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Writing is One of My Natural Gifts

>> Monday, March 14, 2011

It's mid-March already and I'm wondering how fast the days have gone by. It seemed like a day is lived only for few minutes and then it disappears. I'm so behind with my writing that I feel guilty not being able to produce content the way I want to. I realized it's just impossible to do so many things at one time; I have to slow down and focus instead on important things in my life right now-my family and kids. I could spare an hour or two a day on my hobby and the rest of the time I should be a full time wife and mommy.

Writing has given me so much opportunity to explore myself and connect with others. I always believe I am born with a gift of communication through the written words and I should not put this to waste. I write in a variety of voices and feelings, but my most favorite is writing in the first person. This is where I enjoy blogging  so much because I put my own unique personality into it without worrying about style, rules, and format like when I'm writing content for payment. There is more freedom of expression,and there is no limit to what I can write, and of course no deadline to catch up. I write what my heart dictates at the moment and there is nothing more beautiful than that.

My love for the written words is a part of me as long as I can remember. When I was a kid, I remembered reading torn pages from a book or magazine that I randomly found. I wrote my first essay at age 7. I read my first novel when I was nine. I kept journals since I was 12. From then on, I have read countless books and wrote hundreds of articles, letters, essays, etc. I published my first book in the United States when I was 28. These are proofs that I have accomplished much in the area of writing and I'll keep doing this until my life has ended.

All of us are good in something and what better gift we can offer ourselves than to cultivate the gift and excel in it. Some people are naturally inclined to numbers, the arts, serving others, fashion, research, preaching, etc. Instead of trying to do something that is opposite of what you are naturally good at, turn your attention instead to those skills that you have that you know you'll excel. You'll realize later on that you have not only realized your life calling, you have also cut down the stress of pursuing something that is not carved for you.


Humba for Dinner

>> Sunday, March 13, 2011

I felt like eating humba tonight, so I decided to cook some. I had 4 pounds of pork belly in the freezer which my husband bought from the Asian store a while back. Pork belly with skin, fat, and lean meat on it makes excellent humba. Only Asian and Filipino stores sell this type of meat because the rest of the supermarkets sell only lean meat.

Humba (hoom-baa) or braised pork belly is a popular meat dish in the Philippines. Braising means to brown the meat first in its own fat, then simmer it afterwards with liquid in a covered pot. It is not healthy though to eat this on a daily basis because of the high content of fat and cholesterol, but once in while it is a tasty treat. You can eat this with rice (best choice for me) or bread.

My mom makes the best humba in our family. I tried other people's version of this dish and I didn't like them because they are greasy. I don't like eating humba with most of the fat still on. I tried to cook the recipe like my mom makes it, but still after a few attempts I could not get as close as how she makes it. I think I'll learn her technique over time.

I try to come up with the approximate measurement of the ingredients used in this recipe. I just usually estimate how much I'm going to need when I cook, but tonight I able to use measurements. The recipe is below.

Humba (Braised Pork Belly) Recipe


2 pounds pork belly, cut into 2 inch cubes
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup vinegar
2 cups water
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 tbsp brown sugar or 1/2 cup pineapple juice
3 tbsp salted black beans (tausi)
1/2 cup dried banana blossoms
2 pieces bay leaves
10 pieces peppercorns


1. In this step, you will remove most of the fat in the pork and brown the meat in its own oil. To do this, place meat in a pot and cook over medium heat. Turn the meat over every 2 minutes to make sure it browns evenly. As soon as the meat has browned and most of the oil comes out, remove the meat and drain them in paper towels. This step takes about 15-20 minutes to complete.

2. Remove most of the oil in the pot (leave about 2 tablespoons) and saute the garlic and onions. Put the meat in, as well as  soy sauce, water, sugar or pineapple juice, bay leaves, peppercorns, salted black beans, and banana blossoms.

3. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let the meat simmer for 10-15 minutes until the liquid is reduced and thickens. Remove from heat.

4. Serve with hot rice or bread.

This recipe yields 4 servings.

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