Tag Archives: Louise Lopez

My Love Hate Relationship with Daylight Savings Times

Daylight savings time (DST) is defined by techtarget.com as: “The practice of turning the clock ahead as warmer weather approaches and back as it becomes colder again so that people will have one more hour of daylight in the afternoon and evening during the warmer season of the year.”

Before having kids I use to look forward to the Daylight Savings Time change that happened in the fall.  I savored the thought of having an extra hour of sleep.  Instead of my usual wake up time of 8:00 a.m., it would be 7:00 a.m. (DST) so I would technically have one more hour to just relax and linger in bed!

Fast forward to Daylight Savings Time in the Fall when you have kids who already wake up so early.  When my sons ran into my room at 6:00 a.m. it was officially 5:00 a.m. in the morning.  I felt like I lost an hour that I could be in bed even if I technically was still waking up at the usual time.

Daylight Savings Time changes can really play tricks to your mind and body if you allow it to.

I am not a morning person by nature so I really have to concentrate on being a happy early riser.  Daylight savings time got me of kilter and I was temporarily not myself.


Fast forward to bed time this evening.   At 6:30 p.m. (DST) my boys  wanted to go to sleep since it was technically 7:30 p.m. if the time had not changed.  Suddenly my spirits were up and I had a deeper appreciation for Daylight Savings Time once again because I now had an extra hour just for myself.

I have a love hate relationship with Daylight Savings Time.  I abhor it in the morning, but by night time I adore it.

I hope you were affected positively by Daylight Savings Time.  Have a great day!


Kids and the Paparazzi Parent

When I was growing up digital photography did not exist.  Pictures were sparingly taken because one needed hard film for regular cameras and video cassettes for video cameras.

My childhood consists of a couple of photo albums, a few painted portraits and videos that have been lost along the way.  If I can find 100 photographs of when I was a kid I will be lucky.

I remember when only the Japanese were known and mocked for taking pictures all the time.  A 1980s band called “The Vapors” had an acclaimed song called “Turning Japanese”, which featured extreme photo taking.

Turning Japanese by the Vapors

Today, the act of picture taking has taken a whole new level.  I often find myself guilty of stalking my kids like the celebrity paparazzi.  I have my regular camera, video camera and smart phone ready at all times. 

I am constantly trying to document their life because I know that childhood is so short.  I also want them to have more pictures then I did growing up.

Currently, we have a  multitude of albums and discs featuring Massimo and Rocco’s short existence.  I believe that they have reached the point of wanting me to stop the videoing and picture taking….

Rocco does not want anymore pictures!

Have a great day! (P.S.  I am sure I am not the only person who has a picture taking addiction!)

Yale University and Roy Lichtenstein's "Modern Head"

I love New Haven, CT. It has the quaintness of a small city, but in it’s own way it is cosmopolitan.

New Haven is the home of the Ivy league institution Yale University. Yale’s campus is beautiful and often you will find yourself in the presence of breathtaking art.


My kids and I love visiting Roy Lichtenstein’s “Modern Head”.

It is so humbling to be in the same company as a grand artist’s work of art.

Massimo and Rocco love to touch and play with the sculpture.


The “Giant Head” was given to Yale Universty by 2 former students.


If you want to visit the “Modern Head” look for it behind the Peabody Museum and at the end of Hill House road (bottom of Science Hill).

After you are enriched from the art come and visit the family at Skappo Italian Wine Bar, another New Haven must see!

Italian Black Truffle Pasta Found at Skappo Merkato

One of my weaknesses is pasta al dente. To make good pasta you need the simplest ingredients like salt, pepper cheese, olive oil and a little butter.

What is essential in the mix though is a high quality pasta noodle. My husband Michael likes making his own noodles from scratch, but if he doesn’t have the time we look through the racks of Skappo Merkato.

Not only does Skappo Merkato make amazing hand crafted sandwiches like a slow cooked pulled pork, but they sell some unique goods on their shelves like Italian Truffle Pasta.

This truffle pasta is a tagliatelle with black earthy truffles in it. Truffle lovers will be happy that this pasta is not just infused with truffle flavor, but it actually has truffle pieces found throughout.

I suggest that you cook the noodles in salty water until al dente. When the pasta is cooked toss in some butter, virgin olive oil and a generous amount of parmagiano reggiano cheese. This simple dish is often called “Pasta Tartufo Nero” (black truffle pasta).

This pasta dish is so delicious, rustic and crave worthy! (I have to add a picture in the future. I was inspired to write this post after I ate all my truffle pasta!)

Have a great day!

Skappo Merkato is located at 51 Orange Street, New Haven, CT. You can reach them at 203-773-1600 or info@skappomerkato.com. They cater too! 

Skappo Merkato is a true New Haven original!



Food Memories – Filipino Mongo Soup is Comfort Food

I grew up in the Philippines with a mother who did not spend much time in the kitchen because she was groomed to be a beauty queen, pianist and business woman.

During my childhood and teenage years we were lucky enough to have a wonderful cook we affectionately called Lola Da. She was professionally trained and made expertly prepared dishes like roasted lamb and Coq au vin.

Since Lola Da did all the cooking and meal planning, I had no incentive to go into our kitchen during my younger days.

Now I live in the USA where I do not have any household staff. I am the staff of my home and in that role I am the primary cook and chef.

The cooking skills that I now have are all self taught. I have a hard time following recipes so my dish results are always a mystery.

I love Filipino food. In Connecticut I heard there is only one cafeteria style establishment which I still have to visit. Filipino food is very hard to get so I have had to teach myself how to create the dishes from my childhood.

One of my favorite Filipino comfort food dishes is called mongo soup. It is like a lentil soup but more hearty and flavorful since it is typically packed with succulent tender pork and vegetables. It is typically eaten with rice.

When I cook mongo soup my home has a luscious aroma since it takes about 2 hours to cook the pork and broth so that the meat is fork cutting tender.

I am giving you a basic recipe below. It is very forgiving. If you need to add more of anything, like water salt, vegetables, etc. just do it!

Buono appetito! Sarap ng buhay (Life is delicious!)

Mongo Soup Recipe

Ingredients –
1 pound of boneless pork cut into cubes

5 cloves of garlic minced

1 bag of mung beans (typically 1/2 lb. found in Asian store) – known as mongo in the Philippines

1 large tomato diced

1 onion diced

1 gallon of water for broth (enough to cover Pork. Add water if broth evaporates while cooking.)

Salt (add enough to flavor to your liking)

Pepper (add enough to flavor to your liking)

1/2 lb deveined shrimp that is cut in half

3/4 lb spinach

1 Bay leaf

Dash of fish sauce (optional)

Olive oil

To Do:
1. In a pot, put mung beans and add water to cover beans. Cook till they are soft. This will take about 30-40 minutes. Put beans aside.

2. Heat olive oil in a big soup pot. Add garlic, onions, tomato and pork. Cook till pork is lightly browned. Add water to cover the mixture completely. Add bay leaf.

Simmer for about 2 hours till pork is so tender it can be cut with a fork.

3. When pork is tender, taste and add enough salt and pepper to make the soup taste good to you. Add shrimp and mongo beans. Simmer for about 20 minutes so flavors blend together. It is optional but I sometimes add a dash of fish sauce for additional flavor.

4. Add spinach and then cook for 5 more minutes. Some people like mongo soup liquidy/ soupy. I prefer it a little thicker in consistency, like lentil soup, so I cook it longer. Consistency of the soup is dependent on the chef.


5. Some people love eating mongo soup with rice. Adding rice is optional.


The finished dish is delicious, healthy and mouth watering!