Thank you, 2013!

2013 went really good, Alhamdulillah (Praise God). Well… it was not near to perfect at all, but it was great. (I don’t think anyone had perfect all-year round… I meant no flaws at all? Uhm, maybe some?)

As for me, 2013 was one superb year. I started my blog last year in April (though I was not sure how it will turn out) and I received wonderful and heart-warming comments. I also felt that the community (which I call now my family) is so welcoming. I stared my blog with less self-confidence (in cooking & baking), but as my days go by (and with all your praises and appreciation), I finally believed in myself and thought that if others can do it, why can’t I? So, making this blog helped me a lot, learned a lot and I’ve got myself a new family – that’s all of you, my dear friends. By the month of June, I created my Instagram account and gained new family, too.

Apart from gaining self-confidence, I also gained pounds (a lot). I enjoyed my kitchen adventures more (I also enjoyed eating more) and got myself some kitchen toys (just few?).  And a few books, too. (Out of topic). As I gained pounds, I also received negative comments. But, it came to my realization that I should’ve not listened to people telling how badly I needed to lose weight. Though I know that I. AM. NOT. THAT. FAT!! I mean my height still matches with weight. And as long as you’re happy, I don’t think there’s nothing wrong with being ‘chubby’ (that’s better) – like it’s the worst sin of a woman.

“I will decide on losing weight if I feel it’s enough!” – that’s what I always tell people when the comments get annoying. The time came… Later last year, I felt it – I decided to start an almost healthy diet. So I ended the year feeling good.

2013 was not always about my battle with my weight. Of course, I also do have other life aside from a kitchen princess. But that will not be so important to chat about.

Moving on… 2013 was also a heart-wrenching year as I have lost two very important women in my life (may they rest in peace). And there was Paul Walker (seriously?). What? A fan have the right to be sad! But, life is like that. As my father always says -“Everyone has their own appointed time.”

Okay! So let’s not end this with heart-breaking topics or something of that sort as I wanted to share with you the top ten posts:

1) Posted on 10/26/2013 but this Tiramisu Cupcakes post is on the top. Hmm, I don’t doubt it… These cupcakes were incredibly appetizing!


2) Another recipe that is worth the try – Dynamite Shrimps. (All my recipes are worth the try, of course! Silly me!) I should say that I would love to make this over and over again. (Craving now!)


3) Ahh! This is another favorite of mine – these Filipino Cheese Cupcakes are great for snack… and also perfect for kid’s lunch boxes.


4) Well, one of the classic muffins – Chocolate Chip Muffins – made its way to number four spot. So perfect with coffee, tea or milk… or just anything you want to pair with.


5) Yay! I am so happy that my favorite spread is here – Egg Sandwich Spread. I want to make one right now! (Ooopss! The diet, please!)

6) I’m rooting for my version of Filipino Spaghetti as this is one of my top favorite dishes. As I always say ‘I would not trade this for any pasta in the world.’ I am glad it’s on sixth place. Also, check out the one with white sauce – so heavenly.


7) These Chocolate Espresso Scones are just perfect for breakfast! Also, this is the first photo that has been accepted on TasteSpotting. (View my gallery here.)

8) Red Velvet White Chocolate Chip Cookies are my first cookies (after those unappetizing cookies). These cookies are so delicious when paired with milk.


9) The good thing about this? You make this ahead of time. Also, this can be made and nicely packed and be given as a gift when you want to visit a loved. Try our Filipino Meatloaf and you’ll love it.


10) This Chocolate Almond Cake is incredibly addictive. I must say that this is one of my favorite cakes. This is 100% worth your time and effort. Almond Cake

And we’re done for now!

I would like everyone to know that you are one of the reasons why my 2013 was amazing! I hope your 2013 was great, too. Let us all welcome 2014 with positive thoughts and SMILE.

Have a prosperous and blessed year ahead!

Lots of love and appreciation – Jhuls


Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken


When I want to eat a roasted chicken, I always go out and buy one. I did not have any idea that roasting a chicken could be that easy and much cheaper. When I started baking, I always wanted to try an oven-roasted chicken but due to the long list I have, I always end up baking cupcakes, muffins, etc…


There was a time that I was craving for a roasted chicken. So I went out and bought one. After eating a lot, I found my head painful. Why? This is what I get from eating a store-bought roasted chicken – not all the time, but most of the time. After that, I did not buy again. And I have not eaten roasted chicken in months. I tried looking for a roasted chicken recipe and I was surprised how easy it is to make one. So I told myself I will make one… someday! Thankfully, that ‘someday’ did not take too long – it happened in less than a month.


