Posted in Culture, Events, Food/Recipes, poetry, Quotes

The Great Blogger’s Bake-off: 2020 Summer Picnic – 3 Tempting Dishes

A picnic is more than eating a meal, it is a pleasurable state of mind

DeeDee Stovel
Image from Pixabay

#Haiku – Picnic Outside the City
Music, Treats, Laughter
Skyline sunset gives warm glow
Happy memories

Good afternoon everyone! I hope you are all well and enjoying the weekend!

Mel at Crushed Caramel, Gary at bereavedandbeingasingleparent, and Jeanne, our judge, at Jeanne in the Kitchen is hosting a lovely blogger’s picnic this weekend. Mel, our moderator, is currently sharing excellent commentary and tunes to match on all of the blogger’s entries. I’m so inspired by everyone’s creations this weekend. From UFO donuts to fast food cakes, feel free to stop by Mel’s latest posts!

I had difficulty deciding what to bake this year. Since I’m at home due to lock-down, I’ve made three dishes that I have never tried before, but always wanted to taste. Two French dishes and one Dutch delight!

Mushroom Quiche

A while back, a baking magazine caught my attention with its lovely tangerine yogurt cake on the cover. Dorie Greenspan was thrilled to share her sweet and savory recipes.

I decided to go with something savory and settled on a mushroom quiche on page 54. I didn’t have a tart pan, so I settled for a pie pan. The aroma of the filling the air as it was baking in the oven. I was excited by the end result.

OH MY GOODNESS..

This quiche personally made me cry with happiness the moment I took a bite! No exaggeration here. This flaky crust was one of the best I’ve ever had. The combination of flavors really sat well with my palette.

I surprised myself. I gorged. I ate half the quiche that night!

Just finished watching Lord of the Rings and laughed at this meme! πŸ˜€

My boyfriend said it was good, and my roommate said it was very rich.

Glazed Fruit Tart

Next up is dessert! A few years ago, I found this little book for sale at a used books store and was intrigued by the prospect of 500 types of pies and its variations.

I settled on a glazed fruit tart recipe. The basic sweet crust tasted like a soft cookie. Next time, I will stretch the crust over the pie pan. It shrunk as I baked it. πŸ™‚ I included a citrus scent to the vanilla extract mixture to my pastry cream, arranged my sliced fruit, and topped it off with a warm apricot glaze.

All the bright colors truly made my day! What I love about this recipe was that it wasn’t too saccharine. The whipped pastry was lightly sweetened and the combination of the natural sugars from the layers of real fruit was refreshing. Loved the fusion of flavors!

Melt-In-Your-Mouth Butter Cookies

As I was digging further in my ingredients bag, I found some powdered sugar, and decided to use it to make another treat. Shiran Dickman, blogger at Pretty. Simple. Sweet., shared a recipe for melt-in-your-mouth butter cookies. My cute cookies looked like a village of little igloos with snow sprinkled outside their homes.

Overall Feelings on This Year’s Picnic

This year’s blogger’s bake-off was truly special. The stress from this current events took such a toll on many people around the world. Many bloggers turned to the joy of baking for the first time as they were confined to their homes. Comfort food has a way of reminding us of our connection to family and friends. I know I feel closer to the authors who created these recipes because they brought me happiness to share with everyone I know. Hope you enjoyed my little kitchen adventure! πŸ™‚

✧ο½₯゚: *✧ο½₯゚:* Recipes Below! *:ο½₯゚✧*:ο½₯゚✧

Posted in Culture, Events, flashback, Music, Quotes

The Importance of Play: A Mysterious Lion Captivates

As we grow older, our playgrounds change – where do you go to play?

Shelley @ Quaint Revival
Created a word cloud with Background Image from Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay

Hello there! Hope you are all well and safe!

Shelley’s quote peaked my interest today. How often do we neglect this area of our lives dismissing play as being infantile and frivolous? Throughout history, many influential people asserted the importance of play.

  • Albert Einstein: “Play is the highest form of research.”
  • Mr. Rogers: Play gives children a chance to practice what they’re learning.”
  • Johan Huizinga: “Culture arises and unfolds in and as play.”
  • Abraham Maslow: “Almost all creativity involves purposeful play.”
  • Roger von Oech: Necessity may be the mother of invention, but play is certainly the father.

