Chocolate Mud Cupcakes

When somebody in the house is having a birthday, but work schedule is not letting you have a party, what do you do? In our case, we’ll just have cupcakes!

I found this simple chocolate mud cupcake recipe in one of my books, but as usual, I had to adjust parts of it to suit my preferences. Whatever works for you, right? So, here is how I made the chocolate mud cupcakes:



300g plain chocolate chips or cooking chocolate
300g butter (does not really matter much whether it is salted or unsalted)
5 eggs
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 cup self raising flour

Melt chocolate and butter in a pan on the stove, or in a bowl in the microwave oven. Stir well and set aside to cool a bit.

Beat eggs and sugar in a bowl until thick and pale. Sift 1/2 cup flour into the egg mixture, then fold. Sift the remaining flour into the same mixture and fold again. Stir in the melted chocolate and butter until well blended.

Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius. (I prefer turning the oven on when I have already finished mixing the batter and just before I transfer the batter into the cake tin, as I find that if I start preheating the oven before mixing anything, it reaches the desired temperature waaaaaayy before I’m finished making the cake batter, so it’s just wasting energy for quite a while afterwards, until I put the cake in.) 

Spoon the mixture into paper baking cases in a muffin tin. This recipe should yield around a dozen cupcakes. Bake for approximately 20 minutes. The cupcakes are expected to be soft and gooey. Remove muffin tin from the oven and let cool for about 5 minutes before removing the cupcakes from the tin.

You can dust the cupcakes with cocoa powder or icing sugar, or decorate them with your favourite icing.


Know Your Ingredient – Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm is a herbal plant that belongs to the mint family Lamiaceae. Its leaves are heart-shaped and deeply veined characterized by a mild lemon scent. It grows up to 150 cm tall. It produces white flowers during summer, which attracts the bees. The flavor of this herbal plant comes from its contents like citronellal, geranial, linalyl acetate and caryophyllene.

Lemon Balm contains phenolic compounds, rosmarinic, protocatechuic acids, caffeic, and flavonoids.

Health Benefits/ Medical Use
This herbal plant has been known to cure cold sores, stomach upset, sleep disorders, and even Alzheimer’s disease. It is also used to cure colic to breastfed babies. It also helps in maintaining a normal blood pressure. The leaves are known to have antiviral and antibacterial properties. It’s a good treatment for flu, insomnia, indigestion, depression, and Herpes virus. It also acts a memory booster.

Culinary Use
Lemon Balm has a delicate lemon flavor and has been widely used in making dishes. It is a good garnish to fruit salads and drinks.

Bendigo Filipino Fiesta 2018

And so this blog was silent for over 10 days. Well, if we have to blame it on something, it will have to be the Filipino Fiesta, which we helped organise and also sponsored.

Serious planning started as early as January of this year. Roles were assigned and defined. Suddenly, the weeks and months passed by oh so quickly and next thing we knew, it was April!

Thankfully, a lot of our supplies arrived in the last two weeks, after being delayed by the Easter break and what-nots. Then came the job of repackaging, pricing, and deciding on the mock set-up.  Plus, there was also the shopping of lollies, biscuits, toys and other inexpensive novelty items for the children’s games.

By Saturday morning, hubby wakes me up around 7am, but I sleepily and jokingly asked if I could just arrive at the fiesta venue much later at 10am. Of course, not. I dragged myself to the venue, with a car loaded with TQB merchandise and children’s game props and prizes.

And tah-dah! Here’s one of the children’s games that I prepared for the fiesta:


It is called “pabitin”. During the game, kids stand below this, to this sight…


…and somebody (an adult) holds the other end of the rope and pulls the rope back and forth, so the pabitin goes up and down, teasing the kids, who would jump up and down to try and grab some of the goodies that they could reach.

Here was our stall. We were sharing the marquee with a friend, who’s also selling some bracelets, rings and necklaces, as well as some refreshing drinks.  Those milk crates and white storage boxes served dual purposes – to hold the goods as they were transported, and to hold/elevate the displays at the stall.


