Tag Archives: Philippines

Ebates…A Way to Make Money While Doing Your Holiday Shopping

Thanksgiving just came and left.  There were so many things to be grateful for, especially my wonderful family. 

Even my sister from San Diego (www.sandwichemporium.com) and my cousin from the Philippines were able to celebrate the festivities with us.

During the visit my cousin told me about a wonderful site called Ebates.com.  It is a shopping portal that gives you cash back for shopping at major retailers like Toys R Us, Macys, Dell Computer, Target to name a few.

Since this is now the gift giving season of Christmas and Hanukkah, discovering this site was such a blessing.  I am planning to buy gifts for those I love, so why not make and save a few extra bucks while buying the items I was already going to purchase?

So far I have made $41 cash back from items that I bought in the last couple of days.

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

 There are still a few people on my Christmas list so I know I will be going back to Ebates again!

Soon there will be presents under our Christmas tree from Santa Claus and the family!

Happy Holidays!

(Note: Ebates did not ask me to mention them in my blog.  I added them on because I think it’s great to get cash back!)

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

 

 

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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.

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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.

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

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The finished dish is delicious, healthy and mouth watering!

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There are No Filipino Restaurants in Connecticut – A Chicken Adobe Recipe

In New Haven County I have sadly found no Filipino restaurants.  If we want food from my homeland we have to venture of to New York.

Since Filipino food is a rarity in Connecticut many people ask me what it is like.  I typically tell them that it is a wonderful blend of Chinese and Spanish food with a dash of Malaysian and hints of Indian.

Historically, the Philippines has always been a port of trade for many Asian countries, for 300 years it was a Spanish colony,  and for 35 years it was an American sovereignty.  All the different cultural exposure has influenced Filipino cuisine.

When I was growing up in the Philippines we had a live in cook who made us all our meals so I never really got an opportunity to learn how to cook Filipino food.

Living in the US, and not having household help, has been an education in domestic life.  I have learned not only to clean, but I now have a couple of staple dishes under my belt, like Filipino Chicken Adobo.

Today I would like to share with you my Chicken Adobo recipe.  Please note that every household has a different Adobo recipe.  Some people add sugar, some hot sauce and others use different kinds of meat like beef or pork.  The recipe I use is a simplified one that a novice cook can execute.

adobo

Ingredients:

3-4 lbs. of chicken (I usually like using the dark meat)

1/3 cup of vinegar

1/3 cup of soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon of black pepper

2 bay leafs

1/2 a cup of water (enough to cover the chicken)

3-4 cloves of garlic finely chopped (you can add more if you like it more garlicky)

1/2 tablespoon of oil

What to do:

1.  Put the oil in the pot you are using and have the heat up to medium

2.  Put the garlic and the chicken in the pot and then brown

3.  Add all the other ingredients and cover the pot

4.  Cook for 45 minutes in medium heat

Note: Some people like to fry the chicken right after to give the skin a crispness.  This dish is best eaten with plain white rice.  You can prepare this dish the day before as the flavors are even better the day after.

Marinating the chicken is not necessary because the vinegar “cooks” the chicken and the meat becomes a bit tough.

Adobo is a signature Filipino dish.  If you have a Filipino friend, chances are they have already introduced you to it, but now you can brag that you can make the dish on your own! 

Buono Appetito! Sarap ng buhay!  Have a great meal!

Jacobo Fajardo Puno Genealogy and Many Coincidences that Link the Past to the Present

I am from the Philippines originally.  I live in Connecticut now.  I have chosen to bring up my kids in the US, but I try to teach them about the Philippines and my family everyday.

Aside from exposing them to my local dialect, Filipino, I also gather information about relatives and the Philippines.  I tell them things that a 5  and 2-year-old can understand, but one day when they are older I would like to show them all the information so they can fully appreciate where they came from in the Philippines.

Knowing one’s roots and being proud of where you come from is so important.

Recently, my sister Angela told me about a website that features my great-grandfather, Jacobo Puno Fajardo.

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He died a very long time ago, even before I was born.  When I was reading his biography I found it so coincidental how he died on my wedding day, July 23.  He succumbed from cancer and had his final moments at St. Lukes Hospital in Chicago, IL.  Coincidentally, my dad and grandmother (Lolo Jacobo’s daughter) died of cancer in a hospital of the same name, St. Lukes, and at one point of my life I almost moved to Chicago.

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I really feel that coincidences have meaning, but it is just a matter of finding out what they are.  If you delve into the past you will find links that are similar and bridge the past to the present.

For instance, I mentioned in a previous post how an aunt who I had not spoken to in years sent me old pictures.  It was so coincidental how both my sister, who lives in California, and I received the pictures via regular USPS mail on my Dad’s birthday. Coincidentally, this aunt’s grandfather is Jacobo Puno Fajardo.

Also, my mother-in-law moved into a house built in the 1760s.  In a hidden wall there was “vintage graffiti” with people’s names.  One of the names was “Macky”, my father’s name.

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There are so many more coincidences I could write about, but I will leave that for another day.

If you really look at the details of your life you will notice interesting connections.  For me, the meaning is that there is a greater power that we don’t physically see that connects the past and present.  History has a way of repeating itself, but in different variations.

Thank you for letting me share!  Have a great day!

How to Make Your Own Ouija Board (aka Spirit of the Glass)

When you are growing up in the Philippines there is a natural fascination with ghosts and all things spooky and supernatural.

It is not unusual to hear someone talk about their encounters with the spirit world or to casually mention a mythical dwarf (dwende) living in their home and wreaking havoc.

I remember having “ghost hunting” trips with friends where we would visit supposedly haunted areas or the cemetery.  We happily never found any spirits!

Even my father use to tell me about his haunted parties where they would have actual human skeletons as decorations.  He would joke around that they would get the remains from the morgue, but I am pretty sure he was pulling my leg.

When I was younger a local newspaper in the Philippines did a report on where spirits wander.  The journalists stayed overnight at a cemetery, but there were no ghosts to be found.  The reporters then stayed overnight in Manila’s oldest church, San Augustin, which was built in 1607.  According to the writers the church was empty, but sometime during their stay they heard crying and wailing.  The source of the sad noise could never be found so they concluded that spirits visit churches.

In the US you often find Ouija Boards for sale in toy stores under the Hasbro brand.  In the the Philippines we have our own version of the “game” that we call “Spirit of the Glass”.  Here is how you play it:

Materials:

Paper – Poster size.  About 36 x 36 inches. 

Glass – I like using scotch glasses as they are not too big or too small

Marker

Candle – smaller then the glass so it can fit inside

What to do: (Note: The paper looks similar to a Ouija Board when you are finished with it)

1. On the paper draw a circle in the middle.

2.  On the paper write the alphabet, numbers from 0-9, yes and no, good bye, hello

3. Put the lighted candle in the middle of the circle

4.  Cover it with the glass and then say a short prayer to God and then say something like, “Spirits talk to me through the glass.”

5.  Keep your fingers lightly on the glass and watch the candle light die out.  Remove the candle and set it aside.

6.  Wait until the glass starts moving.  Remember, keep your fingers on the glass, but do not push it.  

I don’t know how it happens but the glass will just start moving.  Some people say it is your mind and fingers pushing it.  Other’s truly believe that it is something from the other world that is controlling the glass.

I no longer play this game as I do not believe in disturbing spirits and the unknown paranormal entities.

I also no longer need to know the “unknown”.  I will learn about the afterlife once I am gone.  Right now I am just happy to be alive and enjoying this reality.

Thank you for letting me share and have a great day!