Friday, September 18, 2009

i love books

I love books.

Not reading, mind you, just books. But since there isn't any other way to enjoy the contents of a book but to actually read it, I've gotten into the habit of reading as well. I am an occasionally voracious reader.

Yesterday, the Hubby and I drove over to the SMX where there was a great big Book Fair. There were mostly trade books, textbooks and self-help lit, but one would find some fiction and classics in there as well if one knew where to look. Maaaan, it was a candy shop.

It's often frustrating for me to browse through a good bookstore, and even more so at a Book Fair where hardbounds can go for 20% off. I went home wishing I brought more money, despite the fact that we went way over budget.

The Hubby and I collectively bought 9 new books (naturally, I was the bigger spender), including some Christian self-helps, a gigantic hardbound volume of Shakespeare's complete works (for which I sacrificed a hardbound, complete, illustrated Poe, because we didn't have enough cash) and a lovely, user-friendly pocket Maccchiavelli (heart heart heart).

I'm really glad about the new purchases. And excited to devour them all. Yum yum.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

just visiting

The Hubby and i went visiting another church last night. We were invited by some people to come listen to a guest preacher and we decided it was worth going to (we invited some church kids to come along as well but they ended up not coming - but anyway ...)

There wasn't anything particularly special about the meeting - I mean, nothing out of the ordinary by Pentecostal standards - but it was great that I was there. More on that later.

In a more general sense, I personally like attending services of other churches - whether it be a special meeting or the usual Sunday service. Of course that goes with the foundational MUST of being rooted and committed to my own local church. Here's what I like about it:

  1. I get to appreciate more the diversity in the body of Christ. There are various ways to worship and it's nice to see - and even participate in - how other people do it. Aside from that, I might get ideas for little bits that we can try at our home church, hee hee.

  2. Sometimes I appreciate my own church more - for all its flaws and flubs - when I see that other churches are flawed ad flubbed too. :p

  3. Now this is real important to me: It's a chance for me to receive ministry. When I visit another congregation, I'm just an attendee there; not a worker or leader or anything. I can get their workers to pray for me. At our home church, the Hubby and i are at the administering end, hardly ever at the receiving end, and we're at this constant "watch" mode to see that things are getting done (besides, due to our virtual position, most people at home are too intimidated to minister to us). When attending another church, we can temporarily lay aside the serve others first guideline; in this instance, we are the others. We give them the chance to minister to us.

  4. I like it when a minister who doesn't know me prays or speaks over me (provided of course that he / she is actually experienced and knows what he / she is doing). Not that I don't appreciate the people at home who do know me, because I really do - it's just that sometimes i think they know too much about me so they might just say what they think I need / want to hear. Some of the best, most powerful, spot-on prophecies I've received are from people who don't know me personally; I know their messages were from God because they hit the mark even if there was no human way possible for them to know those things. There's an added zing about it when a message comes from someone unfamiliar.

  5. It just plain breaks monotony. In today's reliably-structured, modern religious practice in danger of becoming the same old same old, I so welcome variety (with certain restrictions of course, but that's not the point I'm trying to make here).

So anyway, at this meeting, the Hubby and i were at the receiving end, right? We didn't have to worry about making sure people were lining up properly at the altar, we weren't concerned about asking for words for people, we didn't have to look around to make sure our sheep were eating their greens and so on. It felt so darned good to just think about ourselves at a meeting like this. It's been a while since I personally received some really meaningful prophetic ministry, and at an opportune time too; it gives a whole new dimension to the word refreshing. I count this as the happy thawt of the day and the big blessing of the week.

Monday, September 7, 2009

basic risotto recipe

Risotto is a creamy and flavorful mixture of rice and other ingredients, prepared the traditional Italian way. There are many variations but this here is a basic recipe I found and tested. It's rather simple, but needs patience - you'll see why as you read on. ;)


  • 4-6 cups of rice. Arborio is best.
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 2 large (or 3 medium sized) onions; chopped
  • butter or oil for frying
  • olive oil
  • parmesan cheese, grated
  • black pepper
  • various herbs and veggies (see suggestions below); chopped
  • meat of your choice (see below); cooked and cut into strips or bite-sized pieces


In a large skillet (or wok), lightly brown the chopped onions in butter or oil.

Lower the heat and add the rice.

Mixing lightly, add broth a little at a time - like, around a third of a cup at a time. Don't dump it all in. Let the broth absorb into the rice, and add some more as it gets dry. Just keep the rice wet, but you don't want in swimming in soup; this isn't arroz caldo. :p

Be careful not to pound the rice into a pulp as you mix. :)  Use a wooden spoon.

And keep the heat low. If the rice is sticking to the pan, it's too hot.

When you're out of broth, it's time for the wine - mix it in a little at a time.

* If you don't like wine, just use more broth.
* Some recipes call for red wine - that'll result in purple / pink rice of course. It's kinda weird, i.m.h.o. but I suppose it's just as good :p
* Cheap cheat: They say that light beer is a cheaper substitute for white wine. It produces almost similar results, with a stronger, less fine flavor.

After the rice has absorbed the wine / broth, it's time to add your other ingredients:

Suggested greens:
- tomato, chopped
- broccoli
- asparagus
- basil, fresh
- spinach
- peas
- leeks, finely chopped
- wild rice
- mushrooms

I've seen a risotto station with corn and carrots, but I don't like corn and carrots together in risotto.  That would work better for yang chow fried rice though.

Just before you turn off the heat, stir in the Parmesan cheese.  Some people like adding more butter or cream to make it creamier.

Now, plate in single servings.  Drizzle olive oil or more Parmesan cheese if you like.  Top with additional greens, like asparagus spears or fresh basil leaves.

Makes 4-6 servings.

cupcakes = love

Diet is "die" with a "t".
It seems like I'm on a cupcake craving phase again. Lucky for me that a few cupcake places are just a short drive away.

I just lo000ve Cupcakes by Sonja. It easily trumps most of the other cupcakes I've tried (so far). It's a really cute shop that sells these precious cakes. My favorite items on the menu are Red Velvet Vixen and Berries N' Cream.

Who cares about the two kilos I already gained?
I thought about dropping by again this coming week. Maybe every other day if not every day. I'll try each kind. I'll be a pig. Fat and happy, that's my philosophy.

In the photos above: Peppermint Patty, Cookee Monster and uh, this mint and chocolate thing. Also lovely.
Below: Vanilla Sunshine, Berries and Cream and a chocolate something

Near Sonja's is Martha's. I've yet to try the cupcakes there; I've been told they're delightful. Still all this time I can't shake my loyalty to Sonja.