Yelly Writes

Mothers Day


Today we all celebrate our very own superwomen.  I’m lucky because I get to celebrate Mothers Day twice.  Today in the UK, as it’s Mothering Sunday and during the second Sunday in May when the Philippines (and I think most of the world) celebrates Mothers Day.

My dearest Ima. there are so many things I would like to thank you for. I thank the Lord daily for you, for all the things you do for us, for all the things you have done for us, for all the things you have given us and the things you give to us. But most of all, I thank you for raising us in a household founded on faith. Your faith has sustained us even during the most difficult of times. Your faith has buoyed us during the storms of life and we will forever be blessed by your daily testament of faith. Your faith has sustained ours and has strengthened our faith in God. That is your most precious gift to us.

Happy Mothers Day Mama!  Today, most especially, I wish I could hug you.  I love you.

Yelly Reads

Book du jour: Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously

Julie & Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell.  “A culinary legend provides a frustrated office worker a new recipe for life.”

I’ve got the paperback version. 320 pages, size 1.9 x 13.2 x 19.8 cm.  Published by Penguin Books.  That being said, I also have the Kindle version!  But because this is one of my favourite books, I am going to go old style and read the actual book!

I’ve probably read this book at least 9 times.  I’ve watched the movie more!  In fact, as I write this blog entry, it’s on.  Right now.  I’ve got Meryl Streep, Stanley Tucci and Amy Adams on my TV screen.

It’s my comfort movie because I watch it whenever I’m home ill.  It fills me with hope that someday, my blog will mean something, that someone will read it and think, “Hey, that girl has something to say and she says it well!”  That is the dream.

I love this book because it’s about someone I can relate to.  I can relate to the experiences and it’s someone who knows about the Bataan Death March (which my grandfather was part of — he was a Philippine World War II veteran)!  Every time I read it, I just smile.  I would love to meet Julie Powell.  I would love to pick her brains.  I would love to say, “How in the world did you manage to start living the dream?!?”

Because that is the dream.  To write.  In my case it’s to write about food.

So I am about to embark into another journey into the world of Julie Powell challenging herself to cook through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  And, oh boy, am I going to enjoy this particular ride.  Again.


Yelly Writes

Comfort seeking

These are challenging times.

If you’ve been reading my blog, you’ll know that I’ve been worrying over my father, who is still in hospital.  We encountered a setback today.  He was supposed to go home tomorrow but that’s not happening now.  I still believe that he is in the best place that he can be.  He has the best doctors and he is where he can be treated immediately.  I know that science can only do so much.  The rest I believe that God will take care of.

I am feeling a little delicate tonight.  I know that I will cry at a drop of a hat.  So I’m trying to entertain myself.  I’ve got Mary Berry on the telly cooking her perfect beef stew and I am trying to blog.  I am desperately trying not to be morose but I think I am failing miserably.

I’d like nothing better than to go to bed and pull the duvet over my head.  And maybe have a good cry.

Sorry everyone.  Pass the kleenex.


Yelly Writes

Sunday Devotion

Sunday is usually family Sunday Skype Day.  I chat to my folks and they chat back by video chat.  We haven’t been able to do that properly for a couple of Sundays now.  My dad is still in hospital but he is improving.  His catheter and IV has been removed.  He’s now in rehab for the stroke that he suffered to strengthen his left side.  Instead of a video chat, I phoned my mum and said a quick hello to my Abba on the phone.  There is something that I can’t put a finger on, something that worries me.  But I can’t seem to articulate it, I can’t seem to describe it.  This I lay down at my God’s feet.  This I lift up to Him to take care of.  I also lift up my worrying heart and ask Him to allay my fears and to calm my worrying heart.

Instead of spending the time chatting to my family, I have read several devotionals instead.  The verse below has hit home and has helped me deal with my situation.

“But His joy is in those who reverence Him, those who expect Him to be loving and kind” (Psalm 147:11).

