Looking for something fancy and fabulous to bake and gift for the holidays?   Well, with a little imagination and creativity take a few simple ingredients such as flour, sugar, butter and eggs and get ready to strut their stuff in the kitchen!

Now, do you remember those wonderful glasses with a pattern-etched stamp or glass?  I know I do, only I remember them being back at my parents home when I was about 8 years old.  Well, who would have thought that these wonderful glasses would add touch of elegance to cookies?

I don’t care much for ‘sweet potatoes’ in general, so it’s really not something you will find at my home often, if at all…with the exception of an intent to make sweet potato fries!

My first encounter with sweet potato fries was only a few months ago when I decided to venture at the frozen section of the Supermarket.  There was a 2 for $7 sale on frozen, organic sweet potato fries.  I figured, it wouldn’t hurt, right? 

Here we are once again, perusing through the website for the inevitable dessert after a nice comfort meal.  Lately, in my neck of the woods, heavy rain has set in, along with rolling fogs that settle amidst the foothills of our property.  Quite a beautiful sight to enjoy, alongside my big cup of coffee.  It is also days like this when it calls for a semi or no-bake culinary muse in my kitchen!  So once again, I turn back to one of my favorite food blogger extraordinaire, Stella Dacuma Schour  of Cooking with Stellaaa, whose motto “I cook with feelings and without exact measurements” coincides with my culinary philosophy of reinventing a recipe in the simplest way possible and with heart.  In Stella’s original recipe, without a doubt, she definitely had me at ‘No-Bake Honey Cheesecake’.

Without further adieu, in the spirit of creativity without the hazzle, below is my version of this delectable dessert.  Do enjoy!–gcc

Beignet

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Beignet (pronounced /bɛnˈjeɪ/ in English, /bɛˈɲɛ/ in French; French, literally “bump“),[1] synonymous with the English “fritter”, is the French term for a pastry made from deep-fried choux paste.[2] Beignets are commonly known in the U.S. as a dessert served with powdered sugar on top; however, they may be savory dishes as well and may contain meat, vegetables, or fruits.[2] They are traditionally prepared right before consumption to be eaten fresh and hot.

This is a special treat that my older son made when we spent a week at my mom’s for Thanksgiving.  Although his major has changed from Culinary Arts to Journalism, he still has a knack for baking and it’s always something I look forward to whenever I see him or he comes over our place.  The recipe can yield 24 cookie butter cups…but these bite-size goodness sure didn’t last long, not whilst his little brother was around.  Moreover, they are delicious with a cup of coffee or tea!  Good Eats…-gcc

Good Afternoon! Last night I ended the evening with ‘50 Shades of Chicken‘, a cookbook parody on my Instagram portfolio… Although this recipe is adapted from a different cookbook: Memories of Philippine Kitchens, this morning I start the day early with my own ‘first shade’ parody of Chicken: RED. Hence, I bring to you a popular dish from the city of Bacolod, Philippines, ‘Chicken Inasal’. This dish uses different ingredients for its marinade and basting sauce that create a unique flavour. Cooking it calls for a constant basting of lemon butter sauce with annatto (a natural plant extract used as dye) which gives it a unique hue of red in colour.

For the love of ‘Sisig’…a Filipino cuisine, considered mainly in our culture as a side dish, or even a snack…along with a bottle of ice-cold beer 😉 The word ‘Sisig’ refers to a method of preparing fish and meat, especially pork, which is marinated in a sour liquid such as lemon juice (kalamansi) or vinegar, then seasoned in salt, pepper and other spices.
What I made for you is Sizzling Pork Sisig alongside Indian Basmati Rice with a vinegar and chili pepper-based dip for the pork.  An easy and versatile recipe you can make, as well!

I am such a fanatic when it comes to air/room fresheners and candles.  In my home alone, I have about twelve air fresheners plugged in, along with candles placed about in various rooms and a can of air fresheners stored in the linen closet, laundry room, loft/library, guest room, and lower-level family room aka the man cave.  In my car, I have two plug ins–the one that you clip onto the vents.  So you get the picture, right?  So what scent are they, you wonder?  Why, vanilla would be number one on my list, or course; then followed by anything that seem like I just baked something sweet in the oven.  I also like the smell of winter, spring and fall fragrances–depending on the season for them.  Now that we have that established, by now you should know what I am going to talk about next.  Room Fresheners… 

Coconut Pandesal
Ube Pandesal

Pándesal (Spanish: pan de sal, “salt bread”) is a bread roll made of flour, eggs, yeast, sugar, and salt.

It has become a common food item in the Philippines.[1]  Its taste and texture closely resemble those of the Puerto Rican bread pan de agua and Mexican bolillos. These breads all use a lean type of dough and follow similar techniques learnt from Spaniards or Spanish-trained bakers early in their history.  Despite the Spanish origins of its name, pandesal was introduced in the Philippines in the 16th century.[2] Pandesal originally started out as a plain roll, traditionally served for breakfast and accompanied by butter, cheese, scrambled eggs or filled omelette, sausages, bacon, Spanish sardines, jams, jellies and marmalade, coffee, tea or hot chocolate.

Pandesal can be made from any type of dough and still resemble pandesal as long as the dough is rolled in fine breadcrumbs before baking. The softness of the newer type of pandesal—which consumers unaware of the proper texture now find desirable—is due to a weak dough structure derived from inferior quality flour.

A couple of pandesal variety I made for you are Ube Pandesal and Coconut Pandesal.

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

Cream colored ponies and crisp apple strudels
Door bells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into Springs
These are a few of my favorite things

When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don’t feel so bad.

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

Cream colored ponies and crisp apple strudels
Door bells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into Springs
These are a few of my favorite things

When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don’t feel so bad…

The Sound of Music Lyrics of My Favorite Things

Born and raised in the Philippines, until the age of 8, I was familiar with seeing unripe mango eaten with bagoong, fish sauce or with dash of salt.  It was also a staple for making juices, mango nectar, and as a flavoring and major ingredient in ice cream and sorbetes.  These are my experiences with mangoes.  Although not quite my choice of fruit to pick up at the market when in season, I may have found my niche with mangoes by making them into a refreshing salad.  This recipe happens to represent a menagerie of my favorite herbs and vegetables alongside it.  The versatility of this salad are endless–have it as is, serve it with grilled steak, fish, BBQ, chicken; use it as a salsa for tortilla chips, etc.