Archive for September, 2006

After enjoying the lavender shortbread cookies at Sketch, I couldn’t wait to search on-line and find a recipe for it. The recipe below is from Renee’s Garden. Lastly, I can’t wait to bake these! It’s a good thing we have some lavender in our back yard. 🙂



1-1/2 cups (3/4 pound) butter, at room temperature (no substitutes)

2/3 cup sugar

2 Tbsp. very finely chopped lavender florets (fresh or dried)

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh mint

2-1/3 cups flour

1/2 cup cornstarch

1/4 Tsp. salt

Cover bottoms of two baking sheets with parchment or brown paper. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, lavender, and mint with an electric mixer. Mix until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add flour, cornstarch, and salt and beat until incorporated. Divide dough in half. Flatten into squares and wrap in plastic. Chill until firm.

On a floured board, roll or pat out each square to a thickness of 1/2 inch. Cut the dough into 1 1/2 -inch squares or rounds. Transfer to baking sheets, spacing cookies about 1 inch apart. Prick each cookie several times with a fork. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until pale golden (do not brown). Cool slightly, then transfer to a rack. Sprinkle with lavender powdered sugar. Makes about 4 dozen.

Garnish with lavender powdered sugar. Put 4 or 5 springs of lavender flowers in a sealed jar with powdered sugar for a day before using the sugar.


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Tomorrow the hubs and I are attending a wedding but of course I didn’t have any gift bought yet so after work (being a procrastinator that I am), KitKat and I went to Fourth Street in Berkeley…to Sur La Table. Instead of getting a present where they were registered, I decided to go to SLT; I did look on-line to get an idea as to their “taste” of kitchen-ware, etc., so it was relatively easy to pick the “right” gift. ceramic1.jpgI bought two pieces from their Italian glazed garden earthenware serving dishes collection and some Egyptian hand towels. Afterwards, we went to Sketch for some gelato.  The owners, Ruthie Planas and her husband were both pastry chefs in Aqua before they decided to open Sketch. Ruthie’s parents are very dear friends of my bro. I told Ruthie that her parents were at my wedding 17 years ago. I’ve been there a couple of times but I never knew or I must have forgotten that it was owned by them. Anyhoo, I didn’t feel too adventurous so I only had their organic coffee while KitKat had their Earl Grey Tea. Ummm! KitKat had me try hers….both flavs were yummy! KitKat also bought me their lavender shortbread cookie. The cookie was rich but not too sweet with a hint of lavender. (Thanks KitKat for the treat!)  In true Berkeley style, every ingredient that goes into Sketch’s  cakes, ice creams, and cookies are all organically grown. 

Since it was past 6 p.m., most of the stores were closing up shop except for the restaurants nearby so we weren’t able to go “pamashal-mashal”…right KitKat? 🙂 I would have liked to gone to The Gardener, Restoration Hardware, ZGallerie and Crate & Barrel Outlet and maybe take a peek at Antropologie across the street. KitKat dropped me home and within 20 minutes, I got a call from Erich….their organization was selling some tamales to raise funds for the people in Honduras…so the hubs drove me to pick up the tamales we had ordered (Risa, CE, and “Bean” had ordered them too so we dropped off Risa’s to her house.) It was perfect timing because that’s what the hubs and I had for dinner as both kiddies weren’t home. I steamed them and boy were they delicious! Nothing beats “home-made” chicken tamales! JP had gone to SF after school…yesterday was the grand-opening of the new portion of Westfield’s San Francisco Centre….the 2nd largest Bloomingdales (in the country) is here in SF. Well, JP had gone their yesterday to meet up with some friends for his birthday before going home to have dinner with us. He said he was going there again today. JP called me twice at work yesterday to tell me the place is “gigantic.” Maybe I’ll wait for all the ruckus to die down before we go there….maybe in a week or two? AC had a volleyball pratice/scrimmage at school….I just got back from picking her and Ms. Sara up who will be spending the night. Well, I’m going to try to throw in a couple of laundry loads now to get a jump start on my domestic duties. Ha! Have a fabulous weekend!

