Saturday, October 19, 2019

Fall Diaries: OctoPhoMo 16-20

๐Ÿ“ธ OCTOPHOMO Day 16
๐Ÿ Fall is getting chillier and chillier! ••• brrrr it feels like early winter to a person like myself! ••• ❄️ ••• Loving my Fall socks and putting together browns and burgundies from my wardrobe

๐Ÿ“ธ OCTOPHOMO Day 17
Sometimes, there are signs ••• Some places call you ••• Some stories wait to be told ••• Some adventures await ••• The Cove awaits •••

๐Ÿ“ธ OCTOPHOMO Day 18
What if all the myths and legends are true?
What if all horrors are for real?
Will it matter?
Guess not!
What we live are greater nightmares.
Myths and legends don’t scare anymore.
Perhaps it’ll be pleasant to get heart to heart
With a monster once in a while,
To hear its side of the story
Of greater monsters on my side.

๐Ÿ“ธ OCTOPHOMO Day 19
I am not alone in celebrating this ••• the transition of greens to reds ••• The skies are a much prettier shade of blue ••• A crisp chill has taken over ••• I am forgetting the summer stories for good •••

๐Ÿ“ธ OCTOPHOMO Day 20

๐Ÿ”’ Yet another lock ••• Perhaps I’ll find a key this time? ••• Fall may answer questions •••

Monday, October 14, 2019

Fall Diaries: Of Cosmic Wonders, Stories, & Such / OctoPhoMo Day 11- Day 15

๐Ÿ“ธ OCTOPHOMO Day 11
๐ŸงŸ‍♂️ ๐ŸŽ‚ ๐ŸŽƒ We call it OctoNovember, Sara & I, because it’s about birthdays, cakes, Falloween, photography, and festivities!
๐Ÿ“ธ OCTOPHOMO Day 12
There’s something about journals ••• so many of them, leather bound, paperback, hardcover ••• Each one just calls me “pick me up, write a story” “tell me secrets” •••
๐Ÿ“ธ OCTOPHOMO Day 13
Some comforting, slow afternoons are no less than a miracle. Catching up on my reading.
๐Ÿ“ธ OCTOPHOMO Day 14
๐ŸŒ…Sunrise this morning. Unfiltered. It’s a fine Fall treat to just being able to watch it. Witnessed from my fancy cage this is no less than a miraculous adventure.
๐Ÿ“ธ OCTOPHOMO Day 15
๐ŸŒ• Hunter’s Moon ••• Such beautiful cosmic phenomenon happen in Fall. This was orange yesterday according to news but I was too exhausted to check. This beautiful setting beauty showed up as I was coming back upstairs from the kitchen with a steaming bowl of oats.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Apple Spice Bundt Cake With Cream Cheese Filling and Rich Dark Chocolate Glaze


Apple Spice Bundt Cake with Cheesecake Filling and Rich Dark Chocolate Glaze

Notes:

★ Original recipe:

“Apple-Spice Bundt Cake with Caramel Frosting” Source: MyRecipes (website)

★ Steps are difference in sequences from original recipe according to my sister’s baking techniques such as mixing dry ingredients in wet ingredients, and etc.

★ Rich Dark Chocolate Glaze is my sister Sara Ali’s recipe (I made some changes to it to adjust the strength/bitterness of the chocolate)

★ Garnish was my personal addition. Ingredients: Pecans and chopped chunks of ------------ (photo in Comments)

★ Special Equipment: A 14 cup Bundt pan

INGREDIENTS

CREAM CHEESE FILLING

1 (8-oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


APPLE-SPICE BATTER

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)

1/2 cup granulated sugar

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

3 cups all-purpose flour

3 large Granny Smith apples


RICH DARK CHOCOLATE GLAZE & GARNISH

¾ cup icing sugar

½ cup cocoa powder

Water 2-3 tablespoons to begin, more added later to adjust pourable consistency of glaze

Milk, added according to taste

Vanilla essence, ½ tsp

Squirrel Brand Creme Brulee Almonds (from Costco)

★ Step 1: Preheat oven to 350°F

★ Step 2: Prepare the Cream Cheese Filling:

Beat an 8 oz packet of cream cheese at fast speed

In a 2nd bowl, sift 2 tablespoons all purpose flour

Add the sifted flour to the cream cheese and beat fast until combined

Last, add 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1 egg, and 1 teaspoon vanilla and beat until smooth

Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula and beat to combine

★ Step 3: Prepare the Apple-Spice Batter:

Peel 3 large Granny Smith apples, chop them, and grate them in a food processor. Set aside.