It always amazes me how much God loves us.  And I mean REALLY loves us.  We have free will and He doesn’t stop us from doing our own thing.  But when things go wrong, He makes it possible for us to find our way back to Him.  He loves it when His children go out and be independent, but He loves it even more when we are completely dependent on Him.  He would rather we completely depend on Him.  And that suits me just fine.  It’s easy to say “Keep the faith” or “Just trust God” but because we are human, we have human frailties and we are, by nature, driven to be independent and our self-preservation instinct automatically kicks in and we find it difficult to depend on anyone or anything else for safety.  But going it alone brings a shedload of stress and heartache!  I am so blessed and eternally grateful that my God is there for me, that I can completely depend on Him and I can leave my cares at His feet and I can trust that He will make everything better.  The reassurance that God wouldn’t have it any other way just stills my worrying heart.

Yelly Writes

An Apple a day…

The seduction began with one small music storage device called iPod touch and after that, it was fairly easy to lead me down the garden path!

I always thought I was a PC person through and through until I started using the iPod touch and saw how easy it was.  Then I started using a first generation iPhone and then was well and truly convinced that I could not live without my iPod touch, my iPhone and my iPad.

When my Dell laptop started slowing down (admittedly, it was a 7-year old model!), I knew that I had to have a Mac.  And that’s exactly what I did.  I took myself to the Apple Store and got myself a MacBook.

This is not a sponsored post.  I just wanted to say that it started with one handheld device that condensed all the tech.  I loved how you could read your emails, tweet, Facebook, listen to music and surf the net in one little nifty device.  Sure, the need for a wifi connection was a little bit of a sticky wicket if you were on a bus to work, but these days, even your corner coffee shop offers wifi, so that’s no longer an issue.  Apart from the one stop shop quality, I loved how instinctive the gadgets were — using the iPods, iPads and iPhones were as in instinctive as using the Nokia phones in the early Noughties.

So now, I’m sitting on my couch and learning about my new toy.  It’s a whole new world!

PS  If Apple does want to give me a few freebies, I wouldn’t mind!  Ha! 🙂

The new Mac!

Yelly Writes

An Irish Prayer

I have been exercising my prayer muscles more lately and I thought sharing what I’ve always thought was an Irish prayer would be apt, seeing that it was St Patrick’s Day yesterday:

May God give you…
For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer.

May this brighten your day and give you hope as you read it.

Yelly Writes

Thank you for the technology!

I just finished sending a happy birthday email to a beloved aunt.  Earlier today, I chatted to my Abba who is ill in hospital.  I was able to see him and he was able to see me.  Every Sunday, I chat to my family via Skype.  I send free text messages to my family in Manila and friends everywhere in the world via iMessage and other apps.

To all the inventors of these wonderful innovations, I am thankful.  The technology not only helps me reach out across the miles, it makes the world a little smaller and living on the other side of the world and getting in touch with family isn’t as difficult as it used to be.  You, ladies and gentlemen, should be given medals!

Thank you for the technology!

Yelly Writes

Prayer request

I very rarely, if at all, post updates about anyone else’s health, except mine. Mainly because I always feel like that disclosure is not mine to make. BUT please could I ask you all to include my father in your prayers.

My Abba was brought to the hospital in the early hours of Thursday, Manila time.  It was still Wednesday in England and I was walking to the station to take the train home.  I called my mum and she said they decided to bring my Abba to the hospital because he couldn’t breathe.  After that conversation, it was decided that it was necessary to move my Abba into the ICU to treat the pleural effusion which meant he had fluid in his lungs.  Apparently, they managed to remove 1.5 litres of water from his lungs.  Because I bake, I have a visual idea of how much liquid that is and I am thankful that it is no longer in my Abba’s system.

Since then we have been told that my dad was suffering from atherosclerosis (to us non-medical folk it means the hardening of the arteries) and that he can  overcome this and get better.  The worse case scenario, of course, is that his heart can just decide to stop working.   I understand that this is a possibility but right now, I think everyone can understand that I’d rather not think about that possibility right now.

This morning, I called my mum hoping to get a chance to chat to my Abba.  In the course of our conversation, my mum told me that my dad has endothelial dysfunction which from how I understand it is part and parcel of his atherosclerosis.  I need to read up on this so I can understand it fully.  It helps me deal with things if I can understand it.  I’m not a doctor, but it’s always easier to deal with things emotionally if you know what you’re up agianst.

