Monday, November 29, 2010

Early Christmas Gift

I got an "early" Christmas gift from my sister. She knew I love books. Amazingly, she got this on sale at a local bookstore at 80% off the original price! Can you believe that?! When I browsed the content, I saw that almost all of the cookies are decorated with fondant. I doubt if I could add this on my Christmas baking repertoire since I haven't worked with fondant before... I know it's just a matter of time before I test my hands on fondant, but still... it's sort of too advanced for me. I'd rather start with royal icing. I've been reading a lot about sugar cookies from blogs that I love, like Bake at 350 and Sweetopia, and I wanted to try the techniques I've learned from it. I love the design ideas from this book though, and it's always nice to have a reference instead of using just my imagination.

I'm so happy! Merry Christmas to me!  =)


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I Missed This View

This is what I usually see when I open my eyes first thing in the morning. The treetops and the clear blue skies from outside my window, the music of the birds' chirping, the cool early morning breeze... they all make my mornings brighter and better. Sometimes, if I wake up really early, I could even see this:

Or this:

The colors of the morning sky are so spectacular! It makes me grateful to be alive just looking at them! Sometimes, it even makes me feel closer to God. Who wouldn't want to wake up to mornings like this? 

A couple of months ago though,  I had to re-arrange my bedroom furniture to make room for a new desktop computer, and with my bed no longer adjacent to the window, this "view" was no more. Or at least it wasn't the same anymore. Maybe I'm really just obsessive-compulsive, but life hasn't been the same ever since. I sort of felt something was not right. I just couldn't function the way I used to! Don't get me wrong, I don't believe in feng shui or any of that superstitious stuff (I'm really just O.C.) =) I guess I'm kinda used to the old comfort of my "old" bedroom...and I missed that...and I want it back, including the view from my window. So with brainstorming, pencil sketches, and some more furniture re-arranging, I figured out a way to bring back my "morning view" to where it used to be. I had to compromise on some window space to make room for my book shelf (as you can see on the first photo), but that's okay..better than nothing at all! =)

It feels I'm back to my old self! Now I can function properly again. =)

(In case you're wondering, this blog has not been renamed "Confessions of an Obsessive-Compulsive Girl".... it's just one of those days.) =)


Friday, November 12, 2010

Have You Seen Yellow Apples Before?

I haven't until a couple of days ago. It was weird, I actually thought they were pears when I saw them on the kitchen table the other day. They were not as sweet as the red ones, but not as tart as the green granny smith variety either. They were actually kinda bland. I knew then that a little sugary sweetness was all it needed.

Yes, another breakfast muffin! Apple Strudel Muffins to be exact. To be quite honest, I rarely bake with apples. My recipe collection for apples were not as extensive as banana baking. But I'm so glad I made these! They were gone in minutes the moment they came out of the oven. My family couldn't be happier. =) We all love the streusel/strudel topping with its crisp, sugary-cinnamon bite. The only request they had was to add more apples to it next time. I only used one, and I agree, it could use more. 

The recipe is supposedly good for twelve muffins, but I had a lot of leftovers. I placed them on a mini muffin pan, and I got around six. Ideally you should bake the smaller muffins in a lot less time than the standard size ones, but I completely forgot about it (too busy munching), so they came out crispier, but still good! This recipe is definitely a keeper. =) 


I'm confused though, what is the difference between a strudel and a streusel? =)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Breakfast Muffins

I've been wanting to make healthy breakfast muffins for a couple of days now, but my schedule has been erratic recently. =) I had time this morning, and when I checked the kitchen pantry, the only fruit available were bananas. I think I've lost count of the banana recipes I have -- from loaf breads, to muffins, to cake... So I just picked the easiest one, that only requires minimal ingredients.

