a week in my life-ish: a bowl of cookie dough broke
PRE-COVID TRAVEL VLOG: TAIPEI
2021 & rEsolutions
It made me realize that I have a lot of things to be thankful for in my life. It made me realize that there are things I take advantage of (whether it’s a hug, a handshake, walking to the supermarket) that mean so much and made me appreciate them. It made me realize to be grateful for the little things, and that the little things we have in life aren’t little at all but just look that way at times when we don’t fully grasp what we have in front of us.
When midnight hit and 2019 was over, I was over the moon, excited for the new decade. Every Monday makes me felt like I’m given a fresh start. But, I always wait for Monday when I mess up, I always wait for the new week, the next month, a new year. Yet, 2020 started and the months just kept passing like I was in a train not stopping at any of the stops, it got exhausting. It honestly still is. It taught me that falling is completely normal (like when I learned how to ride a bike) and if I was going to wait until some day or some one to come pick me up, I’d probably miss dinner. My point is, I had a habit of always waiting as if some perfect time was going to come to make everything right, but then I learned it doesn’t work that way. It’s my responsibility to bring myself to bring me where I wanted to be in life. Sure, a few months passed and I didn’t accomplish the whole list of projects I had planned prior, but that doesn’t matter anymore, it’s in the past. I can either dwell on it, or stand up and take a step forward. Even if it’s a small little step, that’s all that counts.
The word resolution is usually associated with the words: determination, firmness, course of action, etc. Determination is to persevere towards a goal despite the challenges and obstacles in the way. This sounds very serious, and I think that it is. It’s important that when you want something in life, a goal, a dream, you should keep on keeping on until you have it. But, I also believe that it’s equally important to remember that driving from California to New York won’t take an hour. There will be traffic, roadblocks, diversions, and more that can come between your drive, but that doesn’t you’re not getting to where you want to go. There will be a lot of times when you’ll stare into hypothetical distance and not see what you’re reaching for, but it’s there, you just have to keep going. But, you also have to give yourself breaks, take it easy on yourself, and acknowledge that you’re doing what you can with what you have. I’m proud of you, by the way.
Just a heads up, I started doing some of these resolutions this month when I realized that there’s no better time to work on yourself than the present. Let’s get on to the list shall we:
- Morning Reads:
- Morning reads are about changing my language and thoughts about myself into something more empowering and positive.
- 5 Things To Be Thankful For
- Gratitude is important that’s why every night I will write down 5 things that I’m thankful for. Some days will be hard and challenging, but whether it’s a breeze I was able to catch or a cup of water after some run, it’s going on the list.
- Finish a Book a Week
- There’s something about books that are always exciting, I’ve been reading less than I want to for awhile now but, I want to spend more time in the words of a page of some book and get back into the habit of reading.
- Be more Confident
- Write More
- Writing is a form of art. Authors are artists that can make strings of words into magic, and it’s absolutely inspiring. I want to write more, my goal is 2 blogs a week, even if writer’s block tries knocking on my door.
- Social Media Break
- 1 week a month at least.
- Try 2 New Things a Week
- It could be a new song, outfit, recipe, anything.
- Telling My Friends and Family I Love Them More
- Take at Least 3 Pictures or Videos a Day That Are Good Vibes
- I love scrolling through pictures and videos that give the good vibe aesthetic. Imagine, at the end of the year, how much to look through and laugh or smile at.
- Learn Something New Every Day
- Eat Healthier
Thank you for reading this 🙂 I hope that you are staying safe, hydrating, and I love you! I’ll catch you in my next blog ❤
The best is yet to be– Robert Browning
First off, MEERRRYYY CHRISTMAS PEEOPLES!!
Being optimistic is difficult. It’s easier to stay wrapped in a blanket on the more negative spectrum of life. I know this because I do this. I tend to find myself in this area more time than I would like to admit. And, don’t get me wrong, we need to wallow sometimes. We need to grab our hot chocolates, blankets, slap on some fluffy socks and let it out. It’s healthy and necessary to let that pain flow out through the tears. Don’t bottle it in. Remember, whatever you are feeling is totally valid.