In a bowl, sift dry ingredients: 2 teaspoons baking powder, 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, 1 ½ teaspoons cardamom powder, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon coriander, and 3 cups all purpose flour.

In a second bowl (attached to a mixer), add 1 cup packed light brown sugar, 1 cup vegetable oil (I used canola), and 1/2 cup granulated sugar and beat on medium speed until well blended.

Add 3 eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in 2 teaspoons vanilla.

Gradually add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet brown sugar mixture, beating on low speed until just blended. Add apples, and beat on low speed just until combined.

★ Step 4: Prep the Bundt pan

Use a stick of butter (for a good hold) and rub each and every groove of the Bundt pan. This is the MOST important step, so sit down and give it time. Work your fingers and massage all the way to the top walls of the pan.

★ Step 5: Layering the Batter in the Bundt pan

Spoon half of the batter into the buttered 14-cup Bundt pan.

Dollop Cream Cheese Filling over the apple mixture, leaving a 1-inch border around edges of pan. Swirl filling through batter using a knife. Spoon remaining batter over filling.

★ Step 6: Bake!

Place the Bundt pan in the center of the pre-heated oven on the top rack

Bake until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Mine was around 58 minutes. It is recommended to first bake for 50 minutes, do a wooden pick test and bake for 2 minutes additional at a time until the wooden pick comes out clean.

★ Step 7: Removal from Bundt pan

Cool cake in pan on a wire rack for about 30 minutes

Remove from pan to wire rack (video for reference), and cool completely (about 2 hours). I placed mine in the fridge to cool after wrapping in plastic wrap. I let it sit overnight, but you can do a couple hours.

★ Step 8: Preparing the Rich Dark Chocolate Glaze

In a glass bowl, add ¾ cups icing sugar, ½ cup cocoa powder, ½ teaspoon vanilla essence, and 3 tablespoons water and begin whisking.

Add more water a tablespoon at a time to get the glaze to thin out. Remember, milk will have to be added to lessen the bitterness of cocoa so do not overdo water.

When glaze is slightly thin, (not runny) taste for bitterness.

Add milk, a tablespoon at a time and continue whisking and tasting until you get the chocolate taste of your choice.

★ Step 9: Glazing and Garnish

Pour the glaze over the Bundt cake very slowly, allowing it to pour through the grooves.

Pour less over some areas, more over others for an alternating drizzle effect.

Video for reference.

I completely covered the middle hole of the Bundt on the inside, you may choose different.

For garnishing I used whole pecan nuts and chopped chunks of Squirrel Brand Creme Brulee Almonds (from Costco)

Monday, October 7, 2019

October Photography Month (OctoPhoMo) 2019 Day 06 - Day 10

* This post will be updating daily



๐Ÿ“ธ OCTOPHOMO Day 06: Scarecrow

Fall’s one big carnival everyday ๐ŸŽƒ We need a scarecrow emoji! ••• The usual grocery and mundane nonsense errands kind of become festive ••• ๐Ÿ
๐Ÿ“ธ OCTOPHOMO Day 07: Shower
To shower in peace without someone knocking at the door, calling you for duty, is a rare privilege ••• One day I’ll enjoy that feeling ๐Ÿšฟ
๐Ÿ“ธ OCTOPHOMO Day 08: Bed
⚙️Repair and renovation works are emotionally exhausting. Seeing your place all topsy turvy is like a part of your soul hurting. Things change for the best but the process •••
๐Ÿ“ธ OCTOPHOMO Day 09: "Electronics"

Word of the Week: Bring your own music, play your own song, dance at your own pace.
๐Ÿ“ธ OCTOPHOMO Day 10: "Woods"




Tuesday, October 1, 2019

October Photography Month (OctoPhoMo) 2019 Day 01 - Day 05


๐Ÿ“ธ OCTOPHOMO Day 01: Deserted Road
๐Ÿš My work takes me places. I come across people who are ••• well, human and hence imperfect ••• some treat me with respect (willingly or coerced by the tenant landlord relationship ๐Ÿ˜†) ••• Others simply choose to unleash their demons at me ••• It’s a deserted road at the end of the day for me and my business partner (the younger sister), and we walk alone ••• But then a statement from an old acquaintance echoes “Two are never alone”

