Friday, May 23, 2008

TRUTH THURSDAYS: My Body is Holding Back...

Another entry inspired by Stef's Truth Thursday prompt. And I'm getting better; it's only Friday.

My body is holding back energy and a lot of productive output. My body is a firm believer (or marshmallowy believer, if you want to be more accurate) in Newton's first law of motion. Inertia has become my enemy.

I have so many plans and ideas--most of them brilliant, really--but not much comes to fruition. Say my mind has this fabulous idea on how to fix the house, and all these images of tastefully decorated rooms float around my head, and I can picture Real Living magazine giving me a call, they want to shoot the house for their next cover, and I can hear everyone ooh-ing and aah-ing over the beautifully done interiors and I'm raring to go get started, and my body says (aided by a traitorous part of my brain), "Wait, there are about 50 billion more pages to surf, you have to get more tips on how to decorate the house, and besides you need the budget to get all the stuff you want, so you have to go shopping, if and when you get the budget, and that means you have to get a babysitter for Raine, and of course, that all depends if The Hubby does give you the just stay in that seat and surf." And my body just won't budge.

Same thing happens with my cooking gourmet meals, baking scrumptious cookies and cakes, taking lessons for driving or cooking or writing, writing my next blog or short story or article, or whatever amazing thing I have in mind. Sometimes I do get mind over matter (if you don't mind, then it doesn't matter--hee) and I manage to accomplish something, then I run out of momentum. Newton's law again!

I need an outside force to continuously keep me in motion. Help!

Friday, May 16, 2008

TRUTH THURSDAYS: My Body is Holding Onto...

From Stef's Truth Thursdays prompt. And yes, I know it's Saturday already.

My body is holding onto its former glory. Or at least the memory of it. Gone are the days when I could (and would) strut around in short shorts and mini skirts, in belly-baring tops and unforgiving bodyhugging catsuits. I no longer turn heads as I pass by. Fortunately, people don't turn tail and run away yet when they see me coming.

As The Hubby would say, women reach their peak at 25, then it's all downhill from there (so it's a good thing The Hubby and I hooked up when I was 25). Eight years and about 25 pounds later, I'm still sliding down that slope, silently screaming.

But my body has been through a lot, the most recent being childbirth and breastfeeding (and I maintain that five of those excess pounds are all boobs and milk), sleepless nights (and days) and everything else that comes with wifehood and motherhood. So while my body looks back fondly, and sometimes sadly, at its old self, it's learning to adjust to its new self, and learning to look at it with a new sense of pride. From beach goddess, I am now a domestic goddess.

Still, losing that extra poundage wouldn't hurt. Oh well.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

What's Cookin'

I love food. I adore eating. I live to eat (as opposed to The Hubby, who usually eats to live). Consequently, I enjoy cooking and baking. Most times anyway.
So this love affair with food got me out of bed at 5AM last Saturday, and out of the house by 7AM, for a cross country trek to the Center for Culinary Arts (CCA) on Katipunan. My friend Ruby invited me to join her and a group of her friends for a Kitchen Discovery Class (KDC). Supposedly for cooking and baking enthusiasts and those who want to check out what happens in a professional kitchen or those who are thinking of going into Culinary Arts, the KDC is a 6-hour course that "introduces you to the exciting foodservice and hospitality industry".

As far as introductions go, it was like being introduced to a prince. Or maybe some mid-level duke (is there such a thing?). I mean, at the end of the day, we were supposed to have learned to make Caramelized Salmon with Orange-Shoyu Glaze with Sauteed Mixed Vegetables, Soba Noodles, Lemongrass Beurre Blanc and Balsamic-Soy Reduction; plus Saffron Panna Cotta with Citrus Caramel Sauce and Almond Tuile. As our chef-instructor Menoy Gimenez said, quite a mouthful. Then again, I don't suppose you'd pay P3,800 (the cost of the KDC, if I paid for it myself) to learn how to cook sinigang or fried chicken.

Speaking of the chef-instructor, I was hoping for Chef Rob from QTV's Chef to Go. Yummy! Unfortunately, he doesn't teach at CCA. Ruby said that Chef Tristan Encarnacion, he of the countless Alaska and pots-and-pans print ads, could be teaching (pretty acceptable). But we ended up with Chef Menoy, and I loved him. Just like our balsamic-soy reduction, he managed to reduce what felt like 20 pages of recipe ingredients and instructions into its simple, palatable essence.

