If I Gave You this Cupcake for Free…

…would you still have to pay for it? Or would you simply receive it?

One of the prettiest things I’ve seen in Google Images is a picture of rainbow cupcakes. I guess there really is something about the combination of the colors: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet that sort of makes me smile. Interestingly, if you do some research in the internet or in books, you’ll find out that these colors have different meanings too. :)

This week, it has been raining like crazy here in Manila. Sorry to say, even though I wanted to, I was not able to see a rainbow after the rain. :( And it’s funny because somehow God told me “Hey, Nic. It’s okay if you didn’t see a rainbow. Why don’t you just make rainbow cupcakes instead? Just like the ones you saw in the internet.”, and boy did I smile. The next day, I went to the grocery and bought the ingredients that I needed to make the rainbow cupcakes.

I enjoyed my time preparing the batter of the rainbow cupcakes because my workplace in the kitchen looked so colorful. I couldn’t believe I was really making cupcakes because it actually seemed like I was just playing with paint. :)

After preparing the multi-colored batter of the rainbow cupcakes, I decided not to bake the rainbow cupcake batter first.  I immediately went to my box of baking ingredients and gathered the following food colorings: Yellow, Black, Red, White, and Green. I did so because these colors remind me of something that was more beautiful than the rainbow; something that changed my life. I’ll be sharing more about these below.

I placed the cupcake paper liners in the baking pan and poured in one color at a time. :)

For the first layer, I poured in two tablespoons of the YELLOW batter.

It says in John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

The bible didn’t say “For God SORT OF loved the world…” or “For God WAS FORCED to love the world…”. God clearly wanted me to remember how much He loves me; how much He wants me to have a personal relationship and a meaningful life with Him; and spend eternity with Him in Heaven.

And what’s cool about that is He didn’t say “For God so loved Nicole Obligacion only…”, He said HE LOVED THE WORLD, which includes you too! HE LOVES YOU and WANTS TO SPEND ETERNITY WITH YOU. :) 

For the second layer, I poured in two tablespoons of the BLACK batter.

When ate Camille (my sister) went in the kitchen and saw the black colored cupcake batter, she immediately blurted out “WHAT?? BLACK? Why did you use black?” I just laughed and told her “Eh basta, you’ll see. Hehe.” 

Personally, when I see black, God reminds me of darkness, emptiness, and the biggest problem on earth: SIN. Ate Camille was shocked when she saw the black cupcake batter. I guess it’s the same way too when God sees me enjoying or dwelling in sin.

When I fall into sin, it’s as if I can hear God telling me: “WHAT? You know that I love you so much, Nic, and I give you the freedom to choose. But why choose SIN?” Sadly, that’s reality. I admit that I am a sinner. I lied, I cheated, I stole, I did things that did not please God before. SIN. This is one big problem because…

Romans 6:23 says “For the wages of sin is death…”

Sin separates us from God. As hard as it sounds, the payment for our sins is death. The Bible even talks about two kinds of death: The first is physical (we all know this); but did you know, the second one is actually spiritual death? (This is eternal separation from God :( ) (Revelation 21:8 “…This is the second death.”)

Years ago, when I first heard about this, I started to feel bothered because I knew I’ve done so many wrong things in the sight of God. I just felt so ashamed before God. He has been so good to me and there I was sinning in front of Him. However, one of the many things that I am grateful for is the word “BUT” in the Bible. Why? Because Romans 6:23 says “For the wages of sin is death BUT the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” God uses the word “BUT” here to remind me of hope and of His grace, which leads me to the third layer.

For the third layer, I poured in two tablespoons of the RED batter.

The color red reminds me of the blood of Jesus when He paid the penalty of our sin by dying on the cross.

When the red batter was poured in the cupcake liner, God reminded me of the hope that I have in Him. I realized that I really cannot pay for the penalty of my sin, no matter what I try to do (good works, religion, other efforts…).

This is because of Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is BY GRACE that you have been SAVED through FAITH – and THIS NOT FROM YOURSELVES, it is the GIFT of GOD – NOT by WORKS, so that no one can boast.”

I thought about it before and realized that even if I did try to save myself and try to go to heaven (after dying) through my own ways, such as doing good works (or others), how will I know when I’ve done enough already to save me? There is no security. There is no assurance. My efforts will not be enough to save me from the penalty of my sin. I really cannot save myself. ONLY ONE can save me. ONLY ONE can save us all. And that ONE is JESUS CHRIST.

