sweets

Leche Flan

I have a confession to make… we are blessed once again with another angel! I am currently on my 18th week and have already passed the rough days (and nights) of nausea, heartburn, and food aversion. Now, we’re just very excited, just like the first time.

Everytime Alexa sees my growing tummy, she would blurt out, “hi baby!” and would give my tummy a kiss and lots of love. She is such a darling, but at times, she can be an unstoppable toddler. She would run here and there, and would (baby) talk or scream nonstop. And that’s why mommy’s often exhausted.

During the weekend, I had more energy.. plus I have eggs and milk in the pantry! So I made leche flan!

Leche flan, also known as caramel custard, is one of the top desserts in the Philippines. I remember my lolo (grandfather) who used to make leche flan for his grandchildren, and my sister who would unselfishly save a very big piece for herself!

Leche Flan

Ingredients:

  • 10 egg yolks
  • 1 small can condensed milk
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • granulated sugar

Procedure:

  • Beat all egg yolks in a big bowl with a fork or egg beater.
  • Add condensed milk and mix thoroughly.
  • Pour in evaporated milk and vanilla extract. Mix well and set aside. (You can strain the mixture using cheesecloth or a fine strainer to make a smooth leche flan)
  • Put about 2 tbsp sugar in the mold (llanera). Place over the stove and heat over low fire until the sugar turns to caramel (light brown liquid). Spread the caramel evenly on the mold. Let cool a bit, about 5 minutes. (For the mold, I used three 8 x 4 inches aluminum loaf pan)
  • Pour the egg and milk mixture on top of the cooled caramel. Cover the mold with aluminum foil.
  • Steam for 30-35 minutes. After steaming, let the temperature cool down then refrigerate.
  • Serve for dessert.

It is so delish as much as it looks good on the photo, I swear! And it is so easy to prepare.

My sister has already requested me to make some leche flan for her when she comes over next month. She will have the whole llanera for herself!

Thanks for dropping by!

Alexa’s Mom

Choco Chip Oatmeal Cookies

I am not a fan of oatmeal per se, but when they are turned to cookies, I LOVE!

Why haven’t I thought of making this recipe earlier when, every time I open the kitchen cupboard, I would see that big bag of quick cook oats! Thanks to Erwan Heusaff’s website for featuring this perfect oatmeal cookie recipe. I didn’t do his flavored version, but I did add some semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Be warned: Erwan is sooo hot that you would want to play his videos over and over and over again!!! I did, haha!

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Adapted from The Fat Kid Inside

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil
  • 1 tbsp low fat milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup instant or quick cook oatmeal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Procedure:

  • Pre-heat oven at 180 deg C.
  • Mix all ingredients except oatmeal, flour and chocolate chips in a medium-sized bowl
  • For crisp cookies, do not put in milk. For chewy cookies, add 1 tbsp milk. (I opted for the crisp cookies)
  • Gradually add in the oatmeal and flour. Once well-combined, add in the chocolate chips and mix until distributed evenly.
  • Drop about tablespoonfuls of dough onto a greased baking sheet, 2 inches apart.
  • Bake until light brown for about 10-15 minutes.
  • Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

I love the crispness of the cookie, with just a hint of sweetness to it. I also made a version of it without the chocolate chips, so we have some snack variation.

Do try this recipe out! Other easy dessert recipes that I recommend for you to try are my brownies and chocolate crinkles. They are my go-to recipes whenever I am in need of a fast sweet fix.

Enjoy!

Thanks for dropping by,

Alexa’s Mom

Fake Betty Crocker Brownie Mix

This morning, my aunt and uncle arrived from Manila to stay with us for some time to help take care of Baby Alexa. I’m so thankful that they can spend time with us, no work or other obligations back home to worry about. For first time parents like us, it’s a huge relief to have family around who would know what to do when the “big day” comes and everything that comes after that.

Anyway, last night I wanted to try another easy dessert that I found on Pinterest. Since before I had my oven, I had been collecting interesting and easy-to-do recipes in my Pinterest boards, Desserts and Meals and Other Edibles.

That easy dessert that I’m talking about is the Betty Crocker Fudge Brownies.

