Posts filed under ‘Special Occasions’

Empanada Lunch @ Corrientes Pizzeria

It’s my birthday today and since I had the afternoon off, I took my Ma out to lunch.  It’s my belated Mother’s Day treat for her. 🙂  A while back, Diane from work, has mentioned about the empanadas at this place called Corrientes at Bannatyne Avenue and how she really liked the empanadas.  So I thought I’d try them and that’s where I took Ma for lunch today.

We went there at around 1:00 pm, after the mid-day mass at St. Mary’s Cathedral.  I had checked the day before if I needed to make a reservation.  The girl, who was our server today, said that it should be okay if we were coming at 1:00 p.m. since it is after the lunch rush hour.  There wasn’t a lot of diners at that time, and we chose our own table, somewhere in the middle of the main room.

We studied the items on the menu and we both chose the Empanada lunch (you get 2 empanadas of any flavour ) with side salad.  Ma ordered the Beef empanadas (beef, onions, olives and roasted red peppers) while I opted for the Chicken empanadas (chicken, tomato sauce, onions and roasted peppers).  Then we swapped empanadas so we could each try both flavours.  The empanada filling was not greasy nor salty, just how I like it.

For the salad, we both ordered the Olmedo salad with Artisan greens, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, croutons, Bocconcini and balsamic reduction.  This salad was very savoury.  We both like the sundried tomatoes.  Now this is funny.  There was a white meaty ingredient in our salad which I thought could have been chicken, but then I thought it doesn’t quite taste like chicken.  It was kind of bland to be chicken.  Could it be some kind of cheese – feta or goat cheese – they put those in salads, don’t they?  And Ma was like, could be some kind of animal. (?)  Eww!  So before she actually took a bite of the white meaty stuff, she called our server and asked her.  That’s a kind of cheese called bocconcini, she said.  So there you go.  Tastes kind of like chicken, not salty at all.  The chocolate-looking drizzle on top of the salad, I found out later after looking it up on Google, is the balsamic reduction, and it is what has added a sweet taste to the salad.  I like it.

I ordered green tea for my drinks – big leaves steeped in hot water.  I think I let my tea sit too long, it was quite bitter. 😦

I am a light eater and I was full after eating one empanada and the bowl of salad.  I asked our server to put the other empanada in a doggy bag. It was a nice post-Mother’s Day/Birthday lunch!



May 24, 2017 at 11:32 pm Leave a comment

Candy Corn Jello Desserts


I made this Jello dessert last week when my oldest son threw a surprise birthday party for his GF.  Since it was the day before Halloween, I made a halloween-themed dessert – not a creepy-looking one, but a fun and delightful one. 🙂  I found my inspiration on this website and a made a few variations.  I used plastic wine glasses.

motts_margarita-2  shots1a


1 170 g package lemon Jell-O

Mott’s Mr. & Mrs. T Margarita Mix (I think pineapple juice will work as well)

1 170 g package orange Jell-O

1 300 ml can sweetened condensed milk

2 envelopes unflavored gelatin

whipped cream

candy corn or gummy candy (fuzzy peach)


1. Combine lemon Jell-O and 2.5 cups hot water in a large bowl. Stir. Add 1.5 cups margarita mix. Stir. Use a spoon to fill your wine glasses 1/3 of the way. Place in the fridge to set for 2 hours.

2. Combine orange Jell-O and 2.5 cups hot water in a large bowl. Stir. Add 1.5 cups margarita mix. Stir. Use a spoon to fill your wine glasses 2/3 of the way. Place in the fridge to set for 2 hours.

3. Combine 2 envelopes unflavored gelatin and 1.5 cups hot water in a large bowl. Stir until the gelatin has dissolved. Mix in sweetened condensed milk. Stir. Use a spoon to fill your wine glasses to the top. Place in the fridge to set for 2 hours.

