Let’s Be Lowly and French

Or my other way of saying I cooked a French dish.

Mood Setter: Aicha by Cheb Khaled [audio http://a.tumblr.com/tumblr_lf30i9CJ971qe8yuoo1.mp3]

Miraculously, most of the things has been taken care of and that my dear means I finally have some time for me; yay to that and more yays because I can seriously catch up and maintain stuffs that keeps me sane now. I have to admit though that by the first sign of free time, the very first thing that I did was went grocery shopping. Yes, retail is a therapy whether it is skin care product shopping or fresh produce; it’s always fun to spend money and even more fun if you are all by your lonesome. I think I spent a whole thirty minutes eyeing the Asian spices before heading to the toiletries section and that is another story. Can I get away with an excuse that I wanted to feel somewhat cold and cozy inside because it’s starting to be really hot as in HOT outside, can I? I guess that’s a no, oh well. ^^

To mark the so called found free time again, I decided to cook Ratatouille, a French peasant dish, as what Collete from the movie Ratatouille said, because I wanted so much to have a bite of my friend’s birthday feast but alas, I am too far away to attend – thus the conclusion to DIY but I have to admit his looks yummier cause it’s baked and mine is a stove top version because I am oven-less, such a poor girl; just kidding, it’s not so bad not having an oven or is it? Why do the voice in my head sounds so uncannily like mother Gothel from Tangled? Hmmm, that’s a bit disturbing.

Moving on, as I mentioned it’s a stove top version that I found somewhere over the internet thanks to Google of course, I did a few tweaking though and thankfully, it tasted good enough. What was in it? These guys, Monsieurs Garlic et Basil:

They were joined by Mademoiselles Onion et Red Pepper:

And I guess he’s the star of the show cause most of the other veggies asked for a cup or a cup and a half and this guy has to be 2, that’s a bit I dunno, the word is stuck at the tip of my tongue, let’s go with unfair cause you know, isn’t it good to have equal portions or something?

Yup, that’s Mr. Macho, eggplant and I just realized something, I didn’t really “quite” follow every single thing on the recipe. Harhar, keeping the ranting down; next on the list are these babies, by these babies I am referring to the squash, zucchini and tomato:

 

Right so I have this question, what’s the difference between a marrow and a zucchini? Cause that is a marrow and the recipe calls for a zucchini though the supermarket guy says they are the same? Are they somewhat related? I’ll ask Google later.

Lastly, to liven up the party these dudes are much needed – pepper and thyme; not visually present is 3 – 4 pinches of salt, ¼ cup of olive oil and a dash of secret ingredient that is to remain unknown. 🙂 Completely forgotten was parsley, thankfully everything turned out okay.

Curious how did it turned out? Here’s a before and after:

 

Colorful isn’t it? I personally think that cooking is like painting, not on a canvass but on a plate and both are purtey. Well, I’ll be digging in now and most probably by the time this is posted, I would have been completely bonkers about some Korean Drama or something, I’m quite positive with that.

As I Strive to Develop, Grow and Remember

As the year ends and as I continue to get comfortable in my own home in the internet, I decided to be sort of systematic. Well it is sort of more because I think I do better or I function well enough if I have a goal or something. Look at how I nailed the 30 day blog challenge in nearly 30 days, that’s something. It would also be an encouragement for me to never give up and take on new things and don’t be overwhelmed just because it’s something I haven’t done before. I would also get to change, improve and polish my writing skills and thought process.

What am I babbling about? Well I came up with things or topics that I would write about on a daily basis, an upgrade of the 30 day blog challenge, a weekly challenge or a guideline of sort, a theme per day, you get the gist. Here’s what I came up with:

~ Monday – I’ll write about a certain song that I listened to or listening to or I listened to and now on repeat in my music player (also known as my iPhone.) That makes Mondays music day or That Tune on a Monday.

