Monday, December 28, 2009

the cookie chronicles

I was a bit behind in my cookie chronicle posting. I made these cookies last Dec26, just in time for the Berchmans Christmas party. I thought of giving my close friends something that at least, was well-made (LOL) and well-thought of. Well, this is just my way of saying I will never ever ever give them individual material things ever. haha

I got the recipe from Yummy Magazine, a local publication which is really an indispensable kitchen companion that's chock full of realistic recipes and ideas that cater to real Pinoy homemakers and yuppie-cooks.

The recipe called for cashews but I substituted it with almonds and added a hint of almond extract. Instead of the usual chocolate chips or raisins, the recipe author (serious question: what do they call the people who made the recipes anyway?) used local dried mangoes. I found that it gave the cookie a nice touch of flavor though I wouldn't mind adding a tablespoon of mango puree or concentrate to make the fruit flavor more pronounced.

our counter top isn't exactly cook friendly.

see what I mean?

at this point there wasn't any major fiasco whatsoever. I was sooo proud of myself since I haven't really baked anything before. haha. My grandma said cookies are the easiest to make so go figure. 0_0. btw, the dough tasted great

our nonstick cookie sheet corroded so I ended up scouring the stores here in zamboanga to find a good replacement. not a single store had a decent cookie sheet...and some didn't even know what that is. so we ended up buying an aluminum pan and bought wax paper so the cookies wouldn't stick.

drum roll please.....


I experimented with some food styling (since I'm a frustrated foodie at heart) and I thought the shoot (hehe) went well.


Yeah, there were some casualties (i burnt a few), but I managed to bake enough so i could give my friends three pieces (yeah, I'm poor.haha) and leave some for my family.

The taste verdict? The cookies were great if I do say so myself and my friends (and their parents) thought so too. A few notes though:

1. invest in cook quality equipment. instead of regular wax paper, maybe Glad cook 'n bake would be better.
2. always preheat the oven!
3. the big mango bits made it hard to really mold the cookies, so it's best to chop the dried mango into really smaller pieces.
4. use a small ice scream scoop, or a teaspoon to drop the cookies in the sheet.

as for the recipe....

Oatmeal, dried mango and almond cookies

original recipe by Roshan Samtani

modified by Gio Mangaya-ay. haha

½ cup butter softened

¾ cup sugar

¼ cup packed brown sugar

1 egg

½ tsp vanilla extract

½ tsp almond extract (optional)

¾ cup all purpose flour

½ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

½ tsp cinnamon

1 ½ cups quick cooking oatmeal

½ cup chopped dried mangoes

½ cup chopped almonds

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large mixer bowl, beat butter, brown sugar and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla. Beat well.

Combine flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Add flour mixture at low speed. Stir in oatmeal, dried mangoes and almonds

Drop dough by heaping teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet (I put wax paper on it). Bake for 8-10 minutes, until edges are slightly browned. Cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes and transfer to cooling racks.

gotta buy em all

i gotta have this!!!!!!!!!! if anyone knows how i could buy this, please tell me. If you must know these are pokemon blocks/LEGOs/Megabloks. i don't know what to call them. haha. all i know is i gotta have them!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas nightcap

Today's Christmas celebration over lunch was, to put it mildly, "like a fiesta". And like fiestas in the Torres household, there were lots of people we didn't know. But that's ok since Christmas comes just once a year so it's not all the time that we don't have any leftovers. :)

I actually slept for the most part of the late afternoon, and I woke up like hour ago. I guess my family wasn't really hungry since they didn't have dinner. A feast sobers you up like that. haha. So I pulled out the Chamdor from the fridge and opened a box of walnut bars from Myrna's for my nightcap.


I'm guessing the one on the right had more alcohol than the one on the left. The bars really packed a punch with the rich taste of butter mixed with nuts and raisins, like Food for the Gods, only more fruity. Chamdor wasn't an alcoholic drink so it wasn't really heavy on the palate. It even complimented the strong taste of the bars. Note to self though, one bar is good, two is heavy as it is and three is just too much!!!

