I've always been fascinated by snow. It was one of the things that I looked forward to actually seeing in person before I came here. Of course, I was delighted when I finally moved to a Winter Wonderland of a state and well, my husband wasn't all that pleased with snow.
Snow is beautiful, it always has been. I've always been awed by each individual flake and how pretty they are. I just find them so elegant and... just so pure and beautiful! Call me so corny, whatevs lol
I wish I brought out a nicer camera, but isn't that lovely!
The feeling isn't so lovely anymore when you're on your way to work and you get stuck. Now that's pretty frustrating. And well, that's exactly what happened today. There was just too much snow our car couldn't even make it out the driveway.
Oh and we started trying really early in the morning to get out of the driveway and it was still dark. Look, there's light out already!
When we finally was able to get the car out of the driveway past the sidewalk, another car was stuck at the corner for almost an hour! So I guess we're really not gonna make it. We had to turn and push the car in instead. So much for effort, we just got it out to turn it around.
And of course we got stuck on our way in again....... it took us forever to get out that snow has covered the tracks we left behind!
But I guess not everyone was sad about the snow. Of course Hans was so eager to dive into the snow and have fun. He's not a long haired pup so he didn't stay out so long but he sure loved it. Note to self, puppy boots for next winter so he can stay out longer. We really don't want him out there and hurt his paws.
At the end of the day I guess it wasn't so bad. It was a lot of cardio, oh my geez, but we get to stay in and cuddle with the big pup! And yeah, the tree is still up - leave it alone lol
It's really challenging to live far away from home, let alone not in a place where there are a lot of Filipinos. The closes Phil store is in Chicago so that's roughly three hours one way. Not to mention all the traffic!
On the bright side, I'm super glad that there are a lot of Asian stores here - mostly Hmong. They carry a variety of Asian brands and some popular Filipino items. I'm really glad that they do. Now it's up to me to improvise to actually make the things that I love to eat. Obviously I'm a foodie so I crave certain things every now and then.
I was just browsing around Facebook and came across all these different meryenda foods back home. Meryenda simply means a snack between meals. No, not a light snack. I mean like a delicious and usually filling snack. So I experimented with my own!
I just wish that we had fresh langka here, but still glad I was able to find canned ones. I was also able to use Saba bananas that I got from Chicago when we went to Seafood city. I froze them so they turned out a bit too mushy. Next time I'll probably try some regular plantain bananas.
Ah Palabok... or what we call in Cavite City "luglog".
This one, I have never tried making before so it was something brand new for me to make. I cheated tho, I used a sauce mix LOL. I still added more stuff into it and seasoned it to my liking. I didn't have the tinapa or the dried shrimps so I had to improvise. I got some calamares and added that instead.
Needless to say, Hubby Bear approved!
Tikoy (Nian Gao)
Come the Chinese Lunar New Year, I was definitely craving for some tikoy.
I tried to look for it in various Asian stores, I figured it should be somewhere, but apparently not. I then looked it up online. Thanks to Google, I found the original recipe and it wasn't so hard to make at all!! It's just rice flour, some sugar, coconut milk and some flavor (I decided to add pandan on mine) and steam for like two hours!
I'm not even gonna be humble about this because I'm gonna brag that it turned out really, really good - just as I expected! I was afraid it will taste weird but it tasted great, in fact a little better.
I'm also glad that it's also Hubby Bear approved. Cooking it sounds pretty unusual because you have to dip it in egg before you fry it, but AlexBear still liked it. That makes me very happy yay!
It's a brand new year and the start of an imaginary new chapter of our lives... and also new taxes and all that!
2018 has come and gone, fall has ended and I barely acknowledged its existence. Winter is in it's on-and-off mode but hey we got a snowy, slippery and accident filled new year. Probably not the best start for some but we must not give up.
I've been sick for the last week or so, and I've been home for a while. Resting feels great! I never thought that I would actually treasure these few days of having to do nothing and be able to actually sleep. Downside is that I'm coughing really bad so it wasn't so much of a rest as I hoped it would be.
Beer Pong Time
For the first time in my three years here, we finally threw a small NYE party at home. We just had beer pong and food at the garage and spent it with a few close friends. I really wish my friends were here too, having them play beer pong with us would've been awesome. Good times!