~ Tuesday – Since I watch and read way too much, I have way too much quotes that I like and sometimes forget. Thus writing about it doesn’t only make me completely analyze the quote, it makes me remember it easily too, because I can check it out anytime. Thus Tuesdays are about quotes or As I Quote Tuesday.

~ Wednesday – I’ll be posting poems that I wrote or the stories behind a dish that I cooked, whichever comes first and makes Wednesday either Poetry Wednesday or Wednesday’s Kitchen Stories.

~ Thursday – I’ll write about Korean Dramas/Movies that I watched; it’s either some musing, recaps (hoping to be brave enough to take that on,) reviews or some hopefully not so serious fangirling. It’s a day filled with drama, so calling it Dramatic Thursday is more than fitting.

~ Friday – is a rest day, it’s the weekend after all.

~ Saturday – English is not my native language, and as much as possible, I try to learn a new English word everyday (thanks to my Dictionary app it’s a whole lot easier now.) That said every Saturday; I am going to post about my word of the day or That Word This Saturday.

~ Sunday – this day I’ll be posting anything and everything, the choice is endless making Sundays Purely Random Sunday.

It’s very ambitious right? I thought so too but then it’s encouraging, it’s making sure that I write or continue to write. My pronunciation is already in danger; I can’t risk my grammar too.

In closing, with this I hope to develop at least my writing skills, grow with experience as I write one word after the other and remember the feeling, reaction and thought behind each word.

[Day 30] What is Happiness? (Are you happy with your life right now?)

I still can’t believe that I am down to the last day of the challenge. Did that really happen? I’m not hallucinating right? This is it, the last day, the last challenge and all I can say is that this is the most trickiest question among the bunch, one that I haven’t been asked by anyone ever, except myself.

The last challenge/question is am I happy with my life right now. How should I answer that? I know it’s supposed to be a simple yes or no thing but I feel it is something more, something I haven’t answered no matter how many times I asked myself. Am I happy with my life right now?

I read somewhere that happiness is a state of mind, it is what you make it. One could have all the misfortunes in the world and still could say that they are happy because they know that no matter how unfortunate they are as of the moment, the time would come that everything would turn out for the best, I can’t really tell though. Am I happy?

This question makes me really look at my current situation, my now, and delve deeply on what’s happening to my life. Currently I am employed, earning less that $1000 dollars a month without tax. I am a thousand miles away from my homeland, from my family and from a few close friends. I live with people that mostly do not understand what I feel and the way I think. So, am I happy? What is happiness? It’s a word with a meaning that I somehow can’t fully grasp; sometimes it’s a mystery.

When I was younger and life is way simpler than now, I could be happy with just the thought of not having classes every Saturday and Sunday. I smile brightly and sometimes jump up and down whenever my mother would tell me that I’ll be spending my summer or Christmas vacation with my grandfather and grandmother from my mother’s side. Going to the farm makes me giddy, even if I have to walk a long way just to reach there. Those days, being happy is as easy as being given a piece of candy. Those were the days.

At this point, I’m going to give my answer to the challenge, to completely nail it. At the moment, I am somewhat happy because despite what I have mentioned about my current situation, I am still alive and has the chance to turn everything around any time I deem to. I’m contented with what I have because I have enough. I am doing what I can under the circumstances that I know is almost at its end; just the thought makes me smile already. I have my family even if they are far away, I have a brother who has my back, who understand all my twisted reasoning. I have a few close friends who doesn’t judge me and whom I know will never get tired of hearing me whine every once in a while. I have Anne and Maan whom I can talk to whenever I want decent, meaningful conversation. I have dramas to fill all my nights (and early mornings.) Thus, I say that I am happy right now.

This concludes the challenge, my 30 day blog challenge. It’s amazing how I stuck with it and didn’t give in to my lazy self, that’s something. And knowing that I can do something like this makes me confident that I can challenge myself some more and I am gonna do so, at my own phase and time.

[Day 29] I’m Super! (If you could have one super power, what would it be?)

