ROASTED HERB CHICKEN: A Culinary-Idiot Friendly Recipe

It sounds gourmet-ish, doesn’t it? Roasted Herb Chicken… sounds pretty difficult to make too.  I wanted to impress Dear Hubby with my, well, “culinary skills”.  Yes, albeit limited, I have a few skills  in the kitchen.  Somehow I have managed to serve my boys edible meals without any of them getting choked or something.

It’s Father’s Day and this lunch has got to be special… AND easy to make! A very important factor there.

To all you wives and mothers with the same level of kitchen talents as I do, let me share with you this recipe that saved my day.  I got the basic idea from the internet but I tweaked it a bit to suit my taste.  I was quite a bit apprehensive as it requires to use an oven to do the roasting. Whoah, why don’t I just make fried chicken?!

It turned out to be so easy you only have to put everything in a dish and place it inside the oven. Roasting is close to the maximum level of complexity that I’m okay with, there are only THREE (3) easy steps to remember.

Let me assure you:  If I can do it, ANYBODY can do it too. That’s how easy it is 🙂   Checkirawt!

HERBED CHICKEN

Step 1:  Marinate the Chicken Breasts OVERNIGHT with the following:

Calamansi or Lemon Juice
Soy sauce
Garlic
Rosemary (preferably fresh but dried will do)
Thyme (preferably fresh but dried will do)
Salt & Pepper
*I have to emphasize that it has to be marinated overnight so the flavor seeps through.

Step 2: Get Ready To Rumble

Assemble the following on a baking dish:
Marinated Chicken
Baby Potatoes: properly washed, halved
Onions, halved
Garlic, halved
* Drizzle with olive oil
* Sprinkle with salt, pepper, dried rosemary and thyme (if you don’t have fresh ones)

Step 3:  Roast Away

– Place the baking dish in a pre-heated oven
– Leave for 15-20 minutes or until chicken gets fully cooked
– Baste the chicken with melted butter from time to time
– Top with fresh chopped Basil leaves before serving

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A BREAK-UP LETTER TO MY BLACKBERRY

My old Blackberry with its perennial white screen... sometimes it's black.

My old Blackberry with its perennial white screen…

Dear Blackberry,

I fell in love with you the moment I laid my eyes on you.  Your perfect keyboard helped this large-thumbed woman create perfectly spelled texts every time.  You and I knew each other so well, I didn’t have to think which punctuations or emoticons to use.  We’ve been through a lot together. We made travel arrangements, sent messages to family and friends, read news (and gossips) from across the globe.

That’s why what I’m about to say is very difficult.

I’m breaking up with you.

I know there’s no easy way to say it but you’re all business and I wanted to cut the chase.  You seem to be powering down a bit… no, a lot, lately.   My daily routine of rebooting you has caused my entire phonebook to go kaput. It was fine, I just had to update all my contacts manually. I’m a very patient woman.  But must you make me do this everyday? I didn’t give up on you but I gave up updating my phonebook and handle the embarrassment of  sending out a “who you?” message.

When you asked me to upgrade my Facebook to version tra.la.la,  I said yes.  But you conked out again and made the whole app disappear.  You know very well that Facebook, together with Twitter and Instagram, are my connections to the “outside world”.  I need them to stalk, uhm, to keep up with everyone.  You didn’t have Instagram but I remained devoted to you.

And because of my fondness on your alarm features, I let you sleep on my bedside so you’d be the first one I would see when I wake up.  Why did you choose to stop working and sleep like a log on the morning that Little Boy had a performance in school?! Had we not made it on time, I wouldn’t have forgiven you.

Out of respect for you, I’m telling you that you’re being replaced by the iPhone.  Dear Hubby gave it as a present to me on Mother’s Day, who says no to that?   I’ve flirted with the iPhone on my mind but you know that  I’m a Blackberry in a world of iPhones.  Please believe me when I say, “It’s not you, it’s ME.”

iPHONE.BB

I’ll terribly miss you even when others made fun of you.  You know I hate those fingerprints on my screen!  This new guy is pretty intimidating, I hope it will be just as patient with me as you were when I was just learning which buttons to press.

