Midway through a year of baking bread

A slice of homemade happiness

Ever since I started taking cooking more seriously, I’ve dreamt of baking bread. It sounded so romantic – kneading the flour mixture with your KitchenAid stand mixer, forming the dough with your hands, shoving it into then pulling the loaves out of the hot oven and, of course, eating a warm slice slathered with butter.

There’s something wrong with my dream. I don’t know if you could spot it, but a KitchenAid stand mixer? Those things cost around $300 or even more! I didn’t have that kind of money, so the dream was just shelved like the plastic bagged loaves I bought from the supermarket.

But one day, a light bulb turned on – but they didn’t have KitchenAid stand mixers back then. So what’s stopping me from baking bread from scratch?

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#TrailingSpouseStories: There is no place called home

Photo by Paval Hadzinski

Welcome to July’s #TrailingSpouseStories.  This month we talk and reflect about the idea of HOME – what it means to us, where it is and how we make our nomadic homes feel more like it.

“Don’t you ever miss home?” this question I get often from family and friends in the Philippines and beyond. In which the question does not beg an answer, but rather more questions.

Where is home now?

At the moment, if a home were a place, I would say home is Texas.

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#LoveWins in the USA

Photo by nathanmac387

Hi there. I’m still here.

I’ve been away for two weeks in the Pacific Northwest to visit and help out my Tita and, gosh, lots have changed. LOTS. In fact, for those of you who have been living under a rock, perhaps without any connection to the Internet or to world news on print or on television, last June 26, the SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) declared the legality of same sex marriages across ALL states of the country.

People have rejoiced, most especially the affected LGBT community, their supportive families and friends in the US and beyond. On the other hand, other people have raised their pitchforks on the passing of this “abomination” with heated statements over social media and the rest of the Internets.

Okay, I am not directly affected by this. I am not Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual nor Transgender. And though I live in the US, I do not hold a blue passport. But I do have family and friends who are LGBT.

I feel for them.

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#TrailingSpouseStories: Embracing Filipino version 2.0

Photo by Daniel Joshua Rubin

Welcome to June’s #TrailingSpouseStories.  This month we explore our national identity and how it shows in our day-to-day expat life.  We also reflect on how our itinerant life has influenced the expression of our national identity and how we feel about it.

Last week I had a friend over. We’ve been friends since the 6th grade, sharing the same middle class, Catholic school girl, college graduate and working professionals backgrounds. We’ve gone separate ways as she left the Philippines for New York City, while I stayed behind, then later on left the country for Dubai and the US.

Here we were again, catching up in person after years of sustaining our tried and tested friendship via online channels. Apart from the usual girl talk and I-can’t-believe-we’re-all-grown up stories, the expat life crept into the conversation often, an exchange of notes on the variety of experiences in the big city and the suburbs and in different countries.

Though we’ve been away from our countries for so long, we both were still unabashedly Filipino, holding Philippine passports. We ate Filipino food often (Homemade sisig was our 1st meal) and, sadly, cannot survive too long without white rice. We read, spoke and wrote the language. We shared our expat lives with fellow Filipinos: family, roommates, friends.

But we were definitely not the same Filipinos that we were back home.

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Pink’s Hot Dogs @ Los Angeles, CA

Summertime is hotdog time!

In the Philippines, hotdogs are usually for breakfast with rice and eggs please! Or maybe for merienda (i.e. snack) in a bun or encased in a sweet, buttery waffle or plain on a stick.

But in America, summertime means hotdog time. I don’t know why. But I suppose because these are the snacks you have in the ballpark. Yep, baseball season is now here. Or because hotdogs are best done on the grill, which is most popular in this sun drenched season.

In Los Angeles, Pink’s is the place to be at for hot dogs.

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The 2nd best fried chicken in America

That’s REAL GOOD fried chicken

You can never have too much of a good thing…especially with fried chicken. The best fried chicken (at least to me) at Gus’ Fried Chicken is a minimum of 3 hours of driving. Luckily, they have a branch in Austin City,

But, when I have a hankering for really, really good fried chicken, I think the second best is more than good enough. Thankfully, the trek for the second best fried chicken is a couple of minutes drive versus hours.

And the surprising thing about this fried chicken is that it comes out of a fast food joint.

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Mary’s Cafe in Strawn, Texas

Chicken Fried Steak Haven

The Husband and I are always keen to try local Texas food. Ones that are made by and made for locals who have lived in their neck of the woods for long. After reading about Mary’s Cafe and its famous chicken fried steak in a travel magazine up in the sky, we knew we had to visit that neck of the Texas woods even if it is a two hour drive from home.

I know, we are cray cray like that.

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Lion City Chinese Cafe in Plano, TX

Char Kway Teow

When we lived in Dubai, The Husband and I yearned for good East Asiand and Southeast Asian food. There wasn’t an abundance of it as compared to the South Asian and Middle Eastern resturants. Understandably so, especially that there is a skew of the expat population to South Asians and Middle Easterners.

And so, when we arrived here in the US, we were ecstatic. We landed in Atlanta’s East / Southeast Asian food paradise. And when we moved to Texas, we were relieved to have access to a lot of our beloved East / Southeast Asian cuisines.

I’m more than happy that we have a good choice of Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese restaurants. But I never expected to find authentic Singaporean food here.

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