Photo A Day Challenge for June, 3 in 1

I am having difficulty with internet connection so I missed half of May with FatMumSlim’s photo-a-day challenge and the first 2 days of June too. But who said I could not post a catch up? None can stop me now as I decided to join through blog posts…and here’s for the first 3 days of June!

 

B is for BEACH!

My girls and I enjoyed a beach in Batangas mid of May and here’s one of the best (I think) shots I have for something B!

B is for Beach

 

 

A moment…

This moment is priceless for me as my little Roey dear overcome her fear of being in the pool (without me holding her). She has also managed to be brave enough and enjoyed the slides all by herself.

A moment

 

 

And for June 3, theme: On My Table…

Here’s another sweet summer treat which we finished in no time! We love the new flavor – Mantecado!

on my table

 

Please pardon me if I may have to do another catch up post again in the future. Ha ha! And I will ensure to post NEW photos instead of latest ones. =D

In the Kitchen: Merienda Galore

What is one best way to spend time with the family? During merienda!

Afternoon snacks besides night chats is one part of the day I enjoy spending with my kids. My kids don’t have high levels of appetite (especially my elder daughter) but they have all the thrills and giggles whenever I serve something for them. We call it “Takaw-Tingin” here in the Philippines. It is summer and kids are out for vacation and as we all know, kids nowadays are unstoppable. They make it necessary for us parents to prepare something new for them, be it food, games, toys or unlimited number of activities so as to keep their nerves and minds busy! That somehow makes parenting one best way to explore and continue to learn. Hey! I have to somehow dig the internet for creative ideas from snacks to kiddie activities. Here’s one I imitated from a Pinterest pin – a unique way to serve ice cream!

cool

Maybe I can say that our country is one of the many places where you can go on food exploration and pig out! Since kids this summer is most of the time at home, we bond by eating together. Check out these afternoon merienda I served them one time. You will definitely crave too!

merienda

New Flavors: Selecta Ice Cream

ice cream

We are beating the summer heat!

Either we go out swimming or just chill and spend time at home, we make sure to keep our cool! One way of doing so is enjoying cold drinks and desserts – ice cream on top of the list! We have tried the new flavors of Selecta ice cream, Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chip Cookie and Oreo Rocky Road. And to tell you honestly, these tubs were empty in less than 48 hours. It was not quite fast since I get to enjoy these new flavors with just 2 kids. We all love the new flavors, hmmm… I personally have enjoyed the Mrs. Fields  Chocolate Chip Cookie than the other flavor. These flavors are (I think) limited and some grocery stores don’t have them yet so when you guys got the chance to find one, grab the tub!

Since this post is not a review, let us keep my ratings a secret! Haha!

You have been given a hint!

 

My Tabletop Electric Oven

My tabletop electric oven was a gift. I have been eyeing a beautiful oven from the appliance center for a long time but saving to get it will take a lot longer. So, with a friend”s suggestion, and since I am not really planning on using it for business purposes (using it now just for my kids), I told Ronald (yes, he”s the financier for this oven) that I would go for this one.

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I have been Pinterest inspired! As soon as I have read the manual for this tabletop oven, I started baking! I have had my share of baking failures but have a atoledo.com lot of successful ones too.

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Most of my baked goodies were Chocolate and Banana flavored and Carrot too. I make them during weekends so it will be ready as school snack for my elder daughter, K. I would always let her bring more than she could eat so she can share some to her friends too. Or sometimes, I remind her to eat (if there are leftovers) as afternoon snack while she is travelling home bound.

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Last Christmas season, I got the chance to frequently use my tabletop oven – served its purpose very well for some goodies which we made and gave as gifts. I am sure that this oven will last for quite long, besides it being durable (a testimonial of my baker friend, Iris of Project Happiness ), I have been extra careful using it. =) 

In The Kitchen: Bake Time!

 

If I have had a baking sad story, I can tell you more successful ones at least. That disappointment I felt with the cupcake disaster that happened the first time I tried to make buttercream frosting did not stop me from baking. As most positive individuals do, I took it as a challenge to be better.

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 Carrot-Yogurt Muffins

Since most people here says no to super sweets, I decided to do bold cupcakes instead – muffins! The photo above shows a carrot / yogurt muffin and in the next photo are chewy Lemon cookies. Pardon the photo quality as these photos were taken using my netbook’s camera.

