There’s a Hero in all of Us…

levi” It was late at night, our hero is tired…battered from fightin’ evil on another side of town.  All that he wants was to run to his hideout, give up the cape for night…But he knows he can’t, not just yet.  He can’t let them down…Not when so many people are counting on him. 

So he moves around in the speed of light, doing what needs to be done, picking up the pieces as he moves along his universe…

Finally it is all done.  Everyone is happy…His bones are aching, his head pounding…but as he looks around, seeing all the happy faces, hearing all the cheers, “Hep, hep…Hooray!”, he is happy that at that moment he was their hero…but the best of all was a smile from his favorite sidekick…it was for him…his belief that our hero can make it happen, that made it all worth while…”.

Some might think that I am so egotistical to view myself as a hero, and if you do then you have missed the point of my story.  I do not see myself as a hero, in fact, far from it…I wanted to say: “NOPE! That can’t be done…it’s just not possible!“… but my kids make a hero out of me and for that I cannot let them down.  They are the ones who believe that we can do anything, that we cannot fail them—so who am I to disappoint?  My son wanted a hero cake (most of you may not know Levi from Attack on Titan) which really didn’t seem like that difficult to do, but with a full time job, chores to accomplish, a house to clean for party guests, and a tight budget, it felt like a daunting task to accomplish.  But how can you say no? When he looks at you with pleading eyes, when he shows you pictures of cakes other parents have made before…there was only one answer that would not be devastating to a 9-year old boy…”Sure!” 😛

So here I was sitting in our kitchen, in the wee hours of the evening, looking at pictures, deciding which cake to make that would measure up to his expectations…Then he comes over and with a sheepish smile says, “mom I want to help!

kenzo-helping

…and at that point I knew that I made the right decision to say yes to his request.

Now of course, everyone in the family had helped out,  Papa Bear did the laundry, Sister Bear helped with the groceries and even picked out a little gift using money she had saved! Lil’ Bear even helped mop the kitchen floor…And all the other bears in the family came, bearing gifts and food to celebrate his birthday, and make it special.

kenzo-blowing-cake

Life is good…we should all be so thankful that there are people around us who would make heroes out of us.  Even when the going gets tough…they know that we can make it happen.

levi-cake

Happy Birthday Kenzo!  We love you very much…

Til next adventure…

~CW

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Liebster Award #2 :)

liebster

 

HI Everyone!

Just wanted to say thank you to Il Bruciacchio for the nomination… Please do come and visit the site and find some amazing recipes…even more amazing is that it is both in English and Italian!  I could barely make time to write my posts in English being that it takes so much time to compose the writing so doing it in two languages is quite impressive 🙂

Anyway, I did get a nomination for the Liebster Award a few months back, and being that nothing much has changed I think it would be easier if I just provide a link here so that you can learn more about me and my blogs if you are new to my page…and those that have seen it before wouldn’t be bored to death by my life of mediocrity….hahahah  🙂 I kid of course 😛

Anyway, in addition here’s a few more bloggers that I have been lucky to come across in the WordPress world:

  1. The Mint Thief
  2. Leen Cuisine
  3. Bitesize Bakes
  4. A Roaming Appetite
  5. Make on Your Own
  6. Chocolate for Basil

Come check them out and you won’t regret that you did 🙂

I am working on a birthday cake for my son for this coming weekend!  I’ll let you know how that turns out 🙂

Til next adventure….

~CW

 

Ube (taro) Cheesecake

There are certain flavors that would immediately bring me back to the thought of home…days of going from one family event after another every weekend, stuffing ourselves with all the cultural delicacies. My family, and we are quite an “extended family”, would always find an excuse to have a gathering of sorts…weddings, birthdays, first day of school, someone lost a tooth (ok, maybe that last bit was an exaggeration, but you know what I’m getting at), just so we can eat, eat and eat! (at the time no one cared about calories…) Hmmm I miss those days 😛

So recently, when I got invited to attend a FilAm community event I thought, “what better way to bring back some memories by making some mini ube cheesecakes!”  I found a recipe online from: Annie’s Chamorro Kitchen and since I did not have access to raw purple yam at the time, I came up with my own twist to make it easier and quicker, without losing the taste of home.  I visited our local Asian market and found myself a jar of sweetened ube (purple yam) also known as “ube halaya”.

The directions are pretty straightforward.  Since this recipe does not use any eggs, we can also skip the baking part which was a big time saver….