For someone who is one of the founders of the first (I think) culinary school in the country, Chef Menoy reminds me of a big bowl of sundried-tomato-and-broccoli pasta: slightly exotic but very comforting; intimidating at first, but once you get used to him, very encouraging. He broke down the complex instructions into easy-to-digest steps, punctuated every now and then by "Does that make sense?" Explained the way he did, things did make more sense.

I won't go into a blow-by-blow (or bleu by bleu, if you prefer) account of our three cooking hours. But at the end, we had a fantastic tasting, beautifully plated salmon.
Fine, I'm not the best food photographer, but our salmon really did look nice. And it was yummy. As Chef Menoy says, the test to see if the dish is any good: would I pay for it? Hmm. If I weren't such a chennybopper, yes, I would.
I didn't stay for the afternoon Panna Cotta session (I heard that it was a blast) since I promised Raine I'd take her swimming in the afternoon. Would have been nice to learn how to make those fancy tuiles (can't even pronounce it).
I wish I was able to take home what we prepared though (each group of five had two salmon pieces--not enough to go around, especially if you eat the way I do). Oh, and I wanted to take home their knives! Such joy chopping up things with a sharp knife. What I did get to take home was my CCA shirt, a nice apron (perfect, as Ruby says, for preparing instant noodle soup), a hand towel and a skull cap (I guess you get the toque when you're seriously cooking). And I got a CCA certificate. Will have it framed and hung in my kitchen.
I am looking forward to their classes in Serendra though, mainly because it's so much nearer (I can't imagine getting up and making the cross country trek on a regular basis). JB, who's on CCA's marketing team described some pretty interesting courses called "Chefs and the (Global) City". It isn't hands on, more like a cooking show type of thing--but you get to eat whatever's prepared. Oh joy.
I do hope CCA has more hands on classes somewhere closer to home. Here in my house, preferably. Their Kitchen Discovery Class has sure whet my appetite for more.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

What I'm Reading and What Else Should I Read

My book drive has been pretty effective. I now have a small stack of books to read. I'm starting to not miss my other books too much.

So far, in my pile I have:
  1. New Moon by Stephanie Meyer. Recommended and lent by my sister Ro-Ann. It's book three in the Twilight series, which will soon be a movie. Fine, it's sort of a teenybopper series, and I sort of cringe reading some parts, but it is intriguing. I'm not sure I'll enjoy this third book though, since I'm rooting for Jacob, not Edward (get into the Twilight craze to see who I'm talking about!).
  2. Raising Lifelong Learners by Lucy Calkins. Lent by my sister in law Lelay. She got it from her dad before her son Third was born. He's now 6 years old, and she hasn't read the book! Let's see how old Raine will be when I do get to finish reading this.
  3. Practical Soups; Practical Wok & Stir-Fry; Pasta; Curries & Tajines; Spaghetti; Appetizers; Chocolate. A plethora of recipe books, also from Lelay. I love reading cookbooks. Sometimes, I even try out the recipes! The one I'm really checking out now is the soup book, since Raine has developed a liking for soup, and I sort of am getting nilaga/tinola/sinigang/Chinese soup/instant mami fatigue. The other day I modified one of the recipes and made a luscious, if rather watery, carrot and potato soup. Raine loved it! I want to try making truffles (from the chocolate book) next.
  4. The Best Philippine Short Stories of the Twentieth Century edited by Isagani R. Cruz. Gift from The Hubby last Christmas, and I've been reading it slowly. It's a really hefty book, so it's hard to read while lying down in bed (or on the couch or wherever), and it's hard to haul around in your bag for emergency reading. Now I leave it in the bathroom, where I can read a few pages during "library time". Now The Hubby gets to enjoy it too.
  5. The Poetry of Pablo Neruda. Another gift from The Hubby. And again, another hefty book. So after the short story anthology, this goes into the bathroom next.
  6. What to Expect in the Toddler Years. Finally got a copy in Booksale at less than half the price in National! Yet another hefty tome. Then again, it's meant to be read in stages. So expect this to be on my bedside table for months to come (couple of years, actually).

As for recommendations, Djong has suggested The Girl with the Pearl Earring. Will try to look for a copy.

Any other suggestions, donations, gifts or books to lend?