Archives for December 2013

Carrot Cupcake with Chocolate Chips

I got the carrot cupcake recipe from Taste of Home.  I chose this recipe because I had carrot pulp from juicing.  (Yes, I am trying to incorporate a healthy lifestyle. Well, ‘trying’ is the operative word.)

Actually, I juiced 4 carrots, 2 cucumber and 1 apple.  So, this should be called carrot-cucumber-apple cupcake with chocolate chips. The name is too long so I settled for a simpler title.  You can see that there are carrot chunks left which I sliced into smaller bits.

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I prepared the following ingredients.

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I just followed this: In a large bowl, beat the eggs, sugar and oil. Combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder,and salt; gradually add to egg mixture. Stir in carrots.

Truth is, I did not measure my pulp. I just dumped what I had. I warned my aunts that the finished product might have bits of cucumber seeds.

This is what the batter looks like.

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But I cannot resist not folding in some chocolate chips. I left a handful for the toppings.

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Now I let the photos do the talking.

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You can’t really see the carrots. The pulp mixed well with other ingredients. My aunts liked it anyway. That is a good sign.
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In our house, presentation matters. It makes the food look appetizing no matter how simple the dish is. Tada!
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I bought the cupcake holder a few weeks ago. This means that there will be cupcakes for Noche Buena next week. 😀

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Merry Christmas, everyone!

Butuan City and the Mighty Agusan River

‘Biyahe ni Drew’  on GMA NewsTV featured my beloved Butuan City last Friday.  In one of the segments, he rode a boat along  the Agusan River. That is when I realized I forgot to write about my Abayan experience end of July.  Yes, I am that late in writing about it. Abayan Festival is a fluvial parade in honor of St. Anne, Mama Mary’s mother.  I have experienced boat rides along the river hundreds of times before.  However, I have not tried to ride the boat upstream.  This was the first time.

Here is an aerial view of the river which I took  in one of the plane rides home. Agusan River is the 3rd longest river in the country.

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We got to the PPA compound early after the Sunday mass. It was a last-minute decision to go there so I was not able to bring my camera. What I had was my Nokia 6230i phone which broke down after it was low on battery for taking all these pictures.

Anyway, free tickets were distributed for those who wanted to ride the boat. It is actually a fluvial procession with the pumpboat carrying St Anne heading the ‘expedition’
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This is what the pump boat looks like.
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I wanted to see what Agusan upstream looks like. There were a lot of greens but there were also some communities living by the river.The upstream ride approaches the second bridge.

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One can only take this shot at this angle if one is on a boat so I took advantage of it even with my phone camera.
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 If you want a glimpse of my city, watch this episode of Biyahe ni Drew. (Video by santoleater on YouTube)

Kids recording studio parties – the perfect gift for any budding Bieber

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If you want to give your music-mad child a unique birthday present or surprise then you may want to consider booking them in for a recording studio experience. Recording studio experiences are carried out in professional studios and enable kids to record a song of their choice and have it recorded on a CD to take home.

There are various birthday recording packages for you to choose from – you may even choose to make a party of it and hold birthday celebrations for your child and his or her friends to record their own song and enjoy time in a professional recording studio. A recording studio birthday experience is the perfect gift to make your child feel like a star for a day.

With programmes like The X Factor dominating British television at the moment, more children than ever are falling in love with music, and are acutely aware of the stars of today, much like their parents might have idolized the Osmonds or the Bay City Rollers when they were children. While time in a recording studio might have been relatively difficult to come by in decades past, today things are a bit more affordable – any band can book a slot to lay down the next chart hit, and children are easily catered for by recording studios that allow them to hold birthday parties there. If they want to record their own version of their favourite Rihanna or Justin Bieber track, they can do. Who knows – maybe it’ll be their first step towards future superstardom!

There are many different professional recording studios which offer sessions for children to make their birthdays truly special. The best studios will offer the facilities for groups to prepare and enjoy cake and a party meal. This can be a very enjoyable experience for your child as they get to experience the feel of a real recording studio and can sing along to their favourite tunes.