Afterwards though, we got to bounce back. As much as I love staying in the warm blanket (which I’ll definitely get back to later on, except with good vibes instead), I fold it and lay on the bed, put the cup in the sink (wash it of-course), throw the socks in the hamper, and splash some cold water on my face. Recently, thankfully, I’ve been able to push myself and conquer in the war which I make against myself more often and I’m very proud to say that.
A few nights ago, as I was lying in bed, I grabbed my notebook and pen (which was fortunately laying on top of my side table) and wrote two words: Morning Reads. You probably guessed that, huh. Now, what is Morning Reads? Let me tell you. It’s a list of things that I made that I have to say to myself first thing in the morning. I usually do this in front of the mirror, or while I’m laying in bed contemplating wether I should get up or stay in bed, imagining scenarios where I’m baking all the deserts I have in my Pinterest boards of foodies. I found it to be pretty silly at the start, because I’ve never really done it before. I was so used to making jokes about myself and being (honestly pretty mean and) kinda rude, something I know would be outrageous to utter to another human being, yet when it came to me saying it to me, I didn’t mind. BUT NOW, I VERY MUCH DO MIND. I found it easier to make it a goal of mine to say positive things to myself more than always on the look out to stop myself from saying something mean (although I try to do).
GUYS, when I started saying these things to myself, there was a transformation. A BIG ONE. I turned into a mini marshmallow. Yes, the one who’s typing this is right now is a very awesome marshmallow sharing my secrets. Okay, okay jokes aside. I’m being for real (just to clarify: not about being a marshmallow) that there is a change that you’ll start to notice. A positive and good vibes type of change.
So far, here’s what my list is comprised of:
– Today is going to be a good day
– I am badass
– I am beautiful
– I am awesome
– I am productive
You are badass and beautiful and awesome and productive. And, I absolutely suggest that you should try this tooooo! Use this list, create you own, get creative, and go for it. Anyways, here’s where I end. I hope you’re staying safe! I love you and I’ll see yah in the next blog. 😀
US HISTORY: U.S. Enters WWII
Quote of TRUTH: “Men are not prisoners of faith, but prisoners of their own mind.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
The beginning: As WWII broke out as Britain and France declared war against Germany, the US took immediate measures as President Roosevelt declared they would be neutral. However, even though they didn’t join in the fighting, they did need money. So, in 1939, there was a Neutrality Act which allowed the countries at war to buy weapons from the US under the condition that they pay cash and they carried the weapons and arms on their own ships. It was sort of a win-win situation for the United States at the moment, they made cash, weren’t under any of the terrors that came along with war, and everything seemed smooth sailing for them……. for now.
Roosevelt’s Goals and Visions: In 1940, Roosevelt is re-elected president for a 3rd term. His primary goal was to aid Britain in defeating Germany. On January 6, 1941, Roosevelt delivered the Four Freedoms Speech, which became one of the most famous speeches in American history. In this speech, he expressed his vision of having the American ideals of individual liberties extended throughout a world already engaged in war. He ended his speech with a descript of the four essential human freedoms which are:
- Freedom of Speech
- Freedom of Religion
- Freedom of Want
- Freedom of Fear
Norman Rockwell, who was an American author, painter, and illustrator, was so inspired by Roosevelt’s speech that he created paintings reflecting each one of the freedoms described. The paintings he made were turned into war bond posters. Rockwell raised $130,000,000 for the government. Yup, pretty big amount, I know.
Arising tensions: A German U-boat fired on an American destroyer. After this incident, American ships were adviced to follow a “shoot-on-sight” policy toward German submarines. Germans torpedoed and sank the American destroyer Reuben James in the North Atlantic.
Japan, on the other hand, had a vision and attempts to create an empire which was conflicting with the U.S.’s goal of maintaining an open trade policy in Asia. Also, by June 1941, Japanese aircraft posed a direct threat to the British Empire. In response to this, the US froze all Japanese assets in the US, placing an embargo on them, and reduced the amount of oil and steel shipped to Japan.
Entering the war: The Japanese decided to attack British and Dutch colonies in Southeast Asia for resources, seize the Philippines, and attack Pearl Harbor! In was on December 7, 1941, when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor sinking or damaging 25 ships of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, killing 2,403 Americans, and injuring hundreds more. Due to this atrocity, President Roosevelt declared war on Japan. Then, on December 11, 1941, Japan allies- Germany and Italy- declared war on the US. *BOOM* and, that’s where it began.
