Sunday, October 22, 2017

KST - My Stairway To Heaven

KST - Kabalikat Sa Tahanan

We just finished the 24th cycle of KST last Wednesday.

What is KST again?

It is a program of Barangay Bel-Air for the household helpers to help them improve their skills and instill values in them.

This is my 7th year as a volunteer facilitator.  Time flies so fast when it is KST season.  It starts in May then ends in mid-October.

I remember distinctly.... OK, OK, OK.  I wrote it on the 1st page of my notebook:

KST - My stairway to heaven.

That came from Father Dave Concepcion when we had our recollection last May.

Everybody's goal is to get to heaven when we die.

Stairway because with each step you take, you get nearer and nearer to your destination.

I do believe it is a long climb up there but with KST, I now found an express lane, sort of.

Every year, we get a different set of participants.

My partner, Carina, and I had 4 of them. Florilyn, Eliza, Juffel and Cherry.

A lot of people ask me if I get bored doing the same things over and over again. 

With new participants every year, it feels like a new experience every time. 

If they are learning so much from us, what they do not know is that we are also learning from them.

I have a new realization this year.

We always take for granted our capacity to dream.

Dream for things we want or want to achieve. 

It may or may not become a reality but we still say, " Someday, I wish..... "

What I realized is that most  people are so afraid to dream or wish for something. 

They think they do not have to right to dream for a better life or a better future for their families.

When KST started last May, most of  the participants were shy, apprehensive, afraid that there will be discrimination, etc.  They feel quite insecure about themselves.

They did not want to talk or share in front of the group. 

One of my girls was actually so terrifed of speaking in front of the crowd that she quit mid way.

But because of the encouragement of the facilitators, they gained confidence and started to "bloom".

Hahahaha It sounds co cliche-ish but it is like you could see a rose bud unfurls its petal each Wednesday.

By the end of the program they now feel more confident of themselves and the most wonderful part is....

They now dare to dream!

Whereas before they were so afraid, but now, we helped them out of their quiet desperation and gave them hope.

You could see the transformation in them, the glow and sparkle in their eyes.

A few will succeed in life, others may not, but at least for some people whom we have given hope, it makes the time we served as facilitators worth it.

What do we get out of it? 

The feeling of accomplishment that we were able to make a difference in someone's life.

I got a few thank you notes from my participants.  I was so touched and humbled by their kind words.

Of course, I was also tickled pink! 

One participant said I was "mabait and maaalalahanin (try saying that out loud)"!

Another wrote: "Thank you so much po for your thoughtfulness, you always bring us something to eat."

"Thanks for the sweet smiles, encouraging words and assisting us in our projects."

"Maraming salamat po sa lahat na panahon, sa pakikinig, pag unawa sa amin kahit kami ay mga pasaway, pagkinig sa aming problema at pinapayuhan kami kung ano ang gagawin namin."

Don't you just love their kind words?!?!?!

I do!  I love KST as well!

I pray that the program goes on and on and on so we can help more people dare to dream.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Bihon Con Lechon

Bihon Con Lechon 

1/2 k Bihon Q noodles, soaked in water for 10 minutes then drained 
1/2 C. Cooking oil 
Garlic, chopped 
Onions, sliced 
1 pc Triple E Chinese sausage, sliced 
250 gr. Chicken breast, boiled in salted water then flaked 
250 g. Shrimps 
2 small carrots, julienned 
100 gr. String beans, sliced 
1 C. cabbage, cut into squares 
1 Liter chicken stock 
1 Knorr chicken cube 
5 T. Datu Puti soy sauce 
1 t. Ground black pepper 
1 t. MSG 
1 k. Lechon Kawali 

Heat oil in a big wok. 
Saute onions and garlic until soft. 
Add the chicken, Chinese sausage, shrimps and chicken cube. 
After a minute or two, add the carrots and beans.
Continue sauteing for 3 minutes then add the cabbage. 
Pour the broth and soy sauce. 
Season with black pepper and MSG. 
When the vegetables are crisp tender, remove from the stock, drain and set aside. 
Add the noodles to the stock and cook until there is no more liquid. 
Put the noodles on a serving platter then add the drained meat and vegetables. 
Top with chopped lechon kawali. 

I cooked the Bihon Con Lechon for Mayette and Jon the other night.  I also invited my neighbors to try my new experiment.

I also experimented with a new bread recipe, Hawaiian Roll. 

We all ate it hot from the oven with butter.

