My “New Normal” Way to Celebrate

Celebrating occasions have been very tough and different lately, especially when you never missed any of the events or gatherings with your family, friends, and colleagues. You give time to plan what present to give, what to share, what type of food to prepare on the table, what to wear, or what kind of drink you’ll bring. There are occasions that you don’t have to do all the kitchen and table preparation. Just call your favorite restaurants or hotels to arrange for you.

A few days ago, my mom celebrated her birthday back home. I made a Roast Pork Belly with Veggies on the side for her special day. Made it like as if served in a fancy restaurant, plated it well with the gravy underneath the vegetables. Looking at the finished product, I know she would indulge her self into the dish and leave a clean plate!

Excuse to vegans out there…

Despite our geographic location, making a special meal on my mom’s birthday brought me joy. Our presence on a special occasion like this would have been an additional pleasure for them. Times like (pandemic crisis) help people do things that they never did before. You can make an ordinary becomes a special one when you explore your ideas on how to make someone happy. 

There shouldn’t be an excuse not to celebrate an occasion or a life event. We can do it in our little ways regardless of what, where, when, and how it is. What matters is the thought. 

To celebrate or do things differently is the “New Normal” nowadays. This is how I convinced my self for not being able to join my family on my mom’s birthday. 

Happy Birthday Corrie!

Chasing Sunrise

What does waking up early do to people? Some may get grumpy, feel lazy, and some may feel the opposite. There are times that we have no answer to some questions. We just rely on what the search engines give us. But whatever the result is, we have to think about how you will stretch the time when you wake up early during the quarantine time.

When you have nothing planned for the day, just get a pen and paper and try to journal. Now, you’d think what to write. There are no proper things, plans, or ideas to write on. Regardless of how you write things down, what matters is you will jot it on your journal to start your day. Sounds silly but it is better than browsing back and forth on your social media for nothing.

Sometimes browsing on your social media may not be a good idea, especially when you see unpleasant things. There are times that it brightens up your day when you see something nice online!

I am never used to waking up at 06:30 AM. Why would I do that? I am taking up the challenge that I put to myself. So far, I am doing good. What it does to me is that I can do things I don’t do and I can find some other things that I have not done before.

I do little stretching exercises while I wait for the kettle to whistle for my coffee. Having a cup of coffee is never a bad idea when you sit next to your laptop and your journal.

What does it do to you?

Finding a Habit

I have been contemplating to find another way to have a more comfortable and positive lifestyle amidst the pandemic. Being on lockdown for weeks is very challenging.

I have seen a lot of people fall out in their relationships whether friends, lovers and even families. The psychological effect of being confined in a contained space with limited movement has affected us more and more!

Before I get to that point, I must do something.

Find a habit!

I usually wake up between 10:00 AM and 11:00 AM, today is my 3rd day of waking up at 06:30 AM. I thought, why not make it a habit?

Waking up early in the morning is not for everybody, neither do I find it easy. But I have to do it! Doing this, gives me more opportunities to consider a lot of things, reflect on my shortcomings, and allows me to fix them.

All I got to do is face the challenge to myself and make it a habit!

DIY Burger Steak

I am going to share my own way of making burger steak and I hope you enjoy it! 😉

Disclaimer: This recipe is my version of burger steak and does not represent anyone’s recipe. Calorie count was not measured and ratio or portion of the ingredients and the way it was presented is based on my desired outcome.

Mushroom Gravy

For me, burger steak cannot sit alone in my stomach. I always prefer to have a mushroom gravy poured on top of it before it goes down my tank! 😋

There are 5 main ingredients that you need to make a perfect gravy to match with your burger steak!

Mushrooms, beef stock (beef stock cubes are optional), dark soy sauce, flour, and fresh milk!👌🏼

I love mushrooms! Mushrooms are specially good if you have a Vitamin D deficiency. As well as Vitamin D, it contains a lot of minerals that you need. Ask your dietician about it.

With this recipe, I prefer to use white button mushrooms.

Let’s get started!

First, pour your beef stock into your sauce pan on a medium heat. The amount of stock depends on how many people you are serving. If you don’t have beef stock ready, you can also use beef stock cubes.

While waiting for the stock to boil, slice your mushrooms. I prefer to slice them not too thinly.

Put the mushroom slices into the boiling stock until it’s cooked. Pour some soy sauce to add some flavor and color to your gravy.

Prepare your flour mixture in a separate bowl. Take 2 tbsp of flour, pour 100ml room temperature water and stir. Once mixed, pour it into your gravy little by little. The thickness of the gravy depends on your preference. Finally, pour half a cup of fresh milk to give a rich dairy flavor to your gravy!

Set the gravy aside and now let’s move on to the patties!

Burger Patties

  • When buying the meat, I always ask my local butcher to ground beef that contains some fat. This enhances the flavor of the patties with a more rich taste. It may be less healthy than lean meat but this is just my preferred type of ground beef. Consult your doctor for your cholesterol test before eating food with higher fat content.
  • Now that you have your choice of ground meat, prepare the rest of the ingredients for your burger patties!
  • You’ll need;
    • Salt
    • Pepper
    • Rosemary
    • Garlic cloves
    • Butter

    Place your skillet on the stove (medium/heat).