I hope we can still be friends.  I’m putting you in a safe box and shall bring with me anywhere a new sim card would be required and we’ll still reconnect.  Thank you for your years of service and dedication, I will always treasure our time together buddy.

Thanks again,
A

ORGANIZING A 7th BIRTHDAY PARTY IN JAKARTA

andres solo w cakes

The last time we threw a birthday party for Little Boy was when he turned one.  They say turning seven is a milestone to any child because this signals the start of  “growing up” hence, a party.  With barely three weeks to prepare and a specific theme as a guideline, I began flexing my event-planning muscles.

This should come easy for me as I’m used to organizing and supervising big and small, corporate and family  events.  From product launches, sales conventions, weddings, birthdays, etc.  Yes, it should be easy…. IF we were in the Philippines… where I knew the right people to call and the right places to get most bargains from.  BUT we are in Jakarta, a galaxy far far away, and therein lies the challenge!  How do I throw a simple party in a country where its wealthy families stage lavish kiddie parties that are more expensive than my wedding?!

Push the right buttons, you can’t do it alone.

GOODIE BAGS & CUPCAKES
Mary Ramba (which I think should add ANGEL to her name), my co-mommy since kindergarten, had been a lot of help.  She made our personalized Star Wars pillows for giveaways despite the short lead time.  Her workshop is located in Bandung but shuttled every now and then from Jakarta to oversee the production.  She also made the customized cupcakes that were a hit at the party.  If she didn’t become busy entertaining visiting guests from abroad, she would have made the birthday cake as well, but she referred me to a very reliable cake maker.star wars pillows

pillows jorjacupcakes.pyramid

cupcakes.girls

BIRTHDAY CAKE
Dominique (Monique) Sanda of Sugamom Cakes was my “it” girl for the cake.  It was originally her partner Herawati  who I first called but she was out of town and graciously referred me to Monique.  I never had a difficult time dealing with her because first of all, she speaks good English and secondly, she was willing to work around our own idea and design.  If there would be any issues, she would communicate them with me right away.  I also appreciate her resourcefulness when, on the day of the party, her delivery guy didn’t show up and she delivered the cake herself.  That was the only time that I met her in person, our communications have always been thru emails or BBMs only but she got my instructions to the dot. The cake was exactly how I envisioned it to be and tasted heavenly!

His toy as a cake-topper brings a personal touch to his birthday cake.

His toy as a cake-topper brings a personal touch to his birthday cake.

These girls can't resist the chocolate fondant cake!

These girls can’t resist the chocolate fondant cake!

Happy with their dessert.

Happy with their dessert.

SNAPY
Dear Hubby designed a special birthday banner for the Little Boy but the challenge was to look for a supplier who can print it well.  I came across Snapy when I was dropping off Little Boy to school.  It’s easy to find a Snapy center in Jakarta because it’s everywhere!  In fact, there are two branches just along Jl. Mampang Prapatan, I picked the one closest to the school for convenient logistics.  My 225cm x 300cm vinyl (tarpaulin) banner was done overnight and without any revisions needed.

We maximized this banner by making this a photo wall too.

We maximized this banner by making this a photo wall too.

With our Pinoy friends.

With our Pinoy friends.

with Pak Dahryanto and family

with Pak Dahryanto and family

TAMANI KIDS KAFE
An ideal place for playdates, Tamani Kafe is also a perfect venue for birthday parties.  The indoor playground provided enough space for kids to run around which made me decide not to have parlor games anymore.  Based on experience, kids wouldn’t want to get pulled out from the playground just to join in some boring games and watch the scary clown do his tricks.  We just let the kids play while the parents are free to catch up and/or get to know each other.  Andriani, the party coordinator in Tamani, was very helpful which makes all these party preparations quite easy for me.

climbing 2natw & daisy

DSC_0199

boys will be boys

boys will be boys

girls know how to have fun too!

girls know how to have fun too!

kids eating

nate.andres.liambambino momsmoms

tamani 1

tamani 3

Thank God for friends (and friends of friends) and reliable suppliers! Because of them, the first birthday party that we ever had here in Jakarta, Indonesia had been stress-free.  I’m grateful too for the presence of Little Boy’s closest friends. We didn’t need a grand celebration, just their gift of friendship made everything more fun and memorable. Thank you everyone, may the force be with you!