I still have to perfect the recipe before I post it here in my blog.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

American Beef Stew

Tired of  the same old same old Pinoy food?

I have a favorite recipe from an American cook book published gazillion years ago.

I am sharing now with you my own version.

American Beef Stew

1/2 K. Beef sirloin, cut into small cubes 1 x 1
2 T. flour
4 T. cooking oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 T. flour
2 C. water
1 beef bouillion
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
1/2 t. Ajinamoto
1 t. Perrins sauce
1 potatoes, cut as big as the meat
2 carrots, cut as big as the meat
100 gr. frozen green peas

Additional seasoning, as needed
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1/4 t. Ajinamoto
dash of Perrins sauce

Coat the meat with 2 T. flour.
Brown the meat in oil a few pieces at a time then set aside.

Saute the garlic and onions in the pan where the beef was browned.
When the onions and garlic are soft, add the remaining 1 T. flour.
Slowly pour the water.  Add the seasonings.
When it boils, add the beef. Cover and lower the heat. Simmer for 2 1/2 hours.
Add the potatoes, carrots and peas.

Cook for an additional 20 minutes or until the poatoes and carrots are soft.
Season according to taste.

* Do not forget to stir every so often so it will not stick to the bottom of the pan.

Mariger's Pork Menudo

Do you know it took me years and years before perfecting the Pork Menudo recipe of Mariger!?!?

But here it is! I better post it now before I forget the ingredients and proportions.

This is a dry menudo. It does not have sauce. Perfect with the white "tasty" bread, the kind that sticks to the roof of your mouth!

It is dry so it does not drip when you eat it with bread.

Mariger's Pork Menudo

1/2 K. pork Kasim, cut into small cubes
1/2 C. pork fat, cut into small cubes
1/4 t. salt for the pork fat
1/4 C. Datu Puti soy sauce
2 T. calamansi juice
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. black pepper
1/2 t. Ajinamoto
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
200 g. pork liver, cut into small cubes
2 potatoes, cut into small cubes
2 carrots, cut into small cubes
3 pcs. Purefoods hotdog (regular size), cut into small cubes
1 red beller pepper, cut into small cubes
100 gr. raisins
1 C. water
1 small can Reno liver spread
2 T. patis for seasoning

Marinate the pork in soy sauce, calamansi, salt, pepper and Ajinamoto for 1 hour.
Put 1/4 t. salt on the fat. Fry in a non stick pan until oil has been rendered. Set aside the bits of fat.
Fry the potatoes in pork lard. Set Aside.
Saute the garlic and onions in pork lard until soft.
Drain the meat and reserve the marinade.
Add the meat to the sauteed garlic and onions.  Cook until the liquid evaporates and you see some oil in the pan.
Add the liver and carrots.
Continue sauteing until the liver is not bloody anymore.
Add the marinade.
Let it boil then add the water.  When it is boiling, add the rest of the ingredients except the Reno.
Lower the heat and simmer until the sauce has been reduced by half.  Add the Reno and continue simmering until it is dry.  Season with patis.

"Mariger? Is this considered dry enough?"

She replied, "No, simmer until there is no more sauce."

Best served the next day with steamed white rice or white tasty bread.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Mini Corn Dog

Today's experiment was Mini Corn Dog.

I got the recipe from  I used the cornmeal I bought in HK and the pork sausages from Assi Mart Korean Grocery on Neptune St.

I was "inspired" to experiment because the Junkies went to the house sans Cat.

Corn Dog


1 C. flour
1 C. cornmeal
1/4 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
1/4 C. sugar
4 t. baking powder
1 egg
1 C. milk

oil for frying
mini sausages

Combine all ingredients for the batter and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Pre-heat the cooking oil until the temperature reaches 170 C.

Pat dry the sausages then dip in the batter.

Fry until golden brown all over.

I like to eat my corn dog with Spicy Brown Mustard.

Shey brought Truffle Potato Chips.

Cold cuts were from Tricia.

I made Macaroni Salad yesterday.

After our quick snack at the Batcave, I let Mona and Shey try my Bangkok style coffee with evaporated beverage creamer, condensed beverage creamer and coffee mate.

Then the Junkies had to go home to have dinner with their families.

The nice thing about my neighbors is it is so easy for us to have a quick pow wow.  We just sent messages back and fort this afternoon and TADA!  "The gang's all here!"

