Caramelized SPAM

I love cooking for my family but it’s a chore I’d love to do less of but can’t.

The only thing that fuels me to do this is to experiment, sadly this doesn’t always spark an interest in my boys but I still try. (They like their food old school – like sinigang)

For breakfast this morning I made caramelized spam. Spam is a popular luncheon meat commonly known to be fried and enjoyed but you’ll be surprised about how many variations of it are out there and caramelized spam is one of them.

It doesn’t take a genius to concoct a recipe for this but I would love to share with you what I did.

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chopped SPAM, onions, garlic, brown sugar and soy sauce. All sautéd together.

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I would maybe eliminate the soy sauce (I saw it on the internet so I copied it) since the SPAM was salty enough. And will probably add more sugar, I was afraid to overdue the sugar that I only added a dash of it.

The boys didn’t LOVE it as much as I had wanted them to but that was already half expected. The point is I tried something new and cooking was not so bad.

Happy weekend folks!

How do you like your spam served?

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The Cath Kidston story

The title sounds like a murder mystery novel, but I guess in a way it is. This is about a death in the family…the death of my BAG! hahaha Read on if you sympathize with me.

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If you don’t know me at all! (but I’m sure most of you do) I LOVE MY BAGS (and wallets, and shoes!) I love them until I move on to the next favorite of the month/season/year. Husband says that’s why he doesn’t buy me expensive bags – because I easily get tired of them (I know what an excuse right? Anyway!!!). So when my current flavor of the month Cath Kidston bag gave up on me (broke) in the middle of my current obsession with it, I was devastated! (drama!)

Compared to Lanvin, Givenchy, or Bottega my Cath Kidston was/is not as expensive but it’s one of the higher end bags that I OWN. I specially bought it from the UK with the hopes of having it as a souvenir from my trip.  You can say it has added sentimental value too. So when the turn lock broke I had to do something or else the husband will ban me from buying any bags more than $10, I’m being generous he will ban me from buying any bags PERIOD.

20131218-111959.jpgFirst, I looked online if there was at least a store close to where I am that I could bring the bag and have it fixed – but there was none. Then I had high hopes when I brought it to our local do-it-all repair shop only to be shot down with the words “I’m sorry madam, this bag is gone”.

Not willing to give up, I emailed their main office in the UK. I was not expecting much but maybe just a nudge to the right direction on what I should do. And when they replied they did not disappoint! They told me I can mail them the bag back and if they discover that the product was faulty and their product failed its quality promise then they may give me an exchange. I’m very happy about their customer service, Denise the person I was corresponding with was very precise yet polite on giving me instructions on what I should do to ensure a smooth return.

Excited over this piece of good news, I mailed them my bag immediately and is  patiently waiting for their reply. I will definitely let you guys know how all this nightmare ends.


my DIY Christmas project

I’ve never been the DIY kind of girl. I appreciate the originality and the effort that people put into it but I’ve never been able to do it ON MY OWN. My sister or my mother always execute creative things for me. But this time around no one was there to do it for me so I had to woman up and do it myself.

With Pinterest on my finger tips I’ve spent many a sleepless nights going through it. I would’ve just bought a box of chocolates for our friends and wrap it with christmas wrapper (like what I did last year). But I wanted to do something different this year.

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The inspiration

My first thought was to give out food in a mason jar simply because I’m obsessed with them. Then I saw this website (click on the picture to be able to go to the website) on Pinterest. The Santa Belt appealed to me the most because my first thought was “I can do this”. The food that will go with the jar was always going to be store-bought (in my head) I mean, I could bake or make truffles but really?????? So Caramel popcorn with mixed nuts was my choice of filling from Garrett’s – of course!

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I think mine came out close to the original don’t you think? I like how fun and festive my jars came out. I did have some doubts when we started giving it to a couple of Muslim guys from the office but hey! ‘Tis the season, right?

