Simple Sunday Snack: Puff Pastry

I recently watched a video of Gordon Ramsay and a baker in Paris making freshly baked croissants. It caught my attention because the video showed the basic steps of making the delicious, flaky, buttery bread from scratch. The baker used a machine to fold and knead the water-based dough with a huge block of butter since he was making bulk orders for his store. After folding the dough seven times, they prepared it for baking.

IMG_4512 - Copy

As I watched them roll out, cut, assemble, and bake the dough, I couldn’t help but crave for croissants and other puff pastries. I then remembered a shop (Sweet Craft) that offers really good, pre-made puff pastry dough. So, during the recent long weekend, I invited my siblings to join me in buying and baking the dough. We spent two hours assembling, decorating, and baking the puff pastries. It was really fun! We also experimented with different kinds of shapes and used some of my favorite fruits, chocolate, cream cheese, and nuts as the filling/topping.

IMG_4434 - Copy

IMG_4437 - Copy

Using the pre-made puff pastry dough helped me appreciate the art of baking more because it reminded me of the hearts and skills of the professional bakers out there. In order to make really good puff pastry dough from scratch, the baker needs to make sure that he/she uses the right amount of ingredients and measure them down to the last gram of flour or butter or teaspoon of water. Also, the baker needs to carefully discern how many times he/she would fold and knead the dough without letting it get tough. These are just some of the crucial aspects in baking and it’s just amazing how bakers can create such interesting and beautiful things.

IMG_4446 - Copy

IMG_4454 - Copy

IMG_4444 - Copy

Indeed, it really was a wonderful experience for me and my siblings to bake pastries that night. I loved the fact that I was able to do something that I love (baking) and enjoy it with my family. Also, I enjoyed seeing the puff pastry dough transform into delicious, crisp, golden brown, flaky, and buttery treats! They were beautiful. They were exactly how I imagined them to be!

IMG_4474 - Copy

IMG_4482 - Copy

The day after we baked the pastries, my older sister and I decided to give some of them to our family friends who were visiting the country for a few days. My sister packed a couple of pastries and informed me early in the morning that she would pass by their place to give them the treats. Before she left, God somehow urged me to give our friends fresh strawberries too because we had extra strawberries from our baking session the night before. So, I asked my sister to add three strawberries to the container too.

IMG_4497 - Copy

IMG_4520 - Copy

A few hours later, I got a message from my sister and it showed a photo of our friend, Ate Riz, and her daughter, Cami, holding the pastries and strawberries. I remember feeling delighted and shocked at the same time because my sister shared to me that ate Riz and Cami randomly prayed for strawberries that morning. It was really amazing to see God’s grace and provision in that simple moment with our family friends. When I woke up that day and asked my sister to add strawberries to the container, I didn’t know that Ate Riz and Cami were already praying for some.


IMG_4503 - Copy

It reminded me of how sovereign our God is and it encouraged me to continue listening to His voice and obeying Him even in the smallest things. He can use even the simplest moments and acts of obedience in our lives to bless others and ourselves. Thank You, Lord, for allowing us to experience You in moments like these. :)

“Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.” -Deuteronomy 5:33

IMG_4516 - Copy

IMG_4525 - Copy


Encourage yourself one treat at a time. :)

Simple Sunday Snack: Fruits in Ice Cream

Two days ago, a former officemate dropped by the office and invited our department to have lunch with her outside. Even though it meant that I would have to spend more money that day, I still joined the team since it was a rare opportunity for us to hang out with our friend. (Note: I usually bring food to work because it’s less expensive compared to buying food from our cafeteria or the restaurants outside.)

DSC00041 - Copy

We spent the next hour catching up and talking about our experiences in the office, her new workplace, and other random, funny things. After eating our lunch, she invited us all to a nearby Ice Cream store and got us a cup of ice cream each! It was the kind of ice cream that I wouldn’t buy on a regular day because it was quite expensive. So, you could just imagine how grateful I was for my cup of Strawberry Banana ice cream. After a while, we said our goodbyes and headed back to the office.

DSC00021 - Copy

That day, I was reminded of being more intentional in blessing others and being an encouragement to them. Our friend just invited us for lunch and treated us for dessert, but her simple act really blessed our hearts. I am also reminded that being a blessing doesn’t necessarily involve material things. Sometimes, we can bless others by saying words of encouragement, listening to them when they share what’s in their hearts, praying for them, praying with them, spending time with them, and the list goes on.

In the ff. Bible verses, we are encouraged to be more like Christ in the way we deal with the people around us:

Philippians 2:4 says: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

John 15:12 says: “Love one another, just as I have loved you.”

DSC00025 - Copy

How can we be a blessing to others this week? How can we be more like Christ? :)


Crunchy Fruits in Ice Cream (Inspired by my friend’s ice cream treat!)

Fruits in Ice Cream (Strawberry) – One of my favorite brands!

Slices of Banana

A generous amount of plain corn flakes


Encourage yourself one treat at a time. :)

So, You’re Insecure?

