So GRATEFUL: Very Inspiring Blogger Award

Very Inspiring Blogger Award #1

What a lovely surprise!! I have been awarded by Fae of Fae’s Twist and Tango. I could not thank her enough for passing four awards on me this month. I am so grateful that I am inspiring somebody through my blog. I never thought that I would inspire one, but now I know I do.

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You can choose other badge for this award if you want. 🙂

7 random facts about me

  1. I recently joined Twitter with username @TNScreativecook as I have deactivated my personal account. But this one seems like a personal account, too.
  2. I am hooked into reading anything about Libra – my zodiac sign – but not horoscope. Only the ‘true facts’ or anything that has anything to do with personality/characteristics.
  3. Since I joined WordPress and Instagram, I check the iPod/iPad every time I wake up no matter what time it is and replies to every comment I receive. Yes, even it is 3:00 am, I check and reply. Haha!
  4. Before I go to sleep, aside from applying my favorite scent of lotion – coconut, vanilla or cocoa butter – I also put baby powder on my neck and on my back. I don’t think I can sleep without doing that.
  5. When my birthday is near, I always think of something to buy for myself. It doesn’t matter if it’s expensive or not as long as I have present to myself. This year, all I want is a set of books to add to my collection. Though I promised not to buy anymore as I can download e-books, I convinced myself that it’s my birthday so I have to get myself a present.
  6. I love listening to music with a headphone/earphone and turn the volume to the maximum while doing household chores as I find it easier to do those things with music; I don’t feel that tired.
  7. When not cooking/baking and reading, I can be found in front of the TV watching movies all day! I am also addicted to movies as I am addicted to cooking/baking and reading, that’s why it’s difficult for me to manage my time, haha!

I hope I did not bore you with my 7 random facts. 😀

Now, in no particular order, let me give you other inspiring bloggers:

Sophie’s Foodie Files

The Vanilla Bean Diaries

Baking with Gab

Sweet Baked Life

Laura’s Mess

I need A Feed

Cakey Kate

100 Days of Evelyn

County Baker Mom

My Favourite Pastime

Food Thoughts to Share

The Hungry Mum

Buckwheat Health

Baking Makes Happy

Rabbit Can Cook

The rules for Very Inspiring Blogger Award are:

  1. Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you.
  2. Acknowledge that blogger on your blog and link back.
  3. Share 7 random things about yourself.
  4. Select up to 15 blogs for the award, a link to their blogs in your post, and notify them on their blogs.
  5. Copy and paste the award on your blog somewhere.

Again, thank you so much for this award, Fae. 🙂 

Fae is a lovely woman with lots of recipes to share and worth to try. She also has lots of trivia to share with us. She also loves dancing, which I could not do. Is dancing same as cooking/baking, Fae? I meant, do you get the same feeling when you do those two things? I wonder, as I don’t have any idea how somebody feels when dancing, haha!

Chocolate Crinkles

How are you spending your weekend so far? 🙂

As for me, I watched The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones on the big screen. I felt so great that the scenes in the book finally came to life. 😉 I also did watch Epic and The Host at home. I was also planning to read a book but my mind was a little tired and my eyes did not cooperate that well. So, I just finished chapter one of the book I was reading and closed it. To gain my joy back, I knew what to do – I cooked and I baked. No matter how tired I am, I’ll still have the power to cook and bake – those really are my stress relievers.

These baked bites should have waited for its turn to be posted on my blog but they were really divine – they deserve to be posted as soon as I get my hands on the laptop, haha! I’ve been eyeing on this even before I’ve had my blog but the thought of waiting made me sad. As I said, waiting for hours for food will kill me, haha! But I baked them, anyways!

I think that cute little one wants some Chocolate Crinkles, too. :)

Chocolate Crinkles Recipe

  • Servings: 28 crinkles
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 230 g semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Instructions:

  1. In a bowl, add dry ingredients (flour, salt and baking powder). Set aside.
  2. In a heatproof bowl, combine chocolate chips and butter. Place over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure that the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl. When done, remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.
  3. In another bowl, beat eggs and sugar until pale yellow in color (about 3 to 5 minutes). (You know it’s done when you slowly raise your beaters, the batter will fall back and form ribbons.) Add in vanilla extract and the cooled chocolate mixture. Beat until just combined. Add in dry ingredients, mixing until just combined.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in the fridge for about two hours or overnight to firm up.
  5. When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 325 F. Place rack in center of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. In a bowl, sift your powder sugar.
  7. Scoop out dough into balls and roll into the powdered sugar, making sure everything is coated. Place the sugar-covered balls on the prepared baking sheet. Leave about 2 inches apart.
  8. Bake crinkles for 8-10 minutes or until edges are slightly firm.
  9. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  10. Store in airtight container.

