Sunday, April 28, 2013

Shell Stitch Spring Hat

Hello there! I'm so excited to show you the very first hat I ever crocheted.
 
For this project, I used the Adult Spring or Easter Hat Shell Stitch Cotton Hat with Spring Blossoms by Cre8tion Crochet. I confess that the first time I saw Lorene's spring hat from All Free Crochet, I went restless in bed thinking of a good substitute since I didn't have a whole skein of white in my stash.

Good I had this yarn given by Aunt Marly two months ago! 
What a very nice and perfect gift because the color was just an appropriate match to my outfit during our summer outing! I started working on the hat three nights prior but because I would end up sleeping while watching my favorite TV series, I wasn't able to finish the project in time for the event. I traveled to the resort still crocheting the last two rounds of the hat. The place was not very far. We arrived there before I could finish the last round. So instead of exploring and enjoying the place immediately, I still had to work on the last few inches of slip stitches before I could wear the hat during our photo ops. 

First, here's a photo of my hat, minus the spring blossoms. I still need to dig for some pieces from my stash box. Oh, by the way, my colleagues suggested I added another round to make the brim wider to protect my face against the heat of the sun. I did as they suggested.
But let me tell you a little secret. I have to confess I made a mistake in Round 4 where I lacked 2 DCs which later would form one shell. It was too late for me to unravel some rounds as I didn't have the luxury of time anymore. The mistake made the hat a little tight when I tried it on. I thought of making some changes in the pattern, so in Round 12, instead of just making only 4 DCs, I made 6. That created a ruffled effect on the brim. Not bad!

See the photo below? My colleague posed wearing the hat while I was hurrying to make the last few rounds.
Madame Chit posing with my unfinished hat on
Now, here are other photos of me (wearing my hat) with my other colleagues taken in Mi Terraza, a private resort located at Antipolo, Rizal.
Me with sweet and pretty Charisse
Daisy took a photo of herself with my Spring hat on and made some artistic twists on her photo. See this---
Daisy with my Spring Hat on
Isn't that cute? We sure had an enjoyable time bonding, playing games and enjoying the food together. More pictures posted in my FB account at Eve Sison.

Enjoy your weekend!
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Friday, April 26, 2013

Treasures from the Closet


It's several weeks past Easter. I remember how I managed to do last minute cramming just to do a few "S" at home... my strategy to appease my husband who was starting to show signs of (okay, you could make your own guess... clue: there were clutters invading his study table which have accumulated through time).  I wasn't able to complete the 5S (the Japanese method of workplace organization: seiri for sort , seiton for set in order, seiso for shine, seiketsu for standardize, and shitsuke for sustain). Completing all 5S's was just not feasible for me at that time :( But then, at least, I was able to fill one XL black trash bag with garbage and I was able to sort out the yarns in my stash boxes!!! What an extraordinary accomplishment! :))

While putting away some dusty old magazines and nursing journals, I found Health and Lifestyle December 2009-January 2010 issue. The cover read "Medical Advancements: Audiology, Cardiology, Gastroenterology and Ophthalmology". I couldn't resist reading "Balloons in Cardiology" to refresh my own self and "The Role of Antiplatelet Drugs (Clopidogrel) in Stroke Prevention" which I handed to my husband for him to read because it's one of his daily medicines. Alas and behold, I also found a page (p. 38) featuring a Christmas Salad recipe: Alugbati (Basella alba or Malabar Spinach) salad. This is the same vegetable I featured in my last post, Sauteed Chicken with Lentils and Alugbati.

The ingredients:
2 bundles alugbati, blanched
1 piece onion, peeled and chopped
3 pieces tomatoes, chopped
1 inch ginger, peeled and minced
5 pieces calamansi, juiced (I used lemon juice instead)

How to do it... very simple and easy! Just combine all ingredients together in a bowl and serve.

Here's my version of the salad which I served using a bamboo placemat I also found in a cabinet. Perfect combination, don't you think so?
Have you some treasures unearthed from your own cabinets lately? How about sharing your experience on the comment box below?