๐Ÿ“ธ OCTOPHOMO Day 02: Eating
Eating ••• That monster plant ๐ŸŒฑ quite accurately depicts the way I feel about people eating and me cooking •••

๐Ÿ“ธ OCTOPHOMO Day 03 “Garden”
๐Ÿ“ธ OCTOPHOMO Day 03 “Garden” ••• I do not exactly have a green thumb, having killed a hydrangea and shrunken a Moon cactus ๐ŸŒต (trying to revive it). So my idea of an ideal garden is THIS! Zero care!

๐Ÿ“ธ OCTOPHOMO Day 04: Magical Fall Sunrise (non-prompt)
The magical sunrises of Fall. ๐Ÿ There are always a few golden seconds I can spare while dealing with the oatmeal cooking, yelling and screaming over setting the heat on in premature Fall, and the critique over the day’s agenda.

๐Ÿ“ธ OCTOPHOMO Day 05: Bundt Pan Love (non-prompt)
I love Bundt pans! It’s official! Just like succulents or faux plants these are a sure shot guarantee of beautiful cake! A simple glaze adds to the beauty! I don’t need to be a skilled baker / decorator to make a pro looking treat! ๐ŸŽ‚

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Fall Diaries 2019: Fall Season Officially Takes Off!


๐Ÿ ๐Ÿ‚ Fall’s First Dance ๐Ÿงฃ๐Ÿบ 
“A poet awakens to a crispy dance of leaves,
Autumn masquerades in colors gold.
Mulled cider, pumpkin spice, butterscotch, and maple,
And my heart - a chalice!
Its own flavors bold!” - The Abbie - Fall’s First Dance (2019)
๐Ÿ‚ Salted Caramel Mocha ☕️ should get the conversation started ••• Starbucks is always the first to bring in the season •••
๐ŸAcorns on my socks convince that Fall has officially begun ••• It was a cold, heartless Fall last year with all the landscaping/paving contractor troubles killing the vibe ••• I was terribly alone in the decision making and arguments, and I couldn’t enjoy the season at all ๐ŸŽƒ ••• This year I have my gear all set InshaAllah (God Willing) to cheer Fall the loudest! •••
The magical sunrises of Fall. ๐Ÿ There are always a few golden seconds I can spare while dealing with the oatmeal cooking, yelling and screaming over setting the heat on in premature Fall, and the critique over the day’s agenda.
Fall’s one big carnival everyday ๐ŸŽƒ We need a scarecrow emoji! ••• The usual grocery and mundane nonsense errands kind of become festive ••• ๐Ÿ

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Goodbye Summer 2019

๐ŸŒต๐Ÿ‰Goodbye Summer 2019 ••• It’s been a love hate relationship ••• While I loved picking unique blooms ๐ŸŒบ for container gardening, the wasp and hornet ๐Ÿ invasion that followed really cracked my nerves ••• The inflatable pool bashes in the backyard with the kids were fun but the pool cleanup sessions ๐Ÿฆ  broke my back and gifted me chronic muscle strain ••• Overall the adventures have been memorable! ••• ๐Ÿง Snow cones, S’mores ๐Ÿก, a new cactus ๐ŸŒต (named it Grindelwald), Starbucks lemon ๐Ÿ‹ and strawberry ๐Ÿ“ cake pops, a Hydrangea plant (named her Nymphadora Tonks), Ramadan ๐ŸŒ™, BBQs ๐Ÿ–, Potterific July ⚡️ ••• It’s been a crazy summer!