John 14:6 “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Jesus did not say “I am A way and A truth and A life.” He is not an option. He is the only solution.  Also, 1 Corinthians 15:3-6 shows us that Christ’s resurrection proves that He is the Son of God, the Messiah, and the only Savior. It brings me to tears to know that someone took my place on the cross to pay the penalty of my sin, which is death.

Jesus didn’t deserve to die and yet He did because He loves us so much. So, what must we do now that we know: how much God loves us, how we have sinned, how Jesus is the only way for us to spend eternity with God in Heaven?

Photo taken from Google Images

We must choose to be reconciled with God and accept the gift of God’s forgiveness through Jesus Christ. Jesus is personally inviting all of us to restore our relationship with Him. Years ago, I made a decision to fully surrender my life to Jesus, I admitted that I am a sinner and I cannot save myself; I believed that He died to pay the penalty of my sin and He rose again; I accepted Him as my personal Lord and Savior; and I claimed Jesus free gift of forgiveness and eternal life.

Taken from Getty Images

If it’s your desire to have a restored relationship with God, I’d like to encourage you to tell God everything that’s in your heart right now. Even before we talk to Him, He actually already knows what we want to tell Him. Just like what I did years ago, you can also let him know the desire of your heart by praying to Him; admitting that you are a sinner and cannot save yourself; believing that Jesus died to pay the penalty of your sins and that He rose again; receiving Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior; and claiming his free gift of forgiveness and eternal life.

For the fourth layer, I poured in two tablespoons of the WHITE batter.

White represents cleanliness, purity, freedom, surrender, etc.

If you decided to sincerely place your trust in Jesus then I’d like to encourage you because…

  1. YOU are 100% forgiven. All your sins are forgiven – past, present, and future. (Seen in Colossians 2:13)
  2. You are a childof God and nothing will separate you from your heavenly Father. (John 1:12; Hebrews 13:5)
  3. You are a new person! (2 Corinthians 5:17)
  4. You will go to heaven. YUP! And you will live with God forever. Eternal life begins the moment you place your trust in Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior. (1 John 5:11-13)

For the last layer, I poured in two tablespoons of the GREEN batter.

The color green reminds me of GROWTH.

Now that I’ve surrendered my life to Him, I want to be able to maximize what He has given me to love Him and love others more. I want to grow more in my walk with Him. And I’d like to encourage you to do the same too! :)

Here are some of the things that we can do to GROW more in our relationship with Jesus:

  1. Read the Bible regularly.
  2. Talk to God through prayer.
  3. Obey Him.
  4. Talk to others about Jesus and the free gift that He has given us. (Just like what I’m doing now: Sharing it through Cupcakes! )
  5. Join Bible studies or groups of people who also want to grow in their relationship with God.

I didn’t want to let this day pass by without sharing to you what Jesus did and how God changed my life because I really, really, really, really, really, really, want to encourage you to KNOW HIM MORE. :)

I think it has been 5 years since I’ve fully surrendered my life to Christ. I actually grew up exposed to this truth, but I just didn’t really want to absorb it in my life back then. However, God changed my heart and life, and since then, I’ve been experiencing the best years of my life with Him.

singing praises to God during one of our practices

Going back to my cupcakes, after preparing both batters, I finally baked them and placed vanilla buttercream frosting on top.

If I gave you these cupcakes for free, would you still have to pay for it? Or would you simply receive it?

God gave us the FREE GIFT of ETERNAL LIFE with Him through Jesus Christ. Would you still have to pay/work for it? Or would you simply receive it? :)

RECIPE: Billy’s Vanilla Cupcakes (featured in Martha Stewart’s Recipes)

INGREDIENTS FOR THE CUPCAKE BATTER:

  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

STEPS:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Line cupcake baking pan with paper liners.
  3. Using an electric mixer, combine both types of flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt; mix on low speed until combined.
  4. Add butter, mixing until just coated with flour.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla.
  6. With mixer on medium speed, add wet ingredients slowly.
  7. Beat until ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat.
  8. Divide batter evenly among liners, filling about 2/3 full.
  9. Bake (for 17 to 20 mins), rotating pan halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  10. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  11. Use a small spatula or a piping bag to frost tops of each cupcake.