Enjoy the rest of the week!
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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Sauteed Chicken with Lentils and Alugbati

I first heard about lentils as I read the Old Testament part of the Bible. 
 "And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then he ate and drank, 
arose, and went his way. 
Thus Esau despised his birthright." 
(Genesis 25:34)
"Now it happened, when David had come to Mahanaim, 
that Shobi the son of Nahash from Rabbah of the people of Ammon,  
Machir the son of Ammiel from Lo Debar, 
and Barzillai the Gileadite from Rogelim, brought beds and basins, 
earthen vessels and wheat, barley and flour, parched grain and beans,  
lentils and parched seeds, honey and curds, sheep and 
cheese of the herd, for David and the people who were with him to eat.   
(2 Samuel 17: 27-29)


In my mind, I wondered what lentils were but never really bothered to get to know about it. Just recently, I've seen some recipes with lentils as ingredients and to my surprise, I found some cans in the grocery store. Still I didn't  find time to read about it until my daughter bought a can for a dish she tried lately. I found her left-over lentils in the ref. It has so much semblance to mongo (mung beans). 

I usually cook sauteed mongo with shrimps and ampalaya (bitter melon or bitter gourd) leaves. This is a popular dish in my country that goes well with any fried fish. Alugbati (Basella alba or Malabar Spinach) also makes a very good substitute for ampalaya leaves which has a slightly bitter taste. I'm so used to the taste of mongo with alugbati as it always reminds me of home when I was a child, the dish having been a frequent dish on our dining table. Alugbati is semi-succulent, its stem is reddish purple  and I just love its mucilaginous texture! Aside from its nutritional value, it also has medicinal properties and surprisingly, tastes good as vegetable salad, as well.

Last Sunday, I was about to cook chicken with mung beans and alugbati  leaves but the sight of lentils made me change my mind. So here's a product of another simple and easy experiment from my culinary arts laboratory---
The lentils may not be very visible in the photo. Well, I deliberately didn't use much of it since my kids aren't fond of mung beans, hence, I anticipated they wouldn't like lentils either. A perfect substitute, I just discovered, to mung beans. Lentils don't only taste very much like mung beans, they are also a rich source of proteins.

Interested with the recipe? You may find it at Petitchef. Click here to view.

My husband was speechless eating this new dish... (ssshhhh.... his mouth was full!) LOL!!!

Enjoy your weekend!
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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Blue and White Apple Blossom Showcase

Hello there! I have this unexplainable addiction to roses and rosebuds lately and look at what I made last Sunday. 
White and blue roses as necklace for my uniform. I used variegated blue and white yarn for the smaller roses.
 
I've been wanting to make a rose for the bag I'm bringing to the office every Monday and Wednesday because I imagined it would make a perfect match to our uniform. But I suddenly changed my mind. Instead, using the Granny Rose pattern of Apple Blossom Dreams, I used for the rose identifiers of Mae Ann in A Rosy Adieu and Eleanor in A Promise of a New Beginning
I decided to make a necklace like what Crochet Dynamite did in the Recycled Rose Necklace which I also featured in my post (The Crochet Dynamite) last February.
Thank you, Astri, for the pattern! Have a great week ahead, everyone!
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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Waking Up to a New Face

Have you experienced waking up to see a new "you" in the mirror? Well, I just did early this morning! 

I remember forcing myself to close my eyes and get some sleep last night with the muscle pain running through my left shoulder blade to the whole upper arm. That really caused me a lot of discomfort the whole night! An offshoot of the Basic Life Support re-training I attended (a must for all healthcare workers especially for a nurse educator like me!) yesterday. Well, I hate to admit it but I've been experiencing pain in some parts of my body for quite some time.This has affected my ability to do the usual household chores in the kitchen, in the bathroom and the garden. 

Before the pain worsened last night, I managed to take a photograph of some beauty and body care products Ayana Grace (my eldest daughter) and some friends gave me using my new lightbox (courtesy of Ayana Grace also).
These are moisturizing body lotion and shower gel from Bench, Dermatox Eye Cream from Hortaleza, MD, Pure Coco Oil Bath Soap from Body Recipe, Shimmer Lipstick and Hydrating Color Dew lipsticks, Chestnut Color HairSpa Sachets and Age Defense powder from HBC, a 28-day Trial Pack of Anew Clinical Pro Line Corrector Wrinkle Fighter from Avon, Wrinkle Resist Benefiance Night Emulsion and Total Regenerating Cream from Shiseido, and 5 Pond's Age Miracle Day Cream. Wow! Overwhelmed and wondering how I could possibly use them all, my hands trembled, partly with excitement and partly with pain. Just recently, I also received Clinique products from very special friends which I have already started using so they are not included in this photo.

