New favorites at Angel's Kitchen!!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

I'm a huge HUGE fan of Angel's Kitchen.  There was a time that I would bring friends and family to Angel's Kitchen for meals when I was still single.  I miss those days.  Hahaha!!

What I love about Angel's Kitchen is that they serve good hearty food.  No pretense, just straightforward good comforting food.  There was a time that I missed AK's food because of its distance to me.  But I am very very happy and excited that since last year - I have frequented Angel's Kitchen more often because I bring Kailee to school.  Angel's Kitchen is my #1 choice when asked where to meet for breakfast.  As you know, I am a creature of habit when it comes to food.  I like having mostly the same thing over and over again.

A few months ago, Angel's Kitchen opened with its new interior AND new dishes!  I have not tried all of them yet, but so far - these two are becoming new favorites:

I like pancakes, I don't love them - but I enjoy them once in a while.  Just last week, I thought - why not deviate from my usual order - so I took the plunge and ordered their Good Morning Pancakes.



I was very surprised when I saw the sizes of the pancakes!  They were huge - well, if you compare them with the usual sizes served in restaurants.  They're also very cutely - ROUND!  Look at the roundness!!  The pancakes were light and fluffy, but mind you - it wasn't airy.  I first thought, why wasn't it served with the usual butter - but you know what, once you take a bite - it's all buttery goodness.  I LOVED IT!  I have a new favorite for breakfast!  And when I say favorite - well, it hasn't been a week since trying it - but I've had the pancakes twice already.  Diba??!!

They also have this new dish, a very hearty and comforting dish - the Beef Spareribs Sinigang with Mangoes.



I was so surprised that the kids liked this dish!  I tried it and knew why - the dish not very maasim but it was very rich and good.  The beef spareribs are soft and very tasty, the soup is just comfortingly, goooood.  I wish we can have unlimited refills of the soup!  Hahaha..  Yaya Belen was surprised and said that beef ribs pala can be used for sinigang.  This so very comforting that it reminds me of my mom's cooking - especially on a rainy day like today.  Argh!  I'm craving for this right now.  Waaaah!!  This is something you'd want to have when you want share a hearty meal with dear friends and loved ones.  Imagine sharing stories and bonding over this Beef Spareribs Sinigang with Mangoes.  Lovely, just lovely!

I just also recently discovered this White Puttanesca Sauce from Angel's Kitchen's Mi Casa.  I was blown over when I tried it.  Mind you, I didn't try it with pasta - I tried it as ulam with rice!  Hahaha..  I loved how the pieces of ingredients were chunky.  I will buy more of this because this will come in handy when I get lazy to cook!  Hahaha..



So there you have it!

Please do visit Angel's Kitchen soon.  I'm sure you'd enjoy the old time favorite and have new ones with their new dishes.

I hope to bump into you there!


Angel's Kitchen
https://web.facebook.com/angelskitchenph/
Connecticut Street, Greenhills, San Juan City
Tel. (02) 744-1018
https://instagram.com/angelskitchenph/

Oishi's Snacktacular on July 28 to July 30, 2017!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Each year, I look forward to Oishi's Snacktacular event.  It's so much fun and what best to enjoy an Oishi snack by having activities to do it with!

To share the love of the wonderful wonderful event, this year Oishi Snacktacular will be at the Festival Mall in Alabang!  It will be at the 2nd level Carousel Court in Festival Mall!  So to the loving peeps from the south - here's your chance to enjoy the festivities and one of a kind activities!

Join in the fun and have yourself a Snacktacular weekend next week!!





PRESS RELEASE

Oishi Snacktacular 2017

We’ve witnessed Panya, Hippy, Pilyo, Waifu and the rest of the Oishi Friends in their slightly dark but humorous mishap adventures in Oishi’s famous webcomic strip series. With the friends’ varying appearances and personalities inspired by Oishi snacks, who can resist these adorable characters? And now, see them come to life in this years Oishi Snacktacular 2017 at Festval Mall, Alabang this coming July 28-30. Meet and eat the yummiest gang as Oishi’s innovative and interactive booths make their comeback with a twist!

We all know that Make Your Own Snack allows us to be inventive by choosing and mixing your chips and flavors of choice. This year, you choose a dip (or two) that you want to try with your favorite Oishi snack! Ridges dipped in chocolate? Why not! How about your favorite Fishda dipped in cheese and honey mustard? Trust us, it’s worth trying!

 O-Twirl is also offering something new to Oishi’s soft served ice cream with another flavor for you to try! Choose between Oishi Choco Chug and Oishi’s newest tetra drink, Tea Matchi Matcha milk tea! Don’t forget to top it off with 2 Oishi toppings!

This year’s Cuckoo Blaster is double the fun because you get to pair up with your friend (or stranger) in matchy Cuckoo geared suits to catch as many balls you can. The more balls you catch as a team, the more Oishi drinks each player wins. Two Cuckoo Birds are better than one!

Crowd favorite Oishi Snack Catcher is back! Dive into an enormous pool of Oishi snacks and grab all the treats you can take with your own hands! And of course, the Snack Shack booth will be there where you can fill up your 2-foot Giant Pack with your favorite Oishi Snacks in 60 seconds.

Don’t miss your chance to try out all these with your favorite Team O members, Alex Gonzaga, Maine Mendoza, Daniel Padilla and Kathryn Bernardo! Drop by Oishi Snacktacular, the most O,Wow event of 2017!


#OishiOWow #OishiSnacktacular




Hello 2017 Pilipinas Starbucks Card!!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Well, hello there handsome!

