Sunday, April 28, 2013

Recipe Share: Flourless Chocolate Cake

Finally, the recipe for the Flourless Chocolate Cake. Sorry it took that long. I got this one from my Baked cookbook and made this for my birthday.  Flourless cake is gluten-free so it is dense, much like your fudgy brownie than a cake but the flavor just bursts in your mouth with every bite. This is also a great treat for cake lovers who are allergic to gluten or who are finding the path to healthier eating.


Flourless Chocolate Cake
  • 10 ounces dark chocolate (60%-70% cacao)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter,softened
  • 7 large eggs (separated)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
For the Chocolate Ganache Glaze
  • 9 ounces dark chocolate (60 to 72% cacao), coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon coffee-flavored liqueur (optional)
I used Casino and Villars dark chocolate bars
 For The Cake 
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter the sides and bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and butter the parchment.

Tip: to measure the right size of parchment paper for the pie pan, turn over the pan and press down parchment at the corners of the bottom pan. Cut along the dent you made on the parchment.

Using a double boiler melt the chocolate and set aside to cool.
In a large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with  a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until pale, light and thoroughly combined, about 5 minutes.
At low speed,  add the egg yolks one at a time beating slowly. Add the cooled chocolate, vanilla, and beat until all combined.
In another bowl beat the egg whites and the salt until they form stiff peaks. With a rubber spatula, fold 1 cup of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Continue to fold in the remainder of the egg whites 1 cup at a time until fully incorporated. Do not rush the folding process but do not over fold as well.
Pour the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, rotate the pan if needed depending on your oven. When the cake is ready the top should be firm to touch. Be careful not to overbake. Cool on a wire rack.

To Make the Chocolate Ganache Glaze
Put the chopped chocolate in a heat resistant bowl and set aside. Heat the whipping cream and sugar until it reaches a boil then pour over the chocolate. Let stand for 2 minutes then whisk starting at the center of the mixture. Whisk until nice and creamy and until it cools. Add the liqueur and stir until mixed in. I didn't add liqueur, though so kids can enjoy the cake.

my handy helper decorated the cake with melted white chocolate
Glaze the Ganache
Pour the ganache over the cake so that it just reaches the edge of the cake. Smooth the top of the cake, it should not cover the side of the cake at this point. Refrigerate for 5 minutes to set the ganache. Remove from the fridge and pour the remaining ganache over the cake, this time letting it drip over the edges. Smooth the ganache on the top and sides. Put the cake back in the fridge for a few hours to let the ganache set. The texture and flavor of the cake improves slightly if let set overnight. Believe me, this recipe does not disappoint :)


Travel: Mifaña's Place

There's no better way to beat the 36 degrees summer heat than to lounge in the pool and chug down a bottle (or two, or three) of ice cold cerveza or a fantastic mix of cherry vodka. 
In case you're and looking for a good place to hold the family or office outing or just need a place to parteee, Mifaña's Place is the palce to be. 
This place is nestled in a village in Novaliches, QC (so accessible especially to north residents). Being fairly new (just opened to public last November 2012), it's clean, well equipped and very comfy. The song selection on their videoke machine we . Check out their sulit ad here.
They can throw in a mobile bar for your party for an additional fee. The owners were dear enough to accommodate us for our unit outing and made us feel so at home.

pool by day; there's also a kiddie/wading pool for the little tots. 
photo courtesy of Mifaña

you can cook and eat here. The kitchen got fridge, dining set and  basic stove. They also got grilling station near the pool.
everyone's favorite, the videoke room :)
one of the 3 rooms can accommodate 3-5 pax
clean T&B at the ground level. 

 *photos c/o APF.

Thursday, April 25, 2013


A friend and I were in car one weekend driving to a wedding when we heard this song played over the radio.
I googled the song and here's an interesting background story:

When was the first time you heard this song? It was first released in 1999 and became an instant hit (with several versions and parodies). I was already in the workforce then but still a novice. I enjoyed the song so much, it was very engaging and uniqueMoreover, it provides pieces of advice that even decades after it came out are still very timely and valuable.

Why this song post? Since I turned 37, I've been contemplative and it was mainly on how I have gone so far; from being the new girl at work to being a mom and a head of an efficacious work team.This song reflects some of my realizations in life and the reason why applying sunscreen is now part of my daily routine :)

I wanted to share my views and perspective on getting older (to say the least) and how I'm surprisingly happy as I turned a year older. 'Surprisingly' because I expected to feel rather sullen as weeks trickled down to days before my birthday because that had been my mood for the past birthdays.

