Muffin Monday: Banana Citrus Muffins with Coconut Flakes

I am writing this post on a Sunday night. In an hour it’s officially Monday. I don’t know about you, but as much as I try to be positive, I sometimes despise Mondays. It means that the weekend is officially over and there’s another workweek ahead. There are a lot of times that I just have to force myself out of bed and drag my lazy ass to work. That’s like 3 out of 5 days.

I’d like to think this is just a phase, quarter-life crisis maybe? Is it burnout? Stress? I really don’t know. It’s just that I haven’t felt this in a long time. When I was still in my previous job, I always looked forward to going to work. I loved what I did... Now? I can’t really say that, but if my life depended on it, fine.. I (gulp) love (gulp) my (gulp) job.

It’s a lot like love. No, not the movie, dummy.

Maybe you’re in the same situation as I am. What did you do? A friend said on Twitter to just “Let go.” There’s no point in staying if you’re not happy, right? Holding on to something that doesn’t give you the fulfillment you’re looking for is just futile.

So easy to say, but so hard to do.

Anyway, if you’re feeling a little blue, I have an antidote for you: a pop or two of these wonderful muffins would make you forget about the dreariness of Mondays.


homemade peanut butter.

Nothing beats anything homemade.

Homemade cakes, pastries, chocolate… they’re my guilty pleasure. I am always on the lookout for appetizing recipes online. This blog breathes everything I whip up in my own kitchen.

For the past three or four months, I have been enjoying peanut butter I made myself. My kitchen addiction has completely taken a whole new level. Haha.

I’ve been trying to make peanut butter since last year, but for some reason I was only successful a few months back.

It’s really easy. It just takes less than 30 minutes, start to finish. Sounds easy, right?



baked red velvet cake doughnuts.

I have been searching high and low for a non-yeast doughnut recipe. I have tried a couple and they never turn out the way they should be. It’s so frustrating. Really.

Over the past few days, I have tried to great recipes. I made my first successful batch non-yeast [plain] doughnuts over the weekend. They turned out very very well when fried. I tried baking them, they were still good… but it looked and felt like bread! I was still happy, though. The only problem I encountered is that I DID NOT TAKE ANY PICTURES. Bummer! [Must make another batch soon.]

So let me tell you about another doughnut recipe. Better than the first successful batch. They were cake-like. With chocolate. And it’s red velvet!

How cool is that?

Mighty cool, yeah.

Let the photos do the talking…


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BC Bloggers 2011.

I have read about BC Bloggers before. I forgot where exactly, but what I wanted to know then was how to join in the “fun.” Good thing I stumbled upon Vera’s blog. Now I can finally join!

So, what exactly is BC Bloggers? Here’s an excerpt from Paula’s, the founder, blog.

BC Bloggers have been helping bloggers fill their blogrolls the fast and easy way. 
Here at BC Bloggers our motto is, “We don’t have to beg for links.” 
New bloggers have found us to be a great tool in putting their blogs on the “map” so to speak. 
Bloggers who are earning from blogs know too well not to neglect their blogs. You can gain backlinks by commenting but most of them are no follow so this is rather a hit and miss. 
All our blogrolls do follow and are linked to the homepage  so if you are a blogger who care about your blog you would want to be included there.
When I read that, I knew I wanted to be in. I am a blogger – not the big shot kind of blogger. But I blog. And of course, I want to be “on the map” and I certainly want to earn from my blog!

Isn’t that a good thing? Hell yeah!

What are you waiting for? Come and join the fun here!


Holiday Recipe Exchange 2011: [Slow Cooker] Pepper Steak

In an ideal world, I would have all the fancy kitchen and baking equipment that could rival any celebrity chef’s kitchen. I would have a spacious but minimalist kitchen with a big work counter/island in the middle. I would also have a large gas (yes, I’d still prefer gas over electric) range that could fit six pots in one go. And oh, I’d have an oven big enough for two or maybe three? 12-cup muffin pans in one layer. And let’s not forget that shiny dishwasher that would help make cleaning up a breeze. Oh, the life!