© Elizabeth Anne Villoria
What is Globalization? 🌏
An interesting way to think about this is that Globalization is comparable to a jungle. It sorta runs on the rule of survival of the fittest. Therefore, we either flourish or we perish.
What is Globalization?
To simply put it, globalization is the result when the trade and cultural exchange brings the world to be extremely interconnected. When this happens, different countries come together and form a large global economy. This makes the international trade much, much easier. If you haven’t gotten the full idea of globalization, then maybe you would understand this definition better if you knew that globalization happens when the barriers between national economies get “broken” down and there is this large rush of services, goodies, investments, capital flow, technology and labor immigration which
If you haven’t gotten the full idea of globalization, then maybe you would understand this definition better if you knew that globalization happens when the barriers between national economies get “broken” down and there is this large rush of services, goodies, investments, capital flow, technology and labor immigration which get encouraged.
Basically, globalization is the process of when different countries come together through trade and others.
What are the Pros of Globalization??
Well, in my opinion, I think globalization is great in some many ways also because it allows people to communicate, elaborate and link together. And, because of Globalization, some parts of the has changed the ways that other people (maybe including yourself) travel, arrange and do meetings and see the world.
According to Future of Working, below are the following pros:
- It Improves the Global Economy
This is a big help to different companies as it aids them to reach huge and rapidly expanding markets every day. This helps Global Economy through the access of international sale and business.
- The Expansion of the Knowledge of Foreign Cultures
Because of globalization, people from different places on earth are given the opportunity and access to freely communicate with each other. This helps people to destroy that cultural barrier that has hurt the integration of countries for centuries. This helps to gain a better understanding of the different life – styles different people go through.
- Free Trade! = Happy Economy
Since globalization lifts those invisible gates of heavy and crazy taxes and annoying restrictions, people are able to sell goods around the world to help other struggling economies.With this, poverty and unemployment rates are improving.
These are most of the pros that I’ve just bombarded with you, which I hope you understood. ^_~
What are the Cons of Globalization???
Since there are pros there are cons….. well, except for pizza, all they have are pros.
So, you probably knew this day would come. The day where you learned the bad side of globalization. Yes, yes, I know…. you might be wondering “huh?!?!?!?” Just kidding.
There are always to side to a story, just like a coin. We’ve learned the good side but now to learn the bad side | A.K.A | the cons. DUN! DUN!! DUN!!!
The Cons of Globalization:
- Rich become Richer | Non-rich become poorer
This is one of the top problems of globalization. Just from the title, I’m pretty sure you understand this is a big con. Actually, this is a pro for the rich and a con for the poor. How unfair is it that the non-rich become poorer?!
- Smaller Countries Suffer the Most
Unfortunately for less developed countries, they don’t normally get the benefit from globalization and instead suffer from it. But, this is the case that smaller and less developed countries encounter. I feel like we need to help these less developed countries and enable to get the same amount of level playing field benefits that globalization offers.
- Negative Impact on Environment
In the process of trading and transporting goods from one place to another, the amount of fuel generated and used contributes and increases in the pollution levels in the environment. It is kinda sad that some places have the guts to actually cut down mountains in order to create tunnels or highways. Unfortunately, more roads are being seen by most as progress rather than the destruction of our earth. Another example that struck me was the incident that occurred in 2010 when one of the containers of the British Petroleum leaked and caused damage to the ecosystem. But, wait! There’s more. Unfortunately. The consumption of plastic has grown as they’ve used it for packaging and preserving the goods. Not only is plastic terrible when exposed to the sun for quite some time (which could happen during the hours of traveling) but because of this, it has led to widespread environmental pollution.
- Loss of Cultural Identity
As I might have mentioned above, globalization allows people to learn more and more about different cultures and other languages. The thing is the increased number of people moving from one place to another and spreading their cultures, the original culture seems to be fading. Now, let’s think about it.
In Danjugan Day 2: Chips to Snakes
Pardon my grammar…
Okay, to be honest, it was really hot in the cabana. You would think that when you got to higher grounds (like in the cabana) it would be cooler, nope. Just prepare yourself for the heat. One of my roommates actually brought a small hand fan which kept breaking down. But anyways, we were able to laugh through it and keep ourselves distracted from the heat. Also, don’t move too much, it helps.