For a healthier twist, I added half a cup of quick cooking oats to the original recipe, replaced the butter with margarine, and reduced the salt in half. It turned out dense (in a good way), not too sweet (which is perfect for breakfast), but still moist (which is great!). I was happy to see it forming the dome shape while it was baking, which rarely happens for me when I bake muffins, because usually it turns out flat on top. I might've luckily hit the correct oven temperature this time. =)

Banana Muffin 
(original recipe adapted from

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large bananas, mashed
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup butter/margarine, melted
1/2 cup quick cooking oats

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Coat muffin pans with non-stick spray, or use paper liners. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  2. Combine bananas, sugar, egg, and melted butter in a large bowl. Fold in flour mixture, and mix until smooth. Scoop into muffin pans.
  3. Bake in preheated oven. Bake mini muffins for 10 to 15 minutes, and large muffins for 25 to 30 minutes.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Chocolate Cravings

I've been craving for some sweet fix for a few days now. And I wanted to try out pastries from a new place just to get my curious taste buds working. So when Richard and I passed by a mall from a doctor's visit, I decided to  buy something for me. There was a corner bakeshop called Bread Monster and they have this chocolate muffin that was calling out to me begging to be bought. I was attracted by its name: "Dark Chocolate Muffin"... Sounds decadent. I knew I wouldn't be satisfied with just one, but the idea of eating more than one of the same muffin doesn't sound as appealing either. So I decided to go for their pre-packed assorted box of four. Its got the dark chocolate muffin, the revel bar, s'mores bar, and a  brownie (clockwise from top left on the photo above).

dark chocolate muffin

When I got home, I couldn't wait to dig in! I immediately "attacked" the muffin... but to my disappointment, it didn't live up to its name! You see, I was imagining it to be bittersweet with big bold flavors of dark chocolate. It was anything but. It didn't even taste like chocolate! I tried the brownie and the s'mores bar (which was basically, layers of blondie and brownie topped with broiled marshmallows), but they weren't as good as I hoped either. There was something off on the chocolate flavor of all these pastries... It tastes it has been on the display case for far too long than it should be.


s'mores bar
I swear I would've regretted buying these pastries if it weren't for the revel bar, which to my surprise was actually good! It was made of delicate layers of oatmeal bars, with gooey-melty chocolate in between. This time, the chocolate really does taste like chocolate. It was heaven! It was a little messy to eat, but I think it was part of the fun. =)

revel bar

So yes, my taste buds got to work last night trying out all those pastries, and I've discovered a new favorite, and threw out some. (Well not really, I gave all the half-eaten "unsatisfying" pastries to Richard.) But I'm still craving for that dark, bittersweet chocolatey goodness that I missed.  ♥♥♥

Bread Monster is located at the upper ground floor of Alabang Town Center

Friday, November 5, 2010

An Apple Surprise!

I know, I know.. Sugarized blog is about baking! But I could not resist posting this one. I was browsing the grocery aisles this evening to buy some "healthy alternatives" for my Mom, since she recently suffered a stroke.. And while I was at the aisle of condiments looking for some low sodium soy sauce, this bottle of a gem caught my eye! Apple Ketchup! I've never heard of apple ketchup before, let alone tried one! I've had the ubiquitous tomato ketchup and the budget-friendly banana ketchup... I've heard of squash ketchup in the past but never saw it in any of the supermarket aisles... but apple?! Surely I gotta try this one. So I did.

The verdict? It sort of tastes similar to banana ketchup, only lighter. If you've had the store-bought sweet and sour sauce in a bottle, the apple ketchup was like a cross between that (without the spiciness), and the banana ketchup variety.

Aside from my curiosity, one of the things that compelled me to buy it is the mighty promise at the back label. I know my photo is blurred, and you probably can't read it! Sorry my camera has really low resolution.. =) So let me  read it for you:

Apples are healthy-licious! Apples are rich in Vitamin C and phyto-chemicals called flavonoids and polyphenols that help fight cancer. Plus more whole-body benefits:
- lower blood cholesterol
- better bowel function
- less risk of stroke
- prevent type II diabetes and asthma

Now that's a mighty promise alright! Flavonoids are showing up almost everywhere in the advertising industry. I guess more and more people are getting conscious of healthy-living nowadays. I'm all for that, so I'm not complaining. =) Since my Mom got sick, I really got into thinking about radically changing my family's eating habits and lifestyle. I would want them to be around for a long time. So if this Apple Ketchup is a start, then I think I'm on the right track. =) ♥♥♥
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