Note: I have tried using dark chocolate chips and semisweet chocolate chips, but I find semisweet chocolate chips are best to use because they produce lovely cracks.

Source recipe: Chocolate Crinkles by Joy of Baking 

Remembering a very SPECIAL woman

First, I have to warn you that this post is longer than my previous posts as this going to be something special to me – the topic and the recipe I am going to share. So, if you dare to continue, I would love to say ‘Thanks’ in advance. 🙂

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My mom was a very loving mother and a wife. As a mom, you always do something what you think is best for your children. She was often misunderstood by the way she took care of us and by the way we were raised. She often kept the pain she felt to avoid arguments between her and my father. She was a generous sister, to the point that she will give everything she can that her siblings need.

My mom and I shared common interests: shoes, bags, foods. We borrowed each others’ bags and shoes and I found that cute. We were not the best of friends but I am glad we had some moments together. My mom was a good cook. She was the one cooking for the family and I got this cooking talent from her. The thing is… she did not explore that much when it comes to cooking. I know the answer: my father will not like the new food on the table. That’s why I was not that exposed, too. But I feel great that my mom got me exposed in the kitchen at an early age. There are several dishes that my mom used to cook but I was not familiar with the names. How come I did not ask her? There was this chicken cooked in coconut milk then the chicken (without the coconut milk) is transferred to a another pan to be sautéed, brown a  little then shredded coconut is added. Oh! I don’t know if I said it right; I really can’t remember. 😦

Also, there’s this beef she used to cook especially when there were gatherings or special occasions. It was one of my favorites and my father’s, too.  Since my mom passed away three years ago due to cardiac arrest (may she rest in peace), we have not cooked some of her recipes due to the non-availability of spices; she used to get if from a far away place from our hometown.

From a long time, I was really craving for certain dishes she used to cook but I was afraid to try due to the fear of not getting the same result as hers. Believe it or not but when I have a doubt on any food to cook – I meant the food we used to cook together – I dream of her, telling me what to do. But this recipe I am going to share today is not one of them. I just came up with the idea of replacing some unavailable ingredients with what I have on the fridge. If I a not mistaken, the last time I’ve eaten this dish was six years ago.

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Long time, huh?! But I can still remember the smell and the taste. 😀 We used to cook this together but I really don’t have any idea about the name of the dish, so I’ll just call it…

Mom’s Beef-Turmeric with Coconut Love

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Spring onions, green and white part separated
  • 1 tbsp ginger, chopped
  • ¼ kg beef, sliced into small cubes
  • 2 cups potatoes, cubed
  • 3 cups coconut milk
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp salt, or to taste
  • ½ cup fresh shredded coconut, toasted and grounded (recipe below, just in case someone would love to know how it’s done)

Instructions:

  1. Using a mortar and pestle, crush the white part of the spring onion and the chopped ginger. Or you can put them on a ziplock bag and find something strong enough to crush them but if you’re using a bottle, make sure not to crush hard as the bottle may be broken. Set aside.
  2. In a pan (or casserole) with a medium heat, sauté garlic and cook for a minute. Add the crushed white-part spring onion and ginger and cook for another minute. Add in onions and tomatoes and cook for another minute.
  3. Add beef and turmeric powder, mix and cover for 2 minutes.
  4. Add 1 cup of the coconut milk and the toasted and grounded coconut. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the beef are tender. If you don’t like to use all coconut milk, you can use 1 cup of water in this step.
  5. Add in potatoes and the rest of the coconut milk and wait until potatoes are tender. Add in salt and do some taste test.
  6. Remove from heat and garnish with the greens of the spring onion. Serve with white rice.

I’d like to serve mine with white rice, some slices of cucumbers and tomatoes and of course, additional toasted coconut.

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To make the toasted coconut:

toasted coconut

First thing, you need 1 cup of fresh shredded coconut. Second thing, get your pan ready and put on low-medium heat. Put the shredded coconut and keep stirring until it turns golden brown as shown below. Remember to keep an eye on it because it burns easily. 1 cup should take about 15 minutes.

Toasted coconut to grounded coconut: When done, remove from heat and grind it using a mortar and pestle, or a mini food processor, or whatever way you want. If you’re using a food processor, make sure to do it for a second or two because if more than 2 seconds, you’ll get a paste out of the toasted coconut and you don’t want that.

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Toasted coconut has been a part of our dishes. I sometimes eat this with scrambled egg, rice and cucumbers. Also, I’d love to put it in vegetable dishes with coconut milk. When I make this coconut, I usually make 3 cups. 😀

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And that’s it! I appreciate the time you spent with me on my blog’s fourth month. Have an amazing weekend ahead of you. 😉

O-M-G for the additional AWARDS!!

I was so busy with my life that I have not checked my blog for a few days!