This is the easiest recipe I have ever found. I loved how the chicken tasted so simple, yet, so delicious!

Lemon & Herb Roasted Chicken Recipe


  • 1.2kg whole chicken
  • 2 tbsp butter (or olive oil)
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley (or 2 tbsp fresh parsley)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste


  1. Rinse and pat dry chicken.
  2. Sprinkle salt all of the chicken’s surface. Place in a bowl or plate and let sit in the fridge overnight to air dry. (This step will give you the crispiest chicken skin.)

Next day,

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
  2. Remove the chicken from the fridge and pat dry again.
  3. Let the chicken rest for about 30 minutes.
  4. In a small bowl, combine butter, parsley and lemon zest. Melt in a microwave and set aside.
  5. Place the chicken in a baking dish. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  6. Pour lemon juice inside the chicken.
  7. Truss the chicken.
  8. Spread the butter mixture all over the chicken’s surface.
  9. Squeeze the lemon wedges all over the chicken and place the squeezed lemon wedges in the baking dish.
  10. Roast for 1 hour 15 minutes or until juices run clear when you cut between the thigh and the leg.
  11. Remove the chicken from the oven and let rest for about 20 minutes before carving.

Source recipe: Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken by Best Recipe Box

The combination of the lemon juice and the juices from the chicken were absolutely awesome! If I could put them in a glass and drink them, I will. But of course, I will not do that. 😀 I just can’t believe that with just very simple and few ingredients, you could make a delicious roasted chicken. See that juice? 



Oops! Wait a minute. How silly of me not to show you the breast part. Chicken breast is not a favorite of mine, if you can remember. But, this one is so great that I can eat the breast part ONLY! Huh? Really? Nope! Just kidding. I love thigh and legs… but this part in this roasted chicken is perfect – not tough like some of the store-bought ones – it’s soft and still juicy! But nothing is juicer that the thigh! Okay, I get it! 


I was supposed to eat this with roasted potatoes but since potatoes are carbs and rice is also a carb… Of course, I chose rice over potatoes.


Hihihi! Can you see the skin? Yes! I love the skin so much. But, you know what? I did not eat rice again after this… even after the next few days. I really know now how to discipline myself. 😀 And I did not ask for another cup of rice. Yehey!


I was so happy with this chicken that I almost forgot to mention that I got this recipe from this site. Thank you so much! If you check out the link, you’ll notice that I changed some… Well, that is according to what I exactly did.

Hope you try this and let me know.

Impossible Coconut Pie

I wondered why there are recipes called ‘Impossible’ blah, blah, blah! Now I know why…

My sweetened shredded coconut was waiting for a long time to be used. But since it will expire on 2014, I let it wait for a little longer. I always have a problem with soon-to-be expired ingredients as I tend to buy more when I stop by at a store I don’t usually visit. I always try to organize the yummies I’d like to bake but some things (I mean the soon-to-be expired ingredients) will just pop up and get in the way. Thankfully, I got rid of them few weeks ago and finally had the chance to use my sweetened shredded coconut.


One pack of the shredded coconut can make two yummies, depending on the quantity you need. My first choice was Impossible Coconut Pie. And I was glad that was my first choice. I love anything with coconut. And this coconut pie is insanely delicious!!

Impossible Coconut Pie


  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup self-rising flour
  • 1 1/4 cups sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9-inch pie dish or round baking pan and set aside.
  2. In a bowl, combine butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and milk. Mix to incorporate.
  3. Add in coconut and mix.
  4. Add in flour and mix just until combined.
  5. Pour in the batter into the prepared pie dish/baking pan.
  6. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until pie is dark golden and darker at the edges. The pie will be firm to touch.
  7. Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  8. Keep the pie covered in the fridge.

Source recipe: Impossible Coconut Pie by Blue Eyed Bakers

I don’t have a pie dish so I just used a round baking pan. Nothing differs at all.


I repeat…

This coconut pie is insanely delicious!!!

If I get to catch sweetened shredded coconut again, I promise to make this again!! 


Blueberries and Pineapple Smoothie

I just love the color of Blueberries when blended.

When I see Blueberries, it reminds of the Nightlock berries from The Hunger Games movie. In the movie, Nightlock (blueberry-like) are berries that are infamous for the lethal poisonous juices that are inside. It kills the person who eats it even before it reaches the stomach.

