For the love of books: November 2013

Before Go To Sleep 

I am more upset than last month as I have not finished the books I planned to read for November. Some things just got in the way and I have not finished immediately the book I started reading in October. I found it difficult to finish; I guess the book was not for me at all.

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The story was about a woman named Christine Lucas. She is 40 years old. She has lost her memory due to an accident. Well, that’s what her ‘husband’ named Ben told her. When Christine sleeps, she forgets everything that happened in the previous day so she was convinced by a doctor named Dr. Nash to make a journal. She has retained some of her memories but during the first 20 years of her life. The journal contains the happenings in a day in her life and she reads it every time she wakes up. The same routine every day and sometimes, she meets Dr. Nash without the knowledge of her husband.

Fast forward… Christine discovered that Ben is not her real husband, she lost her memory not by car accident, but somebody attacked her and a lot of things that the pretending Ben kept from her.

On those years, she was kept from people she loved. The real Ben is alive and her son named Adam is also alive (the fake Ben told her that Christine did not have a child and later on, he told Christine that she had a child named Adam but he is dead). The real Ben and her son, Adam, showed up at the end of the story when Christine was rushed to the hospital because the fake Ben tried to kill her.

The story was intriguing but I just can’t seem to understand why does the real Ben and Adam have not showed up or have not even tried to make a contact with Christine? Where were they in the middle of the story? I mean while Christine is struggling to remember things and living with the fake husband, why weren’t the real Ben and the son showed up?

Well, it’s not like I don’t like the story at all. But, you now, as a reader, you have to look for answers. Or I guess, this book is not really for me. Or… maybe I have not understood some parts? I have read somewhere that this book will soon be a movie, which I am not sure of. But that will be great. Maybe that could enlighten me.

I have finished another book but it’s a part of a series so I will share my thoughts on the series in the next book post.

Thank you for spending time with me today.

Have a blessed weekend, everyone! 😉

Chicken Macaroni Salad

Welcome to the 75th food post of thenotsocreativecook! I hope Effie Trinket could do the intro for me. 😀

Mmm, sorry about that! I am just so happy to share that after a long time of waiting, Catching Fire finally made it to the big screen. I was so happy that my eyes were twinkling when I get to watch the movie last week. What I liked about the movie was… the story is almost the same as the book. Of course, it’s the same. What did I just say? I meant the scenes in the book and the movie are exactly the same. I cannot remember a thing that has been changed. I loved the movie so much – it was heartbreaking, yet, nicely done. For sure, I’d watch the movie again and again. 😀

Anyway, after the 75th HG (The Hunger Games) craziness, let me bring you the 75th food post:

This was made months ago but I think this salad deserves to be shared.

In the Philippines, Chicken Macaroni Salad is usually served as a side dish. Also, it can be served as a dessert.

I have known this salad for a long time but I cannot remember if my Mom had made this. I have tried it only when dining out. Although this salad is popular in the Philippines, I have not tried making it. But when dining out, I always want to have this as my side dish. I think less than a cup of this salad will be fine.

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One day, my friends and I met somewhere and one of them handed me a container with Chicken Macaroni Salad and when I opened it, it smelled so good. I asked them if they have brought a spoon or anything I can use to eat. One of them gave me a Hello Kitty spoon from her niece’s lunch box! Haha! I don’t think the niece will find it out so I took the spoon and ate. 😀 (Of course, along with the salad, I took the spoon with me at home. The aunt approved, anyway.) Since then, I told myself I would make one. And I did.

Chicken Macaroni Salad

Ingredients:

  • 400g macaroni pasta
  • 2 boneless and skinless chicken breast
  • 2 medium onion, chopped
  • ½ cup carrots, grated
  • 1/3 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sandwich spread (commercialized sandwich spread)
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 3/4 cups pineapple tidbits
  • ¾ to 1 cup cream (Nestle cream/thick cream)
  • ¾ cup condensed milk
  • 1 cup cheese, chopped or grated

Instructions:

  1. Cook the macaroni according to instructions. Set aside and let it cool for a few minutes.
  2. Boil the chicken until cooked. Let cool and shred. Set aside.
  3. Mix all the remaining ingredients.
  4. When the pasta is ready (cooled), you can mix it with the sauce as well as the shredded chicken.
  5. You can take a bite and check if everything is fine with you. If yes, you can put the salad inside the fridge for at least one hour (depending on your fridge).
  6. Serve cold.

Notes:

  • If using a thin cream (Not heavy cream, please!), start from ½ cup.
  • I used the sandwich spread ’Lady’s Choice’. You can use other brand (of course) but you have to adjust it according you your taste.

