Saturday, December 31, 2011

Chicken Alexander

I found this recipe years ago from one of Auntie Em's cookbooks but for some reason I didn't write down the name of this dish. 
I have made this several times already, usually during Christmas or family reunions and whenever I'm asked
what I'll be preparing for the potluck I would simply say
"the baked chicken with mixed veggies and mashed potatoes on top".
It was only a couple of days ago that I learned what this recipe is called!
When asked by Auntie Em what I'd be cooking this year I told her my usual answer and she said "Oh, you mean Chicken Alexander?"
Oh, so that's what it's called!
Thanks for telling me --- after 15 years!

Anyway, let me share you the recipe. Obviously, its been a family favorite for a long time and I'm hoping it would be yours too.

sorry about the sloppy photo!
I forgot to take a picture before everybody dug in
1 kilo chicken breast fillet, cooked and shredded
2 cups medium vegetables
1 medium onion
1 tbsp butter
2 cans Campbell's cream of mushroom soup
1 cup cheese, shredded
1 cup quickmelt cheese, shredded
1.5 - 2 kilos mashed potatoes

In a heated pan, cook onions in butter
Add mixed vegetables and shredded chicken
Pour cream of mushrooms and mix well
Add shredded cheese, mix until it melts
Season with salt and pepper

Pour chicken and vegetable mixture onto a bake dish
Top with mashed potatoes
Bake at about 180 for about 30 minutes

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Reusing Stryofoam Mesh Tubes

I dont' know about you but at my parents' house 
during the new year we always have 12 different kinds of
rounded fruits arranged on the table
- a tradition believed to bring good luck for the next 12 months
of the coming year.   It is also during the holiday season when
we usually receive lots of fruits as gifts and pasalubong from relatives and friends.

I don't exactly know what to call these but they are the ones
used to pack fruits and prevent them from bruising. We usually accumulate a lot of these mesh tubes or sleeves (I'll just call them that)around this time. I'm pretty sure you do, too!

Well, guess what?
I have a green and frugal tip for you guys.

Instead of throwing them away, you may want to reuse them to store drinking glasses and vases.     

This may be a little late for Christmas but the holidays aren't over yet so...

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Luke 2: 1-18

It was from a magazine that I read a couple of months ago that recommended reading this verse together as family during Christmas.
Last night after our evening prayer hubby and I read it from the Bible that he had since gradeschool while Alonzo listened (almost).  

Alonzo will someday inherit his dad's old Bible and someday when he is old enough we'll be reading about Christ's birth all together
this time every year.

Alonzo's 1st Christmas Ornament

When we were kids Lola Neneng made each of us apos a Christmas stocking with the first letter of our name embroidered at the flap. 
This is a stocking that I made for our little guy last year.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Matryoshka Stuffed Dolls

Two of my cousins gave birth this year and I decided to make
for them these stuffed Russian nesting dolls for Christmas.
Since I still don't have a sewing machine 
I had to make these by hand. What can I say?
They don't call it "labor of love" for nothing.

This one is for mommy Kay and baby, Kata.

And this is for mommy Penny and her twin girls, Pia and Pippa.

Welcome to the family, little girls!

Holiday Mobile

Hubby and I bought this photo mobile from Dimension years ago. For a while it hung several of our favorite photos.

Then when we discovered that I was pregnant I used it to hang these sheep drawings that I made.

i call this mobile "counting sheep"

Right now the mobile holds a couple of the paper cupcakes left over from Alonzo's 1st birthday (also made a few more), the ginger bread man cardboard cookies and bendy straw candy canes.
You might see that I have a "sugarland theme" going here.

"....while visions of sugar plums danced i their heads"

 After the holidays I'll be replacing these with the sheep cut outs. Alonzo seems to appreciate the sheep more. The "sweets" also seem to make the little guy alot more hyper and harder for us to make him sleep!  

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Cardboard Christmas Trees

Now that its just a few days before Christmas it has become obvious that we won't be setting up the Christmas tree.
We decided that it is wise to wait until next year when Alonzo is a little older-- unless we prefer to frequently have to keep him from toppling the tree over.
Who needs the unecessary stress, right?

I know I sound like I'm trying to rationalize my laziness
but anyway, here's something I hope could to make up for it a little bit.

I recently bought wooden pictres frame at SM and was trying to think of a way to re-use these cardboard frame corners (don't know what these are called but I'm thinking you know what I'm
talking about).

step 1: paint them and then let them dry
step 2: assemble "tree" by tucking one under the other

step 3: glue "trimmings" using pieces of punched out paper and silver string 
(or ribbon)

All done!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Carrot Cake and Cream Cheese Frosting

I started baking during college and of all the cookie and cake recipes that I tried this is the one that I
still continue to bake after all these years. 

This recipe is from a Better Homes and Gardens magazine
issued almost 15 years ago.
I kept the copy but lost it during the Ondoy flood.
Good thing I wrote the recipe down! 

I am reminded of the time when I made this cake for hubby's
(then boyfriend) mom for her birthday. 
When I turned the baked cake over from the pan
the whole thing crumbled!
Apparently, I forgot to add the eggs to the batter.
We planned on surprising her with a birthday cake and in panic I frantically suggested that we rush to the nearest bake shop
and just splatter a store-bought carrot cake
(her favorite cake flavor)
with the cream cheese frosting that we already made! 
"Huminahon ka!" ("Get a grip!"), Hon said, as he munched on the disastrous carrot cake off the plate.
 When I was able to pull myself together I realized
that we still had enough ingredients to make another batch
but had less than 30 minutes until my then future mom-in-law gets home. Anyway, to make a long story short, 
the planned surprise didn't turn out as a "real" surprise after all 
(it was still baking in the oven when she got home) 
but the cake made it just in time for dessert and
it tasted just as good.

