June Monthly Times

6.20.2015

Hello everyone! 
Yes I am still here and no I have not left the blog. A little thing called 'life' has gotten in the way of things this month and I have no clue where to begin!

June is not even over yet and so much has already happened!

Let's see……

I've been working, working, working since the last time I posted:
Husband Man took a quick picture of me working this month while testing out his new camera lens. 
1. Remember THIS updated post I wrote a few months back (read number one on the post)??  
Well….I received this lovely letter in my e-mail this Monday:



That's right folks! I am now an online graduate student over at The University of Southern Florida, seeking a non-degree graduate certificate in Food Writing and Photography! I guess all of that hard work I did back in April paid off!  My classes start this fall and I can't wait to contact them to discuss my future in food writing :)

2. Speaking of food writing, the latest issue of Military Spouse Magazine is out…and so is the article I wrote on my lovely friend, Maliaka. They even gave Husband Man credit for the awesome pictures he took for the article ;)

3. I have also joined forces with the lovely online military spouse community, White Walls. I'm one of their featured food bloggers and write up recipes and food related articles for them every other week. 

4. Besides, food writing, I have also spent the majority of the month preparing for my first full week of teaching culinary classes to children.  I've had to make 15 new recipes, complete with lesson plans, in a span of a few weeks to prep for these summer cooking camp classes. Even though the end of each day left me super tired, I had lots of fun. I hope the children did too. One little boy told his mom "I had soooo much fun this week! I wish this camp was going on allll summer long!" I'm thinking that's a good sign that I must be doing something right?? Maybe?? 
My little summer chefs!!
I am also partnering with our local Air Force Base and to bring this program to the residents who reside here. It's a HUGE undertaking, but hopefully it will be worth it! 

5. We celebrated my daughter's 9th birthday this month. I cannot believe we have a 9 year old in the house! Where did the time go?? Truth be known, we have been celebrating her birthday off and on for a month, due to summer break and prior job commitments. There is no doubt she knows she is loved though and that she is a very blessed girl. 
My kids at the Olive Garden for my daughter's 9th birthday, one of the MANY celebrations we've had this month for her!

This is all for now!

Between all that has happened this month (and last month), I have racked up some really great recipes along the way! It's just a matter of finding the time to make them and post them on here. 

The family and I will be taking a 30 day road trip soon to the East coast to visit the grandparents and have a family reunion of sorts, so I honestly do not know when I will be able to post some new ones. Maybe by the time the school year starts back up?? I guess we will just have to wait and see!

Till then….

May Monthly Times

5.31.2015

Hello everyone!
I know, I know….I haven't posted in a very, very long time. There is a reason for this.  You know how sometimes life tends to get in the way of things? Well, it happened to me this month. We only have one more day until June 1st hits, and well…I feel inclined to catch you up on what has been happening in my neck of the woods lately.

1. Remember how I told you about this opportunity that came along back in April (click here and go all the way down to number 5)?  Well…after I declined her offer to take over her business, I went back and told her that I would really love to help her out and assist her with what she needed.  AND…that I would do it for free. I figured, "hey…she gets the help she needs and I get some experience under my belt…and it won't cost her a single dime in the process."

I know, I know.  I must be cray cray right? To offer to help with children's cooking classes for free? What in the world was I thinking?! I honestly was thinking about all the experience I would gain just by being there.  Monetary compensation wasn't even on my mind. I considered it like an internship of sorts. As a food blogger, when opportunities like this come your way, you do absolutely anything to make them stick.

Well, she must of thought I was crazy also, because next thing I know, I'm reading an e-mail from her offering to pay me to help her! Yes…that's right…pay me to help her out!

We worked it out and I am now a subcontractor for her business!
Me..snapping a quick selfie in between classes on my first day
My duties include maintenance of business's website and Facebook Page, as well as teaching cooking classes to willing participants. Yes…I get to teach the youngins of the Southwest how to become little chefs. AND…get paid for it all in the process.

I had my first class yesterday (two separate classes…10 children under the age of 8 in the am and 4 children above the age of 9 in the pm) and it was harder then I thought it would be. The 'littles', as my business partner and I like to call them, are so full of energy that I think I may just have to borrow some from them! It's not an easy task, corraling these little chefs into a kitchen to teach them how to make peach iced tea. I survived and lived to tell about it though. 
My "classroom"…there's a stainless steel fridge to the left of the ovens :)
I know with lots of research and the experience of conducting future classes, I will eventually get better at it. That's how we learn right?  We just throw ourselves into the lion's den and learn as we go.

Wanna know the best part about this job (besides all of the wonderful experience)?
I get to take my children to work with me if I want to! 
If Husband Man is away on military assignments, I do not have to rely on a babysitter. They get to come with me and experience the joy of seeing their mama teach cooking classes…and help me out if they want to. 

