Waffles and Work

A friend once suggested an excellent tip when taking photos of food: “Take better photos by maximizing the sunlight. It will show the natural colors of the food and drinks you prepare”. If you’ve noticed in my recent blog posts, I did my best to apply this tip by cooking and/or baking while documenting the process during the day. However, when I was about to make rainbow waffles for our afternoon snack yesterday, I fell asleep and woke up four hours later!

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It was already past 5 pm when I woke up and the sun was starting to set. I hurriedly prepared the ingredients and cooked the waffles while trying to take photos of them in the daylight. But, halfway through the process, the sky was getting darker and by the time I finished the waffles, it was already past 6 pm. I felt a bit discouraged because I was really looking forward to taking photos of the rainbow waffles in the sunlight. The photos would have looked better that way.

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After a few minutes, I decided to bring them inside and I placed them on our breakfast table. I got our camera and took one photo at a time. As I arranged the waffles and captured different angles, I noticed how well the rainbow colors complemented the black table. Because of the dark background, the bright colors of the waffles stood out more and the effect was quite lovely.

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Even though I felt that it would be a much better idea for me to take the photos in the sunlight, I realized that God had something amazing in store for me. He wanted me to appreciate the set of rainbow colors by seeing its beauty in the dark.

This reminded me of the reason why I decided to make rainbow waffles. It was my simple way of celebrating one of God’s blessings for me recently. For the past months (or even year), I got discouraged with certain aspects in my career. I struggled with my mistakes at work, temptations to complain and compare myself to others who have “better opportunities”, finding my self-worth in God and not in my financial resources, and many more.

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Despite these and some discouraging moments that I had, God encouraged me to keep on praying for wisdom, excellence and direction at work. He allowed me to focus on His goodness, power, and grace in my career instead of on my weaknesses. By God’s grace, just a few days ago, my bosses evaluated me and told me that I got promoted!

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It was really all by His grace! After spending time with God, I realized that He wanted to humble and prepare my heart first before giving me more responsibilities and blessings. It’s interesting how he answered one of my heart’s requests AFTER committing to fast from shopping for a year (http://encouragingtreats.com/year-shopping/) and after choosing to honor Him with the finances that He has blessed me with.

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A year ago, I thought that having a salary increase or a promotion would make my life better, easier, and lovelier. But, God changed that wrong mindset in me and encouraged me to see my worth not in my work, in my salary, in the things I have, but in Him and Him alone.

God helped me see the beauty of the colored waffles even without the sunlight. And in the same way, He allowed me to appreciate the beauty of His love, faithfulness, and sovereignty even without the things that I thought would make my life better (e.g. salary increase, etc.).

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“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.

[Isaiah 55:8-9]

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Indeed, Lord, You are more than enough for me. Thank You for Your grace. :)

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RECIPE: (Sweet Version)

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups flour

1 tbsp. baking powder

2-3 tbsp. white sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

1 3/4 cups milk

2 eggs

1/2 cup canola oil

1 tsp. vanilla

Food coloring (liquid or gel)

*Optional: You may add Cinnamon powder, sliced bananas/strawberries/mangoes, chocolate chips, and crushed nuts.

 

Steps:

1. Combine dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another bowl.

2. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture while stirring.

3. Divide the batter into the desired number of colors.

4. Add food coloring and mix until well-combined.

5. Cook in a waffle maker.

6. Serve with pancake syrup, fresh fruits, and whipped cream!

 

 

Encourage yourself one treat at a time.

 

Simple Sunday Snack: Chili Shrimps

A few weeks ago, my sister, my mom and I watched episodes of Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Cookery Course at home. One of the things that I appreciate about his show is his authenticity as a chef. He confidently and humbly shared his tips and recipes which inspired me to continue learning and growing in the kitchen. This morning, I decided to apply a lesson I learned from him when I made a shrimp dish for lunch: “Learn to balance flavors. Don’t be afraid to use chili!”

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From Google Images
From Google Images

I don’t know why, but cooking with chili isn’t a usual thing for me. In fact, I only started to like chili in college when I discovered how good it was when paired with steamed siomai (which were sold in the kiosks near the MRT and LRT stations). So, today, I used green chili with my shrimp scampi, for a change. Surprisingly, I liked the idea! After eating a bowl of shrimps with my mom and sister, I even told my sister: “I think I’m going to make shrimp scampi with chili ALWAYS!” Hahaha.

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I enjoyed it so much that I regretted how I didn’t use chili that much before. If it wasn’t for Gordon Ramsay’s cookery course, I wouldn’t have considered using chili in my dishes. It made me realize how it was similar to missing out on blessings and wisdom when I don’t intentionally spend time with and learn from God, who knows EVERYTHING. If I am able to enjoy learning from simple cooking instructions by a world-renowned chef, I can just imagine how awesome it would be to continue learning and growing more from God’s Word. :)

Indeed, I shall do so by His grace, one step at a time.

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RECIPE

 Ingredients:

Half a kilo of shrimps

2 tbsp. of herb butter

1 tbsp. of olive oil

6 cloves of garlic

1 green chili (I used one, without the seeds. But if you want it to be a bit more spicy, you may include the seeds and/or add another chili.)

Salt & Pepper

1 tbsp. of fish sauce

1-2 tbsp. of water

 

Steps:

  1. Rinse and remove the shrimp heads from the body. Set aside.
  2. Remove the veins of the shrimps.
  3. Season the shrimps with salt and pepper.
  4. By using a mortar and pestle, crush the shrimp heads with water.
  5. Heat herb butter and olive oil in a pan.
  6. Slice the garlic and green chili. Add to the pan.
  7. Cook the shrimps for 2-3 minutes. Add the fish sauce and the shrimp heads’ sauce.
  8. Serve and enjoy!