Ingredients:

For the crust:

  • 6 pcs Graham crackers (crushed)
  • 1/4 c of butter

For the filling:

  • 1 package of cream cheese (I like Philadelphia cream cheese but feel free to use any other brand, I would only recommend not to use the fat-free version)
  • 8 oz (1 cup) of heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk (optional)
  • 1 jar (approx. 2 cups) of ube jam

Since, the jam is already sweetened, I skipped adding any sugar or condensed milk to the recipe.

Directions:

  1. Line your mini cupcake or cupcake pan.
  2. Crush the graham crackers finely using either in a food processor or by hand.20160802_220359_HDR
  3. Melt the butter and pour into the crushed crackers.  Mix until the crackers are evenly coated.
  4. Place about 1 tbsp of the cracker mixture into your paper cups.20160802_220731_HDR(1)
  5. Press down firmly until you have an even layer at the bottom of the liner.20160802_221653(1)
  6. On a mixer, combine your heavy whipping cream and coconut milk.  Whip until it has increased in volume (about double). Begin at slow-medium speed and increase the speed to medium high.
  7. Add your ube jam and cream cheese. Continue to  whip until smooth. 20160802_223203(1).jpg
  8. Pour about 2 tbs of the ube mixture into the paper cups.20160802_225209(rotated)
  9. Place in the freezer and allow to chill for at least 1-2hrs.
  10. Remove from the freezer and move to refrigerator or room temp. about 10-15 mins prior to serving.
  11. You can add a small dollop of whipped cream, ube jam or toasted shredded coconut if desired.

Yum…yum…yum 🙂

Just a little heads up, this version of cheesecake is very light and not as creamy compared to a New York cheesecake recipe. If you want a similar consistency as the NY cheesecake, you can add more cream cheese for a richer flavor.  I wanted to have more of the taro taste than the cream cheese so this was perfect for us…

I hope you try it and share with me how it turns out 🙂

Til next adventure…

~CW

Fil-Am Community Open House and Mixer

Hi guys!  Just want to update you on what’s new at Willyummsbakery 🙂

I was invited by a friend that I’ve just met recently to a Fil-Am Community Open House & Mixer here in the Bay Area.

Basically it was a convention for business owners to network as well as an open-house to encourage start-ups of small businesses within the community. They also provide a way to connect with business advisors for those who are thinking of opening their own business but don’t quite know how to get started.

I had a great time meeting new people and was glad that I was able to provide some goodies for the attendees.

Here’s the spread at our table:

pixlr_20160807233649631Fig. 1 and 2. Chocolate cake pops, taro (ube) cheesecake
bread puddingFig. 3 and 4. Chocolate and raisin bread pudding
Peanut brittle  Fig. 5 Classic Peanut Brittle

The cheesecake and the bread pudding were a big hit! My table was practically emptied within an hour.  Although it took my quite a bit of time (and lots of sleepless nights planning and executing) to get all the goodies made, it was all worth it 🙂

I look forward to joining the next event….

I will make a separate post for the taro cheesecake and bread pudding on the next blog posts to share with you all.  Hopefully you would try and enjoy them as well 🙂

Til next adventure….

~CW

P.S. These were all provided as samples and not sold at the convention.

 

 

Oh baby!

Hi guys! Sorry it’s been awhile…I have been working on some yummies but for some reason I can’t seem to find something that I find to be worth sharing…I know, I know, sounds like a lame excuse, right? It’s just that I seem to work on a project but just can’t seem to get the creative juices flowing enough to write about it. I guess every writer suffers from a mental block at some point or another.

But guess what?!?! I finally got an awesome project to share.  I was requested to make a baby shower cake for my friend’s brother and his glowing 🙂 wife.  It’s been awhile since I’ve been to a baby shower and I believe that the last one I attended was our own! Our kiddos are 12 and 8, so you guys can imagine how long ago that was.  But looking at it from another perspective now (sans the “kankles”, weird food cravings, and constant sleepiness), I realize how much babies really bring a family together.  Everyone was happy and excited about the new baby: proud parents-to-be, and even prouder grandparents-to-be 🙂  I can’t wait for his arrival!

So, here it is…Tada! Oh baby!

IMG_3330-1.jpg

  • Cake: Double layer vanilla and chocolate cake with buttercream frosting
  • Decoration: Shaped crispy rice cereal treats (see below) covered with fondant
  • Lettering: Melted chocolate

How to make crispy rice cereal treats:

  1. In a microwave safe bowl melt 1/4 c butter
  2. Add 1 bag (approx. 40 pieces) of puffed marshmallows. And stir until fully coated.
  3. Return the bowl to the microwave and heat at 10 second intervals until the marshmallows are fully melted.
  4. Quickly add 6 cups of crispy rice cereal and stir until all cereals have been incorporated into the melted marshmallows.
  5. Allow to cool for 5 mins. so that they can be formed into desired shapes.