4. Top Jello-O desserts with whipped cream and candy corn or gummy candy. Serves 20.


November 5, 2016 at 3:34 pm Leave a comment

My youngest son turns 13

After mass on Sundays, our new parish priest will ask us to sit down and he’ll ask if anybody has any good news to share. Such as a birthday, anniversary, somebody recovering from a sickness, etc. Today, when he turned his head to where my sons and I were sitting, I raised my hand and I stood up when he nodded to me. I said, “My youngest son turned 13 this weekend.” “Happy birthday,” he said to the embarrassed young man beside me. This young man, who I look up to (that is because he’s now a few inches taller than I am, he he he), said “Geez” a few times. 🙂 He says that a lot to me, but I knew he was flattered by the attention especially when a couple of parishioners said Happy birthday to him on their way out.

So yeah, he’s officially a teen-ager now. I said officially because it felt like he’s been a teen-ager already these past couple of years. We’ve had our ups and downs. I think the downs have been caused mostly by how hard it has been for me to let him go. He used to be my sweet little boy. Well, he’s still a sweet boy, not so little anymore. But he doesn’t want me to hug him or kiss him anymore. If I do, he either pushes me away or gives me that deadly look. Or both. Then I feel hurt and rejected. And then maybe I’ll get snappy at him. But most of the time we’re good. He still tells me about his day at school, not always, but most of the time. And I’ll take that. Kaya lang ayaw na nya kong bunutan ng puting buhok. 😦 Those times had been great bonding times for us.

But you know what, I’m so proud of him. He has been through a lot this past year. We have all been through a lot. I know it has not been easy for him and his brothers, especially him being only 12 when all the big changes in our life happened. But he had been strong and he was able to stay grounded. He was able to keep focused on his studies. He received the Sacrament of Confirmation in the spring. He received the Overall Achievement Award when he graduated from Elementary School in June. He’s my inspiration and I look up to him. And that’s not just because he’s now taller than I am. 🙂

Note: This was originally written on February 13, 2011

February 27, 2011 at 11:02 am 6 comments

Gift receipt? Yes or no?

Last week, I went to a housewares store to pick up a housewarming present for a friend. It was my last purchase of the night because I had also been doing my Christmas shopping for the previous two hours. My feet were already sore from walking around the mall and my arms were also getting tired from carrying my shopping bags.

I was third in line at the cash register when I heard the cashier asked the pretty young lady at the front, “Do you want a gift receipt?” Miss Pretty Young Lady looked at her tall handsome partner who was standing beside her, and then she turned to the cashier, “No, if they don’t like it, they just have to suck it up.” My eyes grew wide and my mouth hung agape. I don’t know if both the other lady in front of me and the cashier were as surprised as I was, but the cashier said, “Well, that’s the spirit of Christmas.”

Well, I sort of agree with Miss Pretty Young Lady there. I was surprised because you don’t often hear people say what she said out loud. But I have also thought about what she said a few times when buying presents for people. I spend time and energy trying to find for that person something that I think they will like. And whether they like it or not, you just want your efforts to be appreciated, at least. And because I’m sort of a people pleaser, I also ask for a gift receipt, only sometimes, not all the time. Less than half of the gifts that I wrapped this Christmas have gift receipts included in the box or bag.

I know sometimes it can be a hit and sometimes it can be a miss. If it’s a hit, good, everybody’s happy. If it’s a miss, well I guess that must have been the reason why they thought of the gift receipt. So the receiver can exchange the item with something that they like better. Just to be clear to anyone who’s lost, a gift receipt is a copy of the sales receipt that doesn’t show the price or the amount paid for the item. It has a barcode, though, that matches up with the item.

I, myself, haven’t used a gift receipt to exchange something I have received. Not that I have received that many presents. Actually I remember only once or maybe twice getting a gift receipt that came with the present. It was a present for one of my sons. The clothes he received weren’t actually his style of clothing. But we didn’t bother exchanging it. And no, he never wore the clothes.

