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Food, Glorious Food!

Everyone seems to be cooking more during this pandemic, and I am no exception. I’ve been inspired to cook more times in the last 3 months than the entire year of 2019 😂. Some firsts for me to try were bibimbap and kimchi rice, and some pastas. I don’t always have the complete list of ingredients, so I like to improvise. I like to use left overs, and I get inspired to make dishes out of them.

I was inspired to make lasagna last week because my lasagna noodles were about to expire. I was going to use my newly purchased italian sausage along with my ground beef, but then I saw pepperoni in the freezer and mechado (beef stew in tomato sauce) in the fridge. I decided to chop them up and mix them in with the ground beef to make the meat sauce. It was a hit!

But my meat mixture was just enough for half the box of noodles, so there were some left. My mistake cooking the whole box! Anyway, I think the following night was taco night, and of course there were leftovers from that too. And so in the next few days, I looked up some recipes so that my cooked lasagna noodles wouldn’t go to waste. I decided to make lasagna roll ups! I made meat sauce using left over taco meat filling and tomato sauce. And then I filled the lasagna noodles with my improvised bechamel (left over from the lasagna), and vivo gourmet’s fresh, delicious pesto sauce before rolling them up. I placed the sauce in the bowl first, then the rolled up lasagna, then I put more pesto and cheese on top, and then baked it. It was pretty good!

Soft tacos, leftovers from taco night!
Yummy pesto and bechamel, before rolling the lasagna up 🙂
Pesto lasagna roll up on taco meat sauce 😋

To finish off all the left over noodles and use more of the yummy pesto, I made roll ups again. I filled the noodles with cheesier bechamel sauce and chunks of mozzarella, and placed the roll ups on pesto sauce. Everyone liked it too, but I think I’ll make it with slices of cooked chicken next time. If only I had leftover chicken! 😂

Before baking….
Baked! 😋

I really believe that we get creative when we are left in a tight spot. We have all experienced pay cuts, job cuts, halts in the business. So we have been more mindful to make do with what we have. We have been getting more creative, stretching our ingredients to make more meals, to stretch our budgets. Now more than ever, we reuse and recycle, to minimize waste. More and more people are growing their own food too.

Kangkong from our yard!

I salute every Filipino who has cried his/her eyes out and who has lost sleep over the effects of this pandemic, and yet has chosen to get up on his/her feet and keep moving forward! You create opportunities for yourself to help your family! I salute you for rolling with the punches, for being willing to sacrifice just a little bit more, to tighten your belts just a little bit longer. I salute you for making the most out of a terrible situation, even extending help to those in need while you are also in need. I salute you for smiling, laughing through all the uncertainty, and encouraging others to keep praying. I salute you for believing still that God is good, that He is in control, and He will save us from this crisis.

May the Lord bless us and sustain us, and may His peace that transcends all understanding guard our hearts from worry. And as we grow in creativity and resilience, may joy and gratitude in our hearts grow as well. ❤️

Just My Thoughts, MY THOUGHTS EXACTLY

Let’s Keep Going! For Yolanda/Haiyan Victims!

Super typhoon Yolanda (or Haiyan, internationally) hit us hard last Friday. The pictures and the reports about Tacloban and other parts of Leyte were just unbelievable. I have never seen or experienced winds like that my entire life. I had never heard of storm surges till that day. I expected the floods to be bad and for weak houses to be damaged, but I never expected concrete houses AND buildings to be knocked down. I cannot imagine being there with my family, especially with my two girls. I wonder if our house could withstand such weather. I wonder if I am equipped physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually to survive such an ordeal.

Relief operations began on Monday at our church in Alabang. King and the girls were there, while I was attending a training. On Tuesday, we were all there in the morning because King and I had to get our blood drawn for the annual physical exam. It was incredibly busy in the office that day, as the staff had deadlines to meet and relief operations to take care of. Seeing videos and reading articles, waves of helplessness and sadness would come to me. I wanted to go to Tacloban to help, but aside from my husband’s own disapproval, I questioned whether I would be an asset there or a liability. God sees our hearts, but we always have to move with wisdom. Prayer is our greatest weapon at a time like this.

Instead of feeding my own feelings of helplessness, listening to reports and waiting, I invited the girls to help in packing goods. It was such a joy to see them and our senior pastor’s daughters (I’m sorry I have no pictures) jump at the chance. And it was such a pleasure to be one in heart and arms with the volunteers, young and old alike! I must say that I was so tired when we got home late that night (haha, it might be my age), but it was completely worth it. Our labor will never compare to what the victims have had to endure the past few days and have to go through for the next months or even years.

I thought I was going to be able to stay home and focus on homeschooling yesterday, but reading blogs and news articles made me really antsy again. More cities were being reported to have been affected by Yolanda. I couldn’t stay home. I had to do something, even though I had no power to make things happen there in the affected cities. I have my own frustrations and sentiments, but I figured I could just do my part. I brought the girls with me and participated in the relief ops again. There were more volunteers and so much more goods!

I appreciate what Christopher de Bono of UNICEF said on an interview on BBC, when asked what he would say if he had the ear of a government official. He said that it is EASY TO CRITICIZE but he would say GOOD JOB and KEEP GOING. I agree that it is very easy to criticize when we are outside looking in. I agree that the officials who are victims themselves are doing a good job coping AND helping others, considering their plight. The officials who are sincerely helping, not politicking, are doing a good job. And I agree that we ought to just keep going, and do what we can where we are. PRAY. GIVE. VOLUNTEER.

I love the heart of the Filipino — always willing to give out of his own pocket and of himself. And not just in our church or our own country, but world-wide! Filipinos everywhere are raising funds and packing goods to send to the Philippines. Other countries are sending aid to us as well. The love, generosity and compassion are overwhelming. THANK YOU SO MUCH FROM THE BOTTOM OF OUR HEARTS. God bless you! God bless the Filipino people!

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9

Click here if you want to donate to Yolanda victims via Victory Christian Fellowship.

Click here if you want to donate to Yolanda victims in Tacloban via Tindog Tacloban.

Click here if you want to donate to Yolanda victims in Coron, Palawan via Hilbert Enriquez.