Help for addicts

I'm glad that nobody in my family has ever been admitted to an alcohol addiction rehab program, or at least none that I know of. This is not to say that members of my family have totally sworn off alcohol. These are mostly celebration drinks for our family, to be enjoyed by sipping, not by gulping or emptying one full bottle of alcohol after another. Which is wise, I would say, because alcohol and drugs mess with the way you think and the way you react to situations. Inhibitions are lowered, so if we indulge in such vices, it's very possible for us to find ourselves in situations that are, at the very least, embarrassing. Tragedies have also been known to happen because of the influence of these substances. How many times have you heard of car accidents resulting from drivers drinking too much alcohol or somebody under the influence of a mind altering drug? How many times have you heard of a crime perpetuated by an individual under the influence of some prohibited drug? And of course, these things are not so easy to get rid of, once you get the "taste" of them. Alcoholics compulsively drink alcohol. Drug addicts do anything -- steal, prostitute themselves, kill -- just to get their next fix. At some point, these become real compulsions, and eventually these compulsion destroys lives -- their own, as well as those of other people, most often their family and other loved ones. It's very difficult for us to force somebody to just quit. It has to be a firm resolve. The people who work in drug rehab centers and those centers that also deal with alcohol addiction rehab, are experts in gradually getting the addict to quit, and to hopefully not go back to these substances for their overall health and to prevent the social harm that these cause. Alcohol and drugs change lives, and in not a good way. However, there's help. Do check it out here! This is a US based site, but I do know there are rehab centers all over the world, including here in the Philippines, albeit not as luxurious as these US centers. An addict can and will recover, as long as he has the willpower to do so. Perhaps you know someone near this center who could greatly benefit from the help they can offer; please let them know, there IS help out there. -- JoeyV 04.25.2013

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Happy Chinese New Year 2013

Photo credit:  author's own
Happy Chinese New Year!  May good fortune smile upon you and your family!

CNY eve saw us welcoming the year of snake with fanfare.  However, not all is well.  Still thankful for all the blessings we received in the turbulent year of the dragon that was and looking forward to the year of the snake.

Will be posting details of our New Year's celebration soon.

Corned beef from scratch

My husband and I both love corned beef -- the canned ones.  His fave is Libby's and mine is Deli Mondo.

On our family's New Year's Eve dinner, there was a large block of corned beef roasted and served by that dinner's hired caterer.  It was, in my opinion, better than even my favorite canned variety.

After that I decided to try to make my own corned beef.  I am concerned about the preservatives in the canned varieties that are so readily available so I want a healthier alternative to a favorite so we would not have to give it up.

Most recipes I found contained saltpeter (or salitre, a common nitrite preservative).  I didn't want that.  Finally, I found one that I liked.  I did modify it a bit, though.

It was surprisingly easy.  :)  It did take a week of brining, though, so it's not a dish that you serve at the spur of the moment like the canned ones, but you can make a big batch and freeze some of them for serving later.

It was yummy!  :)  I know I'm going to do this one again

Here is the recipe I followed:

And these are my modifications:

  • Since I was only experimenting, I didn't want to use a big 7-8 lb pc of meat.  What if we didn't like it?  So I just used 1/2 kilo (around 1 lb, I suppose) and adjusted the measures accordingly.
  • The only spices I used are peppercorns, laurel leaves and garlic.  The simple reason is that I do not have any stock of the others and I do not see myself using them in the near future.  Still turned out great. :)  Maybe I will try the spices next time.
  • I used ordinary salt and not kosher salt.  I did not know where to source kosher salt.
  • I used my mini crock pot to simmer for 4 hours at the end of the period so I didn't have to worry about not watching my LPG stove.  

It's a pity that I did not take any pictures.  The next time I make another (bigger) batch, I will take pictures and post them.

My mind is swimming with ideas on how to use the resulting delicious, flavorful meat.  I am planning to make sinigang, maybe try roasting it and serve with a barbecue sauce, flake some of it to use in sandwiches...  I'll post here if my experiments work!

Oh, since there was no salitre added, the end product is NOT pink like what we usually see in the commercial variety.  It looks somewhat grayish brown, since the blood has gone to the brining mixture during the 1 week brining period.

Has it been that long already?

It's been so long since I've last posted! So many things have happened in our lives and I have never been busier. Work has now taken a huge chunk of time for both me and the hubby. Also we've finally made the decision to move out from my mom's place and live on our own. My son is now a grade schooler and my daughter's at the end of her toddlerhood. All these have contributed to so many topics I would have wanted to write about, if only I had the time. Although I haven't had the time to write, I was still able to do my other constant -- maintaining my online store. While the income is not really that much, certainly not enough to cover our expenses, it has been helpful as an alternative income. It's also something that my kids can inherit, unlike my professional practice, which they probably can't. Lately, I've been thinking of doing more to promote my store. I was thinking if it would be good to have a custom poster done and display it in the lobby of our condo, so that my neighbors would know where to go if they need diapers or other baby stuff. I know that I could make my own posters easily with the software abounding nowadays, but I'm no graphic artist and professionally made [custom poster frames] look so much better than a DIY project. I've done a google search and I did visit the site where you can have a poster professionally done and delivered to you. You can send them a picture of the poster that you want. They will even tell you if the image size is adequate for the site. I'm thinking that I can actually do a custom poster of my family! Probably put together a collage of our fave times together and hang it in our living room for us to relive over and over again. After all, good memories are made to be cherished forever.