Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Green Egg Recipe That's Not Icky

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Child No. 1 loves eggs (the superfood, that is), Child No. 2 loves saluyot (Corchorus capsularis L. or jute, and if this is not helping, it’s one of those green leafy vegetables commonly served with other greens to make yummy Filipino vegetable dishes).

Somehow, somewhere in that kitchen of ours, I need to marry those two for harmonious, happy mealtimes.

There are so many ways to cook eggs, so why not toss in the greens? The green egg recipe will definitely not turn heads away from the table and will even get “wows” from those who are averse to anything vegetable-ly. It’s all healthy, yummy and not icky, I promise.

If you’re pressed for time but still want to serve a healthy dish, the green egg is your go-to recipe. You only need six things that you may already have in your kitchen.

Yields: 4 servings {In our case, 8  eggs will only serve two monsters.}


8 eggs
1 bunch saluyot leaves
1 teaspoon Moringa powder (malunggay powder)
2 teaspoons butter
salt to taste
a pinch of powdered black pepper


  1. Cut saluyot leaves into small bits.

  1. Beat eggs, add salt and pepper (If you beat lightly you will have denser eggs. If you beat vigorously your eggs will be fluffier. The choice is yours.)

  1. Add the Moringa powder and mix lightly until the powder is blended in evenly.

  1. Add the bits of saluyot leaves and mix lightly.

  1. Heat butter in skillet over medium heat and wait until it’s hot.

  1. Pour in egg mixture and make sure the saluyot is spread evenly. When eggs begin to set, pull, fold and lift until cooked. (Don’t stir unless you want it to look very messed up. But I doubt that you want eggs looking like Beethoven’s hair in an interesting shade of green.)

Eggs are so healthy that’s why they’re considered superfood. I went on an egg diet some time ago and it helped me slide down effortlessly from 123 to 113 lbs. in just two weeks. It has most, if not all, the nutrients that you need so you don’t feel sluggish and weak even if eggs are all you eat the whole day. There are so many other health benefits from eating eggs. It’s so surprising that there are a lot of myths surrounding it, too, like how it raises your bad cholesterol and how it may contribute to heart disease. Not true.

It’s important for me to mention though that the losing weight aspect of my egg diet was unintentional since I’ve never been the kind who would fuss over my weight as long as I feel healthy and strong, and I still fit into the stuff I have in my closet. I have strange cravings for food sometimes that would last for weeks, thus the egg diet. I also go for long periods without rice because one, I simply lose the appetite for it, and two, for health reasons. Rice is one of the most unhealthy, most useless food of all time. Try not eating rice for two weeks and your body will tell you something nice.

If you have heavenly egg recipes you want to share, just toss them in! My e-mail is cure4mondays@gmail.com.

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Monday, February 8, 2016

The Disadvantages of Being a Grown-up

Monday, February 8, 2016

Being a grown-up is a boring job. It is a job to begin with; a big one where people expect you to do big things like earn money and have “important” things like ones where you need a plastic card to pay for.

We all have times when we tell our kids to never grow up because they’re so adorable and we don’t want them to grow into larger human beings. I begged my son a long time ago to never grow up and he said yes, but he suddenly shot up to a five-foot-nine 14-year-old anyway. I’m doing the same to my four-year old daughter now. I know I’ll be surprised again soon.

Besides being adorable, we also don’t want our kids to grow up too soon because childhood is a happy place that you can’t go back to even if you cried buckets. When you get to an age when people begin to earnestly explain to you that magic isn’t real and unicorns don’t exist, that’s when life starts to get boring.

A few days ago, we sat around the dinner table and started recalling our life as kids. So much positive energy bounced around the room and there was just so much joy in sharing stories about the kind of games we played {the ones that young people now don’t have any idea about}, funny pranks we played on people {house helps were favorite victims, so it seemed} and all the mischievous deeds we enjoyed as kids. It was the call of the dirty dishes that brought us back to reality, and that is what makes adulthood not so fun sometimes -- the need to have time for everything, yet not really having enough time for a lot of things.

I don’t wish to go back in time and lease a space in Neverland. The tunnels that lead us back to happier times in our lives are called childhood memories, and they certainly help when we need to remember that life isn’t entirely a long foreboding journey. We are better versions of ourselves now, but the younger us weren’t so bad either; just more genuinely joyous. The world looked so much brighter when free-spirited people weren’t labeled eccentric.

