Saturday, July 30, 2011

DIY play stove and oven

i've always wanted to make a play stove and oven for the longest time -- even before i had a baby. yep, i wanted one for myself! at that time though i didnt have the materials i needed and i didnt want to spend that much on materials and equipment.

a couple of months ago while browsing through one of my favotrite sites my desire to make and own a play stove and oven was reawakened!

then just last week, with hubby's help, this long over due project had finally started to take shape.

here's a step by step guide on how to make one yourself:

step 1: scour around house, bodega or backyard for old cabinets or side tables (lucky me, this time my sister-in-law had given us the dibs to her old side table. thanks, chloe!)

step 2: depending on the design of your cabinet, lay it either vertically or horiontally to resemble an oven

step 3: paint entire cabinet (this is an optional procedure but we had some paint left over from a previous project so we went on with this step)

step 4: paint a red circle onto center of the lid of an empty formula can (again, this is optional)

step 5: glue lids onto cabinet. this will serve as the stove top burner

step 6: screw 3 cabinet knobs onto cabinet. this will serve as the stove/oven dials (we had this rounded handle from an old saucepan cover so i only had to get 2 more from japan home)

step 7: screw handle onto top part of cabinet door. this will serve as the oven handle.

sorry, i don't have exact step-by-step photos to show. i was too excited assembling that i forgot to take pictures. anyway, everything is pretty much self explanatory once you see how the finished product looks like.

and here it is...

i know it doesn't look as good as the ones from where i drew my inspiration but i'm really happy how it turned out. i'm also proud that we were able to put it all together mostly from stuff that we had lying around the house.
as i said earlier, i consider this project long over due. but it was worth all the wait especially now that i can share it with my son (or vice versa)!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

paper doll and boudoir

i had an appointment early in the day and spent a few hours in hubby's office to pass the time. i got bored and this is what i came up with -- with a couple of paper clips, boardpaper and scissors.

i asked hubby not get rid of it and just to leave everything as it is. he did --- but only until just the next day because his officemates started giving him weird looks.

Brown Rice Stir Fry with Tofu and Vegetables

This is a recipe I found at Martha Stewart's website. I had this in my files for some time and had a post-it attached saying "must try this". It has become my husband's baon staple since the first time I tried this recipe
2 tsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1 small ginger, finely chopped
1 bell pepper cut into strips
3 cups cooked brown rice
3 tsp light soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
3 scallions, sliced thinly
1 block tofu, cut into chunks
salt and pepper

Heat olive oil in wok
Add garlic and ginger
Add tofu, stir fry until golden brown
Add peppers until cooked
Add rice and soy sauce, season with salt and pepper
Stir in sesame oil, garnish with scallions

toy making and lecture

Monday, July 25, 2011

alonzo's hand-me-downs

we are lucky enough to have received a great deal of hand-me-down stuff for our son from family and relatives with older boys that we never had to buy him that much clothes and shoes. i have 2 nieces from hubby's side who also "donate" some of the clothes that they have outgrown. the thing is, clothes start becoming more "gender conscious" when you stop being an infant. although my son pretty much got away with wearing a pajama with the indistinct "barbie" logo at the back (which i dyed, by the way, to match a generic pajama top) or a light blue sando with a little ribbon in front (which we cut off), there are just some articles of clothing that once you get past babyhood become, as i said earlier, undeniably gender specific.

my nieces, had recently sent us a new batch of their pre-owned stuff. among the loot is this little, wavy hemmed, speedo rashguard. i thought the firefly print and colors aren't so bad and can fake out a boy's piece of clothing. i just couldn't beg off on this cute little rashie, especially since alonzo had already outgrown his old one (another hand-me-down).

so what's a thrifty little mom to do?

trim off the hem!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

baby shower for kay

my cousin, kay and her hubby, rafa are expecting their first baby in 3 weeks

i organized a little baby shower for them.

they had to cancel, though.

kay had not been feeling so well the day before. it's okay.

we can still have the shower when the baby comes...