Okay, enough of the Nightlock berries and let’s proceed with the post…


Of course, these Blueberries are edible and not poisonous. Blueberries are called the antioxidant super food. Like other berries, these indigo-colored berries have many health benefits. I may not love eating them as raw but I love to put them on smoothies.

Blueberries and Pineapple Smoothie


  • 1 cup fresh Blueberries, washed
  • 1 cup fresh Pineapples, cut into chunks
  • 1/3 cup Greek/skimmed yogurt
  • 1/3 cup skimmed/soy milk
  • Ice cubes


Put everything in a blender and blend well. Transfer to a glass and drink immediately.

The ingredients are just are so simple but you’ll get loads of benefits from the two fruits used in this smoothie. Blueberries are anti-oxidants, provides cancer prevention, good for bladder and a lot more. On the other hand, Pineapples are good source of vitamin C, potassium and they are also high in fiber and low in calories.

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies

I love Nutella. I love Chocolates. I love cookies. If they’re put into one? Amazing, right? Cookies are one of the perfect pick-me-up snacks.


Bake a batch or two, store them in a cookie jar or in an air-tight container and you’re ready to pick them up anytime. It can be while watching TV, reading a book or chatting with your loved ones. Writing these lines makes me want to bake these cookies again so I have something to munch while doing this post.

Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup Nutella
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts (optional)
  • Melted Nutella for drizzling (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Prepare a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  2. In a bowl, beat butter until creamy. Add in sugar and beat for 2 minutes. Add in egg and beat just until combined. Add in Nutella and vanilla and mix until combined.
  3. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add them to the mixture and mix to incorporate.
  4. Add in chocolate chips and hazelnuts.
  5. Scoop about 1 tbsp of dough and form into balls. Place the cookie dough on the prepare baking sheet 2-inch apart.
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes until edges are crispy, but center is still a bit soft.
  7. Remove from the oven and let cool on on baking sheet for 10 minutes and transfer to a cooling rack to continue cooling.
  8. Drizzle with melted Nutella if desired.

Source recipe: Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies by Espresso and Cream


  • The original recipe calls for ½ cup Nutella, but I suggest making them ¾ cup if you want rich Nutella flavor. It also calls for melted semi-sweet chocolate for the drizzle but I again suggest replacing it for melted Nutella. Well, if you want more Nutella flavor.
  • For additional Nutella flavor, hazelnut extract can be used or 2 teaspoon of Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur) can be used. I did not use this because I don’t consume alcohol.
  • Keep in an air-tight container. If using chocolate or Nutella drizzle, you can also keep them inside the fridge before serving if you want your drizzle to set.


These cookies were super! They were almost thin but still chewy on the inside. If I don’t have a long list for cookie recipes, I would make this again.

I am sure you’ll all love this!! Hope you try them and let me know. Wishing everyone a lovely weekend! 😉

‘Blog of the Year’ Award

This award is so making me happy.

On November 12, Joseyphina passed the Blog of the Year award to me that gave me one star. On November 16, Fae passed the same award with three stars (Really, Fae?!). And lastly, on November 18, I was nominated for the same award, one star this time, by Food Day Dreaming and British Blokes Cooking. Does it mean that I have reached six stars?! Please correct me if I am wrong. 🙂

Anyway, six or not, I am so thankful for this ‘Blog of the Year’ award. 😀 Thank you to my lovely friends who have nominated me for this award. I feel so honored. I don’t know what more to say to show my appreciation of this award and for thinking of me.

Blog of the Year

The best part of receiving an award in the blogging community is not the receiving itself but the opportunity to pass it to others. I love everyone and for me, everyone is doing great and have an amazing blog. So, apart from the first batch of blogs I nominated for the same award, I’ll be making a new list.

For the ‘Blog of the Year 2013’ award, here’s my second batch of nominations (not in order):



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 –

5 You can now also join the ‘Blog of the Year’ Award Facebook page – click the link here 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…


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

Rocky Road Brownies

Brownies is my top one favorite bar. Give me some and you’ll see my eyes twinkle. 😀 I love any brownies, especially the ones with nuts. I don’t know why it took me months before baking brownies again and I am missing them so badly.

I searched for a rocky road brownies recipe that fits on a square baking pan – I just want them to be on a square baking pan so I’ll manage to finish them in just a few days. Unfortunately, all I found were recipes baked in a 9×13 pan.


