The Time Stopper

             


                “It’s so smoky in here; it’s like someone set off a bomb,” this is one of the lines I like the most throughout the story. It awakened my imagination and started going into the extraordinary scenes. It made me experience the so called “Mind Dimension”!

                Miri’s gift of mind dimension made the whole story interesting. Through this gift, she was able to examine herself from all angles and can even magnify her life’s insecurities which made her able to stop time. However, the moment she stops time, she is becoming powerless since she can’t change anything in the real world. Also, it made her access memories even of other people but cannot go far enough. Nevertheless, this gift made her replay the incident of her life that made her indifferent. She turned out to be a girl who doesn’t believe in soul, God and goodness in life. And this even get worse every time she remembers the minute her parent’s car explode where she find herself hopeless as she did nothing but go into mind dimension and watched how her parents died! And this is where her life evolves, finding the Russian mobster who killed her family.

                On the first chapter, I got very emotional. I saw the love between father and daughter. They were both into mind dimension, seizing the last 30 minutes of her father’s life. I can never forget her father’s passage, “To live even a few more minutes, to see you, is a treasure”.

           I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars! The writing is very evocative that made even the most mundane details fascinating.  Yet, I do not recommend this to teenagers because of the vulgar words about sex, rape and some intense actions. But I strongly suggest this to adults since it is indeed a fascinating short story which is worth paying a penny.

** I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review**



Chocolate Caramel Meringue Cake

                


                 It was a lazy Wednesday afternoon. My baby Caeden is sleeping and I have already done my favorite past time, blogging. I was thinking of how else I can utilize my time aside from reading books. Well, the next in line is my favorite hobby of all time, baking! Yes, I will have a date with my wondrous oven. Thus, I thought of a delight that is best paired with coffee.

                 I suddenly remembered the caramel sauce recipe I had in my previous baking class.  So, what might be a good delight glazed with caramel sauce? I scanned my new recipe book but haven’t found a perfect one. Hence, I considered making another kind of cake that has not yet been tasted by my family.

                `I checked my pantry for the available ingredients. I found a cake flour, baking powder, fresh eggs, fresh milk and refined sugar that actually filled in the ingredients for a chiffon cake. There I decided to make one. Then after baking my chiffon cake, I looked for something that will go with my caramel sauce. And I was lucky to find a box of milk chocolate which was a perfect match for my caramel sauce.

                As I was about to start, I felt anxious because I will do again the difficult part in making caramel sauce, the heating up of syrup with the sugar. Well for me it is quite challenging since I do not want to overcook the mixture as it will taste bitter and when exposed to air, it will turn very sticky and hard to bite. So I have to be very cautious while doing it. Actually, the hint in caramelizing is to place the heavy saucepan over a low heat in order for the sugar to melt slowly and perfectly. Therefore, while following this hint you will surely make it right just like what I did! I certainly came up with a good tasting caramel sauce for my chiffon base cake but you may also try making either vanilla or mocha.

                This was absolutely a perfect partner for my brewed coffee. The frosting which was a combination of caramel sauce and milk chocolate chips wasn’t overly sweet. It tastes like a cross between caramel and custard. Just like the taste of leche flan or crème caramel.

                

Importance of English Language



           English is the number one means of communicating in every Asian region. It is the Lingua Franca that the people in the region use in their daily lives in order to effectively share their thoughts and express their feelings, not only in their region but also in interacting to other nationalities. Just like the businessman who makes transactions to other countries in order to successfully close, negotiate or offer some deals. Thus, every country not only in Asia, strives to learn the correct usage of English.