Monday, October 2, 2017

Shrimp Wanton Soup Hong Kong Style

I am so obsessed with the Shrimp Wanton Soup I had in HK so I experimented the other day.

Shrimp Wanton Soup in HK

My version of shrimp wanton

The taste was okay, I just need to improve on the wrapper.

Filling of the wanton in HK

My shrimp wanton filling

Shrimp Wanton Soup

200 g. shelled shrimps, reserve the shell and head for the stock
1 t. baking soda
2 C. cold water

Soak the shrimps in cold water with baking soda overnight in the refrigerator.

Rinse, drain and chop the shrimps coarsely.

Add the following ingredients to the chopped shrimps and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

1/4 C. cornstarch
2 T. beaten egg
1 t. fine salt
1/2 t. white pepper
1/2 t. sesame oil

Put 1 T. filling on the wanton wrapper and seal.

Drop the shrimp wanton in boiling shrimp stock.  When it floats, the wantons are ready.

It will take approximately 10 minutes but it depends on how many pieces you are cooking at a time.

Shrimp Stock

Shell and heads of shrimps
1 T. sugar
1 1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. white pepper
1 t. soy sauce
1 liter water

Boil all the ingredients in a pot and simmer for an hour.  Season according to taste.

Drain and press the shell and head against a sieve.

Reserve the stock.

Wanton Wrapper

1 C. all purpose flour
2 T. beaten egg
1/2 C. water
1/2 t. salt
corn starch for dusting

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.

Using the dough hook of the Kitchen Aid, knead for 5 minutes.

Cover with a tea towel and rest for 30 minutes.

Dust with a little corn starch and roll as thinly as you can or use a pasta maker.

Cut into squares.

Store in an airtight container in the freezer if you will not use it yet, just thaw before using.

I need to practice more on how to make very thin wrappers and cut it in uniform sizes.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Ginataang Mais

 Ginataang Mais

1 400 ml. Can of coconut milk
1/2 C. Malagkit rice
1 1/2 cans of water (can of coconut milk)
1 can whole kernel corn and its brine
3/4 C. White sugar
1/2 t. Rock salt
1 small tetra pack of coconut cream. (I prefer the brand, Kara.)

In a heavy bottomed pan, combine the coconut milk, water and rice

When it boils, lower heat and cook for 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Add the corn, the brine, sugar and salt.

Continue cooking for 30 minutes more while stirring occassionally.

Add the coconut cream and let it boil once.

Remove from heat and serve.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Junkies In Hong Kong 2017

It was the first international trip of the Junkies - Shey, Mona, Cat and Lia.

It was Mona's birthday celebration.  Tricia was not able to go with us because of important pressing matters.  We already purchased our tickets several months ago.  We sure missed her so much!

Late lunch at Mc Donald's NAIA T3.

and coffee for Shey at Seattle's Best.

Our destination was Hong Kong.

Food! Lots of food and shopping!

Our ride was an Alphard van provided by Klook.  If you are traveling in a group, the van is good for 6 persons.

We checked in to our hotel, Hotel Benito.

Shey and Cat shared the Twin room.

Mona, Sia and I shared a Standard Double Room.  It was Sia's first time in HK.

We were rushing to head out for dinner at Lung Kee Wanton.  Babita recommended the place.

Wanton Noodles Soup!


And the rest of the Junkies loved it, as well.

I want to go back to HK just to eat the jumbo shrimp wantons!

Shopping around the TST area was next.  I do not shop for clothes because I seldom find something in my size.  So, instead, I walked up Carnavaron Road and saw a little dim sum place.

I had the Hakao

and the sio mai.

I messaged the Junkies that I was eating in a resto, and that it was just a few meters from the corner of Granville and Carnavaron Road.

I messaged them again that a white delivery van was parked in front.

Then after a while I told them the van left already and an Alphard was now parked in front of the restaurant.

I already finished my first midnight snack, there was still no sign of the Junkies.

Walking down the road, I saw Bonjour.

While the girls were busy clothes shopping, I was busy food shopping!

The branch of Bonjour on Carnavaron was bigger than their other branches and it had food and snacks.

And then.... TADA!

I saw the Junkies in Bonjour with lots of shopping bags!

We had a late midnight snack at Mc Donalds!

The Hot Fudge Sundae and Apple Pie really tasted so much better than what we have here in Manila.

We did not sleep yet when we got back to the hotel because we planned what to do and where to eat the next day.  Such a long discussion. So many food to eat, so little time.

RRIIINNGGGG!!! At 7 in the morning! Really?!?!?!

