Thursday, September 22, 2011

the BIG change

I knew that September would bring a lot of changes, in fact I called it THE BIG CHANGE in our life.  Change, no matter how big or small, brings in a lot of layers of emotion.  No matter how planned and anticipated it is, it still needs a lot of getting used to.  I don't even know how to begin to tell you how I truly feel about being an empty nester (at a very young age) and how moving to a place where you don't have any family and friends nearby.

But I guess the best way to ensure a smooth transition is to accept change and embrace it.  It makes you realize that change can be good.  In fact these days with the popularity of social media, you remain connected with friends and family, making coping with change much easier... I'm grateful too that the company that my husband joined gives us every resources of support. As his spouse, one of the perks I enjoy is having a transition coach. "Call me for anything" my coach told me when I had my first session with her.  Her words were comforting and I knew she was sincere.  We are provided too with a relocation specialist and temporary but comfortable corporate housing, to make the move as smooth as possible. One of the relocation specialist told me that her objective is simple - that is to make the wife (that's me!) happy.  A happy wife makes a happy husband and a happy new employee! It made perfect sense.

"Go to the Central West End where you will enjoy its charm and the casual vibe" my coach suggested.  She got me at charm.  Indeed, St. Louis has its charm.  Although we've only been here a week, I've been to a few places.  Downtown is being revived as an urban enclave.  The highly European influenced architecture of the buildings have the old world charm splashed with a contemporary flavor. The first time I walked trhough the streets,  my camera didn't stop clicking.  

The Roman-Byzantine inspired Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis where we went to church last Sunday swept me off my feet. It is grand. Breathtaking! The intricate designs of the mosaics all over the church glowed, it was as if I stepped into a magical place. And the services were so traditional.  It was refreshing to see the priest climbing up the robust stone lectern.  I felt transported to a different time. 

St. Louis exceded my expectations beyond its signature Arch.  The city offers so many exciting places and activities and not to mention dining options.  Over the weekend when we arrived, the annual balloon race took place.  The Balloon Glow had hundreds of hot air balloons illuminating the sky.  Definitely a festive mood to start our honeymooon with the city. This coming weekend will be another big event, one of the most celebrated culinary events in the area, the Taste of St. Louis, and we're excited to take part of it. 

"Open the shades to enjoy the sunlight and the view", my husband told me as it was dark in our loft when he stepped in from work.  As I was rolling the shades up, the view from our large windows lent me a a spectacular view of Forest Park with the sun's late afternoon rays shining through the windows. Similarly, my soul opened up to this change. Yes, I welcome THE BIG CHANGE with loving arms.  Here's to a new chapter in our lives.  Cheers!


Nothing epitomizes the Big Change we're undergoing than the recipe I am sharing with you in this post.  Bulalo is a clear broth based soup made of beef shanks and characterized by flavors from the bone marrow.  For this recipe, I cooked it  with tomatoes!  It's a big change and a different take yet it gives the same hearty comfort as the original  bulalo dish... enjoy! 

Tomato Simmered  Bulalo

3 large Beef Shank
3 riped tomatoes, chopped
1 can tomato sauce
1 cup flour
2 tsp garlic salt
2 tbsp olive oil
2 medium size onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 tsp oregano

Using a kitchen twine, tie each beef shank.  This is not to physically damage the beef.   Combine flour and garlic salt in a dish.  Coat each shank with the flour mixture.  Dredge excess flour.

Heat olive oil on a thick pan.  Brown all sides of the beef shanks and set aside.

On a stock pot, saute garlic and onions with 2 tbsp olive oil.  Add the tomatoes. Cook until tomatoes become limp and wilted  Add celery.  Pour tomato sauce and add oregano.  Add soup stock. Simmer until all the flavors are fused in together.

Add the beef shank and let it boil on high.  Adjust the heat to medium and let it simmer for 2 hours or until the shank are tender.  You may have to add more soup stock in case the meat needs more cooking.

Serve it hot with white rice... enjoy!


  1. Hello Malou! Great to hear from you. I'm glad to see you adjusting pretty well to your new city!
    This Bulalo with tomatoes is definitely a must try. Drooling now!

  2. I love how you are embracing the big move! It's never easy having to pack up and leave a familiar home, but I have no doubt that you and your husband will discover just as much fun and happiness in this new place. But I'm a bit envious of your transition coach! I've moved with hubs to about 8 different cities throughout our marriage and I NEVER got a 'happy wife' coach. ;-)

    This bulalo is definitely hearty and comforting! 8-)

  3. Love this version of bulalo, Malou! I tried cooking bulalo somewhat like this before and I must say it's really good!
    I'm happy to know that you are adjusting well in St. Louis! Cheers to the BIG change...cheers to your new life!

  4. Malou Malou Malou why do you do this. I am drooling with the "laman" I really would love to have this right now.
    By the way it's good to know that you are having a grand time over there in STL. I know you are now driving distance from me you can't blame me if I will be knocking at your door one of these days.


  5. That bowl of dreamy beef shank looks so comforting.I will have to try your recipe this weekend. We miss you Malou.

  6. St. Louis looks fabulous! I mentioned to Chito how wonderful the cathedral is and so European indeed.

    I'm happy you are having a fabulous time.

    I haven't cooked bulalo EVER.

  7. Guess what I am making today?! Got the shanks out of the fridge waiting to get to room temperature so I can get cooking. Never had with tomatoes with bulalo, it'll be the family's dinner tonight :)

    And I am glad you are adjusting very well in St. Louis. Now I have a reason to visit ;)

  8. A happy wife makes a happy husband and a happy new employee! It made perfect sense. - It does indeed! I believe in this, and I hope local Filipino culture give more importance to this principle.

    The bulalo is mouth-watering, must tell our cook to try this. :)

  9. Hello Taga TUgue, it's something different and totally a big change, and i'm talking about the BULALO hehe. Tahnks!

    Tracey: How else can we be a "happy wife" for the "happy employee" if we don't embrace the change the move brings right? The "happy wife" coach is the part I like best with this move LOL!

    Tina: hello thanks for the kind words. Indeed we are and are truly grateful that the move is steadily smooth.

    Jenny: I heard knocks on my door as soon as I read your comment and I almost flipped. I thought it was you! Well I wish it was you haha... would love to have you over!

    Remil: aaw, I miss you too. thank you for being my "live" yelper in LA. Im sure we will meet again. Can't wait for your version! Share pics ok?

    Annapet: maybe you and Chito and little C will come visit us. Yes there are so many interesting architectural designs here in STL that I'm sure Chito will love. Come visit me... would love to have you guys!

    Carol: yes let it me be your reason to comoe or else hahah. Thank you for cooking my bulalo recipe. The picture that you shared is truly awesome. Hugs Carol!

    Guia: wow kakaingit your cook is gonna do it haha. Yeah you should start a buzz about that principle over there so it will snowball hehe. thanks again for coming over! I'm so thrilled to have you back!

  10. It's amazing that we can move from one place to another if we really want to. You pack and go just like how you did it. You are in completely new city and I can't imagine how exciting this is. I hope everything is settling down and you get to enjoy exploring the new city. Bulao looks delicious and I wish I can try yours!

  11. I'm backtracking to your previous posts to find out more about you, Malou! I have just now realizing how often you have been moving.

    Your new city, St. Louis seems to be a promising and lovely place for you.
    You beef shank is so drooworthy and delicious. Love the marrow. I would just scoop the yummy marrow out and spread it on a nice crusty bread. Yumm!
    Thanks for sharing:DDD


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