It's been a while since AlexBear hanged out with his friends. I know he needs his him time. Every now and then he does, but it's not like how it used to be. Some people would say that's what having your own family is like, but I still want him to enjoy. Needless to say I hit the sack a lot earlier than he did and I'm really glad they were there.
Of course Hans the Wuzz Puzz had to join in the fun!
This will be a good year
I'm pretty hopeful that this will be a good year. I feel like I've actually wasted last year not really doing anything. Didn't really craft much,just worked and worked but didn't really achieve anything on that aspect either. So I think I'll start with a calendar and start planning life!
Aside from my usual photography and crafting stuff, one thing I also really enjoy is cooking. For some reason, my mom really didn't like cooking but she was a really good cook! One of the reasons that she told me was that she used to cook all the time that she kinda got burned out. I guess it happens?
I'm a big foodie, so for me it's a really fun thing to do. One thing I super hate tho is having to wash dishes. I really am making it a goal that I'm getting a dishwasher! Another challenge that I face most of the time is the availability of Filipino ingredients, or Asian goods in general. Living in the Midwest, there aren't really a lot of big Asian grocery stores with a lot of variety. There are some places like in MIlwaukee or Chicago, but I don't live in those big cities so I somehow have limited quick access.
I'm still happy tho, because there is quite a large Hmong population in Wisconsin there are a lot of Hmong Asian stores in Oshkosh. Not bad, because they do sell quite a bunch of Filipino stuff!
My Filipino Spaghetti!!
I have been really craving my Filipino-style spaghetti a.k.a. sweet spaghetti (or so that's how foreigners, well, non-Filipinos) describe it. It's kinda hard to use the "term" foreigner now because I just realized that I'm the foreigner LOL.
I got several packs of the sauce from Seafood City in Chicago, and finally I'm able to make it! My recipe is a little bit more intricate than the usual, probably because I add a lot of other stuff in it. One thing about my sauce is that I love making it extra meaty. So basically it's meat, mushrooms and whole lot of good yums with some sauce.
And what's the best thing to pair with Spaghetti? Chicken!
I was to lazy to grill outside so I just grilled this one on the griddle.
TA - DA!!!
Cooking can be so relaxing, it makes me so happy (and fat!).
So aside from my beloved Pinoy spaghetti, I also crave so many Asian food that's really hard to come by here. And even if I do, since they're considered delicacies, they're usually quite pricey. Relatively speaking, I'd say they're fairly priced - but knowing how to make them myself, I still find it hard to spend that much.
Yes, I know. I'm stingy.
So I decided to just take a stroll at the store and came home with some wrappers, meat, veggies, and...
TA - DA!!
Gyoza and Siomai!
These are pretty tedious to make, but I actually find it really relaxing (more than the cooking itself). Just sit there and make dumplings.
Then of course, I had to make some Palutang / Palitaw! It's basically similar to mochi but cooked differently. It's sticky rice flour, molded and boiled. The name itself roughly translates to "to float" or "to show up" - which is how this snack is cooked. Once it floats to the top of the boiling water, it's basically cooked.
There's more to come, and maybe I'll post some recipes in the future too.
Hope you enjoyed all the foodie pics! :)
Last Friday, AlexBear and I went to Chicago to renew my passport and (finally!) file my Report of Marriage at the Philippine Consulate. It was a dreaded trip, we weren't really looking forward to the traffic and all. Normally, the trip would take three hours - with what Google Maps considered as normal traffic.
Well, it took quite a bit more than that. We also didn't expect that it would rain. It wasn't bad, but it definitely added to the slow movement of vehicles. Now I sound like weatherman. Lol!
As we got closer to Chicago, it felt soooooo nostalgic. I don't like heavy traffic, but it sure made me homesick! I mean, big city, the smog, the traffic and the skyscrapers. The whole time I was saying, OMG I feel like I'm on my way to Manila/Makati! Especially from this view - it felt like a Cavitex trip.