Play relieves stress by releasing feel-good endorphins. It improves connections with your relationships which can help ward off depression. Play helps increase vitality and helps replace negative beliefs and behaviors. For adults it can be something small like flirting with your partner, joking with your coworkers, or enjoying spontaneity with your relatives.

A Young Adult’s Playground

There are patterns which emerge in one’s life, circling and returning anew, an endless variation of a theme.

Jacqueline Carey, Kushiel’s Chosen

A few days ago, I received a gift in the mail. As I unwrapped the box, I was stunned by the beauty of “Mysterious Lion”, a wooden Unidragon puzzle. I found out my thoughtful siblings mailed it to me as a surprise for my birthday. Mom called the night before and laughed when I told her I received a “toy”.

My eyes got watery. Unintentionally, the gift was rather meaningful and symbolic for me. VJ invited her readers to think about circling this week. For me, the invitation to play again was coming back full circle. I remembered the joy I felt to complete a puzzle as a child. Even though it’s been a while since I physically completed one, I was always attracted to things resembling a puzzle. Circling around the idea of solving a mystery.

My heart swelled a bit when my Facebook wall was flooded with lovely messages from local friends. It’s a strange sight to behold since I’m typically not active there. Since the quarantine however, all sorts of groups popped up to hang out. I had trouble choosing a non-profit to invite donations this year. So, I created a short video featuring non-profits that help the local community to drum up support.

Google Arts and Culture partnered with more than 2000 museums all around the world. I virtually explored some of these spaces and their exhibits. In the evening, I watched Verdi’s opera, Un Ballo de Maschera, a free nightly streaming at the Metropolitan Opera.

I had a very small gathering to celebrate in my cozy home. My roommates created a tasty meal of BBQ ribs, asparagus, mashed potatoes, ambrosia salad, chocolate cake with coconut-pecan icing. My boyfriend helped me build a desk as we enjoyed chatting with one another. My friend gave me hilarious t-shirts, Hawaiian floral hair clips, makeup which I’ll probably feature soon on Instagram.

Creating this banner made me feel pretty happy and features my bright personality. πŸ˜‰ Sometimes it’s the little things that can bring a smile to your face. 😊

Posted in Awards, Events, flashback, Nature, Quotes

Personal Life & Award Update

I hope everyone is well and healthy! Hence, the reason for my orange filled banner to encourage people to take care of their immune systems. πŸ™‚

I want to apologize for my late blog posts for the A2Z challenge. I’m currently coping with the death of a friend who I had a real deep, caring connection with. For those of you who understands how that feels, it can be quite an emotional roller coaster. I’ve been sleeping and resting after being thrashed around by my feelings, memories, and thoughts.

Yet, I can just imagine him telling me, “Sa, hike with me. The beauty will surely make you feel better.” I will miss him dearly.

Imagine my smile when I woke up from my melancholic slumber to find a nomination in my inbox for The Real Neat Blog Award. This is actually the first time I’ve been nominated for this particular award. Thank you kindly James!

James has published a few books and possesses an otherworldly sort of imagination. One of the titles to his book, “The Haunting of a Marcasite“, surely has me intrigued. Stop by his blog for an interesting read and step into another world of memorable characters!

Rules For The Real Neat Blog Award :

  1. Display the Blog Logo in your blog.
    (I re-made my own banner, but you can find logos online. πŸ™‚ )
  2. Thank the Blogger who nominated you.
  3. Do not forget to link to their blog for nominating you.
  4. Answer all the questions they have given you.
  5. Nominate 7 to 10 other Bloggers of your choice.
  6. Ask your Nominees 7 questions.

James’ questions:

What is your favorite place to get away to?
There are so many beautiful places in the world that I would like to visit, but I can only speak to places I’ve been to. There’s physical places where I’ve only visited once in my life.

Like… Ha Long Bay in Vietnam. Visited this wondrous place 11 years ago and its natural beauty astounded me as the captain navigated our boat between the rocks. I was in awe and wanted everyone I knew to experience this with me.

Image Credit: Forbes

Right now, in the midst of this “self-quarantine”, my favorite place to get away to is here on my blog as I drink a good cup of tea. I’ll be working on my challenges today and check out the worlds of other A2Z participants!

