How to Make Everyday #ExtraSpecial When You're Neighbors

by - Tuesday, February 18, 2020

From being kids in love to young adults donning multiple hats, Jonas and I saw each other dream, plan, and conquer our life battles on the seven wonderful years that we’ve been together. When asked about the secret to our longterm relationship, I often say it’s because we’re neighbors.

Back in September 2018 at Basco, Batanes
Our weeknight jamming at the sari-sari store in between our homes is the main reason why we’ve developed feelings for each other. We also often see each other in our purest form - undone hair and clad in our comfortable house clothes with no makeup and accessories. Living a few houses away from each other meant we can rule out separation anxiety quickly. This also meant we can hang out to hearts liking by playing video games, walk in the neighborhood at night, or stop by the nearby convenience store to score our favorite chocolate.

Even though we regularly see each other, we also work on different passion projects on the side. He’s the Creative Director of Seaesport, an online community that covers all things Esports in Southeast Asia (& worldwide), and me being the founder of The Lifestyle Wanderer, aka my beloved lifestyle blog. These personal projects allowed us to tick off other goals in our list and promote individual growth. In my opinion, pursuing different interests and learning new things from each other allowed us to know each other more and avoid the burnout of being together all the time.

In our elements during our local travels | Jonas in Batanes & Me in Cebu
With our differences come our similarities. We both share a penchant for good food. It’s an unspoken language that captures us in a heartbeat. We always resort to delectable dishes - whether we want to immerse, celebrate, forget, or just hangry. We love to try new recipes and discover amazing restaurants wherever we are in the world.

at the Cup Noodles Museum in Osaka, 2019
Valentine’s day came, and we have the whole day planned out. We kicked off our morning with a visit to Arte Povera, an art exhibit that depicts Italian aesthetics through installations made with scrap pieces. He swung by his office in the afternoon to finish some work. During the night, we had an early dinner at a Japanese Tepanyaki restaurant and watched 1917. I'm glad we're able to file a vacation leave on this day because we’re able to dodge the horrible traffic and restaurant waiting time.

While food is one of our love languages, it can also be costly. During our Valentine’s dinner, we had fantastic Wagyu cubes alongside a 5-course dinner set. If I’m not mistaken, our dinner alone cost us more than P500 per head. That’s more than my daily budget daily already! (eeep) Because it’s a special day, we let it pass and instead focused on how good that medium-rare Wagyu cubes were.

Beef with Broccoli (and Mushroom) Recipe
A day after V-day, I decided to go out of my comfort zone to cook him my favorite Beef with Brocolli (and Mushroom). My mom is the bomb when it comes to creating tasty dishes, and this is one of the recipes I wish to learn from her. On this day, we went to the market to buy the following ingredients:

  • 3/4 kgs Beef (beef steak cut)
  • 1 can of sliced mushroom
  • 1 medium-sized Broccoli
  • 1 sachet of Sarsaya Oyster Sauce
  • 1 Beef cubes
  • Margarine
  • 1 bulb of Garlic and Red Onion
Here’s how we cooked her famous Beef with Brocolli (and Mushroom):
  1.  After cleaning the beef, throw it in the pressure cooker alongside the beef cubes and a fraction of the minced garlic and onion. Leave it on the heat for 25 minutes after the pressure cooker is under pressure.
  2. On a separate pan, sauté the remaining minced garlic and onion in the butter. Add the broccoli once the garlic and onion become brown. Don’t oversauté the broccoli. Once cooked, put them in a separate bowl.
  3. Add margarine on the used pan. Once melted, add the cooked beef and mix it with the margarine for 2-3 minutes. While mixing, add the sliced mushroom.
  4. Add the oyster sauce, salt, and pepper to taste.
  5. Lastly, add the cooked broccoli on the pan and mix.
I shared a serving with Jonas over lunchtime. While I super loved how tasty it is (it’s the bias in me talking), he found it a tad salty on its own. His workaround? Eat it with a warm cup of rice. I also shared this with my family because the dish can serve five to six people.

While I need to improve on my cooking skills, I’m glad I was able to make a day after v-day still extra special by cooking him my favorite dish. How do you make everyday extra special with your loved one? Let me know in the comment section below! 😊

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