Saturday with Maurie

“Today was a fun day! Thank you again.” :)

I heard my nephew say these words after we said our goodbyes last Saturday night. My siblings and I spent the whole day with him at home and joined the rest of our relatives for dinner outside. It was heartwarming to hear him appreciate our time together that day.

Bacon, scrambled egg, and homemade waffles.
Bacon, scrambled eggs, and homemade waffles.

I usually rest at home or meet up with friends at church every Saturday. But, last Friday night, our nephew, Maurie, asked if he could spend time with us and our dogs at home the next day. Without any hesitation, we said “Sure!” and my older sister picked him up the next morning.

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My sister and Maurie
My sister and Maurie

We spent the rest of the day cooking our breakfast, playing Kinect (Sports and Just Dance), sharing music, playing video games, walking the dogs, playing with our neighbors’ dogs, and relaxing in our living room with popcorn. Oh, and after lunch, Maurie helped my brother and sister buy groceries at the supermarket.

Maurie picked fresh basil leaves from the veranda.
Maurie picked fresh basil leaves from the veranda.
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My sister and Maurie’s chopped basil leaves

One of the things that I thank God for that day was our nephew’s initiative to spend time together. It was humbling for me, because honestly, I feel more rested and filled when I’m by myself, having my quiet time in my own little corner, and just appreciating the beauty of solitude. But, I’m learning to be faithful in obeying God when it comes to being intentional with others, even if sometimes, it may take me out of my comfort zone.

Maurie whisking the waffle batter.
Maurie whisking the waffle batter.
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Krups Waffle Maker

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. [Hebrews 10:24-25]

My brother and Maurie
My brother and Maurie

Maurie sincerely asked if he could spend time with us and I’m glad that he did. God used that day to allow us to get to know our nephew even more and have special moments with him. It was our first time to cook and dance together! It was fun and funny! Haha. I pray that I will grow more in this aspect – in being more intentional in spending time with God, my family, and friends.

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Maurie, if ever you’re reading this, I just want to say that I really appreciate the time that we had last weekend and that I’m looking forward to bonding with you and my siblings soon! God bless your heart! See you around. :)

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INGREDIENTS

SCRAMBLED EGGS
5 eggs
1/2 cup of fresh milk
salt and pepper
1-2 tbsp. of cooking oil
3 tomatoes (diced)
half of an onion
10 basil leaves (chopped)
6-7 whole small mushrooms (sliced)
1/2 cup of grated cheese
slices of mozzarella cheese (optional)

1. Saute onion and mushrooms with oil in a pan. Add diced tomatoes.
2. Scramble eggs in a bowl, basil leaves, grated cheese, and milk. Mix carefully.
3. Add egg mixture in the pan with the sauteed onion, mushroom, and tomatoes.
4. Mix until the eggs are cooked. Make sure not to overcook the eggs, so that they won’t get tough/dry.
5. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the cooked eggs and add grated mozzarella cheese while the eggs are still hot.

WAFFLES
1 1/2 cups of flour
1 1/2 cups of fresh milk
1 tsp. of cinnamon powder
1 tsp. of salt
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
2 eggs

Encourage yourself one treat at a time.

25 Things About My Dad

Dear Dad,

Today is the day! Happy 25th! I mean, 55th birthday! HAHA. I hope you’re enjoying your special day despite the rainy weather. I thank God because we get to have an extended rest time at home with you today. I pray that God would bless your heart even more as you walk closely with Him each day! We love you! :)

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” [Joshua 1:9]

Oh, and because 55 is quite a special number, I wanted to document 55 facts about you! But, I guess for now, 25 na lang muna. Hahaha.

Here goes!

25 Things About My Dad

1. Dad is an Ophthalmologist, an EENT (Eyes-Ears-Nose-Throat) doctor, a Pastor, and a Christ-committed follower.

Dad's free mug from Discovery Hotel, Ortigas.
Dad’s free mug from Discovery Hotel, Ortigas.
Dad - second row from the bottom, third guy from the left side.
Dad – second row from the bottom, third guy from the left side.

2. Some of his favorite food are kimchi, durian, buko sorbet/macapuno ice cream, potato salad, and sansrival cake.

3. He was part of Kundirana (High school music group) when he was still studying in La Salle.

He's the one wearing the white outfit in the middle.
He’s the one wearing the white outfit in the middle.

4. When we call his name at home, he usually responds with a high-pitched voice saying “yeah?” and then clears his throat and says “yeah?” using his normal, low voice. Haha

5. Dad and Mom have a special whistle. They whistle whenever they call each other from afar.

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6. Dad loves music. While we were growing up, He let us listen to songs sung by Frank Sinatra, Natalie Cole, Don Moen, Papuri, Windsong, and a lot more bands, artists, and musicals. He also taught my older sister (Michelle) how to play the guitar and sometime later, my sister taught me how to play the guitar. Yay! Haha.