Before it got busy, I was able to take a quick walk around to snap some shots.



Then, the Santacruzan parade started. Traditionally, in the Philippines, this parade is held in the month of May. But because May is the last month before it’s winter in Australia, we just couldn’t have it in May, because all those pretty gowns don’t quite match with beanies and ugg boots. 🙂




This was the last decent shot I had taken. After this, a friend of mine from high school arrived, so I had to entertain her. Then customers started coming to the stall. The program started and the games had to be done. Oh well, you can just imagine how busy it became.

But this yummy treat nearby was beckoning me. Luckily, hubby was nearby, so I asked him to buy some of the tempting “ensaymada” (a type of soft Filipino sweet bread) for me. Oooohh! It was delicious! I regretted not buying a dozen of it. (OK, I was too busy to regret during the day, but when the fiesta was over and we were relaxing at home, and there were a couple of these left in our bag, I did regret not buying more.)

Photo from The Weekend Ensaymada FB page

So, the fiesta was quite a success, but we are all relieved that it’s finally done and we can relax and get back to our normal lives. Lol!

So now, what do we do for FIG Activity Day?


Nasi Goreng Recipe

Rice is something that we always have at home, whether uncooked and stored in the pantry, or cooked and on the kitchen counter top or dining table. There’s usually a pot of steamed rice in the kitchen, waiting to be devoured at the next meal. But steamed rice can become a bit boring sometimes, so occasionally, we’d have something different, like Nasi Goreng.

Nasi Goreng is a very popular Indonesian dish. It is fried rice mixed with a bit of meat or veggies, so it can be a complete meal by itself, especially when seasoned perfectly.  If you have cold cooked (not freshly cooked) rice in the house, that would be perfect for this dish, and if you have some bits of veggies in the fridge, you can prepare this dish for tonight’s dinner.

(Note: I’ve added a few substitution ideas, in case you do not have the fresh ingredients on hand, but have the preserved versions in your pantry.)



Olive oil
4 eggs, beaten lightly
1 brown onion, coarsely chopped
6 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
25g ginger, finely chopped (or a generous dash of ground ginger)
2 long red chillies, chopped (or a dash of ground cayenne pepper, to taste)
200g chicken fillet, sliced 1 inch squares or short strips
1 chicken cube
A handful of oyster mushrooms (or 184g can of champignon pieces and stems)
1/2 green capsicum, chopped coarsely
1/2 red capsicum, chopped coarsely
200g fresh baby corns, chopped coarsely (canned version will also do)
4 cups (cold) steamed jasmine rice
2 cups bean sprouts
3 green onions, sliced thinly
3 tablespoons soy sauce (or adjust to taste)
2 tablespoons kecap manis (or adjust to taste)

In a wok, heat oil. Add egg to make a thin omelette. When cooked, remove omelette and let cool.

Saute brown onion, garlic, ginger and chilli. Add chicken and chicken cube, and stir fry until chicken is cooked. Add mushrooms, capsicums and corn and cook until tender.

Add rice, bean sprouts, green onion, soy sauce and kecap manis. Stir fry.

Cut omelette into strips. Add omelette strips to the mixture in the wok. Mix well. Remove from heat and serve hot.

Know Your Ingredient – Oregano



Oregano is a small shrub with many stems covered with small grayish-green oval leaves and small white or pink flowers. It is called wild marjoram in many parts of Europe because it is very much related to the herb that we know as sweet marjoram. Oregano is a wonderful herb that adds a warm, balsamic and aromatic flavor to many different dishes, especially those of the Mediterranean cuisine.


Oregano is not just for aroma and flavor but it is also composed of several nutrients. It has 14% Vitamin K, 5% Manganese, 4% Iron, 3% Calcium, and 3% Fiber per 2 teaspoons serving.