As I shared here, I'm just thankful for everything but mainly for the years God has given me and how I have become wiser, the continuous inspiration and drive to be better and to achieve my goals, to never give a damn about the frivolities of the world and unclutter my life and, last but not the least, for the wonderful family that are my most precious treasure.

I'm a firm believer of the phrase 'don't sweat the small stuff' and over the years I have become more confident and be less critical of myself. The eyebags will always be there, the Jlo-ish butt will forever be a trademark no matter how skinny I get, I will always be petite (and cute hehe). There will always be limitations to what I am and what I can do but getting in more in touch with my inner self makes it easier to accept me more and not mind what the world thinks I should rather be.

As the kids from the orphanage we visited sang, 'this is my temporary home...I'm just passing by...'
Let's make the most of the time we have here and not bother with all the 'small stuff.'
Happy singing :)

Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)
Baz Luhrmann version

Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of '99. Wear sunscreen.
If I could offer you one tip for the future, sunscreen 
would be it. The 
long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by 
scientists whereas the 
rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my 
own meandering 
experience... I will dispense this advice now

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth; oh, 
nevermind, you will not 
understand the power and beauty of your youth until 
they've faded. But trust 
me, in 20 years you'll look back at photos of yourself 
and recall in a way 
you can't grasp now, how much possibility lay before 
you and how fabulous 
you really looked. You are NOT as fat as you imagine. 

Don't worry about the future; or worry, but know that 
worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by 
chewing bubblegum. 
The real troubles in life are apt to be things that never 
crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle 

Do one thing everyday that scares you.


Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't 
put up with people who 
are reckless with yours. 


Don't waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you're 
ahead, sometimes you're 
behind. The race is long, and in the end, it's only with 

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the 
insults. If you succeed in doing 
this, tell me how. 

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank 


Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do 
with your life. 
The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 
what they wanted to do with their lives; some of the most interesting 40 year 
olds I know still don't. 

Get plenty of calcium. 

Be kind to your knees, you'll miss them when they're 

Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll 
have children, maybe you won't. 
Maybe you'll divorce at 40. Maybe you'll dance 
the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, 
don't congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either - 
your choices are half chance, 
so are everybody else's.

Enjoy your body, use it every way you can... don't be 
afraid of it, or what other people think of it... it's the greatest instrument 
you'll ever own. 

Dance... even if you have nowhere to do it but in 
your own living room. 

Read the directions, even if you don't follow them. 

Do NOT read beauty magazines they will only make 
you feel UGLY. 

Brother and sister together we'll make it through.
Someday your spirit will take you and guide you there. 
I know you've been hurting, but I've been waiting to be there for you. 
And I'll be there just helping you out whenever I can. 

Get to know your parents, you never know when they 
might be gone for good. 
Be nice to your siblings; they're your best link to your 
past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future

Understand that friends come and go, but for the 
precious few you should 
hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography 
and lifestyle because the 
older you get, the more you need the people you knew 
when you were young. 

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes 
you hard. 
Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes 
you soft.


Accept certain inalienable truths. Prices will rise, 
Politicians will philander, you too will get old. 
And when you do, you'll fantasize that when 
you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians 
were noble, and children respected their elders. 

Respect your elders. 

Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe 
you have a trust fund, maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse; 
but you never know when either one might 
run out. 

Don't mess too much with your hair, or by the time you're 
40, it will look 85. 

Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with 
those who supply it. 
Advice is a form of nostalgia; dispensing it is a way of 
fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly 
parts, and recycling it for more than it's worth. 

But trust me on the sunscreen. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

RA 9845 or Anti Red Tape Act of 2007

The week that my dad was in the hospital, my brother and I had to go to the city hall in Pasay City and got documents for his health care benefits. 

Honestly, there are so much more the city needs to mprove on in so many aspects but I am proud to say it has gone a long way after its change of governance and I can't be happier. It even now offers free health care program to city residents who are senior citizens, like my dad. 

Another indicator that the city has improved is that the city hall now looks better from my last visit in 2004. So much better I was able to use their bathroom without hesitation. 