Factors such as the number of children attending the party or the package that you wish to opt for also play a significant role in determining the overall price of the recording birthday experience. You can also do your part – try making it a fancy dress party where guests come as their favourite singer (within reason, though – nobody wants their child to look like Miley Cyrus) Why not combine a kids recording studio experience with a day out shopping, a fancy meal or transportation by limousine for one of those days that participants will never forget? Obviously it’ll cost more money, but what price can any parent put on their child’s happiness?

We all want to make our children’s birthdays memorable and giving them a recording birthday experience can be a unique way of showing them you care and making them feel truly special. Giving your child lifelong memories is something that you can create through positive experiences and can enlighten the little star in your child.

She said yes

Marriage proposal videos have been appearing in my news feeds.  I remember that two years ago I found this proposal cute. Although there were anti-climactic and cheesy parts, it is, after all, an amateur video.  The concept was novel then.

Early this year, this  proposal has gone viral. It is a 27-minute extravaganza with impressive special effects. It was quite amazing at first but then it dragged on and when I read about the fiance’s bio, I found out that he is a director. I thought he was stretching his 15 minutes of fame way too much. He  was almost in every frame like a superstar in this mini-movie.  Anyway, all is well. She said yes. If it were me, I would have doubted his intentions. He was begging for attention. (I can be cynical about these things. That is my excuse for being single. Ha!)

Quite recently, Filipinos have caught on with this trend.  Proposing marriage has now become a production number.  Take this hostage drama situation. Good thing that the acting was bad and the girl did not suffer a heart attack.  Otherwise, this proposal could have gone awry.

Then there is this flash mob proposal which I think is cute but in a situation like this, how can you say no? Everyone is looking at you and there was a considerable effort to make this proposal possible.

Another proposal video shows how musically gifted Filipinos are.  People bursting out into a song and dance number does not only appear in the movies but in real life as well. Ha!

Here’s another proposal that, I think, was well-executed.  It appeared like an ordinary day with a surprise proposal in the end.

And here’s another one where the girl really can’t say no. He gave her a car for her birthday and then he proposed in the end!

I do not know if these proposals put pressure to those who are in a relationship.  A wedding has become an expensive event. Years ago, pre-nuptial photo sessions were unheard of. Recently, it seemed that it had become a norm. Now, proposal videos have entered the picture. I wonder what’s the next trend.

I really wish they all live happily every after.

Christmas is in the air

You can’t stop Christmas. You see symbols of Christmas everywhere.  This is in one of the halls of a hotel I stayed in Metro Manila. A tastefully decorated Christmas tree adorned the hall.

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I also took the opportunity to see the lights at the Ayala Triangle. It was spectacular.
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Reeling from the devastation in Visayas, I hope that we celebrate Christmas more meaningfully. I have friends who will not have parties in their offices because they already donated their budget for the victims of Supertyphoon Yolanda (International Name: Haiyan). While I may encourage others to do the same, it is really up to you on how you will celebrate Christmas. I believe in the compassion of people. We can help other people while still living the best life the way we know how.

There are those who skip buying Christmas presents this year. However, there are also those who go through an extra mile to make sure their loved ones still able to feel the spirit of giving in this Christmas season. It was evident when I visited the malls. Traffic is busy in those areas and you see ‘SALE’ signs being put up. You see people buying toys for their kids. And there are some who are still in process of buying their Christmas decors.

There are ways you can support the people of Visayas while doing your Christmas shopping. You can donate to the different charities in behalf of the person you wanted to give the gift. You can also buy gifts where profits will be donated to the victims of Typhoon Yolanda. Online shopping sites like Zalora have a donation scheme where a portion of the proceeds from items your bought will be donated to victims of the supertyphoon. In a few days, the intensity of the Christmas rush will increase. The advantage in this type of online shopping is that you will have a traffic-and-frenzy-free shopping experience. Plus, you are able to help others, too.

Happy Shopping!