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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Enculturation Series, part 1

Being a transplant from one country ( Philippines ) to another ( US ) I had my share of boo-boos or bloopers and/or funny memories that resulted either from my simple ignorance or from my American culture naivete. In time, I have learned to adapt, but these experiences surely continue to give me laughters.

Here is one of them:


In the Philippines, any type of sneakers is often called tennis, whether they are actually running shoes or basketball shoes, it is very common for them to be called simply "tennis". When I was still vacationing here in US, a friend aske me if I have brought with me tennis shoes so that I could join them for doubles. I assured my friend my readiness to play tennis by bringing my tennis shoes.

When I met the group, my friend just looked at me and silently whispered, "Betchai, you cannot play tennis, you do not have tennis shoes and what you wear have marking soles". HUH?

If These Are Not Tennis Shoes, What Are They?

In my mind I was thinking, "if what I wear are not tennis shoes, then, what are they?" It was my first time to hear someone telling me my tennis shoes are not tennis shoes because they have marking soles.

Okay, I must admit I was never a member of any tennis club in the Philippines, I just played with my co-teachers in our campus, which did not really ask us to wear the right "tennis shoes".

Okay, but there is one more funny addition to this tennis shoes. When I was in the Philippines, I found my tennis racket finally getting too old and was not giving me the power anymore. I asked one of my colleagues who plays tennis a lot, "Lan, do you have extra tennis racket? Can I borrow?" Poor Alan, he did not hear the racket, but only the tennis. The next day, he had a shopping bag full of his sneakers, telling me, "Betchai, pili lang di kung di-in ma-igo sa imo", in English it means, "Betchai, just choose which ones fit you." And I had to smile, I said, "But Lan, I asked if you have extra tennis racket", and he replied, "on my golly carabao, when I heard tennis, I thought of shoes! You should have just said, RACKET!!"

Uhhh, okay :) As you see, tennis for us is not always the tennis sport, it is the shoes!

Now, to answer the question in the picture's caption, those shoes are my old running shoes!

It's nice to laugh about our experiences sometimes, after all, laughter is our best medicine. So, more of my enculturation to come :)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Music At The Park

Lily Pond At Balboa Park

One of the free things to enjoy in San Diego during summer nights is a free concert at the Balboa Park, by the Spreckels Organ Pavillon. For 33 years, the Twilight in The Park has offered San Diego residents and visiting tourists a free musical cancert. Music at The Park range from military bands and Dixieland jazz to big band swing and Latin salsa. The free concert runs every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 6:15 to 7:15 p.m until August 29. All of the San Diego-based performance groups showcase their talents to the community free-of-charge.

For those who could not wait however for dusk to listen to the concert, there are a lot also of musical entertainers at the park during the day. Some of them simply play their guitar. They set up their shure microphones as they play their guitars so they could be heard by a wider audience. The park at summer time becomes more alive, as you would hear some people entertaining the crowds with music, as others take a walk to enjoy the beauty that Balboa Park offers. 

Sweet Potato Curry

Sweet Potato (cubes)
Carrots ( diced )
sweet corn
sweet peas
green beans 
coconut milk
almond milk
curry powder 
goat cheese yogurt

1. Sautee garlic, ginger and onions until they are brown.
2. Add the sweet potato. Stir with curry powder.
3. Boil the sweet potato with almond milk and cocunut milk. Leave about 1/4 of coconut milk to be added when the vegetable is cooked.
4. Simmer until sweet potato is half cooked.
5. Add all the other vegetables.
5. When all vegetables are cooked, add the last of the coconut milk and goat cheese yogurt. Stir.
7. Turn off fire, and then, serve hot.
8. Enjoy!!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Cancelled Trip Leading to Finding Spy Store

Relaxing After A very Tiring Week
So much had happened the past week, that I felt like I gained so much weight from all the tiredness I felt. Not physical tiredness. In fact, I probably feel more energized when I am physically tired from hiking or boogie boarding. There was just none of that in my first full week of summer break! :(

Monday, I spent a lot of time mapping out our itinerary for our Canadian Rockies vacation. Despite we already had booked flight, car rentals and hotels for exploring but I was so busy during the school days that I was not able to plan out specific activities yet and hikes to explore. So,I spent the early part of last week making itinerary and specific activity plans for our Canadian Rockies adventure vacation. 
Our Supposed To Be Canadian Rockies Adventure Vacation
( exploring Banff National Park, Jasper National Park, Kootenay National Park, Yoho National Park, and Glacier National Park for 2 weeks )