When I was younger and so much into those Japanese Super Sentai shows, I always wanted to have super powers. We were fascinated big time, by we I mean my brothers and I and we would play make-believe games pretending we are the heroes of the Super Sentai shows that we are watching. Oh by Super Sentai I mean those series by the Toei Company of Japan: Bioman, Flashman, Maskman, Turboranger and so on. And of course other than that we watched Batman, Spiderman, Superman and those addictive animes. Those were the days.

The challenge/question today is if I could have one super power, what would it be. The keyword is one, why does it have to be just one? I want more (am so greedy, heh) much more. Well since the offer is just one I would have to make do (I talk like it’s really going to happen, LOL!) Right, so super power, which one is cool?

If I am to have a super power then it’s going to be the power to read minds. 😀 Sure it has it’s downside but how cool would it be to know what people thinks. It’s like reading a thousand book all at once, and I love reading books. It’s also handy because if you can read someone’s mind, say example a dear friend who doesn’t want you to know that they are in pain, having trouble or something, you’ll be able to act appropriately and do more, give more. It can also helps develop my personality for the better because I’ll be way more perceptive than I already am.

That’s the super power that I want to have, how about you?

[Day 28] Winner! (If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?)

I think the challenge today lack some details, making it a bit difficult to give a direct answer. What’s the amount? LOL! Kinda reminds me of that scene in Queen In Hyun’s Man when Boong-do was asking Soo-kyung for some help/idea regarding what Hee-jin needs/wants the most. What’s the budget is her question of course while mine is something like how much is the prize?

The challenge/question is if I won the lottery, what would I do with the money, no specific prize, just a mention of winning the lottery. What if it was just 2nd or 3rd place that’s also considered winning the lottery right? Didn’t really thought it through did they? 😀  Well enough of me being all philosophical or whatnot, here’s what I’m going to do with the money if ever I won the lottery in order:

1. Buy my own house and lot – that’s the first thing that I’m gonna spend the money on. Nothing extravagant; but it has to be two bedrooms with balcony and toilet and bath, good kitchen area, mini bar, library and living room.

2. Donate to charity – specifically the orphanage near our family’s house in the Philippines.

3. Emergency fund for loved ones – I’m going to keep aside some amount to support my brother’s last year in college as well as expenses of my parents.

4. Go to places – please refer here to know where.

5. Put up my own business – something that has to do with food and computers. Food because my roommate said that I am a good cook and because I’m confident it’s going to be a hit; computers because I love everything about computers, the things you can do is endless.

That’s the gist of what I’m going to do with the money if say I do win the lottery, I just hope the winnings is enough for me to be able to do each and everything that I listed.

[Day 27] Palate Satisfaction and Beyond (List your favorite food.)

“Food glorious food… we’re anxious to try it! Three banquets a day, our favorite diet!” Yup, after watching Ice Age: The Meltdown I always sing this in my head every time I think of food. I love food! I wish I don’t because it’s not good for me, I’m a little on the heavy side and my metabolism is as fast as a snail trying to cross the high way, the snail is pretty brave right although completely irrelevant; ah brave snail and I think you get the point how my metabolism is.

The challenge today is to list my favorite food oh the food. Just thinking about it makes my mouth waters. I’m hopeless. Anyways, let’s get this over and done with so I can rush to the kitchen and have a feast afterwards. I’m going with five (5) of my favorite food also warning: I won’t give it justice if I describe how it taste so I’m just gonna show how it looks like. Credits to the sites I took the images from. Here’s the list of my favorite food in no particular order:

kfc

Now that’s gorgeous!

~ Korean Fried Chicken – or Yangnyeomtongdak as the Koreans calls it. Me, I call it the chicken that made me forget my name with one bite.

congee-salted-pork-b

In sickness and in health, I’ll savor you…

~ Congee – I love eating this whenever I am sick or pretending to be sick.

lechon-manok

Roasted to perfection!