7. Dad lost 25 pounds (I think) two years ago and he is still able to maintain his weight.

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8. He always likes to tell corny jokes. -__- Okay, sometimes, they’re funny. Haha.

My dad's conversation with my sister, Michelle, via SMS.
My dad’s conversation with my sister, Michelle, via SMS.

9. When I was in the second or third grade, I drew a parrot and he posted the drawing in his private clinic. Love it. It looked something like this. Hahaha. Thanks, Dad!

I drew this just now using Paint. hahaha.
I drew this just now using Paint. hahaha.

10. Dad’s a good sport. Sometimes, he lets the dogs stay on their bed and he lets us take photos of him wearing silly hats and Krispy Kreme donut masks.

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11. He loves animals. No wonder we love them too!

Dad and our pomeranian, Copper.
Dad and our pomeranian, Copper.

12. He encourages us to sing as a family during Christmas, even if we usually don’t feel like doing so. Dududu. HAHA. Peace, Dad!

13. Whenever we would eat fish and have fish bones stuck in our throats, he’d gladly take them out using his special scissor/tweezer-like tools. Yay for our throat doctor!

14. He initiates bible studies at home and conversations over dinner.

15. He sincerely loves his parents and my mom’s parents. And of course, the rest of both families.

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16. Dad taught us how to do the L.A. walk.

17. Sometimes, he randomly makes animal sounds/sounds you here in the jungle when we’re at home. (e.g. eerie sounds; sounds of exotic birds, vultures, etc.)

18. He gives random words of wisdom.

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19. When our house was burning down last 2004, he instructed us all to go out of the house while he stayed a bit and tried to extinguish the fire using buckets of water. But because the fire was quickly spreading, he decided to leave and get the car out of the garage too, just before the roof fell on the floor. Hooray for our brave Daddy-O! #grace

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20. He personally taught me how to save money and be content with what I have. I wrote more about these values HERE.

21. His favorite duet song with his brother is “The Way You Look Tonight”. They sing this song every time we have a family event.

22. Dad is always to the rescue! (e.g. when the car breaks down, when we suddenly need a ride home from a party, when our house in Cainta got flooded during Ondoy, etc.)

Car 101! Photo c/o my sister, Michelle.
Car 101! Photo c/o my sister, Michelle.

23. He loves spending time with Jesus and sharing Him to the people around him.

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24. When he plays with our two dogs, he sometimes says “Moo” to them with a deep voice. Because he actually sounds like a cow when he does this, our dogs usually tilt their heads and end up getting confused.

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25. He gave us (kids) unique nicknames:

Camille – Camiling

Glenn Michael – Miguelito

Michelle – Mishow

Nicole – Nicholas

Gabriel – Gambrelli.

Haha. He calls mom “Darl”, which is short for Darling. And we, kids, refer to him as The Polar Bear.

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Photo c/o my sister, Michelle.

Encourage yourself one treat at a time. :)

Chocolate Cake and Le Butter

Dear future self,

Just a piece of advice: Always remember that in order to make buttercream frosting, you’ll need to use butter. Hahaha!

Sincerely,

Me.

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I only had about two hours to bake and prepare a homemade chocolate cake for my younger brother who was coming home from a retreat in the province. I wanted it to be a surprise because we weren’t able to personally surprise him on the day of his birthday since he was out of town. So, I hurriedly prepared the cake batter and frosting, baked the cake and cupcakes, and frosted them just in time.

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While I was making the frosting, I noticed that unlike the other batches of frosting that I made, this batch produced fewer cups. I felt that something was missing, but because I didn’t have much time, I continued to frost the cakes. The frosting was very smooth, chocolaty, and creamy! It tasted like melted ice cream and it had just the right amount of sweetness!

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After eating dinner with the family at home, we brought the cake and cupcakes out and greeted our brother, Gabo, a happy birthday! By God’s grace, the freshly baked cakes were light, fluffy, and moist and the family appreciated how the frosting complemented the chocolate cakes. Of course, Gabo also pointed out that we used his favorite brand of milk chocolate on the cake and I think he was happy about it. Yay! Haha.

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When it was time to clear the table and clean the dishes, I placed some of the cupcakes and cake in the refrigerator and stored the leftover frosting in a small plastic container. Just before rinsing the rubber spatula that I used, I dipped my finger on the remaining chocolate frosting on it and tasted it one last time before the night ended. I couldn’t believe it. Immediately, I blurted out “Shucks. The butter. I forgot to add the butter!”

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It was hilarious because earlier that day, I even made an extra effort to buy more unsalted butter for the cake that I was going to make and I forgot to use it. Hahaha! I felt bad at first because it wasn’t the frosting that I originally wanted to make, but at the same time, I was grateful for it because it was a new discovery for me!

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When I told my family about it, I also mentioned that I was actually planning on using 1 cup of butter for the butter cream frosting. And when they heard “1 cup” they immediately said “Then, it was a good thing that you forgot to add it. Haha.”