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Pan Grilled Chicken

How I prepared the chicken:

1. Cut the chicken into small pieces.
2. Rub the chicken with ginger, turmeric and pepper.
3. Let the chicken absorb the dry ingredients about 10 minutes.
4. Grill in the pan over slow fire.
5. Stir in green onions when chicken is cooked.
6. Serve hot with rice and vegetable.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Getting Help with Your Frozen Yogurt Business

Opening your own frozen yogurt business does not have to be difficult at all. In fact, it is really easy with the right people on your side. Just like any other business, you will need the proper planning if you want your business to succeed. You will also need to make sure that your entire plan is properly executed as well.

Getting Help
If you want to start your frozen yogurt business off on the right foot, then you will need the help of someone who has been there before. That is where Frozen Yogurt Solutions comes in. They will be able to help you get your frozen yogurt business off the ground. It won't be long at all until you have your first big deposit headed for the bank, but if you choose to start your business on your own you will run into all sorts of problems that you most likely don't have the answers to. You want your new frozen yogurt business to be successful, and in order to do this you have to put your business on the right path. That is exactly what this company can offer you.

Help the Entire Way

Frozen Yogurt Solutions is not just there to help you get your frozen yogurt store off the ground. They are there to help you plan everything out from the most basic concept to the day you decide to expand to multiple storefronts. It is like having a helping hand for every problem or question that you may have about operating your own business. If your frozen yogurt business does not succeed, neither do they. They want your business to be a huge success, and they want to help you every step of the way. It is up to you to make the right decision. You can start your business on your own, or you can get help from a team of professionals. The choice is yours. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Cell Phone Photography: Everyday is Now a Weekend :)

Summer break, everyday is now a weekend for me. :) First day (Friday) of summer break I cleaned the house, and did some gardening. Weekend,we had a blast enjoying both hiking and the ocean, the joys of simple life in San Diego. 

We started with breakfast at home. 
Crunchy Scrambled Egg, Rice and Dried Tiny Shrimp
Then, we went hiking at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve.
Badlands @ Razor Point, Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve
from North View Point of Guy Fleming Trail, Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve
Then, we had lunch, as you can see, I so love the sea that I indulged on sea food. :)
Mussels, Steamed Fish, Broccoli and Mushroom
Mussels, Crispy Coconut Shrimp, Egg Roll and Egg Plant
and more sea foods for me

After lunch, we went to La Jolla Shores for snorkeling and boogie boarding. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Vegetarian Pinakbet

Pinakbet is one of the popular Filipino dishes, which traditionally is prepared with shrimp paste ( bago-ong alamang) and pork. However I usually prepare this dish without any addition of seafood and meat. Here is how I prepare vegetarian pinakbet:
1. Japanese squash, cubed
2. Eggplant, cut into small pieces
3. Bittermelon ( this can be omitted if you dislike bittermelon ), sliced.
4. String beans, cut into 2 inches length.
5. Okra
6. Minced garlic and sliced onions.
1. Sautee garlic and onions until they are browned.
2. Add the vegetables, then stir lightly
3. Add a little water.
4. Season with soy sauce or salt and pepper to taste.
5. Simmer until vegetables are cooked.
I enjoyed my pinakbet with rice and steamed oysters.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Inspired to Garden

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Miracle-Gro. All opinions are 100% mine.
My Succulent in Glass Garden, Inspired by Miracle Gro
I was watching The Gro Project at the Miracle-Gro Facebook page, when suddenly I found myself doing my own garden project too, inspired by the toyrarium.
The Toyrarium Project at Miracle-Gro Facebook Page
Ready to make your own? First, let me share the steps I found from Miracle-Gro toyrarium Project.
1. Prepare the materials: glass bowl or glass container, rocks, potting mix ( Shake n' Feed Moisture Control All Purpose Plant Food and Moisture Control Potting Mix for indoor or LiquaFeed All Purpose Plant Food Advance Starter Kit  for outdoor),  succulents, and toys if you wish.
2. Place some rocks at the bottom layer of the container.