~Lechon Manok (Pinoy Roast Chicken) – it’s one of the popular street food in the Philippines. I used to eat this a lot when I was in college mostly because I am lazy to cook for myself. It’s all about the sauce. Yum!

daing_na_bangus

Crunchy, flavorful!

~Daing na Bangus (Milkfish Marinated in Vinegar & Garlic) – I love to eat this for breakfast, with garlic fried rice and egg and tomato and coffee and I am getting hungrier and hungrier…

pork_adobo_marinated_2

More rice please!

~Pork Adobo – the name may be Spanish but it is 100% Filipino and a dish that almost every Filipino I know loves. The main ingredients are Soy Sauce, Vinegar and Garlic.

And that my dear is 5 of my favorite food. I’m off to the kitchen now to binge, I don’t know about you but I’m hungry, really hungry.

[Day 26] On My Shelf (List your favorite books.)

This post has a potential to take forever that is if I am to list all of my favorite books. That’s right; a challenge so close to my heart, books. Since I learned how to read, I never was without any book. As I grow older, the number of books I have in possession increased rapidly and more so because my brothers add to it too. Thus to save time (another word for saying because I’m lazy) I would just list five (5) out of the bunch.

The books that I am putting on this list (the challenge is to list my favorite books) are those books that I still read from time to time, no matter how many times I’ve read them. And one of them especially I quote whenever I want to cheer myself up. Here’s the list of my favorite books in no particular order:

~ The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery – This book is one of those that gets me misty eyed all the time, no matter how many times I’ve read it. The whole book is worth quoting, every single dialog has something to it. Whenever I feel like I am misunderstood or that I am being judged just by the way I look, I find myself thinking of the lines from this book, repeating it all over, a mantra: what is essential is invisible to the eye.

~ Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom – This is another sad book that I relate to. How can one forget their teachers especially those that saw them more than a struggling student but as a person with potential, not possible.

~ Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling – As per my opinion, these books are beautifully written. J. K. Rowling had me dreaming to be lost in a magical far away place with every installment. The only thing that I couldn’t get over with is the fact that Sirius had to die, why, oh why?

~ Mythology by Edith Hamilton – Thanks to this book I was obsessed with Greek mythology my whole High School years. It was a revelation for me, an alternative of what I know with everything personified.

~ Othello by William Shakespeare – It’s too predictable that I would list one of William Shakespeare’s tragedy right, but I bet you didn’t expect this. This tragedy is the perfect tragedy for me; it has the perfect fuel for a tragedy, one that stands out to me is jealousy. How sick can Othello get really? This is the quote that haunts me forever: I kiss’d thee ere I kill’d thee: no way but this; killing myself to die upon a kiss.

These are some of my favorite books. What are your favorite books?

[Day 25] Am I an Achiever? (What are some of your greatest accomplishments?)

My reaction to the challenge today can be described with one word: WOW, (not on the positive though) yet I do not have any idea how to clarify, I am lost for words. Seriously, I never think of what I have accomplished great, not to that extent. They are accomplishments yes but it is mostly ordinary, not even several steps near great.

Thus, with that said, I am just going to list some of my unforgettable accomplishments instead of my greatest which is the challenge today. My unforgettable accomplishments are as follows:

~ I received a Best in Computer Award – i received it on my High School graduation. It’s unforgettable because I was a transfer student and the school that I came from didn’t have a computer facility and as early as elementary grade they (my classmates) have been taught about computer uses, hardware and software. Imagine my surprise; well I still can’t believe it until now.

~ I got to experience working in a Call Center – are you wondering why this is an unforgettable accomplishment? Well, when I graduated from college, the Call Center industry boomed in the Philippines. I remember I even had a roommate that was working at Accenture, and that time I badly wanted to experience the life of a call center agent. I was so curious what it was like, why are there so many of my classmates back then that works as agents, what’s the difference with working on a graveyard shift and normal shift. So I did my best to get that job, went on interviews after the other and I kind of got accepted to one but I couldn’t pursue it, even if I wanted to because I had to go abroad to the UAE to be exact and that is when I gave up on being a call center agent not knowing that I’ll be experiencing it after five (5) years.