The website and Facebook maintenance I can do from home also…or basically anywhere there is an internet connection…so this part works out for me as well. 

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the flexibility of this job! I get to take my children to work if I need to, I get to work from home, and I get to pick and choose the dates of the classes I will conduct. Oh…and remember those few semesters of culinary school that I attended? I can incorporate what I learned into these classes! I have no clue how I stumbled upon this wonderful opportunity, but I am grabbing the bull by the horns and ceasing it. 

Since this is a children's cooking school, I have been experimenting with recipes that the owner has trusted me with. If I find the time, I do plan on posting these recipes on this site. Just may take a while to do ;)

2. Due to the opportunity that I stated above and the money that this blog is making on the side, I have decided to turn "Cooking With Libby" into an LLC. I figured it was time to do this…for liability purposes AND for income purposes. Keeping this site up and running while working for this cooking school will throw my monthly income into a completely different tax bracket. So I figured that it's time to turn this blog into a small business. I'm still doing research on things when it comes to this, however it is in the plans as of now.

3. Between all of this, our kids last day of school was a few weeks ago. Summer has officially begun in this house and the kids are loving it! Of course, we've spent the majority time at the kitchen where I work, prepping and shopping for food items and supplies, but I'm loving having them with me. They keep me company :) We've also made time for a little R & R too!
Miniature golfing on a cool summer morning a few weeks ago
4. Speaking of R & R, we took a trip to Pagosa Springs, CO during Memorial Day weekend. Husband Man has been wanting to go there ever since we arrived at this duty station, so we packed up the RV and finally went a few weekends ago. Our trip was jam packed with hiking, eating, and site seeing. We didn't get to swim in the hot springs, however we found out really quick that Southern Colorado is such a gorgeous place! We are planning a trip back there whenever we have another 4 day weekend :)

I don't know how the month of June is going to top this past month, however, I guess we will have to just wait and see!

Till June…..

Cinnamon Custard Cake {Latiya}

5.08.2015

Cinnamon Custard Cake, or Latiya (pronounced "la-tee-ja"), is a delicate dessert among the islanders of Guam. Angel food cake, sponge cake, yellow cake, or pound cake can be used as the base. Our family prefers to make it with pound cake. 

My mom & dad…when they were young…
It's funny how a picture can say a thousand words. Just glancing at one can bring out the tiniest bit of emotion that you never knew existed. My parents are the ones who take up occupancy in the picture on the right. I assume it was taken before I came into this world, hence their smiling faces :)  As a child, I used to stare at this picture for hours, wondering what they were thinking as they looked into the lens of the camera. Looking at this picture as a middle-aged adult who is no longer a child, I see a couple who is about to embark on the greatest journey of their lives together as a military family.

They met on the tiny island of Guam, where both of them are from. Dad was in the U.S. Marines when they married. They relocated to the United States shortly after their wedding and a couple of years later, my father transferred over to the U.S. Army, where he retired as a First Sergeant. 

Throughout all our travels, my mother would always cook and bake dishes from her native island.  It wasn't unusual for her to spend half the day in the kitchen, cooking up our favorite Chamorran (the name that describes everything Guam related) dishes for breakfast, lunch, dinner or *just cause.*  I think it was her way of chasing away the homesickness.  

When I moved out on my own in my early 20's, I made sure that I took copies of the recipes to some of her signature dishes that I grew to love.


Latiya is one of them :) 

This dessert is famous among the people of Guam. I LOVE it because it's like comfort food for me. Who can resist angel food cake/sponge cake with a tasty, creamy custard on top and cinnamon sprinkles to round it out?? 

It's great to make if you are having a barbecue or have been invited to a special event because it makes quite a lot.


All the credit goes to my mom when it comes to this recipe.  She is the one who introduced this dish to us and in turn, I am introducing it to all of you ;)


Cinnamon Custard Cake {Latiya}
 (serves 8-10)

Ingredients:
1 stick butter
2 (12 oz.) cans of Evaporated Milk
2 cans of water, poured into both emptied cans of the evaporated milk
1 and 1/4 cup sugar
12 tbsp. or 3/4 cup of cornstarch
1 bottle of Ground Cinnamon
Store bought or homemade angel food cake and/or sponge cake and/or pound cake

Directions:


1.  Cut the cake into squares and place them on a cookie sheet or in a baking pan. 


2.  Melt butter in a pot and add milk. Add one of the cans of water. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium.


3.  In a separate bowl, add the cornstarch and the second can of water. Mix thoroughly.


4.  Add the cornstarch mixture to the milk mixture and stir constantly. Add the sugar while stirring.


5.  Let this boil for 5 minutes or until thickened. It may take a while to thicken, but it will :)


6.  Pour over the cake.  Place in the fridge to chill for a few hours or over night.


7.  Sprinkle with enough cinnamon to decorate and serve.  

Recipe Source: My mama ;)


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