If, you choose to become a famous actor or screen writer? What would you choose?
I’ve really enjoy memorizing lines and acting in theater plays. I relish the idea of performing on stage playing a role and entering the mind of another character. Even though I enjoy creative writing on a small scale, I never really thought of screen writing before. Acting feels instinctual to me whereas writing requires a lot more work to imagine an extensive and cohesive plot line. I’ve known a lot of people who were highly skilled in it though. We tend to work together quite often!

What is your favorite holiday ? Why ?
It’s difficult for me to choose as it’s split between traditional and non-traditional holidays. There seems to be a holiday for anything and everything. There are some “holidays” that I celebrate everyday.

That being said, I’ve celebrated many holidays with friends and family. I enjoy the big, traditional holidays as they allow me to reconnect with loved ones such Christmas, Thanksgiving, Lunar New Year. However, I’ve had some very meaningful, quieter moments celebrating Passover, Veterans Day, Palm Sunday and Lent.

I also like World Water Day, Earth Day, Random Acts of Kindness, National Comic Book Day, and May the 4th be with You.

Ice skates or Rollerblade?
Ah! I love both equally. I have great memories for ice skating and rollerblading!

Style is that which indicates how the writer takes himself and what he is saying. It is the mind skating circles around itself as it moves forward.

Robert Frost

What are your favorite toppings to put a pizza ?
Pineapple, mushrooms, green peppers, onions, black olives

A strawberry milkshake or a vanilla milkshake ?
Strawberry milkshake! I love strawberries! I found out that my birthday lands on National Pick Strawberries Day. πŸ˜‰

What is the funniest show you have ever seen ?
Movie wise I kept laughing throughout “O Brother, Where Art Thou” & “Miss Congeniality”!

As for TV shows, it’s difficult for me to choose! There’s funny shows that I think I can only watch once like Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Big Bang Theory, & Malcolm in the Middle. There’s other shows that I can watch more than once like How I Met Your Mother, Simpsons, or Gilmore Girls.

Bloggers Nominated:

  • America on Coffee: Coffee shops have been near and dear to my heart. I love the random assortment of music and shows that are shared.
  • Kate @ Holistic Life by Kate: Beautifully designed site, chock-full of mindful resources to help others live a better life.
  • Dr.Tanya @ Salted Caramel: The positive & sound advice she gives is a beacon of light. I appreciate her wisdom. She hosts “Blogging Insights Series” and shares great pointers.
  • Mr. A @ A Barbarian in Gentleman’s Clothing: Shares excellent book reviews and tips spoken from the wisdom of life experiences.
  • Sadje @ Keep it Alive: Her short stories and poetry tie in with wonderful lessons. She hosts “What do you see?” creative writing challenge.
  • Jay @ Fragrance Writer: He writes some beautiful poetry about fragrances, life experiences, and is willing to collaborate with other poets to create great works.
  • Tatiana @ Travelways: Her blog is incredibly rich with unique experiences and beautiful photos. It’s a visual delight!
  • Ann-Christine @ Leya She features some beautiful photos on her photo blog that bring a lot of peace to my life. Motto: “To see a world in a grain of sand…”
  • Zy Marquiez @ Breakaway Individual.com: He has written on an assorted array of topics from creative writing, culture, health and biotech with an interesting take on issues.
  • Dracul Van Helsing: Published Sherlock Holmes fanfiction & vampire novels; He also regularly writes intriguing fiction tales related to current events
  • Sandomina @ Insightful Geopolitics: Informative posts about the mysteries of space and global threats
  • The Alchemist Studio: Enjoy checking this studio’s pottery collection and listening to random thoughts and musings
  • Mollie @ Frugal Hausfrau: I enjoy checking out her savory recipes and mouthwatering photos to match.
  • Andrea @ Cooking with a Wallflower: She covers tasty dessert recipes, travel trips, and blogging tips on writing quality content.

My blog compliments your blog! You’re not obligated to respond, but I just wanted to take time to appreciate the hard work you put into your blogs.