I was again surprised to receive another award, not one, but three awards from the ever lovely and helpful, Fae! Fae really inspires other bloggers and non-bloggers through her blog and even helps others to be recognized by other bloggers. I even want to do a guest post on her blog but I am still working out what to post; it should be ‘something’ to me. 🙂 Anyway, if you have not checked out her blog, click here and you’ll be amazed on how talented she is! *two thumbs up* I think I just over used the words blog and bloggers here!

I am very delighted to receive such awards, and admit it, it takes time when you accept and pass it to others. But this is what I love about getting an award, passing awards to other amazing bloggers. 🙂

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Best Moment Award

First-Best-Moment-Award-Winner

Please go to   MomentMatters.com/Award  to pick the badge appropriate to the number of Best Moment Award you have received.

Acceptance Speech: I’ll just make this speech as short as possible as I don’t want to bore my readers, haha!

I would like to thank my Mom who kept on calling my attention to be at the kitchen to help her in the slicing stuff and later on, made me have my own adventure in the kitchen. I would like also to thank everyone who appreciates the food I serve and somehow, I put a smile on their faces which makes them proud of me; to all my supporters. Lastly, I would like to thank my pans, my bowls, my measuring cups and spoons, and everything that has been with me through my journey. I’m sorry if sometimes, I had this thought of replacing you with nicer color; I promise it will never happen again. And as what Fae said: INTERNET! Yes, thanks a lot, Internet!! If not because of you, we will never be able to do this. 😀

I am so pleased to nominate the Best Moment Award to these following bloggers, in random order! Congratulations!!

Best Moment Award

emuseats
sweetbakedlife
countybakermom
rabbitcanbake
butterloveaffair
easybaked
thegracefulkitchen
warmtoastymuffins
ineedafeed
ediblesandtravels

 The rules for Best Moment Award are:

– Winners re-post this completely with their Acceptance Speech.
– This could be written or video recorded.
– Winners have the privilege of awarding the next awardees!
– The re-post should include a NEW set of people/blogs worthy of the award; and winners notify them the great news.

RESOURCES: What makes a good acceptance speech?

– Gratitude. Thank the people who helped you along the way – Humor. Keep us entertained and smiling
– Inspiration. Make your story touch our lives
– Get an idea from the great acceptance speeches, compiled in MomentMatters.com/Speech
– Display the award’s badge on your blog/website, downloadable in MomentMatters.com/Award

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Sunshine Award

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You can choose other badge for this award if you want. 🙂

 Questions:

1. Who is your favorite philosopher?  — No idea?
2. What is your favorite number?     — 18
3. What is your favorite animal?     — Cat. 
4. What are your Facebook and Twitter?  — No Twitter and no Facebook account for thenotsocreativecook. Do I have to make one?
5. What is your favorite time of the day?  — Breakfast time! 
6. What was your favorite vacation?   — Malaysia and Singapore!!
7. What is your favorite physical activity?  — Cooking and baking, if those can be considered as physical activities. 🙂
8. What is your non-alcoholic drink?   — Iced Tea; I do not drink alcohol.
9. What is your favorite flower?   — Red Rose
10. What is your passion?   — Cooking and Baking

 In random order, these blogger are my nominations for the Sunshine Award! Congratulations!!

Sunshine Award

emuseats
sweetbakedlife
countybakermom
rabbitcanbake
butterloveaffair
easybaked
thegracefulkitchen
warmtoastymuffins
ineedafeed
ediblesandtravels

The rules for Sunshine Award are:

1         Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you.
2         Acknowledge that blogger on your blog and link back.
3         Answer the same 10 questions given.
4         Nominate up to 10 blogs for the award, a link to their blogs in your post, and notify them on their blogs.
5         Copy and paste the award on your blog somewhere.

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Versatile Blogger Award

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You can choose other badge for this award if you want. 🙂

7 random things about me: I’ll give some favorites of mine…

1         Favorite color: Purple
2         Favorite chocolate/brand: Dark chocolate/Hershey’s
3         Favorite scent of lotion: vanilla or cocoa butter
4         Favorite perfume: Light Blue (Dolce and Gabbana)
5         Favorite baked goodies: Brownies
6         Favorite actor/actress: Vin Diesel, Nicholas Cage/Angelina Jolie
7         Favorite candle scent: baby powder

And for the Versatile Blogger Award, I nominate these following bloggers, in random order! Congratulations!!

thecookingapprentice
ediblesandtravels
cookbybook
amalkitchen
highheelgourmet
foodflavorfascination
megseverydayindulgence
iamahoneybee
thegracefulkitchen
warmtoastymuffins
ineedafeed
ediblesandtravels
emuseats
countybakermom
butterloveaffair

 The rules for The Versatile Blogger Award are:

1         Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you.
2         Acknowledge that blogger on your blog and a link back.
3         Share 7 random interesting things about yourself.
4         Nominate up to 15 bloggers for The Versatile Blogger Award, provide a link to their blogs in your post, and notify them on their blogs.
5         Copy and paste the award somewhere on your blog.