The time I woke up was around 3 am, to the sound of my roommates talking about something. Something. I sat up still half asleep as I look around…….. still so dark.
“What’s happening?”, I asked. Apparently, there was a big forest rat that came into our cabana. The reason you may have guessed already. The chips we left overnight.
By the time I head about the situation I was fully awake I couldn’t go back to sleep after knowing what just happened. It was only me and my 3 other roommates. We kept each other company with singing and deciding what should we do with the plastic bag (full of chips). We all made the choice to deal with the bag when it got brighter outside.
It was a good thing time quickly passed as we had fun. The sun came up eventually. We were the first ones awake and we decided to go down. It was beautiful. Even though the sun wasn’t in our view, orange and pink were blended and reflected on the ocean. We all sat on the rocks, taking some photos and just talking.
By 6:00 am we went back to the cabana changed into something more suitable for the day and poked the bag. DUN DUN DUN. Unfortunately, the rat actually ripped open a bag of chips (Cheetos) and ate some. Do you want to know the cycle of food to snakes? Here it goes:
- Food in the Cabana summons the cockroaches.
- Forest Rats come in and eat the cockroaches or the food
- Snakes come in to eat the rats
We were lucky we didn’t encounter any snakes. But, last year, a snake did come into the cabana because of food. So, remember, NO FOOD IN THE CABANA. Unless you have a container to store it properly.
Anyways that all happened in the morning, it was such a rollercoaster.
Now here goes our schedule of the day…..
6:30 – 7:00 am
We made our way, team by team to the bat cave. We passed the same route as last time except we made a different turn. When we arrived, the bats were loud and flying around the cave looking for a place to sleep.
In case you were wondering, the type of forest that we were in is called a Limestone Forest which harbor caves. It was amazing was we learned as we stood in front of the thousands of bats.
Do you know what echolocation is? This is what bats use to see, especially in total darkness. Echolocation works when a bat shouts and that sound that they produce bounces of the objects ahead of them which gives them information about what they will be getting into. Also, another cool thing is that unlike most birds which make nests which just twigs and straws and others, bats use their saliva!
7:30 – 9:30 am
We all headed back to the camp where we went straight to the dining area. As we filled our plates, we looked down at the mangrove roots where we saw moray eels! There were about 5 of them just slowly swimming around in circles. They looked so calm. I sat down at the table with a group of friends as we talked about the bats we saw.
After we finished our breakfast and cleaning up our plates, we sat back down at the dining area and listened for further details about what our plan for the day was. We all headed outside for a bit while we did some community building. We did a few games and had so much fun!
After awhile, we were handed these manual/workbooks. As I peered inside the book, I noticed, aside from the quizzes, there was loads information about the island, different ecosystems, birds, fishes, coral and way more. Very interesting. I took my seat as well as my other campers and we started a lecture on basic biology and the identification of corals and their cousins. We were taught by Julia Herbolsheimer, a german scientist, who was very enthusiastic about what she taught.
Before we started, we were all told that we would be given a group test at the end. I grabbed my pen and went to the back of the booklet that they handed me where I started to jot down notes.
Maybe after 30 minutes everyone slowly started feeling sleepy. The lecture, on the other hand, was very interesting to all of us but I guess just us sitting there and the breeze coming in every now and then sent this sleepy vibe. When the AL’s and camp directors started to notice this, they didn’t hesitate to snap us out of the current (sleepy) mood. The AL (not the AL of my group but another group) teaching us about corals and fish paused the lecture for awhile. We all stood up as we did this kind of pass around dance which jolted everyone to wake up. We were still laughing as we sat down to continue. Our mind was ready to learn more and the laziness was gone.
When the lecture finished, each group, including mine, grabbed a table and four chairs. Me and my group all huddled around while we answered some of the questions on coral reefs together. I have a question for you… What are corals? An animal? A rock? A plant? Think for awhile. Here goes the answer….. it’s all! Amazing, isn’t it?! Also, did you know that corals are cousins with jellyfish? Yeah, pretty cool. Here’s the explanation: There is tiny, soft – bodied organism related to jellyfish and sea anemone called coral polyps. Millions of polyp colonies come together and form coral reefs. And maybe (just maybe) you are wondering “how are some corals hard if what they are made of are soft – bodied?” well I have your answer. It is because once these polyps form together, they secrete calcium carbonate which helps to form their hard skeleton. We also learned about the 7 major life forms of a coral such as:
- Massive (brain coral)
10:00 – 12:30
After cleaning up our tables, we were told to prepare to snorkel. I went to my Cabana and changed into swimming clothes. I slipped on a rash guard before heading back down to get my snorkel. We didn’t walk this time but we took the boat to this snorkeling area. We looked down as the boat drove to our destination. The water was so clear and blue. You could see the sea floor filled with corals and fish.
