My winter sniffles magic tea

My winter season sniffle saviour

With the cold weather, unfortunately, comes all kinds of sickies – the sniffles, the coughs and, if you’re real unlucky, the flu. And with the exorbitant costs of health care (Check out our dental care damage here) in the US, “Bawal magkasakit” is the mantra of everyone living here.

Hence, prevention is key. And one of the best preventive measures I’ve discovered back when I was in Dubai, is magic tea.

Well, I used to easily purchase packets of Sri Lankan Ayuvedric Samahan tea at our neighborhood small grocers. But now that I cannot seem to find any Samahan tea at our Asian supermarkets. Believe me, I have tried and searched far and wide in all sorts of Asian markets – the East Asian kind, the South Asian kind and the Middle Eastern kind, to no success. So I decided to reverse engineer this magic tea.

I researched and I think I finally nailed it with the help of my Chef sister, who taught me how to make fermented fruit syrups.

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Homemade small batch sauerkraut recipe

Never imagined fermenting could be so easy

I was in a pickle then. Like I am on most days.

I don’t know if I am like most housewives. I am often in a frenzy of things: cooking, washing the dishes, doing the laundry, folding clothes and more cleaning, but there are days that I just slouch on the couch and stare into space. Oh lovely space across our apartment.

I stare into space on days when I am exhausted, on days when I just have run out of things to do, on days when I just want to be.

On those seemingly empty, meaningless times, I somehow manage come up with the most brilliant small projects one at home could tackle. Like making more homemade stuff as if The Husband and I were not up to our ears with homemade goodness.

So I learned how to make sauerkraut.

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Amaretto Asim (Sour): An easy recipe

What you need for an awesome libation

I have a favorite cocktail, my go to whenever I don’t feel like chugging down a carb loaded bottle of beer. Not that I’m all that carb counting conscious. I try.

Operative word: try.

And since, like most other things, going out here in the US is pretty expensive. So like, our food, we try as much as possible to replicate these things at home. And I am so glad that I cracked an easy peasy way to make my all time favorite Amaretto Sour.

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The perfect beef tapa (Filipino cured beef) recipe

Didi’s perfect beef tapa

I don’t know why I have an obsession with beef tapa (Filipino cured beef). Maybe because I worked a summer job at Goodah Annapolis, Greenhills, taking orders and cooking tapa and eggs (if I’m lucky) during the lunch time rush. Or maybe because mama made damn good homemade tapa.

This is one of the dishes I never bothered to learn when I was back home. I just woke up to the heavenly smell of garlic, soy sauce and vinegar wafting through my bedroom windows, came down to the kitchen and it was ready to eat. I guess we were spoilt by my mama that way.

But after a few times of experimenting on the ratios of beef, soy sauce and vinegar, I finally nailed it. The perfect beef tapa recipe. At least for us.

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The magic of the humdrum routine: Nuoc mam cham (Vietnamese fish sauce)

Nuoc mam cham: The magic everyday condiment

I’m afraid that I have fallen into a humdrum routine.

I wake up to the now chilly autumn mornings, struggling to unravel myself off the toasty warmth of our blanket, jammies and cotton socks and peel myself off the comforts of our firm mattress. Wiping all morning glory of yesterday’s dreams of distant lands, of friends from a bygone time and of inconceivable circumstances, I get up, wash my face, kiss The Husband “see you later” and head into the kitchen.

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The slow life and homemade pork broth

A bowl of homemade noodle soup

Like clockwork, at the strike of 6’o clock in the evening, while in the middle of my current reads, my eyelids start to droop, struggling to stay wide open to finish the latest chapter on the page. But, eventually, I succumb to the call of the afternoon siesta, a luxury I could never afford in my adult lives in both Manila and Dubai.

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Pork and greed: A story of homemade sisig

Hello porkaliciousness!

I found myself scraping every last bit of porkalicious sisig goodness: crunchy, chewy, savory, piquant & spicy, from the plate, licking it oh so clean that the plate did not require its ceremonial after-meal bath. Uh-oh. None left for The Husband? My sisig greed got the better of me! With pork evidence already hidden in the recesses of my stomach, I make a mad scramble to prepare another dish for dinner…

Greed can always get the better of us.

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Settling in the Middle: Tuyo (salted, dried herring) pasta

My favorite bottled Tuyo brand :-)

Being in the middle is often not a good thing. You’re neither here nor there, or neither black nor white. You are just lukewarm, neither cold nor hot. It can mean cowardice for some, lacking the balls to choose a side. It is the gray area, obviously a drab color, which best describes the feeling of being in the middle.

This is where I am at the moment: right smack in the middle.

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Homemade salted eggs: Something out of nothing

“Hey. What’s happening to you? How come I have not seen any new posts on your blog?” asked a couple of fellow bloggers and faithful readers. After getting that question from people who actually bothers to read my blog, I wanted to hide under the sheets from blogger shame. The absence from the blog seems that I have been doing nothing. And I’m the type of person who beats herself so hard when I do squander precious time, something that you could never ever gain back.

This blogpost has been sitting inside my head for a couple of weeks now. Oh, I stand corrected. Judging by the date on my last post, this blogpost has been over two months in the making. Night after night I thought of blogging, sitting on the couch and sharing my food adventures, which I have had a fair bit of, but somehow I managed to wriggle out of sitting still, digging up and sorting out the million and one thoughts in my head. And those thoughts just remained there…inside my head.

I did NOTHING.

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Going Away Granola

I hate going away. Both ways it is always sad. If you are the leaver, the one who left a place or a person, there always is a part of you, even just a molecule or maybe an atom of your being, that will attach itself to that somewhere or someone, leaving an emptiness in you. And if you are the leavee, the one left by somebody else whether by choice or by circumstance, well, this can even be more painful.

Last Saturday, I was a leavee. The Husband left for his much deserved annual home leave, while I was left here in our wee home in the desert to, well, work as most of us, expats are here for.

I knew he was leaving and was honestly quite excited to have time for myself, but as I’ve said earlier, being a leavee is always painful. I sent him off with a kiss as he was whisked away by the taxi to the airport. As I closed our wee home’s front door behind me, I found myself crying into my favorite pillow, imagining it was The Husband. Our wee home felt empty. I was alone and lonely.

But I knew I had to deal with this loneliness head on as this could not continue for the next two weeks. I brushed my salty tears away and went into a cooking frenzy in our wee kitchen. Somehow cooking has started to become my go-to zen activity, whenever I go through a roller coaster emotional ride.

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