            Nowadays, Asian regions focus on educating their students on speaking and writing in their regional variety of English. As a result, it is one of the major courses in every level such as in elementary and high school unit. In fact, English course is offered as a specialization in college so that a student will have focus on the proper usage of English and eventually will share his knowledge on it after he graduated. Having this as his course makes him an effective English teacher in their region. In this regard, Asian students from different regions who are fearful in speaking, because they falsely believe that they are poor speakers unless they sound like Americans, will have the confidence to speak using their regional variety of English. Moreover, having this regional variety of English will make Asian people maintain their identity while speaking. Let us say for example how the Filipino businessman gives his profile while transacting to other countries. This man actually proclaims to his client the thought of, "I am a Filipino". It is easy to know the nationality of this man because he has this Filipino dictation while speaking in English. Yes as you can see, the Japanese, Singaporean, Korean, Indian and Malaysian have different diction from Filipinos as well as how they pronounce each words. Therefore, English language for Asians is very important as it helps them live their daily lives.


War of Rain

                                                                    
               
                Something different is going to happen today. These were the words that kept me flipping the pages. I was curious of what will be revealed along the way. Indeed, HW Vivian never failed to amaze me since every chapter is worth reading. I honestly found myself getting lost in the story since I was really drowned into it.

                This is a book about survival and determination. A young girl, Miri, is from Boreala where her people are known as Rain- gatherers. For these people, rain is their life. Rain is everything to them. It is a kind of highly purified frozen water that is gathered from a cave and can only be melted for consumption through prayer. Borealans make their daily pilgrimages to the cave in order to collect rain and trade it with other nearby villages in exchange of pottery or woodwork tools. But their usual pilgrimage is quite dangerous since they might be attacked by Barbarians who believed that no one owns the rain. These Barbarians are war-like group from the city of Stratos that does not know how to pray to liquefy the rain but still hoards it.

                The conflict begins when Borleans’ rain-gathering caravan was attacked by Barbarians. Miri killed one of the Barbarians in order to defend her friend. This scene sparked the war between Stratos and Boreala. Now, is this already what they meant about, something different is going to happen today?  

                I do not want to be a spoiler of this awesome book! But just to give you an assurance that this is a must- read book, you will see a lot of character growth throughout the book that will make it thought- provoking and entertaining. It highlights the importance of prayer, faith as well as science which can actually be seen in some of the significant lines such as the one from Lucas. He said, “Faith is believing that something greater than ourselves dwells in this world, even if it is not visible”.

                I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars and would highly recommend this to young adults especially to those who appreciate the art of war. This book would make them feel the true essence and spirit of war.


** I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review**


KNOW MORE about War of Rain and H.W. Vivian by visiting her WEBSITE, FACEBOOK and following her on TWITTER.


                 

Coconut Macaroons


       Many coconut macaroons are readily available in neighborhood supermarket. They are packed and give you convenience in bringing it anywhere you go and could last for more than a week. But those coconut macaroons are not the ones I’ve been craving for. I prefer the mini Filipino style coconut macaroons. They are denser and have a cake-like texture. Although the commercialized coconut macaroons are also sweet, soft and chewy, this Filipino version is more favored by my taste.

                                  

        I usually see these mini Filipino coconut macaroons in parties, most likely in children parties. Well, those were during my childhood days where I get to attend my friends’ birthday celebrations. These mini macaroons were never missed in every dessert’s table. Actually, as I noticed, this is the first sweets that will be finished by guests not later than an hour. They all love this! Well, we all love mini macaroons.

        I actually thought of trying to make coconut macaroons several times because I love making non-baked desserts, but when I checked for its recipe, it looks hard for me since it calls for baking. Those days, I am allergy on desserts that need baking because I don’t know how to do it. I even don’t know how to operate an oven. Hence, I didn’t mind on making one.

       Now that I know how to bake, I suddenly remembered this sweet mini dessert and I am convinced to make one since I have been baking several desserts already.  Thus, I bought desiccated coconut in SM supermarket. I felt so lucky to spot my favorite mini dessert’s recipe was in the packaging it. As I checked the ingredients, they were very easy to find. Actually it only asked for butter, sweetened condensed milk, eggs and desiccated coconut.