Here’s a trick that I learned from the camp, if you want to prevent your scuba mask from fogging, you should spit it in, rub it around a little and wash it out. At first, I might have refused to try it because I thought that we weren’t going to wash out the spit (and I was a little disgusted just a little because I didn’t want to smell the food I recently ate while swimming) but when I found out what to do, I made the decision to test it. It works! I tried it :D. If ever you want to research more on this, you could check Leisure Pros. But you could also use toothpaste. There are also various solutions sold that you could apply on the mask to stop it from fogging but they don’t suggest using this because it might spread chemicals into the ocean and it might affect life underwater unless it’s like all natural or something. Also, why not use spit? Try it some time.
Anyways, when we went off the boat, our assignment was to draw 4 different types of coral life forms that we learned earlier. Our group (as I mentioned earlier each group has 4 people) was split into twos as we swam around and looked for corals to draw. Oh! I forgot to mention…. earlier we were given a dive slate and one pencil for two to share, this is where we are supposed to draw our corals. I swam around with my partner as we looked for some corals. We put our face underwater as we started to draw. All the other groups also started the activity. I was able to draw a branching, foliose and mushroom coral. When I labeled it, I dropped the slate and my life vest back on the boat and just started swimming around admiring the fish and other sea life. BTW, don’t leave your partner. It’s always better to stick together (heh, that rhymes).
We headed back to the camp to eat lunch. When we finished eating, we were given a 30 – minute break of free time. It was so fun. We talked, played cards and relaxed in the dining area.
1:00 – 3:00 pm
When our break ended, one of the ALs told us to do a hand roll on how active we still felt. 5 meaning we were so active that we felt we could swim the whole island and 1 meaning I can’t move anymore. 3…. 2… 1.. All of our hands released. Some were 5, 4 and 2. This hand roll was used a lot of times a day to just check up on ourselves and our fellow campers. Sometimes we used it on how hungry or happy we were.
We then started our next lessons on reef fishes. Sometimes before we learned about a new thing on the reef fishes, we would be asked a question about it. In the camp, we were given the power of choice. We chose whether or not answer. I found the power of choice to be excellent. Normally, I would try to sit at the back of the class (trying to camouflage myself with the crowd) when we were doing lessons or something like that because I was shy for the teacher or someone to point to me and ask me to answer. But because the camp implemented power of choice, I was able to sit at the front and eventually I wanted to raise my hand and (make a choice to) try to answer even if I got it wrong because the community and the camp made me feel comfortable to actually speak out.
Anyways, onto the reef fishes. We learned about many different fishes that we could find if we looked properly. We also learned about the 3 classes of fish including:
- Chondrichthyes (A.K.A Elasmobranchs)
- Cartilaginous fish
- Cartilaginous fish
- Jawless fishes
- Jawless fishes
- Largest fish group
- Bony Fish
- 20,000 species
- Found in marine/freshwater
Aside from this, we did a bit of fish anatomy. It was very interesting because there are many (very) similar fishes that you could mistakenly take as the same because you might have missed a small detail (even the difference of how they swim counts). Also, we learned the dangerous fishes, like rockfishes, that blend into their surroundings which can poison someone if provoked or stepped on. Also, I found how fish can be really sneaky when they mimic other fishes. For example, there are these small black and blue stripped fish called cleaner wrasse, other fishes allow these wrasses to venture into their mouth and actually let them clean it but another fish called the Fang Blenny looks nearly the same but instead of cleaning eats the skin and flesh of other fishes. Because the Fang Blenny has some of the same characteristics as the cleaner wrasse like the shape and color, other unknowing fish victims allow the Blenny to go close to them only to be bitten and lose a bit of flesh. That’s how the Fang Blenny takes advantage of mimicry. Evil.
