My Favorite Brownies Ever

My go-to brownie recipe is by Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen, one of my favorite blogs since forever. Through the years, I’ve tweaked the recipe to fit my ingredients on hand. But I think after several tweaks, I’ve found just the right recipe for my favorite brownies ever. For the batch pictured, I used equal amounts of The FreeFood Co.’s Coco Dolcé 65% dark chocolate and Malagos 70% dark chocolate. I’ve also made this with unsweetened Risa Chocolate South Cotabato. I used the same amount of sugar in both cases, and they still turned out just the right amount of sweet.

My Favorite Brownies Ever

This is a tweaked version of Smitten Kitchen's My Favorite Brownies, which is currently my go-to brownie recipe. I love one-bowl recipes!

Course Dessert
Keyword brownies
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 16 squares

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter cut into squares
  • 100 grams dark chocolate chopped finely
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour sifted
  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup pecans coarsely chopped

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350ºF (~177ºC) and line an 8x8-in pan with parchment paper or foil. Spray with non-stick cooking spray.

  2. Place butter and dark chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in 30-second intervals, stirring until smooth.

  3. Stir in both sugars and mix until combined.

  4. Add in eggs one at a time, stirring until combined. Add vanilla and mix.

  5. Sift in flour and salt and mix until just combined.

  6. Pour batter into prepared pan and top with chocolate chips and pecans.

  7. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

  8. Cool on a rack and cut into squares.

Best Brownies Ever by Macy's Fields

Best enjoyed straight from the pan or maybe in a bowl with a few scoops of ice cream. Perfect with coffee, too! Let me know if you try it.

Songs I Like: Everything Noah Centineo Dances and Sings Along To Apparently

Let it be known that I am fully aware how ridiculous this obsession has been. And I want to promise this will be the last post about it, but are we really sure? Haha! That said, this playlist was borne out of this afternoon’s procrastination and videos of Peter Kavinsy, I mean, Noah Centineo lip syncing and dancing to 112’s “Dance With Me” and Kanye’s “Flashing Lights.” Both of which I no longer know how many times I’ve watched since I first saw them, because they’re now in a saved section on my Instagram. Guys, I made a collection—it’s the only one there. HAHA! What is happening to me?

Now it has spiraled into everything I’ve seen him post online. It’s only a matter of time now until I speak like a bruh and tweet motivational quotes. SAVE ME FROM MYSELF!

Ten Things I’m Thankful For

♡ one month of peter kavinsky, lol (week 4 going strong, and I have not run out of things to watch or read about noah centineo hahaha)

♡ the thrill of having someone thank you for something you wrote about them—never gets old

♡ feeling kilig about a song, a movie, a story (lots to obsess about this past month!)

♡ getting feedback for the story I’m writing from people whose opinions matter to me

♡ reconnecting with old friends because of mutual obsessions (I have never had this many insta-dms, ever)

♡ finishing 2 more books after going through jenny han’s to all the boys trilogy

♡ my new moon in virgo pulls—this always helps me make sense of my current life situation (and helps me map out my battle plan, too)

♡ current writing assignments: been extra inspired to pitch stuff after this resurgence of feelings~

♡ putting together surprises and celebrating people special to me

♡ all of fall tv season’s previews

A year ago today, I received news that turned my world upside-down. Three hundred sixty-five days later, I’m still standing and I’d like to think I’m stronger than ever.

Currently / August 2018

Formerly a weekly themed post I adapted from That’s Chic, this is a list of my favorite things for the month.

Music Monday

I have not stopped talking about To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before since it started streaming on Netflix two weeks ago. So is it even a surprise that I’ve been playing the soundtrack for the past two weeks, too? I can’t not listen to a Lauv song and not think of Lara Jean and Peter K. OMG, h e l p me.

 

Tasty Tuesday

Breakfast at Jenn’s with Mikko

Caught up with friends—old and new—this August. I’ve embraced the slow and steady life these past couple of months and I truly believe I’m better for it. Usually it’s over a good meal or coffee and dessert, but always with a generous amount of laughter. Since I started working from home, face-to-face quality time with my peeps have become extra special.

Wishful Wednesday

 

So all of these YA romances have me feeling feelings. Did I mention I went through Jenny Han’s P.S. I Still Love You and Always and Forever, Lara Jean right after I saw the movie? Then, I went ahead and finished Stephanie Perkins’ Anna and the French Kiss, too. Coupled with real-life kilig stories (not mine, obvs, haha), I feel the need to channel these feelings somewhere. I started a story but I don’t really know where it’s going yet. I haven’t shown anyone but I was surprised to churn out 3,500 words in two days. I stepped away from it first to give it time to “breathe” and then I’ll go back to it.