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Abbie's Adventure Films: "The American Summer" Part 1 - July 2019



Oooooooooh! July of insane temperatures! Gone --- Goodbye --- See you! --- I really could have used Falcor the Luck Dragon somewhere in the middle! ---  I welcomed new blooms and deadheaded Nymphadora Tonks (my hydrangea). So, that's great news, I am not killing it so far and keeping 'em well-drained from thunderstorms! I hoisted the Star Spangled Banner to jumpstart July. A full day was hijacked by my mother and I was taken to the garden center to help book a red cedar mulch delivery for landscaping the nieces' playground area in the backyard. Also, to pickup some flowers for her outdoors decor. Bagged some Celosia Intenz and they are quite the show so far. The Fourth was a grand affair at Abbiesville. Pools were inflated (applaud the Intex 10 ft adult pool!), a unicorn, a mermaid, and an airplane float made it to the water! Some very happy, splashing nieces! --- Ah, there is always BBQ isn't it? --- While thunderstorms made the entire neighborhood hide indoors, the Madhous sneaked a quick BBQ on the Fourth --- It was a festive tale of S'mores (so American! seriously enjoyed the Hersheys S'mores kit!), pasta, salsa, skewered kababs and tikkas ----- My back was in pieces at the end of the day but as long as you get to float on a unicorn, you shouldn't complain! ---- The only regret, I still have to clean the BBQ grill grates and a month has gone by! Vinegar and baking soda await! ------  The Fourth ended with me watching the President's controversial speech event on TV. He'd conjured up a Marines dhow of airplanes and warcrafts --- I may not favor the politics ATM but I loved the show --- I live close to DC so the Marine aircrafts and choppers were seen flying overhead when we were splashing and backyard bashing in the late afternoon --- So proud and happy to be American!

I finalized my Summer Adventure Board --- broke into my new unicorn and llamas rainbow pajamas --- and went around enjoying the Instagram Stories feature (yes! I recently discovered the filming bliss that it is!) --- I've been showing the world my chores and mores --- Potterific July was in full swing on Instagram, hosted by Sara --- Showed some serious Potterhead Pride there --- I can't wait to be back at Hogwarts! ----- Made Summer magnets out of Llama and Cactus luggage tags  got from the Dollar Tree! ---

Lots of cooking as usual --- no new recipes though --- same old, same old --- lots of watermelon being eaten --- Summers! ---

I kind of did overcome my pet down in the dumps feeling that had been hanging for a very long time --- It has a lot to do with re-connecting with my madness and opening up about it --- no hiding, no hiding! ----- The mundane daily grind was also one of the contributors but now that I'm sharing the daily grind with the world, it feels good ---- Lit some Dragonblood incense, sang some old songs, and got over with most of the low feels --- I call my car the Black Pearl and myself the Prisoner of Azkaban --- that gets me through --- All's well that ends with a cup of Chai ---

Midway through July we had a problem --- the inflatable pool turned green with major, stinking, algae growth --- cleanup was a dread! --- The stink registered in the brain and was felt for another week just psychologically ---

Sara actually got to see Aladdin for the second time! --- I skipped --- We all go a little mad sometimes --- It was a balloon dancing kind of mental state --- I dined with my ol' lady at Red Robin instead and helped her pick a yet new load of formals for my brother ---

Aunt Life was at its best as usual --- Ludo Wars! I was convicted of cheating (I'm a smooooooooth criminal) ---- Mannee has developed a taste for my brains, she's been feeding on 'em --- We are talking concerts of self-made songs, and aimless wanderings about the house looking for prohibited items to eat --- At the end of the day when the two dinosaurs depart the house is like the ending of Jurassic Park! ---

Making myself feel good about the full moon in my bathroom window and bagging a motorized toothbrush on Amazon Prime day! --- cleanups continued as per usual --- Madhouse works do not give thought to human needs of rest! --- The bloody sunroom door glass is broken! That's what happens when people keep banging it! --- The neverending grocery runs could have killed me had it not been for the Costco samples entertaining my taste buds! ---

Best part about July ---- Hot Topic and Box Lunch merch began arriving at our doorstep --- Early Christmas like feels! --- Aladdin's Funko Pop showed up --- love! ---


Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Abbie's Adventure Films: "The American Summer" Part 2 July 2019


It won't be wrong to say my mid summer state of mind was like one of those inflatable balloons waving frantically outside shops! Things have been pretty crazy at Abbiesville. Chores have been the usual ---  

A Red Robin luncheon concluded July for me. Later, of course the awesomeness of the Banzai burger thinned away as I was tortured in the JCPenney men's section. This was my mother buying clothes yet again for my brother. 

Aunt life's been buzzing as usual! Kids are quite a handful --- little bundles of high energy! I was playing Paw Patrol Ludo (getting blamed for cheating!), listening to Mannee yelling away on her microphone live in concert, reading aloud as she ate her lunch, making her cheesy egg sandwich and Maggie noodles on the weekend, and getting her to have fun while we did chores. She was our Roomba cleaning robot as we vacuumed. The nieces have turned my brains into a rainbow and unicorns hot sauce. At my dentist's I found myself looking for Nemo in their aquarium! 