Before we took another test, we were learning about the different signs to do when we are underwater to let other snorkelers know what fish they see. We wouldn’t want to be screaming “grouper!!!” to let others know, we might scare the fish away! Actually, we made some signs up, it was really fun. For example, when you see a barracuda, you could signal a fellow snorkeler and cover your ears. Because if you are wearing earrings underwater, barracudas get attracted to shiny things (because they mistake it for small fish shimmering from the sun while swimming). Or, if you see a grouper you could use you could pout because groupers look like they are frowning.
Next!! We did another test. This time, all we had to do was list down the name of the fish that we saw on the screen. About 15 different fishes flashed to the screen (not all at once) and everyone tried thinking about what fish it was. We looked at the details and I really enjoyed how we were doing teamwork with my group as each fish showed. One of the questions that we were able to ask was “how did it swim?”. That one clue helped most to answer a lot of questions.
I found the surgeon fish to be really scary because they have a sharp tip at the bottom of their body near their tail which is as sharp as a surgeon’s knife (that’s where they got the name). My favorite fish was the unicorn fish because UNICORNS but they also are related to surgeonfishes and when they fight (even though they aren’t normally aggresive) they don’t use their horns (even though that would look really cool) but their scalpel located near their tail.
After our test, we headed to another snorkeling area. Our next task was to draw 3 different fish each. The groups spread around while we looked for some fishes. There were pretty much fish everywhere. I got really excited when I saw a lionfish (even though they could be really dangerous) because honestly, I’ve only seen them in movies. It was still a baby and it seemed to just stay in its place which made it easy for me to draw it. When I finished (my masterpiece), I silently thanked the fish and resurfaced near the boat. As I swam beside the other campers, we saw various sizes and colors of fish. I didn’t want to leave, it was paradise.
4:00 pm onwards
We all left on the boat when we finished drawing our fishes and swimming around a bit. I thought we were going back to the camp but we seemed to take a different turn. The sun was still up and as we headed towards our next destination, I saw it. It was a small sandy island. We jumped off the boat and swam around. We took pictures and splashed around in the water. All the campers (around 25), ALs and the camp directors were there too! We even played a game! This is what happened…. we were put in a situation where, for example, someone was far away and drowning. Our setting was at a beach full of people. What the lifeguard would sometimes ask was for people around the beach to form a line and wrap their arms together. You’ll understand it better with the picture. Anyways, the other had to be the taller people at the land side while the smaller people on the water side. Now, the last person had to be a “good swimmer”. I was at the end (not that I was the smallest, I wasn’t) and I was given the assignment to grab the person drowning.
After taking a few sunset pictures, we headed back.
6:00 pm onwards
After filling up our bucket, we took a shower, still in our bathing suit. We found it easier to share one bucket then get another if needed. Everyone was so happy to finally take a shower. After me and the rest of the girls in my cabana finished changing, we all headed out to the dining area.
We finished dinner and we learned the introduction to birds and the basic identification of the birds on the island. There are so many birds!!! Did you know that just in the Philippines there are 576 species of birds? 35% of these are endemic the others are migratory. We’ll be learning and studying more about the birds on the Danjugan tomorrow! Yay, another adventure. After doing a game on birds and trees, we all headed to our cabanas around 9 pm.
As we lay in bed, we heard singing coming from the boy’s cabana which we eventually fell asleep to.
Before I end this, I just want to mention that you will really learn well from this camp because after you learn your lesson, you actually go out and see the real thing. And, personally, I found it awesome how applied knowledge from books and experience. It’s very interactive and funnn.
(to be continued)
Brownie + Cookie = Brookie = AWESOMENESS. PURE AWESOMENESS.
So let’s start baking! Put on your chef hat.
So first, we will be needing to make the cookie dough. To do this, gather the following for this recipe:
- All – Purpose Flour | 2 cups
- Cornstarch | 2 teaspoons
- Baking Soda | 1 teaspoon
- Salt | 1/2 teaspoon
- Unsalted Butter | 3/4 cup
- Light Brown Sugar | 1 cup
- Large Egg | 1 egg
- Vanilla Extract | 2 teaspoons
- Semi – Sweet Chocolate Chips | 1 and 1/4 cup
Let’s start making this, first. So remember, we are doing the cookie layer right now. Ready? Let’s do this. Okay, follow the procedure:
STEP 1: Dry Ingredients… first
In a bowl (preferably medium sized) whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, and salt altogether. That was the first step. Simple, huh? So now this bowl we will be using later so just set it aside.
