Monday, November 16, 2015

The Convertible of Oven Toasters

We've been married almost 6 years now and some of the appliances we got have started to conk out. The first one was our refrigerator which died on us on Christmas Eve last year. Last week our microwave oven (a gift from Jay's cousin Iza) just kept beeping and refused to heat anything. So we shopped around for a new microwave, but ended up buying a new over toaster (our Imarflex oven toaster still works though). We got curious so we bought one (I know, I know it isn't a need, but the oven toaster was too cute to pass up).

Presenting, the "convertible" of oven toasters (because it looks like it has a sun roof!).

The 3D oven toaster has an added feature. You can heat something from the top of the toaster as well. Brilliant idea since the toaster is hot all over anyway, so why not heat stuff from the top too? The inside toasting area is also pretty spacious, you can actually heat up to 4 slices of pizza. No more piling them on top of each other! You can also adjust the heat area (top, sides, bottom etc.). And it's pretty easy to clean since you can open the bottom part easily. One thing we'll do differently though is use aluminum foil for heating oily food since it's hard to wash oil from the pan.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Bistek Tagalog (Beef Steak) Recipe

One of the easiest Filipino dishes to cook is  bistek tagalog. I'm sharing this family recipe for my friend Celine who asked for it after I posted this week's rendition.


1/2 kg. beef sirloin, cut into strips
6-8 calamansi
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp rock salt
1/2 cup soy sauce
2-4 Tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup water
1 medium red onion, sliced into rings
2 Tbsp olive oil (for cooking)

Put the beef in a bowl, squeeze calamansi juice on it (best to use a strainer), add freshly ground pepper, minced garlic, rock salt and brown sugar. Mix it before adding the soy sauce. Leave to marinate for at least 30 minutes.

Heat olive oil on pan and fry the onions until they become white (make sure they don't become soggy). Remove the onions and set aside. Immediately add the marinated beef onto the pan (do not include the sauce yet) and let it cook. Add some of the water to make the meat tender. Leave for about 10 minutes (make sure it doesn't dry up). When the beef shrinks a bit add the rest of the sauce (if the beef is still tough add a bit more water and let it soften a bit first before adding the rest of the sauce). Let the sauce boil before removing the yummy bistek tagalog from the pan. Garnish with the cooked onion rings. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

How to Start Planning Your Wedding

It seems just like yesterday when we tied the knot. We have been through a lot in the last five years, doing our first grocery shopping, our first cooking attempt, first laundry day, experienced mishaps like our smoking sink, our washing machine that broke down after first use, the septic tank nightmare, getting poisoned and many other experiences that we're just laughing about now.

The last five years has been fun, full of love and there were humps and potholes along the way, but we've stayed solid. We can't say we are newlyweds anymore so we thought we'd start sharing thoughts on different topics. Please also send in your questions and we'll try to answer based on our experience how we'd probably work on it if we have not gone through it.

For our first "He Said, She Said" post we answer the question, "What is your advise for couples who are about to start planning their wedding?"

Jay says,

"Do some research. Talk with friends for referrals and search online for suppliers. Nowadays, it's easy to find reviews of wedding suppliers to give you an idea about their service. The research also gives you an idea of what kind of budget you can work with.

Be committed with planning as much as you're committed to marrying. This is one of the very first major events you'll be making joint decisions on. Consider this a preview of what to expect after marriage as many many more joint decisions will be made almost on a daily basis.

 Don't forget to enjoy the entire wedding planning process. It shouldn't be stressful. And so no stress would be added to the process, plan early."

Aileen says,

"Start with an objective in mind, agree on your priorities, e.g. your budget, who will be attending the wedding, whether you want a grand or simple wedding. Everyone has a budget in mind and you can't really get everything that you want so the best thing to do is identify which components of the wedding is important for the two of you. For us it was making sure that the venue is near to both our relatives, we'd have good photos and a great video and the food would be delicious. We focused our efforts on these three aspects and we both feel fulfilled with our choices.

We did not hire a wedding coordinator, we did all the legwork ourselves and what helped was having a list (from Wedding Essentials magazine) that helped us go through everything month by month. We also really spent time every week planning our next steps and we delegated work between us and involved our family and friends. This made our wedding more special because everyone who attended pitched in to make the day successful."

More wedding tips here.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

5 Years, 1,825 Clicks

We happily celebrated our fifth year anniversary last December 26, 2014. We marked our 5th wedding anniversary by having a simple family lunch and by purchasing a new fridge!

On Christmas Eve we had a crisis, our 5-year old refrigerator stopped working. We just heard mass at the community club house and was surprised when we returned to our unit to see our fridge dead. Jay tried to revive it by having it cool down and checking if it was the voltage regulator that needed repair. Despite our prodding the fridge just died on us. :(

As with many dilemmas we faced in the last five years we assessed the situation and thought of our plan of action. It was Christmas Eve and our fridge was filled to the brim with Christmas food. We had a lot of perishable food so we decided to just bring it to my Mom's house. I woke up early on Christmas day to bake and cook some of the food and brought it to my in-laws. It was quite stressful, but we were conscious about keeping things happy since it was Christmas.

After assessing the situation we decided to invest on a new refrigerator since we just had a few days before our big family trip to Japan and couldn't find anyone who could repair the fridge at such a short time. I also always wanted to have a bigger fridge, so after a lot of research and getting advise from our parents we selected a fridge that would likely be with us for the next 20 years.

So that's how we have been in the last five years. We try to identify things that we need, want, must do, want to do (priorities and essentials) and work on a sensible plan of action. The last five years have been blissful despite some potholes on the road that we had to go through - losing my Dad, health issues, me moving to Singapore for work and other family matters. We've held on strong because of love, faith and respect and we've achieved a lot in the last 5 years -

- Home: renting 2 homes and then finally moving to a tiny place we now own (this was a target we had for our third year)
- Schooling: Miguel graduating from high school and he's now in university
- Family vacations: we try to slip in a few throughout the year
- Keeping healthy: getting by to ensure our quality of life is good
- Baby: no plans right now, we already have one big baby!

Keeping ones individual interests is very important as well, so we pretty much give each other space. I think though I've been pretty spoiled by the boys (lucky me!) since I'm not supposed to get stressed (hahaha). We do have our different opinions so I proposed to Sweetie if we should turn this blog into a "he said, she said" blog since there isn't that much new stuff we're experiencing (except for the new recipes I've been trying).

What do you think dear reader? Would you like to ask me and Jay about married life?

*Total Clicks = 2,625