For our film-showing last Tuesday, we watched Mark Osborne’s take on The Little Prince, a reinvention of  Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry’s book of the same title published in 1943. We watched the highly criticized 1974 fantasy-musical The Little Prince last year that’s why Attika, who does not read yet, knows the Little Prince so well.

My re-acquaintance with The Little Prince made me realize why adulthood could be such a wretched position to be in.

We were pre-programmed to become zombies. On the average, a person spends 16 years getting himself “educated” so he could, later in life, spend eight hours a day in a job he hates. Stiff and looking lifeless, he drags himself to work like clockwork seven days a week, 20 days a month. He complains about it, but does it anyway. There are thousand like him on buses and trains, those who drive cars and ones who tread in different directions. If the daily grind did not inspire the series The Walking Dead, then I don’t know what on earth did.

Bad hair days were not real. But now that we’ve all grown, they’re real as real could be. Why not? One could always use it as an excuse to be miserable and throw his or her weight around for a 24-hour period.

Money is a need. Nothing causes the deepest, most horrible kind of misery than money. It is the sole reason for the existence of greed, insecurity, arrogance, dishonesty, and you know how much longer this list can go. When we were young, we never had to worry about needing to buy anything at all. Happiness included.

Happiness is just another concept. Everyone is sure they’ve heard the word “happy” somewhere from someone but can’t quite put a finger on it.

Question: What makes you happy?
Answer: (Insert brand name here.)

Vacations don’t come for free anymore. One has to work like a horse to go on a decent vacation. Don’t you miss the times when everyone enthusiastically volunteered to pay for your travels? I certainly do.

Daydreaming is considered being lazy. When you’re young it’s synonymous to the word imagination, and imagination is good. It was what summers and afternoons and dawns were for me. When you’re an adult you have to do something, or at least pretend to do something, while daydreaming, so no one accuses you of being lazy. Or crazy. They even have a word for that. It’s called multitasking.

Meal planning never ends. “What do you want for breakfast, lunch, dinner?” Repeat twenty times, and if you get lucky you will get an answer that’s not “anything”, then repeat 365 times. Life was easier when I was from the “anything” end.

The must-haves list is a very long one. Most adults’ head-to-toe list of must-haves is kilometric. I never thought I would be told I’d need ten different things for my face alone. Not ever.

Nap times used to be a daily requirement. In an adult’s life it is a million-dollar privilege.

Even if I said all that, being a grown-up isn’t all that bad. Being able to think about what life was like and how to make it better from there is a gift. I believe everything that happens to us now is a result of the choices that we make.

The one thing that’s great about being an adult is having a choice. So you can’t blame your imaginary friend anymore if your life turns out to be...a little bit less than what you hoped for.

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Monday, February 1, 2016

Stop Eating Pandesal and Your Body Will Thank You for It

Monday, February 1, 2016

Pandesal. Filipino food we hate to love.

It's 4 p.m. and my sister-in-law is once again battling the urge to walk down her daily path towards the 24-hour pandesalan a couple of blocks away from our house. What once were determined strolls to get to the ever-reliable pandesal vendor's stall have been reduced to hesitant steps laden with guilt after I read to her several articles about what bread does to the body. 

I am not fond of bread, so reading health articles to her on the detrimental effects of wheat, flour, sugar, margarine and other ingredients used in making bread is akin to listening to a torturer's hymn. But someone has to do it, and I am the self-appointed 'chosen one'.

Pandesal, from the Spanish pan de sal, literally “salt bread”, is an ineradicable food item in the Filipino diet. Its unique flavor makes it perfect for breakfast, perfect for mid-morning snacks, perfect for lunch even for those who think it's a good option if they want to guard their weight, and perfect for mid-afternoon snacks we Filipinos call merienda. It's perfect for dipping in coffee, just like listening to Monsters and Men at sunset. It's just perfect. It's also the perfect food if you want to make your body unhappy. 