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Sixteen years ago, my little “baby boy” was born! (Nanay had also called him “baby boy” up until the age of 3 then she simply called him “J.”) Where did the time go? It seems like it was only yesterday he was playing with Thomas the Tank Engine . . . at the age of 2, Jeremy knew all the names of the characters . . . like Gordon, James, Percy,Toby and Clarabel. I know there’s a few more but heck, it’s been 14 years. thomas.jpgJeremy so loved Thomas that we had all of his videos and the hubs even built him a train track for Thomas and his friends. I got involved in putting the “landscaping.” We’ve kept most of his Thomas “toys” but the train track we eventually had to put out to pasture. Because of his fascination with trains, the hubs and I (and Nanay too on some occasions) would take a drive up to Vacaville to what used to be there called the “Nut Tree.” There was also the train over at Tilden Park in Berkeley. (AC wasn’t born until 3 years later.) How I miss those wonderful memories! jeremy2.JPG JP would probably “kill” me if he knew that I had posted this pix of him…I just had to…one of my favs…..he was a “Michelin” baby with several “rolls” on his arms (although this pix doesn’t show much) 🙂

To celebrate JP’s birthday, the familia took him to Sushi House for dinner. We hadn’t been there in a while and we figured the “wait” wouldn’t be as long as going to the Elephant Bar & Grill (being a school & work night). Suprisingly we only had to wait for about 10 minutes on a weeknight too! It doesn’t matter whether it’s a weeknight or weekend there is always always a LONG wait. JP ordered their A’s Roll….sushi-house.jpgsoft shell crab, cucumber, crab meat topped with Unagi & special sauce…sans the avocado along with the chicken donburi. The hubs went for their “bento box” and had the chicken & salmon terriyaki with shrimp & veggie tempura served with rice, soup & salad. AC had their “child’s bento box” which was similar to the hubs sans the salmon but smaller portion. I on the other hand had their nabe udon – – shrimp tempura, chicken, fish cake, egg & vegetables. It was an enjoyable evening. Happy Birthday to my “baby boy”!




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While surfing RR’s chicken recipe, I ran across this one.  I think I’ll try to make this very soon but I wanted to save the recipe in case I forget. 🙂   Photo and recipe courtesy of Food Network – Rachel Ray . . .


Juice and zest of 1 large lemon (3 tablespoons juice)

3 tablespoons honey

2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic

1½ teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 bone-in chicken breast halves, skin on (about 2¼ pounds)

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with foil. In a medium bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and zest, honey, garlic, cumin, oregano and 1/2 cup of the olive oil. Place the chicken breasts in a glass dish that holds them snugly in a single layer and add the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours in the refrigerator, turning over the chicken occasionally.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Pat the chicken dry, season with salt and pepper and place, skin side down, in the skillet. Cook until the skin is browned and crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken, skin side up, to the prepared baking sheet. Bake until cooked through and the juices run clear, about 20 minutes.

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A day with JP . . .