Well, it’s somehow like this boxed mix that you can find in the supermarket, but what I tried is the FAKE one, made from scratch. Thanks to Heather Bea for the idea, and the recipe!

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup plain flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder

Mix all the ingredients together and dump them in a Ziploc bag. On the bag, write the following instructions:

Add:  2 eggs, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 1 tsp vanilla extract. Bake @ 180 degrees C for 20-25 minutes in a 9×9 pan.  

But of course, I did not put them in a Ziploc bag ‘coz I was just too excited to try them out!

I dumped all the ingredients in a medium bowl and just used a wooden spoon to mix them all together, without realizing that I do not have a 9×9 inch pan!

I read from the comments that if you use a 9×13 pan (which I have), it would turn out thin and crunchy. I wanted to double the amount of ingredients but I have only 2 eggs left. So I just settled with using my mini muffin pans and made 24 pcs out of it.

They were baked for 30 minutes (that’s when the toothpick came out clean when inserted), and they looked like cookies, haha!

But believe me, it was SOOOO GOOD!!! Especially the chewy but crunchy top! And it was so easy to prepare that it would take you no more than 5 minutes to whip it up.

I’m stocking up on bags of this mix so I can have them again anytime. And I will make sure that I have the proper pan size, or make a double of the recipe to fit my 9×13 pan so I can have the fudge brownies that do look like brownies (like the ones on the Betty Crocker box).

Btw, you can add nuts (like I did) for that extra crunch, or some white or milk chocolate chips for extra sweetness.

Two more work days to go before my maternity leave starts. Yay! I can finally get that much needed sleep and rest before I join the motherhood club!

Coconut Macaroons

A rainy Thursday to everyone!

Today, let’s do something web-trendy. How about a “Throwback Thursday?”

I will be sharing with you one of the desserts my sisters and I love having while growing up. When we were kids, our father would buy freshly grated coconut from the market and extract the milk to mix in with meat or veggies for our meal, or to make coconut oil for our hair. The desiccated coconut will then be for the coconut macaroons. It is a very easy recipe that anyone can whip up.

Ingredients:

  • 14 ounces (about 400 grams) Sweet Shredded Coconut (or desiccated coconut)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 pieces raw eggs
  • 14 ounces (1 can) condensed milk

Procedure:

  • Place the butter in a big bowl and cream using a fork.
  • Add-in the brown sugar and mix well.
  • Add the eggs and condensed milk then stir/beat until all ingredients are blended. (I used the electric mixer at this step ‘coz the ingredients just don’t mix well when I do manually. I want to use as little muscle power as possible to avoid stressing myself out, hehe..).
  • Put in the shredded coconut and distribute evenly with the other ingredients in the mixture. (I used a spatula here to avoid over beating the coconut).
  • In a mold (with paper cups if possible), place 1 tablespoon of the mixture on each of the cups (Fill about 3/4 of the mold/cup. I used my muffin pan here. I did not use paper cups ‘coz I forgot and was too lazy to go out again and buy. But I recommend using paper cups because the bottom would be moist and will be breaking without any support.).
  • Pre-heat oven at 190 degrees C for 10 minutes
  • Bake the Coconut Macaroon mixture for 20 to 30 minutes or until colour turns golden brown.
  • Serve.

Hubby’s friends came over last Saturday for lunch, and I served these for dessert. It was a hit! (I made two batches of the ingredients just to make sure that we have enough for everyone. I’m glad I did.)

It was served together with the Chocolate Crinkles, which was equally delish and was a hit as well!

Everybody’s wondering why hubby is growing some tummy like me. I think you can easily guess why…

Have a great day!

Baby Shower for Baby Alexa

In about five weeks from now, another life-changing experience will be coming to our lives. Baby Alexa is due to arrive and meet us all!

In preparation to that, we had our new home blessed and had a small baby shower get together with our close friends last Saturday. The preparation was a lot of fun, having my friends Ms. S and Ms. C to help me out in cooking, baking and decorating while we chat, laugh, and catch up on each other’s life stories.

The baby shower ideas that I have gathered from Pinterest were a huge help! We did not have an outdoor BBQ party as planned, but instead had a simple lunch-to-dinner at home for convenience and comfort.