Why it's best to call it quits with the pandesal vendor

I know we've been told that pandesal and its popular variants, the malunggay pandesal (bread with moringa oleifera) and whole wheat pandesal, are part of the purported healthy options when it comes to bread. Pandesal may even be one of the first solid food items we ate as toddlers. I don't know of anyone who doesn't like it. Even I dig into that brown bag of pandesal from time to time -- either as a matter of habit or allegiance to my country -- when I find it sitting on our pantry like royalty. It should even be on our flag; three stars, a sun and pandesal

It is not an essential food

There is nothing in pandesal that spells "healthy", not even "okay". It does fill you up, making you feel full after chomping on five pieces (SIL Irene makes special orders for it to be toasted), but it gives your body practically nothing beneficial. It will just make you hungrier faster because it plays around with your blood sugar. 

It has something your body does not want

Pandesal has a considerable amount of sugar in it, and sugar is your worst enemy. We have been told time and again that fat will kill us, but it really is sugar that is the Cruella Deville in our diets. Fat, by the way, is good for you, but let's save that conversation for another day. 

In an article written by Dr. Willie Ong entitled "Healthy Bread for Health-Conscious People", he stated that his brother-in-law, Tecson Alonzo, who has been in the baking industry for more than 25 years now, warned the public about how unhealthy the pandesal is. Alonzo reiterated: "The Filipino bread -- the pandesal -- has a high 18% sugar content and that's probably the reason why it's addicting," he said. And that’s just the actual sugar mixed in the dough; enriched flour, which composes the majority of bread, is rich in starch, which in turn is a form of sugar. This means that people who are suffering from diabetes, or anyone who wants to stay healthy, should completely remove pandesal from their diet.

Dunking a pandesal into a cup of sweet coffee with creamer (read: 3-in-1 coffee) is the same thing as diving into a mosh pit where everyone decisively and in unison move away as soon you make what you thought would be a glorious fall. 

Whole Wheat Pandesal May Result to Bad-Looking Sugar Levels

Whole wheat is not made of actual "whole" grains, according to nutritionists from around the world. The heavily ground grains form into a flour-like powder, which is easily absorbed by the body. As a result, it enters the bloodstream as glucose, and as we all know, that is not good for your sugar level -- unless you consider a funked up sugar level fun.

If you have to choose between pandesal and Snickers {yes, that candy bar we all love}, choose Snickers. It has a lower Glycemic Index than bread. If you can avoid both, your body will thank you for it.

Irene will be broken-hearted for a while, but I know one day I'll find her with a better aura mustering the words "I'm over the pandesal man." But wait ‘til she hears that going over two cups of coffee a day is not recommended for breastfeeding moms. {Enters Cruella Deville once more.}

The question on everyone's mind now is: "Is there such a thing as healthy bread?" Hundreds of studies have been done and the answer is no. "Healthy bread", it seems, had been a misconception all this time, and they did not just find out about it in recent years. It has been known all along and has been written about for decades. Marketing, however, would not be called marketing unless it did not have the power to deceive people.

I'll leave you with this oft-repeated byword for bread that originally came out on the Daily Mail UK in 1924…

"The whiter the bread, the sooner you're dead."

Enjoy a bright sun shinny day today!

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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Should You Choose Your Kids' Friends?

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Cure for Mondays 

Photo courtesy of dailymail.co.uk
This is not the first time I've pondered about how much we should be involved in the decisions our children make especially with the people they choose to become friends with. Our eldest son just turned 14 and our daughter is 4, and once again I'm back jumping through these little humps thinking if, as parents, should we have a "friends checklist" to discuss with our kids?

We all had good and bad friends when we were young, and when I look back to that journey of diverse friendships I am thankful for the experience of meeting all kinds of people. I am grateful for the opportunity of learning how friendships unfold. If there's one thing I consider to be true, it's the fact that our friends and the foundation of our relationship with these people have a lot to do with how we treat people and how we let people treat us later on in life.

Does a person's social status affect our impression of him?

Have you honestly asked yourself this question? I have, and this comes with a short story.

When I was  in fourth grade, I briefly became friends with a girl named Lena. How we met escapes me now, but she must have been the daughter of one of the housekeepers at my uncle's hostel. My uncle and his family weren't running the hostel anymore and was only using a small portion of it as their home. The four-storey structure was a haven for the Nancy Drew wannabe in me. All the empty rooms and dark hallways gave life to the stories I always carried with me inside my head. 