       As you have noticed, it doesn’t have flour in its recipe, well I like this better because those macaroons with flour will be cake-like and less dense but still good if you prefer cakey macaroon. The one without flour will be crumbly and moist. Since I prefer moist macaroons, I chose not to add flour in it.

         These Filipino coconut macaroons will surely be loved by your family! You may store this in an airtight container and place inside the refrigerator for a week.

                

Red Velvet Brownies

            I would prefer spending my free time baking some sweets rather than going out and spending too much money. Baking makes me feel relaxed and gives me peace of mind. Hence I would exchange my precious time for salon, shopping and spa to a date with my oven.

            I’ve been baking several flavors of cakes and cupcakes yet haven’t tried eggless baking. Well, what I meant for eggless baking were the vegan recipes that get rid of eggs and dairy. This is actually the most challenging aspects of vegan baking since eggs are the ones who leaven and give structure to our baked goods. But these ingredients can be replaced which in fact gives astonishing results because I have tried a vegan cake in one of the parties I have attended. The cake was really moist that you can’t stop on taking for another bite. However, since I haven’t tried baking it on my own, I wondered what would be the outcome of my goods without eggs on it. Hence, with my curiosity encouraging me to make one, I hastily looked for recipes that call for eggless baking.

            While browsing the internet, I stumbled over red velvet brownie (from foodbound website) that has no eggs on it. Red velvet seems to be an all time favorite of everybody. And making red velvet in a brownie type is quite interesting. As I checked the recipe, all the ingredients were available in my pantry. So I decided to make one.

Eggless Red Velvet Brownie 



WET MIX
1/3 cup Oil
1 cup Sugar
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/4 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/8 tsp Salt
1 tbsp +1/4 tsp – Red Food Color
3/4 tsp Vinegar
1/2 cup Buttermilk

DRY MIX
3/4 cup All Purpose flour
1/4 tsp Baking Soda


Tips

            If you want to have a moist fudge like brownie,  underbake your brownies by five to ten minutes. Underbaking by a bit also ensures that you will not get a brownie brick such as dry, hard, or burned due to overbaking it.


Enjoying baking :)


The GOAT that GLOATS


I bought this book in “Book Sale”. It only cost me P 20.00.


I chose this one because it is good for toddlers. It has bright pictures inside that will surely catch the attention of my baby. Even on the first glance of it, you will see enticing pictures.

This is actually the first book of my baby Caeden. I thought of buying him a book because I wanted to expose him on reading materials at an early age. His Pediatrician also advice me to let him read books as early as 3 months old so that he will know how to hold a book, flip pages and eventually get interested on it.

The first time I gave him this book, I saw curiousness in his eyes. He sent me signals that he is eager to explore it; hence I started flipping the pages. As he saw the pictures, his eyes got bigger. He seems very interested on it. Thus it encouraged me to read it to him every day until he began pointing at the pictures while murmuring (baby talk) something. He smiles every flip of pages and even giggles.

Now my baby is 4 months old, and I still continued reading him the book. In fact, this is our bonding time. I remember the day, while we were lying on his sofa, he started crying. I thought he was hungry so I offered him breast milk but he kept on pushing me. I checked his organic diaper, it was still dry. I started wondering what does he wants, when I looked at him, he was staring at his book while crying. So this made me got his book and held it closer to him. And finally, he stopped crying and started holding the book on his own.

Sometimes it makes me think if he really understands the story of “The Goat that Gloats” because while I am reading him the book, he seems listening intently. Well, this is a funny thought that he really knows what the story is all about. At a very young age, does he really know that the goat is sad because he doesn’t have friends? Well, obviously he only enjoyed looking at the pictures. But who knows? He might already know about the silly old goat!



The GOAT that GLOATS

On a throne made of stone at the top of a tower,
Counting the minutes of each passing hour,
Feeling bored and ignored for days without end,
Lived a goat who was lonely; he wanted a friend.

This goat was unhappy with sitting alone,
Way up in his tower on his cold, hard throne,
So out of his window he started to bleat,
To the people who bustled below in the street.

