Famil(iarity)

Dear Girl,

Since high school, my mom has made it a habit to have me tag along with her at various school reunions. I went from enjoying them, to dreading them, and fully treasuring them and feeling extremely grateful that I get such an opportunity and privilege to witness such long lasting friendships.

Watching her interact with various friends from kindergarten to high school friends, has had a lasting impression on my perspective of relationships.

“Mei mei (little sister), remember when you’re dating, don’t bring a boy you are not yet serious about yet, around your friends. You really just never know,” one auntie turned to me and cautioned.

Now although they share such advice, I am more excited by the witness of their relationships with one another. Their conversations and time together that has been a testament of how important friendships are but also how much time changes them and even distance influences their growth individually and together.

I am not one with many close friends or even many friends in general. I know many, but I can guess that many wouldn’t say they would consider me someone close to them or someone they would usually confide in. This had saddened me for quite some time, but upon my time recently in Taiwan, and spending so much time with my parents’ friends, I’ve realized that even as many of these relationships had grown apart at a point in time, the space to grow and the time apart were needed. It has led many of them back to reminisce upon familiarity – just like a sense of having family. This is not to say that some if these relationships were not built with time, frustrations, forgiveness, energy, effort, acceptance, tears, and joy – any relationship needs a combination of the above. However, I am fully convinced that true friendships can survive even after years, oceans, and problems apart because those kinds of friends are people who have learned to love themselves and have grown themselves and therefore even after being apart from you, can come back to love you and accept your changes and growth just as they’ve accepted their own.

At one point, we are all going to struggle, to lose a loved one, to survive a tragedy, to succeed, to be busy, to be loved, to lose love, to see our family members change or grow or be ill or leave or move or marry or give birth…etc. because these happenings happen to all we will have commonalities and relatable events in our lives at some point. We may just encounter each at different times. Yet after it’s all done and said, who doesn’t want someone to share in those feelings and emotions even after the matter? People who are able to be there before, during, or after are all worthy of being a part of our stories and more importantly are essential to our lives. Friends may grow apart but at some point most, will always meet again at some intersection, even if it’s by chance.

I am excited to see what my future reunions look like, but meanwhile, I’m going to treasure more of my relationships before those start happening, and in am sitting at a table with all sorts of women laughing over uniform shirt from high school that they signed so beautifully. Although to be honest, in this day and age, are we still going to have such tangible memories to hold onto? Or will our memories be captured in a virtual time capsule that will need to be unlocked with some complex password and will be released into iCloud type system, in which, only those who have placed items within the file will have access to it? Though it sounds pretty awesome, I sure hope we will still have printed photos, old signed shirts, letters, etc.

For now, I’ll just enjoy my mom’s tangible memories.

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Xoxo,

Ainz

On the No-Bake Train

Dear Baking Girl,

Don’t have baking utensils? Don’t have familiar products? No problem! Get creative!

This is what my creativity led to…

No-Bake Honey-Glazed Banana Cheesecake (and – Banana Foster No-Bake Cheesecake)

All made with just regular spoons, rice bowls, pan, knife, chopsticks!

I used the same recipes I’ve been using for the last couple of posts (http://alettertoadeargirl.com/2015/01/04/mini-dirty-banana-and-oreo-no-bake-cheesecakes/), but just increased the amount and also used butter and crumbs for my base!

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A true dessert lover and dessert maker never lets the lack of an oven and baking utensils stop herself from making something deliciously sweet!

xoxo,

Fellow Baking Girl

(Mini) BluebOreo (and Cherry) No-Bake Cheesecakes

Dear Baking Girl,

Remember my Mini Dirty Banana and Oreo No-Bake CheesecakesWell, these are no different! Just decided to use blueberries instead and spiced it up with some honey-blueberry glaze! I will link the recipe for the cheesecake and base portion, and explain how to make the glaze below!

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Click ((HERE)) for the cheesecake and base recipe!

Here is the HOW-TO for the glaze:

  • 3 tbsp of honey
  • 3 tbsp of raw sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp of boiling water and lime juice
  • a handful of blueberries

Step-by-step:

  1. Stir it together in a bowl and then place bowl in pot of water – heat to boil.
  2. Once water in pot starts boiling, turn down heat and begin to stir the mixture.
  3. You can add more honey or sugar if needed to thicken the glaze.

