Dog-friendly San Luis Obispo

I didn’t want to be lazy and wanted to start my year right that’s why I am posting my first blog post for the year.

Because we didn’t have international travel plans for the Christmas Holidays of 2016, we thought it would be fun to have a spontaneous trip out of town with our adopted dog, Lily.  We adopted Lily from Irvine Animal Shelter back in April 29, 2016.  Since then, she has changed our family 360 degrees.

It’s about a 4-5 hour drive from our home to San Luis Obispo.  I researched online and found out that SLO is truly a pet-friendly tourist destination.  This is our second time in SLO, Morro Bay was our first destination back in Spring Break of 2015.

This was Lily’s first family vacation.  As a 3rd -chance adopted dog, I think Lily is one lucky pet.

Old Porte Beach, Leash-free Dog Beach
Lily met some new friends at Avila Valley Barn

Lily at Laguna Lake Park, SLO

Lily watching her first sunset at Eldwayen Ocean Park

Lily and her Alpha
Stations of the Cross at Mission of Santa Barbara
Lily at the Old Mission of Santa Barbara
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I made Kimchi today!!!!

November is the usual month of the year that I make kimchi but because our supply wasn’t much last year, I had to make some again.  Today, I just made about 14 pounds of cabbages and 1 medium size daikon for my KKakdugi (cubed radish kimchi).  It took me almost 4 hours to make it and it was all worth it.

My recipe came from my very good friend Maangchi and I have been using her recipe for about 7-8 years now.  A few years back, I posted my Homemade Kimchi blog post, visit the page and enjoy more photos of how to make kimchi plus my personal recipe as adapted from Maangchi’s recipe.

I gave a few jars to some friends.  My family will be enjoying our family dinner with our freshly made kimchi!  Mmmmm.. I must not have lunch and get ready to feast tonight.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave me a message.  If you search my blog using search word “kimchi,” you will learn more on how to make your own.  Thanks for visiting my Blog.

Nectar for our Hummingbirds

A new friend  at my patio  garden  #hummingbird

Here’s my simple recipe for making nectar for our Hummingbird feeder:

  • 4 cups of filtered water
  • 1 cup of refined white sugar

In a small pot boil water then add sugar and stir until sugar melts.  Make sure that nectar is at room temperature before transferring to hummingbird feeders.  This is a great recipe and they love it!

Important note: Do not use different forms of sugar except White Refined Sugar only.

  

Memorial Day weekend Farmer’s Market 

One of my favorite things to do with my family is going on a weekend Farmer’s market trip either locally or wherever we may be (when we are on a trip).  I enjoy looking at each stall showcasing their handcrafted products or organically grown produce and/or plants.

We take time walking and enjoying all the “free-taste” offered by each seller.  My kids get to taste the products and naturally, they ask us to buy more for them to consume on other days.  While we look around what’s available during the season, my husband and I get to plan what we want to cook together, weekday meal plans for the family and the entire weeks’ school and/or work lunch ideas.

Because going to the Farmer’s Market is more economical and healthy, we get to enjoy our food budget with freedom to purchase what is needed and wanted, making our weekend mornings an enjoyable family errand, street food, food exploration day.

One might say, it’s still expensive to go to a Farmer’s Market because only organically grown produce are available and these products are pricier than produce sold by bulk at big supermarkets.  Well, I learned from my own personal experience that buying all kinds of meat products and stocking processed food is the main reason why my food budget is exhausted easily.  When my family eats fresh and healthy fruits and vegetables, minimize our consumption of meat products and a lot of those “boxed goodies”, we have more spending money left to buy these all-natural foodstuff.

Enjoy the photos I took and imagine yourself at a Farmer’s Market.

For more information about Orange County Certified Farmer’s Market, just like the link.  Photos below were taken at the Saturday Irvine Farmer Market located at the Mariner’s Church parking lot.