How I wish I have all that and more. In the real world, I don’t have any of those. I live in an apartment big enough for two people. My kitchen is cramped with the dish rack, cooking utensils, my small oven, the gas stove, you get the picture. My cupboard has the same dilemma. Aside from space issues, I have an unending “want-to-buy” list:  a “real” food processor (I only have a trusty blender at my perusal), a bigger oven (mine can only fit 6-cup muffin pan or a small cookie sheet), an ice cream maker, and a KitchenAid stand mixer. I thought that’s everything I could ever want in the cooking and baking department… I thought wrong.

When I joined Jamie and Katie’s Holiday Recipe Exchange, I knew I’d come across some issues. This week, for example, we are featuring slow cooker or crock pot recipes. I didn’t have a crock pot, but I do have a recipe I wanted to try. Hmm, what should a poor girl do, then? Improvise, I thought to myself. I browsed some sites and most of them said cooking or baking in a dutch oven could do the trick. But… I didn’t have a dutch oven! Just when I was about to give up, I thought of using the pot I normally use for cooking rice. It looks like this:

We call that “kaldero” in Filipino. I think it’s derived from the English word cauldron, and it’s usually made of metal, aluminum or stainless steel.

I guess using the kaldero paid off well. My beef came out very tender and the flavors married fairly well. If it’s already this tasty, what more if I used a crock pot? The answer would have to wait until I get my own… but till then, I’ll have to make do with what I have.



Holiday Recipe Exchange 2011: Beef Kaldereta

Filipinos love saucy one-pot dishes. When I was growing up, I didn't like my food "wet." I liked my food dry. My Mom or our household help would always prepare fried pork, chicken, beef, anything just to make me eat. 

If the food served doesn't look familiar to me, I refuse to eat it. My Dad always tells me to try before judging. He was right.

One day, he had me try Osso Bucco for the first time. I was a bit skeptical. I didn't know what it was. But when I had my first bite, oh my goodness, it was good.

When I was in my teens, I learned to appreciate food -- real food. I quickly learned that frying is not the only way to cook food.

This week's Holiday Recipe Exchange theme is "Fall One Pot Dishes" sponsored by Le Creuset. All I could think of was "It's gotta be saucy!" And there was only one dish that came to mind: Beef Kaldereta.

Kaldereta is a classic Filipino dish. It's basically stewed meat (beef, pork, chicken -- whatever your preference is) with spicy tomato sauce. The recipe varies depending on who cooks the dish. For a quick fix, there are one-pack mixes -- just dilute the mix in water, saute your choice of meat with garlic, onion, and tomatoes, add the mix and let the sauce simmer. But then that won't be the same kaldereta.

I gotta have the real thing.



Muffin Monday: Cheese and Olive Oil Muffins

It’s been four weeks since I joined Muffin Monday. That’s three muffins down and another one on the way. I admit, baking muffins for Monday is always a welcome treat. In my case, I bake during the weekend, usually on Sundays just before the crack of dawn. It’s becoming a ritual, the good kind. It means I get to eat “healthier” at least twice a week. Heh.

Today’s muffin is from one of my favorite Food Network chefs, Giada de Laurentiis. The recipe is totally easy – I made it in less than 30 minutes, and not to mention totally delicious and filling!


Cheese and Olive Oil MuffinsAdapted from Giada de Laurentiis' recipe on Food Network  
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons orange zest
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons whole milk
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/3 cup cheddar and gouda cheese, mixed
Powdered sugar, sifted, for topping  
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place paper liners in a 12-cup muffin tin.  
In a medium bowl, blend together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  
Using an electric mixer beat the sugar, eggs, and zests in a large bowl until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  
Beat in the vinegar and milk. Gradually beat in the oil.  
Add the flour mixture and stir just until blended.  
Crush the almonds with your hands as you add them to the batter and stir until mixed.  
Fill the muffin tin almost to the top of the paper liners.  
Bake until golden on top and a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes.  
Remove the muffins onto a platter and let cool for 5 more minutes. Sift powdered sugar over the muffins and serve.