‘What a wonderful friend I would make!’
bragged the goat.
‘I’ve a throne in a tower with a bubble- bath moat.’

But the people below called back over the moat,
‘Who’d want to be friends with a gloating goat?’

(Just sharing few lines in the book)


Written by Leyland Perree- Illustrated by Joelle Dreidemy




To the author of this book, I would like to express my gratitude for your wonderful work. My baby really enjoyed your book! Cheers for your success!!!





Bites of Happiness

Savor the happiness in every bite...



There is nothing more delicious than freshly-made, home-baked cakes and pastries! 





FONDANT CAKES



Pink Ribbon 
Size: 9x3 inches
Price: P 1400


MICKEY
Size: 9x3 inches
Price: P 1600


SPECIALTY CAKES


PINK ROSE SWIRL w/ PRINCESS
Size: 9x3 inches
Price: P 950



BASKET OF BLUE ROSES

Size: 9x3 inches

Price: P 750



BLUE ROSE SWIRL
Size: 9x3 inches
Price: P 850


PEANUT COOKIES AND CREAM CHOCOLATEY

Size: 9x3 inches
Price: P 850


CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES
Size: 9x3 inches
Price: 850

CUPCAKES


ASSORTED
30 pcs. per order
Price: P 800




CHOCOLATE W/ NIPS
30 pcs. per order
Price: P 800




CHEESY
30 pcs. per order
Price: P 650



CHOCOLATE SWIRL
30 pcs. per order
Price: P 800




COOKIES AND CREAM
30 pcs. per order
Price: P 800




BLUEBERRY CHEESECAKE
12 pcs. per order
Price: P 480



RED RUBY CHERRY CHEESECAKE
12 pcs. per order
Price: P 480


COCONUT MACAROONS 
(cupcake size)
28 pcs. per order
Price: P 350

BROWNIES


RED VELVET CHEESECAKE SWIRL 


SUPER MOIST CHOCOLATE
24 pcs. per order
Price: P 250



If you need customized cupcakes and cakes for a special 

occassion, such as birthdays and even for a wedding, we can

 do it!



Bites of Happiness REQUIRES:

> TWO (2) weeks prior notice for ALL orders,

> 50%  DEPOSIT REQUIRED. Deposit is non- refundable.

> Prices are subject to change.



FOR ORDERS: you may send private message 

to https://www.facebook.com/sherrylmae.vallejo

or text/ call 0917-6495-687


Thank you for placing your order with us! 
Your order has been prepared with utmost care.



Al Dente! A Plate of Love



   It was our first year anniversary and I am thinking of doing something special for my hubby. At first, I decided to surprise him with a dinner in a restaurant. I tried to call Sheridan Hotel here in Iloilo in order to ask if they do romantic dinner for two. They said they can do it in a hut near their infinity pool. I describe to them what I wanted to happen. I told them that I wanted the place to be private. I even asked them to scatter petals of roses around the table and of course few candles to make it more romantic. I am already convinced to do it on our anniversary day. Their cuisine is also alluring that really fits for a romantic dinner yet my plan wasn’t pursued due to some reasons.

   Therefore I kept on thinking of other ways in order to delight my hubby. Going out on our anniversary day was not an option anymore since I can’t leave my baby at home even if he has his nanny. So I thought of ways on how to surprise him at home… I suddenly remember his favorite pasta, the baked lasagna. I haven’t tried making one but I am willing to try and give the best of it since I know that it will surely impress my hubby. Hence, I searched for a recipe that I can just easily follow.

   I got my recipe for baked lasagna in http://panlasangpinoy.com/. Their recipe is easy yet very delicious. When my hubby tasted it, he really said that it is indeed his favorite Italian casserole dish.