Bought some fresh Cauliflowers for my cauliflower soup
Berries are everywhere!!! I bought some for my pancakes…
Always stock up some Hass Avocados for salads, breakfast, snacks, smoothies, etc.
Kale and Chard for our Detox Juicing
I am never out of Onions… Red Onions are great for salads…
Another necessity, Lemons are high in Vitamin C and is needed almost everyday in my kitchen.
My Asian ingredient that’s always available in my kitchen, Ginger!! I use it for juicing, soups, stir-fry, steamed fish, etc.
Everybody loves spinach!! I know someone who can’t live without it – POPEYE!!!
As requested by my little girl, we got some Yellow Peaches. It says “More sweet than my Mother’s Love,” to me, it was sweet but nothing beats my Mommy’s love 🙂
Very slim carrots for our Detox Juice
Beautiful Orchids for sale!!
Plants for sale too! This is where I got my beautiful Bougainvilleas…
Daikon radish very cheap and nutritious… I use this on soups and simple Japanese grated daikon
Cherries were everywhere!!!
My little girl enjoying the wide variety of “Free-Taste,” this is her favorite thing to do when we go to Farmer’s Markets… who wouldn’t enjoy doing this?
Kohrabi is a German Turnip. I pickle this, great as appetizer!
Fancy tomatoes.. Fancy mixing this into your salad?
Vegetable explorer! She loves discovering special fruits and vegetables…
Another attention-grabber, red radishes… beautiful and fresh. Easy to add on salads and stews…
It’s a must to always but a bouquet here… Price in the stores are 3 time more expensive!
Although my eldest daughter doesn’t enjoy eating these (Bitter Gourd Leaves/Dahon ng Ampalaya), she still tries her best to eat some to test her capacity to eat different tastes and textures.. I am so proud of her!
Final stop… my coffee from freshly ground organic coffee beans. This is LIFE!!!
Some street food vendors at the end of the market for people to enjoy and relax…

                  

SUPERMOON 2012 lighted Irvine’s night sky

At exactly 8:09PM, I finished putting our children to bed. I ran to my husband telling him I needed to go out and drive around to take a few shots of the Super Moon that’s expected to be at it’s brightest and biggest this year (2012) at exactly 8:34PM Pacific Standard Time.

I grabbed my Nikomat film camera and made sure I had all my accessories with me to help guarantee a good shot of the beautiful moon tonight. I also brought my DSLR camera to be certain that I can take a few digital shots and bring home proof to my husband of this gorgeous display of tonight’s clear skies.

To make a long story short (because I am posting this and writing this at exactly 9:29PM, I just got home and am too excited)… here’s a sample of my shot.

SUPER MOON

Lens: AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED

Date/Time: 5/5/2012 8:35:40PM PDT

Focal length (35mm): 232.0mm

ISO 160 f/11 1/100 155mm

I wish my family had gone with me. I would’ve taken a much beautiful view of the moon from where I drove around the dark corners of Irvine. Security was my priority and I didn’t want to be along a dark street by myself.

There’s always a next year 🙂

Hope you like my composition!

NIKOMAT FTn Film

Blogging with my iPhone, wow to technology and to my gadgets that make life easier. But life to me is not only about new things because treasure-keeping (a.k.a. “clutter collection) is my kind of thing.

Nostalgic photos of my childhood is what I love to tinker with when I am not busy.

But wait, this post is not about my old pictures… It’s about my new old toy gifted to me by my one and only big brother on his birthday. Yes!!! You read that right, on his birthday, I got this gift from him. Am I lucky or what?!

With my new toy (Japan’s NIKOMAT FTn 1965-1975) I am too excited to capture special memories and new photos of people, places, interesting things, and food – more to share here for everybody to enjoy.

So… Watch out! Do not forget, I am an amateur photographer, but I love what I do.

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Chinese Tsa/Cha misua and Misua birthday noodles

Special thanks to Mommy Dylebing 🙂 for being my teacher

Marrying into a Filipino-Chinese family was a life-changer to me.  Since childhood, I enjoyed learning about different cultures in Asia and now that I am older, food culture really catches my interest.  One thing me and my husband promised to one another is that after getting married, we will continue one special Filipino-Chinese tradition he grew up with.  That is, having a yearly traditional chinese birthday noodles called “misua.”

From day one of marriage we have always made this soup to traditionally serve first thing in the morning for our birthday celebrant in the family.

What does having misua soup or cha misua mean to the Chinese?  From what I read and what I learned from my mother-in-law, having this soup symbolizes several things – The long noodles symbolizes longevity.  It is said that for a traditional Chinese birthday, serving long noodles represent many more years to live.  It is a Chinese superstition that breaking or cutting the noodle will bring bad luck so every time we make this soup, the utmost care is observed to make sure the noodles are cooked well without breaking them.

Chicken to Chinese represents happiness, prosperity and if served whole, it means family reunion or togetherness of the family.   Eggs symbolizes fertility or fruitfulness.  And so on and so forth…

Now, I want to teach my viewers how to make this traditional Chinese birthday noodles.  I made two types of birthday noodles.  First is the Misua birthday soup and the next is the Cha/Tsa Misua or the stir-fried noodles which my husband always calls “tuyong misua” (dry misua) in Filipino.