In the end, my jars came out cheaper than my box of chocolates ideas which makes me feel happy and fulfilled! But rest assured whatever my jars lack in monetary value, the love and time I’ve given to each and every one of them makes them priceless (BOLA! haha)

My Materials:

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Crepe paper, twine, felt paper, mason jars (all from DAISO) and a new glue gun with glue sticks

Found these Christmas Washi tape at Paper lane and I decided to spruce up some plain cards I had in stock. I also went ahead to decorate my manila envelopes for mailing as well. Can’t wait to hear what the people at the post office has to say.

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mid week zoo break

I’ve been so busy last week running around all over town buying some last-minute gifts and collecting materials for my “Christmas Craft” (will blog soon). I know Christmas is still 9 days away but last Thursday we had our annual Christmas party with friends from Dubai World. Which actually makes up more than half of my Christmas list. Best part is, once this party was finish, I’m practically home free.

But of course I had to bring Aden with me everywhere I go. This is presenting to be my daily major challenge because sometimes most of the time he starts to get bored and starts touching things he shouldn’t be touching (sometimes expensive things) this adds to my stress as well.20131216-192702.jpg

To help calm both of us down, I decided to take him to the Dubai Zoo last Tuesday (after a little errand close to the zoo of course). We don’t get to do things like this during the week because most of the time we have to wait for Adrian to join us. But it was nice to treat Aden a little special that day especially after I’ve felt selfish doing errands and not paying any attention to him.

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Dubai Zoo is so conveniently located and very small, perfect for an hour tops with your little one. I can’t say it’s great for the animals because their living quarters are so small the animals actually looked depressed. But my little tot was too happy to notice any of it. With its 2aed entrance fee it’s a sure winner in my book.

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Weekend getaway

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For Arnie’s 37th birthday we “surprised” him with a weekend stay at Atlantis Hotel. Surprised in quotes because he actually gave me the green light to book the hotel, he just didn’t want to know the exact details about when (that was the surprise part).

It was nice to getaway for the weekend, even if we didn’t really leave Dubai, it felt like we were somewhere else. My boys were over the moon happy! The Lost Chambers Aquarium and the Aquaventure Water Park were just an elevator ride away! Oh and did I mention it was all free – all-inclusive with the hotel stay. Which made Arnie over the moon happy hehe.20131214-181339.jpg

With Aquaventure entrance at 250 per person (less 85 for UAE residents) and the Lost chambers at 100 add (less 25 with valid UAE ID) checking in made more sense to us. We got to take our time and relax visiting these places plus we got to go in two consecutive days. This fun-filled weekend plus endless chips, juice and candy (things I always over pack when we check in) leave my boys exhausted and full of sweets and salty snacks! I’m very sure our dentist will kill me on their next check ups but I’m pretty sure this makes me Mother of the Year in their book! (that’s all that matters, right?)

I do have to give special mention to the staff of Atlantis, The Palm. Everyone was pro active, anticipating our every need and offering to help even before we ask. Kudos to their Guest relations trainer (not familiar with the lingo).

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Today is Arnie’s actual birthday and all he wants to do is sleep in (couldn’t keep up with all the activities yesterday hehe).

To my dear husband, Happy birthday and we hope you enjoyed your “surprise” weekend as much as the kids enjoyed theirs.


A visit to Santa’s grotto

20131207-233854.jpgThis afternoon we went to the Dubai Christmas Festival at Media City to go visit Santa’s Grotto. We had such a pleasant experience last year that there was no way we were going to skip this one. Last year the lines were orderly with lots of freebies to keep us busy while we wait. This year was a different story.

The festival itself seemed the same as last years, the stores, the food, the entertainment all had the same feel. There even seemed to be more people this time around so kudos to the organizers. But the grotto which was the reason we came was a big disappointment.

They decided that for this year a visit to Santa’s Grotto will be scheduled so when you buy your ticket online (as we did) you would also have to book a time when you want to see Santa. Ok that seemed fair and easy right? Eeeeee! WRONG! As soon as we got there and I saw the line the advance planner in me immediately thought that if our time was at 5:45, and it is now 5:10 by the time we get to the front of the line it would be exactly my time, right? So fall in line we did,it seemed the right thing to do (to me) apparently for Arnie he was thinking because it was scheduled he was not gonna fall in line and just show up in front by 5:45 but because I said so he followed my lead (good boy!).

photo 1The line was going well, as I could see from where we were people were being brought in as orderly as possible, following and respecting the line.

