My Parents’ Native Tongue

Philippine Clip Art, Filipino Clip Art, Watercolor Clip Art, Speaking Tagalog

Philippine Symbols Watercolor Clip Art from my shop, Affordable Clip Art
 

My parents were born in the Philippines and emigrated to the United States back in the 70’s. Though Tagalog is their native language and they spoke it at home, I unfortunately didn’t retain enough of the language and I’ve been playing catch up.

I understand the spirit of what they are saying, but I cannot tell you for sure what they are saying. I know enough but I want to know more. I am inspired by this guy, Dwaine Wooley, who lives in the Philippines and speaks fluent Waray. I feel like a backwards FOB when I watch his videos. The character I played in An Infinite Ache has a huge argument with her Jewish husband about losing her culture, losing herself, disappearing down the family line. I worry about that, too. Especially in the volatile political climate we are in now. I don’t want my daughter to disregard her heritage, I want her to know that her mixed heritage is a thing of beauty.

One of my closest high school friends was a fluent Tagalog speaker and she would very patiently teach me. I also listened to songs and watched some movies to immerse myself the best that I can. I also made my parents talk to me in Tagalog. I like to think I got pretty good, but then I started to date a guy who liked to announce NO COLOR LINES whenever I would practice in front of him. I shouldn’t have let that go as easily as I did, but I was too malleable back then. I should have corrected that part of my life sooner but I wouldn’t be the first person to stick around longer than necessary. Live and learn.

Anyway, I am teaching my daughter the names of parts of the body like nose (ilong), Eyes (mata), hands (kamay), etc. I also got these Tagalog flash cards and this book to start. I’m still looking for kids songs, but that’s proven to be tougher to find.

I just wish my daughter was able to learn first hand and not through an Americanized filter like myself. But like when Marge Simpson said she was gonna teach piano lessons. “I just have to stay one lesson ahead of the kid!”

My Favorite Herbs To Grow

easy herbs to grow, herbs to grow in pots, full sun herbs

Watercolor Herb Clip Art from my shop, Affordable Clip Art.

I LOVE to cook with fresh herbs! My first herb was a pot of garlic chive that I got shortly after my husband and I moved in together almost 6 years ago. I have saved the seeds and planted and replanted and thought it died so many times but every single year it comes back stronger than ever! It started out in a tiny pot and now it’s in a HUGE pot on our porch. It grows so fast that we can’t keep up with eating it all! But I will say it was my gateway herb. Since then I’ve planted so much more.

affordable clip art, affordabelclipart.com, yvonnedesalle, singathomemom, parsley

Since the deer in our neighborhood are assholes persistent, we can’t plant anything edible in our yard, so I keep my herbs in pots. Here is a list of my favorite herbs to grow in your garden to up your recipe game and how I like to use them.

Garlic Chive -Also called Chinese chives or jiǔ cài.  I like to sautée them with garlic and a little butter for a simple side dish, sprinkle on eggs, or mix into ground meat.

affordable clip art, affordabelclipart.com, yvonnedesalle, singathomemom, oregano

Chive – Very good for blood flow. My daughter and I both have high platelets so we put some chives on our eggs every morning and sometimes she eats a small blade while we harvest.

ParsleyDonut loves it, and the kiddo loves to feed it to him. It saves his breath, for a minute, haha! I also love chopped parsley on salads, pastas and pretty much anything that could use a little freshness!

 

affordable clip art, affordabelclipart.com, yvonnedesalle, singathomemom, basil

Oregano– Chop up and add to pasta sauce, obvs. I also like to make an easy “pernil style” pork dish. Just chop up some oregano and garlic, mix with some salt, pepper and olive oil. Rub all over some pork chops and grill!

 

Dill – Great with fish! Brush fish with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and fresh dill chopped. Bake, and squeeze lemon on top afterwards. You can also make a delicious yogurt sauce with plain yogurt, dill, salt, pepper, garlic and chopped cucumber.

 

Rosemary – PERFECT with pork. Sprinkle pork chops with salt  and rub with chopped rosemary leaves. Leave for awhile and then cook as usual. Add more chopped rosemary leaves after cooking. Make your own sausage too! I like Alton Brown’s recipe for homemade sausage.

 

Basil – Sautéed with spinach and garlic makes for a great side dish. Also toss with chopped tomatoes, diced mozzarella and drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette for a yummy caprese salad.

affordable clip art, affordabelclipart.com, yvonnedesalle, singathomemom, sage

Sage – Kiddo loves these. Fry the leaves up in some butter till crispy for a yummy little chip. Kiddo loves these in the morning.

Scallions – Great to sprinkle in salad, toss with roasted potatoes and of course in omelets.

 

Thyme – Can add to beef with some chopped red peppers, garlic and red onions to make a middle eastern style meatball. Eat with dill and yogurt sauce.