On my Instagram account, I am following Manuela Kjeilen, author of Love, Manuela and several baking books. And I decided to adopt her recipe. Please take note that the below recipe is a translated one as the original recipe (or let me say the whole website) is in Norwegian language. Well, I just re-phrased some of the texts.

Rocky Road Brownies



  • 226 g butter
  • 300 g semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 200 g brown sugar
  • 100 g sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 150 g flour
  • 200 g nuts (optional)
  • 1 tsp vanilla


  • 50 g chocolate buttons/chocolate chips
  • 100 g marshmallows
  • 50 g nuts


  • 50 g chocolate buttons
  • 1 tbsp. syrup
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream.


  1. Preheat oven at 180 C. Prepare a 9×13 (inches) baking pan with greased parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Combine butter and chocolate in a bowl and put over a pan with simmering water.
  3. Remove the bowl and stir well until everything has melted and has been thoroughly mixed.
  4. Wait to cool down a bit. Add sugar, salt and brown sugar and mix it well.
  5. Add the eggs and whisk until you get a thick batter.
  6. Then pour in the flour and mix.
  7. If using nuts, add them now.
  8. Pour in your baking pan and bake for 35 minutes.
  9. Remove pan from the oven and spread the toppings in order: (1) nuts, (2) chocolate buttons/chocolate chips (3) marshmallows. And bake for 8-12 minutes or until the marshmallows brown a little.
  10. When done, let cool in a wire rack for at least an hour or two.
  11. When cooled down, you can do the sauce: Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl and melt in a microwave from 15 seconds to 1 minute. Just be careful not to overheat them. Using a spoon or fork, just drizzle the sauce on top of the brownies.

I love this Rocky Road Brownies. I just found it a little thicker. But that’s not an issue at all… Everything was perfect! And I am sure I’ll be making this again – on the right pan.


  • I assumed that the baking pan was measured in cm. So 18 x 26 cm is about 7 x 10 inches in size… am I right? Because 18 x 26 inches pan is a full-sheet pan used for jelly or Swiss rolls. (Please, help me out here.)
  • The step when you have to pour your brownie batter in the pan, the translated text gave me ‘…pour in a square shape pan (18 × 26)’. Am I the only one confused or what? – 18 x 26 square shape pan? The thing is, I baked mine in a 18 x 26 cm baking pan and I found it thicker than the usual thickness of the brownies. So I changed the above into 9 x 13 inches baking pan. I did not notice that in her website, the photo showed a rectangular size pan. So, of course, the translated text was wrong when Google translate said ‘square shape’ pan.
  • The original recipe calls for two kinds of sugar – 200 g brown and 225 g white. You will notice that I changed white sugar into 100 g because I used semi-sweet chocolate chips. Manuela used a chocolate with 70% cacao. Maybe that was the reason she used large quantity of sugar. You may follow, of course, the original recipe. It’s all up to you.
  • I used peanuts. You may use walnuts, almond, pecan… It’s your brownies. 😀

Source Recipe: Rocky Road Brownies by Passion for Baking

When I bake this again, I prefer to use 9 x 13 inches baking pan. I am not really sure if 18 x 26 is in cm or inches. So I’ll follow what I think is right for my batter.


Whew! If I don’t love brownies, I should have not undergone with this translating thing. You know, it gave me a hard timing figuring things out. But anyone who loves food will do anything for food. Haha! Anyway, it’s all worth it.

I promise to post or update this when I’ll have the chance bake this once again. But… a long list of brownie recipes is still on queue. 😀

P.S. If ever you make this, please let me know what pan did you use or how everything turned out. I would love to know.

Dragon’s Loyalty Award 1-2-3

Like I said… I’ve been a little busy the past few days that I have not read even a page or two. Now, I am trying to find a spot for my books. And since I started to go on a diet, I have not cooked and baked much. So I am trying to bake new yummies to post. Thinking of something to bake or cook still takes time. I have to use the soon to be expired chocolate chips and other ingredients (thankful that it’s not much), while the other side of my brain wants something else – the ones on the list. In other words, I am having a battle with myself.

