Sunday, December 21, 2014

How to Cook Steamed Fish with Soy Sauce (Chinese Pan-To Style!)

When I was a kid, I hated going to huge family reunions. There were always too many people to hug, too many oldies to kiss, too many faces to smile at (and half of them I didn’t even recognize). It would always be held at these traditional Asian restaurants, with the big round tables and the intricate designs of dragons/peacocks/whatever symbols that signify good luck. And then there are the fish.

The live fish, swimming along in their little tanks in the corner, all happy-go-lucky and oblivious to the fact that they will soon be snatched up and served as delicacies in their short lives. Looking at them on the other side of the tanks as a little child, I felt a twinge of sadness in my heart.

Of course, over the years, I’ve come to love family reunions. Growing up, you realize that amidst all the challenges and trials you go through in life, there’s one thing that’s always constant—family. And all these smiling faces gathered together just prove to me how wonderful it feels to have a tight group of people who will always love you no matter what.

And the fish—the innocent and ultimately doomed fish—have now found a place not just in my heart, but in my stomach. I just love the taste of steamed fish with light soy sauce served up in these restos.

My photography skills are a disgrace. But the fish is good---promise!

Unfortunately, I do not have enough money to keep dining in fancy restaurants just to get a taste of that elusive fish. So, despite my amateur kitchen status, I’ve decided to learn how to make them at home.

How to Cook Steamed Fish (Simple, Can’t-Mess-It-Up-Because-I’m-A-Noob Version!)

Saturday, December 20, 2014

How to Win Every Argument in Your Relationship

My father-in-law is harboring chickens in our house.

Caged in their bamboo homes with that distinct poultry smell, the chickens would cluck away in the most ungodly hours and attract all sorts of flies and crawlies nearby. They’re cute, though, the chickens. They would poke their heads at us every once and a while, and the little kids just love them whenever my husband’s brothers come visit.

What’s weird though is that they’re all hens, all of them. And as I stand there in the garage looking at them, these female chickens pecking at the floor with no mates to call their own, I feel a certain twinge in my chest.

My mother always said that she and my father fought all the time because of their Chinese zodiac signs. He was a “rooster” who liked to crow at her nonstop, and she was a “dog” who barked all the time. But we had a dog, too, once. He didn’t seem too happy to be alone, either.

Despite all the fighting and the tears and the storming out and the pain, we all need our relationships—arguments and all.

Now that I’m married, I’ve come to realize even more that regular little spats are normal. Sometimes, the issue is big or small and they come and go and resurface even though we think they’re long buried. While arguments will always be a part of married life (or any relationship for that matter), it doesn’t hurt to spare yourselves the pain, does it?

There is no one surefire way to win an argument. It all really depends on what you mean by “winning”. In fact, if all you really care about is winning an argument with your beloved, then you probably shouldn’t even be in a mature relationship, right? But for those who want to emerge victorious in different ways after a fight, following these steps guarantees that you’ll never have to “lose” an argument with your significant other ever again.

How to Score an Epic Win in an Argument

Friday, December 19, 2014

Sweet Ground Pork or Minced Lumpia Filling

Big and brown and ugly, there it was.

The cockroach.

On my mousepad.


I had to scream for help because I’m a big sissy. My husband came to the rescue with a slipper in his hand and a look of determination in his eye. He marched in there, a soldier armed for battle, and—as I cowered in the corner of our room—he whisked the pest away to its dizzy death.

My hero.

Moments later, as he was dousing the thing with alcohol to make sure it stayed dead, I stood there pondering just how I would react if my own kid was afraid and it was up to me to protect him from the big, bad roach. I really ought to toughen up if I want to be a good homemaker.

That and my cooking. I need to be passable at cooking.

How to Make Sweet Ground Pork or Minced Lumpia Filling

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

What to Expect at the Pre-Cana / Marriage Interview with Your Priest


Startling. That was the sound that echoed throughout the court when my husband hit the shuttlecock. I watch him squint his eyes, lunge forward, and swing his racket. The umpire raises his hand a final time—they’ve won. His peers all turn to look at me with smiles on their faces.