2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups corn oil
4 eggs
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3 cups grated carrots
1/2 cups raisins or prunes
3/4 cups chopped pecan
1/4 cup crushed pineapple (drained)
cream cheese frosting*

Place sugar and oil in bowl of electric mier and mix together in slow speed.
Add eggs one at a time; beating well before each addition. Set aside.
sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spice.
Add the sugar miture all together and roughly combine.
Stir in carrots, raisins and 1/2 cup pecan and pineapple.
Lightly oil an flour two 9'' pans.
Pour batter into pans and bake in pre-heated 350 F oven for 35-40 minutes or until cake springs back when pressed lightly.

*Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup butter (unsalted at room temperature)
1 pound cream cheese (room temperature)
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla

Place butter and cheese in bowl and cream on low speed until blended.
Add sugar and vanilla gradually until smooth.
Makes 4 cups

Note: I usually don't use this much sugar in this recipe. 2 cups is already sweet enough for me!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Santa Photo Gift Tag

Here's another gift tag idea for the Christmas season (just in case you're not yet done wrapping all the gifts). 

step 1: photo copy favorite photo

step 2: cut out santa hat 
(i used felt paper) 

step 3: paste photo over cardboard
(old boxes are useful for this)
step 4: paste santa hat over photo

step 5: cut and paste speech/talk bubble
(use sandpaper)

step 6: attach to gift
(personally, i think plain wrapping paper works best for this)

I know I'm spposed to be using printed wrapping paper this time. Well, I did but only for a couple of gifts. This gift tag idea suddenly came out of nowhere sometime between 1:30-3:00 a.m. and I thought this is too cute to ignore.

DIY Chalkboard Gift Tag

As promised the last time, here's how to make this really cute (I've been obsessed with chalkboards for a couple of years now) gift tag. All you'll ueed are small pieces of fine grit sandpaper, cardboard, hole puncher and glue

step 1: glue C over A
step 2: glue B over A and C

Step 2 is optional. Your tag will still look cute eve without the "frame". But if you're lazy you could simply punch a hole onto C and skip steps 1 and 2 altogether! 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

DIY Christmas Gift Wrapper

I found these alphabet sponges at Daiso and thought that I could use them to make my Christmas wrappers. I've been using pattern paper and papel de hapon as Christmas wrapping paper for the longest time and have veered away from anything with prints or patterns(for no particlar reason).

Things will be a little different this year!

I was also able to get the jute string from Daiso for P66/spool and I'll be showing you next time how to make this "chalk board" gift tag.

Here are some of ways how we wrapped our Christmas gifts from previous years.

Christmas 2009
 We had been on a trip to Ilocos that year and brought home Chicha Corn and Ilocos garlic as gifts. The garlic also doubled as package ornaments.

Christmas 2008
Here we simply used brown paper bags!

Christmas 2007
This took a little effort and patience as we had to cut small pieces of twigs and spray paint dried leaves with gold.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Corrugated Paper Ginger Bread Man

Although I don't really like how they taste I absolutely find them to be cute. I also have a ginger bread cookie recipe hidden somewhere among my files but never tried baking any.

At about the same time last year I was busy with all the DIY stuff and crafts needed for Alonzo's birthday and had several pieces of extra corrugated boards. I used them to make ginger bread man gift tags.

This is the only decent photo I have of how 
I wrapped our Christmas gifts last year. 
Please excuse all the clutter.

This year I made several pieces and will use them as Christmas tree ornaments (well, that is if ever we do get to put up the tree!)

step 1: cut ginger bread man
(I was too lazy to go to either NBS or Office Warehouse
that I used an empty pizza box instead)

step 2: with crazy scissors and punchers make embellishments 
(eyes, mouth, buttons, moustache, etc..)  

step 3: you may either punch out a small hole on top or
 just use tape at the back to attach ribbons or
string to hang these little guys 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

bendy straw candy cane craft

Hubby and I have been eating our dinners in the room since Alonzo was born.  We didn't have a yaya for the longest time and that meant that either hubby and I eat in shifts or that we eat together in the room.
We preferred the later plan.
Now you might be wondering what that has to do with
my recent little craft project...
Well, Alonzo can get very noise-sensitive at times that
even the slightest tap of a spoon or
a click of an ice cube could wake him!
We resorted to using straws (and plastic utensils --- almost!)
to keep the clatter to a minimum.

Anyway, here's a little Christmas craft that you could do with used plastic bendy straws. Trust me, this is as easy as 1-2-3!

step 1: cut straw

step 2: insert a short strip of wire (or paper clip) and insert through the "bendy" part of the straw

This will keep your straw bent and retain the cane shape.

step 3: wrap a strip of red colored paper and glue in place at the ends

I'm planning to use these to embellish our Christmas tree (which we have yet to set up, by the way!)
but you may also use these as an accent or trimming to your Christmas gift packages.  

By the way, our little dynamo isn't so little anymore at 20 months but because he still is a light sleeper and constantly asks for "mommy" whenever he opens his eyes at night we STILL eat dinner in the room! Hay!

Monday, December 5, 2011

plush blocks

most of the toys that our son had during first few months were
mostly stuff that i made for him.  

these plush blocks that spell out his name would be one of them.
i made these out of scrap from the fabric used for our matching mommy tops and baby boy shorts
(will post pics one of these days).

the back shows an animal or object that begins with the letter that spells his name.   

A - apple, L - leaf, O - owl, N - numbers,  Z - zebra, O - octopus