Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Catching Up

It's been too long since I last posted. I told myself 2014 should be a blogging year. too many projects on my mind but if I were to really get each one done and as I get these done, then I will start blogging and making sure to share this. Today is Christmas Day. I just finished Xmas breakfast....tapsilog and longsilog. The tapa I use is the mexican cessina. It is exactly what I know tapa should be. I don't have to cure the beef anymore. The local carniceria carries it for $3.99 a pound and I dare you to head over to your nearest Mexican carniceria and try it. The longanisa I use is the pampanga version, a bit on the sweetish side. wish I could access Ilocos longanisa or even that from Ilo-ilo. sigh. I keep threatening to make my own...NOT. Daughter Bambi Bell and I bought restaurant grade rib in rib eye roast for tonight's dinner. She will do the honors. She's got a whole line up of sides and accompaniments and she called to see if I would help her. But it must have been just a fluke because upon conversing, she just needed reassurance since she's not used to being ahead of her game. But after so many hostings, she has it down pat and she just needs reassurance that she's on the right track. Last night, Xmas eve, we had a simple dinner, but still Xmas specific, baked Ham with dinner rolls, very both American and Filipino at the same time. And a chicken breast with spinach and mushrooms over egg noodles as an accompaniment. It was too short a Christmas holiday it's time to face the New Year and its challenges.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

My Secret Garden

Every day I drive to work and there's one house that has an almost English garden, with high weedy reedy plants and flowers, so odd when it should be grown in some english cottage or manor garden. Then there's one that is in full white tiny blooms like a carpet of white surrounding a Mama Mary statue, another one I always pick out while whizzing by at 40 on a 35. So I asked myself what i would like to have in MY secret GARDEN. Obviously, my thoughts run home to 159 Ortega, my growing up years. The caimito trees, the kamias tree, the poor coconut tree that was hit by lightning during Yoling so it never bore fruit again, the santan in red, the avocado tree that always bore only one fruit, and the mango tree that could not even bear a bunch of piko, and the pink kalachuchi, the jade vine (which was killed by some errant gardener who didn't know the vines , bougainvillea and the trellis of tea like leaves Mr. Del stole cuttings of from the Indonesian ambassador's residence in Forbes while waiting for GYN during one of her ANWG meetings. Definitely I would like all these, but all PINKS for the kalachuchi, santan and bougainvillea . And more. Now I want some peppers and chilis, tomatoes, herbs that won't fall prey to rabid rabbits and squirrels, some stuff I would hope to pick and eat and pretend I am Chez Panisse's Alice Waters, but add a gardenia, jasmine and ilangilang tree, some bleeding hearts and sampaguita campupot style, and not to forget the wild cadena de amor. Sigh, but in my mind's kitchen garden, these are planted deep in my memories and make me smile whenever I pass those gardens that have been tended with care, me? I'll let them run wild, sorry, not a green thumb except in my mind. So there.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Woke up to snow, clouds and cold. Did a few errands and had to bring some stuff to the Bells. I drove west, the dark clouds were being pushed away by winds and by the time I got to Bambi's it was blue skies, white clouds, sunshine so bright....I thought to beautiful....dark clouds being chased away, brightness...almost like a beautiful fall(or spring) morning, crisp, clear....
but the clouds did not leave my thoughts....this is Chicago January 1st...where snow and storms are the the earth did shift again with the earthquakes felt far away from here....where adverse weather and tectonic plates moved slightly and put us away from the path of regular weather.....and that same weather now falls on places not normally in the snow paths.

Still I am thankful for the beauty, the brightness and the hopefulness this brings. So even as the clouds are now taking over again...that moment of sunshine lifted my spirits.
May 2012 be fruitful, healthy and prosperous for all of us. Thank you Lord.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2012 is upon us

Challenges aplenty this 2011. Too many to mention and too much to say...I know I am not whiny nor a cry baby so the innermost thoughts in my mind's kitchen are best left to sit in the sink of ugly thoughts.
But through it all, I realize there is a God who listens, who answers. Sometimes, my faith waivers and then a simple whisper to Mama Mary or the Sto. Nino, and my BFF St. Anthony works many little miracles that I can only wonder and and bow to the fact that I am a Catholic by beliefs and choice, a Catholic who supports the living church but not the church governed by gold and commands that are man made. How about that!!!
I continue to pray for good health, freedom from sickness of any kind, accidents of any sort, and the evil that men do.....I ask the Lord to continue to hear my prayers for my family and those around us, to keep us safe from bullets in the air, mad men and amucks, deadly dangerous diseases, accidents, serious injuries of any sort. To keep us in light of His love. Lord, to embrace us with Your peace, love,safety and protection. And to know I thank you from my heart and soul.
For every time I am fearful, anxious and frustrated about many mundane things, I hear about the greater challenges faced by others and know I should not and cannot complain. So THANK YOU Lord for all that You have sent my way.
May 2012 be a lift of spirits for all of us, and most of all, give us the ability to help others.