 

Encourage yourself one treat at a time.

Why It’s Cool to Fail

An avocado smoothie has always been a sweet, creamy, and refreshing treat at home. My mom usually prepares the dessert and we love it! Recently, I decided to make the yummy smoothie to beat the Summer heat.

avocado smoothie
avocado smoothie

A few days after buying the avocados, I noticed that they were already a bit soft. When my fingers gently pressed the fruit, it created a small dent and so I figured it was time to cut them open. As I was preparing the dessert, I was having a hard time removing the avocado meat from the skin. I told myself: “That’s weird. Usually, the meat would easily come off. Oh well. I’ll be blending them anyway.”

scooping out avocado
scooping out avocado meat

 

To my dismay, I ended up with a bitter avocado smoothie. Once I tasted it, I immediately spat it out of my mouth because of its awful, bitter taste. Even if I added more sugar, it still tasted bitter. So, I decided to throw the batch that I made and pretended as if nothing happened. I didn’t even tell my mom (who bought the avocados) that I used and threw them away.

I was so frustrated because I made a mistake even if the avocado smoothie recipe that I used at that time was also the one I used before (when I made successful smoothies). I found myself thinking of thoughts like: “Your mom’s money was wasted. It was a simple dessert yet you still made a mistake. You’re such a failure.” And it was crazy!

adding milk to avocado
adding milk to the avocados

I decided to pause and talk to God. I shared to Him what happened and what went wrong. I knew that even before I made the mistake, He already knew it would happen. And because I know that He is sovereign, it was really easy for me to talk and listen to Him. After doing so, I decided to tell mom the truth and admit my mistake. I told her how I failed to use the avocados well and that I wanted to pay for the avocados that I wasted. I knew I had to learn from my mistake. What happened next caused my heart to melt. Mom said “It’s okay, anak. You don’t have to pay for the avocados.”

Such grace! At that time, I actually did not have extra money to pay for it and it was really just God’s grace that mom decided to pay for the avocados still.

mixing the avocado
mixing the avocado

 

When I asked God why He allowed me to fail at that moment, I heard an answer from Him that I did not expect. “You ask me why, Nic? Because it’s cool to fail. He said.

“WHAT? Lord? How can it be cool to fail?” I said. Then, throughout our conversation, He made me realize the following:

1. He uses our “fail moments” to bring us closer to Him.

The moment that I had with God after failing with my avocado smoothie was really a blessing to me. I got to know Him more as I read His word again and listened to some Christian Contemporary songs that helped me focus more on Him than on my mistake.

It says in Lamentations 3:22-23:

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness.”

“They are new every morning. New every morning. New every morning…” I decided to replace those negative thoughts in my head with His Word and it was really encouraging.

avocado mixture
avocado mixture

2. He uses our “fail moments” to help us improve ourselves for His glory.

“You failed! It was awesome!”

“A toast for his brilliant failure, may it lead to success in the future.”

“From failing, you learn. From success, not so much.”

Are these quotes familiar? These were taken from one of my favorite movies: MEET THE ROBINSONS! :) It was encouraging to see in the movie how it was okay to fail as long as you learn from your past mistakes, make improvements, and keep on doing your best as you move forward.

meet the robinsons
Meet the Robinsons (taken from Google Images)

It’s cool to improve ourselves, but personally, more than that, I’m learning to improve for God and not for my own glory. :)

1 Corinthians 10:31

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

“Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.”

-Henry Ford

Because I failed while I was making my avocado smoothie, I now know how crucial it is to cut the avocados only when it is the right time. I also learned how it is important to ask others who are more skilled in that area before I experiment because they can definitely help me be more efficient and effective. Lastly, I learned to honor God even in the way I use the money, time, energy, and other resources that He has given me.

blending the avocado smoothie
blending the avocado smoothie

3. He uses our “fail moments” to humble us and show us that He is God.

When I was making the avocado smoothie, I remember thinking that I knew what I was doing since I was able to make it before. God showed me the hint of pride in my heart that He did not want to see. Truly, it was a humbling experience. But, I am so grateful that despite my pride, God still is God. God is gracious, faithful, sovereign, and He will continue to love us just the same.

