Sunday, January 31, 2010

Savory Saturday - Simply Catfish and Beans

When I tell my children about the nutritional merits of any food they would always give me this expression of disgust, never mind that they like the food.  

Here's a recipe that's so simple that anybody can make it in just a few minutes.  This recipe came about as a result of my effort to add more fiber and fish in our meals.  We buy catfish fillet from Costco and freeze whatever we can't use immediately.  Before freezing, I layer the fillets with wax paper for easier separation later on.
Simply Catfish and Beans

3 Catfish fillet
1 can (12 oz) kidney beans
1 can (12 oz) diced tomatoes
1 can (12 oz) sweet corn (optional)
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
2 tbsp cooking oil
Salt and pepper

Heat oil in frying pan and cook catfish one minute per side.  Pour tomatoes, beans, and corn over fish.   Bring the mixture to boil.  Cover and simmer for about 15-20 minutes until fish is fork-tender.  Season with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle cilantro on top.  Serve over rice and a hot sauce if desired.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Time is Running Out

Inside the glove compartment of our van I saw this watch still in its box today.  There's nothing magical about it, I assure you.  It was one of my Christmas gifts from Tim.  It has not been worn because it needs to be re-sized...maybe a couple of links less.  After Christmas I had planned to bring it to a jeweler, unfortunately, the place was closed.  So I decided to bring it with me the next time I went to Folsom.  Before I could go to Folsom, I saw another jeweler's place at the Town Center in El Dorado Hills which made me wished that I had it with me.  When I came home, I was determined to have the watch with me whenever I'd be out anywhere... so I placed it in the glove compartment of the van.   At least when I am in the right place, I can just grab it and voila!   Well, that was my plan.  It turned out that by putting it there, I forgot all about it.  I was only reminded about it last night when I was opening my birthday present.   It's been a month ago...

Somehow, the watch in the glove compartment represents the way I am handling my personal goals.  To admit this is self-deprecating but the truth can't be hidden.  Beautiful and noble objectives come to my mind but I don't put enough determination and effort to accomplish them.  I act as if they can be accomplished while doing the other everyday things such as bringing kids to their music lessons or shopping.  Each goal deserves a dedicated time and focus from me.   With every objective, there is a corresponding course of action that leads to its materialization.  At the end of the day, I look at my failure and infer that things didn't happen as they should have.  This is way too passive.  

This is the last week of January.  My time (or time-piece) is running out.  Soon it will be Valentine's Day again.  Do I have goals for this month?   Do I have goals for the year?  Do I have goals for this decade?  If I am now fifty-two, I'll be sixty-two in ten years.  What do I want myself to have done when that time comes?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Chess Tournament

"When you see a good move, sit on your hands and find a better one." ~ Bruce Pandolfini

Brooks Elementary School held a chess tournament today.  Miriam took the 2nd place individual trophy.  I've watched her play in chess tournaments from the time that she was the youngest member of the club when she was in first grade, to this time when she's among the best players in the club.  The problem with learning chess early in life is that defeat is always the name of your game.   Lucky for her... she had me to play chess with.  She had a better chance of playing a good game with me than with the rest of the family.  She and I were almost of the same rating.  We've not played together in a long time but I'm guessing that she's now way beyond me. 

Brahms ran the tournament with a little help from his daddy.  He helps Mrs. McClurg run the Chess Club at the school.  He seems to feel that this job is getting more rewarding as more kids show appreciation to the lessons that he teaches them.

A chess player needs to learn not only to win but also to handle defeat.  Shannon had to learn the latter today.  During the last tournament she squashed Ross Grier... this time she was careless and lost the game.  Her confidence probably led her to underestimate her opponent.  As a chess teacher, Pandolfini named the two most important forms of intelligence that he taught his students:  the ability to read other people and the ability to read oneself.  He considered these to be the two forms of intelligence you need to succeed at chess...and in life.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Book is Out

Tim Lewis (my husband), and the three other UEFI gurus - Mike Rothman,  Vincent Zimmer, and Robert Hale wrote a computer programming book called "Harnessing the UEFI Shell".  The book is now available on in paper back.

The funny thing is Tim has not received his copies of the book yet.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Close Encounter

So beautiful, only God could have designed it.

No PBJ for me?

If you walk around the grounds of Scone Palace in Perth Scotland, the chance of seeing peacocks is predictably high.  They roam around like chickens except that they have this long tail that they carry around.    Then when they feel like showing off, they spread their tail feathers and display all their iridescence.

I was browsing through old pictures when I was reminded of that encounter with something I have never seen before.   It was not until 2005 on our family's trip to Scotland that I saw a peacock.  Not only that, I was very close that I could take a close up shot.   One thing I learned about nature is that there is always something beautiful about the intricate details of their features. 

If you were given a choice, who or what would you wish to see up close?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Destination: Pending

I mentioned about a possible trip for Brahms and Tim to Haiti.  Yesterday there were dates for three different trips to Port-au-Prince.   We were going to choose from them.  Today we noticed that STEM marked these trips as "pending".  Well... I didn't even have to use my wisdom.  God already gave the answer. 