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Encourage yourself one treat at a time. :)

When Parents Encourage

While mom was doing her hair and make-up for a wedding this morning, I heard dad say this to her…

“Darl, yung ibang mga babae nagpapa-parlor, pero ikaw hindi. Ang galing, galing mo. You can survive by doing it on your own and you always look very, very nice.” :)

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I was in the other room when I heard what he said and it made me smile because I knew that dad wanted to sincerely appreciate mom by saying those words. Actually, they were running late for their 10 am wedding, but by God’s grace, instead of pressuring each other, I saw how dad and mom enjoyed their time together before they left the house.

“Raise your thoughts a little higher,
Use your words to inspire,
Joy will fall like rain,
When you speak life with the things you say.”

[TobyMac “Speak Life”]

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What they say is true: What we, children, see and hear from our parents affect us greatly. When we see them encourage each other and those around them, we get encouraged too because it inspires us to love others in spite of our weaknesses and differences. In the same way, I know that parents deeply appreciate it too when children choose to respect, honor, and love them through their words, obedience, and the time spent with them.

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But, what if we don’t always have encouraging parents? What if, sometimes, we ourselves don’t feel like encouraging them and others too? No worries! We just need to pray about it more, do our best to take one step at a time, and grow more in our walk with our only source of encouragement and joy — God. :)

By God’s grace, I pray that I can improve more in this aspect. Sometimes, I don’t intentionally appreciate the people around me. But because I am reminded of how much God loves me, I am motivated to love and encourage others too.

1 John 4:19 says: “We love because he first loved us.”

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Keep it up, dad and mom! :)

Encourage yourself one treat at a time.

Savory Waffles

My eldest sister and I usually pass by the grocery after going to church on Sundays. But yesterday, we decided to go home instead. I actually wanted to go and buy new ingredients at the supermarket, but somehow, God encouraged me to save money by skipping the additional expense. I remember getting a bit disappointed because I wanted to cook something new for our merienda and I couldn’t then, because our ingredients at home weren’t “enough”.

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Nonetheless, I went around our kitchen and looked for ingredients that I could possibly use. After a few minutes, I found a frozen chicken breast in our mini freezer, eggs, milk, cherry tomatoes, unsalted butter, and some leftovers (less than 1 ½ cups of flour, a few pieces of iceberg lettuce, and sliced mangoes). While I was looking at the ingredients, I suddenly thought of making waffles with chicken.

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Actually, I’ve never made savory waffles before, but because I didn’t feel like having waffles for dessert yesterday, I said to myself “Why not? I’ll give it a try.”

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While I was preparing the ingredients, I began to appreciate what I had. Although some of them were leftovers, they were still pretty good and useful. Moreover, by God’s grace, I was able to use some of our fragrant and fresh herbs (Basil and Oregano) in the veranda and a few cherry tomatoes which were recently harvested. In less than 30 minutes, I was able to prepare a new snack for me and my sister!

Fresh Oregano
Fresh Oregano
Fresh Basil
Fresh Basil

God used that moment to humble me and encourage me to constantly have a grateful heart and a resourceful mind. Many times, I focus too much on “not having enough” of certain things (in and out of the kitchen) and because of this, I end up getting disappointed even more. I even remember the time when I was just thinking of starting a blog (about two years ago), I was discouraged to pursue it because I thought that if I didn’t have a DLSR camera, the photos in my blog wouldn’t look nice and it would affect the blog’s quality. But God gently rebuked me and encouraged me to focus my heart on Him and maximize the resources he has given me. I realized that I didn’t need that camera. I needed God.

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I wrote this on my journal last February 29, 2012 while I was thinking about blogging: “But you spoke to me Lord and you reminded me to use what I have now (simple digital camera, old laptop, some kitchen tools and equipment…). Just like how you used the two fish and five loaves of bread and multiplied them to feed thousands, I know that you can use whatever I have right now to glorify you, if it’s your will.”

By God’s grace, He has been faithful in providing for my blogging needs since I started. :)

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Hebrews 13:5 says: “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

I really enjoyed making the savory waffles. God knew that I wanted to do something different this time and He allowed me to do so even with leftover ingredients! He also gave me a bonus by helping me save the money that I was supposed to spend at the grocery yesterday. Thank You, Lord, for this savory treat! :)

 

RECIPE (Good for 1-2)

Ingredients:

1-2 Chicken breasts

salt & pepper

unsalted or salted butter

Dried Spices: (1 tbsp) Chili powder, (1/2 tbsp) paprika, (1/2 tbsp.) cumin powder, fresh oregano and basil leaves

a few slices of ripe mangoes and cherry tomatoes

lettuce

Grated cheese

Waffle mix*

 

*Waffle mix:

3/4 cup flour + 2 tbsp. of flour

pinch of salt

1 tbsp. of sugar

3/4 cup milk + 2 tbsp. of milk

1/2 tbsp. baking powder

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 cup canola oil

 

Steps:

1. Pat dry the chicken breasts and rub the dried spices on them.

2. In a small bowl, mix the fresh herbs and butter until well combined. Rub on the spiced chicken breasts.

3. Fry the chicken and set aside.

4. Cook the waffles on a waffle maker.

5. Slice the cooked waffles into two.

6. Assemble the waffle sandwich by adding the chicken, tomatoes, mango, lettuce, and cheese on one side.

7. Cover the sandwich with the other half of the waffle. Serve and enjoy!

Encourage yourself one treat at a time. :)