Matthew 23:12 
For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

James 4:6

But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:

“God opposes the proud, but shows favor to the humble.”

avocado smoothie
avocado smoothie

4. He uses our “fail moments” to encourage us to persevere and focus on Him… even if we may fail again and again.

Last night, I decided to try making the avocado smoothie again, but this time, I waited longer than I did before. I cut them only when they were ripe and ready. There were also moments when the taste of the bland, avocado fruit “haunted my tongue”. I didn’t feel like continuing the process because I was afraid to fail again. I didn’t want to make another bitter dessert.

However, by God’s grace, I was able to make a yummy avocado smoothie! Last night, it was really sweet, creamy, and refreshing. I loved it!

avocado smoothie
avocado smoothie

 

1 Chronicles 16:11

“Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually.”

“Supposing you have tried and failed again and again.  You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call “failure” is not the falling down, but the staying down.”

-Mary Pickford

“Try again.  Fail again.  Fail better.”

-Samuel Beckett

avocado smoothie

 

While I was enjoying my yummy, chilled, creamy avocado smoothie, I remember telling God: “Wow Lord! It definitely is COOL to FAIL! Thank You for encouraging me to just keep on doing my best for You! Even when I experience failure in making an avocado smoothie, in cooking/baking, in my career, in relationships, in my personal walk with You, or in other things, I am reminded to get back up and try again. Your mercies are new every morning. You will forever be faithful and gracious. Thank You.” :)

 

Mom and the avocado popsicle

RECIPE:

2 ripe avocados

1/4 cup fresh milk

3-4 tablespoons of white sugar/honey

1 tsp. vanilla extract (optional)

10 pcs. ice cubes (size: 2×1)

*You can adjust the amounts of milk and sugar (depending on your preferred taste)

 

HOW TO MAKE THE SMOOTHIE:

1. Cut each avocado in half and remove the seed. Carefully scoop out the avocado meat and cut into large cubes.

2. Using a blender, combine the avocados, sugar/honey, milk and vanilla extract until well-mixed and creamy. Add the ice cubes and blend.

3. Serve in a glass. Enjoy!

 

NOTES:

1. Ripe avocado meat can EASILY be removed from the skin.

2. Unripe avocados are really bitter. You will know if an avocado is ripe if you gently press on the shoulder part (top part) of the avocado and feel dents (after pressing) or feel that it is soft. Of course, the whole avocado must also have the same feel. It must not be firm or too mushy.

3. Try to remove brown spots or veins in your avocados. These contribute to the bitter taste.

 

Encouraging Treat: Avocado!

Encourage yourself one treat at a time! :)

My Sinigang Moment

Yesterday, I went to the grocery store and I got myself ingredients for Shrimp in Sour Tamarind Soup. This dish is also known as SINIGANG NA HIPON. Haha. For the past years, my mom has been making Sinigang using the commercially sold instant Sinigang mix. However, this time, I wanted to try cooking Sinigang by using only natural ingredients.

 

At first, I was enjoying myself while I was preparing the ingredients. Siyempre! I was cooking Sinigang, tapos Hipon pa! :)

However, halfway through the process, I was already feeling tired and getting impatient because I had to mash the boiled tamarind with seeds to get its puree (which was the main ingredient in the dish).

I think it took me around 45 minutes just to get the needed amount of puree. HAHA! I was actually telling myself, “Nicole, just use the instant Sinigang mix. It would be much easier. It will only take a few seconds to pour it into the dish.” But for some reason, God encouraged me to continue mashing the fresh tamarind. After 2 hours of preparing and cooking, by God’s grace, I was able to produce my first Sinigang na Hipon from scratch! :)

While I was mashing the tamarind, I was having a conversation with God. And it was awesome because I realized that He was actually teaching me to BE PATIENT…again. Forty-five minutes of getting and putting the tamarind puree in the dish vs. a few seconds of putting the instant Sinigang mix was actually a no-brainer. Of course, we would prefer the fast and easy way. But, in order for me to make a healthier Sinigang na Hipon dish (using only natural ingredients), I knew I had to patiently mash the tamarind.

I found myself enjoying my tamarind moment because I was actually able to spend time talking to God and listening to Him. He then reminded me of a similar experience that I had with Sinigang before.

