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Remembering My Nanay Through Her Favorite Maja Blanca

A mother is the truest friend we have, 
when trials heavy and sudden fall upon us; 
when adversity takes the place of prosperity; 
when friends desert us; 
when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, 
 and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, 
and cause peace to return to our hearts.” 
- Washington Irving

I've always been very close to my mom. Though I grew up surrounded by good friends, I've always felt that she's the only one TRUE friend I have. Losing her to gastric cancer was truly devastating for me! I didn't only lose a mother, I also lost my best friend! And though almost 5 years have passed, there are still times when I couldn’t seem to grasp that she’s gone forever. Everyone said it would get easier with time but that doesn't seem to work for me. Losing someone who has always been there, looking out for me, cheering me up and giving me inspiration and encouragement is a big deal. It really saddens me that she's not with me anymore, and believe me, there are times when simple thoughts of her make me burst into tears. I often find myself so envious of those people who still have their mom around. Though I have Ryan and the girls (who definitely make me happy), the feeling of being a motherless daughter sucks! That feeling is worse on holidays and Mother's Day when everyone's thinking of their moms, buying them gifts and doing something special to thank them. That makes me so jealous and miss her even more! 

Today, in honor of Mother's Day, I want to dedicate this post to her...the wonderful woman who gave life to me and raised me to be the loving and responsible mom that I am now - 
I truly love my mother deeply! She is the best, you know! I am sure a lot of people say that but I really mean it. While my mom was always a good mother, she was a lot more than that! She was my greatest teacher---she didn't just teach me how to read and write, she also taught me everything that aren't taught in school...she taught me to be honest, forgiving and to treat others the way I want to be treated...she taught me to be independent and to have my own opinions and thoughts instead of going along with everyone else...she taught me to always be thankful and appreciative of the simplest things I have and the things others bring to my life; she said saying thank you is a very simple thing to do but it means a lot...she taught me that laughter is indeed the best medicine but there's nothing wrong in crying and it can make you feel better too. My mom was also my biggest fan and cheerleader. She was always there for me and she never failed to give me the encouragement and support I need in everything I do, no matter how big or small. Above all, my mom was also my best friend. Our relationship was actually more like of sisters rather than of mom and daughter. We really did spend a lot of time together and whether we're eating out, watching a movie, shopping or just talking about anything, it was always fun. With her, I can totally be myself...I can tell her anything and she would totally understand. She accepted me and kept on loving me despite all my flaws! With her, I always felt safe and loved. I am truly lucky to have her as my mother! To her (and my dad, of course), I owe everything that I am today. Now that I am a mother myself, the thought that my Nanay has truly done motherhood so well inspires me to be the best kind of mother that I can be.  I know that I can never repay her for everything that she has done for me, but being able to pass on to my daughters her amazing legacy of selfless love would be a great way of honoring her!

To all of you who still have your moms around, treasure your time together and be sure to give her a hug and tell her how much you love her, not just on Mother's Day...but everyday!!!

And to all the wonderful mothers out there,
 I salute you for your endless sacrifice! 
You truly deserve all the love in the world!

As I've mentioned many times before, I got my love of food and cooking from my mom. With that being said, this post wouldn't be complete without sharing with you something related to food. So as I remember and honor my beloved mother, I want to share with you a recipe of her favorite dessert called Maja Blanca. This dessert is usually served during fiestas and the holidays. Adapted from the traditional Spanish holiday dessert manjar blanco which means white delicacy, Maja Blanca is a Filipino dessert made primarily from coconut milk and cornstarch. It has the consistency of thick gelatine and is usually creamy white in color. 
Though the basic ingredients remain the same, it can easily be adapted to include other this manner of cooking that I got from my Nanay. If you noticed from the picture, my Maja Blanca is yellowish in color. This isn't just because of the corn but because it has cheese in it. I'm not a big fan of the regular Maja Blanca. It's good, but I usually don't get excited when I see it on the party table. But this one, I really love! It's cheesy and creamy and I just can't say no to that! I've seen and tasted other Maja Blanca with cheese...but only for topping, which I also like...but my Nanay's version for me is still the best! Adding cream and cheese in cooking it makes it even tastier!

  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1 *12oz. can evaporated milk
  • 1 *13.5oz. can coconut milk
  • 1 *14oz.can condensed milk
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 *15.25oz. can whole kernel corn
  • 1 cup finely grated mild cheddar cheese
  • 1/3 cup latik (fried coconut milk curd) or toasted coconut
1. In a saucepan over medium heat, pour coconut milk and bring to a slight boil. Add the condensed milk, cream, sugar and corn. Cook with frequent stirring for 15 minutes.
2. Dissolve the cornstarch in evaporated milk. Add the cheddar cheese and mix well.
3. Slowly pour the mixture into the saucepan, stirring quickly to avoid lumps as it becomes very thick. Stir for about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat.
4. Immediately pour mixture into molds. You may use a large dish or individual serving molds. Allow to completely cool down then chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour before serving.
5. Top with latik or toasted coconut. Slice and serve.
I really miss my mom...hope we could eat this Maja Blanca together...;-(


  1. Very inspiring and lovely post , Tina ! Here , let me taste some of your Mom's awesome maja blanca ! :D By the way , love the addition of grated cheese ! And when I'm going to make this , I'll remember to add it , too ! ;D

  2. Hi Tina, thank you for sharing your beautiful mother's day message. So envy those who have parent to love and adore. I'm been give away when I was born, so you know the kind of sad feeling that among my 6 siblings why I'm the odd one that they sent away.:(

    Anyway Love your dessert, so refreshing. yum yum

    Have a nice weekend and Happy mother day to you. *Hugs*

    1. That is really sad, Amelia! I know that there's nothing I can say to comfort you. But I believe that good things always come out of bad situations...I just hope it's the case with you.