“Inspiration,” they tell me. “Everything’s possible when you’ve got a personal cheering squad.”

A personal cheering squad. That’s me. It’s my hubby’s badminton tournament for their architect chapter, and I’m sitting at the bleachers holding his towel for him. Everybody’s reaction for the day: “You guys are married? But you look so young!”

We get that all the time, and it’s a compliment, really. In fact, that was exactly what our priest said when we went in for our marriage interview. And when you’re sitting at the parish office and your excitement is filled to the brim at the prospect of getting married, that’s really not something you expect to hear.

We were not prepared AT ALL, because we had no idea what to expect. We ended up attending two interviews with different priests and had to answer forms with “no cheating”. We really wish we’d known what would happen beforehand, so to keep anyone else from making the same mistake, here are some handy tips for you engaged couples out there:

What to Expect at the Pre-Cana Interview with Your Priest

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Why Spending Some Alone Time is Good For You

My trusty little pink notebook? Check. Multi-colored pens? Check. That paperback book that’s been on my nightstand half-read forever? Check.

I close my eyes. Breathe in, breathe out. I’m alone.

And I smile.

I had another opportunity last night to hang out at this quaint little place called Press Café over at the new Promenade in Greenhills. I’ve always loved Fully Booked, and I think the idea of opening up a book-themed café filled with the smell of books around me is just absolutely brilliant.

I’ve been overwhelmed with fertility treatments, new clients, and article deadlines for the past month. It’s been a long while since I had some quiet quality time to myself. And last night, I rewarded myself by snuggling in the corner of a cozy café with only my own thoughts as my companions.

Two hours is simply not enough.

Why It’s Awesome to Have Some Therapeutic “Me Time” Every Once in a While

Monday, December 8, 2014

How To Fry An Egg Without Burning It To A Crisp

Never in all of history has a fried egg been cooked so horribly.

I always tend to burn my eggs for fear of undercooking them and giving my dear husband salmonella. But this usually results in me serving him a plate of burnt eggs, and I can only imagine how terribly forced his smile is at me every morning.

The fried egg is basically the simplest and most amateur dish anyone can ever cook. Even kids are experts at it, and practically anybody who can handle a pan can do it flawlessly. Of course, because I’m such a culinary noob, it’s only natural that I suck at even the simplest of recipes.

But after countless ruined breakfasts and morning mishaps, I’ve finally found some methods that work. No longer will my hubby have to suffer through washing down my horrid eggs with a hurried glass of milk.

How To Fry An Egg Without Burning It To A Crisp

Sunday, December 7, 2014

How to Cook Japanese Sukiyaki Beef at Home

Here's yet another one of my kitchen misadventures in my never-ending quest to be a good homemaker! I've always been fascinated with Sukiyaki Beef in Japanese restaurants, and thanks to my super awesome cousin who taught me how, I can now cook homemade sukiyaki beef for my hubby.

Japanese Sukiyaki Beef Recipe

Friday, December 5, 2014

How to Be a Good Wedding Guest

After months and months of losing sleep and sweating it out on a guest list, my hubby and I finally had a perfect seat plan for the reception. You can imagine just how much a guest wanting to bring an unexpected plus one to the wedding made us want to rip their throats out.

Thankfully, most of our wedding guests were amazing people who made our wedding day extra special because they were all just wonderful. We love them all so, so much. :)

We were very lucky with our wedding guests, but most couples are not as fortunate. Unruly wedding guests can be a pain. Being one of the first among my peers to get married, I am now witnessing the steady stream of my friends getting hitched one by one. And if you don’t want to be blacklisted as a horrible guest that nobody will want to invite ever again, read through these tips.

How to Be the Model Wedding Guest of Any Couple’s Dreams