About TWO YEARS AGO, I saw our helper cook Sinigang na hipon. My heart leaped the moment I saw the kangkong, onions, shrimps and other ingredients in the kitchen.

I was really excited to eat it that I kept on telling my siblings how happy I was because we were having Sinigang na Hipon for lunch. I even tried to control myself from eating snacks so that I wouldn’t spoil my appetite.

I decided to wait in the kitchen because I was hoping that our helper would finish cooking it. However, she realized that she lacked some of the instant Sinigang mix. Our helper had to postpone cooking and wait for mom who was still buying groceries.

When I found out about it, I started to get impatient because I wanted to eat Sinigang already. However, I decided to wait for mom because I knew that without the extra spice, the Sinigang would not taste great.

While waiting for mom, I found myself helping prepare the other dishes for lunch and cleaning the kitchen, living room and our bedroom too. And after about two hours of preparing and cleaning, I realized that mom had already put the needed spice and finished cooking the dish.

Finally, mom called us for lunch. I got a bowl and filled it with the hot soup, shrimps, kangkong, gabi and other vegetables. I couldn’t believe it! SOBRANG SARAP! I was smiling while I was eating my share and was indeed very grateful for it.

Surprisingly, I learned two important things during my Sinigang experience that day.

FIRST, GOD MADE ME REALIZE HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO WAIT ON HIM.

Let’s be honest. Who loves to wait? NO ONE. Haha. Okay, so maybe a few out there are actually fond of waiting. However, I guess, most of the time, when we want something, we want to have them NOW. I don’t know about you, but honestly, waiting is not really the number one thing that I love to do, especially if the period of waiting is uncertain.

I guess it is challenging to wait in any situation. Right now, I’m actually waiting for certain things to happen in my life and I can tell you that it is a struggle. There are even times when I am tempted to just take what’s in front of me and not think about whether it is God’s will for me or not.

In my Sinigang na Hipon moment, I realized that if I didn’t wait for mom to put the extra spice in the soup, I would not have enjoyed my lunch that day because of it’s so-so sour flavor. Also, I appreciated the fact that God encouraged me to help prepare the other dishes and clean while I was waiting for the Sinigang.

I know that I’ve already done some things in the past that show how I did things my way in “my time” and did not choose to wait on God. But by His grace, I know I can improve more as He continues to teach me to wait on His perfect timing. Why? It’s because I believe that He knows better than us and in the process of waiting, He can actually help us develop and prepare ourselves even more.

Biblically, waiting is not just something we have to do until we get what we want. Waiting is part of the process of becoming what God wants us to be. – John Ortberg

Is there something in your life that you really want to do or have now but somehow God is telling you to wait more?

Well, I just want to encourage you to keep on waiting proactively and to trust that God will give it to you if He thinks it will be the best for you. If He does give it, then praise Him! However, if He chooses not to give it to us (whatever that may be) then we can praise Him even more, because He definitely loves us so much not to give us what is less than best!

PSALM 130:5 “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.”

SECOND, GOD WAS SHOWING ME HOW HE LONGS FOR US TO LONG MORE FOR HIM EACH DAY!

I longed for Sinigang na Hipon so much that I kept on telling my siblings how happy I was that we were having Sinigang. I even stayed in the kitchen just because I was so excited to see the result and taste the Sinigang.

In that moment, God gently rebuked me: “Nicole, do you also get that excited when you think of Me, bond with Me, or even share Me to the people around you?” And it hit me! “Oo nga noh, Lord. Honestly, not all the time.” :(

What’s amazing with God is that He is FAITHFUL and GRACIOUS, still, in spite of us. And every time I remember how good He has been, I can’t help but want to get to know Him more! :)

Two years have passed and God continues to use something that I love (Sinigang na Hipon) to speak to my heart. :)

Are you waiting for “the cook to finish making your sinigang dish”?

Is your patience tested as “you’re mashing the tamarind to get the puree”?

Are you waiting for your prayers to be answered? For answers to your questions in life?

As we wait on God, I hope that we can spend the time that we have to seek Him more (through prayer or the Bible). We may not always know why things happen or when things would happen in our lives, but we can be secure in our God who is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the EndHe knows our hearts, our desires, what is best for us, and He is always in control.

Psalm 9:10
Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.