The BEST part about all the herbs listed above is that they all thrive in FULL SUN, so just leave them there. No need to calculate how many hours of sun vs. shade or any of that other complicated stuff. I water when the top inch of soil begins to feel dry, and that’s it!

 

You COULD start these from seed (which I used to do but with a rambunctious toddler running around and a second on the way, it’s not gonna happen for awhile) but the last few seasons I’ve bought my herbs from local herb purveyors. If you do start from seed, I highly recommend Hudson Valley Seed Company! They have wonderful heirloom varieties and are certified organic!

What are your favorite herbs to cook with? What recipes do you like to use?

 

Exploring Another Love…

I am an official art school drop out.

And I can’t go back and get my degree because the school I went to went out of business, but not before I managed to complete one out of two required years. Oh but that year was grueling. So many sleepless nights and that was the year I gave up coffee. Really. THAT was the year. I think I still have the mark from when my forehead slammed on my keyboard when I fell asleep in class. My schedule was crazy back then. Full time school, part time work, rehearsing for a show, AND in a relationship. It’s no wonder that halfway through that year I got SO SICK that my voice disappeared. I remember laying on the couch feeling so miserable and tired that I thought to myself…if I died right now at least I’d get some sleep.

Anyway, I have always loved digital art. My dad had an old Amiga computer and I made my very first campaign posters in 5th grade on it when I ran for Chief of Safeties (I lost). I can’t even remember the name of the program, but it was so fun making those signs. That dream collapsed after that first year in college, but like drawing, I’m slowly finding my way back to all the things I used to love. And I finally decided to put that half year of art school to good use and try to get some of that investment back by putting some artwork on Etsy! I’ll continue to add more as time goes on. Gotta put the random thoughts and colors swirling around in my head somewhere, right?

 

Donut’s Dog Birthday Cake RECIPE

dog birthday cake recipe

Looking for a dog birthday cake recipe? I got one for you!

But better than a cake, make them into cupcakes! This way you can share with friends!

Today is my dog Donut’s 10th birthday. This little fella and I have been through so much together. Moving from Los Angeles to Memphis to New Jersey then New York, he was by my side. He graciously (well, as graciously as he could) welcomed my husband and his dog Twister into our lives. Donut grieved hard when Twister passed away and offered his comfort to us in the weeks afterwards. We were nervous that he wouldn’t adjust well to the baby, but Donut surprised us all, and assumed his role as her protector and friend from day one. On our first day home, he sat in front of the rocking chair while I nursed her and wouldn’t let Daddy near us (still working on that, haha!). Today, he is her best friend and foot massager. I couldn’t have asked for a better big brother for my baby girl.

We are celebrating his birthday this upcoming Thursday. I plan on cooking him a special dinner and I will bake him some dog food cupcakes which we will share with his friends in the neighborhood: Doc, Rufus, Vader, Bruce and Cash. (Wow, I didn’t realize there were no female dogs living on our street!)

Here are a couple pictures from his 7th and 9th birthdays. Twister didn’t want to wait until the song was over, and two years later, neither did my daughter. I knew they were kindred spirits! My husband and I sometimes wonder how Twister would have acted if she’d been around when D was born. Donut probably wouldn’t have let Twister near her. D is, after all, HIS baby, haha!

dog birthday cake recipe
Top, Donut’s 9th birthday
Bottom, Donut’s 7th birthday with his sister Twister
Donut's 9th Birthday
Donut’s 8th Birthday! I was in the throws of pregnancy memory loss so I forgot to bake him a cake this year. Instead I ordered him a present from Pet360 that made him mad, haha!!
dog birthday cake recipe
Donut’s 4th Birthday – It was freezing outside so his birthday walk in Manhattan was canceled but I don’t think he cared.

Donut’s Dog Birthday (Cup)cake Recipe
Makes 5-6 regular sized cupcakes OR a bunch of mini cakes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 package of Little Cesar’s dog food
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

(Optional)

  • 1/2 cup grated carrots
  • Cream cheese (for icing)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Place flour in a large bowl.
  • In another bowl, whisk eggs and oil together.
  • Add dog food to egg and oil mixture and mix well, mash if necessary.
  • Mix in carrots or cheese (if desired) into egg mixture.
  • Add egg mixture into flour and stir to combine.
  • Place paper cupcake liners in 6 cups of a regular sized cupcake pan and fill halfway OR fill to top in a mini cupcake pan. Place in oven and bake for 12-15 minutes or until the internal temperature of the cakes reach 160.

NOTE – if making mini cupcakes, reduce cooking time to 10 minutes.
Ice with cream cheese if desired!

I hope your pups enjoy these!

