Je Mange. Donc, Je Suis.

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

My End of Year & Honey Toast

Credit: Vintage Life ;)
2013 is about to end. It's a very significant year of mine with regard to relationship with others, relationship with myself as well as my own personal development, a breakthrough phase of inner growth that doesn't seem to mix well with my outgoing 'n' flamboyant Sag. style & trademark!!! (lol).
I can relate to Rumi's quote: You know how it is. 
"Sometimes we plan a trip to one place, but something takes us to another"
In school, we are taught lessons then tested. In life, we are tested to learn lessons..  Life is in fact a series of changing seasons....naturally and spontaneously, metaphorically saying. We cannot blossom in Spring and shine in Summer without harvesting in Autumn and keeping ourselves warm during Winter hibernation. We cannot change the seasons nor resist them; that only creates sufferings and drama, We can allow things to flow the way they are while changing and adjusting ourselves survive, to live, to learn to appreciate and to celebrate the inevitably changing seasons...with those we love, who, without any doubt, love us just the same...or more! ;)
The roads to all relationships are not always as smooth as silk and filled with rose petals along the way. We can feel like they have been on a see-saw of emotions, and that we are traveling their spectrum from loving empathy to dark despair and then back again...
Love can be like the changing seasons: as hot and sunny as summer one day and as cold and cloudy as winter the next...
Love, as in Life, has many dynamics, in persons, places, and circumstances. Love, as in Life, can grow, and evolve into more with each experience. We will never live long enough to experience it all. But if we remain open, and never give up of our desires and goals, we can, experience and embrace that which we are worthy of...with someone who, not only likes and appreciates us for who we are, but also grows together and shows us that we can be even more than who we are...and in fact, can be even a greater lesson and experience. 

"A hopeful heart and an open mind are the best traveling companions."

It's all about AcceptanceFaith and Love.
Everyone who has crossed our paths, comes with their own pains and struggles, despairs and glory, ups and downs, flaws & strengths (like ours). The more I profoundly learn to relate myself and accept this reality, the more I accept and surrender myself to what life has to offer with its flow.
I therefore would like to dedicate this post, expressing my heartfelt thankfulness to my mom & dad, family and friends for their loving words & actions, warm thoughts, kindness, love and  support, throughout the whole year, plus, on my birthday as well as on December 26th (9th Tsunami Memorial Day)... 
Tsunami 2004 dramatically affected and completely changed my life...turning over a new leaf from a hotelier to a volunteer...then an aid worker for 5-years-Tsunami Recovery Programme, International Federation of Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies (French Red Cross and American Red Cross, respectively).
The Illumination of Life
I remembered Christmas Eve 2004's unforgettable moment at the beach, right after BBR's gala dinner reception, celebration and entertaining activities...The scene of illuminated flying lanterns, which gradually ascended into the sky, bringing tears of joy to the eyes of our resort guests 'n' staff who were gathered that night including myself...It was the last serene scene ever captured, for those, who lost their lives late in the morning of the boxing day...
R.I.P. friends, relatives, acquaintances and those lives who didn't make it through.

On December 26th, 2013...I tried...not thinking about the incredible magnitude of loss in its aftermath...and I felt like having a lump in my throat. It was so unbelievable, recalling how much I had carried with me...How many children were separated from their parents...wives, separated from husbands... How many suffering souls who were left behind, losing their loved many casualties, ambulances and many people running for help, screaming in panic and shocked by extreme fear...+++ and what I had been through...back then.
......And believe it or not, on the first day of Tsunami devastation in Khaolak, the victims' (uncovered) fresh corpses were delivered at the ground floor of Takuapa hospital's emergency their numbers got increasing in the evening of the same day, they were therefore relocated to YanYao Temple for further autopsy & identification process. Unfortunately & sadly, I found a former hotel staff, lying among all the other victims' corpses, on the floor of the hospital on that day...
I also met my hotel guests (a Swiss-German couple) there while I was running here, there and everywhere, looking for some missing hotel staff and guests in the aftermath of Tsunami. The couple had stayed in our beachfront villa; they were strolling along the beach, when Tsunami stroke the Andaman coastline. They received help from local villagers in order to get to the hospital. The husband was seriously injured, pending for leg operation (only 1 surgeon in the hospital + scarcity of tetanus vaccine). After about 30 minutes, I returned to meet with the same guests...the ground floor of the hospital was 90% empty...
So I asked a Burmese migrant worker who was still there, "where have all the people gone?"...He pointed his finger to a staircase nearby. Then, I went upstairs (4th floor), and finally found them, trembling with fear, asking me not to leave them. I asked them why & how they could manage themselves up there with such vulnerable condition. Another German patient, sitting next to them, was screaming instead...and there came a Thai nurse, telling me that the woman was still shocked...and while I was going away, they heard someone shouting "Water Coming", then almost all of the patients ran to the top floor of the building! In fact, it was drinking water delivery service!