....and it's all the more reason to celebrate!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Lemongrass Salabat

I'm nursing a cold and a sore throat. I'm pretty sure i got this from my little guy. The previous week had been brutal for both of us. No worries. He's alot better now. As for me, as long as my little boy is a-ok I'll be fine.

Anyway, our little lemongrass plant isn't so little anymore. We take advantage of how abundant they have become by adding the leaves to whatever recipe we can use it with such as chicken tinola, sinigang and arroz caldo. My dad just boils the leaves and drinks it like iced tea. I heard that lemongrass has numerous health benefits and is capable of combatting cold and flu.

Here's a little variation of the salabat. I think the lemongrass adds a little dimension to the taste of ginger.

ginger root
slice of lemon

Boil ginger and lemongrass. Add honey to taste. Serve with a slice of lemon

Monday, July 18, 2011

re-using empty butter tubs

Empty butter tubs can have a variety of uses. i use them to store food (instead of tuperware) and hold my ingredients prior to cooking. i don't normally measure my ingredients but since a regular tub is equivalent to a cup (of course, you already knew that!), you may also use these to measure or at least estimate the amount of whatever you're using.

we also recycle them to pack away loose items like paper clips, buttons and even extra ketchup sachets. i just love how my toddler's crayons fit perfectly inside this little tub of butter!

garlic-chili chicken

I learned this recipe from Food Safari. This is the 2nd time hubby will be having this for his baon. It's actually called "basil chicken" but I forgot all about the basil! This is super spicy and alomst lethal but really good -- you'll just have to follow each spoonful with a glass of water or better yet, a shot of coke. you may also have it this with more chilies on the side --- just don't get surprised if you suddenly breathe fire!

1 tsp cooking oil
2-3 red chilies
2-3 garlic cloves
1/4 ginger root
chicken breast fillets, cut into strips
red bell pepper, cut into strips
spring onion

Using a mortar and pestle, crush chilies, garlic, ginger and spices together to form a paste.
Heat oil in pan, add chili-garlic-ginger paste
drop in chicken strips, stirring constantly. Add water as needed. Season with salt. When chicken is cooked, turn off heat and add bell peppers and spring onions.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

bug spray

i guess you can never have enough of these around when you have kids. we label our spray bottles according to where we keep them (ex, car, diaper bag, grandparent's house, our house). i hope these come in a bigger container so we could just keep refilling.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Spicy Veggie Stir Fry

My in-laws usually spend sundays with us and this is when I try to impress them with my cooking. Last sunday I just tossed whatever vegetable there was on the fridge and added a couple of my "kitchen arsenal" (eg, sesame oil, oyster sauce and hoisin). Hubby isn't much of a herbivore but, just my luck, he was in the mood for veggies (very rare occasion) and "something chinese-tasting". This is probably one of the most simple dishes I've ever came up with.

1 tsp chili oil
young corn, chopped
carrots, sliced into matchstick pieces
turnip, sliced into matchstick pieces
baguio petchay, chopped
oyster sauce
hoisin sauce
sesame oil

In a very hot wok, pour chili oil; add veggies;

Pour oyster sauce and hoisin sauce (I just eyeball the portions); add water as needed;
add a dash of sesame oil

What do you consider part of your kitchen arsenal?

Monday, July 11, 2011

alonzo's 1st birthday

we celebrated our little guy's 1st birthday last february. i know that's 5 months ago and it's only now that i'm posting photos! talk about procrastination. anyway, before the actual planning hubby had conditions: a) to keep the party simple and stay within the budget, b) to invite only close friends and relatives and c) for me not the get "too crazy" with the DIY stuff.


we both decied to celebrate with the traditional cake and ice-cream birthday party. we had a cake and pie buffet and an ice-cream stand was also set up. different ice-cream flavors and toppings were available to allow guests to create their own concoction. the decor consisted of circle cut outs and twirling ribbon. i originally planned on making "little cardboard chandeliers" but later decided it would be more feasible to just tape one end of these "confetti streamers" onto the celiling. how easy it that?

