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. :(