Saturday, July 30, 2011

Filipino Festival 2011

Before I met my husband, at the ripe old age of 16, I had no clue about the Philippines or Filipino people, food, or culture. In getting to know my husband, and his family, I also got to know and fall in love with the rich culture of the Filipino people. My husband's culture is infused into him and I couldn't truly fall in love with him without embracing his identity as a Filipino. From the moment I was introduced to the family, I was immersed in a world of delicious traditional dishes such as pancit, adobo, and lumpia and lively Filipino parties featuring karoke, traditional dances, called tinikling, and a talent show's worth of musical performances by sons and daughters. I met a society who cares about family and respecting elders. And I gained a city's worth Aunties and Uncles. My children are very lucky to be brought up learning and experiencing this awesome heritage. Plus, they've inherited some of the most gorgeous physical features don't you think:

Every year our church, Our Lady of Lourdes, hosts the Filipino Festival in August. Parishioners of all backgrounds get together to plan the event and each year it gets better.

The festival includes numerous performances, tons of delicious food, the lost art of line dancing, and plenty of activities for everyone, including the kids. It has become a do not miss event for our whole family. This year it has been extended to two days Aug. 12 & 13. The best part is that it is completely free to get in the gates - the food and drink is not.

Here's some info:

So to sum it up, come out and enjoy this awesome event and learn and fall in love with the culture! Did I mention the food? It's really good!

Some fun pictures from last year to further entice:

Yes, that is a Filipino Elvis!

See! I told you!

Fun with family!

Vincent and line dancing...he LOVED the line dancing!

 Hope you get a chance to experience the Filipino Festival this year!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Y3W: Learning to Blog

I have been wanting to blog for quite some time. Every time I read a great blog I think "I could do this! I have a lot to say!" Well, thinking it and actually doing it are two different things so this week I decided to take the plunge and it sure has been a learning experience.

First of all, kudos to everyone who blogs. You have to have material and style. With two kiddos and the world of full-time employment in Student Affairs, I have got the material. Style? I may have it, but it is super difficult to create it online! I see all of these beautiful blogs and think "what programs are they using and how did they do that?" Luckily, there's pretty much a blog for everything and thanks to some great blogging tutorials: Blogging with Amy (Love the name :) ) I was able to create my own header:

and a button:

Now, it's all very simple and a little rough, but I JUST started! I hope to be able get a little more sophisticated as time goes on, but for right now I am proud of myself!

I am also happy to finally be able to take part in Your Three Words on this Friday morning as I am now a part of the blogging world.

What are your three words this week? Link up here:

Monday, July 25, 2011

Chimichangas - What's Cookin'

 If you're like me, you get tired of the same meals week after week after week. I feel like I am on auto pilot with our dinners and I keep making the same 5 meals every week. So, I thought it'd be fun to challenge myself to make one new meal each week and I will post it here whether it's a giant FAIL or the best thing I've ever eaten. Also, since I'm 3 months postpartum I'm also trying to make healthier choices to get rid of this lovely baby weight.

So, here's this week's experiment: Chimichangas and let me just tell you they turned out EXCELLENT!

1 whole chicken
2 14.5oz cans of diced tomatoes w/ green chiles
1 packet of chili seasoning mix - I used McCormicks
Black pepper
8-10 8 inch flour tortilla shells
Your Favorite shredded cheese - I used sharp cheddar made with 2% milk
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

I began this culinary adventure by slathering my chicken with extra virgin olive oil and rubbing half the packet of chili seasoning onto the chicken (like a dry rub). I placed the chicken in the crockpot with 2 cups of water, turned the crockpot on low, and headed out the door to work.

When I got home around 5pm, my house smelled delicious and this is what was waiting for me:
As soon as I attempted to pull this bird out of the crockpot, it fell apart - perfect! I fished out most of the bird and place it in a collander in the sink to cool down a bit.

While the chicken was cooling, I poured the cans of diced tomatoes into a large pot along with the other half of the chili seasoning, approx a tbl of each of the spices, half of an onion (chopped), and here's the best part - I took a strainer and placed it on top the pot and then poured he remains of the crockpot in there too! This was also a great way to get the rest of the chicken out of the crockpot as well.
Once, the chicken had cooled down enough for me to touch it, I pulled all of the meat and tossed that into the pot and let it simmer until the liquid had thickened.

Here's what it looked like:

Finally, I put my concoction through the strainer so that it wouldn't make the tortilla soggy and spooned about half a cup of the mix onto a tortilla, added cheese, folded the tortilla and placed it on a baking sheet. Once I had wrapped all of my chimichangas, I brushed on some olive oil.

Look at these glistening beauties:

I placed them gently and lovingly into a 425F oven and cooked them for about 8 mins, then flipped them over, brushed on some olive oil on the other side and put them back into the oven for about 5 more minutes.

This is what came out of the oven:


Of Course, I fixed mexican rice and corn as sides

This is Vincent's plate - I pulled some of the chicken right out of the crockpot for him thinking the other would be too spicy, but he ended up eating off my plate anyhow.

The best part - I started cooking at 5:30pm and dinner was on the table by 6:15pm!


Any Ideas what I should tackle next? Leave me a comment!

Old Friends

I've come to notice that the best friendships in life are the ones that don't require much maintenance. Sure, in a perfect world I would have enough time to maintain the perfect balance - family, friends, kids, work, hobbies, housework, husband - but that  is just not realistic! The perfect friendships are the ones where you can pick up right where you left off whether it's been 2 weeks or 2 years.

I'm lucky enough to have several of those types of friendships and was excited to pick right back up with my sorority sister this weekend. She and her 15 month old son came down for the day and we took the kids to the Children's Museum.. The kids had a blast and I got a chance to catch up with my old friend. I also learned that I am going to have to re-childproof my house for when Audrey starts moving around - I forgot how much trouble a 15 month old can get into at my house :)

Fun pictures from the day:

 Vincent playing at the water table - it almost took an act of God to get him away!
 Vincent and my Friend's son - Vincent was helping him climb up the slide, what a nice guy!
Audrey hanging out in the kangaroo pouch, wondering when she'll be able to get down and play!