I have been crying a lot since Wednesday evening.  Partly because I worry about my Abba, partly because I feel completely helpless because I am thousands of miles away.  I have repeatedly asked my mum if I need to go home and she said it may be better for me to stay put, to stay where I am for the .  It may sound harsh, but apart from waiting, there would be nothing for me to really do.  I know that my father is in the best place he can be.  He has the best doctors and nurses helping him, and it is true that there is nothing I can really do but to wait.

Even though I have had news that has caused me to cry this morning, I still thank the Lord for each new morning because each morning is another opportunity to be blessed. I am thankful because my Abba is out of the ICU. The road to recovery may be long or short, depending on how Abba responds to treatment, but I understand that it will not be straightforward. I can only keep praying and I can only keep trusting in Him. I know that everything the needs to happen will happen in God’s perfect time. This is a mountain that needs to be climbed one step at a time but I know that each step that we take, we take it with God by our side. Because He promised that He would never leave us, that He would never forsake us.

I rarely write about my faith in God, and it is a constant disappointment that I don’t.  Because right now it is my faith that sustains me in this very difficult time.  Because I am so far away from everyone, I feel very helpless.  Everytime I start to cry, I just ask the Lord to get my father through this, to get my mum through this, to give us comfort so that we, as a family, get through this.  I think if I didn’t have my faith to cling to, I’d fall apart, quite easily.  My father is my rock and my anchor, and now that he is ill and it is, realistically, touch and go, I feel like I am this close to being cast adrift.  But my faith grounds me.  I know that everything that happens is part of God’s masterplan.  I hold on to God’s promise that He holds us in the palm of His hand and that everything works together for good for those who love God (Romans 8:28).prayer


Yelly Writes

No pancakes today!

I didn’t make from-scratch pancakes today, and with today being Pancake Tuesday, that is a tiny bit of a travesty.  I will make my cheesecake pancakes on the weekend though.  Although, I am slightly hesitant because I do worry about the sugar element of having a pancake weekend!  It will need a rethink and a recipe retweak!  Ah to have a sweet tooth and be a diabetic!  What a life of contrariness do I lead, eh?

I am, however, baking blondies today.  A friend who has had a hip operation is visiting the office tomorrow and she mentioned on Facebook that she was craving blondies.  So I thought I’d send her home with my almond blondies.

It’s not going to be a surprise because she knows about it.  But I thought it would be a good thing to do!

Tomorrow, I’m thinking of baking whoopie pies.  Peanut butter and jelly whoopie pies.  Let’s see how that works out, shall we?

Yelly Eats

Beetroot brownies

I bring this brownie to work all the time and, more often than not, the brownies go, within minutes.  Sometimes people are taken aback at the “beetroot” element of the brownie and  I always say that this is a “healthy” brownie and I always joke that beetroot that’s in it can count towards one of your five-a-day.  But there is a large element of truth in that statement because there is a considerable amount of beetroot in the recipe — and beetroot is a vegetable!  I know that most people are pleasantly surprised at how good the brownies taste.  I think they expect the traditional beetroot taste to hit them, but in this recipe, you can’t really taste the beetroot.  If anything, the beetroot enhances the taste of the chocolate.

I tweaked a recipe that I found in a supermarket’s magazine.  I added more beetroot and reduced the amount of sugar in it.  The brownies come out very moist and very fudgy.


  • 200g dark chocolateBeetroot brownies
  • 200g butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 250g sugar
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 300g vacuum packed cooked beetroot, grated


  1. Break the chocolate into sections and together with the butter, place in a heatproof dish and stand over a pan of simmering water, making sure that the bottom of the bowl didn’t touch the water.  Leave to allow the chocolate and butter to melt, stirring occasionally.  Once the chocolate and butter are melted, set aside and allow to cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 180C.
  3. In a bowl, mix together eggs, vanilla and sugar.  Beat until the eggs are light yellow in colour.  Beat in the melted chocolate until well-combined.  The mixture will thicken slightly as you mix the chocolate into the egg and sugar mixture.  Gently fold in the flour and beetroot..
  4. Spoon the mixture into a prepared pan (greased and lined with parchment paper) and bake for 40-45 minutes.  It is done when a toothpick inserted comes out relatively clean.  Cool in the pan for about 5 minutes and then remove from the baking tin and cool completely on a wire rack.
  5. Will make 16-24 squares, depending on how big you slice your squares.