Regardless of tremendously negative aspects, there are positive sides of "the power of humanity" and "compassion" inside every tragedy. I was fortunate enough to also witness a glimpse of hope & miracles with my own eyes...When a French father who couldn't help bursting into tears in front of me, as he found someone who could communicate with him in French at a local hospital, begging me to help searching for his family. A week later, this poor man who could not eat and sleep...who desperately lost motivation to live...could eventually reunite with his wife and his 5 months old baby girl... I never forget the moment I saw them hugging, kissing and crying together...then they both came to give me big hugs, while thanking and wishing me..."blissful life".

...and A story of a 7 y.o. Finnish girl, whom I met in an emergency room.... She was swept away by the giant waves, and lost touch with her family. I and my cousins tried to talk to her both in English and our common body languages. Despite the fact that she could not say a word in English, she made an impressive effort with a small pack of crayons, handed to her, in drawing a picture with her name on it, to tell us what had happened...finally reunited with her mother and older brother...and many more Tsunami-based life-changing stories which have been kept and cherished in my heart as well as in my poetic memory*

* “The brain appears to possess a special area which we might call poetic memory and which records everything that charms or touches us, that makes our lives beautiful ..." --― Milan KunderaThe Unbearable Lightness of Being

End of 2013 's Contemplation:
Whenever we are doubting on how far we can go, just remember how far we have come. 
Remember everything we have faced...
All the battles we have won and all the fears we have overcome...
The importance is in the journey, not in arriving at the destination. What we can learn along the way could easily have more meaning than an arrival, because the journey itself can become our destiny. 
Today is most likely going to be a time of observation, contemplating events and situations we have witnessed on the highway of life. Deep meditation could bring us answers for yesterday's, today's, and tomorrow's problems.
By getting in touch with the inner us, we will probably be able to find truth even when there appears to be very little around. The outcome of becoming aware of our situation is that we have the time to meditate on the problem and come up with good solutions. By trusting our subtle and innate abilities we will come to terms with our problems. 
"In the midst of War, find PEACE within.
In the midst of Chaos, find STILLNESS within.
In the midst of Confusion, find CLARITY within.
In the midst of the World, find YOURSELF within."

(Doe Zantamata-Happiness In Your Life)

Note* A daily dose of Love & Laughter keeps us not only emotionally healthy 
but also good for our physical health! 
We can survive by seeing the sunny side 'n' humour in everything. 
Take the bad with the good.
Thumb our noses at sadness; turn the tables on tragedy...
Effort counts as much as Heart...and finally Life is to live in the light of Love (and Hope). 
We all deserve to live our destined quality of life...with destined soul mates & destined people.
Have you hugged someone and made them smile/laugh today yet?
Satisfaction's guaranteed! :)
The average length of a hug between two people is 3 seconds. But researchers have discovered something fantastic. When a hug lasts 20 seconds, there is a therapeutic effect on the body and mind. The reason is that a sincere hug produces a hormone called "oxytocin", also known as the feel-good love hormone. This substance has many benefits in our physical and mental health, helps us, among other things, to relax, to feel safe and calm our fears and anxiety. This wonderful calming is offered free of charge every time we have a person in our arms... we cradled a child... we cherish a dog or cat... we're dancing with our partner, the closer we get to someone or just hold the shoulders of a friend the more grounded and loved we feel. {credit: The Chocolate Date} 
A TOAST to New Beginnings! 
• ✿ღℓ σ √ ε ღܓ
My New Year's Resolution is...
To Enjoy Eating another luscious HONEY TOAST at Hua Tah Bistro,
with chill-out & easy-listening music, playing softly, including this one... 
feeling good listening to this song again today, since last December :)
What's yours? 