Everyone seem to have enjoyed it which is always the best and most rewarding part of making a cake.

Oh my, I think I’ve just had an epiphany!  I think the other “projects” that I’ve made didn’t seem to be worth sharing because I made them for the blog (and any hungry mouths willing to taste test :P) but not specifically for family and friends…which as much fun as they were to make they weren’t as satisfying to write about.

I know that to build a successful blog, I should be more consistent with my postings, but for now, I think that I owe it to my few readers that I stay true to myself and my writings. The posts may not come every week but I promise to make it as a worthwhile experience for you to read and for me to write 🙂  I hope that you can see through my writing that they all come from the heart…and hope that you continue to share with my experiences by reading through my posts….

Congrats to the expecting parents and looking forward to meeting the new baby 🙂

Til next adventure…

~CW

*** Author’s Note: This design for the cake was not an original design, my friend found it online and provided me with a picture to copy using my own rendition.

** Photography by Sam (featured image) and Giselle (cake)

Lemon Meringue Pie

Our lemon tree is in full bloom this summer. It was so full of lemons that the limbs were actually hanging really low almost touching the ground and those that were just beyond my reach (which is not a far reach being that I’m only 5ft. on a good day 😝) keeps dropping to the ground or the roof of our sunroom.  So with our kiddos away on a “bonding day” with their Auntie, Hubby and I braved the heat and decided that it’s time to pick out all those lemons and remove all the excess branches so that the tree didn’t look so “creepy”.  An hour or so later of picking fruits and chopping off low hanging branches, our bags were overfilled with lemons, each about the size of my fist. Even giving away over 2 dozens, we still had more lemons than we’d ever need…Especially since they tend to go bad very quickly on hot, humid days 😦

So if life gives you lemons….you make LEMON MERINGUE PIE 😊

What you’ll need:
1 pie crust
3 lemons
4 eggs (yolks and whites separated)
1 and 3/4 cups sugar (separated)
3 tbs cornstarch
2 tsp of flour
1 1/2 c water
A pinch of salt

Directions:
Prepare the pie crust:

  1. If you have frozen pie dough allow to thaw. Then carefully roll out onto a pie tin.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350F.
  3. Pre-bake your crust for 10 mins or until golden brown. You may need to use something to “weigh down” your crust and keep it from rising. Typically I use dry beans or another pan of the same size. Use parchment paper in between to keep the weights from sticking to your crust.
  4. Remove the crust from the oven and allow to cool.

Prepare the lemon curd:

  1. Zest your lemons and squeeze out the juice.
  2. In a sauce pan combine flour, cornstarch water. Once evenly combined, add in the lemon juice, lemon zest, and 1 cup of sugar. Bring to a slow boil in medium heat. Make sure to stir frequently to avoid sticking to the pan and clumping.  Once it boils, allow to boil for 1-2 more mins. and remove from heat
  3. In a separate bowl, beat your egg yolks.  Temper the yolks by slowly adding some of the heated lemon-sugar mixture into the yolks.  If you pour the egg yolk directly into the hot mixture, the protein will curdle.
  4. Once you have tempered the yolk (about half of the hot mixture have been added in), combine it with the rest of the mixture, then pour onto your pre-baked crust.

lemon curd

Prepare the Meringue:

  1. In a stand or hand mixer, beat your egg whites at medium speed and gradually add 3/4 cups sugar. Continue to beat at medium speed for a couple minutes until it foams.
  2. Increase the speed to high and continue beating the egg whites until it forms a firm peak.  You will know that it is firm when it can hold its shape.

meringue

You may either pour it on top of the lemon curd and smooth it with a spatula (which is the more traditional look) or if you want a little design, you can put it in a piping bag and pipe on to the curd, which is what I’ve done here.

lemon meringue

Bake at 325F-350F until the tips are golden brown, about 10 mins.  Allow to cool completely before cutting.  We prefer ours chilled so after cooling to room temperature, I placed it in the fridge for a few hours before serving.

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The meringue was both smooth yet a little chewy (which I liked) where it was browned.  I was happy to see the lemon curd was not runny at all and holding its shape 🙂 .  Lastly, I was glad the it didn’t taste “egg-y” at all which the little ones wouldn’t have liked 😛 .

I hope you guys try and enjoy this recipe and if you do, let me know how it turns out for you.  If you make any tweaks or have tips which you think might be useful to share, I’d be more than happy to hear them 🙂

Til next adventure…

~CW