Jeremiah 29:13
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

SHRIMP IN SOUR TAMARIND SOUP

Ingredients (estimated):

6 tablespoons of Tamarind puree (about half a kilo of tamarind)

2 tablespoons of salt (you can adjust this according to your preferred taste)

9-10 cups of water

1/2 kilo of shrimps (you can add more if you want)

1/2 kilo Gabi

1 stalk of kangkong

6 tomatoes (cubes or quarters)

2 onions

5 pcs. of okra

2 pcs. green sili

*you can add more vegetables if you want, such as radish, eggplant, sitaw, etc.

Steps:

1. Boil half a kilo of raw tamarind for about 6 minutes (or until ready for mashing).

2. Peel off the outer covering of the tamarind fruits and place the meat (with seeds) on a strainer over a bowl.

3. Carefully mash the tamarind and press it firmly on the strainer to get the puree.

4. Place the pureed tamarind on a separate bowl.

5. Boil water and add the onions and tomatoes in a large pot.

6. Add the pieces of gabi and boil for 10 minutes (or less). It depends on your preferred texture and the type of gabi.

7. Add the pureed tamarind to the mixture in the pot and stir well.

8. Add salt.

9. Add the shrimp and let it cook for about 4 minutes.

10. Remove the shrimps from the pot and place in a separate container (to prevent them from being overcooked)

11. Taste the dish and add salt/water/tamarind puree if you want to make adjustments.

12. Add the green sili to the soup.

13. Add the kangkong leaves and stalks and okra. (If you want them to keep their bright green color, let them boil for 5-8 seconds in the soup and remove them immediately. Place the kangkong and okra in a separate container and serve them only when the dish is ready. If you let the kangkong and okra boil in the soup, they will have a light and pale color.)

14. Turn off the heat, add in the shrimps again (and the kangkong if you want them to be cooked further) and taste for the last time before serving.

15. Enjoy! :)

Encourage yourself one treat at a time! :)

When the Chocolate Bits Don’t Melt

I have always wanted to bake. When I was 7 years old, I remember wishing that our old, broken oven at home would miraculously work. However, fixing the oven was not our family’s priority at that time. Years later, after our first house burned down, a couple gave us an oven! How cool was that? I really thank God for people with generous and sincere hearts. YAY! I felt all giddy inside when the oven finally arrived at our house! As soon as I could, I baked my very first treat: Chocolate Chip Cookies.

I know a lot of people who really want to learn how to cook and/or bake. If you are interested and you actually want to bake from scratch for the first time, I would suggest that you make chocolate chip cookies! I know that others would agree with me when I say that it is a simple yet awesome recipe. But before I share the recipe, I want to write about some of the reasons why I like baking Chocolate Chip cookies.

3 REASONS WHY I LIKE BAKING CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES:

1. I can easily customize the cookies (I guess, in general, cookies can easily be customized :P)

Even without cookie cutters, I have tried making cookies (in different sizes) that are shaped like hearts, Mickey Mouse, Alphabet letters, smiley faces, and others. As much as I enjoy eating these delicious treats, I love being able to creatively play with the appearance of the cookies.

2. I love its interesting history.

Based on research, there are actually two versions of the history of the Chocolate Chip cookie. However, in this blog, I want to focus on the history mentioned in the website: www.thenibble.com.

Believe it or not, the Chocolate Chip cookie recipe happened by accident!

The inventor of the recipe, Mrs. Ruth Wakefield, a proprietor of Toll House Inn in Massachusetts, originally wanted to add regular baker’s chocolate in her butter cookie dough. However, she didn’t have any and so, she decided to include chopped up bits of her bar of Nestle Semi-Sweet Chocolate instead. She was actually hoping that the chocolate bits would melt, but after baking them, they retained their shape in the cookie dough. The cookies became a hit so much that the company, Nestle, made a deal with Mrs. Wakefield. She eventually gave her chocolate chip cookie recipe to Nestle and received free Nestle chocolate for life! We can actually see the Toll House recipe printed on the bags of Nestle Toll House Real Semi-Sweet Chocolate.

The chocolate chip cookie recipe remains to be a famous cookie recipe around the world. That kind of cookie continues to be a delicious treat for any occasion. Moreover, different bakers and food companies even tried to make their versions of it, through the years, and we can see those cookies being sold in the market now.