  • I used red cane vinegar in place of the balsamic vinegar.
  • I used peanuts in place of almonds. I bet they’d be tastier with almonds.
  • I didn’t have orange and lemon on hand, so I used 2 teaspoons of calamansi juice instead. Calamansi or calamondin is easily available here in the Philippines. It's like our lemon/lime. In our dialect, Bisaya, we call it limonsito which literally means "little lemon." Goes well with almost everything, especially dipping sauces!
  • I added about 1/3 cup cheddar and gouda cheese.
  • And I totally forgot to sprinkle powdered sugar before serving and taking a picture of them. They were still to die for, though. ;) 
Muffin Monday is an initiative by Baker Street. A culinary journey of sharing a wickedly delicious muffin recipe every week. Drop in a quick line to join her on her journey to make the world smile and beat glum Monday mornings week after week.


Holiday Recipe Exchange 2011: Triple Chocolate Brownie Bites

I am having so much fun joining themed blog round-ups lately... There's Muffin Monday and Twelve Weeks of Christmas Cookies. And today, I am posting something for Holiday Recipe Exchange hosted by My Baking Addiction and Good Life Eats.

This week's theme is chocolate sponsored by  Scharffen Berger. Can't anything get better than that?

I don't think so! Well.. I love chocolate and I can never say no to a chocolate challenge.

Last week, I made triple chocolate brownie bites.

Chocolate indulgence at its finest. Hmm.

* I know this week is sponsored by Scharffen Berger, but since I can't find that where I live, I just used what I had on hand. *


Triple-Chocolate Brownies
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker 
5 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 pieces tablea / native cocoa tablets, chopped
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into quarters
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 large eggs
1¼ cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour  
Preheat oven to 350F. Butter/spray an 8x8in pan and line with parchment paper, leaving a 2-in overhang. Butter the paper again. Set aside.  
In a medium heatproof bowl set over a pan of almost-simmering water, melt the chocolates and butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. Whisk in the cocoa until smooth. Set aside to cool.  
Whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl until combined, about 15 seconds. Whisk the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture; then stir in the flour with a wooden spoon until just combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, spread into the corners, and level the surface with a rubber spatula. 
Bake until slightly puffed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a small amount of sticky crumbs clinging to it, 35 to 40 minutes.   
Cool on a wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours. Remove from pan and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into squares.  
Makes 16 2-in brownies. 

Brownie Bites
loosely adapted from Bakerella  
8 pieces triple chocolate brownies
1/3 cup store-bought frosting, I used vanilla buttercream frosting (you can use any kind of creamy frosting)
1 cup chocolate melts / chocolate chips
lollipop sticks, optional  
In a medium bowl, break brownie pieces until fine. Mix in frosting and mash. You can use a fork or your CLEAN hands. ;) Everything should come together and when rolled, should not break apart. If you put too much frosting, you can add more brownies. If too dry, add a bit of frosting.  
Refrigerate for 30 minutes.  
Scoop or roll into 1-inch balls and set on a baking sheet. Chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours.  
Once the brownie balls have set, melt chocolate melts/chips (you can use the microwave or a double boiler). Stir constantly using a rubber spatula.  
Remove brownie balls from the fridge. If you're using lollipop sticks, dip pointed part into the melted chocolate and stick into the chilled brownie bites, about 3/4 way through.  
Freeze for 5-10 minutes. (I know, making these would test your patience... but you will be rewarded. I promise!) Skip this part if you’re not using lollipop sticks.  
Roll balls in melted chocolate and lay on wax paper until chocolate is firm. If you’re not using lollipop sticks, you can use a spoon to dip and roll in chocolate. 
Tap off extra.  
You can use sprinkles or pipe frosting for garnish. I made them plain.  
Dig in… and indulge.


Week 2 of 12 Weeks of Christmas Cookies: Marble Chocolate Chip Oreo Cookies

I have (once again) joined a weekly blog round-up. This time it’s for Twelve Weeks of Christmas Cookies hosted by Brenda. The blog hop started last week, that’s why the title says “Week 2” even though it’s technically my first week. Heh.

But I’m still late. This should have been posted yesterday.