My parents liked my gift from Gallery7. Camille (the one who helped me with the ordering since the store was in Eastwood, near AdMU where she's studying) brought it yesterday with her mom. She didn't even plan on staying long but her mom wanted to talk to my mom so they ended up leaving an hour and a half (?) later. Both of them were in on the plan on keeping my gift a surprise so they told my mom that they were visiting somebody nearby. My mom didn't even suspect! And yeah, they were surprised to find a big package waiting for them under the tree on Christmas morning.

Christmas has been relatively sober this year, with all the tragedies we had, both personal and national. But this is just a day that comes and goes like any other day, and a good resolve is to welcome the New Year with good, not drunken, spirits.

Merry Christmas peoples of the earth!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Giving gives a great feeling

I wanted to make a review of James Cameron's "Avatar", about how I'm proclaiming it the best movie of 2009, but there's a special place in my heart which tells me now isn't the time. What I wanna blog about, is how for the very first time, I actually did something really really really charitable for Christmas. Well, I had a few instances before where I did do some charity work...but I did it all for the grade since it was a requirement.

Mj, Jad, Jam, Riez, Kikay and myself scoured the streets of the city to look for, well, street kids to feed. And they weren't really hard to find. Actually that's the depressing part right there..that we don't really see them (or we ignore them) in broad daylight but when night falls, it turns out the streets are actually their home. and they have no where to go, no one to turn to. It's sufficient to say that they need help, attention and most of all, love. It could come in many forms, so because of our limited capacities, we wanted to give them food courtesy of Mcdonald's. This was actually MJ's brainchild, and we liked it and were willing to do it.






i want to look at this whole experience as a welcome respite, a breath of fresh air from all the superficial things we associate with Christmas. And experiences like these really make you think about the situation you're in right now. But more than anything else, I think I managed to feel during that evening, the real spirit of Christmas (corny but true): giving love.

We saw faces light up at the sight of what we had. They didn't even ask questions. They just said "thank you". It was more than enough. A girl was sleeping all alone at the side of the Southway Square building when MJ went and woke her up. He handed in the burger and Pepsi and said "Merry Christmas". I couldn't help but think that moments like that reminded both the giver and the recepient that there is a God, and we are never alone.

And yes, that Gives Me Hope.

I feel so happy right now! Merry Christmas to all of you!!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

convenience in a cup

Choco Filipino is a new drink product that my mom wanted to try, because apparently it's proudly Pinoy-made (like duh) and my mom's a sucker for "innovations" like these. Well, it's an innovation because you buy the styro cup with a lid and inside is a stirrer with the sachet of powder. It's pretty convenient, if I do say so myself - like the Lucky Me noodle bowls I really liked devouring on the barge en route to Dumaguete. So I was the one who tried the hot chocolate variant (my mom bought hot choco, coffee and coffee with chocolate). I was impressed at how this could be a traveler's companion since it's so convenient - from the styro cup to the serrated edges of the more scissors!!! Genius!!! (hahaha) All I needed was hot water and I'm good to go.

Now as to taste, well, I didn't really expect it to blow me away and it didn't. Jollibee makes a better cup. The cocoa powder wasn't rich enough that the drink is really that indulgent. Well, that's my taste and I'm sure tens of thousands of people want their hot chocolate watery and bland 0_0. But considering the product was well thought of, it's a good alternative to other variants who haven't really showed their guns yet. And I have a feeling it'll grow on me, but maybe them folks need to make their mix heavier next time.

Friday, December 18, 2009

reel time over the holidays

I'm pretty bored so I came up with a list of things to download/buy/watch for the holidays..

in the absence of my weekly fixes of Glee, Vampire Diaries and ANTM, I've decided to go back to some series regulars that got me hooked in the whole concept of buying pirated DVDs (hihi)

1. Grey's Anatomy season 5 (24 episodes)

2. House, MD season 5 (24 episodes)

both of them have begun airing their respective season 6s, but maybe I would download s6 off isohunt if I have the time. It looks like i'll be scouring the DVD shops tomorrow then. good luck nalang sa akin!!!

some movies worth downloading would be....

hmm it looks like i'll be busy during the holidays. I hope i still have time to squeeze in studying and organizing my study table. but obviously right now it's like choosing between ice cream and dung beetles, so i'd rather have my fair share of ice cream. tell me what you think about my selections, or if you can recommend something i might like. :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009


I'm officially done with school for a few days since the holidays are officially here! I'm pretty happy right now considering the drama that i've been and am experiencing so far. But I'm don't want to keep all this negativity since a new year is right around the corner. Well, i've never believed in the idea of a "tangible new beginning" when the clock strikes 12mn on the first day of the new year because never ever ever in the history of myself have I fulfilled resolutions. Blame it on bad memory, or lack of real passion. But it does give me hope that a clean slate isn't really impossible. so it's worth a shot, right?