From the time I have made my first Chicken Macaroni Salad, this has been an instant favorite of mine. 🙂

I haven’t made this in months and I am actually craving for this RIGHT NOW but I just can’t make one because I might forget that I am trying to die lose weight. But I will make this again… I will. 😀

Dynamite Shrimps

How far would you go for love…for FOOD?

I love cooked Shrimp. But my love has limitation – I really hate the task of having to remove its skin. I don’t cook shrimp that often… but when I do, I make sure that it’s a BIG HIT. 😉

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Please click the photo for a clearer one. Go click it. 😀

I’ve been seeing Dynamite Shrimp recipe for quite a while now and the review was very good. I’d love to try it but I was, you know, lazy. But since I have guests coming over for lunch and I wanted to serve something new, I decided to try it out.

Dynamite Shrimp

Ingredients:

  • 1 KG medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • Vegetable oil (or any cooking oil)
  • Lettuce
  • Spring onion

For the Dynamite Sauce:

  • ¾ cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp Sriracha sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey

    For the batter:

  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch (or corn flour)
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ cup cold water

    For the coating:

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cornstarch (or corn flour)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder (optional)
  • 1 tsp onion powder (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Mix the sauce and do a taste test. If the taste is fine with you, you can set the sauce aside in the fridge.  If not, you can make adjustments.
  2. Prepare the batter: Mix the ingredients for the batter. Add in shrimp and mix well to coat.
  3. Heat at least 1 inch oil in a deep pan in a medium heat and wait for it to be hot enough.
  4. Prepare the shrimp: In a wide flat dish, Mix the ingredients for the coating. Working in batches, remove shrimps from the batter and transfer to the dish with the coating mixture and coat every shrimp. When shrimps are well coated, remove from the coating mixture and set aside. Repeat until all shrimps are coated.
  5. When oil is hot enough (about 350 degrees Celsius), fry shrimp in batches for 2 minutes (or until golden brown) and transfer to a stack of paper towel to remove excess oil.
  6. When all shrimps have been cooked, carefully mix the shrimp and the sauce.
  7. Serve in a bed of lettuce or cabbage. I prefer lettuce.  And garnish with spring onion, if desired.

This recipe is inspired Best Yummy Recipes.

This Dynamite Shrimp is one of a kind. I was lost for words the first time I took a bite. It was… I don’t know – NO WORDS… No words could describe how much delicious this appetizer is. I think the first word that I have uttered was ‘WOW’ with my eyes wide open, like I was so amazed. And then I said, ‘I will surely definitely absolutely make this again!’ Haha! Oh! How about the prep thing needed for shrimps? Well, I don’t mind doing that all over again. The cuts I will get from cleaning and removing the shells will be worth it. 😀

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WARNING: Please have somebody to eat this with you if you don’t want to end up eating them alone. If you don’t mind that, that’s better! Hahaha!

Notes:

  • Depending on the richness/taste of the mayo, you may need to adjust your ingredients. That is why I suggest doing the taste test before mixing them with the cooked shrimps. If Sriracha is not available, I think the mixture of mayo, sweet chili sauce and hot sauce will do. I think, you’ll just not get the AMAZING sauce because Sriracha is just so… different.
  • I made another batch of sauce and add it to the sauce little by little until I was satisfied. I put the remaining inside the fridge and used it as a sauce for fried chicken.

I am sharing the delicious dish at

Cook Blog Share | Melt in Your Mouth Monday | Foodie Friends Friday | Foodie FriDIY | Cook Once Eat Twice | Throwback Thursday

Liebster Award 1-2-3

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I can never be happier with all the nominations. For the last week, I received three nominations for the Liebster Award. If I am not mistaken, this award is given to the new bloggers or bloggers with less than 200 followers/supporters to be discovered by other bloggers and I am thankful for the nominations. This is another way bloggers supporting other bloggers. What a nice community is this. 😉  Before answering the questions, I would like to say THANK YOU to these three blogs (mentioned below) for the nominations. I really appreciate that you have thought of me.

(1) On 11/13, I was nominated by The Dessert Course and here are the questions for me to answer:

 1. Which cook book could you not be without? I don’t own a cook book except for the compilation of recipes I have on the iPad which is on PDF format.