Lena and I would meet every Friday at the top floor of the hostel and sit at the landing that had quite a view of the tiny city. I was doing an "adventure" in the hostel one time when I saw Lena there. She didn't say anything when she handed me what looked like a cone made out of newsprint. The cone, I found out soon, was filled with polvoron (powdered candy). She went to a public school and the students were each given polvoron before the end of the week. It was part of some sort of a government feeding program. Thinking about it now, there could have been cheaper and healthier alternatives if the school wanted to feed kids in school.

After she explained how it was supposed to be eaten {raise your head, pour the contents into your mouth and try not to choke}, she looked away and gazed at the view in front of us. There was something about Lena, and I didn't figure out what it was until many years later. She was a quiet person and she never talked about her family. She also didn't talk about friends. Lena was a lonely person. She only talked about school of all things, and, surprisingly, it was one of the rare times when the topic of school didn't trigger a pre-crisis crisis within me. 

Photo courtesy of Lonely Girl Photography
I went to a private school and Lena often expressed curiosity about what people there were like. She was particularly curious about nuns since she had never met one, while I was surrounded by a lot of them every single day in my school. 

My friendship with Lena only lasted for a few weeks. When my mother found out that I was friends with this girl who went to public school and whose parents "may be one of the caretakers", she became wary and strongly disapproved of the friendship. I wasn't too happy with that decision, but following her was the only way to assure world peace that time. She was my mother after all and she just supposedly wanted what she thought was good for me. 

I was raised in a small town where people had insane standards for everything: only expensive schools produced worthy graduates; poor people were most likely dishonest; kids who are not the kids of your parents' friends were not the right kind of people for you, etc, etc. 

It was something that I wasn't very happy about growing up, and yet, like a deadly disease, I unconsciously carried some of those invisible, dreaded yardsticks until I finally knocked my own head off. This was when I had my first kid and wanted to be the kind of parent who did not judge people, like or dislike them on the basis of what kind of house they had, or what their parents' jobs were. I became aware that kids copy what their parents do, and you can't teach kids anything that you're not capable of doing {or becoming} yourself. That includes kindness, respectfulness and obedience. 

All throughout my life, I've met people -- all kinds of people with so may different stories to tell. It's beautiful and it happened because I escaped from the norms of a culture that was so limiting. I learned that people could be good whether they had huge bank accounts or not. 

The Friends Checklist

Should there be one? Yes and no.

There are a few things we might want to discuss with our kids when it comes to friends. If you want to know what our checklist looks like, it's this simple.

  • Respect is needed at all times; no sweating over pointless things like politics, religion and noontime shows. 
  • Mood swings are not welcome at our home. We like positive energy, and mood swings may be an indication of deeper troubles at home, especially for kids. Sort them out first.
  • Bad words are uncool, so leave them outside our door.
  • Good Manners and Right Conduct (Remember GMRC?) are still on top of our list no matter how much the rest of the world has forgotten about them.
  • Just be a friend and be sincere. There exists no competition around here. Our home is not a place for blind auditions.

Children are their own persons and have their own personalities. Truth is, we can't choose their friends for them while standing on our chariots and pointing at who could be their friends and who should be removed from the lot. I certainly don't own a chariot. I usually walk holding hands with my little one. The most that we could do is to provide them with a home brimming with love and treat them the way we want other people to treat them. This is how they know how they are valued and will, in return, value other people. Children also learn from example, so if they grow up in an environment where there is love, respect, openness and acceptance, it will be such an effort for them to stray and end up with the wrong people. 

Let's share stories. If you have anything to share about your kids and their friends who you {secretly} disapprove of {there always is that kid!}, do e-mail me at cure4mondays@gmail.com. 

Hope this day brings you lots of sunshine. Love and light! 


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Kango Express: The Easiest, Cheapest, Most Convenient Way to Shop Online

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The shopping season is over, but with online shopping snatching customers from brick-and-mortar shops the buying never really stops, does it? If you go online shopping regularly you know that the challenge is not in the buying but in the shipping. We have all been through times when we had to wait for relatives and friends in the United States to bring our purchases for us when they come home to the Philippines, which could mean waiting for weeks on end. I've also known of friends who have made reasonably priced purchases online only to end up spending a hefty price for shipping. Ta-dah! All the supposed savings are made insignificant by exorbitant shipping prices.

The latest game-changer in shopping and shipping

Kango Express recently had its launch in the Philippines, and online shopping has never been so easy and convenient. Creating my Kango account was a breeze and I found the website to be comprehensive and user-friendly. Everything was straightforward -- something that a crazy-busy homeschooling mom like me needs. 

