Sunday, January 25, 2015

Recipe of the Day: Pasta and Corned Beef Casserole

I am a lazy mom. I don't like to spend hours in the kitchen. When my kids demand food, I usually try to make the easiest dishes. 

This one probably takes about 40-50 minutes, and the preparation is less than 10 minutes. 

Casseroles are hearty and easy to make. True, you need an oven (you can also use a steamer, though)  but you can make them in oh-so-many ways. That way, your family (in my case, kids) will marvel at how creative I am, how diverse my repertoire is. (Ha ha!) 

Pasta and Corned Beef Casserole
for a casserole dish, for four people (maybe more, if you are not that greedy) 

- 1 cup of pasta (I used fusilli), boiled according to your liking (some like 'em al dente, but if you like 'em softer, it's up to you), strained using a colander  
- 2 eggs
- 1 can of corned beef (I used 250 grams)
- 50 gr of grated mozzarella
- Butter / spray cooking oil for the casserole dish

Coat the casserole dish with butter / spray cooking oil evenly. Pour the boiled pasta and spread evenly on the dish. Break the eggs and mix them with corned beef. Pour it on the pasta. Top it with grated mozzarella. Bake for 30-40 minutes.

That's it! That easy, huh? You can use another pasta, add grated vegetables, use minced meat, add some mashed potatoes, or use tofu instead of meat. 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

It's Been a Year...

...since you left this world. You see a gaping hole in my soul? You took it with you. A part of me will always be yours, like I keep some parts of you deep inside. 

Many people have asked us, how is it that we could be friends? I don't know. I just knew that from the first moment we wrote emails to each other, we formed a bond that even death (hopefully) couldn't break. We knew that we could rely on each other. 

I will remember, I will always remember. The laughter we shared, the tears we shed. All these years, we have accumulated layers upon layers of memories. You are irreplaceable. You are one of a kind. You taught me a lot, you helped me grow and become a better person. Thank you, Shin Yu, thank you.

This is what I wrote in Facebook, to remember you:

A year ago, you left us.

You told me you were lucky. You knew death was coming, and death would knock at your door in near future. So you were prepared. You finally found God and peace, and I was happy for it. You embraced the inevitable, and in a way, I was envious of you.

My caring, beautiful Shin Yu...

I've known you for many years. You were there when I fell in love. You were also there when he hurt me so, when he finally showed his true colors (and no, they weren't pretty). You were there when I found the one, when I married him and started a family with him. I'd like to think that I was there for you too, during your happy and not-so-happy times. We were and still are best friends.

A year later, when your husband told me about your passing, it took a minute or two before it dawned on me. You left this world. I broke into tears, because I was selfish. I did not think of you first, Shin Yu. I thought about ME first. What about me? You left, and I'd never be able to see you. Talk to you. A part of me died that day...

And then, slowly I understood what it meant. It meant you were free. You no longer had to endure the pain. You no longer had to take medications that rendered you almost comatose. You were free to move on. And somehow, I believe one day we will meet again.

It's been a year. Many things have changed. Your boys are bigger now, and they are great role models to their cousins. I am saying this not because I am their Indonesian mom, not because I love them so. I am stating the truth, because that is what I perceive. Your boys are in good hands.

Your husband is better now, I think. He was devastated when you left. He did not have to tell me this. I know how much he loves you, how he values you. Now he is starting to accept it. He knows it's the best for you. I am keeping my promise, Shin Yu. I always pray for your husband and sons.

We miss you. And remembering you still brings pain. Eventually it will fade, and we can remember you with a smile.

I'd like to picture you somewhere on the clouds, talking with my Mama. I imagine you are smiling, so radiant and happy, so free.

Until we meet again.

One word to describe you, my friend: 忘れられない.

I love you, Nina Higa. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Eid Mubarak!

To me, Ramadan is a time to reflect and ponder. It is a reminder that we could do it if we want to. We could deny ourselves food and drink for many hours, we could try to rein our emotions, we could even try to grow more pity and compassion in our hearts.

At first, fasting might be hard. But after a while you get used to it, you begin to appreciate the simplicity and practical side of it. As a homemaker, it means I only have to cook twice daily, for suhoor and iftar. Scheduled eating time means I have more time to work and play with my kids. And I could even read more during Ramadan. I could read Holy Qur'an more and even read the Indonesian version daily.

And this reminds me, it's just a matter of priority. Of scheduling. You can do a number of things during regular months, but sometimes you choose not to do it. Yes, I am also guilty of this. Sometimes we are so caught up in mundane activities that we forget to nurture our spiritual side...

Ramadan is a good month to remember that we need the balance. Chasing deadlines and all are all good, but without contentment and peace, it's stressful. We need to develop more love and appreciation for what we have. With that, we'll be able to live to the fullest. 

Ramadan is over this year, and as always I feel a pang of sadness and hope. I hope God will grant me another chance to experience Ramadan next year.

I hope Ramadan will calm our inner turmoil, soothe our troubled souls. I hope we'll become a better version of ourselves.

Insha Allah.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Day 11: A Deceased Person I Wish I Could Talk To

When my mom was pregnant, she had this weird craving to read about Michelangelo's biography. That would be my name, if I turned out to be a boy. Yes, my name, Angela, is derived from Michelangelo. 

Assuming I could speak Italian, and I could somehow spend some time conversing with him, I'd bring a digital recorder, some notebooks, and ask oh-so-many-questions. I want to learn many things from him. I want to know how his mind works, how he turns a piece of 'thing' into objet d'art. I want to know what really fuels him. I want to watch him work. I want to see his hands, the hands with the power of creation.

And I really want to know what his favorite foods are. 

(Yeah, I'm always interested in food.)

Day 10: Someone I Don't Talk to As Much As I'd Like To

I wish I could talk more to my best friend's husband. He and I write emails almost daily, yet due to our hectic lives, sometimes we only manage to write short mails. He is a single dad with two almost teenage sons, and I myself have a son and daughter to take care of. I wish one day we'd be able to talk more about our lives.

He is an honorable man. My late best friend admired him so much. I admire him too, for his strength and attention to details. He and I were raised in different countries, different families. Yet we share many similar values. We often share difficulties and joy in raising children.

And almost everyday, he shares flower pictures from his neighborhood. Such a sweet man.

My best friend told me several times, how lucky she was to have him. He made her happy, he took care of her. Even until the end, he was there for her.
Match Up
Match each word in the left column with its synonym on the right. When finished, click Answer to see the results. Good luck!