One important indicator that this city is serious about getting out of the dump (if you've seen this place 15 or 20 years ago you'll know what I mean) is this: copy of the Republic Act (RA) 9485 or the Anti Red Tape Act of 2007 posted at the entrance of the Mayor's office with specific emphasis on NO LUNCH BREAK. In case you're interested, here's a link I found about RA9485:

When I read through the RA, it's stated under SEC.8e
SEC. 8
(e) Adoption of Working Schedules to Serve Clients - Heads of offices and agencies which render frontline services shall adopt appropriate working schedules to ensure that all clients who are within their premises prior to the end of official working hours are attended to and served even during lunch break and after regular working hours.

I hope this is the start of better government service for us. It's frustrating when you have to take a leave from work and because of the bereaucratic red tape, spend almost all day in a government agency to process a document or get a license (arrgghh!). I better bring a copy of this next time I visit a givernment office.

P.S. : this is a very approriate post for #dapattama #malingmali. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Lunch Break: Entry Overload

Because traffic is unbelivably heavy on this Friday night,  I would like to make you smile (and drool with hunger) with this food photo overload from my lunch breaks. 
These lunch breaks meals are the reason it's just so hard to keep ze weight in check. 
How can you resist when restos, cafes and milk tea shops just keep mushrooming around my workplace?

Anyway, if your near the area check these out:

A sausage sandwhich and salad from Shakey's. Can you taste the melted cheese? 

Single slab rib dish from RUB in Tomas Morato, served with coleslaw. Ribs that will melt all the stress away and price reasonably. 

Our sizzling lunch from Cow King in Kamuning (near Lola Idangs Panciteria). You can buy a bread or two from Kamuning bakery after :)

The ultimate comfort food for me, chicken enchilada from Mexicali. OMG!

My new fave pizza flavor, smoked salmon pizza. I prefer Italliani's version over all other salmon pizzas I tried. 

This beef and cheese loaded Taco salad and Pan conTomato from Chocolate Kiss in Roces Ave. QC will definitely melt your heart away. Notice how I love cheese? hehe. 

Sweet tooth, are you? I am too! The decadent chocolate cake from Sweet Inspirations will never let you down. (note: Sweet Inspirations is not near my workplace but I had this for lunch) 

or this Chocolate Strawberry cake from Petit Four in Tomas Morato (that quaint resto/cafe accross Il Terazzo). You also need to try out their fried tilapia, it's like no other :)

Hungry now? :0

Thursday, April 18, 2013

On Finding The Best School for Our Kids

Whew! Finally, Sophie is done with the entrance exams in the 4 schools that we shortlisted. So far, 3 of 4 schools have called to inform us that she already passed the exam J I couldn’t be prouder of the little Ate. She's going to big school now. She's excited while I'm having a tinge of anxiety. I hope she will be able to adjust well to her new environment. Am I worrying too much? We didn't let her attend any summer class to let her enjoy the break before school starts.

The exam result for school #4 will be released in May and were hoping for a positive feedback. I found  out during exam day that there are 2,000 other applicants in that school. Wow! And they will only pick 100 students. 

Nevertheless, I’m happy that we have choices. It gives us the leverage to pick what we think is the best for my little girl. Three schools are traditional schools while the other upholds the Integrated Basic Skills Development and Socialization.

Pre-school hunts days we took note of factors that made us consider these schools (not in order of important):
  1. Coed – coming from an all-girls school in highschool, I know the kind of ‘stuff’ the goes on inside so let’s just say, maybe Sophie can skip that. Plus we wanted Sophie and Sam to be in the same school eventually; 
  2. Smart – intelligence is a plus factor but more importantly we want our kids to be smart (street smart, that is). That they may not grow up gullible, vulnerable and has no complete grasp of reality. We hope to bring up children who are cruel-world ready, armed with crucial life lessons, good head on their shoulder, good morals and values and powerful prayers. In my 15 years in the business of advertising and broadcast, I've met too many different personalities and admire those who can handle extreme pressure, difficult decision making, ultra-multitasking work and sleep-deprived irate clients with smiling faces and great composure. The truth is, this industry eats stress for breakfast so you just gotta love it to enjoy it. Sadly, some do not make the cut (and cry too much!) because they didn't expect work to be too stressful. I'm not saying that they will eventually follow this career path but I want them to be ready for anything - career and the rest of reality. 
  3. Values – two of the 4 schools we chose are Catholic schools and for me it’s very important that schools become an integral support to parents in instilling good values, faith in the Supreme Being and a prayerful life to children. I would like to put stress on school as support to parents because at the end of the day, the home is the basic foundation where children learn their values and hone their personalities and the parents are their greatest influence. 
  4. Enjoy Life – of course, kids need to enjoy life and make most of it. We want their school environment to be a place where they want to come to 5 times a week, 10 months a year. A place where kids learn and have fun J
It’s no joke jumping from one school to the next during our school hunt, our weekends were occupied since March because of that (and our summer outings hehe). Because we want to make sure that we considered all the best options for our kids, we don't mind going through all the phases. 
Now that’s done, I can tackle my other to-do things like get my driver’s license renewed, make it to the bowling tournament and get the long-delayed haircut. 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