Until it was our turn next and this elf (yes she was dressed and looked liked an elf) started calling out tickets by their timings! So of course because I planned ahead my ticket was 5 mins early so like a well-behaved and well-mannered person I gave in. Letting people from behind me that had 5:30 tickets go first. And then there was suddenly a surge of people rushing in! They had 5:15, 5:05, etc etc all demanding to go in first! So normally my panic self got all wired up, in my head I was thinking “I was here first and I want to see Santa NOW!!!

At exactly 5:45 I raised my ticket and called the elf’s attention. She said I had to wait because there were still people with tickets before me – fine! I complied to this simple request. And then, this family who didn’t fall in line at all went ahead of me and said she had 5:45 and the elf let them in. OMG! It was WW3! It wasn’t fair and I wasn’t going to stand for it! I told her again that I was in line early because I wanted to be at the front in time for my slot and when it was still too early for me I stepped to the side and now someone who never fell in line was already inside before me. She looked at her watch and said it’s only 5:48 we are only 3 mins late for you and she shuts the curtain in my face. I know it was just a curtain and I would’ve still easily punched her in the face through it but I complied BUT even if it was 1 min or 1 sec LATE my point was, I was ON TIME!!!

Anyway, as soon as the curtain opened she called me ala VVIP and we went inside.

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As soon as Adrian saw the elves he was happy, in fact even waiting in line he had a positive attitude but most especially when he saw SANTA! The joy in his face was priceless! He immediately went to sit on his lap and talked to him. Made all the negativity outside melt away.

It’s really amazing how children can be so innocent when it comes to things and how adults can be very petty with each other.

I’m happy we came but definitely NOT coming back next year. Sorry organizers you lost a patron in us when you hired that ELF! and when you decided to make Santa Asian and thin. (#stillhealing #cannotmoveon)


Stress moving

This move has proven to be the most stressful task I have faced so far in my 4 years of motherhood. I know I said I loved it but I didn’t count the Adrian + Aden aspect of it all. From packing to moving to unpacking I stubbornly want to do everything myself and sometimes this results to me having a very short fuse when it comes to the boys (Arnie included).

My main problem is control I want to have it ALL THE TIME and when I lose it, like when we moved and the movers came in – I was a wreck! Because the boys were on the mover’s way, my only job for that day was to take the boys away from all the moving activity. This also meant that I cannot be there to supervise things – which drove me crazy!

But after the dust has settled (and cleaned) I’m happy to report that the boys and I are nicely adjusted to our new apartment. So settled in fact that my house seems like a battlefield, the toys are everywhere, clothes I just ironed are on the floor and banana peels can be found in the weirdest places (all thanks to Aden).

For a control freak OC momma like me this drives me off the wall, I lose my temper with whoever is on my way and they become the recipient of my ugly rants (screaming most of the time) this plus 4 days without wi-fi led me to insanity! But a piece of advice coming from my always right husband (I’m only going to say it here folks!) was to take a break and let the kids be kids, it’s their job daw to play – After a strong battle with myself, I gave in…waiving the white flag and accepting defeat (at least for now) I allowed myself to relax.

This morning, I woke up with a new perception in life and I tried to be at peace with the mess. After breakfast we even  played a good round of hide and seek. The house was full of laughter that I thought to myself these are the memories I would like my boys to have and not a moody mom who screams all the time.

To be honest, it’s NOT EASY! But when I’m not thinking about chores all day the atmosphere in our house is calmer. The kids are playing well and I seem to be at peace with the world. Shouting never really did fix anything and just almost always led to tears.

I know that there needs to be a form of discipline and authority so the kids will not overstep their boundaries but shouting all the time may not be the way to go. Let’s wait and see, I’m no expert in this parenting thing and I’m still learning as I go.

God help us all!

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As if the universe is trying to help me cope with my stress I found this on FB today