But something that I hope to achieve in 2011 is more freedom in blogging. I don't want to sound overly emo in my posts so i'll try to balance it with posts that have more wry humor over the most trivial of things, if I actually have that of course.

the Autobots toasted the end of the year with the usual Christmas party. It would be almost a year ago that my camera (IXUS 900) died on my during our second year Xmas party. The pics I took during the party were taken using my first digicam, IXUS 750.


And it's not as if it's a bad camera. It's actually a great camera but I felt kinda detached, cold and uninspired when I was taking pictures. Maybe because I haven't used a camera in a while. And the last time my 900 worked properly was during the Duma days, and it was short-lived because it landed on the basin where we washed our clothes and it completely sputtered out. So's just sad. :(

I'm planning on changing the name of my blog. some phrases are being tossed around in my head, like: "Big Fat Statements:, "Sinful Sundays" (b/c I usually blog Sunday evening). so yeah, pretty uninspiring but hey, things are still brewing.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

I'm a Gleek

hey peoples! it's been a great Ateneo fiesta so far and lo and behold, I managed to channel my inner ascetic and controlled my appetite for burning meat dribbling with ketchup-y sauce! whooopee!

If you're still reading up to this point then let me be the one to tell you that i love sarcasm.

No. It wasn't the best fiesta (though my team did compete in the quizbowl and won Nursing a silver medal. oh joy)

No. I couldn't control my urge to stop wolfing down stick upon stick of charred fatty meat.

Yes. I'm not going to blog about that right now.

What I will blog about are the show I am currently following right now, because it keeps me sane for the better part of my 3rd year life...

glee Pictures, Images and Photos

Who doesn't love Glee??!! This is a show about the life of students from different cliques who share a common interest in singing and the Glee club. Varied and odd personalities make this show relatable, and the story has a lot of arcs, which make for a good show every time. Well, sometimes the plot can get a bit shallow, but when the wry humor hits the mark, it hits gold. The story is more mature and realistic than anything HSM can offer - from teenage pregnancy to discrimination. But the story is light and is mainly for really good entertainment.

There are characters who you can love and love to hate. I really like Rachelle the best, because she's the best singer of the bunch, and I like that her personality of a limelight-obsessed diva clashes with the fact that she's anything but "miss popular". I hate Will Schuster's (the Glee's mentor) wife, Whatshername, because, well, she's faking her pregnancy and pulling Will back!!!! **update: Will knows she's not pregnant!!! Yeeeess!

And the songs! I mean, there's a remake/revival that could tickle anyone's fancy and most of them are pretty amazing. It's an eclectic mix of old-school and contemporary tunes, and my favorites include: "Don't Stop Believing", "Take a Bow", "Defying Gravity", "Taking Chances" and "True Colors". Almost every song is available for download on Limewire.

Thanks to Isohunt I'm always tuned in to the latest episode (I'm already on ep12). Too bad there's the fall finale which means the show will resume next year.

**update: i hated episode 12's ending! it was so...sad. :(

Saturday, November 07, 2009

good old optimism

it's official, I AM OFFICIALLY DONE WITH CATCHING FIRE and will be waiting for the third book!!!!

it's amazing how this one sembreak managed to make me fall in love with reading again. reading is the only way I can keep myself sane and to prevent myself from imploding. seriously, I thought this sem would be a good fresh start for me; I guess I was wrong. the only consolation is that I only have a few months more and thus, there's nothing to worry about (insert fake smile right here).

so seriously...I need optimism right now and if only it grew on trees, or came with every pack of safeguard, then I would be good. but no, it's learned, and I have to do whatever it takes to keep myself from going over the deep end.

well, there's always selecta cornetto. don't you just love their caramel cone?

