Congee, My Comfort Food

Whenever I don’t feel good, I usually prefer to eat rice congee, also called as rice porridge, or lugaw in Filipino.

rice congee topped with rousong (dried pork floss) and soy sauce

Rice congee is my comfort food. I know most people would say chicken soup is best to eat when you are not . I prefer it over chicken soup. Come to think of it, chicken soup is not even on my top 3 food that I eat when I’m not feeling well.

I felt like I was coming down with something and I didn’t have any appetite to eat anything. So I had asked Chris to make me some congee. I always find myself eating congee when I can’t eat anything else.

Congee is good because it’s a clean food when it comes to how simple the ingredients are: rice and water. It can’t get any simpler than that. What you add to it are based on preference and there are a lot to choose from. Even I have so many different preferences when it comes to my rice congee.

There are many different types of congee and/or rice porridge. This one is just a simple congee.

The rice was boiled with 3 parts water ratio compared to the rice. So with 1 cup of uncooked rice boiled with 3 cups of water. No salt added or any seasoning when it was cooked. You can add chicken bouillon and ginger too. But with this one in the picture, the congee was made simple. Once it’s cooked, then that’s when I add seasoning. My go to seasoning and toppings for my congee is soy sauce and the Chinese dried pork floss, also called rousong. I sometimes like adding century egg too. Sometimes you can also add a bit of lime juice, a sprinkle of onion chives, and dab of fish sauce. You can always switch between soy sauce and fish sauce. But if you don’t like the color on your congee, you can always use salt.

ASL 05.13.2020 (Clearwater, FL)

Growing Vegetables

Hello Spring! Since I have been placed on temporary furlough status, I have been doing some gardening. It is not yet time for harvest. I’m looking forward to get a taste of our home grown vegetables.

We are growing tomatoes, cabbages, onion and garlic, to name a few. I will try to share more photos for the rest next time.

ASL 05.11.2020 (Clearwater, FL)

A Delicious Sign of Hope

A small delicious sign of hope – our favorite Chinese Take Out place just recently reopened.

For weeks we have been checking constantly on when our favorite Chinese Take Out place would reopen. Not only that, but we also drove around the neighborhood if the other Chinese Take Out place are open. They weren’t. We saw about 3 different places closed.

Today Chris got home telling me, “I got good news for you. I think things are starting to go back to normal.” I replied with, “what made you say that? did they already come up with a vaccine?” Chris responded, “no.” I asked again, “did they find a cure?” Once again Chris answers with a firm, “no.” I stopped asking as I was really more guessing.

I went to the kitchen and found my answer. I see our usual order on the kitchen counter. I was surprised!

“You found a Chinese Take Out place open?”, I asked. He just nodded. “Or wait! Is this from our Chinese Take Out place that we normally go to?” Once again, he just nodded, but smiled this time. I ran to him with excitement and joy because finally we can normally order Chinese Take Out again!

This may seem silly to some. But we are one of those that value the little things in life. It may be little things for some but it can mean so much more for other people. What about you? What’s something so small and maybe silly to others but seems like a sign of the hope for you? Feel free to leave a comment below.

ASL 05.03.2020 (Clearwater, FL)

Composition Notebook Sewn Fabric Cover

Back in 2018, I had received a gift from a friend/coworker’s mom.

Randi was over in Tampa for work and I had seen her notebook cover and told her it’s so cute and pretty. I had assumed she had sewn it herself and had told me that it was her mom who had sewn it.

Months later, Randi flew back to Tampa and we saw each other at the office.  Upon seeing me, she said I have something for you. I was so surprised that she had something for me and she told me it was from her mom. 

It was a composition notebook sewing kit that she had prepared for me. In the kit were a letter, an instruction, and the materials that I would need to finish it.  The red fabric already stitched with cushion and even has my initial embroidered on it. It also has several already cut fabrics to serve as the pockets where I could insert in the composition notebook cover/flap. It even came with a polka dot designed ribbon to match the theme, which I assumed was a love bug theme.

I have never met Randi’s mom, Miss Dixie H. So this was truly a sweet surprise. Upon seeing the gift, I had remembered the notebook cover I saw from months ago. Randi mentioned it to her mom and so her mom made something for me to finish. I read the letter, twice! As I couldn’t believe what I just received. I thanked Randi and had also thanked Miss Dixie as well.