When we arrived in downtown Chicago, traffic was a lot different from Oshkosh. There were hardly some lines on the road and I swear I will not drive there ever. The buildings were all beautiful tho. I won't deny that this really made me miss my days hanging out in Makati, and crashing over friends, going shopping and all. I don't really miss the busy big city life, but I still do every now and then.
Back to Chicago - I'm sure the city would be more beautiful and picturesque if it was a sunny day. So I took the best photos I could with my phone.
NOTE: Click images to enlarge.
And of course, I need to take photos of my favorite stores. I mean, yeah, it's quite childish - I go to the same stores here but still... LOL.
Except Burberry tho, I don't think we have that in Oshkosh at least.
The Philippine Consulate
Honestly speaking, I was kind of dreading going to the Consulate itself. I've read some reviews and there were some people who said that it was really slow and they were told to come back the next day. I really don't want to come back on Monday because that means I'll have to take another day off and we're going to have to travel ways away again.
I mentioned earlier, we had no idea how bad the traffic was going to be so we actually arrived more than three hours later. Luckily, there is an underground parking area. Unfortunately it costs a lot. I mean, parking in Appleton, WI is about $10 at most. Parking for 3-8 hours was $37! And no, there was no 3-5 hours but it's just a bracket of 3-8 hours.
When we arrived, it was also raining quite hard so we did get somewhat wet trying to find the right place. Turns out the Consulate was in a building whose entrance said it's a school. It's the right place, there's just no indication outside. That part was kinda irritating consider that looking for the right place while it's raining is no fun.
The consulate itself was a small place so it's not really busy and full of people. There were several other who were there before us and a movie was playing for those who are waiting.
The lady at the counter did ask me why I was late, technically I wasn't because it's about 1pm and they close at 4pm. But she said it takes a while to get the Report of Marriage done, so I explained that we came from Wisconsin and that we didn't expect this much traffic. They were really nice and they managed to get our paperwork done within the day.
I was also able to file for my passport renewal! Woohooo!!
The Highlight of it All
Now the thing I was really looking forward to was...
Going to Seafood City!!
Seafood City is actually a Filipino grocery store that has all sorts of Pinoy goodies. Then it also has some Filipino restaurants like Jollibee and Red Ribbon. This is the reason of my enthusiasm to come! There are a lot of Asian stores here in Wisconsin, but there are a lot of other Filipino products that they don't sell here like my Pinoy Style spaghetti sauce haha!
And of course... I gotta eat all that I can in Jollibee!!!
And when I said eat all I can, I meant that. So I ate the spaghetti, chicken, burger steak and peach mango pie.
I deserve it!!!
Moving forward, we did our groceries finally and oh boy did I overspent! No brainer. I took most of what I think I need, but I know I will need a lot more.
I'll be coming back...
The only thing that really got to me is how expensive things are. AlexBear and I love hopia but sheez, $4 for a pack of four pieces. Oh lawd have monetary mercy!
And I thought, oh let's get some local beauty stuff... simple but smells like home...
Uh.. okay, I'll skip this one.
But overall, I think we're all solved at the moment! Especially that the Bear has finally gotten his San Miguel Pale Pilsen!
Was it a good day?
Overall, of course it was! I got to talk to some Filipinos at the Consulate, ate my Jollibee and bought my groceries. I was also able to stock up my pancit canton (wahahah *insert evil laugh*).
See you next time Filipino goodies!
This is one long creative block...
I honestly don't understand why I've been extremely... lazy or demotivated in the past couple of months. After my last craft fair, I really haven't created anything that I would say is art-worthy and it's pretty disappointing.
I think I've stumbled over a really bad creative block. I've been pretty busy and every week there seems to be a plan. I feel like I've put so much on my plate and I can't finish what I got now. Funny thing is - it's a deadline for myself.
Hopefully, I get over this soon. I usually have so many thoughts and ideas in mind so I really wanna get that going. I've done a couple of paintings in the last weeks since I cleaned up my craft room (finally, hooray!) so I really am hopeful I'd be more productive than this.
#AZN Driver Incoming!
Took me this long to update - as usual adulting and laziness has taken over and I just feel like I have so much on my plate that I can't prioritize anything other than work, paying bills, and sleeping. Harsh reality.