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 Lemon cookies

Besides cookies, cupcakes and muffins, I tried making carrot loaf. Now, this is something I am definitely proud to have made. I used the same recipe I found for my cupcakes and voila! It came out of the oven like an eye candy!  Just right! It even tasted so good that my elder daughter brought few slices than she could eat to school. Well, she sure gave some to her classmates and came home with compliments that made me wish to learn more about baking. It did not stop there though… I dreamed of having my own bake shop / cafe which was set up beside my own gift shop. Both businesses were set up in the front of my own house. Okay, wake me up now!

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 Carrot Loaf

Ahhh! I wish to win the Lotto! Ha ha!

A Cupcake Disaster

 

 

The excitement in me after buying the new tabletop electric oven was like a flu virus. L0L! It was really all over me! With that feeling, I went to Chocolate Lover in Cubao and bought some stuff I needed to start making cupcakes. I also had to scan through some of my “memory boxes” and found my very first dessert cookbook. Besides that, since my purpose is to really bake for my kids, I logged into my Pinterest account and visited the sites of those cakes and cookies pinned images I have in one of my boards. As soon as I thought I was ready, I tried baking cupcakes! The first one we (my kids and I) tried were Sharon’s butter cupcake but since I wanted something from the scratch, I baked some Chocolate Banana and Carrot cupcakes. My kids loved them! And I think they liked it not because of the taste but because of the thought that I made them. =D

When my elder daughter kept asking me to try buttercream, I had to ask some tips from a friend, Vangie. She was the one who made Roey’s 1st birthday cake. Again, when I thought I am all ready, I tried my very first buttercream.  But, as I was preparing the ingredients, I remembered that my hand mixer is nowhere to be found so I have to do it manually.


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It was a disaster! Check out how it looked like in the photo above – not even close to those pretty cupcakes topped with buttercream frosting I have  repinned in my Pinterest board! There was too much butter if I am not mistaken and the consistency of manual mixing is really different from mixing it with an electric mixer – or maybe, the consistency is possible to achieve, it was just that I am a newbie.

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I was already disappointed with how it looked like in that first photo. But, can you imagine how bad I felt with how the buttercream melted after few minutes? It was heart breaking! I just have to uplift my spirit with the fact that all the great bakers nowadays are once a beginner and they too had their share of baking disasters.

The consolation of that imperfect buttercream frosting is at least it was delicious!

Christmas Cake

Christmas Cake

With my electric oven, I can’t deny that I’ve been inspired to create and bake goodies for my kids. Aside from being able to make cookies and cupcakes for my elder daughter’s school snack, I also tried making muffins for my toddler. Healthy muffins that is. Something that excites her everytime and wouldn’t mind eating.

Last Christmas, my cousins invited us to join their annual Christmas party and exchange gift. Who would say no? Not me! My kids were totally excited! We all love family gatherings and fun parties like this one. Since there were several families attending the event, a potluck was suggested. I was asked to bring something for dessert. And this was the best way to again, to have fun and experiment and also use my oven! I told them I’d bring cupcakes but I wanted to surprise them so I also baked a cake. It was a 6″ round layered chocolate cake with choco ganache.

From this cake on top to this one below which also shows the cupcakes that came with it. The new cupcake holder of my cousin’s wife was perfect to display the colorful sweets. My nieces and cousins volunteered to decorate the cake and cupcakes and it somehow made me feel glad they had fun with an instant creative activity.

It was a memorable Christmas party we had and I still can see the smile on my face whenever I recall that at least, that chocolate cake I brought at the party was not a disaster. As I look at its photos, I want to be able to bake more successful cakes. Successful not just in terms of look but taste too!

 

Hopeful for The New Year

Happy New Year!

In every year, every one is but hopeful for a better life… in all aspect of it. For 10 years now, I always have in my hopes and prayers the best for my daughter K and since 3 years ago, for Roey too. Best of health is first in every Mom’s wish of course. And as we light up every sparkler at New Year’s eve, it comes with a simple  wish of whatever we want or like to happen or have for the incoming year. Just like what we do as we blow the candles in our cakes every birthday celebration we have. In fact, if you think about it, we get to celebrate new year twice a year. Every 1st of January and on our birth dates too! We are so blessed, aren’t we?

My elder daughter took this photo of me as I was holding a small sparkler during New Year’s eve. I can not help but remember how these small sparklers give  joy to me as a child. But if I get to see and witness the brightness and beauty of grand fireworks display,  ahhh…that smile you’ll see in my face is spelled HAPPINESS!