Dear Miss Anne,
Upbeat & Radiant, you are set to end the year on a positive note. You have performed exceptionally well during 2013 and the slow but productive personal developments give you strength to move ahead in life. You may continue to soar You are in the pink of your health and always see there's a glass to fill in matter what..., with gratitude, persistence and creativity; therefore, even when life gives you lemons, you know how to turn them into melons!! ...Despite your tendency of being a little over the top, ardent, playful, hypersensitive, impulsive and sometimes "a pain in the ar_e!", you have come to learn the hard way and know how to preserve an exterior of grace, poise and calm dignity under awkward  circumstances.  Begin 2014 with same enthusiasm, vigour, attitude and demeanor...
We will come back to check on you again at the end of 2014.
Be Good, Be Kind & Be Courageous... and above all,
just simply Be Human Being!!!
Aliens (from Planets Mars & Venus ) 
p.s shhhhh....Thank you for the chocolate! 

Dear M&V Aliens,
Thank you for your letter with such a brilliant performance appraisal record... I'm impressed! 
BTW, I won't tell your boss that you guys all received a big box of sinfully dark & decadent chocolate as a gift...I know this is against your planets' "Code of Colgate", oops!... "Code of Congee"...excuse me "Code of Condom" no no..."Code of Conduct"...whewww (whatever) Well, please don't get me wrong. I have no intention to blackmail you, to bribe you or anything. I'm not a me!
Looking forward to pampering you guys with chocolate again, anytime!
Anne ;)
p.s Next time, please try 'honey toast' too. I bet you will never find it anywhere in the Universe, but on my planet Earth...seriously!
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Friday, 27 December 2013

Chunky Brownie Cheesecake (baked)

One of my celebration cakes, made of cream cheese and diced brownies (from Vodka 'n' Crunchy Brownie Bars, by"Brownie Bar Phuket"), which I created as a special x'mas treat for my lovely friends...upon their warm & fussy visit at my messy little nest!
Chunky Brownie Cheesecake is the answer for those who have such a hard time,
making final decision over 2 irresistible sweethearts! ;)
for (3 cm) x (9 cm) x (2.5 cm) =12 bars)
1 Vodka Cranberry Brownie Bar
1 Crunchy Brownie Bar
2 eggs, separated
pinch of salt 
50 g caster sugar
125 g cream cheese
125 g plain yoghurt or quark
30 g plain flour
2 tablespoons whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
grated rind of 1/2 lemon
╔═════════ ೋღ♥ღೋ ═════════╗
ೋ ♥Chunky Brownie Cheesecake ♥ ೋ
╚═════════ ೋღ♥ღೋ ═════════╝
  • Preheat oven at 160 °C. Grease a 18⌀ cm squared cake tin and thoroughly dust with flour; 
  • Beat the egg yolks, vanilla essence and caster sugar until pale and creamy. Beat in the cream cheese, yoghurt and grated rind gradually;
  • Sift the flour over the mixture and beat it in until just combined. Fold in the whipping cream;
  • Whisk the egg whites and the pinch of salt until stiff and fold into the mixture;
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared squared tin with diced brownie chunks as base of tin...add in the remaining brownie chunks and cover with the rest of mixture, smooth surface;  
  • Pour enough water into another bigger sized tin to come halfway up the sides of the cheesecake tin and bake for about 50 minutes to 1 hour or until set. 
  • Transfer the cake tin onto a wire rack. Leave to cool in the tin. Refrigerate 3 hours or overnight;
  • Drizzle dark chocolate ganache over the top. Decorate with halved strawberry and sift icing sugar before serving.
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Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Merry X'mas: Love is in the Air!

