USA: A Double Christmas Celebration

Hey, I’m back and I am really sorry for the one week delay of posting my next blog. I need to work on my proper time management. Really sorry guys, I won’t be promising anything but I will TRY my best. So, here it goes.

My last blog was all about our trip in Chicago. Today, I’ll be sharing to you, my first ever Christmas here in Alabama. So, we arrived here on the evening of the 23rd of December and it was freezing! Our happy greetings and joyous reunions were cut off due to the cold weather. We all had to hurry back home and enjoy the festivities. Like the usual Filipino reunions, we’re all loud, filled with stories and late night banterings.

The next day, which was the 24th. My aunt told us we were invited for my Uncle Tep’s cousin’s Christmas gathering. I was really nervous and kept asking my aunt what would it be like. I’m quite socially awkward during gatherings where I don’t know a lot of people. In order to chill my nerves and to keep my mind off it, we all decided to go out and shop. It was an effective therapy/distraction! LOL.

Boots. Boots. Boots. 😍 #Alabama #USA #LesVoyagesdeNica

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We headed to Rack Room Shoes, where they had a buy one, get one free promo. I had a hard time picking out what boots, I wanted. Boots, aren’t that cheap back in Manila and are only out during the “ber” months, seeing that we don’t have winter season. The store offered a lot of good shoes, and I so wanted to bag them all. My mom and I partnered for the promo and so did my dad and brother. It was a good buy. After Rack Room, we headed to a few more stores and went to Bass Pro in Leeds, AL.

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Pre-Shopping faces. See my shoes here?

Holiday spirit. #Alabama #USA #LesVoyagesdeNica

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Bass Pro is an outdoor store. They have all the equipment, clothing and gears for hunting, fishing, camping and whatever you deem is outdoor necessary. But aside from the camping tools, you will enjoy Bass Pro on its own. The whole place is definitely IG-worthy! Lol. I think my dad took tons of photos and would recommend this place as a tourist attraction.

Holiday spirit. #Alabama #USA #LesVoyagesdeNica

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The store also offered a few games/entertainment to enjoy while roaming around. My cousins, according to my aunt, loved to visit the place just to play around.

I got my Boo Bear for Christmas. #Alabama #USA #LesVoyagesdeNica

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My guardian wolf. 🐺❤️ #Alabama #USA #LesVoyagesdeNica

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That’s me and my wolf addiction. Hahaha!

Right after Bass Pro, we headed home for lunch and rested for till 3:00pm. We started preparing and waited for our ride. I’d like to use this opportunity to thank Aunt Kathy and Mims for fetching us. It was quite a bit of a long drive and my I kept asking what was it like cause I couldn’t calm myself, so I dozed off to sleep on the car. Arriving at their place made my knees go weak and I find myself taking in deep breaths. I was not ready for this at all, but thank goodness, they were all so accepting and nice. Still, awkward me couldn’t seat still.

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Right after a few minutes of arriving and introductions were made, the hosts, Mr. and Mrs. Isley said a word of prayer and the dinner began. Eventually, awkward me started dissolving and is being replaced by talkative me. The celebration was a bit different from how we do it in the Philippines but I’m just probably just used to the noisy kind of celebration or because I am just new here. Overall, the food was good, the people are warm and wonderful. Not to mention the gifts! I didn’t expect any, but we came prepared with our gifts to give as well. Once again, I wanted to thank the Fields-Isley family for their warm welcome and invitation.

We went home that night, filled with food and fun.

The next day was the 25th and we were told that we are going to another Christmas celebration. This time it was on my Uncle’s brother’s place. Unlike the first, I wasn’t that nervous to attend here. I happen to have met them already, which makes my nerves calmer. Again, using this opportunity, I want to say thank you to Mims and Pops for fetching us.

We arrived a bit late, but it was alright. It was also good to see the Phillips family once again. The night was filled with fun and food too. They made us join the Dirty Santa game, which was my first time. I actually I thought it was something…ehem…let’s just say, when I heard dirty, I thought it was bad. Lol. In the end, we got lots of gifts and had tons of fun with the whole family. I also had an inspiring conversation with Mrs. Phillips and her advocacy on kids. Thank you again to the Phillips family for the wonderful gifts and for welcoming us to your home!