 2. Who taught you everything you know about cooking/baking? My Mom.

 3. What is your favourite holiday destination? I don’t go on a holiday that much. But I would love to go to Disneyland.

 4. When you were a child, what job did you see yourself doing? Being a nurse or flight stewardess.

 5. What food can you not stand the sight of? I cannot think of one.

 6. Who is your favourite musician/band? I love Avril Lavigne.

 7. What issue are you most passionate about? Can I count food?

 8. What is your biggest fear? To be thrown in hell.

 9. Are you a dog or cat person? Cat person.

 10. How long have you been running your blog? My blog will be on its 7th month on November 23.

(2) On 11/17, I was again nominated by Tale of Two Tomatoes and here are my answers to her questions:

a. Do you have ambitions for your blog? If so, what are they? I don’t think so. All I know is I just want to share to more people the recipes I have here.

b. Where would you live if you could live anywhere you wanted on Earth? Anywhere as long as I have all my loved ones with me.

c. Are you a glass half-full or half-empty person? I am a half-full person.

d. What’s the first item on your wish list? To go to pilgrimage.

e. Which cook book could you not be without? I don’t own a cook book except for the compilation of recipes I have on the iPad which is on PDF format.

f. When you were a child, what job did you see yourself doing? When I was a kid, back in 90’s, almost all girls in my school wanted to be a Nurse, Flight Stewardess or a Teacher. So I would say Nurse.

g. What is your signature dish? Chicken Curry

h. What’s your favourite dessert? I don’t have one but I think I would go for ice creams and cakes.

i. One food ingredient you can’t live without? Eggs.

j. Fame or Money and why? I would choose money because I could so whatever I want with money like open a business, save it or held the needy ones.

(3) The last nomination was on 11/19 by My Year of Cupcakes and here are my answers to the given questions:

1. What made you want to start your blog? My passion in cooking and baking and having to share what I know with others.

2. Who is your hero? My Mom.

3. What city, country or continent have you always wanted to visit? Mecca, Saudi Arabia.

4. When you were a kid, what did you dream of being when you grew up? When I was a kid, back in 90’s, almost all girls in my school wanted to be a Nurse, Flight Stewardess or a Teacher. So I would say Nurse.

5. What, in your opinion, is your strongest skill or ability? Cooking and baking.

6. What is your favorite book?  Why? Stand-alone book? Please Look After Mom by Shin Kyung-sook because it reminds me of my Mom and it’s really an excellent book. I must say this is an opener to every child. When it comes to series, I love the Percy Jackson series and Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan. 

7. What inspires you? My loved ones.

8. What is your favorite comfort food? Anything dessert.

9. Do you have a favorite season of the year?  If so, which one? I love cold days but sun is still up.

10. Who is your favorite band or singer? I love Avril Lavigne.

  And my nominees for the Liebster Award:

dinnerbank
crumbsandtea
dailygluttony
pickybits
morefoodpls
bakingwithgab
butterbasilandbreadcrumbs
rubygreenbakes
missfats
countybakermom

The rules:

Rules:

1) Link to the person who nominated you

2) Answer their questions

3) Nominate new blogs for the award

4) Ask them 10 new questions

5) Let the nominees know they have been nominated

And here are my questions:

1. What food/ingredient(s) you always make sure you have?
2. What is your signature dish?
3. What is you favorite breakfast food?
4. What is/are your other interest/s aside from cooking and baking?
5. If I will ask your friends to describe you in one phrase, what do you think they will tell me?
6. What is the first thing you’ve cooked and baked?
7. What is you favorite thing from your kitchen? Okay, you can name three. 
8. What is the latest thing you bought for your kitchen?
9. Who inspired you to make your blog?
10. Any advice to other new bloggers?

Thanks and happy blogging!! ❤

Strawberries & Pineapple Smoothie

For the past few days, I did not step on the scale. I am still upset like I wanna throw the scale out in the window! Nah! Just kidding! I need my scale! I am upset but I am getting over it. I don’t have to starve myself just to lose weight. Like I said, the most important thing for me is to eat healthier. At least the past few weeks, fruits have been entering my body. I just hope I will not go back to my old eating habits. Well, it depends on me, right? Or it depends on the food served in front of me. Hahaha!

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Anyway, I am going to share with you another smoothie that I liked. And maybe should have loved if the pineapples were sweet but I didn’t know how to choose a good pineapple. I think I should search on that matter.