A few days ago, my mom handed me a bunch of overripe bananas. Instead of throwing them away, she wanted me to do something useful with them. When I saw the bananas, my instant thought was “Eew… Mushy, slimy, almost rotten stuff. -_-” However, as I examined them more, I noticed that they were still edible and slightly firm.  So, I decided to give them a try and make banana muffins.

mashed overripe bananas

As I was searching for a nice recipe online, I saw photos about muffins. And to my surprise, it was the first time that I encountered this statement in my life:

“Muffins are just ugly cupcakes.”

In the photo, we can see how some find cupcakes to be more desirable than muffins, maybe because of the texture or the frosting. But, even in this simple idea, we can see how natural it is for us to compare things, ourselves, or even the people around us.

banana muffin

Even though it seemed like it was more fun to bake cupcakes, I still proceeded to make a batch of muffins that day. While I was making banana muffins, God reminded me of three things:


I first removed the banana peels and other dark spots on the bananas before mashing them in a bowl. The bananas did not look appealing, but, they were the PERFECT ones to use for the recipe because of their natural sweetness and soft texture.

It was so easy for me to look at the appearance of the overripe bananas and show disgust when I first saw them. In the same way, God reminded me of how I’m easily concerned with how I look, what my status/lifestyle is, how much money I have, and other things that last only for a moment. He also reminded me of those times when I’d be insecure. Sadly, I would tend to compare myself to others and choose not to be grateful and satisfied with how He made me and with what He has given me.

However, I thank God for His encouragement through His word:

“But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.””

-1 Samuel 16:7

“Anytime we look for fulfillment or happiness in anyone or anything other than God, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment.” –Nancy deMoss


While I was baking the banana muffin batter, I began to appreciate the overripe bananas even more. The sweet smell of the vanilla extract and bananas filled the air and I found myself enjoying it.  Once the banana muffins were done in the oven, I immediately placed them in a wire rack to cool down.

But then, I remembered a tip that Alton Brown shared in one of his Good Eats episodes. He suggested that the muffins must be cooled upside down on a thin towel for better volume. I tried doing it and was amazed by what I saw. The muffins looked like they were bowing down. They didn’t look “insecure”. They looked humble.

Humble Muffins

God spoke to my heart and reminded me that being insecure and being proud are inseparable.  I’ve had (and still have) my share of insecurities. But, by His grace, He continues to encourage me to see myself and my situations through His eyes. In the process of doing so, I realize that I shouldn’t be insecure because I know that God loves me and He would only want what’s best for me.

Our security is none other than God Himself. –Pastor Peter Tan-Chi

“Rest in what God thinks about you. He loves you. How do you know He loves you? Remember what Christ did for you on the cross.” –Pastor Vince Burke

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

-Romans 8:28

God works for the good. God loves us. God made us the way we are because He loves us. He is our Ultimate Security. :)



After cooling the muffins, I decided to put the finishing touches. :) I invited my eldest sister to help out and we started working on one muffin at a time. It was fun! We ended up using different toppings on half of the batch of baked banana muffins.

By God’s grace, they all looked so nice and yummy. And I thought to myself, “These muffins aren’t ugly. Haha.” :)

Some say that the difference between a cupcake and a muffin is the frosting that cupcakes have. But, according to Alton Brown, the difference is in the mixing method. In making cakes, the butter and sugar are creamed first until fluffy; eggs are added; and finally, the dry ingredients are incorporated. On the other hand, in making muffins, the dry ingredients are combined; the wet ingredients are combined; and then both wet and dry ingredients are mixed together.

In the same way, God showed me that He also uses different methods in our lives. He had a purpose in mind when He made each of us and we just have to continue trusting in His goodness and faithfulness in our lives.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

-Jeremiah 29:11

“You Were Meant To Be Touching
The Lives That You Touch
And Meant To Be Here
Making This World So Much More
Than It Would Be Without You In It”

-Steven Curtis Chapman’s “Meant To Be”

The day before I made banana muffins, I was struggling with insecurities again. But, God knows exactly how and when to encourage us. Thank You, Lord!

I pray that we may continue to find our security in Him all the days of our lives. God bless you, guys!


Encourage yourself one treat at a time. :)



RECIPE: By Ina Garten


  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar (I used 3/4 brown and 3/4 white sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 extra-large eggs
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 bananas)
  • 1 cup medium-diced ripe bananas (1 banana)
  • 1 cup small-diced almond nuts


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Line 18 large muffin cups with paper liners.

3. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a bowl.

4. Combine the butter, eggs, milk, vanilla, and mashed bananas, and add them to the flour-and-butter mixture. Combine well, but don’t overmix.

5. Fold the diced bananas and nuts into the batter. Spoon the batter into the paper liners, filling each 1 to the top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

6. Cool slightly, remove from the pan, and serve.


*By the way, if you want to read more about cupcakes, you can go to this link: :)