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Christmas celebrations are different in every part of the world and in every family. But one thing is common, the spirit of giving that reminds us of that night when Christ was born to save men. I had two different experiences on what it is to celebrate Christmas in the United States, and although it was a bit quieter than the usual Filipino celebrations, the love for the family is there. I hope this won’t be my last to celebrate a holiday in the US. Hoping and praying to have more!

Merci beaucoup et á bientôt!

P.S. Next blog post would be about our Disney World Experience. Stay tune!

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Fusili Basil Chicken

I just turned 24 yesterday! Oh, how time flies, and to celebrate my birthday I decided to make Fusili Basil Chicken. I love pasta dishes and I find them easier to cook than other dishes. I also love basil chicken, I remember having it in Thailand and my mum and I decided to recreate it here with our own twists and turns. Hope you enjoy this blog and try out the dish as well!

Fusili-Basil-Chicken

1/4 kilo of minced chicken
500g of Fusili pasta or any pasta of choice
2 cups of basil leaves
2 whole red bell pepper diced
1 whole red onion diced
1 whole garlic
1/2 cup of black olives sliced
1 can of mushroom sliced
1 teaspoon of honey with calamansi (use lemon as other option)
1/2 tablespoon of Kikkoman soy sauce (add if necessary)
1 cup of grated cheese (to be added later) separate a handful later
1 cup finely chopped nuts (optional)
3 hard boiled eggs sliced
Choice spices (example: thyme, rosemary, sage etc.)
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to instructions, drain and put aside.

In a mortar, mash the garlic and green chilis, then stir fry in a pan with oil on medium high. Add onions until slightly browned then add the minced chicken. Add a teaspoon of pepper and mix well until cooked. Add your choice spices and 1/2 tablespoon of Kikkoman soy sauce. Mix well.

Add the teaspoon of honey with calamansi or lemon. Stir for a few minutes then add the bell pepper, olives and mushrooms. Taste if you need to add salt. Then stir until slightly cooked, add the basil on low heat. Make sure to not overcook the basil leaves. Then toss your basil chicken on the pasta in a separate bowl, add a handful of grated cheese then mix well. Plate and top it with finely chopped nuts and grated cheese. Serve while hot.

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We had a sumptuous meal and I am glad my brother loved it! He is quite a critic with his meal. I hope you find this recipe interesting and give it a try as well, try adding more spices depending on what suits your taste. Once again, happy birthday to me and thank you to my dear readers!

Merci beaucoup et á bientôt!

All Grilled and Smokin’: Charaptor BBQ

Birthday celebrations are always attached with FOOD!! And by food, we yearn to try for something new. We tried a grilling place located in Brgy. San Antonio, Makati. Charaptor, I saw it from a food segment in TV5 news it was around 299php per person for a buffet of grilled meat, seafoods and veggies. Good thing I checked their FB page and saw the changes on their prices.

Tuesdays-Thursdays
Lunch (10am-2pm)     290php

Mondays-Thursdays
Dinner (6pm-11pm)    390php

Fridays-Sundays
Lunch (10am-2pm)      390php
Dinner (5pm-12mn)     490php

We went on a Saturday to celebrate my cousin, Kaileen’s  nth birthday (haha) and after the hassle of MRT’s sandwich-sardine situation plus getting lost in Google’s directions we finally reached the place past 11am. They cleaned up a table for us and started our grilling session.

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Finally! Waiting for us to be called and seated.

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The Birthday Celebrant in red orange and her sister
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The grill.

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Different sauces for different tastes
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Your choice of mash potatoes or rice for carbs. Crinkles and meringue for dessert.

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Meat and seafood galore!
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Grilling Time!! Thankful that my cousins Kaileen and Lyka knew how to grill. Haha, while I enjoyed snackin’ it all
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And like any of our trips we wouldn’t miss out picture taking. Too bad we missed the rest of the gang.

So far, the meal was enough for all of us. I ate Mash Potatoes, a handful of crinkles and loads of chicken and beef strips. I love how the chicken and beef were marinated with spiciness. I could eat them all at one time!!

In case you wanted to try out Charaptor here is their address: (although I wish they have other branches near Pasig)

9752 Kamagong St. Cor. Aranga St. Brgy. San Antonio, Makati.

Facebook site: https://www.facebook.com/CharaptorBBQ?ref=ts&fref=ts

^_^ Enjoy!!

Merci beaucoup et á bientôt!