Shey called up Mona so they can go out already to drink coffee and eat breakfast.

I could not get up.  I am not a morning person.   Even if I got up and joined them, I could not eat that early in the day.  I told them to go ahead without me.

They went to N1 Coffee on Mody Road.

After breakfast, we went to Central to eat at my favorite hole in the wall restaurant called Lung Kee Roast on Queen Victoria Street, just a few minutes walk from Central Station.

Suckling PIG!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE Suckling pig!

They also ordered suckling pig and roast duck.

After shopping, again, hahahahaha it was time to eat, AGAIN!

I was looking for Luk Yu Tea House on Stanley Street when I accidentally saw Lobster Central!

Meant to be!!!

We tried the Lobster Roll.

Coke Zero! Prior to the trip, I tried not drinking soda. I lasted a week and a few days.

How can you not drink soda when you are on vacation?!?!?

We then went to Causeway Bay.  I went around Sogo Supermarket while Shey and Cat went upstairs to check out the make up section.

While waiting for the 2 who were busy shopping, again, I discovered something really, really, really, really YUM!

Black Chocolate Truffle ice cream of Dalloyou, Paris.

It smelled so heavenly but Mona said it tasted like pasta sauce.  WAAAAHHH!!! Party Pooper!

Mona got the Godiva ice cream instead.

I also ate Kobe Meat Pie.

It was ok.

My friend said I have to try the Coca Cola from other countries so I bought a small Coke from Japan.

I could not tell the difference because my last regular coke was in year 2000.

Finally, the 2 went down to the supermarket.  It was their turn to eat ice cream.

Black Chocolate Truffle for Cat.

And.... at long last! I do not have to eat Godiva ice cream for Shey anymore!

"Shey! Can you please give me a good shot? Stop eating first!"

She was really unstoppable!

Next stop was in Windsor House.  We ate at Tao Heung Pier 88.

According to Dr. Gerry and Yummy Magazine, we should try the Hakaw.

We also ordered Shrimp Siomai

2 kinds of congee

My favorite (I have a lot of favorite food) Baked BBQ Pie!

They went shopping in GU, same company as Uniqlo.

I just sat on the bench because my feet were killing me.  Then, only to find out that Yaya Hermie tied the shoe laces so tightly it was cutting off the circulation of blood of my feet!  I felt so much better after loosening the laces.

IKEA!!!  Yehey!

I bought Snowball a few plush toys.

We also tried the meatballs in Ikea.

Several hours after, we headed back to the hotel via UBER.  We were so tired plus we all had big and heavy shopping bags.

Dinner was at the nearby Ichiran Ramen.

It was not like the Ichiran in Japan where you eat in individual booths.  They had tables and chairs instead.

Sooo tired and we called it an early night but not after purchasing additional baggage allowance.

I could not make it to breakfast the next day.  They went back to N1 Coffee.

Brunch was at Lung Kee Wanton Noodle.

It was really so good that we had to eat there again.  No more noodles this time but just plain soup with the jumbo wantons.

I could have brought home the wanton but what I should have done was to buy it the night before and store in the freezer until it was time to travel.  I always bring an insulated bag whenever I go on trips.

Shopping, again, around TST before heading back to the hotel to check out.

Lunch was at M&c. Duck in Gateway, Harbour City.

Sio long bao, really tasty and good.

Peking Duck!

4 ways !

What was so funny,  Mona and Cat???

Pandora's Box!

I ate again at Dalloyou's Black Chocolate Truffle ice cream.

They have a branch in Gateway, 3rd floor near Godiva and City's Super.

Then there was no more time to eat and shop!  The van picked us up to take us to the airport.

As soon as we were done with check in, baggage drop off and immigration, I told them I was too tired to go around the Duty Free shops.  I just bought Popeye's Chicken with buttermilk biscuits.

Then we had a light snack at The Spaghetti House.


Pasta with crabmeat and shrimps.

My Coke Zero.

It was time to go home!!!


Flight was delayed by almost an hour.

But it really did not matter. We were still in high spirits until we got home.

I thought it was just me but the rest of the Junkies really had so much fun to the point that we want to have another trip abroad.  We sure clicked with each other.

Always a fun and funny moment.

We are still experiencing separation anxiety.  We want to relive and "re-eat" the Hong Kong experience.

Super thank you my dear Junkies - Mona, Cat and Shey for a memorable vacation!

Let's do this again soon and often!