STEP 2: Wet Ingredients
Grab another bowl for this.
Okay, so remember I told you to grab a bowl for this step? Well, you should make it a bug bowl. Anyways, beat the butter until it is nice and creamy. You can use a whisk, spatula or even a fork until the butter seems creamy.
When you have achieved reaching your full creaminess power, mix in the brown sugar. Keep mixing these two ingredients until you get a fluffy and light in color mixture. Next, beat in the egg and vanilla (in the butter and sugar mixture) while mixing quickly.
STEP 3: Mix… mix… mix…
You should do this step slowww. All you have to do now is
All you have to do now is mix in your dry ingredients with your wet ingredients. Next, once you’ve gotten your thick consistency of your cookie dough, add in your chocolate chips! The brand that I used was Hersheys. Also, about the chocolate, you can add the amount that your heart desires. You don’t need to be exact on your chocolate chips here. Put less, add more. Your choice in this.
Now that you have finished making your cookie dough, time to make the brownie:
The ingredient you will gather for this are the following:
- Unsalted Butter | 1/2 Cup
- Semi – Sweet Chocolate | 8 Ounces
- Granulated Sugar | 1 Cup
- Eggs | 3 eggs
- Vanilla Extract | 1 Tsp (teaspoon)
- Flour | 1/2 Cup + 2 Tbs (tablespoon)
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder | 2 Tbs
- Salt | 1/4 Tsp
Onto the steps…
Melt the Chocolate: Be careful, it might burn!
In a pan, melt together your butter and chocolate. You will remove this mixture from heat once the chocolate is melted and when you mix you get a smooth consistency. Once you are done with the melting, transfer the melted chocolated butter in a bowl and leave for about 5 minutes to cool down. Make the bowl you have tranfered it in is a least large.
Once the Chocolate has cooled…
In your bowl full of melted chocolates, whisk in your sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract. Once you have fully mixed the ingredients in, add your flour, cocoa powder, and salt.
So that is all you will be needing to do to make your own brownie batter/
Now on your cupcake sheet first put in a layer of cookies then on top of that a layer of brownies. Try to not make it so full as when you bake it, it will take longer. So wherever you are coking this, check it every 30 minutes. You will know when your brookie is finished when the tops are looking crunchy and when you poke the inside, nothing uncooked comes out of it.
IT TASTES AMAZING!!
Mangroves in the Philippines
Before we begin…
What is a Mangrove???
This is a type of tree or bush, that usually comes in groups, that grows and stays in coastal saline or brackish water. If you have visited the seaside before, in a tropical place, you have probably seen trees on the sand or in the salty water. These type of trees are called mangroves. And, while some trees are more obviously with their numerous (hair) tangled roots above ground and dense thickets, there are some mangroves that look normal (meaning calmer roots). One example, is the palm trees in the beach. Yup, they are mangroves. Also, aside from the fact that mangroves have the strength to undergo hostile (meaning unfriendly) conditions, mangroves are also known for being halophytes or salt tolerant trees (which are plants that have the special adaptive skills to survive in high salinity areas).
What is the importance of Mangroves???
Mangroves are very helpful to our planet. There are many different ways that these type of trees (or shrubs) have helped our earth. Did you know that the difference between a rainforest and a mangrove forest? It is that Mangroves can absorb at least four times (4!!) more carbon than rainforests can. Also, mangroves help by:
Big groups of fish, crab, shrimp, and mollusk species are able to take shelter in the mangroves forest. Because of these fisheries, thousands of coastal communities (in different places around the world) make an essential source of food. Aside from coral reefs, mangroves are nurseries for a great amount of different species of fish. It’s proven by a study taken in the Great Maya Reef, that there are about 25 times more fish (of some species) found in reef close to mangrove areas rather than in places without any mangroves close by (or areas with cut down mangroves). Thie pretty much means that mangroves are vitally important to coral reefs and commercial fisheries.
- The Wood:
A Mangrove tree has wood that doesn’t rot and is resistant to insects. Unfortunately, because of this very special trait, Mangrove wood has become extremely valuable.