Feasting to welcome 2012

As always, we open the year with lots of food, fun and family. It has been (MY) our tradition to hold our Xmas party (although we had a good one Dec. 25th as we were all present and accounted for) on January 1st...because I know there are no lame excuses about having to be with an in law or out law....and that we can bring out our prayers and wishes for what we hope for in the coming months of the new year.
It has always been private..because should.
But food wise.....hmm, we try to keep traditions alive. Food comes in form of Spanish fiesta party fare, the ubiquitous Cocido Espanol(puchero, pochero whatever one wants to call the dish) that boasts of a strip of pork belly, a small chicken and beef shank with the marrow staring out at you, some sliced chorizo de bilbao and then a medley of vegetables from cabbage, potatoes and carrots with the addition of garbanzos. Add to that a side of roasted eggplant salad, redolent with garlic, onions and olive oil (which I used to burn my fingers with stove top till I see the skins blacken and shrivel then the light bulb lit and I now use the danged broiler), a sauteed in garlic, spanish style tomato sauce (which should really be dumped into the broth). Daughter Bambi has gotten this down pat.
Truly a celebration of Plenty.
Then I ambition to make lengua with mushroom sauce and a Paella Valenciana complete with sea food, chicken , pork, chorizo and pinoy saffron with toppings of boiled eggs, green peas and pimiento strips. Two dishes I had to learn or rather teach myself to make otherwise....Cafe Babareeba would never be in my budget and all the others I have tasted are nowhere near authentic. Kylie has nailed the Filipino fruit salad to an anticipated wait each time we push her to make it. I bought a Virginia Ham over the summer...I massacred the first one I ever got from my Virginia cousin, so this time I hope I cook it right...making it almost hamonado with the pineapple juice and brown sugar might do the trick.
So far, that's the plan, let me see what happens next. abangan ang susunod na kabanata.

Monday, August 29, 2011


Went to a party yesterday in a beautiful home. Walked with the owner and we complimented the beautiful garden, plants and flowers. He proudly showed a huge butterfly he snapped a picture of early that morning. And then he said he also had hummingbirds. I have never seen a hummingbird other than in pictures or tv. I look around so many times in hopes to see one but never in my 25 years here. So I said a little prayer, Lord if I could see a hummingbird then I know my prayers will be answered. Just a thought prayer sent out there.
Suddenly, from the corner of my eye, I saw a little creature flitting in and out of the bell shaped flowers. The it was gone. I saw a hummingbird!!!! But not close enough, still, a prayer answered was the sense of being I felt.
So we walked on and I didn't say anything because it was too far and too fast. As we neared the bellflower plant, with its attractive orange blossoms, I saw it again, it's as if God said, here, to prove to you I answer your prayers, here's an encore and sure enough there it was, the green little hummingbird hungrily sipping nectar and honey from each blossom,flitting in and out of each bell, disappearing into the flower and coming out heading to the next.After taking my quiet feel of the wonder of prayer, of the hummingbird, I shared with my companions that the little one was there. So we watched silently as little hummingbird took its fill of the abundant food until it flitted away into the dusky evening.
The impact of this leaves me in awe of the Lord, He listens and answers, even for what one may think is a trivial matter, seeing a hummingbird. But He answered to let me know that He is there should I need Him through this challenging times. That as we try to salvage an account we are losing, I can pray for His help. That with my wanting resources to open the MACC, He will hear my prayers. And most of all, to take care and blanket my family with His love and protection, He is there for me. Thank you Lord, thank you hummingbird for bringing me His message of love and hope.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Three Years, mom

How fast time flies and suddenly you've been gone 3 years. Yet each day I see you
in pictures and memories. Yesterday, the latest dream I had of you, I woke up happy and feeling your love, just like I did when I was a little girl. It was a darkly dream, but I felt your presence and the love. The happy loved feeling kept me going through out the day.
The kids miss you, I miss you.

So, my little vignette for this deathday anniversary: the enjoyment of spooks, occult, afterlife, horror movies, ghost stories, the macabre, not too many will believe that you actually exposed us to this since we can remember. My interest in vampires, led by the Drac, the Arthur Ford and Jane Roberts, behind the door, (hey JB you have my collection) my books that have everything from ectoplasmic emanations and ghostly pics, getting scared of Fright Night and other REAL vampire and Hammer films, mom, this I owe to you.

About Me

My photo
wife, mother of 5, lola(grandma)of 5,joined facebook and still wonder why friend, cook, baker, decorator,daughter,sister, Mrs.A'sCupcakes&Cookies Virgo Year of the Snake St. John's Academy 1970 University of the Philippines BSHRA I'm afraid to admit this, but oh well, Jack of all Trades, master of some. Football fan. Totally. Mrs. A's Cupcakes & Cookies, my latest venture.

another year and patty

another year and patty

Trendsetter at 8

Trendsetter at 8
Cooking on live TV with Nora Daza, the Philippines' Julia Child


All Mine!!!

All Mine!!!
Taylor, Maddie, Daniel, Hunter & Lynn

GY Nichols and Grandkids

GY Nichols and Grandkids
looks like lola's birthday

simple elegance

simple elegance

wedding cakes and me

wedding cakes and me
finishing touches


pure joy, returnable at the end of the day

Summa Cum Laude Bambi Bell

Summa Cum Laude Bambi Bell

patty and me

patty and me
another holiday has come and gone

Daniel's 1st Birthday Cake

Daniel's 1st Birthday Cake
labor of love following tradition, merry-go-round