Besides the fact that I was the only person in the house who lit up sparklers, I was the one who baked this cake too! It wasn’t really what I wanted for the New Year but I guess this one’s good enough for us. The real reason was actually, lack of time. Anyways, I used my new electric table top oven for this cake. It was a butter cake topped with a thin coat of choco buttercream, covered with marshmallow fondant. I didn’t have a Yellow food color so instead of using my in-stock White marshmallows for the fondant, I used a  pack of Yellow (Banana cut) marshmallows which were store-bought. Designed it with sugar icing stars and mini candies. That’s our sweet something in our table that evening.

And as everyone of us wish for happiness, let us also remember to bring the same happiness we wish for to others. So, let me end this post with borrowed quotes – –

“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.” – Oprah Winfrey

“Drop the last year into the silent limbo of the past. Let it go, for it was imperfect, and thank God that it can go.” – Brooks Atkinson

 

Selecta Ice Cream Flavors: Beat The Heat This Summer

We now have more than a dozen ice cream tubs since the start of the summer. This is my kids’ first choice on how to beat the heat this summer. Well, summer is almost over but it is not too late to share how delicious these ice cream flavors are from Selecta.

hershey's kisses ice creamhershey's kisses ice cream

 

These two new ice cream flavors are included in Selecta Hershey’s collection and my choices. I have loved Rocky Road and Double Dutch ever since the first time I tasted the said flavors but just like any one, I too would like to go out of what I consider as “ice cream comfort zone” haha! I eagerly bought the Selecta Hershey’s Collection: Reese’s Peanut butter Cups and I tell you, it didn’t last 24 hour period. I so loved how it tasted. I get to feel refreshed having ice cream for dessert and at the same time enjoyed the sweet delectable peanut butter cups. Right there and then, I decided to grab another flavor from the Hershey’s Collection and had Hershey’s Kisses. My elder daughter enjoyed it more than I did maybe because I was expecting it to be as good as the Reese’s flavor. I somehow forgot that even if they’re both from Hershey’s, these two are totally different flavors. Just like the first tub from the collection, Hershey’s Kisses didn’t last for more than 3 days inside the freezer.

The next time we were at the supermarket, they didn’t have the Hershey’s collection so I opted to get the family’s all time favorite flavor instead: Selecta Very Rocky Road. Our summer was really something else, this year was amazingly hot but thanks to these cold desserts available in the market, we were somehow able to beat the heat!

We now have more than a dozen ice cream tubs since the start of the summer. This is my kids’ first choice on how to beat the heat this summer. Well, summer is almost over but it is not too late to share how delicious these ice cream flavors are from Selecta.

These two new ice cream flavors are included in Selecta Hershey’s collection and my choices. I have loved Rocky Road and Double Dutch ever since the first time I tasted the said flavors but just like any one, I too would like to go out of what I consider as “ice cream comfort zone” haha! I eagerly bought the Selecta Hershey’s Collection: Reese’s Peanut butter Cups and I tell you, it didn’t last 24 hour period. I so loved how it tasted. I get to feel refreshed having ice cream for dessert and at the same time enjoyed the sweet delectable peanut butter cups. Right there and then, I decided to grab another flavor from the Hershey’s Collection and had Hershey’s Kisses. My elder daughter enjoyed it more than I did maybe because I was expecting it to be as good as the Reese’s flavor. I somehow forgot that even if they’re both from Hershey’s, these two are totally different flavors. Just like the first tub from the collection, Hershey’s Kisses didn’t last for more than 3 days inside the freezer.

The next time we were at the supermarket, they didn’t have the Hershey’s collection so I opted to get the family’s all time favorite flavor instead: Selecta Very Rocky Road. Our summer was really something else, this year was amazingly hot but thanks to these cold desserts available in the market, we were somehow able to beat the heat!
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Dessert: Crema De Fruta

The ice cream tubs inside the chest freezer of a grocery store near us was so tempting. I found a new flavor to try, but decided not to go get for “my” picky eaters might not appreciate it. I then thought of an idea to just make Crema De Fruta whih cost the same as getting the 1.5L tub I was eyeing at the store.

Crema De Fruta is normally serve during the holiday season and there are different versions of it too. Don’t be surprise to see such dessert on each Christmas dinner table. I guess it does add color and sweetness to the holidays.

This one I have made is the simplest one for it only consist of graham crackers, condensed milk, all purpose cream and mixed fruits. Besides graham crackers, one can also use sponge cake and add gelatin too. My other version does have gelatin mixed with the condensed milk and all purpose cream, plus bits of Oreo cookies on top – I call Creamy Cake Surprise.

I didn’t get to take a photo of the finish product but it was all worth it. The girls and the husband liked it! Desserts that are not appreciated normally stay at the fridge for over a week but this one didn’t even last for 3 days! That being said, I may have to do this again this Christmas!