  3. I felt so touched and emotional reading through your sharing esp remembering your mum. I can understand that though we can accept our loved one not being around anymore, but the memory lingers on forever. I am sure she is RIP now Tina.

    Sincerely I truly appreciate that my mum is still there for me and she is the first person I run to for any reasons. In fact, we gave her an early Mother's day today and she was on top of the world as I see it all over her reaction.

    Btw, lovely dessert you have made to remember you mum and to all mums out there, including yourself. Happy Mother's Day to you and take care.

  4. What a beautiful tribute to your mother, Tina. I lost my mom about 15 years ago and know what a space it leaves in your life. Thank you for sharing those beautiful pictures with us.

  5. This post was beautiful my friend. The bond between a mother and her child is unimaginably close and you capture that in your words.
    Simply lovely tribute

    Choc Chip Uru

  6. I know that this dish is one of those foods that just bring back a flood of memories of your beloved mother. This blog is a wonderful tribute, I know she would be so proud of you. I wish you a happy mothers day with family and friends!

  7. Beautiful tribute to your mother! I was touched and emotional reading your post. I loss my mom in 1996 from stomach cancer. It is very hard. Beautiful pictures!

  8. Great post tina,is very beautiful way to to tribute to your Mom,I live far away from my Mom,but i do love her very very much,thanks for sharing this and delicious dessert,hope you have beautiful day to celebrate mothers day with your family !!


  9. There are so many variations to be made with this recipe and I would like to try them soon. Your photo
    looks so inviting and delicious.

  10. I am so sorry that you lost her. I am so happy though, that you have so many happy memories of her. :)
    Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

  11. I am so sorry for your loss Tina! Losing your mother I think makes you feel an orphan no matter how old you are. This is a beautiful way to pay tribute to your mother who's spirit I am sure will be always with you!

  12. I know exactly how it feels to lose a mother as I recently lost mine. I am so sorry, Tina. But I would like to greet you a Very Happy Mother's Day! I hope are having a very special day.

    ~ ray ~

  13. What a wonderful tribute to a beautiful lady! Your great love for her is easy to see. I'm sorry that she is not here to share this Mother's Day with you. I'm sure your kids gave you a wonderful day! If this Maja Blanca was your mother's favorite dessert, then she was also a woman with a wonderful palette. Hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day weekend!

  14. Mom are always best Tina, Nobody can replace them. Delicious dessert.

  15. How wonderful it is to feel the way you do about your mum, I only hope that one day my kids will think of me that way! I love this pudding, have a Filipina friend who makes this regularly but without the cheese. Will have to tell her about yours!

  16. Beautiful post, Tina. Happy mother's day! xx

  17. What a heart-warming post, Tina! Reading it almost brought tears to my eyes as I'm also very close with my mom. Thks for sharing the wonderful story!

  18. What a wonderful tribute to your mom. You lost her way too early, Tina...I'm glad you could share your memories of her with us. xo

  19. Beautiful post indeed Tina. Your mother sounds an amazing person. The pudding looks beautiful and yummy!

  20. Tina, what a beautiful post...I enjoyed reading about you mom :)
    As for the manjar...we have in Brazil something very similar, which we call manjar branco, made of coconut milk and corn starch, much simpler than your ;-)
    You just reminded me that I have not had this dessert for a long time.
    Hope you have a great week ahead my dear!

  21. Aw your post made me so sad - I'm glad you loved your mom so much.

    I really want to make this version of the dessert since I love the corn/cheese combo but my husband isn't a big fan...which is good for me since that means I get to eat it all! :)

  22. Thank u so much for sharing....i did and i fall in love with its creamy taste.! God bless!

  23. I made this today for my church banquet and they loved it! It was International Banquet day so I was happy to represent the Philippines with this very delicious desert! :) Thank you for this recipe.

  24. I made it today for my hubby's birthday... OMG its so yummy! Thank you Tina for this recipe. I lost my mom too when I was still young :( She's also a good cook like your mom...
    I will try your other recipes...

    again, Thank you! Blessed you Tina for sharing this yummy treat :)

  25. what' the other alternative for whipping creams? is it okay if i will use nestle creams?

    1. You can substitute whipping cream with either Nestle all purpose cream or table cream.

  26. Hi Tina,i was touch and so emotional while reading your blog about your Mom. I loss my mom 5 years ago.she suffered leukemia. Mothers have always something in common, the way they share their unconditional love with their daughters. Thanks for sharing those beautiful pictures with us. And the wonderful Maja recipe with us.God bless you more!

  27. I made this today for my brother-in-law's 1st year death anniversary. I decided to put it in cupcake tray. I topped it with "latik", toasted shredded coconut and mild cheddar cheese. It's yummy.

    Thank you so much for this recipe. It's highly recommended :-)

  28. Hi Tina, I just made this today and I have a little prob the maja did not thicken, still my family loved it!

    1. I wonder why it didn't thicken...but most probably, it's because of the cornstarch you used.

  29. Hi Tina. I'm planning to try this....i just wonder how much will be the yield for these measurements. Thanks a lot.

    1. This yields two 10" inches round, 2 inches thick maja blanca.

    2. I made it last August 27 for my mom's 1st year death anniversary. It tastes so wonderful! Our visitors really loved it as well! Thank you for this recipe:)