And I think this is the perfect example where a gift receipt can serve its purpose – when buying or receiving gifts for children. If it’s a toy that’s in question, a giver might not be sure if the child receiving the gift already has that particular kind of toy. We don’t want the child ending up with a duplicate toy. The gift receipt can be used to exchange the toy with something that the child doesn’t already have. If the gift in question is an article of clothing, sometimes it can be hard to figure out what size the child wears. Then if you have a gift receipt, the clothes can be easily exchanged if the size is wrong.

But other than that, would you really exchange a gift because you didn’t like it? Or do you just suck it up? After all it’s the thought that counts, right?

December 20, 2009 at 4:41 pm 1 comment

Niceheart’s Chicken Alexander


I learned how to prepare Chicken Alexander from my girl friend Elaine. It was one of the dishes she served at Maddy’s first birthday celebration and I loved it. This past Christmas, I thought I’d try to cook it and I asked her for a recipe. She gave me the ingredients and the order in which to cook them. Then I also googled “Chicken Alexander recipes,” printed them and showed them to her and asked which one is closer to her recipe. She was shaking her head when I showed her my prints. Well, I’m not very proficient in the kitchen and I need numbers, like amounts and oven temperatures and length of time. 🙂

So this is the version I came up with. Niceheart’s variation means a lot of shortcuts and cheaper alternatives. 🙂 This is also what I served my family this Easter Sunday.


1 clove of garlic, crushed and chopped

1/2 of a medium sized onion, chopped

.70 kg or 4 pieces of chicken breast, already boiled, diced or hinimay

1/2 kilo of No Name frozen mixed vegetables (includes carrots, peas, whole kernel corn, green beans and lima beans)

1 can of No Name Cream of Chicken condensed soup, 284 ml (Elaine recommends Campbells brand)

a pinch of salt and pepper

No Name mashed potato flakes – plain flavour , 215 grams, includes 2 pouches

100 grams of mild cheddar cheese, grated (Elaine recommends using marble cheese or two kinds of cheeses for variety in colour)

Saute garlic and onion. Put diced chicken and stir. Add frozen vegetables and continue stirring. (I let the frozen vegetables sit on the kitchen counter for about half an hour before cooking.) Blend in the cream of chicken soup, stirring until the sauce thickens. Season with salt and pepper.

If you want to stop there, that’s actually already a dish called Chicken A La King. But we’re preparing Chicken Alexander today, so put this mixture in a baking dish. Then take the Mashed Potato box and follow the instructions on the box. We will be using the 2 pouches in the box so just double up on the ingredients. It’s just basically boiling water, milk and margarine and adding the potato flakes and stirring until the mixture is smooth. You then layer the mashed potato on top of the Chicken A La King. Put grated cheese on top. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Instead of just Plain mashed potato, I used Butter and Herb Flavour this time. It also worked. It added more flavour to the dish.


April 12, 2009 at 2:12 pm Leave a comment

Merry Christmas

I haven’t seen The Nativity Story, but O Holy Night is my all-time favourite Christmas song, and Josh Groban’s voice sounds so heavenly. I always get goosebumps whenever I hear this song.

Merry Christmas to all!

December 20, 2008 at 6:49 pm 14 comments

Ate vs. Kuya

This is my favourite holiday photo.  Taken on Christmas Day 2007.

Wii Boxing

My sister and brother-in-law bought a Wii game last summer when they went to the U.S.  As usual, we spent Christmas Day at their place and they set up the Wii game.  The two oldest children 🙂 started to battle it out in tennis.  When I say two oldest children, I mean my 20-year old niece and my 18-year old son, a.k.a. Ate and Kuya.  Ate beat Kuya in that game.  But you see, this is the first time Kuya ever tried a game of Wii.   Kuya does really know how to play tennis for real.  Then they got into more action with boxing.  By round three, the game started to really heat up that Kuya even took his sweater off.  But Ate KO’d him out in the end.   But then again, this was Kuya’s first try at Wii.  It was fun. 🙂

January 15, 2008 at 11:12 pm 14 comments

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