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!!!
Merry Christmas ! Fröhliche Weihnachten ! Feliz Navidad ! Joyeux Noël !
عيد ميلاد مجيد ! Feliz Natal ! God Jul ! Buon Natale ! Hyvää Joulua! 
圣诞节快乐 ! Selamat Hari Natal ! 
즐거운 크리쓰마쓰 ! สุขสันต์วันคริสต์มาส ! メリークリスマス !
Special thanks to my dear friends, for their presence, 
driving all the way from Krabi to hand their gifts to me at home, 
for spending priceless moments, filled with happiness & joy with me 
and for dragging me out of my nest... Bravo! ;-)
p.s We all laughed at one another as they stepped out of the car upon their arrival, 
seeing all of us wearing something black with smart-casual dress-code  
without any plan or telepathy! What a coincidence! ;)
╔═════════ ೋღღೋ ═════════╗
 ♥ Merry Christmas ♥ ~ ೋ
╚═════════ ೋღღೋ ═════════╝
As my bank account is very slim, I cannot afford a Ferrari, a yacht, things that glitter & luxurious repay their kindness and generosity. However, I only have a rich heart and rich heart-made Chunky Brownie Cheesecake, created from Vodka Cranberry Brownie Chunks, a very special give-away in exchange for their warm visit, thoughtful gifts, hugs, smiles and laughter. Hopefully, they enjoyed my pieces of richness, anyway! ;-)
"Hua Tah" Bistro by Day, Takuapa, photo credit via my friend's IG: @thitinai (Omega)
I feel soooo good, relaxed, carefree, loved and recharged!!! 
Love is in the air!:)
It was such a lovely day with sunshine, clear blue sky, gentle breeze, laughters, food & drinks and cakes, starting from my place... Later just before noon, we moved to our next station: a cozy retro cafe-bistro in an old-time corner by the river...followed by a coffee/tea break, in Khaolak. The cafe's name is "Hua Tah Bistro" a revamped Sino-Portuguese old house with nostalgic ambiance, free wifi, live music, situated only steps away from my nest. 
Anne's refreshing drinks: Apple Soda:)
There are varieties of food (easy home-cooking, Thai style, Japanese, Chinese and Western...with affordable budget. My friends made a big compliment on F&B as well as TOP dessert to drool & die for, namely "Honey Toast", served with a super-sized scoop of vanilla ice-cream, whipped cream, banana & almond slices and dusted with icing sugar!  Shhhhh...we 3 could fast-forward the whole toast & co. within 2-3 minutes! Thanks to our efficient & effective dessert stomachs!!! ;) 
Honey Toast, @100.- THB  (serving 3-4), Hua Tah Bistro
Then we were heading to Café Kantary, Khao Lak where we had our afternoon tea, coffee & co.
Café  Kantary is my favourite meeting place with friends due to its clean 'n' cozy ambiance with variety of savoury Salé crêpes e.g spinach & cheese, salmon & cheese, tuna, ham & cheese, with or without additional fried egg on top... plus choco-banana, mixed berries Sucré crêpes....and irresistible cheesecakes, cookies, waffles, Gelato and assorted macaroon.... for your sweet teeth! :)
Taking pictures is a kind of exercise after eating! (lol)
So here we go...Eat eat eat, Laugh laugh laugh and Eat eat eat again...
credit: Vintage Life ;)
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Thursday, 19 December 2013

Delightful December!

Hello Lovely & Buzzzz-y Festive December!
with my brand new sweetheart: 25 hours (Thai Band)
recommended by my lil' nephew & his daddy! ;)

and Brownie Bars, by my lovely cousin "June"
Line ID: juneharuthai
Facebook Page: Brownie Bar Phuket
It's never too late to say it with BROWNIES! :)
Anne's bites: Vodka Cranberry & Crunchy :)
(available in Phuket + Delivery service via EMS inside Thailand)
Special Treat for forthcoming festive X'Mas & New Year's Celebrations.
3 Best-Selling Brownies: Fudge, Crunchy and Vodka Canberry
My kitchen is temporarily closed due to recent illness: 
I'm sick of cooking & baking! (lol)
May the Month of December
be filled with Love, Happiness,
Peace and Blessings.
May this beautiful Time of the Year
embrace your Hearts with
Warmth and Joy!
and Auntie Anne's Birthday!!!
The French say that a woman blossoms at 40.
Women should continue to blossom as long as we're breathing... 
So here I am...
feeling like a bee that's drunk on pollen in a field of blooming wildflowers.:)
Special Thanks to my niece, my lil' nephew and
their Mommy & Daddy for such 
a lovely Treat
on Auntie's Birthday!

Lots of Love from Auntie. x 
"Youth is happy because it has the capacity to see beauty.
Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty
never grows old."
--F. Kafka
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