AN: am i becoming too emo?hahaha

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

my sembreak booklist

I'm actually happy that the time I have right now is partially devoted to catching up on my reading. Last year's sembreak (2008) saw me buying "Love in the time of Cholera" by Marquez, which I managed to finish this year around May. During our Dumaguete vacation, I managed to buy around 5 books, 4 of which I'm done reading! I'm also happy because these are some of the books I have always wanted to get my hands on but couldn't because of time and finacial constraints. Eunice actually told me that she could just imagine me at National Bookstore like a child running around, like it's already Christmas or something. Yeah, I do get giddy everytime I enter a 'real' bookstore. There isn't any thing remotely close to that here in Zamboanga.

So I was really excited when I saw the 39 clues being displayed at the entrance of the store. These are short (150 - 200 page) books published by Scholastic press, with each book penned by a different author. It revolves around the lives of Dan and Amy Cahill, who, upon the death of their beloved grandmother, discover that they are actually part of a powerful clan which basically shaped modern history. The whole point of the story is that the siblings are on the chase to find 39 clues that will lead them to the source of the Cahill family's power. A slew of greedy, powerful, deceitful, and oftentimes idiosycratic relatives who also took on the challenge of finding the clues add spice to the story. I only bought books 1 - 3 (The Maze of Bones, One False Note, The Sword Thief respectively) because 1. I didn't know if I would like the story and 2. Each book costs around P500 so buying in bulk is pretty hard on the wallet. But lucky enough, these are actually the kind of books I would really really read. It engages the reader enough to actually want to be part of the quest himself (The nerd I am). But seriously, the pace is just right and the one thing I craved about the book is its ability to make the reader want more.

Next on my list is the Hunger Games trilogy, with Hunger Games and Catching Fire (by Suzanne Collins) being the first and second book respectively. Now, this is totally different from 39 clues in the sense that if the 39 clues is a humorous adventure-thriller which is most of the time, PG, the Hunger Games on the other hand, tells a story of survival in the strictest sense of the word, in a post-apocalyptic US, which is ruled by an omnipresent government bent on maintaining order through fear. We have Katniss Everdeen, the underdog and a representative of the hungry masses. Her life turns around when she was chosen to represent her district in the Hunger Games..A contemporary gladiator bloodbath where teenagers (aged 12 - 18) are forced to kill each other in order to survive and to win. This was instituted by the government as a tool to keep in the people in line. For Katniss, winning guarantees fame, food and safety...or does it? If your don't get what the Hunger Games are about, or if you feel my explanation to be inadequate, you can always google it, or better yet buy the book!

I'm done with Hunger Games and I'm in the first few pages of Catching Fire and I have to say that I have become a fan. You can always look up reader's reviews and they are generally positive, heck, even Stephenie Meyer loves it.

Monday, November 02, 2009


it's been a few days since I arrived from my Dumaguete vacation and I really managed to get the detox I need. A part of me actually didn't want to go back to Zamboanga because that would mean the end of the stress-free days wandering in the city, the tricycle rides and the really good food and atmosphere. But I still had the time of my life with my friends and taking it from Nelly Furtado, all good things come to an end. So here's a rundown of the moments I had while I was on vacation...

I drooled on the bus to Dipolog


I experienced my first Ro-Ro ride bound for Dumaguete (really)


We stayed at Silliman heights courtesy of MJ and I really liked the fresh Dumaguete air. In hindsight maybe I just place Zamboanga on a lower pedestal so much that I subscribe to the idea that everything's better than Zamboanga. hehe


We ate Panda Ice Cream for breakfast...EXTREMELY SATISFYING

Photobucket Photobucket

then had lunch at Aunty Pilar's carinderia, a Zamboanguena (and a family friend of the Wee family) who's based in Dumaguete. again, EXTREMELY SATISFYING.