Health Benefits and Medical Use

Oregano is an effective anti-bacterial agent. It reduces the growth of bacteria hence, decreases the risk of infection. Oregano contains numerous phytonutrients that have also been shown to function as powerful antioxidants that can prevent oxygen-based damage to cell structures all over the body. It is also proven that it is a good source of fiber which aids in the prevention of cancer.

Culinary Use

Oregano is famous among pizzas. In addition to that, it is widely used in making special cuisine.

Sharing Time – April 2018 (Week 2)

The Primary Sharing Time topic for the 2nd week of April 2018 is “Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith.”

Here are a few free printables to help you out with this lesson. All you got to do is print and cut them.  Here is the PDF containing all the printables and I hope you enjoy them.

Download PDF of April 2018 Week 2 lesson printables (8.5″ x 11″)

Here is how they might look like on the board:

2018-04-02 board1

I’ve included colouring pages which tell the story of the First Vision.  You can display them as is on the board while Joseph Smith-History 1:14-19 is being read, or as the story of the First Vision is being told. Or you can get the children to colour them before displaying them on the board for the whole class to see.

2018-04-02 board2

Don’t forget that you can also use the Sharing Time Talks for April 2018 as back-up talks to read for Primary kids who forgot to or didn’t prepare their talks.

Printable flip charts for some of the songs you might want to choose for April:

An Angel Came To Joseph Smith (words only)
Joseph Smith’s First Prayer (words only)
On A Golden Springtime (words only)
The Golden Plates (words only)
The Golden Plates (with visuals)


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15 Etsy Finds That You Can Wear To The Coachella Festival

It’s almost time for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival again, and if you are going, you need to finalize your festival outfit right now. But even if you are not going to the festival, but just love to dream of going and, perhaps, even have plans of holding a mini Coachella festival thingy with a few friends at your place, you still have to have the proper outfit to get the mood right.

We’ve hopped over to our favourite handmade/vintage online shop, Etsy, to see what options we can find in composing a truly festival look. Here are some of our finds, so far:

Maxi Dress Skirt by TribalSpiritShop
Carmen Wrap Maxi Dress
Gauze Cotton Tiered Skirt by Cotton Flower Clothing
Modern Crochet Skirt by Concept Creative Store
Blue Denim Shorts by Platforma
Pastel Mint Loose Cardigan by BV Lifestyle
Crochet Cardigan by Tina Crochet 2016
Brown leather sandals by Bali Elf
Women’s Maraolo Western Boots
Layered Bracelet by AyanoBoutique
Moonstone Flower Wire Wrapped Bracelet
Boho Fringe Bag by AlisoBay
Crochet Bag by CrochetandHeart
A simple cross body bag by Julia Sherry Designs
Round straw bag by Lake of Life

Recycled Furniture Ideas

There is a lot of campaign going on around the world for recycled stuff. Recycling is often, if not always, a great idea. Not only does it save you money, but it also challenges your creativity and best of all, it’s the more earth-friendly option.

When it comes to furniture, we can’t deny the fact that many furniture pieces are often pricey, most especially for those with tight budgets. If you are a creative soul, you might entertain the idea of recycling another man’s trash and turn it into your treasure.

Here are some of what others recycled and came up with:

Cardboard sofa
Living room furniture made from old oil barrels
Garden hose chair
Pallet living room furniture
Luggage chair
Truck bed
Bicycle bar stools
Recycled car part seat


Sharing Time – April 2018 (Week 1)

The Primary Sharing Time topic for the 1st week of April 2018 is “Jesus Christ Restored His Church in the Latter Days”.

Here are a few free printables to help you out with this lesson. All you got to do is print and cut them.  Here is the PDF containing all the printables and I hope you enjoy them.

Download PDF of April 2018 Week 1 lesson printables (8.5″ x 11″)

Here is how they might look like on the board:

2018-04-01 board1

I’ve included pages that you can print for the drawing activity. Each page already have the gospel principle mentioned in the outline, and I’ve included 1 page with a blank heading, so you can write other gospel principles that you can think of.