    While waiting for the skillet to heat up, take a handful of ground meat and make a patty to your desired size. Season both sides of the patties with salt and pepper.

    Once the pan is hot, place the patties in the skillet. There is no need to grease your skillet beforehand as the meat will release it’s own oil! Then add your desired amount of butter, 2 cloves of crushed garlic and fresh rosemary. Sear both sides of the patties for 2-3 minutes (for medium to well). The longer you sear them for, the more well done they will be.

    When it’s done, let it rest for at least 2 minutes (I do this so my steaks can release their flavor).

    While waiting, prepare your veggies to accompany the patties. For me, I will definitely dive into a bowl of rice to pair it with!

    Mashed potatoes are also a great alternative to steamed vegetables or rice.

    Now, pour your mushroom gravy onto your beef patties and serve!

    Bon appétit! 😋

    Travel Plan Starts Early

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    Few more days we’ll have to bid goodbye for 2017. This year I didn’t have enough money to travel as I have traveled almost every two months back in 2015-2016. Now, this is the right time to plan ahead. Whenever I think of going back to France, There is only one place that keeps on coming back to mind before I begin exploring this beautiful country. That is the Le Mont Sant Michel. Located in Normandy, 1 of the 18 regions of France. Normandy is in the north and close to Bretagne (Britanny) in the west.

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    I visited Mont Sant Michel sometime in October 2016. That trip was unplanned, I just packed my bag and flew all the way from the middle east. From Paris, I hopped on the train and left for Rennes where I took a bus to my destination.

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    Ettendent que le train arrive 🙂

    The average travel time from Rennes to Mont Sant Michel is approximately 1 hour and 15 mins. That is the fastest (I think). You can check other available modes of transportation on the internet if ever you’ll be planning a trip here I can say that the journey from the train station was all worth it!

    I have been to Paris many times already and what I have seen in Rennes, it’s just awesome! Streets are calm, people have more relaxed attitude, and it’s actually the scenery that made my day when I was en route to Mont Sant Michel. The locals say that it rains a lot in that region (Normandy and Bretagne). When I heard it from one of the locals there, I felt so lucky that it didn’t rain on that day.

    And finally, we reached! When you arrive there, you’ll find another bus that will take you to the Majestic site. My eyes started to look around trying to gaze that beauty. I tried to search everywhere but I couldn’t get a glimpse of it.

    I opted to walk through the “2,500ft long causeway connecting the 1,300-year-old world heritage site to French Mainland.” I thought what I did was crazy. But yes! it’s the crazy fun idea that not only myself have thought of. There were hundreds of people walking on that causeway. Imagine the fun that brought me, how fun it could be if you’re with family and friends?

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    What a day! Since I got there too early, the fog stole the view! But I did not let it break my excitement to see and to be at that UNESCO heritage site.

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    The 2,500ft long causeway that connects the mainland and Le Mont Sant Michel.

     

     

     

     

     

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    The endpoint of the causeway to the entrance.

    Approaching the end of the causeway, the fog starts to clear off. Mont Sant Michel is right in front of my eyes! I literally stopped and just stared at it for few minutes. Then I realized and told myself that I can’t afford to lose a minute standing there.

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    Upon entering the gate I noticed that it wasn’t just a church, castle, or something from the medieval era. It’s a city itself. A walled city. Inside, you’ll get to see houses that turned into shops and restaurant and hotels.

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    Hotels and Restaurants

    As I was exploring this walled city, I found the Abbey, the Monastery, museums, and a parish church. You can’t imagine the feeling of being at the top of that world-heritage site.

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    That’s me standing by the church.

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    I didn’t stay long as I have a train schedule to catch later that afternoon.

    Walking back to the mainland, I turned my back and I saw how clear the view was. Somehow I regret going there unplanned.

    I will definitely go back to Mont Sant Michel and Rennes next year. This time, it should be longer than 2 days perhaps.

    A bientôt France.

     

     

    For more information about Normandy Tourism and the go around Mont Sant Michel visit the Official Normandy Tourist Board website.

    The Sky Is Not Always Blue

    IMG_5473I am always thankful that we always able to find ways to survive.

    I used to envy my friends and classmates whenever they have extra money in school to buy some candies, chocolates, or toys. My parents taught us about having just enough is better than having extra.

    As I grew older, I came to realize that what has been taught to us was somehow wrong. Isn’t good to have extra in everything? Just in case you encounter difficulties you have something to pull out.

    Now that I can sensibly think about it, my parents were right. It is better to just have enough. Why? Because, if we know and if we’re always aware that we have limits, we’ll be able to stop right even before we reach the end. In case that we get to the edge or stretch our limits, we’d look for a solution to fix and recover from any situation and would settle for what we have. That is where the learning process comes.

    We all have different views about every situation that happens to us. This is how I see things now, little late but it’s never too late as they say.

    Life doesn’t stop teaching us new things.