While I was restless and struggling with pain in my sleep, and even before I had the chance of using the beauty products shown above, Ayana Grace played fairy godmother beside me in my bed.  Clicking here and there, exploring photos of crafts and culinary products from my own picture gallery and Adobe Photoshopping, she was able to cast a spell on my blog site using her magic wand while working on my own laptop. Ready to see her Cinderella? 

Here it is ----
My new blog header created by Ayana Grace
Facing off now to Garden Chef's new face... How do you like it? I mean, my new face? She was able to capture and project a perfect combination of all my interests.

Wait, there's more... she also made a button for Garden Chef. Isn't this cute? :)) By all means, you can just grab it. You may find the HTML code on the right side bar.
Garden Chef's Needle and Pen button
Welcome the new me! I just love it!

Oh, by the way, Ayana Grace is the person behind Codename Aya. She blogs about beauty (make-up, nails and skin care), and her site features beauty product reviews and tutorials on nail arts.

Happy weekend!
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Friday, April 12, 2013

Vamos a Comer

I'm still exploring the October 2012 issue of Appetite Magazine although I have another issue already... from Ana Cristina, yes, my supplier of recipe magazines at home. This is still among the magazines I featured in my post (One Yummy and Healthy Idea a Week: A Year-ender Resolution) last year. Click on the link to read how I discovered this magazine that has become one of my kitchen buddies. :))

In this issue, you will find a number of classic Spanish dishes revisited. One of them is Pescado al Horno (Baked Fish). Here's the recipe.

Ingredients for the Marinade:
1/2 kilo Lapu-lapu fillet
1 pc calamansi, squeezed (I used 5 pcs)
Salt and pepper
Ground paprika

Ingredients for the Toppings:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp onion, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1/4 kilo fresh shrimps, peeled
1 cup tomato sauce
Salt and pepper
Ground paprika
A pinch of sugar
1/4 cup fine bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I used Quickmelt cheese)

Procedure:
1. Marinate fish fillet in calamansi, salt, pepper and ground paprika. Set aside.
2. Saute onions in olive oil, then add bell peppers.
3. Toss in shirmps and cook just until they turn orange. Pour in tomato sauce and simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt, pepper, paprika and sugar. Set aside. Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
4. Spread some shrimp-tomato mixture at the bottom of a square or rectangular baking pan. Lay marinated fish on top. Pour the rest of the shrimp-tomato sauce on top. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. (Before sprinkling the bread crumbs and cheese, I placed some spinach leaves on top of the sauce.)
 5. Bake fish in the oven for 20-25 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillet.

Hmmm.... vamos a comer hora mismo! Enjoy your weekend!
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Sunday, April 7, 2013

Starbella from Aunt Marly

Last February, Aunt Marly came to attend our grand alumni homecoming. (It was a very exciting event as we had that very rare opportunity of enjoying the company of nursing colleagues we haven't seen for a long time. I personally enjoyed the event despite the very hectic schedule it gave me during the preparations.)

Well, did I say Aunt Marly came? Oh yes, she did! Just look at our faces in the photos, a proof of how we enjoyed the 2-day event. 

With former dear colleagues at work
I enjoyed the reunion very much, too! Short-lived, it may have been, yet the memories are there to linger until now. Here's why. See these? 
 
 A bagful of yarn!
Gifts from Aunt Marly
All these were given to me by Aunt Marly--- yarn, crochet needle of different sizes, weaving needle and stitch markers. Oh, she may not know it because I still haven't had the chance to tell her how, for the first time in my life, I ever had such treasure in my possession! Thank you so much, Aunt Marly, for bringing along all these! I'm so sorry that you had to carry them along in your baggage :( I promise not a single strand of the yarn will be put to waste. 

Here's project no. 1--- my first ever Starbella Ruffled Scarf. Tadah!!!!!

My finished product
I really had no idea how to do this as it was my first time to see and work using this kind of yarn. Thanks to these YouTube tutorials. Learning and doing the craft became very easy!
 


