Archive for October, 2011

Meringue Cookies

Friday, October 28th, 2011

Inspired by a recipe I saw on the Food Network, I decided to try meringue cookies. I’ve always been a fan of lemon meringue pies, so I thought trying this recipe would be a cinch. Besides, I just love whipping those egg whites into a stiff batter, like so:

stiff batter

I decided to make chocolate meringue. What could be better? I added two tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa, one more than was on the recipe:

add cocoa

Then, I added 1/3 cup of chocolate chips. I was getting excited at this point.

choco chips

The batter was thick and creamy by the time I mixed all the ingredients. Each dollop was like a spoonful of sweet goodness.

dollops

The picture doesn’t look appetizing but, trust me, it was really yummy. The reason I didn’t take a better picture is because I got too excited and munched away on the first ones. I also shared them with my neighbors before I was able to take a proper shot.

leftover cookies

If interested in this recipe, check this out:

http://mbcohao.com/recipes/?p=247

Cool, Dude

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

This past summer, I saw this picture which captured a surfer gliding inside the tunnel of this huge wave. It was a really cool picture, in more ways than one. In general, I like water pictures, especially the beach, maybe because I’m a swimmer and have an affinity for anything to do with water.

waves

This one easily beats the other picture as one of the most amazing water pictures I’ve ever seen. It is like combining the towering majesty of the mountains with the awesome strength of the waves, rolling them into one, literally! I did not know that waves are capable of being formed this way. What a magnificent sight. I wish I could have seen this in person. In any case, the story is from a Yahoo feature story on this link:

Big Wave Hunters

Cooking Show

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

After a long day of reading, writing, presenting, and working, I finally plopped down on the couch this evening and turned into a potato. I resorted to surfing all 66 of my channels, seeing everything but watching nothing. These days, all I watch are reruns, really. None of the new shows appeal to me … at all.

However, tonight, I happened to catch this marathon series on the Food Network called The Next Iron Chef. It has a Survivor-like format where the winner is the last chef left standing. The first hour started with 10 chefs. By the 5th hour, I was transfixed with anticipation to know who would present the most creative, most intelligent, and most delectable dishes on the table. Now I understand why there is a whole network devoted to food. It was mesmerizing to watch a variety of food ingredients being transformed into obscure, yet sophisticated, art forms. The judges must have these refined palates that distinguish the most delicate of tastes. The chefs not only have to think about taste, they also have to think about the chemistry of food, the purpose, and the presentation for their target audience. How many ways can you serve potatoes??? These people know their food, that’s for sure.

iron chef

Focus Groups

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

horseshoe desk

My final focus group session ended today. The kids I interviewed were delightful. They were responsive and eager to please. I heard once that younger students wonder about teachers, “Does she like me?” When they get to high school, they begin thinking, “Do I like her?” Having worked with both kinds, I can attest to this truth. Though I don’t necessarily miss teaching (yet), I thoroughly enjoy being in a classroom setting again — the colors of books and bulletin boards, the smell of paper and crayons, the sound of bells and kids. I spoke to the assistant principal who expressed the current problems in Education, especially limited district financial resources. She also talked about the pressures teachers face in trying to meet state-mandated standards so that it sometimes hinders real learning. It made me think about why I am in this Education program in the first place. Maybe, in my own way, I can make a difference somehow, sometime.

Seasons Change

Monday, October 24th, 2011

I try to go running everyday, but there are days I get lazy and I go out for a walk instead. On this day, I took a nice, leisurely stroll along the path where I usually run, soaking in the cool autumn air and taking in the scenery I would otherwise miss. For one, I noticed the changing colors of the falling leaves from trees that look like they are bracing for the cold.

fall leaves

As I walked further along, I spotted some red, white and purple flowers. I don’t know if they are necessarily autumn flowers, but they are a nice touch to accentuate the falling leaves. I tried to smell a scent from any of them but there were none. Maybe they were not that kind of flowers.

fall flowers

The air is a lot cooler now but with patches of warmth throughout the day. There are days when it gets really cold and there are days when it gets really warm. Overall, though, I can sense the season changing from one to the next, albeit slowly and erratically. It is like living in a period of tension, of uncertainty and change. Just like life at the moment.

Good as New

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

new trunk

The Honda got another make-over. It looks so brand-spanking new. I was happy about it, though the smell of new paint permeated the car as I drove away from the lot. I felt I had to get used to it again because I’d been driving the Chrysler Sebring for two weeks. All’s well that ends well.

Great Finds!

Friday, October 21st, 2011

Today, I was like a kid in Disneyland. I discovered two great shops with all kinds of goodies. I spent a couple of hours browsing the long aisles, but I had to force myself to leave because I literally could spend days in each one. I decided that I would definitely come back for more next time.

christian bookstore

The first is Mardel just a few minutes away from where I live. Coming from a state (CA) where the Christian bookstore is a dying business, it was so exciting to see a gigantic store just for Christian books, gifts, music, and various paraphernalia. I was agape to see all kinds of book titles and the long aisles for each genre. If I wasn’t self-conscious enough, I could have danced down each aisle. This is definitely a place I’d be coming back to again and again.

heaven

Right next to Mardel is Hobby Lobby. I’m sure that this is a franchise all over the US, but this is honestly the first time I’ve been inside the store. It is like a Super Michael’s (CA arts and crafts store). Like most places in OK, it is huge and expansive

arts and crafts

I surveyed the many kinds of arts and crafts available in the store as I walked quickly to take everything in, and my mind was already running off with ideas for the different projects I could start. But I had to take a deep breath and get a hold of myself. I am in graduate school, after all. In any case, it gives me great comfort to know that this place exists just around the corner. What a great find!

another heaven

Christmas Already

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

The other day, I was reminded that it was Halloween. Today, as I was browsing through the Walmart aisles, I saw the CD section and noticed that they were already selling Christmas CDs and playing various selections. Wow. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. In the Philippines, they are already probably blaring Christmas music in the malls. Still, it’s not even Thanksgiving yet. In any case, the reminder made me think about how special this Christmas will be for me. I will be going back to LA and spending the holidays with my family without having to think of flying halfway across the world to do so!

walmart cds

Field Research

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Today was my last day in my favorite school where I did field research for the last few weeks. I spent a whole morning conducting focus groups with enthusiastic and responsive students. The administrators were just as welcoming. I was sad to leave the school, as this was to be my last day. Fittingly, it was a beautiful, clear day when I left. I just had to take a picture to remember what a great experience it was to have worked there even for just a season.

shawnee

Halloween Already

Sunday, October 16th, 2011

The term “Walmart run” is common to OU students, especially the international students because it is where one finds the best deals. Every Walmart in OK seems to be a Super Walmart because it has everything — grocery, hardware, software, household appliances, electronics, pharmacy, etc. I admit that when I need something quick, I just drive 7 minutes to the nearest one. Today, I happened to catch a glimpse of the candy aisle, all decked in orange. It was then that I started noticing the Halloween sales all over the store, including this candy lane.

For some reason, this picture of luxury and indulgence makes me think of those children in third-world countries who cannot even fathom a place with this much candy, much less have a concept of this type of candy holiday. It reminds me once again of how much we have in this country and of our responsibility to those who don’t have.

candies galore