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I love how God uses even the simplest mistakes made in the kitchen to remind me of how His grace is always more than enough for me. I was tempted to feel bad because I wasn’t able to use butter cream frosting for the cake, but at that moment, that melted-ice-cream frosting was THE frosting that God wanted us to taste and enjoy. Plus, although it would probably taste delicious too, we were spared from indulging on butter that night. Alright!

It was a great reminder for me to keep on trusting that God is in control, that He knows exactly what I need, and that He is always more than enough for me. :)

“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.”

[Proverbs 19:21]

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To my younger bro, ‘Gaboot’,

You’re now 21 years old. Woohoo! We’ve had so many crazy moments together since we were kids and I know that we will continue to be crazy when we get older. But, by God’s grace, I’ve seen you become more mature in different aspects and it has been a blessing for me to see you grow. I pray that God would continue to give you the desire to know, love, and serve Him all the days of your life. May He use you even more to reach out to others and share the love of Christ to those around you. And even though this stage in your life might be quite challenging, I believe that you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. Psalm 105:4!

Lurve,

Le Butter. (HAHA. *inside joke*)

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CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES*

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup cake flour

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

4 eggs

1 cup plain sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Stir the flour, cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a bowl.
  3. Mix in the butter until the ingredients are well-combined.
  4. Add in the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla.
  5. Fill the cupcake liners and bake for about 15 minutes. Use a toothpick to check the center of the cupcakes if they’re done.
  6. Cool completely before frosting. I used Cadbury milk chocolate to design the cake too!

 

*Recipe adapted from http://bakingamoment.com

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CHOCOLATE FROSTING**

1 cup milk

2/3 cup white sugar

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

  1. Mix the milk, white sugar, flour, and cocoa powder in a pan.
  2. Bring it to a boil while stirring, until the mixture is thick. Set aside to cool.
  3. Melt chocolate chips in the microwave. Set aside to slightly cool.
  4. Whisk the chocolate mixture in step 1 with the softened butter, until creamy.
  5. Add in the melted chocolate. Whisk until fluffy and well-combined.

**Recipe adapted from http://www.visionsofsugarplum.com

 

Encourage yourself one treat at a time. :)

Simple Sunday Snack: Lemon-Ginger Fish and Asparagus

I usually don’t delete messages in my mobile phone and I am not sure why. But recently, I was motivated to do so because whenever I would open my inbox or sent items, it would take 5 to 10 seconds to load! I checked the total number of messages and saw that it was already more than 4000. No wonder it constantly lagged. And so, I finally delete all of my messages. All, except one: The oldest message in my phone, which was a video of a cartoon asparagus that was sent to me by my sister.

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At first, I was hesitant because I had numerous messages (for the past years) that were special. Some of them were encouraging words from family and friends, conversations about funny experiences that I had in the past, and even secrets shared by close buddies. But somehow, I knew that deleting most, if not all, of my messages would give me a fresh start and help me be more productive with the time I spend using my phone.

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True enough, after deleting a huge bulk of my messages, it took less than a second to load my inbox or sent items. Hooray! It felt so good to not experience delays anymore. I loved it!

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After a few minutes of enjoying it, I opened the only message that I kept in my phone and watched it again. It was just a simple cartoon video for children, but it had so much truth in it. I watched the asparagus tell God about his day and I was encouraged to do the same too. In the video, you will see that at the end of the day, the asparagus chose to see God’s love for him in everything. And because of this, he was able to find rest and security in Him.

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Out of all the messages that I had in my phone, I’m glad that I kept this one because it was a great reminder for me to always seek God’s presence, to go back to the truth (the Bible), and find rest in who He is, no matter what happens.

Thank you, Veggie Tales, for this heartwarming video!

“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” [Romans 15:13]

Looking forward to resting in God’s presence this week! :)

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Simple Sunday Snack:

Grilled Ginger-Lemon Fish with Steamed Asparagus

5 or more sticks of raw Asparagus

Raw Fish fillet (1/4 kilo)

Half of a lemon (or more)

Salt and Pepper

2 tbsp. of grated ginger

2 minced cloves of garlic

Paprika

Olive oil

Fresh herbs (a few leaves of basil or oregano)

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Steps:

  1. In a bowl, place the raw fish, juice of half of a lemon, grated ginger, herbs, and minced garlic. (Optional: pinch of paprika). Mix and set aside for 15 minutes.
  2. Brush or sprinkle your pan/grill with olive oil and when it’s ready, add salt & pepper to the fish just before you cook them.
  3. Steam asparagus for 3-4 minutes until they have a bright green color. After steaming, set aside, sprinkle with salt & pepper, and drizzle lemon juice on them.
  4. Enjoy the grilled fish with crisp and juicy asparagus sticks while they’re still hot.

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Encourage yourself one treat at a time. :)