Thursday, June 6, 2013


Tokwa ( or Tofu)
This is one of my favorite Filipino tofu dishes which is very simply done. Here is how I prepare this simple dish:
1. Slice extra firm tofu into thin squares ( like above) then, pan fry until they are brown.
2. In a bowl, mix soy sauce, spicy vinegar, a little stevia (or you can use a little brown sugar), freshly chopped garlic, onions, and tomato. 
3. Add the pan fried tofu to the soy sauce-vinegar dressing prepared in number 2.
4. You can add salted black bean to this dish, and it tastes yummy with black beans too. However, when I prepared this, we ran out of black beans. 

Enjoy! :)

PS....In the Philippines, this dish is popularly known as tokwa't baboy ( tofu with pork), however, we prefer the meatless version of this dish, thus I call mine simply "tokwa". 

Reality Bites

We never know what tomorrow is, but we can make the most of what we have today, to live life in the most beautiful and  meaningful way.

Let me share here some "reality bites" lessons in life that I learned by witnessing.

Ela has almost everything that most girls would envy.  She is very beautiful, charming and pretty. She carries herself so well, intelligent, and has very good people skills. Everything was going great for her at school. She was a school leader and a motivator. It was not her to be absent for several days successively in class. Concerned about her whereabouts, the school's counselor followed up home. It was only then that the parents realized their 16 year old was not only not attending school but was also not home for 3 days.

The parents talked to the housekeeper and nanny, where they learned later their daughter moved in with a friend in a tough inner city neighborhood, where problems of drugs and gangs abound. It must be painfully shocking to the parents. But it was a wonder how could parents living in the same house not know about their daughter's whereabouts for three days. 

Ela's dad was one of the top cardiologists in one of the top hospitals in the country, and her mom was a Vice-President of one of the biggest hospitals. Despite their highly acclaimed professional status, they were on the verge of bankruptcy. They lived in a very big house, but almost empty. The parents may have not addressed the very hard test their family was going through, thus may have forgotten to extend their love and time to their daughter, trusting that the nanny and housekeeper could replace them. But was it too late for them to realize that no one can replace the love and care given by a parent to their child? 

Witnessing that surprisingly sad turn-out of events of a family that were previously doing very well in life opened up to me the lesson that we never know what tomorrow is. However, we can make the most of today to prepare for tomorrow.

We always hear other people saying, "life is short, enjoy life to the fullest!" I actually often hear this from some people I know. Living life to the fullest for them is spending and borrowing money like there is no tomorrow. I wonder though, if this is really living life to the fullest? Are we living life to the fullest if we attract so much stress to our lives? If we forget about our priorities and what matters most in life? Is it enjoying life to the fullest if we keep on spending beyond our means, just so we can parade in the most expensive items in the world that frankly we could not afford?

Sadly, there are some who were so attracted to this life, and with wrong beliefs that they could always be protected by bankruptcy laws should they not be able to pay anymore what they carelessly borrowed.

Bankruptcy laws are meant to help people who can no longer pay their creditors get a fresh start – by liquidating assets to pay their debts or by creating a repayment plan. Bankruptcy laws also protect troubled businesses and provide for orderly distributions to business creditors through reorganization or liquidation. For more information about bankruptcy law, please check out south dakota bankruptcy laws.

I sincerely believe if we understand better what we will go through with filing for bankruptcy that we would be not be willingly submitting ourselves to such a situation. People who are going through bankruptcy go through a very stressful situation, such as what happened to the family above. That was why their house was almost empty because of liquidating their assets. They were later thrown out of their huge, mansion-like house. But they were hoping that they could get a fresh start and the law would help them get a fresh start. Never in their dreams they wished this to happen, much more to their only daughter.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Eggplant and Okra in Italian Herbs and Olive Oil

Eggplant, sliced thinly
Minced Garlic
Sliced Onion
Chopped Fresh Oregano
Chopped Fresh Basil 
Black Pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1. Mix all ingredients. 
2. Sprinkle extra virgin olive oil and stir.
3. Simmer in a pan over low heat until eggplant and okra is cooked. Or alternatively, you can microwave on high about 9 minutes.

My Path To America

After my vacation in Laguna Beach that convinced me to try exploring a life in America, the following were the steps I did when I was back to the Philippines.

1. Updated my resume and wrote a cover letter. I got a lot of advises to not put my visa status ( I only have tourist visa, not allowed to work ) but I did not follow those advises. I did not want to waste my time and the employer's time only for them to get frustrated I need sponsorship to work. Instead, I put all my  strengths at the top of my resume and cover letter but placed my visa status at the bottom. I may get less interviews but at least they are the ones I knew who would be willing enough to sponsor me to change my visa status.