there was this eye-sore of a bar at one end of the room which we weren't allowed to move. an idea struck and i figured to work my way around it by turning it into an ice-cream stand. too bad we don't have a decent photo of it to show.

for the backdrop, i framed a printed photo of the birthday guy with corrugated paper. i love how the pompom party hat added a whimsical effect.

i also cut corrugated paper to spell alonzo's name and hung them with gross grain ribbon across the table. we covered the table with bed sheets, by the way.

would you believe that these are made of paper??? no, we didn't feed our guests with paper cupcakes. these are actually party hats!

of course, the birthday guy had his own party hat, too!

the centerpieces also served as the party favors. we filled these paper cupcakes with little goodies (it opens at the bottom as you peel off the sticker). the cake stands are also made of corrugated paper.

all in all, i could say that the party was a hit. the guests were thrilled that they could satisfy their sweet tooth to their heart's content (we also had sugar-free cake and ice-cream for the sugar conscious) they loved the decors and apprecated the unique party favors. our little birthday boy, although he didn't seem to have clue, had a blast showing off his newest tricks to guests. hubby was also quite satisfied that we managed to have kept the party simple, intimate and within budget.

well, about not going overboard with the DIY stuff, i don't know what to say about that!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

framed blackboards

during our last visit to hubby's family's home in nueva ecija we did a bit of scavenger hunting at the backyard and found this old piece. it used to be the framework of a glass top table.

with a bit of flair and a little elbow grease.....tadahhh! we now have a framed blackboard!

i love the charm of re-using old things and bringing new life into it. i also love the idea of framing blackboards so much that we even had one in our wedding Dennis-Irene-1957 by irene_dmd

t-shirt stenciling

i absolutely love stenciling on my little guy's clothes. the thing is, it's practically impossible to find freezer paper on this side of the planet. i've been looking for freezer paper for the longest time but always end up getting frustrated (and infuriated!) with the grocery or bookstore clerks who have no idea of what freeer paper is. imagine one clerk actually telling (no, lecturing) me that there is no such thing as "freezer paper" because "you DO NOT put paper in the freezer". grrr... anyway, for these little rompers i used the back side of sticker paper. the right side works just as well, too, but it can well...get a little sticky (you can't re-use them either). anyway, i found this from rookiemoms and got totally inspired all over again! don't you just adore the handlebar mustache/ mr. suave pattern?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

cream dory with sweet soy and ginger sauce

Here's a recipe I tried out recently. It is based on a Vietnamese dish which I tweaked a bit. What can I was a hit! Not only did my in-laws love it, my 1.4 year old even asked for seconds!

1 package cream dory
1 tbsp cooking oil
1 small ginger, sliced
3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup light kikoman
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 cup water
cornstrach dissolved in water
sesame oil
spring onions chopped

Heat oil in pan, add ginger and garlic.
Mix together kikoman, sugar and water, add to pan and let it simmer
In a separate pan, poach fish (I do this extra step to prevent the grimy foam from forming on the sauce)
Pour cronstarch mixture onto pan with kikoman until slightly thickened
Add poached fish
Add a few drops of sesame oil, sprinkle with spring onions

Friday, July 1, 2011

children's book collection

i've been collecting children's books for more than 10 years now ---- way before i got married and had a baby. the books are all about teeth or dentists. this isnt the entire collection as i have given some away to friends while others were borrowed by patients (and never returned!). my favorites are "ay, may bukbuk ang ipin ni ani" (ani has a bad tooth) by luis gatmaitan and "magnificent benito and his two front teeth" by augie rivera.

this is the most recent one that i bought from book sale. i don't consider these books mine anymore. they all now belong to my toddler. hopefully, these would be enough to encourage the little guy to brush his teeth!