Christmas morning indulgence in a cup + a giveaway from Lewis & Pearl Scent Shop

It’s been a while since I’ve had the pleasure of lazing around on Christmas morning. Usually the Christmas season is the only time I get to go on an out-of-town vacation, and with my let’s-explore-this-place attitude when I’m traveling you will rarely see me sitting down for a super long amount of time.

But when I’m spending my precious off-moments at home, nothing gives me greater pleasure than settling down at a quiet space in the house with a relaxing book and a hot mug of coffee in hand. But since we’re talking Christmas mornings here, let’s transform that mug of coffee into a cake that has the distinct scent and flavours of coffee in it.

I got inspired to make a mug cake to kick off my “Christmas series” this year when Lewis & Pearl sent me a surprise package. Along with sampler sets of their colognes, they packaged a special kit for me as well to make some simple treats in the kitchen; one of them was for a Cookies and Cream Mug Cake.

People these days are coming up with such amazing ideas, and one of them has to be the mug cake. Whoever invented this stuff should get an award or something. Cakes that can be baked in minutes in single-servings by just using a microwave?! It just goes to show that anything is possible in this world– all you need is the right amount of inspiration and optimism that anything is possible!

This is the very core that the Lewis & Pearl #InspiringPossibilities & #Dreamspiration campaign is trying to advocate. They want to empower all of us to go for our dreams and reach out for new experiences in our life, because anything is possible in this world if only we feel inspired enough and brave enough. Quite a positive concept to carry with you as you gear up for a new year ahead!

To accompany you in your journey are the Lewis & Pearl colognes. Each scent is a different experience you can take with you on your way to realizing your dreams.

And of course, each scent in the collection is as sweet-smelling as this Mocha Mug Cake recipe I’m sharing today. To make it even sweeter, I’m giving away some Lewis & Pearl colognes to two lucky readers!
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Have a sweet and savory Christmas with Danes Cheese Ball

I know a lot of people who absolutely CANNOT have noche buena without cheese balls. When I ask my friends what they’ll be having for their Christmas feast, majority of them always mention cheese ball along with other delicious Christmas treats that typically only pop up during the holidays. My grandfather and uncle are huge fans of cheese ball, so sometimes we start conversations about it that make my mind travel to those colourful boxes of Danes Cheese Ball, which have been mainstays in supermarkets every Christmas season.

Each bite makes me wish the Danes Cheese Ball was present all year round so I can stuff myself with it not just during Christmas but everyday! I guess my love for it is an inherited quality from my grandfather? I’ve been having slices of it with my pan de sal during breakfast for a week now, and I have to stop myself lest I finish the whole ball on my own. The other cheese balls my Mother has already taken into safe-keeping haha! Must leave some for sharing with the family on Christmas! 😉

Speaking of Christmas, the day is drawing ever nearer. Are you excited? It’s my favourite season in the whole year, not just because it’s filled with gifts, but it is a moment where I get to have a jolly good time with my family while a ton of food is laid out in front of us. And at the centre of it all will be the magical Danes Cheese Ball!

Basking in cheesy goodness during the holidays, whether literally or figuratively, is such a lovely tradition! Which is why for many Filipinos, having this red ball of goodness on their Christmas hapagkainan is a must. I feel like everybody loves cheese regardless of age, which makes Danes Cheese Ball not just great for eating but also for gifting to your friends and family.

Danes Cheese Ball is definitely something that should not be missed especially since it is only available during the Christmas season. And as much as I enjoy the Danes Cheese Ball in its pure unadulterated form, it was also a sublime addition to these Cheese-Paprika Muffins.
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My top tips for giving big but saving much this Christmas with #loveSnR

It’s Christmas-time everybody! But before we can celebrate, we have to think about whether or not we’ve got all our giftables on the ready. Every year in many households, I’m pretty sure there is one person who puts together the Christmas gifting list, carrying the names of all relatives, inaanak’s, and family friends who MUST receive gifts each year.

In our house (as is with most households I’m sure) it’s my Mom who does all these things. Apart from gifts for their godchildren, she also has the job of putting together a gift basket or gift pack for our family friends and relatives. As the years went by she has included me in this task of hers, so I picked up some little tricks from her to make sure that all those gift baskets are going to contain awesome things!

Tip #1: Do your shopping in a store that has an assortment of unique food items

My family’s choice when it comes to doing our Christmas edible gift shopping year after year is S&R. I’m being 100% honest when I say we always come here when we want to buy food items for gifting because you can’t find most of the items here anywhere else. We do it during Mooncake season, we do it during Christmas season.

A good example: these LOC Maria Crepes Chocolate cookies (Php 599.95).

I haven’t seen these anywhere else but here, so in it goes to my shopping cart to make its way to my gift basket!
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A taste of the sea at home thanks to Doña Maria Rice

For my last post on my Doña Maria Rice series, I thought I’d do something a little special for you guys. Scallops, aka delicious balls of tender and juicy goodness! Whenever you see scallops, you think special occasion or indulgence, but I really think that they’re worth every pretty penny, especially when they’re perfectly cooked. And cooked like this.

Oh boy. Let me tell you, we’ve been eating this once a week for the last couple of weeks and the scallops are always sold out before the end of the meal!

This was inspired by a dish my mother had during her trip to Australia, where she had cheesy scallops on their shells. But to make it even more special we’re going to place an extra layer of Doña Maria Rice at the bottom. It adds a different texture to the dish, complementing the juicy and soft scallop with its sticky, chewy, fluffy presence.

My rice of choice for this particular recipe is the more full-bodied Doña Maria Jasponica White Rice. Combining the wonderful aroma of Jasmine rice and the quality of Japanese rice, Doña Maria Jasponica White Rice is naturally fragrant with a deliciously soft texture.

Of course, you’re free to use Doña Maria’s other white rice variety, which is the Miponica White Rice, or maybe go healthier with the White Plus Brown variety. But I personally think that white rice is more suitable for this recipe, so that you get the full effect of the flavours on the scallops and the cheese. I love how this dish is both dainty and at the same time quite filling thanks to the rice. This will be perfect to serve guests in parties. Fancy too!

This is one of those dishes that is so impressive, tastes so good, but is so incredibly easy to prepare. It’s a little crazy how easy this is actually. It’s not something you would really “go out of your way” to prepare, so to say. You can buy your scallops in the market and have them cleaned by your suki fishmonger, but remember to ask them not to throw away the shells. Of course you have to make these while your scallops are fresh, which you can do easily since there are no special secret techniques involved for these delicious beauties.

Let me walk you through it briefly and you’ll see exactly how easy it is!
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