The Most Painful Thing

“Everyone goes through a challenge in their life, you don’t know what they are going through so don’t judge”

2 years after Papa’s passing, I thought I should write about it while the memories are still clear in my head, so here it goes.

Papa is the thoughtful, sweet, loving, humorous, protective kind Father. He can be though when we were kids but he always had a soft heart. He encourages when we feel hopeless. He shares his words of wisdom, his knowledge, and most importantly, the word of God. It was Papa who introduced us to God. He strengthened our faith and disciplined us to what values we have now. He was not perfect but we loved him for who he was.

Back in year 2014 when I brought Mama and Papa to Boracay, we noticed the swelling in Papa’s foot that I thought would eventually go away, that maybe because of they travelled one plane and a bus, that the leg or foot muscles just had some constraints of something. During that same year it came on and off so Mama asked Papa to have it checked by the Doctor. Then in 2015 we learned that my Papa has a liver cirrhosis and was given around 2 years to live. My heart and mind did not accept it. I trusted God that it won’t happen, I believed in miracles. He was in and out of the hospital already, we were worried but hopeful.

Until year 2016, Mama called my ate and I saying we should go home because Papa was really ill already. When we arrived in the Hospital, we were advised by our aunt that they spoke to the doctor and said that we should be ready, that they cannot give us false hopes. I did not take it seriously, again, I was hopeful (or in denial probably). We’ve waited for the ICU’s visiting hours outside papa’s room until it was time. We wore our mask, entered with strength. I said “Papa” in a welcoming tone but shaky voice while watching him. I saw my papa so frail, helpless, tired, but still stubborn as a patient. I stared at the tubes connected through Papa’s nose where the medicines are already being feeded, and other tubes all over his body. His color was different, his stomach was so big already, he is in his adult diapers. He smiled upon seeing us. He said “mabubuhay na ako ta nahiling ko na ang duwa kong aki” (I will live because I already saw my two daughters). I kept myself composed until we went out of the ICU. My ate and I hugged each other and cried heavily. I do not understand what’s happening.

The next day, Mama and I where left in the hospital and I slept beside mama in the waiting room. I was so tired, I closed my eyes and fell asleep. Around 5 in the morning, the nurse ran through the door with a slightly shouting voice of urgency “Ramos! Ramos!” that’s what woke me up. Mama and I ran to the ICU and there we saw him, there was a tube in his mouth, him head elevated, and I don’t know what the doctor and nurses were doing. Mama and I were already crying unendingly. They were resuscitating Papa. We were asked to go out. After a few minutes, the doctor went out and told me that he is Brain dead and the doctor went in again. After a few minutes, the doctor opened the door and walked towards us and and told us they were “sorry”. Mama cried so hard, it wads the very first time I heard and felt her pain. We immediately went in. The nurses were removing the tubes already. Papa looked tired. I was crying and calming Mama while hugging her, she called Papa’s name over and over. We were beside each just crying while watching Papa. At this point, I realized I was not ready at all, I feel so sorry for everything I was not able to do as a daiughter. Random memories were flashing back inside my head. I feel helpless but realized I need to stay strong for Mama. Then I held Papa’s hand to tell him I love him once more. It was the most painful thing. Ever.

I miss him but I have to let go.

Once more, I love you Papa.

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Tagaytay is always a GOOD IDEA

Working in Manila can be very exhausting, tiring and city life dragging, most especially, if the routines that you have when you get home adds up to the stress instead of reducing it . On weekends I usually spend my time doing the laundry and keeping my things in place, planning for the next week, surfing the net and watching series, going on a date with the boyfriend and go to my sisters house and baby sit my niece. That’s why a quick getaway won’t hurt, so just leave the laundry! (Kidding)

My sister and I planned to go to Tagaytay with the family on a weekend because Tagaytay is always a good idea.

My sister booked a place through Airbnb, a condo at SM wind residences for only P 3,500 a night. They have five towers, each tower identical to the other. The whole place is huge and can even hold events, I suppose. There is also a pool inside for only PHP 150 per guest. Not to mention there are lots of IG worthy locations to shoot and choose from.

 

The condo unit that we stayed in is one of the most complete (in terms of things inside) place we’ve ever stayed in. It looks like the unit was really intended for investment and it feels very homey.

But we did not come here just for that, ofcourse, what is tagaytay without the famous bulalo (I forgot to take a picture of it), but yes we spent the first day eating good food. You will see several places offering bulalo so it won’t be hard to look for one. We spent around PHP 1,500 (5 pax) for lunch all in all, not bad.

