed to form a mobius compared to the one featured in my previous post, that which I followed in making a cowl. In this pattern what I enjoyed most was doing Round 3 where the directions required one to make DCs that cross each other. 

See the DCs that cross?
My new Mobius Headband / Earwarmer
You can finish making this headband in just an hour. I started working on this on our way to the dentist today but I ran out of yarn on the last row so I had to wait till I arrived home to get to the finish line. I think I'm becoming fond of making mobius projects these days! Adding a few more rows would turn this headband / earwarmer into a cowl.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The African Flower is in Bloom

Towards the end of my previous post entitled, "If Music be the Food of Love, Play On", I mentioned about the cupcakes made by Ayana Grace, my eldest daughter. One time at work, I would read her text message asking me where the muffin pans are. Her text message yesterday was to tell me she's going to the grocery store to get some ingredients for the new recipe she was preparing for. Oh, yes, indeed, she's growing up fast in my kitchen laboratory! Real fast that last night, she ventured into another experiment, a result of her stalking the Divas Can Cook YT channel. 

She got this Pepperoni Pizza Quesadilla recipe from the Divas Can Cook, a food network (and blog site) that features "old fashioned cooking for the modern super woman".


So this was what we had for dinner last night. Late dinner but not too late to celebrate the birthday of my husband who is away at work and won't be home till the weekend. Well, I had two servings myself for dinner (I would have wanted more had I not been watching my diet) and another for breakfast today! Whew, I must remember to reserve a slice or two for my husband! I promised him I would.


By the way, my daughter, Ayana Grace, who enticed me into this blogging world, is the person behind Codename Aya, a blog site featuring beauty and beauty products (make-up, hair, nail arts, etc.). Well, since beauty products are her turf, she has given me permission to post all about her foodie experiments. Hmmm... there's no turning back... the invasion of my kitchen laboratory has begun!  ;) haha!
--------
Note: The following are various meanings of "Ayana": Beautiful African flower; in Hebrew, He  answers; African-American meaning: Favor or Grace.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

If Music be the Food of Love, Play on

I promised myself I won't blog about my work. Yes, I made it Rule No. 1 when I got myself hooked in this blogging world. Since writing is my way of relaxing from the hurly-burly of my job, I told myself my blogs will only be about  my hobbies --- cooking, crochet, dogs, plants, (family? maybe...) and personal journeys. I've mentioned that in my notes About this Site and About the Author

Well, I can't help mentioning how my involvement in a government project has kept me real busy the past weeks (months actually!) almost bringing me to panic mode at times, enough to set me scratching myself all over, that would call for some doses of antihistamine. 

Last Friday, we finally celebrated the launching of the project although in reality the real work has just barely begun! And so that day, I had to go home earlier than usual to take that much needed rest. I enjoyed a bit of luxury by sleeping from 7:00 pm till 5:00 am! My first after a long while! 

But then, there's still the best luxury to culminate the week--- that of having Saturday breakfast with Billy, my husband, while enjoying classical music on air. Simply majestic! Such soothing and comforting music! I have always loved listening to classical music even as a child but it was my first time to listen to these violin concertos straight from "The Four Seasons" and Venice Baroque album by Antonio Vivaldi.  The selections are part of the Venezia Art-Photobook and CD package that Billy brought home after coming from a 10-day trip to Venice where he presented his research paper in mathematics.
 
 If you would like to enjoy the selection in full, just play the video below while reading on.
Billy goes home every Saturday from a week-long work from the University of the Philippines, Los Banos, Laguna. Hmmm... Yes, I'm a week-end wife! And this is precisely why I cherish Saturdays and Sundays because it's the only time our whole family could be together!

The Saturday breakfast would usually consist of the famous Jollibee "Pinoy Langhap Sarap" (Filipino Smells Delicious) Chicken Joy meal. I would make a combination from the variety of meals so that my kids and I get to have a taste of everything from the assorted chicken, corned beef and beef tapa meals, with fried egg and rice. 

For this Saturday, I imagined myself seated in one of the best concert halls in the world while having breakfast which I concluded with the chocolate cupcake baked by our eldest daughter, Ayana Grace.
I arrived home Friday night to find her baking these but the sleepiness overpowered my enthusiasm to have a taste of it. Well, I can say that Ayana Grace has been growing up fast in my kitchen laboratory these past days and weeks. The cupcakes don't only look good, they taste good as well! Just enough sweetness despite the icing. Sssshhhh....I hate to confess that I, myself, am not good at this craft of making icing. Doesn't that call for a partnership in the near future? 

Hope you enjoyed your weekend! I enjoyed (and still am enjoying) mine. :)

By the way, did you like the violin selections? What classical music do you like best?
= = = = = = = = =
Note: The title of this post is a quote from Shakespeare's work, "Twelfth Night" where Duke Orsino in Act 1 Scene 1 says:
"If music be the food of love, play on,
Give me excess of it; that surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die..."

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Lacy Hair Scrunchies

In my previous post last week, I featured the Retro Neck Band I made during the Christmas holidays last year. It was in keeping with a promise I made almost a year ago to talk about the making of each item I made as part of the holiday marathon 2012. Click here to view post.