Crochet Super Easy Ruffled Scarf - Starbella Yarn Part 1 of 2 by Maggie Weldon


Oh, I just loved every single step in doing the scarf! I would love to have more of this kind so I can try other variations! Does that sound like having more precious gifts to give away? Well, that remains to be seen. Have a happy weekend!
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Saturday, April 6, 2013

3-in-1

This is a late post about what I did on Easter Sunday. I prepared three dishes. Three? Yes, you heard me right, three dishes! Fish Fillet Sauteed with Cashews and Mushrooms, Warm Spinach and Orange Salad in Asian Vinaigrette and Jam Tarts... three experimental dishes in a day. So that explains the title of today's post. :)

Started the day by making jam tarts. I already made a few the previous night and I liked the result so I made another batch for some friends. Hmmm... I was afraid to ask them how it tasted (because I actually made them my guinea pigs. Sorrryyyyy!) The rest we enjoyed as desert for lunch. I got the recipe from Olive Magazine which I already featured in one of my January 2013 posts entitled, Leek, Mushroom and Spinach Souffle Omelette.

The first time I laid my eyes on the jam tart photo in Olive Magazine, for months, I haven't stopped dreaming about giving the recipe a try. I confess this was another trial and error as it was my first time to make tarts. I wasn't really satisfied at the size and the mixture of my ingredients and I am not used to measure ingredients in grams because I don't have a weighing scale. So in my next post, I will feature the actual recipe I used to which I will refer from now on. But for the moment, here's the original recipe from Olive Magazine.

Jam Tarts:
Mix 400 gms flour and 200 gms chilled and diced butter to breadcrumbs in a food processor. Add 50 gms sugar and mix. Add 2 egg yolks and grated rind of 1 orange and pulse until it comes together into a dough (you might need to add a splash of water). Wrap in clingfilm and chill for 20 minutes.
Heat oven to 170 C. Roll out the pastry and stamp out circles big enough to fit 2X2-hole jam tart molds/pans. Bake for 15 minutes, then add small spoonfuls of jam to each and bake for 5 minutes.
My jam tarts --- experimental edition
Forgive me for the thick crust, this being the first trial, and the seeming unproportional amount of jam to the size of the crust. Waaaahh! :(( There's got to be another guinea pig tomorrow! Who's that gonna be? Any volunteer out there? 

Next dish...  Fish Fillet Sauteed with Cashews and Mushrooms.

The original recipe from Appetite Magazine is Fish Fillet Sauteed with Cashews, Green and Black Olives. 

Ingredients:
4 pcs white fish fillet (like Cream Dory or Red Snapper) 
2 tbsps flour
1/2 tsp paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tbsps cooking oil

For the sauce:
3 tbsps butter
2 tsps garlic, minced
1 tbsp red onions, minced
1 tbsp lemon juice
5 pcs black olives, pitted
5 pcs green olives, pitted
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsps toasted cashew nuts

Procedure:
1. Rinse the fish fillets and pat dry. Dust with flour and season with paprika, salt and pepper.
2. In a skillet, heat cooking oil over moerate heat. Panfry the fish on both sides until just done. Set aside.
3. In the same skillet, melt butter and begin to saute garlic and red onions. Once onions are cooked, pour the lemon juice and simmer for 2 minutes.
4. Add the black and green olives. Place the fish back into the pan and coat with the butter-lemon sauce.
5. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with the toasted cashew nuts and arrange the fish nicely on a plate.

I have a confession to make, while preparing the ingredients, it was too late for me to discover that we had no more olives!!!!! So I had no choice but to substitute olives with mushrooms. :(( There were no violent reactions during lunch and Billy, my husband, said, as he always would, "Amazing!"
 
Now, for the third dish...let's welcome back Warm Spinach and Orange Salad in Asian Vinaigrette.

This salad, to date, got 282 page views since I posted it last month Warm Spinach and Orange Salad in Asian Vinaigrette. I fell in love with this salad the first time I tasted it that I decided to do a remake with minor modifications. First, I used Worcestershire Sauce and aside from oranges, I also added pomelo. Hmmm I really love the taste of the vinaigrette!
Credits to Ayana Grace for this photo
How I enjoyed the 4-day Lenten break from work last week! Looking forward to another holiday this week :)
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