We toured around town and also realized that we made it in time for the Buglasan festival and lo and behold...seized the opportunity to do things we could never ever do in Zamboanga: take pictures with the floats and dancers!!!


sampled a town favorite: Hayahay resto's pizza ('All-meat' and 'Hayahay special'). What actually made the pizza tastier than it already is, is the fact that it was really affordable and the portions were just right.


strolled along the boulevard, taking in how not all boulevards are created equal.


cam-whored a bit around the plaza

realized how ukay-ukays do hide treasures and the power of a convincing haggle; I bought three apparently designer shorts for P 150.


discovered the 'diamond in the rough' of Dumaguete resorts: Antulang..the place where Ryan Agoncillo apparently proposed to Judy Anne. I also took in the crashing waves and truly felt the exhilaration of a good vacation!


tasted Dumaguete's version of a tempura. It doesn't really wow me because I never really liked tempura anyway, but the hype is apparently huge that stalls selling the stuff line the boulevard every night and they sell like hotcakes


made a one-day segue to Cebu with Eunice and tasted REAL gelato from Gelatissimo at SM: a scoop of exorbitant paradise...


Had a 360 degree view of Cebu city atop of the tallest building (?) in Cebu: the Crown Regency. The group also experienced the fear and adrenaline rush from the Edge Coaster and The Sky Walk. It was there that I realized I love high altitudes and had no reservations about seeing the cars dots the streets like ants.


Like I said, the trip didn't really last long. But we managed to squeeze in a lot of 'Us' time while we were there. I wouldn't say that it wasn't totally stress free...boat and bus rides didn't really appeal to me but I guess it's part of the adventure. But no I haven't and will never master the art of being a snob so I kept my feelings at bay and managed to reframe the situation into the something positive. It's only the ride to the destination after all. haha. Anyway, this was my first real non-working vacation with friends so I grabbed the chance as soon as the invitation was up.

Dumaguete's atmosphere had this inviting vibe that made people fall in love with it. It has all the amenities people could ask for, and it also helps that the people are friendly. But it was a challenge for me to understand Bisaya and it doesn't help that I'm the only one in the group that can't really communicate using the language. So my friends actually conversed with me in Bisaya which apparently was part of me learning. And now that I'm back in dear old Zambo (which I actually miss), I actually miss the constant buzz of unintelligible (HAHA) phrases.

I fell in love with Dumaguete...wait, love is an understatement. If you can find a bigger word for love then that's what I felt. I can't wait to go back!!!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

back to basics

i can't really blog a novel about how I ended up with a Nokia 5130 right now but here's the lowdown:

-2 days ago my Sony Ericsson C902 suddenly went berzerk and bailed on me. It began restarting and vibrating and the LCD showed no sign of life.

- (12noon the following day) so, I went to the shop where I bought the phone...

- and argued with the Customer Service rep as to why i should be the one to photocopy the warranty card when it's within their scope to provide us with..well..customer service! Plus they told me that I had to wait one month until I get my phone back kasi they're going to send it to Manila to have it fixed. One month without a decent phone? Hell no! And so.....

- (6pm the same day) I bought the 5130 for around 5k. And surprise surprise I actually like it! It's really cheap and the features are enough to satisfy the normal texter who doesn't care for the frills of 3G and all that. Plus the acoustics are so much better than my old phone!

- If and when my old phone shows up again, I'll have to part ways with this one and I'll give the nokia to my mom, who for some reason, needs to part with her old phone because it's one of those phones that first had the colored lcd/mms feature and truth be told, its time has come.

- so until then, i'll have to enjoy the perks of being a nokia person again. and I actually missed being one.

Monday, October 12, 2009

priestly anecdotes


"communion! wahahaha. are you aware na instead of saying "the body of christ" you told me "goddamnit...take these"...hahahaha. "these" tlg...u gave me 6 pieces! hahahaha. am i that sinful? hahaha. " - marko enriquez

I was actually really nervous (like sweating bullets nervous) a few minutes before the start of the wedding. But I managed to pull it off pretty well if I say so myself. Although my performance got a little shaky at parts...especially during the event after the communion, where I was supposed to clean the materials. Karl (my classmate/sacristan) had to go and practically spell out what I needed to do. People said I make a good priest but I'd rather play pretend. I mean, where else could I preside over a mass and marry a couple without the binding power of a license and a contract? That was so stellar and the wedding was kick-ass!

yes, we had flower girls! :)




in case you're wondering, they're not a real couple but they looked real enough. and they seemed to enjoy it so i guess no one's complaining. :)