This story got the lolos and lolas laughing so hard, it’s trending now within the clan.

My little kulitogs, as I have shared here, are now BFFs and ‘partners in crime’ so to speak. So what happens if things don't go smoothly during playtime?

Something about who gets to use the new whiteboard triggered the rift and got the little Ate to pack her things in her Barbie school bag. She came to my room and made ‘paalam’ to leave the house. Lalayas na daw siya (she's leaving for good). I asked her why and she said ‘Inaaway ako ni Sam.’ I tried so much to keep a serious face and asked her if she has money for transportation. She just kept quiet but never left her spot by the door.

So where is the little boy? After a few minutes he emerged in the room as well carrying his tiny Thomas backpack (so small it can only carry his school lunch). It was obviously filled to the brim with his clothes that he can’t zip it close. He came to the room to ask me to help him zip his bag close. I asked him too where he's going, he said ‘Punta na ko iba bahay’ (I’m going to another house). Ate Sophie mad at me.’

There they were, standing by the door with their backpacks and sullen faces making their so-called ‘final goodbyes.’ It was so hard to suppress a laugh because they seem serious with their plans. While they were there by the door talking to me, they made sure the other one heard what one has to say. Nagpaparinigan lang ang emote! Such drama, so cute!

I asked them to watch Disney Junior with me and immediately they dropped their bags and rushed to my side. I asked them to apologize to each other and they did :) All's well that ends well.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Travel: Manila Ocean Park (Part II of Sam's Bday Celebration)

Here is sharing with you our trip to Manila Ocean Park, as part of Sam's birthday celebration. 

Little boy, I know how you love Thomas and Friends but honestly I'm glad we didn't do a Thomas themed party (again) this year. Mommy's doubly happier to see how much you enjoyed the trip to the park instead. 

 You couldn't get over the Jellies exhibit. I got pretty paranoid in this area imagining all those glass cases shattering to pieces. Yikes! But you seem to have none of those thoughts as you watched the jellies dance.

Uhmm, this attraction didn't interest you much. You were looking at those guests swimming at the side of the pool.

See how Daddy held you tightly for this photo? He was afraid you'll jump into the water.

You waited patiently for the seal to do a wow trick. Alas, they did a few flips and twirls.

The stone fish, ahh, the stone fish. You talked about them (and the flashlight fish) for days that we sometimes pretended to be asleep because we ran out of answers for all those questions. Playing to be asleep wasn't effective because you'd wake us up and ask the questions all over again (and again, and again, and again...)

The ever curious you kept coming back to these guys. 

Of course, the Ocenarium was the ultimate place for you. Imagine a whole glass tunnel of sharks, stingrays and all other sea creature. You kept looking for Doddie, your fighting fish but he's safe at home sweetie. 

Because you were excited to see the penguin (and actually hoped to bring home one), we brought you here as a surprise :) Next time, we'll let you feed those penguins but, sadly, we really can't bring them home dear. 

We were all excited for the snow village and in your eagerness to see so much ice in one place you grabbed a ball of ice innocently sitting on this bench and ate it! When we took it from you, you just said, 'Yummy eh.' Oh my little Mr. Perculiar.

Lastly, the fountain show. As much as you were looking forward for this, you asked for milk even before it started. We were surprised because you don't drink bottled milk in public anymore. Alas, our exhausted celebrant slept through most parts of the show. Don't worry, we'll come back so you can feed the penguins and see the amazing fountain show.

Happy birthday Big Boy Sam (with emphasis on Big Boy). To the little man who never runs out of whys and hows to ask that your middle name has been changed to Bakit (Why) :) 
The sweetest man I have ever met; always has a flower, a kiss, a hug and a sweet smile for Mommy. 
Please bear with Mommy and Daddy when we get overprotective sometimes, we still think you're our baby boy. 
You kept showing your #4 candle to remind people that you're a big boy now but I still see you as that bouncing little baby who milks from me like there's no tomorrow. 