A few easy steps and you're done 

I needed to replace my old(ish) wallet with a new one {yes, really} and found a beautiful Plemo (pure leather) big wallet at Amazon. The other VERY IMPORTANT thing that I purchased was a Magic The Gathering Booster Battle Packs for Cole (prompted by constant reminders just so I would not forget the alleged "essential" Magic Cards).

A thoughtful note that came with the Magic Cards
When I was ready to have them shipped, I simply had to choose either a US or UK Kango address where my items would be sent to, then they waited for me to authorize the shipment so they could deliver my package at my doorstep. What's good about this is you are in control of the shipment, so you can have it sent on a date when you're sure you're going to be at home. You can also track your package online and not have to worry about it getting lost. We're all familiar with stories about packages getting lost, and this is the last thing you'd have to worry about with Kango Express.

Ways Kango is giving you more 

  • Everything is reflected on your invoice, so there are no surprises over hidden charges.
  • They resize your package for free so you don't pay extra for packaging. 
  • You get savings even when you buy multiple items online because they consolidate your packages, so instead of paying for different packages you only pay for one. 
  • You get a $10 credit through their Refer-A-Friend program for each friend who registers (referencing your account number) and makes their first purchase with Kango.
  • The customer service is topnotch -- something that's hard to get by these days, ironically in this call center-crazed decade. 

I was surprised and very glad when a clerk from LBC, Kango's affiliate courier, called me up to ask what time I wanted my package delivered that day. Boy, that was sure a big leap from the times when I had to wait on my toes for my packages, and had to strike out days from the calendar until my packages came. With a service like this, I have so much less to worry about.

Hmmm. Was that a stoneware butter keeper I just saw at Amazon?

The Kango Express Philippine Launch at Society Lounge in Makati

Comedy Cartel's Mike Unson in the house!


Friday, January 8, 2016

The Good, The Bad...and All That!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Thank you, Bloggys 2015, and Welcome 2016!

The year 2015 was a great one, and yes, I am able to say that with a wide smile despite going through sleepless nights on a cramped bench inside an old, creepy provincial hospital's intensive care unit (ICU) for nine days, plus a few more days in a private room where I unfortunately still ended up sleeping on an exactly same dismal bench -- so much for the supposed better, more comfortable "bed" that I hoped to get after knowing that my mother would finally be moved to a private room. She had a heart attack on the second day of her hospitalization, her second hospitalization within a week. That was a saga that I did not expect to happen this early on in our lives. I just might share parts and parcel of that long story sooner or later if you hold a fascination for morbid stories like I do.

There was that grueling event, but there were a lot of good stuff that happened, too. I went on more travels than I wished for and even went on a beautiful journey to Cambodia and spent an entire week marveling at the beauty of the temples in Siem Reap, meeting new people and discovering myself anew. I also had a wonderful opportunity to live with a Khmer family and learned their humble ways of living.  I met beautiful souls along the way, something that I'd love to share with you soon. 

Last year was a good year for Cure for Mondays. Our readers happily grew in number and the recognition given by several brands was no less than a very uplifting experience for me. It was a welcoming change albeit unexpected, and I'm opening my arms to welcome more exchanges with people who share the same passion for homeschooling, family, life and love this year and the many years to come. A few new friends have come knocking on our door as early as December and I am ever so grateful. 

One of the other exciting things that happened was being featured in The Asian Parent. Who would have thought, right? There is another one coming up and I'll be sharing that here, too. 

It's been a while since I last sat down to write something. Trust me, I have been pushing myself to just sit down and start pounding on the keyboard lest something good might come out of this over-fatigued brain. "Energy" was quite a strange word for me for a while. When I was about to relax and spend the New Year's with a bang, we once again rushed my mother to the hospital for hypoglycemia. I willed for her to leave the hospital on December 31st not only because it was New Year's eve and we had guests at home, our Attika was also sick. Tough two months I had there. 

Oh well, what didn't kill me made me raise a good glass of Gaspi's Sangria.

It's a new year and I'm still sucking in whatever good energy's left from last year and am sucking in some more for 2016. 

Hello, 2016. I think I already like you.

Here's thanking all of you once again for making this possible. Cheers! 


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