Potterific July rolled by and I loved participating. Sara was the Boss Lady this year again, second in a row! And she has an army of Potterheads following the challenge on Instagram now! 

Heat advisory was on! Insane, soaring temperatures as high as 96 degrees and beyond! I got out the summer dresses so I could roam around all breezy for a while! Yet, always to return home for a piping cuppa tea! The inflatable octopus lays faint --- Summer should die now please. 

Quite a few great buys this month. Got a motorized toothbrush on Amazon Prime day! I am calling it Jughead! Yes, I name my gadgets. There was my Harry Potter merch coming in --- a gorgeous Gryffindor journal and a Weasley's Wizard Wheezes shop themed coin purse (I am using it to hold my candy!). I also got my Aladdin Funko Pop! Adorable little thing! The detailing on the Pops is incredible!

On the kitchen front I made chicken chili, pineapple fried rice, and Baisan ki Kadhi this month for some change of flavor. Cookings are always followed by cleaning! You cook you clean! Even Mannee the niece was making pizza for the baby (her baby sister). S'mores at the BBQ came as a throwback from July Fourth BBQ. Gotta have more s'mores.

 I don't know what's worst --- chores upon chores or pool cleaning! --- Well, nothing comes out of pool cleaning except that unfriendly croaking frog scaring the daylights out of me. Also, my gluteal muscles are gone! Chores get me Costco samples. I am talking Peach Cider! That's what I pretended to get drunk on!

On another crappy note a door glass shattered! Impact! This is what people do at the Madhouse. Door feels stuck due to loose hinges so lets slam it like trolls until a double paned glass shatters! This is why horror movies come off as comedy to me. Speaking of horror movies, The Boy was our pick this month and I was seriously disappointed!

July ended with drowning my troubles away in a deathly Blizzard from Dairy Queen. Deathly cheers! 

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Potterific July 2019

Potterific July is hosted by my sister & Butterbeer buddy @saraallie ••• The photo challenge is open to all wizards, witches, and Muggles! Enjoy Potterific July and do visit Sara’s profile for her mind blowing photos! Use #potterificjuly to get featured and follow the hashtag to enjoy photos from the Potterhead family all over the planet! Fun magical discussions are also happening in Sara’s Stories everyday!
Day 1 “I’m A Potterhead” 

••• No doubt about it! ••• I live the Potterhead Pride ••• I share the magic with my sister and bestie for life, Sara Ali @saraallie ••• We raise our wands together and we are Butterbeer buddies ••• We live for the thrill of the Wizarding World and Potter merch! ••• We believe in the Harry Potter universe (good vs evil, patience and forbearance, sacrifice and power of love, and friendship beyond all relationships!). Enjoy Potterific July and do visit Sara’s profile for her mind blowing photos!
Day 2 “House Pride”  

••• I’m unmistakably Gryffindor. Yes! I’d be able to pull Gryffindor’s sword from the Sorting Hat! Featured today is a shot of my pin board dedicated to my Wizarding World trips where I stay at the Cabana Bay resort and spend a week of unbelievable dreamlike awesomeness.
Day 3 “Journey to Hogwarts” 

••• Did a little scene setup in my shelf. That’s Harry headed to Hogwarts on the Hogwarts Express.
Day 4 “Wingardium Leviosa” 

••• A little Swish and Flick action this morning.
Day 5 “Fav. Ship”

••• My favorite witch and wizard couple! I chose to get their student version Funko Pops because that’s where Ron needed the MOST rescue ๐Ÿ˜‚ and despite the threats and scolding, Hermione was ALWAYS at his side!
Day 6 “Monster Book of Monsters” 

••• ๐Ÿ‘€ I keep mine extra tied up!
Day 7 “Dementors” 

••• ๐Ÿ’€ Avoid the kiss ••• Keep a chocolate and happy thoughts handy.
Day 8 “Divination” 

••• ๐Ÿ”ฎ ✨ Fair Fortune Be Yours
Day 9 “The Chosen One” 

••• Mina Lima art has got to be the most visually stunning aspect of the real world Harry Potter planet!