DIRECTORY:

MARY RAMBA
HP:  +6287 8851 41640
email:  maryramba@gmail.com

DOMINIQUE (MONIQUE) SANDA of Sugamom Cakes
HP:  +6281 8855 992
BBM pin: 2355F579
Facebook:  Sugamom Cakes

SNAPY
Click here for the list of their branches

TAMANI KIDS KAFE
Open: Wednesday to Sunday, 11:00 – 18:00
4th floor Jl. Kemang Raya No. 5
Mampang Prapatan District,
South Jakarta 12730
Tel. No. (021) 719 8077

MOMMA’S MOJO

Don’t get me wrong, I’m really digging this motherhood gig and loving every second I spend with the fam but a little respite from nursery rhymes would be a good break, don’t you think? It’s been afternoon play dates and kiddie parties for me for some time and I’m sort of missing the night life.  My previous job would often take me to grand product launch events with unlimited booze, a staple when working for the biggest beer manufacturer in the Philippines.

Last Saturday, Dear Hubby and I got invited to his client’s product launch party.  Can you believe that?  I’m going to a partaaayy! *happy dance* 🙂  We took our dear family friend, Anna Mae, who was game enough to join us despite having arrived from an out of town trip that evening. Oh the energy of the youth!

Prepping for this party felt like going back on the dating scene after being single for a long time.  What shall I wear?  Do I have the shoes to match it? Which lipstick shade is perfect?  What about the blings?  Shoot, my nails are too short for a manicure! Aahh, I miss these girly problems!

I giddily rummaged through my closet to look for one of my prized possessions.  And there it is, underneath my school-friendly mommy clothes is my little black tube blouse! This little piece of clothing my friend gave me when we were still in Manila, and the very same one which I never got to wear since we moved to Jakarta two years ago is finally going to party.  I also took out my chandelier earrings which I have worn only once, and my Steve Madden killer heels which all of a sudden felt uncomfortable. I must’ve been wearing my Chuck Taylors and Crocs for far too long.  And of course, my most favorite part of any party prep: THE MAKE-UP.  I remember Dear Hubby’s funny reaction a long time ago when he learned that there are about a hundred shades of lipsticks for us to choose from.  He thought that it was just “red” and “pink” not knowing that RED could mean Russian red, brick red, rogue, ruby, crimson, etc. and PINK could be cotton candy, bubblegum, orchid, carnation and so on.  See baby, I don’t need to be an artist like you to know the color palette.

We had a blast at the party, never mind if I had to be assisted like an invalid at some point to prevent me from toppling over in my high heels. Darn, the Chucks would’ve been the better choice!  Judging from the other events and the bars I’ve been to in Jakarta so far, I must say that the Indonesians know how to party.  This one was no different, it was fun as usual. The SILENT DISCOwhich I just learned is very popular in Europe and the US was a novelty for me!

Here are some of the photos from the event.

The venue (Plaza Barat Senayan) is an open field but they built a dome so the party would have both outdoor and indoor areas.

Data base gathering

The DJ’s booth

Checking out the SILENT DISCO

“Silent disco has become a common name for a disco where people dance to music listened to on wireless headphones.  Rather than using a speaker system, music is broadcast via an FM-transmitter with the signal being picked up by wireless headphone receivers worn by the participants…” – Wikipedia

The touch-screen wall that showed our photo (taken earlier at the photo booth) after we “blast” those green balls.

Their version of ICED DRINK

Cheers to a balanced family and social life!!!

MY BEAUTIFUL BOYS

In 1980, John Lennon composed and recorded the song “Beautiful Boy” for his and Yoko Ono’s son, Sean.  It begins with John comforting his son from what is seemingly a nightmare and progresses into John passionately describing the love he has for his son and the joy Sean gave him.

I like men who are not ashamed to show their love for their kids.  Dear Hubby is head over heels with the  Little Boy and relatively, the Little Boy is crazy in love with him.  They have an amazing connection, a love affair!  The kind that makes them forget that I’m in the room every time they’re together.  Nope, I was never jealous.  This special bond between them gave me more sleeping hours when as a baby, Little Boy would wake up in the wee hours asking his Papa for milk  :).    Their common interest in rough play has also saved me from some wounds and bruises.