Questions to Nominees:

  1. What kind of music are you listening currently to calm or motivate yourself from the “outside noise & news”?
  2. What has been your greatest achievement this past year?
  3. What kind of skills do you want to develop in the months ahead?
  4. What on-screen villain is most intriguing to you?
  5. Do you have an outfit that makes you feel great about yourself, seems to boost your confidence, or makes you feel invincible? πŸ˜‰
  6. Was there ever a movie or documentary that inspired you to take action or made you want to learn more about the background story?
  7. What kind of activities do you and your best friend do together? Do you have a favorite funny memory that you share?
Posted in Food/Recipes, Music, Nature, Photography, Quotes

Life’s Too Short

β€œWe only have one life and one body to care of, and we better do it right. You never know what tomorrow may bring and so we better live this life the best we can and be grateful for everything we have.”

Novak Djokovic

I want to wish all of my readers a very happy Thanksgiving! Life outside the blog-o-sphere has been very busy. Tried a confetti creamed corn recipe from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe for a few potluck dinners I was invited to, and though it doesn’t quite look like her pictures πŸ˜‰ it was still a great hit!

Rory’s Challenge? 3 quotes. 2 songs. 1 image…
Once again, I over-delivered! Take care everyone! ❀

Rory’s 321 Quote Me
Beautiful mellow sentiments
Enjoying my varied tropical music jams! ❀
Chill Your Mind background music – Summer as a mindset! πŸ™‚
Snapshot of my new cute bracelet that my women’s fellowship gifted me with!
Image Credit: Pinterest
Posted in Dance, flashback, Food/Recipes, Makeup, Quotes

Waiting for a Persimmon to Ripen

Good evening everyone! VJ’s prompt about ripening has me thinking about quite a few things today. With fall looming around the corner, I couldn’t help but think of persimmons with its bright orange color! It is a mighty fruit packed with some powerful benefits:

  • Aids in weight loss & its fiber promotes a healthy digestive system
  • Can help regulate sugar in blood for diabetics
  • Rich source of phytochemicals which helps in warding off inflammatory infections
  • Anti-hemorrhagic properties which helps control excessive bleeding
  • Helps with hypertension because of its low sodium levels
  • Source of vitamin C to strengthen immune system
  • Source of vitamin A, shibuol, betulinic acid to help fight cancer
  • Source of a complex vitamin B which helps improve eye health
  • Source of copper which helps iron absorption and produces red blood cells
  • Source of potassium which helps retain significant minerals
  • Natural energizer relieving stress and exhaustion
  • Has some anti-aging properties as seen in some soap and this beauty blogger review of Amalie Beauty Persimmon Anti-Aging Nightcreme

My thoughts begin to wander onto some quotes, however…

“Age is not all decay. It is the ripening, the swelling of the fresh life within that withers and bursts the husk.”

George McDonald

My father used to grow some persimmon trees in our backyard. They come in two varieties: astringent and non-astringent. When they’re not ripe, biting into one leaves a bitter taste that lingers in your mouth taking its time before it leaves your tongue. With a little more patience, you can taste a wonderfully sweet fruit which makes the wait worth it.

“The world is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.

Eden Phillpotts, author

A rather interesting analogy to segway into some new events in my life. I recently got hired to be a technical writer at a cybersecurity firm! Very excited by this new development and chapter of my journey. Yet, it took me a while to get to this point. Many times I felt rather impatient with my own growth, but in hindsight, it took some time for my knowledge and information gained from my studies to mature before it was finally ready to be put into action.

“Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers. It may not be difficult to store up in the mind a vast quantity of facts within a comparatively short time, but the ability to form judgement requires the severe discipline of hard work and the tempering heat of experience and maturity.”

Calvin Coolidge, Former U.S. president

It’s been a few days since I’ve drank from this firehose of this major life transition – a constant outpouring of new ideas to take in, process, and from that immense gulp, I’m responsible for creating a grand tool that can unlock a whole new world of possibilities for my coworkers and myself.

“Nothing is finer for the purposes of great productions, than a very gradual ripening of the intellectual powers.”

John Keats

I should really slow down though as the quote above reminds me of the fine potential that can be derived from a gradual ripening. πŸ˜‰ That said, I feel like a giddy metal worker dancing amidst the flying sparks as I’m in creation mode!

Posted in Music

30-Day Song Challenge: Day 17

Next time I am at a karaoke bar and I were to do a duet with a special someone *cough* πŸ˜‰ , I would LOVE to sing “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”! I’m giving credit to you, Ms. D! This video sung by Michael Buble and Idina Menzel is so so adorable! ❀ πŸ™‚