Soft Pretzels

Plain and cinnamon sugar soft pretzels!It’s my first time to bake bread! \o/ In the past, when I look for recipes for to do and see yeast listed in the ingredients – I always skip that recipe and think to myself, “I’ll save that when I’m a legit baker” HAHA. But I thought there are so many recipes I’m missing out just because I don’t want to use yeast so I decided to try it and I’m so glad I did! ^__^/

I’m surprised to see that many of us are thinking twice before using yeast. I thought I was just the only one skipping recipes with yeast because of the fear they require mad baking skills to control but really fear not! It’s just an ordinary baking agent you have to add, there will just be extra steps after such as kneading and waiting for the dough to rise.

I was surprised that I had so much fun making the bread: from waiting for the dough to rise – to dough kneading – to shaping. I missed school days, and I thought how come bread making can’t be used for school experiments (well in my school they didn’t)! It’s fun and amazing, and it teaches alcohol fermentation in such a practical way!

SO the real reason I’m baking these babies is that I miss me some Auntie Anne’s pretzels! (I’ve wanted to make pretzels but there’s yeast involved) When I was younger there weren’t many Auntie Anne’s here in the Philippines but now I see them everywhere ^__^/ I remember saving up for these babies every weekend just to by one. I got the recipe for the pretzels here and some tips plus the idea for cinnamon sugar here 🙂

Now who misses the smell of freshly baked pretzels, with a crunchy and buttery crust and a soft chewy center?

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Bento #1

I tried making a bento a few days ago. I’m a big fan of Tokyo Tokyo – a local Japanese fastfood chain here in the Philippines. During my high school days I remember I used to save up just to eat my favorite pork tonkatsu at least once a month. I tried to make my version of mixed veggies and tonkatsu sauce that tastes almost the same as what they serve 🙂

For this bento, I made korokke, mixed veggies for side, homemade tonkatsu sauce, and rice rolls. I also added a few papaya pieces for dessert 🙂

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Writing Prompt #3: Hit the SEND button

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Retrospectively Funny.”

During summer before college, freshmen were asked to register to their respective courses, part of it was to give your email address so that seniors can organize you into blocks. Back then, yahoo messenger was still the “in” thing – so we all chatted with freshmen from the same major.

That was where we met. (more like chattted ^^)

It was fun to chat with fellow freshmen, we were all on the same page: nervous but so excited to start college. Sometimes we talk about how we plan to meet up, or if there were classes we were on the same class with. It was fun, having friends even before we started college. I don’t know how it happened but I was chatting with this person more than others.

Our conversations were nothing but ordinary – just the same how are you, what’s your favorite subject (looking back that sounds so kiddo haha), what you’re doing this vacation. I don’t really remember what we talked about because I think we were chatting almost everyday that time. I just remember he told me he was too shy so he might not be the first one to greet when we meet.

Then came the first semester of college – we were on the same block, but we had a different schedule, so there was really no time to meet. I saw him from time to time in freshmen activities because we were still on the same block after all.

Then came the second semester of college – we had a chemistry class together. It was a small lab class, I think by then he recognized me already but still there were no conversations between us in person. I think after a month that’s when it happened.

So this person was a fairly bright student, and he was a little bit famous of that not only to our block but to all freshmen from our major. This subject is so famous because a number of students fail it every sem. It was so difficult that come recitation time, it was almost always he who answers our professor’s question.There was this one time he answered a difficult question so after class i texted my high school bff about it. I was gushing how he was so cute and intelligent, and so I got carried away with my fangirl feels I put his whole name in the text.

I grew impatient because my BFF wasn’t replying to my fangirling story. So I checked the text if it was sent… it was sent… to the wrong person… to HIM! I forgot I still had his number (he gave it to me during one of our chats). I really didn’t know what to do then, I wanted to drop the chemistry class because I was so embarrassed. But good thing I didn’t because it was a difficult class, let alone to repeat! The worst thing is that he didn’t reply, so I didn’t know what he was thinking. I was obsessing about it during the weekend, then came our next class. He still wasn’t talking to me, so I thought “Okay that’s good. Ignore it. Ignore my text please!.”

But as the minutes passed, I noticed his friends were looking at me and they were laughing – and then I knew. I thought, “WHAT?! HE TOLD THEM?!”. I was embarrassed, and angry and disappointed with him because I didn’t think he was that kind of a person. So I texted him again, (this time it was really meant for him ^^) “Hey! why did you tell your friends about it?” This was so funny, I was so angry I was texting this while walking. I was surprised he replied immediately, “My friend was holding my phone when you texted… it. hehe next time be careful”

GAAAAAAAAAAHHHH I didn’t know what I was feeling. I was smiling but I was embarrassed but I was… happy?

Well the semester went by smoothly. Luckily I passed the subject, as for him he topped our class. There were still a handful of moments we were still awkward with each other the rest of our time in college.