For the past 2 years, I have been trying to finish it.  But each time I opened the kit, I felt intimidated by it. It was really simple, all I had to do was sew them together. However, I didn’t want to ruin it. I was afraid that I would mess it up.  So I always end up putting it aside. This went on for 2 years. Every now and then, I would open the kit then close it back. 

When my furlough started, I had added this in my list of goals to accomplish.  I would look at the kit then I would tell myself maybe tomorrow I will feel more confident to do it.  

I realized that if I still have not finished it even with more than 20 days into my furlough, then I will never be able to finish it. Therefore, I have decided that I cannot let this go on and not be able to finish it. So a few days ago, I had opened it again and read the instructions possibly 5 or more times.  I googled the verbiage as I’m not so familiar with the sewing terms yet, such as “selvages” “batting” etc.  Once again I felt intimidated.  For the past 3 days I kept looking at it then putting it off.  I played with the fabric placing it on the notebook, then look to see if I sew it here or there would it be okay. I would put it down to walk away from it for a bit. Then come back and hope that I can overcome whatever roadblock that’s stopping me from making it.

Today I told myself, I need to at least start doing something with it. So I went ahead and started sewing on the edges. I couldn’t follow the image of the instruction so I went with my gut feeling and just placed where the pockets would be. This was one of the struggles I had before, whether where to place the pockets or how many pockets I should add. I realized that I just have to keep it simple. I told myself, “just sew the pockets that you need to insert the book cover.” That seemed to help. I found myself keep asking, “now what?” After each hurdle I would face, now what? After I had sewn the pockets, now what? After I had sewn the lining with the pockets on the notebook cover, now what? Then it came the time for when I had to sew the ribbon on the edges. Once again, I tried to figure out what it should look like. In the end, I went with my gut feeling. I think it turned out great!

If you do look at it closely, you will see that I still have a lot to learn when it comes to sewing. The stitching looks very messy. For sure, I won’t be entering any sewing business in the near future. I still need a lot of practice.

I want to thank Miss Dixie H. for giving me this project. I apologize for the delay in finishing it as I felt intimidated by it. In the end, I had to let go of any fears that I had and just told myself to have fun making it – and I did! This will be one of my cherished gifts. Thank you again.

ASL 04.28.2020 (Clearwater, FL)

Kawaii Bento Box

Look at the cute bento box that I bought from Amazon.

It’s actually smaller than what I’ve expected it. But I think it makes it more portable that way. I can tell you now that this bento box is good only for packing lunch for one (1) person.

It’s just so cute that I don’t regret buying it!

I haven’t used it yet. But I plan to pack some good food soon for Chris to bring for lunch.

If you want yours too, I got this from Amazon. They actually have it in 2 colors: blue and red. Japanese Traditional Rabbit Blossom Bento Box Set with Bento Bag (Blue) I personally like the blue one. But the red one is cute too.

ASL 04.24.2020 (Clearwater, FL)

Spam Musubi – Novice Level

I made spam musubi for Chris’s bento box.

This is actually not the first time we made spam musubi. Chris has made this for me a couple of time. But this is the first time I made it on my own. I had to improvised as I used the snack size seaweed for this, instead of cutting the big one to several lengthwise seaweeds. Even though I have a pack of full sheet sushi nori / seaweed, I want to save it for when we make sushi. The oriental store that we normally go to is temporarily closed due to this pandemic. That’s why I want to be very frugal with my ingredients without jeopardizing the flavor. However, I did see that I can buy sushi nori at Amazon. You can buy almost everything from Amazon! LOL

These were delicious! Not bad for a novice.

I wish the beaches were open and that the pandemic is over. As these are great to have for a beach picnic.

Onigiri – Made with Love

My first onigiri! Truly made with love.

I made some of my own home made onigiri. I googled a bit of what ingredients are commonly used to make onigiri. But I didn’t follow any recipe to make this one. So far I would say it tastes good. These are my first batch. For sure I’ll make more in the future.

I made the onigiri for Chris to bring as his lunch box. I made the ones above for my mom. See below for the ones that I made for Chris. Look at what I packed him for lunch!

scrambled eggs, heart-shaped seaweed, and red hotdogs
onigiri

He finished them all and said that they were delicious! 😀

ASL 04.15.2020 (Clearwater, FL)