Monday, January 18, 2010


A while back, we have changed the nature of our big family trips from tourism and fun to mission and relationship oriented.   Instead of our usual favorite destination, Britain, our travels have brought us to smaller and less visited places like Belize (two times), Turkey, Shonto Arizona, and to places where we have relatives like the Philippines and Canada.  There was no lack of fun and adventure in all of these travels.

Each time a child of ours turns 14, one parent would bring that child to a place where none of us have been to before.  Brahms is fourteen now.  Initially, he was planning to go (or suggest going) cave spelunking and repelling.  However, with the earthquake that occurred last week, Tim and Brahms have been looking at the possibility of traveling to Port-Au-Prince.   Haiti is a huge overwhelming project right now and I wonder...what can my husband and son do?  That question will be answered later but the decision has to be made soon for time is running.  I'm sure my input in this decision will soon be necessary. 

Wisdom...please come to me now. :)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Savory Saturday - Pasta Salad with Smoked Salmon

My children have asked me more than once to compile our recipes into a customized Family cookbook.  It's their desire to bring this "cookbook" with them to college.  What a great idea.  Eating familiar food in an unfamiliar place will help them adjust more easily.  My problem is that a lot of my recipes have ingedients that are estimated.  To write recipes would require that I measure ingredients and time every step of the cooking process.  Time consuming, but I'll try.   

Pasta Salad with Smoked Salmon
Served warm or cold, this salad is a perfect for a busy college student.  It is simple and easy to prepare.  The ingredients can be adjusted according to desired taste.

1 lb uncooked pasta
baby spinach (desired amount)
tomato, diced (desired amount)
smoked salmon (desired amount)
1/4 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese
6 or more pieces kalamata olives (optional)
1 tbsp capers (optional)
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Cook and drain the pasta (aldente).  Lay the spinach in a wide bowl.  Pour the hot pasta over spinach.  Set aside salmon and add all other ingredients.  Toss the salad adding more seasoning as needed.  Top with slices of smoked salmon.  Enjoy your simple balanced meal! :)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Long Break is Over

Avocado-Tomato Panini

As we end the long break, I cant help but thank God for blessing us with the time that my children and I have spent together uninterrupted by long hours of being in school.  Among the things we shared were hugs, kisses, remembrances, eating in and out, working together, watching "Jeeves and Wooster", playing games, joy-riding to nowhere, making paninis, planning, reading, watching birds, riding with a student-driver, frustration in erradicating ants, walking to Starbucks for coffee and hot chocolate, baking and eating cookies, and many more...  

Tomorrow, we will get up early, eat breakfast quickly,  pack lunches, kiss goodbye, go to music lessons again.   Fortunately, there will be evenings when we will be all together once more.

Chocolate Crinkles

Monday, January 4, 2010


 January 4, 2010

Shannon attended driving school for the first time today.  Being my first child, she and I get to experience a lot of things first. Not only it is her first in driving school but it is also my first having a child learn to drive.  I was very nervous when her instructor came to pick her up.  What if he's not the real instructor?  I had to make sure that he identified himself as the person whom the Driving School assigned to her.  I was a relieved to hear him say, "Bruce".  About two hours later, the door bell rings and I was afraid to go open the door for fear that I might be confronted with bad news by a police officer.  I had to ask Tim, who opened the door, "Do you see Shannon?"

Physically she was fine... then she burst into tears.  Obviously, it was very traumatic having to drive El Dorado Hills Blvd. when the only place she's driven up to this point was around the business park on a Saturday afternoon.   Even after swearing not to drive anymore, she managed to drive with Tim in Francisco Drive after dropping off Miriam and Brahms to their music lessons.  I'm sure she was still stressed but not as intense anymore.

The emotions attached to first-experiences are always worth recording...because soon they will turn into jokes.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Savory Saturday - Lamb Kabobs

We were busy today taking down Christmas ornaments and putting them away.  Spent a little bit of time raking some leaves and before we knew it the sun was down.  Grilling is often our solution for hungry tummies when time is limiting.  Moroccan Lamb Kabobs with Mint Yogurt Sauce was for dinner.  Yummy.  This is one of our favorite recipes for lamb.  Our friends who swore they didn't like lamb ate it with gusto.  Make several batches of the spice/seasoning mixture and store in a jar for faster preparation in the future. 

Moroccan Lamb Kabobs*
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 pounds boneless lef of lamb, cut into 1-inch cubes
Mint-Parsley Yogurt Sauce (Recipe also provided here)

Combine all spices and seasonings in a bowl.  Place lamb cubes in a shallow baking dish.  Sprinkle and rub spice mixture into lamb with hands.  Thread lamb cubes into skewers.

Preheat a grill or grill pan to high heat.  Grill kabobs for 3 minutes per side, or until cooked to desired doneness.  Transfer to serving platter and serve with Mint-Parsley Yogurt Sauce for dipping.

Mint-Parsley Yogurt Sauce
1 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon finely chopped mint leaves
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
Salt and ground black pepper

Combine first six ingredients and season with salt and pepper.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. 

Happy tummies make happy faces.