2018-04-01 board2

Don’t forget that you can also use the Sharing Time Talks for April 2018 as back-up talks to read for Primary kids who forgot to or didn’t prepare their talks.

Printable flip charts for some of the songs you might want to choose for April:

An Angel Came To Joseph Smith (words only)
Joseph Smith’s First Prayer (words only)
On A Golden Springtime (words only)
The Golden Plates (words only)
The Golden Plates (with visuals)

Printable flip charts for some Easter songs you might want the kids to sing if you have your meetings on the 1st of April:

Did Jesus Really Live Again? (words only)
Easter Hosanna (words only)
He Sent His Son (words only)
When He Comes Again (words only)


Sharing Time Talks For April 2018

Here are short talks that you can use for Sharing Time in Primary for the month of April:

Week 1: After Jesus Christ and His Apostles died, gospel truths were lost.

Apostasy is a state when individuals or groups of people turn away from the principles of the gospel.  After the Savior and His apostles died, men corrupted the principles of the gospel and made unauthorized changes in the Church organization and priesthood ordinances. People fell away from the truth. The Lord then withdrew His authority because of this great wickedness.  This Apostasy only ended when Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith in 1820.

In D&C 138:44, it teaches us that the Church will never again be destroyed. However, we are not safe from danger of committing personal apostasy. That is to deviate our standard from the Lord’s standard.

We can safeguard ourselves against personal apostasy by keeping our covenants, obeying the commandments, following Church leaders, partaking of the sacrament, and constantly strengthening our testimony through daily scripture study, prayer, and service.

Week 2: Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith.

One of the results of the Great Apostasy is the formation of many sects and churches. During 1820, there was a fourteen-year old young boy who went to the woods to pray, asking for answers as to which church was true. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to this young boy, telling him there was no true church that time. This boy is the Prophet Joseph Smith. Through him, the gospel of Jesus Christ was restored to the earth.

We are so blessed to live in a time wherein we have access to the true gospel of Jesus Christ. Our challenge is to live our lives according to these truths.

Week 3: Priesthood authority was restored by heavenly messengers.

Priesthood is the authority from God given to worthy male members of the Church so they can act in His name for the salvation of His children.  There was a time that this priesthood was taken away because of the extreme wickedness of the people. That period is called Apostasy or also known as Dark Ages.

On May 15, 1829, Joseph Smith and his scribe Oliver Cowdery went into the woods to inquire of the Lord concerning baptism. As they prayed, “a messenger from heaven descended in a cloud of light.” This messenger was John the Baptist, the prophet who had baptized Jesus Christ centuries earlier. John the Baptist, now a resurrected being, laid his hands on Joseph and on Oliver and conferred upon each of them the Aaronic Priesthood.

This greater priesthood was given to Adam and has been on the earth whenever the Lord has revealed His gospel. It was taken from the earth during the Great Apostasy, but it was restored in May 1829, when the Apostles Peter, James, and John conferred it upon Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery.

We are so blessed that we are living in a day where we have this sacred authority from God and enjoy all its blessings.

Week 4: Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon and restored gospel truths.

One of the main events happened in the Church History is the Restoration of the Gospel through the prophet Joseph Smith.

In 2 Nephi 25:17, it was already prophesied that there will be a restoration in the latter days. It says, “And the Lord will set his hand again the second time to restore his people from their lost and fallen state. Wherefore, he will proceed to do a marvelous work and a wonder among the children of men.”

The restoration has started when Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith in 1820 and continues up to our day through our living prophet.

Another most meaningful event that happened in the history is the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith consistently testified that he translated the Book of Mormon by the “gift and power of God.” His scribes shared that testimony. The angel who brought news of an ancient record on metal plates buried in a hillside and the divine instruments prepared especially for Joseph Smith to translate were all part of what Joseph and his scribes viewed as the miracle of translation. When he sat down in 1832 to write his own history for the first time, he began by promising to include “an account of his marvelous experience.” The translation of the Book of Mormon was truly marvelous.