Wasting time

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I’ve been more “addicted” than usual to Facebook this past few days due to being part of groups that are very active.  I’ve been part of different groups before but it’s really more of announcements and stuff, but now, discussions are actually taking place.

I’m currently part of three very active groups, one is for Pinays (Filipino women), one is for UP Diliman (where I went to college) and one is for UP Haribon (the organization I joined in college).  In the first group, I barely know anybody but the threads are all interesting and it’s very enlightening to read about other views and experiences.  In the second group, I know a lot of people but it is just a fraction of the whole population of the group which has ballooned to more than 30,000 in less than one week.  It’s fun to read about shared experiences in the university though and see what changes have happened since we were there.  It’s in the last group where I’m most comfortable.  This was the group I hanged out with most.  This was the group that made my college life most memorable.

I’m the youngest of 5 children and all my sisters went to UP.  So when I took the UPCAT, I really felt the pressure.  I knew I’d never hear the end of it if I didn’t pass.  Good thing I did, and the rest, as they say, is history.

I became a part of UP Haribon on my second year and I really felt that I belonged.  I only knew one person when I joined but I really felt at home.  I spent most of my time hanging around and just chatting or playing games.  Unfortunately, tambay hours were interrupted by classes :).  Actually, I think I didn’t hang out as much as others since my parents were quite strict and they expect me home at a certain time, since they know my class schedule.  So the trick was to choose classes that are far apart so there would be a lot of time in between to do nothing.  In fact, I remember when I had to go to school on weekends, or on days where there are no classes and my dad would say, “Nag-aral din ako.  Wag mo kong lokohin.”  And in my mind I would retort, “Pero hindi naman sa UP.”  But of course I would just say, “Kailangan po talaga…”

I really miss being in college.  When else is it okay to waste so much time just hanging out?  Although I now know that those times are not wasted.  Hours spent hanging out are actually investments, investments in relationships, in friendships, in life.  I’ve made my best friends in college.  We still spend time together, but of course not as much as before.  We’re now busy with children and work and other grown-up stuff.

This is why I love the groups.  I can hang out virtually anytime, read previous threads, reminisce and make new memories together even if we’re apart.

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Saturday Bakefest

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It all started with bagels.  I’ve been wanting to try making bagels for some time now but have never had the opportunity.  I’ve searched for recipes online but most of what I found are very time consuming, not to mention space consuming as the bagels have to be proofed in the ref overnight.

I finally found a recipe that might work from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.  I decided to mix a batch of their master recipe to be used the next day.  Their idea is very ingenious.  All you have to do is mix the dough, keep it in the ref, then use as needed within the next two weeks.  It ‘s great to have some dough waiting for you when you want to bake some bread.  There’s no kneading and not much waiting.  I’ll probably mix another batch and use it for bread next time.

Anyway, as I was planning what needs to be done on Saturday morning to make the bagels, I began to rethink my recipe choice.  Bagels require so much work, shaping, boiling, then baking.  I’m guessing 1 hour probably won’t be enough to get breakfast on the table.  So I searched for more ideas and decided to make Bacon and Eggs in Toast instead.  We’ve made a similar recipe before using sliced bread and that was a success and we’ve made it maybe three times.

I kinda had a difficult time dealing with the dough.  It was very wet and I had to dust the board heavily with flour.  It also tears easily.  My toast cups didn’t turn out as beautiful as theirs.  It was messy as the eggs were a bit large so it overflowed while cooking.

I also forgot to put salt on the eggs so it turned out bland.  The cheese I put at the bottom was mozarella, so it didn’t provide much contrast to the eggs.  If I’ll make this recipe again, I’ll use quickmelt.  I’ll also use small eggs so it won’t overflow.  We had bacon bits so I put that on top of the eggs and also sprinkled some parmesan cheese on top.   It looked quite decent on it’s own.

My kids enjoyed it and asked why I only made six.  So, I guess it’s not so bad and maybe deserves a second chance.

For lunch, we had pizza.  I used the same dough to make 4 pizzas.  We each get to decorate our own although toppings were a bit limited that time.  We only had bacon bits and mozzarella.  What I did different this time was brushing the pizzas with olive oil mixed with garlic.  Then we spread the tomato sauce and toppings.  We usually add mushrooms but we didn’t have any and it was raining so we didn’t want to go out and buy some.  I’d like to add onions and bell pepper but if I didn’t want to bother with slicing if I’m the only one to put them on my pizza but maybe next time, I’ll get to convince them to give it a try.  So, we had bacon pizza for lunch.

We still had some dough left so I decided to make calzones for dinner.   I stuffed it with all the remaining bacon and cheese we had and added some hungarian sausage.  In hindsight, I really should have put in some onions to balance the taste and maybe the kids won’t notice.  I guess I’ll do that next time.  It had a lot cheese so it overflowed from the holes on top and again made a big mess.

It was still good though.

So, Saturday turned out to be quite a messy and tiring day but I actually loved every minute of it.  I really enjoy working in the kitchen and turning out stuff that my family appreciates and like.  As Nigella would say, “When I’m in the kitchen, I’m happy.” 🙂

Baked Tahong (Mussels)

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We love baked tahong.  It’s a favorite by almost everyone.  Whenever we bring this to potluck parties, it’s gone within 5 minutes of serving.  We haven’t cooked it recently though because it’s very labor intensive, has a lot of trash (shells) and we love it with lots of butter and cheese which is quite expensive.

However, we saw a photo of baked tahong posted on FB by one of our friends and Jon asked if we could have it for lunch.  I readily agreed.  I actually planned to make pizza today but since we’ve all missed this, even the children were excited to have it for lunch.  And because today was marketing day, it was the best time to have it.

We bought 2 kg and we put it in a small container with water and salt for about an hour.  We then put the mussels in a pan, covered it and put it over the stove for about 2 minutes.  This is just to cook it  a bit and for the mussels to open.  Discard any mussels that didn’t open.  Take off the top shell and remove any hair from the meat.

Next, we have to prepare the topping.  Chop a full head of garlic and mix with about a cup of butter and a cup of cheese.  We usually use a food processor for this but when we tried to use it earlier, it died on us so we had to do it by hand.  Top the mussels with the mixture.

Bake at about 180 degrees C for maybe 15 min.  I didn’t really check the time and took them out when it was golden brown.

This is so great with beer but since we had it for lunch, we had rice and soft drinks with the meal.  And, in like 15 minutes, it’s all gone.  I want more…