After the experience all I got to say is that it was fun. Talking to strangers over the phone is fun, I enjoyed it and if the pay was not so bad, I would have stayed longer.

~ I got to go to five (5) different countries although one of them is just inside the airport that counts still.

~I got to have good friends, even if they’re only a few. Now you may think that that is not an accomplishment but to me, it is and will always be because I know how difficult of a person I am, I’m very difficult to understand and get used to. And having those few friends who stuck with me despite of everything is an accomplishment, priceless and unforgettable.

Those are my accomplishments, they’re not great but they’re unforgettable.

[Day 24] What’s in a Name? (What’s the meaning behind your blog name?)

I can’t believe I’m getting this question asked in this challenge, bizarre. I didn’t think it would be asked ever, because my blog name is pretty spot on, it’s not mysterious. Since it’s asked let’s deliver. Once I nail this day down, there would be just six days left, and I’m eager to wrap this up.The challenge/question: what’s the meaning behind your blog name and as I said, my blog name is pretty spot on, at least my blog name now.

When I decided I wanted to blog again, I just jumped into it, without even really thinking of what the blog would be about. I just wanted to write again mainly because I wanted to preserve my recently saved grammar (I worked as a call center agent in the Philippines for almost a year and the accounts I was assigned is both US based) before it’s too late, before I lose it again because of the rarity of use.

Back then, I wanted the name “A Beautiful Mess” inspired by the song A Beautiful Mess by Jason Mraz, sadly that blog name has been taken a very long time ago so I sort of modified it a bit to “a not so beautiful mess.” Everything started there. As I write one post after the other I started to think and see the lack of connection between the name and the content which got me to the decision of changing the blog name and this time around I was thinking clearly and I realized I am never going to be able to write about just a single topic for a very long time. My interest varies; I’m sort of a Jane of all trades, master of none; in short it’s anything goes with me, no particular theme, no particular focus, just a huge collage of things that I am interested in.

After marinating that thought for almost an hour, I decided to chose the blog name “a mix of anything and everything” basing on the fact that I write about the different things that I am into: food, TV shows (Korean Dramas,) music, poetry, and any other random stuff that present itself to my ever scattered brain. As the name says, it’s a mix of anything and everything, it’s about me, my interest, what inspires me, the things I love to do and more.

And that is the meaning behind my blog name. How about you, what’s the meaning behind your blog name?

[Day 23] All in a Day’s Surf (List 5 of your favorite website.)

This is a tough one, I blinked a couple of times and squint through the screen to make sure it’s a five and unfortunately it is; it definitely is. At this point I started asking why just 5, WHY?! Well, as I don’t have any choice and it is the challenge, so be it!

Below is five of my favorite website currently:

1. Beyond Kimchee – this is one of the first sites that I got Korean recipes from. The steps are easy to follow, detailed procedure with very good photos plus the way Holly writes is completely entertaining. My all time favorite among the recipes posted on her site is Korean Fried Chicken.

2. Aeri’s Kitchen – another site for Korean recipes, complete with easy to follow videos as well as photographs. My favorite recipe is heart shaped rolled egg.

3. Couch-Kimchi – they binge on Asian Drama and I binge with them, especially with post about the latest in the Korean Drama scene.

4. Scattered Joonni – Fastest recapper ever! I’m very thankful to her site most especially because she recapped The Heirs, my drama crack of the year.

5. The Problematic of the Unproblematic – I swear, there never is a time that I check this site that I don’t crack up, as in literally laughing out loud because of their squeecap and witty articles. One of the most entertaining sites I’ve seen in years.

Of course you don’t see Google and Wikipedia in there but I don’t consider that as a favorite, these sites are necessity!

Those are my 5 favorite websites currently, how about you; can you list 5 of your favorite website?