Of course, I did not want to miss this opportunity to do the dessert table for our first born. And so, I want to share with you how it all turned out.

Lovin’ PINK already! And I am happy with the way all the details have matched and turned out really pretty.

These cute paper lanterns are from Daiso (at S$2.00 each.. love that place!).

The pink cherry bunting and baby feet are free printables found in the internet (sources can be found on the template). Thanks to the generous sources, it saved me so much time and effort to do the decors.

As mentioned in my post sometime last month, Alexa’s nickname is MAX, hence Baby Max written on the bunting. It has already been approved by her grandpa (my dad). He wants a baby boy, so for the meantime a boy-sounding name will do. Haha!

Free printables are also used to decorate the treats. Click below for the sources:

Our baked goodies on improvised platters — chocolate crinkles on a wooden chopping board, mini carrot muffins on a cupcake stand (out of 2 plates of different sizes and a coffee mug in between. No gluing done.), and cinnamon mini donuts on a plate with light blue paper. I will post the recipes soon!

Alexa’s parents… Daddy on the left, mommy on the right. Do you think mommy’s cuter than daddy? *wink*

Light pink table cloth, bright pink doily-like table runner (originally an anti-slip mat, but its color contrast to the table cloth is pretty so had to use it here!), and pink with white polka dots photo frame are all from Daiso (also at S$2.00 each. Everything you can find there is at S$2.00!). White photo frames are from Ikea.

It was a fun day for everyone. Tiring though from all the preparations that hubby and I had to sleep in till noon of Sunday. But it was all worth it.

Hope you liked my baby shower table setup. I will definitely do it again for Alexa’s first birthday, or a friend’s baby shower… let’s see what event will come up next.

Please stay tuned for the recipes of the baked treats I made.

Happy Monday!

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Today is DIY day. We are painting our old dark brown console white. But that post would be for later ‘coz we are still working on it.

I am not allowed to get long exposure to paint fumes so after just a few brush and roller strokes, hubby would fill in and do most of the work. So while he’s at it, I thought of baking some cookies for him and for a friend who’s visiting tomorrow.

I’ve always thought that making cookies is easy. But since I have never tried doing it, I googled cookie recipes on the “easy” level and found this Perfect Oatmeal Raisin Cookies With Only 6 Ingredients by Baker Bettie. Love her food photography style too!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup sugar, preferable dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla (optional)
  • 1 tsp baking powder (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 1/2 cups oatmeal, preferably rolled oats
  • kosher salt (optional)

Procedure:

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  • Mix the butter and sugar together until completely combined.
  • Add the egg and mix until incorporated. If using, add the vanilla, baking powder, and cinnamon and mix until incorporated. (I used them, ‘coz I love cinnamon!)
  • Stir in the flour then the raisins and oatmeal until combined.
  • Drop rounded mounds of dough on ungreased cookie sheets and sprinkle with salt if using. Flatten the dough mounds slightly before baking. (You can use ice cream or cookie scoop for this. I don’t have any of those so I used 1/4 cup measuring spoon and pressed to half of it, which resulted to a big chunky cookie.)
  • Bake at 350ºF until just lightly browned on the edges and middle still looks undercooked, about 9 minutes. (I baked mine for 12-15 minutes.)

My new poster in the kitchen… Keep calm and COOK!

Total yield: 30 pcs of big chunky cookies! They aren’t as sweet as I expected them to be, but I love them! Not a sweet tooth, anyway…

If I were to make them for the baby shower, I would make them smaller and bite-sized.

Now going back to our painting job…

Thanks for dropping by!

Yema Balls

Ahh, weekend…

Most of the morning was spent just lazing in bed while watching A Baby Story on TV. That, and other TV shows on Discovery Home & Health such as I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant and Bringing Home Baby are my usual programs since I became pregnant. While watching TV, Hubby was hugging my tummy to feel baby’s kicks and wiggles.

Then, house chores were done — cleaned up the room and did the laundry.

The rest of the day was spent in the kitchen, making what I have been craving for since the other day. Homemade Filipino sweet treat called Yema balls, which is made from egg yolks and condensed milk. It’s one of my favorite desserts as a kid.