3. I am humbled and encouraged.

Why do I say so?

Well, while reading its history, I wondered if Mrs. Wakefield got discouraged when she found out that the chocolate bits did not melt after baking. What if, instead of tasting and sharing them to others, she just threw the cookies away because things did not go the way as planned?

You see, she originally wanted to let the bits melt in the dough, and I’m guessing that that was her idea of making the best batch of cookies at that moment. However, I think that God did not allow the bits to melt in the process for a very special reason – to encourage us today. Hehe.

She ended up tasting and sharing the cookies to others. She maximized the opportunity that she had even if what she originally planned did not happen. In the end, the recipe was successful, especially because of the numerous benefits that she had and the fact that the whole world is still able to enjoy such treats!

I was reminded that there are times when I definitely get discouraged and disappointed when things don’t happen the way I want them to. For example, when a certain company decided not to push through with my job application, I was deeply crushed because I desired to work for that company so much. I was tempted to complain and get angry at God because He allowed it to happen. There were even moments where I would just lie down on my bed, stare at the ceiling, and want to give up on my job hunting.

However, God spoke to my heart and He reminded me that even in difficult situations, I can still be comforted by the fact that His ways and thoughts are higher than mine. Sometimes, what I think is best for me may not really be the best for me at that time. And instead of pushing my way, I’m learning to surrender what I desire to God and trust that He definitely knows better than I.

He also encouraged me that I can be secure in His love for me, even if I don’t like what is happening in my life. Because He loves me very much, He definitely would only want what is best for me.

Isaiah 55:8-9

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

Mrs. Wakefield did not allow herself to get discouraged when her plan did not happen, when the chocolate bits did not melt in her cookie dough. She just decided to make good use of her situation and share the cookies to others.

I want to do that too. I want to maximize what God has given me right now and make good use of it even if “the chocolate bits do not melt” in my life too.

Clearly, God allowed “Mrs. Wakefield’s accident” to happen so we can enjoy chocolate chip cookies today!

As of now, I still am not employed. However, God continues to encourage me to still be faithful to Him and to do my part as I wait on Him and His best job for me.

Whatever you are going through right now, I hope that you too are encouraged to persevere still; to hope in our God who is able to do anything more than we can ever imagine; to believe that He does not make mistakes, that His word is flawless, that He knows better than us, and that His perfect love will always be enough for us each day.

“I’m not gonna worry. I know that You got me right inside the palm of your hand.Each and every moment, what’s good and what gets broken, happens just the way that You plan. But You’re here. You’re real. I know I can trust You.”

–Kari Jobe

Nestle Toll House’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) softened butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
  • 1 cup chopped nuts

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 375° F
  2. Sift and stir flour, baking soda and fine salt in small bowl.
  3. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy.
  4. Add eggs to the sugar and butter mixture, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. Gradually beat in flour mixture.
  6. Stir in chocolate morsels and nuts (I usually use sliced almonds).
  7. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
  8. Bake for 8 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

 


TIPS/NOTES:

1. Make sure not to over bake the cookies.

I did this a lot of times before. :( haha. I left the cookies in the oven until they were golden brown (as specified), however, when I got them out and let them cool, they ended up being hard, super crispy, and they had a darker shade of golden brown. :P So for the next batches that I made, I removed them from the oven a little earlier (even if they looked a bit pale) and they actually tasted great after they were cooled! When you remove the pan/sheet from the oven, the cookies will still actually continue to bake a bit since the sheet is still hot.

2. To make CHEWY cookies:

Follow the given recipe and change the proportions of the two kinds of sugar. Use ½ cup of granulated sugar and 1 cup of brown sugar.

3. To make CRISPY cookies: 

Follow the given recipe and change the quantities of butter and granulated sugar. Use 2 and a half sticks of butter and 1 and 1/4 cups of granulated sugar.

4. Effects of white sugar and brown sugar.

According to Shirley O. Corriher’s book: Bakewise (2008), high quantities of table sugar make crisp cookies. On the other hand, low quantities of it make cookies moist. In addition, brown sugar will make cookies more moist as it helps absorb moisture from the atmosphere.

5. If your butter is still hard.

You can soften it up by cutting it into cubes and letting it sit at room temperature.

Encourage yourself one treat at a time! :)