The next thing we did was to go back to the unit to get some rest because my niece was feeling sleepy. After that, we visited Picnic Grove and People’s Park where tourists usually visit to walk, eat, ride the horses, shop for pasalubongs, zipline, and other activities for the family. We all know we just needed some break and have a breath of fresh air.

That’s it! That’s one quick escape.

No egg No flour salted dark chocolate banana peanut butter cookies


Keeping it healthy once more this year 2017 is hard but what’s better way to start it than reinventing your favorite desserts to a healthier version?

Try this easy recipe I just baked a few minutes ago upon this writing:

(Makes 18 pcs cookies)

Ingredients:

  • 3 pcs bananas
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla

Procedures:

  1. Preheat over to 350F
  2. Smash the bananas with a fork in a bowl until it becomes creamy
  3. Add in peanut butter and mix it well
  4. Add the cocoa powder and a tsp of chocolate spread (optional)
  5. Add in the vanilla and mix it again
  6. Once the mixture is ready, prepare your baking tray and baking sheets. Get 1 tsp of the cookie dough and form a round shape for your cookie into the tray, 1 inch apart. 
  7. Bake for 10-15min
  8. Take out the cookies from the oven and pour in a nano-pinch of salt at the top until it cools down. 

Enjoy a healthy dessert!


Your salted dark chocolate banana peanut butter cookies are served!

Easy Breezy Chocolate Chip Matcha cookies

The easiest yet yummiest matcha cookie recipe you’ll ever need!

The ingredients are simply the basic ones.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of Matcha Powder (make sure it’s the matcha powder appropriate for baking. If your matcha powder says something with “milk” and is suited for a latte drink ingredient, it probably is not the right matcha for this recipe. I’ll tell you later why)
  • 4 pinch of salt
  • 100g butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (or white chocolate chips)

Procedures:

  1. Mix Flour, Salt, and Matcha powder in a bowl. Make sure you sift all ingredients to achieve a finer cookie texture.

Tip 1The matcha powder that you will use is very very important. I used a matcha powder before which says something like “with milk”. It says it is being used in making latte drinks. Though it looks green as well but it looks a lot lighter in shade than this. I got this legit matcha powder from a friend who visited Japan, just check out the photos, you will see what the packaging looks like, for your reference.

Tip 2: It’s very hard to find matcha powder in Manila, found nothing in Rustans Grocery stores nor SM Aura Premier. I suggest you order online or why not take a vacation to Japan! Yay! 😀 

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This is the right color of Matcha appropriate for baking (no filter, no edit)

 

MATCHA POWDER OF CHOICE: RIGHT vs WRONG

2. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and powdered sugar.

3. Slowly add the dry ingredients together with the chocolate chips from step 1 in the cream mixture until they are well mixed together. (Napakanta ako ng “two become one”)

4. Wrap the cookie mixture using a cling wrap and put it in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.

5. While waiting, preheat oven to 325 °F or 163 °C.

6. Open the cookie mixture and start rolling your desired amount in your palm (make sure your hands are clean) and place it to a tray with a baking sheet.

7. Bake it for 15 minutes or until the sides of the cookies turn brown and then let it cool for 5 minutes before you eat them.

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Smell the matcha goodness and enjoy every bite!

Share with me how yours came out! Hasta la Vista!

068: Scout’s Honor

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You’ve read about it, you’ve heard about it, the Matcha goodness.

According to matchasource.com, Matcha is a powdered green tea, a mood-enhancing, antioxidant powerhouse a natural weightloss aid, pH balancer and detox agent a sugar-free coffee alternative without the jitters. In other words, a healthy thing.

Matcha is premium green tea powder from Japan used for drinking as tea or as an ingredient in recipes. While other green teas are grown throughout the world, matcha is unique to Japan. It is the heart of the Japanese way of tea and has been celebrated in the traditional Japanese tea ceremony for hundreds of years.

Because of the booming restaurant business in the center of Manila, and the effect of social media, it became known not only to health enthusiasts but to the foodie explorers as well.