NOTE – A previous version of this recipe called for baking powder which I have just realized is not safe for dogs. Though the amount that was in the original recipe was small, I no longer feel comfortable including it, so it has been omitted.

Mommy-Daughter Day at Dia:Beacon

Dia:Beacon
The little one making mischief at Dia:Beacon!

My daughter and I took advantage of this weekend’s FREE event at Dia:Beacon. This weekend was part of Dia’s Community Free Days which includes free admission for Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester County residents on quarterly basis. The last time I went there was before I got married, so I was hoping to see some new stuff.

Yeesh, I forget how BIG this place is. It doesn’t look like it from the outside, but believe me, it’s huge!

Kiddo loved it!

There was a lot of room for her to run around. I made sure she only ran free in areas where the artwork was out of her reach. She had her eye on one particular sculpture (made of discarded metal) and she was DETERMINED to climb it. Luckily, I got to her before she could touch it.

I will have to say, that I maintain my stance on blank canvases as “art.” Not sorry. Not art. Piles of glass? Not art. Garbage. Holy crap, I was cursing under my breath because I just cannot reconcile that as art. There are two or three rooms of blank canvases up next to galleries of giant metal sculptures and down the hall is a whole room of geometric pencil drawings drawn right on the wall!! Blank canvases (canvases painted white, whatever) are not the same. Watch me take a dump on the floor and call it art. Same amount of effort. I blame Duchamp and his love for toilet humor.

However, I did enjoy most of the work displayed!

There were some pieces I loved, like The Hanged Man by Bruce Nauman (NSFW). I thought it was hilarious! Maybe the not the message the artist was trying to put forth, but humor is what I got.

Dan Flavin’s untitled (to you, Heiner, with admiration and affection), 1973 was also one of my favorites. My daughter actually enjoyed his the best because they were all lit up!

Sol LeWitt remains my favorite artist displayed at Dia:Beacon because you know some WORK went into his pieces. My daughter pointed at one particular installation which was red, yellow and blue and started shouting, “Color! Color!” Even she appreciated it, and she’s only 18.5 months old!

Later, we finished up with lunch in the museum cafe, which is an extension of Homespun Foods, one of Beacon’s most popular cafes – SUPER delicious, and not your standard museum cafeteria food.

Anyway, even with my loathing towards conceptual art, Dia:Beacon is still a wonderful place to visit and get your culture on. The Dia Art Foundation has several locations and affiliates in the US and internationally. Check them out!

Soft Buttered Toast PBJ Sandwich Recipe

Photo credit: Will Folsom via Visualhunt / CC BY

I didn’t grow up eating the iconic American PBJ sandwich. My mom never made them for me! I have a faint memory of eating one on a school field trip to a farm, but only because I had forgotten my lunch and one of my classmates had two sandwiches and gave one to me. Truthfully, as a kid, I never really liked peanut butter. Peanuts were another story, especially if they were covered in chocolate!

Because of my stomach issues (intestinal malrotation), I eat a PBJ sandwich often as they are filling and easy for my stomach to digest. A few weeks ago, I made myself and my daughter a couple of sandwiches for lunch on toasted sandwich bread. Now, I don’t enjoy the toasted texture as much as I do the pillowy softness of untoasted bread with a PBJ, but I still wanted some crunch. And no, I wasn’t going to put potato chips inside. So how could I fix this?

Remembering a little trick I picked up when searching for the perfect grilled cheese recipe, I decided to grill the bread with a little butter, but only on one side. Next, spread peanut butter on the toasted side of one slice of bread, letting the residual heat soften the peanut butter. Spread jelly or jam on the toasted side of the other slice of bread, then put the two sides together. The resulting sandwich has the crispy buttery texture on the inside with the peanut butter and jelly, and the soft pillowy outside that I love. Delicious! The kiddo loves them, and so do I! You could get fancy for a tea party by cutting off the crusts and slicing these into 4 triangles.

Try it! Let me know how you like it!

SOFT BUTTERED TOAST PBJ SANDWICH

10 m
1 serving

Ingredients

1 tablespoon of softened butter or margarine
2 slices of your favorite sandwich bread
1 teaspoon peanut butter
1 teaspoon fruit jelly or jam (any flavor)

1. Spread enough butter or margarine on one side of each slice of bread.
2. Heat a large nonstick skillet (I like this one) on the stovetop on medium.
3. Place bread slices butter side down and cook, swirling the pan to make sure the bread is toasted evenly. Take off the heat once it is toasted to your liking.
4. Lift bread with a spatula onto a plate with the toasted side up.
5. Spread peanut butter on the toasted side of one slice of bread and jelly or jam on the toasted side of the other.
6. Put the slices together with the peanut butter and jelly on the inside.

(optional) Cut off crusts and slice into 4 triangles.