Strawberries and Pineapple Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fresh Strawberries, washed and stems removed
  • 1 cup fresh Pineapple, peeled, washed and sliced into chunks
  • 4 tbsp Greek/low fat/skimmed yogurt
  • 4 tbsp low fat/skimmed/soy milk
  • 10 ice cubes

Instructions:

  1. Prepare your ingredients and the glasses you need.
  2. In a blender, blend together Pineapple, 2 tbsp yogurt, 2 tbsp milk and 5 ice cubes. Transfer to a glass, half full.
  3. Wash the blender for the Strawberries.
  4. Blend the remaining ingredients (Strawberries, 2 tbsp yogurt, 2 tbsp milk and 5 ice cubes) until desired consistency. Pour onto the glass with Pineapple smoothie to fill the last half of the glass.
  5. Top with more fruits if desired.

Filipino Cheese Cupcakes

Sorry! I ate my words!

I said I will not bake for the month of November… but this is an exemption because these yummies were baked by request. Of course, I had the opportunity to eat some. Ohhh! I did not eat too much. I am still disappointed with not losing any pound for a week (or I think two). So I will not indulge.

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This has been posted in May – as you can see in the comments below – but I was so much happier when I baked this couple of days ago as they were bigger just like the way I remember it. I was arguing with my brain if these should be called cupcakes or muffins. Anyway, they can still fit into tea cups so they can still be called cupcakes.

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Aren’t they beautiful? I love them with more cheese so I added another half cup of cheese to the below recipe to make it 1 1/2 cups. Okay, so I baked 12 muffins and on the next day, I baked another 12. Really, I just baked this by request.

And…

Okay! I also missed this so when I was told to bake, I said ‘SUUUREEEEE!’.

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Cheese Cupcake has been a favorite in our school during break time. I always had this and even bought some to bring it home. It’s been eons years since I have graduated from grade school and I just missed eating this. Good thing I found a recipe from My Bright Yellow Kitchen and saved it for my baking experiment.

This is something that reminds me of my grade school days.

Cheese Cupcakes Recipe

  • Servings: 12 regular-sized muffins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups flour, sifted
  • 8 oz condensed milk
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare muffin pan lined with paper liners. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. In another bowl, add softened butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Beat using an electric mixer.
  4. Pour in the flour mixture in thirds alternating it with condensed milk.
  5. Add in half of the cheddar cheese and mix well.
  6. Divide with your paper-lined muffin pan, 3/4 full.
  7. Top with the remaining cheddar cheese.
  8. Bake for 20-23 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  9. Remove from the oven and cool in the muffin pan for 10 minutes.

Source recipe: Pinoy Cheese Cupcakes by My Bright Yellow Kitchen

Note: 

Keep in an air tight container for 5 days at room temperature.

 

I really enjoyed this and I hope you give them a try. It’s very easy to do but delicious. This is perfect for your kid’s snack at home and in school, too.

Hope everyone enjoyed the weekend as I did. 😉

The Versatile Award #2

versitle-blogger (1)Blogging is not completely an easy thing to do – you cook, take pictures and write. I mean it takes a lot of your time. It’s not that easy but it is fun – so much fun, especially when you get in touch with people. I love chatting with people and like I said, I don’t mind waking up in the middle of the night to reply to messages/comments. And when I want to cook, I try to make sure that it’s something new so I have something new to share. 😀

Receiving an award is another thing that makes a blogger so much happy. So I am so delighted to receive ‘The Versatile Blogger’ from my almost-everyday commenter, Dimple of shivaaydelights

Everyone is dear to me.

And for The Versatile Award, I pass the award to:

http://bakingwithgab.wordpress.com
http://thedessertcourse.wordpress.com
http://countybakermom.wordpress.com
http://dinnerbank.com
http://butterbasilandbreadcrumbs.wordpress.com
http://morefoodpls.wordpress.com
http://fooddaydreaming.wordpress.com
http://ineedafeed.wordpress.com
http://sweetbakedlife.com
http://tastytreats13.wordpress.com
http://crumbsandtea.wordpress.com
http://taleoftwotomatoes.wordpress.com
http://bandhnakaur.wordpress.com
http://createbakemake.com
http://tccooking.wordpress.com

 The rules are to

  1. Display the award certificate on your blog
  2. Link back to the person who nominated you
  3. Present 15 awards to 15 deserving bloggers
  4. Inform your nominees that you have nominated them
  5. Write 7 random facts about yourself

 My 7 random facts:

  1. Just before going to sleep at night, I go to my usual routine which is watching YouTube videos. I love to watch cooking channels, movie trailers and anything about movies.
  2. I enjoy buying something for myself or someone else. I love clothes, books, kitchen stuffs, slippers, etc.
  3. I love to enter random kitchen and furniture shops just to look around.
  4. I like Durian Shakes made with fresh Durian meat with milk, sugar and ice. I love Durian candies and the like, too. But not the fruit itself.
  5. I love to see live shows, especially musical shows, like the one in Universal Studios.
  6. When I want to eat bread, I don’t know which spread to use as I have more than five in the fridge/pantry. Haha! I always spend a lot of time to think. Like it should be planned few hours before if I want to eat bread.
  7. I can’t tolerate amusement park rides at all. I always remember the scenes in the ‘Final Destination’ movie when I see the rides.  I think that’s what I get in watching scary movies.