Enough with the explanations. Let’s get down to business.

I’ve been thinking hard and long of what to post for this week’s cookie or sweet… I’ve baked a couple of chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, double fudge Oreo crunch cookies, and cupcakes this week. But I can’t post all of them cos I’ve already blogged about them. And besides, I think I’m just cheating myself if I go that way. Buuuut… I didn’t have enough time to whip up (or experiment?) a new recipe – I’ve lots that I want to try!

When I woke up today, I still had that question in my mind - "What do I post? It's already Friday!"

Then... A light bulb struck me -- I still had two separate cookie dough sitting in my fridge. Chocolate chip and double fudge Oreo cookies, Hmm. Why don't I combine them to make one awesome cookie?

Why not?!

It's ultimate chocolate indulgence. If you hop on over to the recipes, you'd notice each cookie recipe already has more than its fair share of chocolate. Cocoa powder, Oreo cookies, almost more than 3 cups of chocolate chips...

Mix them together -- that's too much chocolate!

But one can never have too much chocolate, right?

I didn’t know what to call them until I started writing this post… but after looking at the photo above, I think it fits.
Marble Chocolate Chip Oreo Cookies 
For the Double Fudge Oreo Crunch Cookie base
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup crushed Oreo cookies 
Cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until fluffy. Add flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt, mix until combined. 
Fold in chocolate chips and crushed Oreos. 
Refrigerate dough for 2-4 hours (or more). 
For the Chocolate Chip Cookie base
2 cups + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips 
Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. 
In a medium bowl, cream together melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended.  
Mix in vanilla, egg, and egg yolk and  beat until light and creamy. Add in flour mixture until just blended. 
Stir in the chocolate chips using a wooden spoon. 
Chill the dough for at least an hour.  
Assembly and Baking
When ready to bake, take out the two cookie dough.  Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
Scoop about one teaspoon of double fudge Oreo cookie dough then stuff the scooper with the chocolate chip cookie dough. You can also do it the other way around. What we want is both cookie dough to be rolled into one ball. You can also scoop bigger sizes. 
If you're baking small cookies, bake for 8-10 minutes, or until edges are set. If you're baking bigger cookies, bake for 12-15 minutes. Cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely. 
Best enjoyed with a glass of milk.
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Be sure to visit all the other bloggers shown below to see what they’ve baked up today yesterday!


Muffin Monday: Zucchini Chocolate Muffin with Sesame Seeds and Chocolate Chips

When An sent the email for this week's muffin recipe, I literally had to force myself to read through everything. As I have already mentioned last week, I am not fond of carrots.. and well, let me set things straight. I am not fond of a lot of vegetables. Shameful as it is, in my 25 years of existence, I have only learned to appreciate vegetables about 6 or so years ago.

So, just like last week's recipe, I decided to face this challenge head on... with a few modifications, of course. Heh.

I honestly can't remember the last time I ate a zucchini. I don't know how it tastes, really. But I knew for a fact (thanks, Google!) that it goes well with chocolate. Who can say no to chocolate goodness? Definitely not me. ;)


Look how festive it looks. I’m getting ready for Christmas, isn’t that obvious? ;)
Zucchini Chocolate Muffin with Sesame Seeds and Chocolate ChipsLoosely adapted from 1 Mix, 100 Muffins  
1 small zucchini, grated
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground cardamom
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 egg
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup buttermilk
3 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 200C. Line muffin pan with baking cups.
In a bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Set aside. 

In another bowl, whisk together zucchini, sugar and wet ingredients. Carefully pour over dry ingredients. Whisk until combined. Fold in chocolate chips. 

Scoop batter into prepared pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until tester comes out clean.

Muffin Monday is an initiative by Baker Street. A culinary journey of sharing a wickedly delicious muffin recipe every week. Drop in a quick line to join her on her journey to make the world smile and beat glum Monday mornings week after week.

Recipe makes 4-6 muffins. 
I am glad to have made these muffins. Everything came together beautifully. The spices complemented the chocolate really well and the sesame seeds gave an unexpected crunch. 
I have to say that this goes to my list of holiday muffins. :)