This wood is also used a lot for construction material and for fuel by many coastal and indigenous (also known as the native people) communities. Let’s get back to the communities bit here. They (the community) have also use the Mangrove ecosystem for medicinal plants.
- Coastal Protection:
According to the WWF, the dense root systems of mangrove forests trap sediments flowing down rivers and off the land. This helps stabilizes the coastline and prevents erosion from waves and storms. In areas where mangroves have been cleared, coastal damage from hurricanes and typhoons is much more severe. By filtering out sediments, the forests also protect coral reefs and seagrass meadows from being smothered in sediment.
The Mangroves have an evolutionary adaptation such as the ability to:
- Cope with the saltttt
Let us start with the fact that salt water is pretty strong and kills plants. The job that the mangrove does is extract the freshwater from the saltwater that surrounds the trees. There are countless different trees that survive by filtering as much as 90% of the salt found in the seawater that they intake through their roots. There are even times when you could see salt excreted through the glands which results in salt crystals on the leaf of a mangrove tree. If you lick the leaf that had salt exreted on them…… it will take kinda salty.
- Got Fresh Water
Mangrove have this smart stratedgy where they store fresh water in their thick succulent leaves like they are desert plants (except not in the desert). You will notice that it is because of the waxy coating that aids in keeping in water (in the leaves) and it also helps in minimizing evaporation. Also, if you look more into the specifics of the leaves, you will see small hairs on the leaves (of other species). These small hairs help in deflecting wind and sunlight.
So now that I have given you guys a glimpse of what a Mangrove is and how it operates and some of the importances of their existance, we will be directing our focus towards the Mangroves in the Philippines. Yay!!
Let us start.
It was in the beggining that the Philippines had attained about 500,000 hectares of mangrove forest. Years went quickly and now we have only less than half. Less than half would be around 100,000 hectares of mangroves that remain until today. Now, we should all agree that it was a big jump to go from 500,000 to 100,00 so let’s learn how it all happened.
There are many different reasons as to why our Mangroves ended up how it is today. And some of them are:
Mangrove forests have often been seen as unproductive and smelly, and so cleared to make room for agricultural land, human settlements and infrastructure (such as harbours), and industrial areas. More recently, clearing for tourist developments, shrimp aquaculture, and salt farms has also taken place. This clearing is a major factor behind mangrove loss around the word.
- Convertion of Mangrove Forest to Fishpond.
- Climate change:
Mangrove forests require stable sea levels for long-term survival. They are therefore extremely sensitive to current rising sea levels caused by global warming and climate change.
The global overfishing crisis facing the world’s oceans has effects far beyond the directly overfished population. The ecological balance of food chains and mangrove fish communities can also be altered.
- Destruction of Coral reefs:
Coral reefs provide the first barrier against currents and strong waves. When they are destroyed, the stronger-than-normal waves and currents reaching the coast can undermine the fine sediment in which the mangroves grow. This can prevent seedlings from taking root and wash away nutrients essential for mangrove ecosystems.
Fertilizers, pesticides, and other toxic man-made chemicals carried by river systems from sources upstream can kill animals living in mangrove forests, while oil pollution can smother mangrove roots and suffocate the trees.
- River changes:
Dams and irrigation reduce the amount of water reaching mangrove forests, changing the salinity level of water in the forest. If salinity becomes too high, the mangroves cannot survive. Freshwater diversions can also lead to mangroves drying out. In addition, increased erosion due to land deforestation can massively increase the amount of sediment in rivers. This can overcome the mangrove forest’s filtering ability, leading to the forest being smothered.
Mangrove trees are used for firewood, construction wood, wood chip and pulp production, charcoal production, and animal fodder. While harvesting has taken place for centuries, in some parts of the world it is no longer sustainable, threatening the future of the forests.
Unfortunately, we have been also losing our mangrove forest to deforestation as well. If we don’t properly take care of our mangroves, beaches and other water areas will become more roudy (this is even 1/4 of the consequences that will happen). Did you know that with the Pencil Roots of the Mangrove, the water that passes by becomes more peaceful? I have went on a Journey to Ibajay and I did a lot of field work. It was really fun and I got to explore and learn that there are so many life that goes under the soil. Mangroves is something that we cannot afford to lose. We have to protect it.
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