I became a fan of matcha just recently, I never actually liked it before but then after learning its health benefits, I began to like it and love it even. I was craving for Matcha today and decided to visit Hole in the Wall of Century City Mall in Makati with my boyfriend. We found this dessert gem – Scout’s Honor by Chef Miko Aspiras. A really nice article about their offerings can be found in this link – (http://www.ourawesomeplanet.com/awesome/2014/11/scouts-honor-first-craft-cookie-bar-in-the-world-by-miko-aspiras-at-hole-in-the-wall-centurymall.html)

For around P250+, I got myself a set for a choice of milk/coffee, a choice of cookie/pastry, and an ice cream. There are lots of flavors to choose from, I think you already know my choice. So if you are looking for a complete dessert, this would be perfect! It’s not cheap but it’s definitely worth trying.

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Matcha Milk – Milk with a very strong matcha flavor, when I say strong I meant with a kick!
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Matcha ice cream – not too sweet, matcha is king.

 

Matcha brownie smores with dark chocolates

 

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Matcha brownie smores with dark chocolates – loved every bite of it

 

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Your perfect matcha dessert set tadaaaa!

I really enjoyed the Matcha goodness 🙂

Verdict: 4 out of 5 stars for me

Wanderluster in Hongkong and Macau

My Friend and I went on a 5 days HK to Macau trip last February of 2016. Before this trip, we did some research and if you are planning on going to HK and Macau, make sure you have these Kit starters and tips with you:

  1. MTR Map – MTR is the fastest mode of transportation, efficient and convenient. With a map, you will know where to start. The fare for almost all kind of transportation will be very easy and convenient with an Octopus Card. Octopus card can be used from paying MTR rides to buses and trains, and even the ferry. You may also use this to  purchase to 7-11 stores and other accredited stores.

Where can I buy an Octopus Card? From the airport, you may buy a preloaded Octopus Card plus 50HKD as deposit (refundable after your trip and upon surrender of the card to MTR station booths) For a 4 days stay in HK, a 250 preloaded card is enough.Hong-Kong-MTR-Metro-Route-Map

2. Tour tickets – You want to go to Disneyland, Ocean Park, the Peak, Ngong Ping village and other attractions but are just too expensive everything combined. I found a genuine store that sells tickets at a cheaper price, go to the Golden Crown Guest house found in Tsim Sha Tsui (TST), you may purchase these tickets at a cheaper price. Why cheap? because they order tickets on bulk while its cheap just before ticket prices increase by November-December of each year. We had a hard time looking for this, so as a tip, this is close to the TST MTR station and Chungking Mansions and is beside Standard Chartered bank if I remembered it right.

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3. Hotel – From Agoda and Booking.com, you may find Chungking Mansions a cheap place or hotel to stay. Pictures can be very deceiving, please avoid this place. There are several  vendors mostly indians and africans outside the place and around the ground floor. The elevators will lead you to the place where you will stay. From our experience, it doesn’t look like a hotel, more like a bed space size. Boxed type, limited space, a literal “just to have a place to stay” kind of hotel. Well, better read reviews first. Golden Crown guest house is much better, you may try it there.

4. Macau tour – take advantage of shuttle buses of Casinos, they are free! don’t worry, they won’t ask you if you are taking the bus to actually go to their casino, just hop and ride.

What I’ve enjoyed most from this trip is of course 1st: Disneyland, because it really really really brings the kid in you! Very nostalgic and magical. Everything and every character you thought you’ve moved on about already will still get you, ah the feels.

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You cannot miss the fireworks, I’ve captured some of it but I stopped somewhere in the middle because I could not enjoy the show. I had a teary-eyed moment, so was my friend while watching it, a “living the dream” feeling – OA but yes, that’s how I felt.

Next would be the Ngong Ping village, the cable car was such an experience, go ahead and try it for yourself. It brings you out from the city to a village by the end of a hill where you will see a small village with store, restaurants, a temple and a buddha. It’s a perfect cold day for us plus the aura aura pictorial we had.

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If you need a detailed itinerary, feel free to leave your email adress below so I can share it.

Here’s a video of our Hongkong tour.

Thanks and enjoy your trip!

 

No Flour No sugar Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Muffins

Kids like to eat everything sweet – chocolates, brownies, crinkles, cupcakes, cakes and sweets of all kinds. I was as a kid and I never even bothered counting the calories. But then we all know that we can’t be kids forever. 

In my 20s (well I still am in my 20s), I started being health conscious and jogging has always been the first action point on my list. Then getting into the gym came next. But I realized that I was not getting the results that I want FAST. Until one day, I read somewhere that a good diet is comprised of 80% food and 20% workout. I’ve thought about it so I worked out on my food intake as well. I scrapped off junk foods, those bloating and salty food, and all the processed food out there. 

