Our 4th of july 2021

Hope everyone who celebrates had a safe and fun 4th of July holiday. Our 4th of July this year was very different from last year’s celebration. In contrast to last year where everyone on our street and all over the Bay Area came out to blast the evening away, no one on our street lit any including Mr Sweetie who looks forward to lighting fireworks year after year. We did not want to light fireworks in respect to city officials’ requests to hold off due to threats of wild fires. Of course, it still did not prevent people from lighting even a week before July 4.

We spent July 4th weekend finishing up renovating the kitchen floor. Well, he did all the work but I spent all of Saturday putting things back and reorganizing after the final tile was dry enough. We were so pooped that it was pizza night delivery that evening. All the hard work was so worth it, though. Mr Sweetie did a fantastic job and I have a beautiful new kitchen floor! For Sunday, July 4th, I cooked up a storm. On the menu:

  • Tomatoes, avocado, red onion and lime salsa served with tortilla chips
  • New York steak for him
  • Salmon for me
  • Sides: Twice baked potatoes and corn on the cob
  • Berry Cobbler for dessert

HOW I COOKED THE STEAK AND SALMON:

I was proud of myself for making this meal. The steak was perfectly medium rare. I seasoned the steak with salt and pepper, and seared it first on high heat (using a combination of vegan butter and oil) then lowered the heat to medium. I cooked it for about 8 minutes on one side then about 6 minutes on another. As you can tell, the salmon was still raw in these photos. I waited until the steak was done and let it sit for about 10 minutes to let the juices return to the meat. Then I cooked my salmon in the steak oil and juices until it was just little bit done but still pink in the middle. It gave the salmon a nice flavor of the meat but the taste of the oil and butter were not overwhelming. Plus I was trying to be efficient and creative.

I will let the photos do the talking at this point. I hope to post the recipe for my Berry Cobbler next.

Have a lovely summer season!

Being grateful | may 2021

I hope that everyone is having a beautiful summer! We are in the middle of June as I am writing this. We are finally experiencing summer in the Bay Are while we are in the middle of a heat wave. I am not sure how long this is going to last because we often say that summer in Bay Area does not really happen untill October for a couple of weeks then all of of sudden fall kicks summer in the behind.

How I miss writing these gratitude posts where I chronicle and remember all of God’s blessings all throughout the month. Happy moments and simple joys are once again re-visited as I put those memories in this little space on the internet. So far, I have only written one post in this series which I posted on my old blog, and it was for January 2021.

My blog has gone on many revisions this last year and half because of the pandemic. I have been blogging for almost a decade now primarily as my form of journaling, writing restaurant reviews, food photography and to keep recipes of food that I cook. With the lock down, my blog has turned into a cooking blog. How I enjoyed those moments of cooking and taking pictures while WFH in the midst of the raging pandemic. Cooking made me feel safe and grounded despite all sadness and devastation, and connecting with other bloggers all over the world while we were all staying home.

Those days are over now as I returned to work full-time on June 1st. I thought that I was going to be sad but I am actually very happy going back to the intimacy of my own office. This also means that I will not be able to cook and take food photos as much anymore. This also signals that I need to revive my Being Grateful series.

I promise that there will be more recipes to come but there are also going to be more posts on restaurant visits now that we are allowed to dine safely again. Thank you for visiting and I am glad that we all survive and continuing to survive. Please remain safe, healthy and happy. In the mean time, these are the things that I am grateful for in May:

BEAUTIFUL MOMENTS OF FRIENDSHIP

BFF and I spent a Monday afternoon at what we consider our BFF HQ which is the Ferry Building. It was such a memorable and enjoyable afternoon as we lingered over a bottle of bubbly and noshed on cheese and mezze. As always we could talk for hours catching up about life, family, friends and food! It was very cold and windy that day in this part of San Francisco but it was actually quite cozy.

SATURDATES

We finally got to dine out after a year and half of ordering food delivery on Saturdays! We saw this Mexican restaurant while we were driving home from a home renovation store. (Mr Sweetie is renovating our kitchen floor as his Saturday hobby/project.) We saw that the parking lot was converted into a spacious and cozy outdoor space, and I felt safe enough to say “yes, let us eat here.” How I enjoyed eating a plate of tortilla chips and salsa, and food that did not come in to-go boxes. I had a shrimp plate with Mexican rice and beans while Mr Sweetie had Chile Relleno. Such a nice meal despite its simplicity!

Other delivered meals we had in May:

  • Cheesesteaks and curly fries during Memorial Day Weekend
  • Trio of Sam’s Crispy Chicken (Oakland) with waffle fries. (These were so delicious that we ordered them again a couple of weeks later.)
  • Korean pork bowl from Belly (Oakland). It was also very good that we went to eat there in June.

FAMILY SUNDAY

I got to visit my sister, nephews and brother in law after online church. As always I was fed with delicious Filipino food. My nephews and I made sushi bake after lunch. It was hit!

IN MY KITCHEN

My kitchen adventures are over for now since I returned to the office full-time since the end of May. I miss my cooking days tremendously which I managed to do while working from home. This month, aside from making Sushi Bake with my nephews, I got to cook Korean Braised Tofu and Garlic Noodles.

No worries, I will always be posting new recipes but not as often as during the lockdown.

ETC….

  • Among my simplest joys during the lockdown and WFH were my morning egg toasts with coffee while I was checking my emails in my pj’s. I will miss those mornings tremendously.
  • My sister got me a couple fancy Filipino-flavored butters (Enseymada and Buko Pandan). I enjoyed them with toasts as well.
  • One of my supervisees gave me a nice candle and mug as she was leaving on a scholarship at John Hopkins. She will astonish the world one day with her success, intelligence and compassion. It was a pleasure to be her mentor.

What I am Grateful For…

Mr Sweetie got me these roses while we were having dinner at the Mexican restaurant. A flower vendor was selling flowers. He asked me if I wanted a bouquet. I chose the simplest one while he gave her double the price of the roses. I was happy and the flower seller was happy. Mr Sweetie was happy to have made us happy. Happiness all around! 🙂

There is so much to be grateful for this month. I am grateful for more freedom to enjoy the simplest things that were not safe to do just few months ago such as dining outdoors, and something as simple sharing a basket of chips and salsa. As much as I am sad to be no longer WFH, I am grateful to be able to return to the solitude of my cozy office, and see my co-workers again where we are all healthy and safe.

I am grateful for beautiful moments of friendship such as the Monday afternoon spent with BFF, and fun moments with my family.

The end of May brought challenges where faith has seen me through although I did not get to know the wonderful outcome until June. It was all well — everyone and everything.

I am grateful for His blessings that He poured onto me and my loved ones this May 2021.

Here is my Gratitude Post from May 1-9, which I posted here.