Now when I look back I just find it funny. It still is listed as one of my most embarrassing moments ever (trust me it’s a good icebreaker). Back then I was always so conscious of what I was going to do especially if he was around and I thought maybe I was too ugly for him to notice. I was so insecure with my looks back then. But eventually I got over him, maybe because there wasn’t a real conversation that happened between the two of us. Eventually I accepted that it really was just all my fangirl feels and nothing else, I just regret not being able to be with friends with him after that because I think at least we clicked on that part 🙂

Writing Prompt #2: Luxurious

What’s the one luxury you can’t live without?

I consider my phone as a necessity for communication, so I guess the luxury I can’t live without is a television set? I always turn the TV on whether I’m watching or not, it’s like my radio throughout the day ^__^ I don’t remember a day I wasn’t able to watch TV be it at home, or in a bus, or in a dormitory. I don’t know if it is part of the Filipino culture but all houses I’ve visited has at least 1 television set.

I know they always say that it’s not good for you to watch TV for long periods of time, but growing up I remember I would turn the TV on when I’m staying up late to study – it keeps me awake and focused 🙂

I thought I was a weird kid but when I found out about how peripheral sounds are being used to improve focus, I felt like “Wow! So TV really helps me study?” HAHA but seriously, I watched it in a documentary how a university library in South Korea plays “nature sounds” to help their students focus on what they’re reading. Sounds of chirping birds, flowing water, rustling of leaves and a lot more sounds which make you feel you’re on an open area, one with nature.

A doctor explained that these sounds in the periphery make you focused because you do not process the sound as something that makes sense – you just appreciate the sound, or the melody.

I kind of wonder if that applies too when we listen to foreign music, like kpop, jpop or cpop. I’ll be honest, I don’t really understand what they’re saying unless I check the lyrics later after listening to them. I just enjoy the melody of the songs, and how they fit into the drama (because I was first exposed to forein pop music through this drama)

Pocherong isda

Most of the time we have fish in our house, but it’s almost always fried fish we’re having for meals. *cue “AGAIN?!”* This dish, called pochero can be cooked with fish or meat. It’s a healthier take on cooking your favorite fried fish because it has lots of veggies such as cabbage, pechay, bananas, and potatoes plus it has lots of lycopene from tomatoes too! The sourness of tomato blends well with the sweetness of banana and the saltiness of the fish 🙂

Veggies for Pochero

Ingredients
½ cup cooking oil 1 pc onion
3 pcs ripe plantains (saging na saba) 6 cloves garlic
2 pcs potatoes 2 pcs tomatoes
1 kg fish (I used tilapia) 4 tbsp fish sauce, or salt
6 cups water
Sugar to taste
Pepper to taste
3 stalks Chinese cabbage( pechay)
1 head cabbage, small
365 g tomato sauce (I used 1 250g pack and 1 115 g pack)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Start off by frying bananas and potatoes in a pan. Set them aside.
  2. Using the same oil, fry the fish then set aside.
  3. Using a wok (or kawali here in the Philippines), sauté onion, garlic, and tomatoes.
  4. Add fish sauce.
  5. Add water then wait for the mixture to boil.
  6. Once the mixture is boiling, add tomato sauce then mix well.
  7. Put in a little sugar and pepper to taste.
  8. Add cabbage and pechay then simmer for 5 minutes (until veggies are soft).
  9. Add in fried bananas and potatoes next. Mix well then simmer for 3 minutes.
  10. Lastly, add the fried fish then mix to coat fish with sauce. Simmer for a minute or two just to let the fish absorb the sauce then you’re done! 😀

Notes:

  1. You can also add string beans (sitaw) if you like, I just opted not to because it has a relatively high uric acid content – not recommended for people predisposed to gout. Sauté string beans first before you add water because it takes longer to cook compared to the other veggies.
  2. Tomato paste can be used as substitute for tomato sauce 🙂 Just remember that because it is thicker, it’s packed with more flavor so remember to use lesser amount. You’ll probably be needing 150 g of tomato paste for this recipe. Also, don’t forget to dissolve the paste in water first before adding it to the dish 🙂

TIP: We keep a tomato paste pack in our refrigerator because you never know when you’ll gonna need that little extra tomato taste ^^

  1. Lastly, IF you ever find dalag or mudfish (it’s a little bit rare to find) – you should definitely buy it and use it for pochero! Trust me it tastes the best in pochero. We try to go to the market earlier than usual to get our hands on these rare babies because they come in only once a week and they’re almost always sold out!

Writing Prompt #1: I am a rock

So I came across an article about doing what you want to do and continuing to do it even if you don’t feel like doing it 🙂 So to give me a little push, I’ve decided to try my hand at writing prompts from wordpress (it’s available for download).

I’m trying to catch it before midnight so here it goes:

Is it easy for you to ask for help when you need it, or do you
prefer to rely only on yourself? Why?

I think I tend to rely on myself most of the time :/ it’s a trait that comes in handy at times, but then I think sometimes it’s a habit I should try to break from time to time. Most of the time I think if I should put in more effort, I’ll be able to do things I have to do – but really there are things I couldn’t do, or will be more easier/productive if I ask for help 🙂

*** Oh no I made it past midnight :-O ***