Can I add this last one? I AM DYING TO SEE CATCHING FIRE in a few days!! 😀 Haha! Sorry, friends. I am just so excited.

Thank you once again, Dimple, for passing me this award. *hugs!*

Banoffee Smoothie

I think I am on my 3rd week (trying to loss weight) now and the progress was slower on the 2nd week and 3rd week. Unlike the 1st week, it went very well. I was a bit upset because the scale goes up and down. Knowing that I don’t have a cheat day, I should be a little disappointed, right? But anyway, I will not cry over that. Losing weight takes a lot of time and effort. I’ll just keep doing my own thing and if I don’t reach my goal, at least, I am trying to live a little healthier compared to the last years of my life.

Let’s not dwell on that!

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Okay, so I don’t know if this is healthy or not-so-healthy but before all the almost healthy (if not all-healthy) smoothies I drink now, this smoothie is one of my favorites. This was made a few weeks ago before I started this ‘diet’ thing. And… this smoothie was a little jealous with all the new smoothies so here it is now… No need to get jealous!

Banoffee Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 2 large ripe bananas
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 6 tbsp powdered milk
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 1 tbsp coffee granules

Instructions: Put everything in a blender and blend until you get desired consistency. You might want to adjust the ingredients according to your liking.

I hope you enjoy your weekend. 🙂

Blog of the Year 2013 Award

Last night, I was surprised when I received a notification that I have been nominated for the ‘Blog of the Year 2013’ and I was like… OMG? Really? My blog? Blog of the Year? (Smiles up to my ears.)

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Okay! I am speechless. I don’t know what to say. When it comes to receiving an award, I really don’t know what to say but to thank with all my heart the one who passed me this meaningful award, Joseyphina. Her blog is full of inspiring and lovely stories. You might want to check it out. 😉 Thank you so much, Joseyphina for thinking of me.

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The best part of receiving an award in the blogging community is not the receiving itself but the opportunity to pass it to others. So for the ‘Blog of the Year 2013’ award, here’s my list:

http://shivaaydelights.wordpress.com
http://fae-magazine.com
http://myfavouritepastime.com/
http://amalkitchen.wordpress.com/
http://rabbitcanbake.wordpress.com
http://bakingwithgab.wordpress.com
http://countybakermom.wordpress.com
http://butterbasilandbreadcrumbs.wordpress.com
http://morefoodpls.wordpress.com
http://sophiesfoodiefiles.wordpress.com
http://fooddaydreaming.wordpress.com
http://ineedafeed.wordpress.com
http://laurasmess.me
http://sweetbakedlife.com/
http://tastytreats13.wordpress.com/

The rules of this award are as follows:
1 Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2013’ Award

2 Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there are no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ the blog(s) with their award.

3 Let the blog(s) that you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the instructions with them – (please don’t alter the instructions or the badges!)

4 Come over and say hello to the originator of the ‘Blog of the Year 2013’ Award via this link – http://thethoughtpalette.co.uk/blog-awards-2/blog-of-the-year-2013-award/

5 You can now also join the ‘Blog of the Year’ Award Facebook page – click the link here  https://www.facebook.com/groups/BlogoftheYear/ and share your blog posts with an even wider audience.

6 And as a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog … and start collecting stars…

stars

Yes – that’s right – there are stars to collect!

Unlike other awards which you can only add to your blog once – this award is different!

When you begin you will receive the ‘1 star’ award – and every time you are given the award by another blog – you can add another star!

There are a total of 6 stars to collect.

Which means that you can check out your favorite blogs – and even if they have already been given the award by someone else – you can still bestow it on them again and help them to reach the maximum 6 stars! You can either ‘swop’ your badge for the next one each time you are given the award – or even proudly display all six badges if you are lucky enough to be presented with the award six times!

Blog of the Year Award 6 star jpeg

You can find all the badges and banners & information you need via this link:

‘Blog of the Year 2013’ Award Badges

Again, thank you so much, Joseyphina and to everyone! 😉

Have a blessed day,
Jhuls