Fun-Baking,

Fellow Baking Girl

A Little Goes a Long Way

Dear Fellow Readers,

The beautiful little girl in white is Mabel.

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She is the one I have been asking you all to support as of late! We are currently around ~$520 out of the $600 of her annual sponsorship! I have personally had the pleasure of meeting her and she is simply wonderful. She loves to sing gospel music and is a feisty but sweet girl in the 4th grade. She lives in the safe haven at Chikumbuso Women and Orphans Project and is living apart from her family because her father works incredibly far away.

I am just encouraging you all to think about giving just a bit more! Just having met her, I know she would be so grateful and excited to know that she’s been sponsored by so many wonderful people! Click on the link below to help!

https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/3v2q7/ab/13C7I1

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xoxo,

Dear Girl Blogger

Mini Dirty Banana and Oreo No-Bake Cheesecakes

Dear Baking Girl,

I call these the “Mini Dirty Banana and Oreo No-Bake Cheesecakes”

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It began with an attempt to do an easy no-bake recipe (http://thecornerkitchenblog.com/healthier-no-bake-cheesecake-bites/), but then I decided to get creative.

The Corner Kitchen recipe is so simple and I loved it, but I didn’t have all the ingredients and wanted to spice up the recipe with some chocolate and banana (mm-mm my favorites).

Here are my ingredients (adapted from the original recipe) and then it will be followed by picture instructions:

Ingredients for 12 mini cheesecakes:

  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • Box of Oreos – cookies used as cheesecake bases, crumbs within cheesecake and topping, and center filling as my personal replacement for half-and-half and vanilla extract)
  • 1 banana
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar (can add more to your liking)
  • 1-2 tsp of lime juice (comparative to the amount of sugar added – I added too much lime juice for my first try!)
  • 2-3 squares of milk chocolate or baker’s chocolate

Step-by-step:

Cheesecake filling

  1. Open up 8 oreos and scrape out the cream filling into a bowl.
  2. Take 4 cookie halves and break them into crumbs. (Crumbs do not need to be fine)
  3. Cream together cream cheese, filling, and sugar.
  4. Add in lime juice and continue to mix into smooth.
  5. Stir in oreo crumbs.
  6. Place mixture into a bag (this will be easier to pipe mixture onto bases later) and put into the fridge while preparing cheesecake base.

Oreo Base

  1. Melt 2-3 squares of chocolate in a double boiler (I used a bowl of hot water and placed a cup into the bowl since I do not have a boiler).
  2. Spread thing layers of melted chocolate on oreo halves.
  3. Set aside in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Putting Together the Cheesecake

  1. Pipe cheesecake mixture onto chocolate covered oreos.
  2. Cut small banana slices and insert into the center of each cheesecake.
  3. Drizzle remaining melted chocolate and sprinkle remaining cookie crumbs to your liking.
  4. Place in fridge until you’re ready to eat!

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xoxo,

Baking Girl

Onward, They Flew

Dear Going with the Winds,

Everyday, you are given a choice – to go where the wind may take you or to stand on your own. The wind can carry you up high, take you dancing across the clouds, bring you close to the warmth of the sun, or it can walk you closer to the ground with the leaves, the steps of other people, the puddles from gathered waste, or the remnants of rain. These days mean for ups and downs, undecided by you.

But if you so choose – you can be at a peak, always. You can find joy, love, and contentment in all things. You can be in warmth, in gratitude, in positivity because every morning, you get to choose what that day looks like.

Today, I sat on the curb next to a historic sight in Taipei and watched children and their parents fly kites. I found myself setting sights on the kites settling at higher distances from the ground. The winds were only slight breezes, but several had reached unimaginable heights. I smiled because it reminded me that today onward, not because it’s a new year, but because it’s a life choice, I wouldn’t allow for circumstance to decide how high I climb or how low I fall. Circumstance is just that –  a circumstance. Today onward, I choose to be different.

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Xoxo,

Against the Winds