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Saturday, January 25, 2014

Recipe: Newbie Baker's Double Chocolate Loaf Cake

I love dessert! In fact, I am proud to call myself a dessert monster.

But me and baking, no we don't get along well. It all started, this fear to bake, during my sophomore year in high school. We had a group baking project then at our home economics teacher's house and I can't remember exactly what I was designated to do then but I just ended up with burnt cookies. I thought then that me and the oven are never going to be good friends.

Baking is one of the skills I am dying to learn but am so scared to try. But just as the cliche goes: Face Your Fears. So that is exactly what I did.

Guess what? I faced my fears and defeated it!!!

Here are the ingredients (recipe adapted from

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsps baking powder
1 1/4 cup fine muscovado sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted at room temperature
2 eggs, whisked lightly
1/4 cup unsweetened chocolate chips or shavings
1 cup full cream milk

How I did it:

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius.
2. Sift together all dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, baking soda and baking powder). Mix with sugar.
3. In a separate bowl mix melted butter, eggs and milk. Mix till thoroughly combined.
4. Gently combine the wet and dry ingredients until mixed thoroughly.
5. Drop chocolate chips/shavings into the mixture.
5. Spoon the mixture slowly into small (I used 8x4), greased loaf pan and bake for 40-50 minutes until toothpick test comes out clean.

ENJOY!!!! (I'm now so excited to try other cake/pastry recipes. I'm hoping to try using flax seeds and oatmeal next time. Care to share your recipes?)

Yields: 1 8 lb loaf cake (about 10 half inch slices)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Happy Birthday To The Love Of My Life!

I wasn't in the mood to throw a surprise. I was just tired coming from a 2-week vacation with no yaya in tow. I am not complaining really. Just stating a fact. The past 6 years that we were married, I always try to put together a simple surprise but this year, well, I had to improvise. Or rather be spontaneous. And make do with what was available.

So the kid insisted on cake blowing. I wanted to buy cake but the husband insisted it is not necessary. Still. We did our best with whatever was edible from the charred Calamansi muffins that I tried to bake the night before.

We sang happy birthday. And yes, I caught him getting teary-eyed. He lovingly thanked us and heartily kissed me and Maia. HE WAS HAPPY. And that's all that really matters, right?

Happy birthday hanibants! Thank you for your patience. Thank you for your understanding. Thank you for all the support (or the lack thereof, yes, I still thank you for it because you always sort of balance my impulses). Cheers to 50 or even more (God-willing) birthdays we will celebrate together! We love you. To the moon and back. To infinity and beyond. To bottomless ka-corny-hans.

And yes, hard to believe but you are indeed 35!

And Maia takes credit for every word written on this card. I didn't have to say a thing. She just knew what she wanted to say.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Ready to Tackle 2014!

So it's a new year again. A fresh start for everyone. Have you listed down your resolutions? Well, I've personally stopped listing down mine a long time ago. But what I do is draft a plan for the year. Last year was a grand one that was put t a halt because I had to make a big room for a major change at work.

For 2014, I still am making plans. But nothing grand. I do not want to be overwhelmed this time. Just one project every quarter.

Q1 - Herb Garden Project. I've been keeping a Pinterest board for that project since the beginning of 2013. I hope to finally start that this weekend.

Q2 - Baking lessons. Tibs bought me a gas oven as a 2013 parting gift (also to commemorate all of the hardwork I've put in 2013. I plan to learn how to bake in Q2 in preparation for the kid's birthday as I want to make a homemade birthday cake for her this time.

Q3 - DIY Party for Maia's 6th birthday. I plan to do more crafts this quarter, improve on my artistic skills since I'm not really very creative. I'm one of those moms who really thank God for Pinterest. I want to do more DIYs this year. I want my little girl to feel I've put in more effort this time to make her birthday party more special.

Q4 - Home improvements. I plan to repaint our house this year. The last time we had our house repainted was Oct 2008 when I gave birth to Maia. I think it's high time we have it repainted. I've been planning to repaint it with teal. But the 3 of us will take a vote. We'll see how that goes.

That's how rough my plans are for 2014. Not filled with details but I'm just happy I got to list them down. I need to be constantly reminded so I'm posting them here.

How about you, have you drafted a list? My friend Toni's goals for 2014 are very inspiring. Go check it out here.

2013: In Retrospect - Career Defining Moment

I welcomed 2013 with a steady mindset. I didn't foresee anything exciting for the year but I looked forward to it with a fresh outlook. Just as how I've always viewed the new year as new beginnings.

But before the first quarter was over, I found my plate filled with totally unexpected new challenges. I was offered something that would eventually rock my world. Something that eventually forced me to put my mothering career aside and instead focus on my other love...that is mentoring. I couldn't complain. It came at the right timing. I had extra time in my hands anyways and the kid was not dependent on me anymore.

Suffice to say, it has been one heck of a rollercoaster ride since. For someone who totally abhors rollercoasters, this rollercoaster I'm riding has not stopped yet. And I don't think it's stopping anytime soon. Some days, it actually feels dizzying. But then again, I really couldn't complain. I am extremely blessed to be given this opportunity and the best way to show my gratitude I believe is for me to make good use of this blessing by providing the people I am mentoring the proper guidance and ensure we are all heading at the right direction.

My 2013 was also defined by travels. I planned for a lot of things mostly rooted to improving my home in 2013 but none of them were realized. Most of our weekends in 2013 were spent unpacking and then repacking our bags. But yes, I couldn't complain. Travels are great sources of learning and I am very grateful we had the chance to do that for our daughter.

Lots of lessons were learned in 2013 - career, relationships, roles. I learned the real meaning of priorities. I made the effort to be more prayerful and I discovered that prayers indeed work. YES. THEY. DO. and YES. THEY. WORK.

2013 was a huge year for me. And I am extremely grateful to everyone who made it the YEAR that it was for me. 

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