It was not easy, I tried to eat salads, brown rice, and avoided fatty meat when possible. But there’s one thing – I could not take my eyes off those pretty cupcakes with icing on top sprinkled chocolate drops- the struggle was real. 

Not long until I finished my research to guiltless desserts and I turned into a happy  health conscious but sweets lover person. So here’s one!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 bananas
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup melted dark chocolates
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips (optional)

PROCEDURES:

(Makes 8 cups)

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. 
  2. In a bowl, mash bananas until soft and gewy leaving only very few lumps. 
  3. Add peanut butter and mix well
  4. Add the two eggs and mix well
  5. Add the melted dark chocolates then mix
  6. In a little bowl, mix baking powder, cinnamon and salt – then add the to the wet mixture and mix well
  7. Add in the vanilla extract and chocolate chips/chunks, mix until everything looks perfectly combined
  8. Bake for 15 minutes. 

I think this is not only for health consious adults because I bet kids will love it too! Enjoy! 😊

  
 

My Best Chocolate Muffins topped with chocolate buttons

  

  
Just finished another midnight baking sesh and I cannot wait to share it with baking enthusiasts like me. 

I think I have perfected the most desired texture from chocolate muffins. Well, this is by far my best chocolate muffin yet! 

If you want to achieve that soft and fine chocolate muffin texture you usually buy over the counter, you should try this recipe. 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 cup All Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 stick Butter
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 3 tbsp Cocoa Powder
  • 2/3 cup Dark Chocolate Buttons and another 12 pcs chocolate buttons
  • 2/3 cup Full/Whole Milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • Chocolate chunks (optional)


PROCEDURES:

(Makes 12 muffins)

  1. Preheat oven to 325 F. 
  2. Prepare four separate bowls. 
  3. In the first bowl, mix together All Purpose flour and baking soda
  4. In the second bowl, mix together Milk and Baking Soda
  5. In the third bowl, this should be a stainless one. Melt the dark chocolates while the bowl is placed under a hot water. Set aside to cool. 
  6. In the fourth bowl, cream together Butter and Sugar until color becomes pale and texture becomes fluffy (Use a mixter or manually mix it)
  7. Add the eggs one by one. Mixing in the first egg well before adding the second one. 
  8. Add and mix the cocoa powder and melted chocolate. 
  9. Slowly add and mix in the milk mixture alternately with the flour mixture. Do this until texture is chocolately fine and slightly thick. (add chocolate chunks if desired)
  10. Place muffin cups into the muffin tins and pour the mixture in each cup
  11. Top each cup with a Dark Chocolate button to create a more chocolatey flavor and a matte finish. 

  
12. Bake for 20 minutes. 

    

  

  

   

 Enjoy! 🙂

Recipe inspired by: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/chocolate-chunk-muffins-105247

Follow me on instagram @ajgramos

Protein Packed Banana Peanut Butter Muffins

Yes, I bake now. 

I searched for recipes that suits a healthy lifestyle. I believe that eating sweets cannot be totally tagged as unhealthy. There are exceptions and there are ways. So here’s one way. Huraaay!

What’s more better than a no flour, no butter and no sugar muffin that tastes sooo good you cannot think it’s actually made of the heathy stuff. 

  
It’s valentines day ❤️ and I’m cooking for the people I love today. 

Ingredients:

1 cup natural organic peanut butter

2 very ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup mashed)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 whole eggs

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup honey (or stevia, to taste)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Chocolate chips, sprinklers (optional)

Recipe by http://detoxinista.com/2012/08/flourless-peanut-butter-banana-muffins/

Procedures:

1. Preheat oven in 275 degree celcius or 350 degree farenheit

2. Mix all ingredients

3. Scoop mixture and pour in each cupcake liner

4. Bake for 15 minutes. Do not overcook!

   
   
Enjoy your healthy yummies!

Brownies with melted white Chocolate Chips

So I just found myself staring at my new electric oven, and the baking mixes I bought and temporarily placed inside.

Courtesy of le boyfie , a Christmas Gift ❤️

Then grabbed my new baking tools

 

Courtesy of BBG’s christmas party’s exchange gift

And began cooking at 3am.

It’s easy, preheat oven at 177C, then I mixed 2 medium sized eggs, 1/2 cup butter and 500g White King Brownies and Crinkles mix.


Once done, put white chocolate chips on top. And then bake for 25-30min.


 Tadaaaa. UmaAroma! 😘