Also, you can use crunchy peanut butter or smooth! Whatever you like!

ENJOY!!!

An Unplanned Hiatus and Announcement!

So the end of November threw me into an unplanned hiatus from blogging and personal social media. My online activities were restricted to the social media responsibilities for my job, as well as extra holiday hours at the store. Not that it wasn’t a welcome time to be busy, because as you can tell from the photo below…

Pregnancy Announcement

…the hubs and I are expecting our first child in July! We are very excited, terrified and so so happy! We aren’t particularly sentimental/cheesy/corny people, but we do love to laugh. So we included Donut in our announcement! Poor kid, haha! He’s been demoted to reindeer next Christmas. The first thing I bought for the baby was a Santa suit. Girl or boy, who cares.

Donut and his soon-to-be-baby

Other than that, I’ve been really busy working because of the holidays. Since it is the start of the slow season, I’m working on increasing my social media client base and adding more inventory to my shop. I want to work from home so that I can stay with the baby. My parents both worked full time so growing up I had nannies and babysitters around me the majority of the time. I lived for Thursdays because that was the day my mom would be off from work! Because of how both parents working out of the house affected me growing up, I would rather be the one at home taking care of the kids and return to the workforce once they are old enough to go to school.

I don’t plan on putting too many pictures of the kids online. I want them to be able to control their own level of privacy. That cute picture of them on the toilet when they’re  five could come back to haunt them when they’re fifteen.

Pregnancy has been fairly easy so far (knock on wood), aside from mild food aversions (still can’t eat chicken), and dairy has become my worst enemy (gas gas gas……..), but chocolate is still my friend and french fries have saved me from starving on more than one occasion.

I have a couple things planned for this blog. I will continue to feature my talented friends in my monthly round-ups (performances, industry, etc.), but I’ll be adding more DIY, recipes and some music. Stay tuned!

Keys To The Animal Room

My next project is a staged reading of Peta Murray’s Keys to the Animal Room at The Beacon Theatre. Directed by Christine Vittorini, it takes a hard look at domestic violence and how the signs of abuse so often go ignored. I play the role of the battered wife, Julie. After our first read thru last night, we talked about how interesting it was that there are so few scripted works by American writers that tackle this delicate subject. As an actor, it is my job to delve wholly into the character and the circumstances surrounding her. It was so hard to let myself go there because the subject matter is so dark, so scary…having no personal experience in physical abuse, I feel like I have a responsibility to those who have suffered and are still suffering.

Performances are scheduled for one weekend only. For more information, go HERE.

Presently…

Can you believe it’s almost the end of September? Where did all the glorious warm weather go? It’s been such a busy past few months. I’ve been working a lot, and next week I start rehearsals for a new project I’m working on. On the go as always, and even though I just returned from a week long vacation in Mississippi visiting family, I’m already in dire need for another one!

Watching: Married With Children. I never get tired of this show. Ever. I’ve been watching it since I was a kid, even though I shouldn’t have been, haha! The jokes went over my head back then, thankfully.

Preparing: I’m getting ready to do two giveaways! One with a sponsor and one with a friend of mine. Details to come!

Writing: Another article on the real lives of actors. This one is going to be focused on actors who have moved to the United States for their career.

Reminiscing: Miss Saigon celebrated her 25th Anniversary, and watching the trailer for the new production in London brings back so many memories. Like the time I threw up in the middle of a dance number, or the time I was dropped on my head, or the time I had to leave my pants onstage because they got caught on an immoveable set piece and I needed to exit…oh yes, all true! LOL, oh the stories I have to tell!!

Organizing: My office has been in a state of madness for a few months. I took everything out to sort, and I’m in the process of FINALLY setting up my sewing machine. Pajamas for all!

That’s it! What are YOU doing?

Happy 25th Birthday to Miss Saigon!

Twenty-five years ago today, the first production of Miss Saigon opened at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane starring Lea Salonga. In 1994, I saw the show in Los Angeles at the Pantages Theatre starring Jennifer Paz (Melinda Chua alt.) as Kim. I remember thinking to myself “That’s what I want to do when I grow up.” My dreams came true full circle almost 10 years later when I was cast in the North American Tour with Jennifer. I lived that dream for a year and a half in the ensemble, covering the roles of Gigi and Kim.

It was such a wonderful time in my life. This show made me believe that there was room for me in the musical theatre world, and since then I’ve played many roles that both support and challenge my type. The friends I made because of this show are forever, and I have Miss Saigon to thank.

Here is a video of the musical farewell that my tour roommate Kyle Bruich and I recorded with the two kids who alternated the role of Tam (Jonathan Wade and Brianna Laxson). These kids are both taller than me now, and have been for awhile!

Please excuse the messy room in the video, haha!

Happy Birthday to Miss Saigon!