Today, the Lacy Hair Scrunchies by Emilee Gettle that was featured in Crochet Spot will be the highlight. This, too, was one of the give-away items I made last Christmas which I featured in my post entitled, "Holiday Season Crochet Marathon Part 3."

It was very easy to make this hair scrunchie. Following the pattern from Crochet Spot, all you have to do is make 1 sc into the hair band / elastic to get started. Then, make 55 repetitive cycles of  "ch 8 - 1 sc" into the elastic ring.  
But wait, instead of making a whole bunch of ch 8-1sc 55 times into the elastic band, I actually made alternate cycles of "ch 8 - 1 sc; ch 5 - 1 sc" pattern to cover the whole ring. A modification I thought of... hmmm saves a few yards of yarn and gives a little bit of emphasis to the artsy twirls! ;)


Simple and easy, right? Now, what are you waiting for? Why don't you grab your favorite color from your stash of yarn and start making a dozen? Would make great gifts which you could pack in pairs a week or two from now.
 Please share with me  in the comment box below which color you picked. :)

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Neckie Mobius Cowl

Happy weekend to all! I had a heavy week so what could be more relaxing than crocheting a new project on a Saturday? I declared this day as a real rest day for me. No marketing, no cooking (except for a very light brunch --- Tuna Chow Fan side dished with cucumber-tomato mix and left-over chicken nuggets) but how could I say no to crochet? It will always be a perfect relaxation for me! And so, in between sleep periods throughout the day, I found myself working on a cowl.

I used a combination of two patterns. One pattern was the Unisex Cowl - Neckie Crochet from The Sunroom,
The Unisex Cowl - Neckie Crochet
 and the other one was the Mobius Infinity Cowl by Michael Sellick.

I started working using the Mobius Infinity Cowl pattern by Michael Sellick, from Step 1 until after the first part of Step 3, where the direction to start a mobius says, "Turn the work so it has a permanent 180- degree twist." Then, instead of making DCs all the way back to the beginning chain, I shifted pattern to follow the "DC, chain 1, DC" from the Unisex Cowl - Neckie Crochet from The Sunroom.

Using this whole ball of Red Heart Yarn,  I started the work with the twist made at Round 2. Do you notice that in the upper portion of the photo on the right?



Look what I got at the end of the day.

See the inverted band on the lower portion of the cowl, resulting from the 180-degree twist made after Round 1. This was my first time to make a mobius. My husband who is a mathematician explained it to me in mathematical language which I didn't quite understand. Suffice it to say that for a layman, a mobius is simply a loop with a single twist.   A mathematical phenomenon, it is... for a child, it can be magic, for others it can be a riddle, an art, but for crafters, it can be a scarf, a cowl, a lace wrap. How about you? Have you tried any project using a mobius? What project have you made using a mobius design?

Have a great week ahead! :)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Retro Neck Band

I joined a holiday season marathon last year.  Who kept me company? My crochet needle, yarn and me! :) Well, it was a crochet marathon featured in my blog post entitled, "Holiday Season Crochet Marathon Part 3."  In this post, I featured some crochet projects which I gave away as gifts. Among the gifts I gave away was the "Retro Neck Band in Manos Silk Blend."

I found the  4-step pattern for this nice and snug neck band from Ravelry as a free download. Very simple and easy-to-make, this neck band could provide warmth during cold weather.

Here is what I made using variegated yarn. I found a stone from an old bracelet and fastened it as button.


Here's how the original Retro Neck Band by Ann Linderhjelm  looks like. 


Well, what are you waiting for? Why don't you try making one yourself?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Crocodile Stitch Bracelet


I like green, so when I saw this bracelet, I was instantly attracted to its color. The original pattern for this bracelet was made by Tia Davis (click here to view).

Photo from www.craftown.com
 I've seen and read about Crocodile Stitch from various crochet patterns but haven't crocheted anything of that sort yet. As they say, this kind of stitch could look quite complicated  but then I realized after making two or three stitches in a row, it was not difficult at all! Well, now is the first time to make my very own. Yes, anybody wouldn't ever miss the great semblance of the stitches to crocodile scales, hence the name, Crocodile Stitch. 

For my first venture on a project made of crocodile stitches, I used variegated yarn for a bracelet  although crochet literature would tell that the stitch would also make very nice and elegant scarves, shawls, flowers, and many other projects. Name it, the crocodile can make it!

Following the tutorial of Tia Davis, I was able to make this.

 
 

Learning this stitch was quite challenging! So challenging that it has inspired me to make another project. How about a handbag purely made of crocodile stitches? So keep watch for the coming posts! 
Have a great week ahead!

The Peacock Fan Bookmark

Look what I found in my crafts archive, two pieces of bookmarks I made last year. I was not into blogging yet when I crocheted these so it's only now that I get to feature them here --- The Peacock Fan Bookmark by Mary DuBois from the Crochet World April 2008 Magazine.


  Here are the Peacock Fan Bookmarks I made.

 
My Peacock Fan Bookmarks side-by-side with the original
I hope to make more of these in the coming days. Gift-giving for the holiday season! :)

How about you? What patterns of bookmarks have you used? Please do share in the comment box below. I would love that!