I really hope that through this blog, I will inspire other cooks and bakers out there, especially those who are just starting to explore! Again, thanks to all my supporters especially here at WordPress community, especially to those who gave me awards, Rabbit and Fae. *hugs to both of you*

Pinakbet

Ramadan is finished and I’m missing it already. 😦 After Ramadan, I haven’t cooked and baked a lot, maybe because I still have not made my schedule. There are lots of recipes waiting to be checked off but my mind is not yet set. I will start spending lots of time in the kitchen starting on Saturday. I’ve spent the whole weekend dining out and I think I gained weight again. But that’s fine; the important is I was happy with what I ate. 😀 I also went to a bookstore to check for some books and yes, the books I want to buy were available. But I did not buy them because I am waiting for my birthday to come so I’ll have gift for myself, haha! Well, my birthday is not near but I just want something to look forward to. 🙂

Anyway, since I have not cooked something new lately to share with you today, I am still sharing something new – PINAKBET (pronounced as it is: Pi-nak-bet). Pinakbet is a Filipino dish with mixed veggies like okra, squash, eggplants, bitter melon and string beans. We also add meat of our choice or shrimp and shrimp paste. Although it is a Filipino dish, which means it’s very common to be seen on our dining table, I’ve only eaten this twice and this is the third time – when I finally tried cooking one. As far as I can remember, my mom never tried cooking this; I don’t even know why. I think she did not like it or maybe she knows that my father doesn’t like it? I don’t have any idea. I’ve only tried this when I was still in school – when I was having lunch at school and I decided to buy Pinakbet for my lunch.

Pinakbet

Pinakbet

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chicken, boneless, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 large eggplant, chopped
  • 1 cup squash, chopped into 2×1 inch cubes
  • 3 pieces large tomato, sliced
  • 1 piece onion, sliced
  • 1 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 6 to 8 pieces okra, sliced in half
  • 1 bunch string beans, cut in 3 inches length
  • 4 tbsp shrimp paste
  • ½ cup water
  • 3 tbsp cooking oil
  • salt and pepper

Instructions:

  1.  Sauté the garlic, ginger, onion, and tomato in hot oil.
  2. Add chicken and cook for 5 minutes or until golden brown.
  3. Add in shrimp paste and cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Add in water and simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Add squash and cook for about 5 minutes.
  6. Add remaining veggies and simmer for another 5 minutes or until veggies are soft, but not mushy.
  7. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Serve with white rice.

Note: If you are friends with bitter melon, add 1 medium sized (thinly sliced) and add in step # 6.

Source recipe: Pinakbet by Panlasang Pinoy

 

 

 

A book that broke my heart…

I’ve read this book a year ago and was not planning to tell a story about it… maybe because it was a year ago?!

But some thoughts on books have to be shared…

I was sitting on my bed, staring at my books on the shelf. A book that I’ve finished reading over a year ago caught my attention. It’s not mother’s day and it’s not my mom’s birthday, but I just wanna share my thoughts on this book.

Last year, I was chatting with my brother (who also loves reading) on Facebook and asked him what books should I include on the list and he gave me tons of book titles. Then he said “If you want something heartbreaking, read this book (giving me the title of the book).” When I’ve read the title of the book, I wanted to move out from my chair and go to the bookstore to the buy one. Anyway, I had the book few weeks after our talk. When ready, I finally decided to read the book.

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Please Look After Mom is a story about a mother who had gone missing when she went out of town with her husband to meet one of their children. The mother was 69 years old and not familiar with the place. When the children were searching for their mother, they have remembered all the things that their mother did for them. What’s good about this book is that you can see the views from all her children as well as her husband; they all have something to say about their mom. It’s been years and as what I’ve understood, they have not found their mom nor knew what happened to her.

I cried when I was reading the book especially when I was reading this (one of her children was telling the story):

Mom’s eyes held yours for a moment. “I don’t like or dislike the kitchen. I cooked because I had to. I had to stay in the kitchen so you could all eat and go to school. How could you only do what you like? There are things you have to do whether you like it or not.” Mom’s expression asked, “What kind of question is that?” And then she murmured, “If you only do what you like, who’s going to do what you don’t like?”

As a daughter or son, we sometimes don’t understand the “rules” of our moms and let’s not deny that some of us even sees their mom as their enemies if their wishes were not granted by her or if she is becoming very strict. But we are not fully aware that moms do things that they think is best for us.

After reading the book, I asked myself…

“How well did I know my mother’s sacrifices for all of us?”

I may not have witnessed all her heartaches and may not have known her pain but I know, in my heart, she had done everything she thought was best.

Note: If I would reread ONLY one book, it would be this one.