That’s why the passing of the awards took a little longer than usual.  I am so grateful to be nominated by the lovely people: Ada of morefoodpls on 11/26, Shalini of  taleoftwotomatoes on 11/29 and Fae of  fae-magazine on 12/02. I really appreciate the nomination and for every comments and likes. 🙂


So here I am now for the Dragon’s Loyalty Award. To start with, here’s 7 random things about me:

  1. Aside from cooking and baking, I’d also love to sew. I love making curtains, pillowcases, bed sheets and pajamas. Ummm, just only basic sewing. That means, very simple outputs.
  2. I can sew the above stuffs without sewing machine. I once made a curtain like this this with ribbons up like this this. Well, those were not mine but those were exactly what I did.
  3. I love my chocolates a little melted than the usual texture, you know… hard. Sometimes, I put it on a hot surface to melt it a little and eat it right away. 😀
  4. I mostly make a schedule for books to be read and the time I needed. And when I don’t finish the book(s) in the given time, I feel so disappointed and arrange my chores again.
  5. I cry over flowers. I just love flowers!!
  6. I talk to things…:D One day, I was in a footwear shop and I saw nice slippers but I cannot buy it ‘coz it’s not scheduled to be bought. In other words, it’s not included in my expenses for the month. So I talked to the slippers and said ‘Stay right there; I’ll come back for you.’ And then the customer attendant looked at me (maybe she thinks I am crazy) and I smiled at her and left the shop. Hahaha! Seriously, I. AM. NOT. CRAZY.
  7. And lastly, (I thought I will never share this)… I am scared of cockroaches!! I always scream to my death and my sister really wants to ‘kill’ me for waking her up every time I see a cockroach in the middle of the night.

I still have to squeeze my brain to remember stuffs… so I remembered how crazy funny I am… 😀

Okay, for the rules:

  1.  You must link the person who has nominated you.
  2. You must share 7 things other bloggers may not know about you.
  3. Nominate up to 15 people.
  4. You must go to their blogs and notify your nominees.

 And here are my nominees:


Happy blogging and thank you for the support! xx Jhuls

Chicken Bicol Express

According to Wiki, Bicol Express was named after the passenger train service from Manila to the Bicol region, a region in the Philippines famous for its spicy cuisine. Bicol Express is a stew made from coconut milk, chilies, shrimp paste, garlic, onion and beef (or any meat) or chicken.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to get the perfect flavor for the Chicken Bicol Express but I failed. The first time, I used fresh coconut milk and simmered in low heat for more than 30 minutes. The color if the dish became nearly brown and I didn’t know if that was fine. Another thing, I did not get the correct flavor. My friend cooked the same and she made a perfect color – not completely white but not nearly brown. And I was like ‘What happened to mine?’ I was upset because I cannot make a very simple dish. I guessed it was the coconut milk… or maybe, I put too much shrimp paste.


I tried cooking using coconut powder and it was the best. Mmm, not the best Chicken Bicol Express in the world but at least, the best one I ever cooked.

Chicken Bicol Express


  • 1kg chicken, cut into small pieces (about 1×1 in size)
  • Coconut milk (2 cup coconut powder dissolved in 1 cup water)
  • 5 sliced chilies (combination of green and red is better)
  • 2 tsp shrimp paste
  • 2 tsp garlic, chopped
  • 2 tsp onion, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cooking oil


  1. Cut the chicken into small pieces. About 1×1 in size.
  2. In a deep pan or cooking pot, heat oil.
  3. Add garlic and onion. Cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add the chicken pieces. Cook until no longer pink.
  5. Add the chilies, shrimp paste and coconut milk. Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes.
  6. Add salt and pepper. Do a taste test.
  7. Serve with rice.

Easy, isn’t it?

This is the fourth time I made this dish. The second and the third was a success. The second was a trial and I used large cuts of chicken but nothing differs from the recipe above. I included carrots and red bell pepper to the third one just to use the remaining veggies I have in the fridge. I took photo of the third one and that photo was supposed to be the one in this post. The dish was gone and next thing I know, the light on the photo was too much. I cannot do something for the photo to look natural, so I deleted the photo and I cooked another dish after a few weeks. And this is it. I was glad the light cooperate with me this time.

In addition to the above ingredients, you can also add carrots and red bell pepper (or any veggies with not too much strong taste). The color will be so nice and the taste is just the same.

 I really enjoyed this dish. Although I made this just a week after I started my diet, I still enjoyed it and take note… I did not eat too much. I just kept on smelling the dish. 😀


  • The coconut powder might look too much but trust me… if using coconut powder, the more the yummier. Tinned/canned coconut milk can also be used, or even coconut cream.
  • I put 6 chilies in mine, half de-seeded and half with seeds. If you are a person who loves spicy dishes, then the above is fine, I think. Anyway, you can add more chilies or make the chili lesser.

Wishing everyone a fabulous weekend!