I didn’t go to work today because I had to take care of some matters and JP had a doctor’s appointment this morning. Usually the hubs takes the kiddies to their appointments but this time since I didn’t go in to work, it was JP and me…when JP was little, we’d call it mommy & “JP” time. We used to have many of those moments when we would drop AC off to her ballet lessons. Now I can’t belive that my little “jp” is going to be 16 years old this Thursday. We headed to Orinda for JP’s doctor’s appointment. It’s been 8 years since I had worked in Orinda and I remembered how I used to “visit” entrance-small.jpgSanta Maria Catholic Church during some of my lunch breaks. Since we were in the area, JP and I went to the church. Unlike some of the other churches in the Bay Area, Santa Maria was always opened or so it seems. I’m at “‘peace” and being inside the church brings me solitude…it’s different on Sundays….. Anyhoo, it was nearing lunch so I asked JP if he was up to eating Nation’s Burgers nearby or Flipper’s up in Montclair. He chose Flippers, but on our way, I thought about this Indonesian/Singaporean restaurant that I found on the web (while surfing) yesterday. It’s called Jayakarta and it’s located on University Avenue in Berkeley. They had lots of dishes to offer and the price was very reasonable. I had their lunch special (6.95) which consisted of Kari Ayam (chicken curry) and the Sate Ayam (barbecue chicken skewers) served with jasmine rice and gado-gad0 (Indonesian salad with peanut dressing). JP had their #32 Nasi Lemak . . . this one consisted of coconut rice with barbecued coconut chicken & chicken skewers, along with deep fried ground potatoes, cucumber slices and some fried anchovies with peanuts. I ended up ordering the same lunch I had for the hubs for take-out. JP and I enjoyed our nice lunch at Jayakarata’s and will definitely come back. The place isn’t all that….simplicity at its best, but the food is very flavorful and they’re not skimpy with the portions they give. Although we were stuffed, as we were walking back to the parking lot, “Gelateria Naiasorbetto.jpgwas calling out to me. So of course, we had to go in and get some gelato! I can’t recall the two flavors that I got, but one was pistachio and the other had some almond flav to it. JP had their Madagascar vanilla bean ice-cream and white chocolate chip. Ummm! Yummy! After stuffing our faces with Indo food and Italian ice-cream, we headed home…and that’s why I’m on the computer now. I also went on line to read some of my email messages from work…crazy huh? Answered a few emails to the professors and called it quits…so that I could continue blogging.

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At long last . . .

I’m finally able to connect with my cousin (dad’s side) after a good 20+ years in the Philipppines via E-mail.  The last time we were in contact, LL and I were in high-school.  When we went back home to the Philippines last July, my cousin LL and her siblings were no longer living in the province so we were not able to see them.  I’m so happy that we’re going to be able to keep in contact now.  I was so thrilled to get an email from LL this morning.  Oh well…gotta get back to work…

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I took a “hiatus” from blogging. Ha! Ha! Actually, I’ve been somewhat lazy for the past couple of weeks. While watching Desperate Housewives right now I decided to blog at the same time. I’m sort of upset that Grey’s Anatomy is on now on Thursday nights at the same time as CSI (Las Vegas)….I liked it when it was after DH…why oh why did the networks have to screw the line-up…Oh well…I guess I could start sleeping early on Sundays now. 🙂 Like all weekends…they come and go. Last week was a hectic one because of the International Dinner at church…from decorating/set-up to cooking/ take-down, etc. I’m glad this weekend was a quiet one. KitKat and I were abel to get some tix to watch the Bayanihan – Philippine National Dance Company perform at Zellerbach last night. I truly enjoyed their dynamic performance and colorful costumes. The last time was about 4 years ago with Risa, her sister & parents at the Marin Civic Center. After mass today, Risa and I went to the mall to look for a wedding present that the hubs and I are going to next Saturday. Since we were in the area, we went to Foodnet to go “asian-marketing”…(that’s what CE calls it). When I got home, I wanted to make some arroz-caldo for JP…he had two of his wisdom teeth pulled last Friday. I called Risa to ask her what I needed so since she had to go to Farmer Joe’s, she picked me up….got all my stuff and then some and went home. I didn’t even make the arroz-caldo as planned because JP still had some leftover won-ton soup and we had some leftover ribs…that took care of dinner! Ate FS came by this evening because the hubs had worked on the “gold-mobile.” It was nice chatting with her; however, I wished the conversation could have been a “happier” one….an unfortunate event has happened to the familia….all we can do now is pray and hope for the better. Well, I think I’ll watch the new program Brothers & Sisters which followed DH….this program stars Calista Flockhart…it looks like she’s gained weight or is it the tv that adds 10 lbs…anyhoo…good night!

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