MISUA SOUP INGREDIENTS:

1 whole chicken, boiled for 30-45 minutes (no salt)

Misua noodles

Hard boiled eggs (one per person), peeled and served whole

Minced garlic, browned in oil with a little salt

Chopped Green onions, for garnishing

Shred shards of chicken (himay in Tagalog or pull by hand) then set aside.  Reboil the chicken stock used to boil the chicken making sure to skim off any foam.  Upon boiling, add the shredded chicken meat and misua.  No need to put salt as the misua noodles are already salted.  Cook for 3-5 minutes depending on how you want your noodles done.  Serve in a bowl and top with one whole hard-boiled egg, sautéed brown garlic and chopped green onions.

INGREDIENTS FOR TSA/CHA MISUA

1 whole Chicken Breast, sliced thinly

5-10 pieces of medium-sized Shrimp, deveined and sliced in half

1/2 cup of good quality fish balls or scallops, sliced

Small piece of Pork, tenderloin or any tender part (boiled and sliced thinly)

Chinese long-life birthday noodles

4 large Eggs

1 bunch of sliced green onions, for garnishing

5-10 pieces dried Shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated with warm water for 1-2 hours

1/2 cup shredded Cabbage

1/2 cup sliced Crimini mushrooms

1/2 cup julliened Carrots

1/2 cup threaded and sliced Sugar snap peas

3/4 cup raw Peanuts with skin

1 bunch of fresh Cilantro, washed and roughly chopped for garnishing

Lots of Shallots, for garnishing

Oyster Sauce

Rice cooking wine

Olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

First thing I do is I always roast the peanuts on a hot frying pan.  It is done when the aroma of freshly roasted nuts, about 3-5 minutes of medium heat is fragrant in the kitchen.  With the same pan, using 2 beaten eggs, make a very thin omelet for garnishing later.  The other two eggs needs to be cooked in boiling water until hard-boiled, about 12 minutes.

In another shallow cooking pan, boil water and cook the long life noodles according to package instructions.  This will always depend on the kind of noodles you have available in your area.  Mine took 2-4 minutes to cook in boiling water.  After boiling, strain the noodles and quickly wash with cold water.  Before setting aside, put a little bit of sesame oil and mix the noodles well to prevent it from sticking.

In a large wok, heat olive oil to medium heat.  Cook the shallots until translucent then season with salt to taste.  Set this aside for garnishing.  I make lots of shallots because this makes the misua taste so good.

In the same wok, heat more olive oil to medium high heat.  Cook the drained shiitake mushroom until brown and fragrant.  Add the garlic, chicken, shrimp, pork and fish balls.  Cook until everything is more than half done.  Season with a little salt and pepper then stir fry with some rice cooking wine.  Next, add the rest of the ingredients – carrots, cabbage, sugar snap peas and crimini mushrooms.  Mix in 1 tbps of oyster sauce then cook and mix everything well.

To serve, put the noodles on a serving platter/bowl.  Top with the meat and vegetable mixture.  Garnish with sliced omelet, sliced hard-boiled eggs, roasted peanuts, chopped cilantro leaves and green onions.  Each person who eats will mix in their own fried shallots according to their preference.

VOILA!!!!  All done!

I love cooking this for my family.   Even our children had their first misua soup on their first birthdays and still does every year as their birthdays are celebrated.  As for me, my family makes it for me when it’s my birthday and that what makes our celebration very special.  It’s not the gifts, the cakes, balloons or ice cream – it’s our birthday misua soup that we enjoy as a family together first thing in the morning on our special days.

Enjoy!!!

Farmer’s Market Day – Historic Park @ the Irvine Ranch

We are very lucky to have a number of local farmer’s market around where we live.  Going to a farmer’s market makes me remember memories of going to the wet/dry markets of Manila with my parents when I was young.  The picture below was taken during our last vacation in 2009 at a wet market in Pasay City, Manila.

This place is called “Dampa Seafood Market.”  It is located alongside rows of restaurants that cooks the freshest seafoods (according to how one wants it cooked) purchased at stalls like the one in the photo below.  This is another story I will explore on our next visit to Manila (this year) and will definitely share to all my readers 🙂


It was a beautiful morning today so I decided to bring my daughters to the Farmer’s Market located behind the Katie Wheeler Library in Irvine.  This particular farmer’s market is open on Tuesdays only from 9AM to 1PM.  I’ve been going to this place for many years now.  It’s only a small group of local sellers but every time I go there, I get to buy everything that I need.

The best inspiration to a good meal are fresh organic ingredients readily available and affordable.

Fond memories are created each time I bring my children to this place.  When they grow up, they will always remember the happy times we shared going to farmer’s markets and the library 🙂

Related Articles:

Orange County Farmer’s Markets Information

Katie Wheeler Library – Great library for the family!  I’ve been bringing my children here since it opened in 2008.  This library shows a great history of the Irvine family.  I specially love the Children’s department at the library where I can relax and read books with my daughters.