Thoughtful Thursday

We all need a reminder sometimes. (:

Fashion Friday

Happy to report that I have not spent any hard-earned moolah on shopping. I got a few lippies plus my Glossier stash that’s still en route to me and that’s about it. Trying to be mindful about my consumption but I think it’s just easier to not shop now that I’m very rarely in the mall these days. Haha!

That said, I’m just ogling the new Uniqlo x Ines de la Fressange collection online. Imagine if I had children. LOL.

It’s a brand new month, a brand new week. Hope we all have a stellar September. August was not so bad after all.

To All the Boys* I’ve Loved Before

* In which I mean, fictional boys, of course.

I have fallen down a deep, deep hole that is To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and I’m happily swooning over Peter Kavinsky like he’s a real person. I’ve watched the movie thrice since it started streaming on Netflix on Friday and have finished the last two books in the series in the past four days. If you check my Twitter faves, they’re most likely related to anything #ToAlltheBoys and I’m not even sorry. I’m obsessed. Clearly.

The movie was such a great adaptation (given all the changes from the book) and I kind of just want to re-watch all of my favorite teen movies from the ’90s and get that giddy feeling all over again. It got me thinking about all the boys I developed intense crushes on when I was younger. Because are you even a teen if you didn’t fall in love with someone who doesn’t actually exist in real life?

Junior (Little Giants)

Devon Sawa as Junior in Little Giants
Devon Sawa as Junior in Little Giants (Warner Bros.)

I’m hardly a tomboy but couldn’t help but feel like the awkward girl with a silly crush on the handsome jock like Becky (Shawna Waldron) in this movie. Of course Devon Sawa who plays junior went on to star in Casper and Now and Then—easily two movies I would gladly watch again and again.

Josh (Clueless)

Paul Rudd as Josh in Clueless
Paul Rudd as Josh in Clueless (Paramount Pictures)

I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen this film. I still feel kilig whenever it comes on HBO (even though I know I can just watch it on demand now). And that scene when Cher has an epiphany by the fountain? My heart always flutters as if I’m in love with Josh! 😛 And hello, Paul Rudd is still looking very crush-worthy right now.

Logan (The Baby-Sitters Club)

Austin O'Brien as Logan in The Baby-Sitters Club
Austin O’Brien as Logan in The Baby-Sitters Club (Beacon Communications)

Growing up reading the books and then finally seeing the characters on screen, I wanted to so badly to be Mary Anne (Rachael Leigh Cook). So, naturally I had a crush on her boyfriend Logan (Austin O’Brien). Hee! I was smitten when he made Vada Sultenfuss (Anna Chlumsky) fall in love with him in My Girl 2, too.

Patrick (Ten Things I Hate About You)

Heath Ledger as Patrick in 10 Things I Hate About You
Heath Ledger as Patrick in 10 Things I Hate About You (Touchstone Pictures)

Who doesn’t love this movie, right? And while it was close call between dorky Cameron (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and the iconic “bad boy” of teen rom-coms Patrick Verona, that whole bleacher song-and-dance number he did gets me all. the. time. P.S. Doesn’t help my current obsession that author Jenny Han made Nick Centineo (aka Peter K) re-create this very scene. HELP.

Zack (She’s All That)

Freddie Prinze Jr. as Zack in She's All That
Freddie Prinze Jr. as Zack in She’s All That (Miramax)

If we forget about the whole bet premise (which was really lame, let’s be honest), I think we are all Laney (Rachael Leigh Cook) falling for Mr. Popular Zack (Freddie Prinze Jr.). And that face he makes when she goes down the stairs? Priceless. LOL yeah, even if she looked that way already minus the glasses the whole time.

And those are just my movie crushes. The list goes on for all the boys I’ve fallen in love with on TV. Sigh. To be young and in love. BRB, recalibrating my mind and heart to think like a 35-year-old. Haha!

Handwritten Fonts: How I Make Mine

I still keep a planner where I write my schedule in—although I admit that I sometimes log in the details after the fact. I keep a journal where I write down my intentions every month or so. Even with most of my life online, I still always keep a pen and paper on me. So it’s no surprise how I’m drawn to handwritten type (or at least looks handwritten).

Back in school, my friend Mikko and I would hand-letter our classmates’ names for their filofax dividers (now you know how old we are, heh). We’d copy our favorite fonts (mine was Jester) using different colored gel pens. One of our fave fonts to copy was Funstuff. Haha! Our lettering eventually evolved from our faves and we developed our own style.

These days, Mikko turns her handwriting into fonts. When she was just starting out, she’d ask us to write down the letters of the alphabet and she’d convert them into fonts we could use on Word or apps like Phonto. She has over a hundred fonts on her site now, including one she made out of the Assumption cursive.