Anyways, last May 24th, I finally took the courage to take my driver's test for the first time! I've had my learner's permit since October of 2016 but I just never felt confident doing it.
Oh, trust me - my toes were cold. Like dead cold. Like colder than a frozen deer buried in -20°F!
Thankfully, the examiner who rode with me was super nice! The test itself was brief and I did score a couple of deductions because I didn't look left and right at some intersections but I did, but ok, I guess it's still fair enough!
Oh and one thing he pointed out - you stayed 5mph over speed limit. Try to avoid doing that.
Dude, who drives 25mph at 25mph? LOL
Needless to say, I passed!
...and no, I'm not showing you my dumpling driver's license! ^_^
Here's my first time driving alone, while AlexBear was sleeping. Enjoy!
What have actually changed?
Why does time fly by so fast?
It's quite annoying, to be honest. I have so much in mind - so many things to do, places to visit, things to make, images to capture, and so.. and so.. but there seems to be so little time. Over the last couple of years, AlexBear and I have managed to stabilize our finances and we're pretty much in a good standing.
Unfortunately, I feel like time has become a lot faster and I find myself extra lazy.
What have I accomplished in the past few months?
Honestly? Nothing LOL.
I think I've slacked a little bit too much. I don't think I wasted my summer tho, so far so good. Have been to a couple of events. Not a lot of trips. Hopefully next year will be more fulfilling. I'm hoping to finally get back to planning my activities and actually sticking to plans.
Time to move my butt - and I've said that too often than not. I probably should just stop promising myself and go with the flow.
If you don't know yet - I have an Etsy shop! I sell charms and jewelry and now I've expanded my line to a lot of other custom wood works. I don't have new charms up, but I'm working into adding more. I have also decided to create a new Youtube Channel where I can put my DIY stuff and more!
Please subscribe and follow us for more cute and nice stuff ^_^
My obsession with French Macarons started a few years ago when I was still living in the Philippines. My office used to be in a building right next to a mall, so my colleagues and I frequently go there for lunch or dinner. One fine afternoon, while walking around the Mall of Asia, I passed by this French bakery called Tous les Jours. I quickly saw the colorful cookies and checked it out, and oh my crap (I'm trying to be child-friendly here, but I really did say profane swearing lol), they are expensive.
At 28php (around 60 cents) a piece, it's not a very cheap delight for daily consumption.
Well, it was still so enticing so I really couldn't help myself and tasting it was a big mistake - it's so delicious! I'm a big cookie person. I love cookies, period. But macarons are my... sin cookies. I can't resist these.
My Sweet Dream Come True
One of the things that I really loved when I moved here is have my own oven and my pink Kitchenaid mixer! Makes life a lot more sweeter. So okay, it's my turn to make these yummy treats! I've been here for almost three years now but I never really took the initiative to make the macarons.
It's another one of those impulse buy days, we were walking in the grocery and walked past the baking aisle. I thought, oh lets go grab some almond flour and powder sugar... and make macarons! I checked three different recipes and figured how much I would need. I have the rest of everything I need back home since I do bake every now and then.
The first try came out pretty nice! I think I underfolded it though, they didn't rise up as much as I hoped that it would. I'm sure I could do better!
I did the first attempt on a Thursday night and I was really glad they were good enough to bring to work. I really made a lot of happy team mates. So I figured - I just need to perfect the look. Taste-wise, they are awesome.
I thought the first batch was too sweet, so I tweaked the ingredients and... well.. they came out too flat and over folded... Still not bad, just needed to tweak it more!
I wasn't really happy with the previous results so I used a very similar ratio of ingredients as my first one - and I think I actually made my meringue and everything else perfect... except that I didn't fold it enough! You know, the cut and fold part - I didn't do it as much as I should...
So my little angels of delicious cookies puffed up to become crunchy meteorites!
They are still delicious! Yay!
So despite looking like flat patties and space meteorites, the taste is still "heavenly" according to my team mates at work! I'm really happy that they liked it, so I guess I'll be making more. In fact, I'll be making more this Wednesday. #MacaronLife #NoRagerts
I've always kept a diary growing up, and come the digital age I always maintained a blog - until life got too busy.
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