2. I processed my foreign transcript evaluation. I knew it was a lot of money at that time, but I believe my professional career in Math, Chemistry and Physics would pave a way for me. 

3. I looked up for professional exams I needed to take and paid for the schedule that I could take once I get back to U.S.

When I was back again to U. S. to find a job that time, the following were some of the actions I took :

1. Consulted with immigration attorney los angeles for what I need if and when I will find an employer who would sponsor me. And what kind of jobs do I need to focus my search that would have easy approval  with immigration.

2. Sent out applications online as much as I could, after all, online application did not cost me anything but my time. And yes, I invested a lot of my time in the internet looking for jobs.

3. Took the professional tests I needed for the jobs I was looking at.

4. Prayers, prayers, prayers. 

Somehow, all the preparations I took worked very well for me since in one month and a half, my future employer was signing immigration papers for me. In less than 3 months, I got a change in visa status that started my life here in USA.

I thank God for all these blessings.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Grilled Vegetable and Rice

Whenever I am super rushed to have foods asap, like coming home hungry from work, I would prepare grilled vegetables because it is fastest. When I get home, all I do is slice the vegetables and drizzle with olive oil and powdered garlic. I line up the vegetables in the electric grill, and in 5 minutes, I have my foods ready.
Grilled Zucchini, Asparagus and Eggplant

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Cheese Ravioli with Asparagus and Tomato Marinara Sauce

This is a very simple meal to prepare and easy. What I usually prepare when things get so busy.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

5 Fancy Grilled Cheese Sandwiche's

1.Spicy Guacamole Grilled Cheese

The first step is to mash an avocado and mix in lime juice, salt, pepper, onion, and minced garlic to taste. To give it a kick add a little Old El Paso’s sliced jalapenos. Heat up your pan and when at desired heat place down a piece of bread. Add a spoon full of guacamole on the bread and spread it covering the entire piece of bread. Next place a slice of cheddar cheese on top of the guacamole. Take another piece of bread and butter one side. When the cheese starts to melt place the second piece of bread on top butter side up and flip as needed.

 2.Veggie Grilled Cheese 

 This sandwich is best with the farmhouse loaf from Pepperidge Farm but any bread will work. Top the bread with your favorite flavor of humus. This sandwich is best with extra sharp cheddar cheese but will work with any cheese. Then add shredded carrots, radishes, pickled turnips and a little bit of lettuce. Melt butter in your heated pan and flip sandwich until cheese is melted and bread is a nice shade of golden brown.

 3.Caramelized Onion, Bacon, and Brie Grilled Cheese 

 In a sauté pan melt a tablespoon of butter and melt. Afterwards add thinly sliced onions and sauté on low until translucent and a golden brown. Take any desired bread and butter one side of both breads. Place the first piece of bread butter down in the pan. Place onions, Brie, and bacon bits on the bread then place the other piece of bread on top butter side up. Flip until cheese is melted and bread is golden brown.

 4.Jalapeno Chicken Grilled Cheese with White BBQ Sauce 

 You will need to make the sauce first by combining 1 cup mayonnaise, ¾ cup cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1 tablespoon pepper, ¼ tablespoon red pepper, and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. Wisk sauce until smooth then place is fridge until ready to use. Take two slices of any desired bread and butter one side of each bread. Place one piece of bread butter side down on heated skillet. Place 1 cup of shredded chicken, 1-2 tablespoons of sauce, 1-2 tablespoons of shredded cheese, and jalapenos on top of the bread. Place the second piece of bread on top butter side up. Flip until cheese is melted and bread is golden brown.

 5.Cranberry Honey Grilled Cheese 

 This sandwich is best on sourdough bread. Place one piece of bread butter side down on heated skillet. Using the back of a spoon spread whole berry cranberry sauce on the entire piece of bread in skillet. Layer either Muenster or Brie cheese on top of cranberry sauce. Take the other piece of bread and spread honey on one side and butter on the other side. Place the piece of bread honey side down on the sandwich. Flip until cheese is melted and bread is golden brown.

 About the author: 

 Author Bio: Ally is a writer for Barker home security, a leader in Texas home security. She is a professional grilled cheese maker and is the inventor of he Triple Stack Grilled Chicken and Cheese.