Mix Font Guest Font Macy Tilt

My Macy suite (all fixed and converted by Mikko) is now 7 fonts strong. The latest one she made for me is now available on her site for download! How cool is that? I wrote this one on card stock from Alessa with a Pentel touch brush pen. And then the rest is all Mikko’s magic. Check out Mix Fonts for more of her handwritten fonts!

Ten Things I’m Thankful For

♡ finding time to reconnect with old friends and realizing that some things are bigger than past hurts

♡ snagging a hot-ticket item online

♡ going on an elyu food trip—even if it’s just through writing about it

♡ booking a writing gig that’s close to my heart

♡ finishing up a consultancy and learning a thing or two from it

♡ learning how to make “bacon” out of eggplant

♡ trying out some new good eats and eating better (which just means I now eat veggies more often, lol)

♡ getting back into ntc (it’s my third week now and hopefully, I won’t stop)

♡ filing my taxes with not much trouble (and grateful for the work that came my way this second quarter)

♡ anticipating two new babies in the near future (not mine, obvs, but excited just the same)

Currently / July 2018

Formerly a weekly themed post I adapted from That’s Chic, this is a list of my favorite things for the month.

Music Monday

I only ever learn about new music on Spotify these days. This isn’t even that new but it popped up in one of my Discover Weekly playlists in July. I love it when I hit the play button on a Monday morning and I never have to hit the next button.

Tasty Tuesday

Coco Mama Spice Bird Poketo Fat Rice The Grid Rockwell

Ever since a friend posted a shot of her Coco Mama order from Boracay, I’ve been wanting to try it. I haven’t been to the island in a long time (and they’re on lockdown until October), so I was excited to go to their pop-up here in Manila. After many failed attempts, Koko took me to Hole in the Wall to check out all the other Boracay restos hanging there. As you can see, we ordered from all the spots, haha! We got Piri Piri Pork from Spice Bird, a Yakitori Bowl from Poketo, and Fish with Dill and Vermicelli Noodles from Fat Rice. PLUS, I finally got to try Coco Mama, which I wish I could have again. SOOO good. I also got to visit The Grid at Powerplant when I had a catch -up dinner with Mara and Pam. This Lechon Porchetta with Eggplant and Buttered Rice is massive and I finished it all except for a few bits of chicharon.

Wishful Wednesday

Cleansing Starter kit Woo Woo Ritual Goods Iron Gall Ink Life After Breakfast

I’ve already talked about how I’m getting in touch with my intuition before. My high school friend Jenn started a shop for “spiritual housekeeping for the mumus in your life” and I got myself a Cleanse Starter Kit just in time for the new moon. It comes with white sage, selenite, palo santo, black tourmaline (not in photo), a tea light, and a ritual guide. On the right, I was testing out this Iron Gall Ink by Life After Breakfast with words from Madame Clairevoyant just around the time Mercury went into retrograde. I’ve always loved reading her weekly posts because they remind me to be a little kinder to myself.

Thoughtful Thursday

It’s a work in progress but I think I’ve taken strides the past couple of months. Here’s to being okay with your own pace and remembering that life isn’t a race.

Fashion Friday

Souvenir Modern Myth Soleil

My friend Sam finally launched her honeymoon project Souvenir. Been eyeing this piece ever since she posted it and I’m so happy I was the first to call dibs on it once she released her first collection. If you’re looking into starting a vintage jewelry collection of your own, it’s a great place to start. They only carry one of each piece and they’re reasonably priced, too! I’ve been loving all these local brand collabs lately, too, so I had to get myself a piece from the Modern Myth x Soleil Ignacio collection. Naturally, I had to get this necklace called “Maria.”

Clearly, the past month was a blur and I haven’t been able to sit down and write here. But I have a ton of things to tell you about, so let’s start again! (:

Currently / June 2018

Formerly a weekly themed post I adapted from That’s Chic, this is a list of my favorite things for the month.

Music Monday

Our new episode is up! Doree and Kate sit down with producer, writer, and director Priyanka Mattoo (@naanking) who discusses how her experience dealing with post-partum depression after the birth of her son helped her get serious about her self-care. Priyanka goes through her simple but effective skincare routine, and also shares the Maybelline lip stain she's been wearing for over 10 years. Plus, Doree and Kate celebrate Doree's big news: she quit her job! And Kate grapples with staying politically engaged while not binging on 24-hour news and Twitter. For more info and a list of products mentioned on this week's episode, visit forever35podcast.com. You can also join the Forever35 Facebook group, follow the podcast on Instagram and Twitter, and send them an email at forever35podcast@gmail.com. And now you can call them and leave a voicemail at 781-591-0390! This episode is sponsored by ThriveMarket (visit www.thrivemarket.com/forever35 for $60 off, free shipping and a 30-day free trial) , Begins With Skin (visit beginswithskin.com and use code FOREVER35 to get 10% off your first order), and Merge Records (visit mergerecords.com and enter FOREVER35 at checkout to get 20% off your purchase).