Yes, I’m kinda missing home.

Here’s the recipe taken from www.acupcakeortwo.com:

Yema Balls

Ingredients

1 can sweetened condensed milk
4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon of butter
½ cup of nuts – pistachios or roasted peanuts work best (optional)
¾ cup of white sugar

Procedure:

1. In a saucepan on medium heat, melt butter. Add condensed milk and stir for 1 minute.
2. Add egg yolks and stir. Make sure that you keep an eye on this, otherwise it will burn.
3. Once the milk and egg yolks are mixed well, add the nuts. (I used ground roasted peanuts.)
4. Keep stirring until the yema is thick. Almost like paste.
5. Take this off the heat and let this cool. Once this is cooled, shape into balls and roll in sugar. (I did not roll in sugar ‘coz hubby doesn’t want it too sweet.)
6. Serve the yema balls in paper pattie pans. You can also shape into triangles or whatever form you want and wrap in cellophane.

Tip

Instead of rolling the yema balls in sugar you can dip it in caramel. Combine sugar and water together in a pan and using a thermometer, take it up to the hard ball stage. With a tooth pick, dip each yema ball into the caramel and put it on wax paper.

YUM! Enjoy!

P.S. Egg whites were used for Low Fat Egg Drop Soup which we had for dinner. I did not put rice wine or sherry, and used malunggay/moringa leaves instead of spring onions. 

Sweet Tooth? Not really…

When I told my friends that I’m pregnant, they would always ask me, “What do you crave for?” And I would always answer back, “nothing unusual..” My normal, pre-pregnancy cravings are always salty food. Even up to now, although I try to eat less of it because of the little one. (Daydreaming mode ON: I can see about 2 years from now, me and little Alexa watching her favourite cartoons while sharing a big bag of Doritos.. yum! haha!)

Recently, hubby and I have been doing some window shopping for a table top oven to purchase once we have moved to our new house. Initially, hubby wanted a built-in type but with the additional cost for installation works, I told him that I can settle for the table top type. I’m a newbie in baking, anyway. After doing some research, I think we will be going for the Rowenta OC7891. It’s a bit pricey, but have read a lot of good reviews about it.

Because I am SOOOO excited about getting my hands on this oven, a lot of sweet treats have been pinned to my Pinterest board, Food, waiting to be tried and tested. (Click on image for source)

This is Nigella Lawson’s chocolate cake recipe, which, according to Ju, is a very easy, fail-proof recipe that even a child or a newbie baker (that’s me!) can make. So I guess this will be the very first recipe that I’m gonna try.

Cupcakes for breakfast? Why not? It has everything you would want to eat in the morning — bacon, eggs, hash browns, and cheese!

Cheesecake…

.. and another cheesecake…

.. and another cheesecake! Ooohh… this one I LOVE! Even without the cheesecake, haha!

My sister used to bake chocolate chip cookies really, really well. We even sell them in school or give it out as presents for Christmas.

Caramel-glazed apple bread.

Love salted caramel! Starbucks had the Salted Caramel Mocha drink for a limited time and it was a heaven of salty sweetness! Hope it comes back soon!

I’m kinda in love with brownies, so I’d probably be stocking up on this.

I also would like to try baking Filipino breads that I miss — Pan de sal (salted bread), Spanish bread, coconut macaroons, and this…

Napoleones! A favourite pastry from Bacolod City, Philippines, my mom’s hometown. We always ask our relatives from Bacolod to bring us some when they visit Manila.

Now I’m drooling just looking at those photos!

Will be trying these recipes soon. And I promised hubby that I will be making lots of healthy treats for him as well.

Just an update, I am now at the end of my 28th week. My tummy is getting a lot bigger and heavier everyday, and walking can be really tiring now. Little Alexa has been doing some stretching inside the tummy, I often feel one side of my tummy hard like her head is pushing against it. And hubby needs to give me a push when getting out of bed ‘coz I cannot sit up by myself, haha. We’ll be seeing the doctor tomorrow for some blood/glucose tests. Hope everything will go well.

Have a great Thursday!