We all love you- Daddy, Ate Sophie and I. We will always be here to guide and support you as you explore the world around you. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Travel : Tagaytay City (Part 1 of Sam's Bday)

The Kulitog family were off town again. This time to the breezy Tagaytay City. This was part 1 of the little boy's birthday celebration.

Here's a background story. At first Sam said he wanted a Jollibee party but I suspect that their school field trip to Subic last February made him change his mind. One day he just blurted, 'I want a field trip birthday'. Ohhh, the fickle-minded celebrant. Good thing I haven't finalized anything with Jollibee yet except for the date.

So we scrapped the party plans and made arrangements for an out of town trip.

Why Tagaytay? During our Batangas trip we passed by Tagaytay and the kids briefly saw Taal volcano but they couldn't stop talking about it after. That made us decide we needed to go back to Tagaytay City.

Of course, grandparents (my parents and in-laws) and cousins came to complete the party. I made lunch for everyone: the classic picnic fare of chicken and pork adobo, lumpiang shanghai and salad then we bought eggplant ensalada and grilled fish from one of the restos in Picnic Grove.

The original plan was picnic lunch at Nuvali and sight seeing in Tagaytay but the scorching heat in Sta. Rosa made us head straight to Tagaytay instead. Our destination, Picnic Grove.

It's been a while since I last set foot here. I missed this place. Living in the south when I was single, Tagaytay was The Place for those spontaneous out of town trips with friends or if we simply want to get drunk and bask in nature at the same time. Crazy times.

Anyhoo, we rented a pavilion for P500 so there's enough room for everyone. Our pavilion stands a few steps away from a mini jungle and Sam wouldn't leave this place. He wanted a photo with the croc and snake! The adventurous mom in me wanna say go ahead, the protective mom in me wants to say hell No! but the animal lover in me just pitied the animal attraction. In the end, the protective Mom won and talked to the little boy to watch na lang. He quietly obliged. Hay salamat.

The kids enjoyed an hour of horse back riding instead. Well here, at least the horses here were moving around. 

My kids fell in love with horseback riding since their first try in Baguio. They even brought home these personalized souvenir toys.

The gang before heading home to Manila. I'm glad we had this out of town trip with all the grandparents in attendance. My dad was still recovering from his recent hospitalization but he gamely joined our picnic. The little boy couldn't be happier :) Part 2 of his birthday celeb next.

Friday, April 5, 2013


When hubby and I first moved to our own home, one of our priority was to build a bookshelf.

We are both readers; he likes reading novels, marketing books and he’s got countless Marvel and DC comics that I usually threaten to sell if we ever run out of money. You should see the look on his face when I say that, hehe.

I read just about anything – fiction/novels, magazines, short stories, craft books and recently scripts for our shows (that's much like forced reading). When I’m with a Buy and Sell paper, on the other hand, that means I’m on easy read mode. I realized eventually that this easy reading comes in handy when an out of the blue question hits me like cost of a lot in a city or the price of a 1980 Nissan car model. 

Although I find it harder to get the time to read now I still try to finish a good novel at least once a month (pre-kids era, it used to be 1 to 2 books per week). I’m now starting on Life of Pi by Yann Martel and so far so good.

We also buy books for the kids; we can see their fondness for reading as well. Probably because they see it in us and because of our bedtime story reading.

To add to their collection, we bought Dr. Seuss Oh The Places You’ll Go as inspired by their recently concluded Moving Up activity. Sophie and I both fell in love with the poem so I promised to buy her the book. For the little boy, it's The Gruffalo because he’s a sucker for anything that involves animal creatures. Just last night we were talking non-stop about the weird fishes he saw in Manila Ocean Park.

My wish is to someday have a library ala Beast’s library in Disney's Beauty and the Beast. Okay maybe that's a tall order. Just half the size, perhaps? One of my fave place in UST was the Humanities section. The geeky me would look into books that were barely borrowed (you’ll know that in the borrower’s form) and read them, I'd figure out the latin manuscripts (but failed miserably) and sometimes sleep (especially after PE hehe).

For now, our humble bookshelf will have to do but talks of bigger space has become a constant ‘car talk’ between hubby and I. Let’s see if I can have that library dream come true. Need to get a new copy of Buy and Sell. 

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