On this special day I’d like to pay tribute to my son’s father, Dear Hubby, who has unselfish and re-assuring love for our son and this family.  Happy Father’s Day, Pappy, and to all the great fathers out there!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LITTLE BOY!

He didn’t want a big party in a fancy playground and a customized character cake, just a simple snack spread for his classmates during their break time in school and a small cake of his choice.  We didn’t have a party for him but I really wanted this day to be extra special.  I remember  flying back to Manila from a business trip on the morning of his third birthday.  Sang the Happy Birthday song with my mom and his nanny (Dear Hubby was on a business trip too), watched him blow the candle (from a cake I hand-carried from Davao City) and drove off to the office for an emergency meeting leaving him home parentless on his birthday. That feeling sucked big time!

As mentioned in my earlier entries, my career back in Manila officially made me a weekend mom. I gave birth to him six years ago but it’s only recently  when we moved to Jakarta that I have gotten to know him more.  This boy never ceases to amaze me. My brand name generation skills are put to test when he makes me “baptize” all his toys, Steven Seagull and Froggy Aguilar were among them. When he learned in school that living things “grow old and die”, he came to me and practically begged me not to grow old and die.  I assured him that mommy will be young forever, hello my anti-aging regimen!  Thanks to Whitney Houston, the other morning he said “I will always love you, Mommy.” I made him promise to say it even until he’s taller than me.  He said “yes” to that but I couldn’t stop him from saying that I’m a “horrible singer”!  Like any mother-son relationship, ours is not perfect as we go through the love-hate cycle over and over.   One minute I’m his Princess Mommy, the next minute he’d call me the wicked witch.  There are times when he’d give you a run for your sanity and wonder if he’s really your own offspring, and there are times  he’s the dearest sweetest boy on the planet.

I may have missed out on this boy’s early years but  I am forever grateful that I was given choices and I chose the right ones. Working from home is a challenge. But seeing this little boy grow up right before my very eyes  with our little milestones and having the time to document them… priceless.  Thank you God.

I chanced upon this great TV commercial which I instantly related to and hit me spot on!  Watching this, I swear I saw myself and the Little Boy in our own dining room… only I look more fab, hehe :).

*Thanks to my colleagues at San Miguel Foods, Inc. for the video

DOMESTIC DIVA’S DAY OFF

I know, I know…  A mother never takes a day off  but because last Sunday was so special it merited a “birthday leave” from my domestic duties.

I declared that I was going to make banana pancakes for breakfast even if I’ve never tried making some 🙂  Heck, there’s the instruction on the box, what could possibly go wrong?  Besides, it’s just pancake. Easy peasy!  But you know, things happen…  There had been some difficulties… It’s Murphy’s Law, really…  Okay,  I’m not really gifted with kitchen skills haha!  I started making some but they didn’t taste exactly like I wanted them to. Thank God Dear Hubby took over the stove and salvaged our special Sunday breakfast!  He managed to make it like a crepe to wrap the banana AND strawberry slices with.  While on the pan, he put peanut butter on top of the fruit slices then wrapped the whole thing before the peanut butter completely melted.  They were sooo good they got totally wiped out before I could even take a photo.

Then I said I was going to make spaghetti for lunch but Dear Hubby insisted he’d do it.  He made Spaghetti meatballs and served it with red wine!  How many men would spend their Sunday getting their hands smeared with ground beef?  Did I mention he also washed the dishes that day?  And while my Sunday chores were being covered, I replied to all incoming birthday messages and Skyped with my family back home in Manila.  See?  Day off! 🙂

I didn’t have a fancy party or a cake to slice and candles to blow, but I got everything any girl could ask for.  I have a family who loves me unconditionally (Translation: they love me whatever outcome my cooking brings 🙂 )   and thoughtful friends whose warm messages never fail to soothe my homesickness bug.  There’s so much to thank God for and that much needed day off was one of them.  Can’t ask for anything more really… except for that ceramic hair iron I’m gonna be saving up for hahaha 🙂  Celebrate life everyday, my friends!

Front and back page of Little Boy's birthday message

Dinner was at Otel Lobby in Rasuna Said, Jakarta

With Pinoy friends who happen to be dining in the same resto that night

My best birthday gifts ever!

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