Cuteness overload in the kitchen
ALL IN MY HEAD - Monique Toda (The Philippine Star) - July 9, 2020 - 12:00am

Let me warn you ahead of time: This is a super feel-good column. It will simply make your day. I previously wrote about ladies who mastered a skill or discovered a talent during quarantine. This is the junior edition. Cuteness overload, here we come.

Children today are busybodies. They have so much on their plate like school, extracurricular activities, play dates, parties, sports, gaming, etc. There is so much more going on than when I was growing up.

Today, I am featuring four productive children who learned a skill or created something worthwhile during the summer, which coincided with the lockdown. It is a reminder that inspiration can also be found in small packages.

Santi Prieto: Racing to the future with his shakes

Nine-year-old Santi is an active boy who races go-karts with his dad, rides his bicycle, plays soccer and running games. He is a charmer who can melt anyone’s heart. During the extremely hot summer where temperatures soared, Santi brilliantly created a fruit shake business as part of his school project. This is how Santi’s Easy Shakes was born.

This handsome boy tells us his success story: “For school we had to create a business using bananas. So after doing research on the internet, I chose to do an easy banana shake. Everybody in my house liked it! Then the school asked us to create our own business, so I thought about creating an easy fruit shake business, adding more fruit flavors. I use local fruits like banana, calamansi, coconut and watermelon. I don’t use sugar to make it healthy. My fruit shakes are refreshing, nutritious and delicious!”?

What are Santi’s plans for himself? “I want to be a businessman when I grow up.”

Starting off at this young age, I can clearly see Santi racing away to the future.

Alessi Elizalde: Young environmentalist creates a food source

Adorable Alessi, 10, is pretty well-rounded, as she engages in various activities such as playing basketball, horseback riding, doing arts and crafts, playing the guitar and tending to the plants in the garden.

Growing up with an awareness and knowledge of prioritizing the environment, she created Sunny Sideup Seeds as part of her school project. In this venture, she was also tasked to cost, pitch and make plans to advertise and sell the product.

Alessi shared her creative process: “While I was brainstorming ideas for my company, I wanted to come up with a product that was eco-friendly, reusable, and something that could help people in times of lockdown. That’s when I came up with Sunny Sideup Seeds! It's a planting kit made of an upcycled egg carton, and comes with organic soil and seeds. It is a fun and easy way to start urban gardening since you can do it anywhere, like your backyard, patio, or balcony while helping the environment. Also, learning how to grow your own food is a good way to become more self- reliant, which is needed in these times.”

Perhaps, Alessi’s veggies can supply the kitchens of her mom’s Wholesome Table restaurants.

This young environmentalist speaks about her hopes and dreams: “In the future, I wish that the amount of pollution and plastic in our world would lessen and that more people would take action and help save the environment. I would like to learn how to be more environmentally friendly, or as my mom calls it, ‘a ‘regenerative human being!’”

Carolina Prieto: Bringing sunshine with her summer cake

Lovely Carolina, who’s 12, is an articulate and smart young lady who likes reading, listening to music, swimming, and playing with the family dog, Milo. She is also a junior foodie who started baking at five years old. When the lockdown and summer season started, she baked the aptly named Summer Cake, which was loved by family and friends. Orders have been many and the summer cake has been a summer hit.

Carolina gave me a background on this endeavor: “I created the summer cake during the middle of lockdown. I was inspired by my brother’s school project to develop a business and wanted to have my own. So I researched different recipes and came up with a cool name, designed a cool flyer, and did all the costing!” ?

Her future plans include pursuing her passion for baking and creating more cakes and flavors for people to enjoy.  With this, Carolina will definitely continue to bring sunshine to those around her.

Kenzie Huang: Spreading happiness through her cupcakes

There has been a buzz in many different circles of how yummy the cupcakes and cookies are of sweet, nine-year-old Kenzie Huang. Aside from baking and cooking, Kenzie likes swimming, arts and crafts, and playing with her Shih Tzu Louie.

I asked Kenzie why she focused on baking cupcakes during the lockdown and what she said really touched me: “Well, a lot of people are sad (because of the pandemic) and I know a lot of people like cupcakes. So I decided to make cupcakes to spread happiness.”

Her delicious creations are well appreciated by her family and friends, who have been ordering from her. Proudly, she has saved enough of her earnings to buy a regular stand mixer. Her dream is a Kitchen Aid and I am sure she will be able to buy that as well soon. Furthermore, this pretty young girl used her earnings to make her first donation of 100 meals to frontliners care of The Moment Group’s Program.

Kenzie is not only skilled and talented but also a sensitive and giving young girl with a heart of gold.

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