A post shared by Forever35 Podcast (@forever35podcast) on

This isn’t exactly music but not too long ago, I started subscribing to podcasts. One of my favorites is Forever 35, which I kept seeing on Facebook ads (LOL). Before this, I only had Modern Love, Rookie, and Thirty-ish Going on 13 in my podcast library, haha! Two writers Kate Spencer and Doree Shafrir talk about self-care (mostly about skin care) and have guests over to do the same. It’s kind of like eavesdropping on two friends chatting about serums.

Tasty Tuesday

Usually when it comes to selling my baked goods, I’ll admit laziness gets the better of me. My first instinct is to say no to things I don’t already offer or I’ve never done before. But I caught myself this time and said yes to a request for penguin cupcakes. A lot of people have told me to learn how to do fondant because it’ll help me earn more. But honestly, I don’t have the patience to learn how to make something I don’t even like myself. How many times have you peeled off fondant so you can eat a piece of cake or cookie? Sooo, after hours of Googling and searching through Pinterest boards, I finally came up with a modified Oreo design (the one I saw added frosting to the cookie while I halved the cookies and removed some filling) to top my chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream. Turned out pretty cute and was tasty as always!

Wishful Wednesday

La Union shoreline

Been dreaming of the beach for a while now and haven’t been on a trip since March. Hoping to head somewhere near the ocean soon even for just a day or so. Anyone up for an impromptu beach day trip?

Thoughtful Thursday

Tim Kreider

A post shared by by tessa forrest (@subliming.jpg) on

I’ve been thinking a lot about how we throw words around carelessly sometimes. Maybe out of fun, maybe out of jealousy, maybe out of boredom, maybe even all of the above. How horrible we get sometimes when we spew words of hate because we think it doesn’t matter because the person we speak of isn’t there to hear it. It’s not okay even if “we all do it anyway.” It’s an ongoing process for me and maybe one day, I hope, I won’t catch myself doing the same thing when I let my guard down.

Fashion Friday

Been on a self-imposed shopping ban because I made a few (LOL who am I kidding, a LOT of) adult transactions the past month and I really can’t afford to splurge on anything. But I just want to give a shout-out to Bags by Rubbertree for repairing my 4-year-old tote (one of the straps tore) and sending me some cord wraps, too. Ahhh! I know I just bought a saddle sling in April but omg just look at the new styles they’re releasing this month!

And just like that, we’re already at the mid-year mark. I cannot believe it has been six months (eight if you count the last two months of 2017) since I plunged head first into the freelance life. It doesn’t feel like it but when I look back on all the things I’ve done, I’m pretty proud of myself for what I’ve achieved. Here’s hoping the next 6 months are even better than the last.

Barbecue Chicken and Mushroom Pizza

I haven’t been cooking these past few months since Ate Elena came back to our house. She’s the one who prepares our meals so I’ve been doing what I do best—eat. Lol! But lately, I’ve been wanting to mess around in the kitchen so I volunteered to cook my dad’s lunch today. Since he still had some leftover pizza, I decided to whip up a chicken and mushroom topping for it. Like always, I tried Googling an easy recipe but decided to just wing it in the end. I’m pretty sure you can make your own seasoning (if you don’t want to use store-bought barbecue sauce) and even top it with cheese (I ended up eating mine on bread with some grated edam cheese) if you want. I just tried to use up the feta cheese we had so that’s what I used on my dad’s pizza.

Maybe one day I’ll make this with pizza dough from scratch!

Barbecue Chicken and Mushroom Pizza

I tried Googling a recipe and then just ended up winging it. Came out great!

Keyword pizza
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 2

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken breast fillet boiled and shredded
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup garlic sliced
  • 1/2 cup red onion sliced and separated into rings
  • 1 can button mushrooms drained and sliced
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce (I used Rack's)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • salt and pepper
  • feta cheese
  • 2 ready-made pizza crusts personal size

Instructions

  1. In a hot pan, add olive oil and cook onions until translucent. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. 

  2. Add mushrooms and sauté for a few minutes. 

  3. Add shredded chicken, barbecue sauce, and sugar. Stir continuously.

  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste and take off the heat.

  5. Time to assemble the pizza! Layer feta cheese and top with the chicken and mushroom mixture on your pizza.

  6. Stick in your oven toaster for 10-15 minutes or until the edges of your crust are golden brown.