Finding my groove

Ivoryhut Adobe San Francisco Photography Getaway

 
 
 
Some weeks ago, I received an email from a lovely lady named Anne. (Yes, I already knew then that she’d be lovely.) She wrote to invite me to spend a day in San Francisco taking photographs of the sights, followed by a 3-hour Lightroom workshop with the amazing Julieanne Kost the following day. Oh, and Adobe was sponsoring the whole thing. She then so kindly remarked that she thought I might need the break.

Coming up for air

ivoryhut flowers

 
Yes, I know it’s been a while since I last put up a new post. While I absolutely love my homemade Nutella chips, that’s not the reason you’ve had to look at them for the past few weeks. Not entirely. (I do think they deserved the extended exposure anyway. Those cookies are good.)

Nutella Chip Cookies with Homemade Nutella Chips

ivoryhut nutella chip cookies

 
 
Last week, I innocently tweeted:

Dear Nutella: I really think you should start selling Nutella baking chips. Seriously. They would rock.

I don’t know what made me say that. Maybe because these Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies have been on my mind, and when I went to my cupboard to check if I had chocolate chips, I saw two jars of Nutella sitting right in front of the peanut butter. Or maybe it was simply because I happened to overhear someone else publicly declare their deep and abiding love for that irresistible hazelnut chocolate spread. (That happens a lot.)

Either way, I thought it would be really cool to bake chocolate chip cookies with Nutella baking chips. Apparently, many others thought it was a great idea as well.

One-Dish Dinners: Doable, Delicious Paella

ivoryhut Doable Delicious Paella Pam Anderson One-Dish Dinners
 
I wouldn’t exchange my childhood in the Philippines for anything. The whole family sat down to supper just about every night: my grandparents, mom, dad, and my two brothers. But every Sunday, all my mother’s brothers and their families would arrive in the afternoon and stay till late into the night. Those suppers were extra special. Sunday suppers meant not just fiesta-worthy food (and lots of it!); they also meant hide-and-seek or capture-the-flag games that lasted until the wee hours of the morning. Yes, Monday was a school day, but we didn’t care. We would have played until the sun came up if “the parents” let us. (They sometimes did.)

That was our Sunday, every week of the year. We also spent summers and school holidays together, and as if that weren’t enough, we even scheduled occasional mid-week slumber parties. Fifteen cousins in all and we were all each other’s best friends.

We still are.

Lessons Learned

 
It’s been seven weeks since the fire and while progress has been made, some things are stuck in a standstill. We finally got the go-signal to begin demolition and cleanup, after weeks of failed attempts to figure out the cause of the fire. It will be a relief to drive up to the property without having to see the pile of rubble. The recent severe weather here, however, has pushed back our demolition plans. I am both eager to get it done and dreading it. But I continue to remind myself that every day is one day closer to being back home again.

The fire has taught us many things. Valuable things, both practical and life-changing. We have learned volumes about the depth of love that exists in friendship, the kindness of strangers, and how easy it is to make that leap from stranger to friend. Many people have told us how strong we are, how resilient. But we can’t take credit for that. What we are inside, we owe to our faith, and where we fall short, the people around us—both far and near—bolster us up, lifting us higher than we can stand on our own.

about me

I write, cook, play music, and make pictures. Not necessarily in that order. I was born and raised in the Philippines, and it shows. That means I eat rice with every meal, love my cousins like my own siblings, and firmly believe that avocados are best eaten with cream and sugar.

If you want to learn more about me, here are 43 things I'd like to do. Here's a little something about my name, in case you were wondering. Here are some other places you'll find me:

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LOST AND FOUND

One summer night in 2010, our house burned to the ground and we lost everything we had. This is the story of what happened and how life and hope can always rise from ashes.



I'm proud to belong to an amazing community of Filipino food lovers. Together, we celebrate this often-neglected Asian cuisine, sharing our family's treasured recipes and discovering new ones along the way. This is our club.
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