Lasagna Recipe

Ingredients

§  1 lb mozzarella cheese
§  1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
§  1 lb lasagna

Meat Sauce:
§  1 lb ground beef
§  1/2 cup chopped onions
§  2 cloves garlic, chopped
§  28 ounces crushed tomatoes
§  16 ounces tomato sauce
§  6 ounces tomato paste
§  1/2 cup Water
§  2 tbsp cooking oil
§  2 tbsp white sugar
§  3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
§  3 tbsp fresh Basil leaves, chopped
§  1 tsp salt
§  1 tsp Italian Seasoning
§  1/2 tsp ground pepper

White Sauce:
§  2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
§  1 1/2 lb ricotta cheese
§  1 piece raw egg

            After baking lasagna, I thought of serving it in a special way. I served it in a plate of love composed of mashed potato as a side dish, red ruby cherry cheesecake as the dessert and the best Italian dish baked by yours truly, lasagna.



Bake yours now! It will surely amaze your loved ones.

Mini Red Ruby Cherry Cheesecake

Mini Red Ruby Cherry Cheesecake




Every time I go to a coffee shop, I always look for cheesecakes.  It would be my lucky day if I found one. Most of the time, the shops doesn’t have cheesecakes or sometimes it is very unfortunate for me that someone has just bought the last slice available. It is very frustrating that can even change my mood since I have not eaten the delicious, creamy, smooth, divine taste of cheesecake.

Hence, I decided to try making cheesecake so that anytime I would crave for it, I can surely have a bite of it. Fortunately, I happened to watch an episode of Anna Olson’s “Fresh” on the Asian Food Channel. She showed how to bake cheesecake. I immediately took down notes of her recipe and tried to make one the following day.

The recipe is easy to follow especially for beginners and its ingredients can be found in a supermarket but a bit pricey.  Yet I didn’t totally follow the recipe of Anna Olson. I had slight revisions on it.

Ingredients:

Yield: 12 3oz cheesecake

Crust:

1 cup crushed graham crackers
1/2 stick butter, melted
1 ½ Tbs. white sugar

Cheesecake:

1 bar of 8oz cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup white sugar
1 large egg
½ cup heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla
¼ tsp. fine salt
1 21-oz can of blueberry pie filling/topping

Directions

Preheat oven to 175°C. Place a paper cupcake liner in each cup of a muffin pan.

To make crust, combine until evenly blended the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter in a bowl. Then bake for about 10 minutes, remove from the oven and let it cool before placing the batter.

To make the cheesecake, Beat cream cheese with a handheld electric mixer until fluffy. Gradually add sugar and salt while beating, scraping the sides of the bowl often. Add the eggs and continue mixing until incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and heavy cream and mix well. Let the cheesecake batter rest for around 10 minutes to remove most of the air bubbles that were formed during the mixing process. Bake for 25 minutes, remove from the oven and let cool then refrigerate (4- 6 hours). Serve with red ruby cherry on top, or filling of your choice.

Enjoy every bite of this mouthwatering, creamy delight!


Happy Pregnancy

                I had a healthy and happy pregnancy. My husband was always there to support me emotionally, financially and most of all showered me with unconditional love. I know it wouldn’t be that easy to cope with my morning sickness, mood swings and unending cravings throughout the day if my hubby wasn’t there by my side.

                 I remember during the time we went home to Davao to visit my parents. It was raining, strong wind and very cold. Then I craved for everyone’s all time favourite in Davao, the famous Durian. It was past eight in the evening and it was impossible to look for stores that were still open especially with the bad weather. So I tried to control my cravings for Durian, I tried to eat several food at dinner but still my little pumpkin inside continued asking for Durian. It’s like my mind was saying, “Durian, Durian, Durian!”Obviously, I failed to control myself, I grabbed my phone and texted my hubby, who was in the coffee shop catching up with his friends. Hence, even if my conscience was saying, “It’s raining, he might get sick!” I still continued typing the text message, “Dear, I want Durian...” So without hesitation, I sent the message.  Few seconds later, he replied, “Sure Dear!”

                I feel so loved that he hurriedly drove and looked for some Durian in the city. So after about 30 minutes, I had my Durian delivered by my hubby!