Lookie, lookie - it's the 2017 Edition of the Pilipinas Starbucks Card!



This 2017 Edition as Starbucks Card is available starting July 25, 2017 (Tuesday) so save the date and head on to your favorite Starbucks store to get one.

WAIT!  There's more - load up this exclusive Starbucks card of at least P1,500.00 from July 28 to 30, 2017 and you'll receive a complimentary hand crafted beverage in Venti!  Double WOW, right?

Cooking with Grande Rice Bran Oil!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

One thing is for sure.  That food definitely tastes better - fried.  Well, this is a sure thing for me as I loooooooove fried food.  But not all cooking oils are created equal.  Some are good, some are better than the others and some are just plain bad.



In our drive to search for the healthiest type of oil - the people behind Grandiose Marketing has found us an alternative - Grande Rice Bran Oil.  But what is Rice Bran Oil?  Why haven't we heard of it as much as the most famous Olive Oil?  Well, it's the East's olive oil!




Personally, during the intimate product launch - I was impressed to because Rice Bran Oil does not leave any aftertaste in the food.  Rice Bran Oil even enhances the taste of the dishes prepared by the very cute Chef Miko Aspiras.  Chef Miko Aspiras prepared three (3) dishes for us that day - one appetizer, one main course, and a dessert.





During the cooking demo, I was half expecting to - you know *to come out of the event smelling oily* since it was an open kitchen.  But guess what - I didn't, we all didn't!  Isn't that magical?  It is.  

The next morning, I told Yaya Belen to start using the Grande Rice Bran Oil for all the cooking at home.  She immediately put it to the test by making me my favorite - french fries.  The kids loved it, I did too!  The french fries looked cleaner and neater - something that amazed Yaya Belen. 

One thing I really really dislike is the smell of fish being fried.  I can't explain why, but I really really don't like it.  I especially hate it when I can smell it inside our bedroom.  I have always always told the helpers that if they will be frying fish - to make sure that all the doors are closed and all the exhaust fans to be open, so as to avoid the smell traveling and staying inside the house.  One day, on my way out of the house, I noticed that Yaya Belen was frying something.  At the corney of my eye, I saw - fish?  I wasn't sure - I even did a double take - and it was!  I was so surprised to see that she was deep frying bangus!  I then asked her, what cooking oil she used, she replied that it was the Grande Rice Bran Oil - and you know what - there was NO FISHY SMELL!  I was very impressed, very very impressed! The house did not reek of any fish smell throughout the day, as any brand would.

Tried the Grande Rice Bran Oil in cooking my Clam pasta.  Tasted wonderful and clean!



Try it to believe.  The 1Liter costs P185.00 and the 2Liters costs P365.00 - definitely cheaper than Olive Oil - and without the aftertaste!

 Click this link to know more about Grande Rice Bran Oil.

DIDIscoveries: House of Bao PH's Jian Bao

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Jian Baos.

Honestly, I didn't know what they were.  It was only when I googled it, did I realize that locally, it's called Fried Siopao.  Jian baos are cousins of the more known XLB (Xiao Long Baos), the difference is that jian baos are *breadier*, well that's according to www.seriouseats.com



Now that I have an idea on what it is, I have some sort of expectation on it. Well, for most baos - I have these standards that need to be met.  I like them aromatic.  I like the ratio of the filling and bao bun to be just right.  I like the bao bun to be tasty, and quite a few more. Ang arte ko, diba?  But seriously - I have a lot of things to consider when it comes to baos s.

You will say, *ang daming arte naman ni Didi*!  Well, true - because I've come across so many baos, that most of the time they are just pretending to be baos.  Hahaha!!  If you know what I mean.  Like for example, the toasted siopao - I have NEVER come across one with the right ratio of filling and bun, it's always the bun is more - I feel like I was duped!  So when it comes to baos - well, I have reservations.



So when a friend of mine, Slao sent some Jian Bao from House of Bao PH my way.  I knew that if that bao passed her standards, it would surely pass mine.  I was quite excited really, and when I received them - I immediately did my mental *checklist*

Criteria #1 - Aroma/Scent of the bao
We belong to the group of the *Langhap Sarap*.  With just the aroma of food, you can immediately say it's good.  With House of Bao PH's jian bao - it was that.  It smelled soooo wonderful (read more below).  It smelled very Asian-ish, and you'd know by the scent it's definitely Chinese food.  But seriously with the aroma, you'd be hooked in and left curious.

CHECK

Criteria #2 - The look of the bao
It was wrapped in small plastic, making sure that you can immediately try it without the mess.  Well, thought of - right?  CHECK.  When I opened the plastic - I saw black sesame seeds!  Well, that's a first and I loooooove black sesame.  CHECK.  The size was a bit small (my first impression), but then I realized - cousin nga ng XLB - so it can't be big, CHECK.  The bun looked really nice, I can imagine the effort put into how it was made in that way, CHECK.  Easy on the eyes.

CHECK (sss)

Criteria #3  The amount of filling and bao bun
I get so pikon when I see that the filling is very little compared to the bun.  I really do.  So When I cut into this jian bao - I was impressed on how generous the filling was to the amount of bao bun.  I know that some do cost cutting - limit the amount of filling versus the amount of bread.  But it really beats the purpose, right?  I mean why even call it a bao (or siopao) when the meat is just a measly bit!  Most of the time, we just throw out the excess bun (if there is no filling felt), I confess, I do that most of the time, but with this House of Bao PH jian bao, nothing I mean NOTHING gets thrown out.

CHECK



Criteria #4 The first bite into the bao
I have this thing that I try and guess which side/part of the bao to bite into first.  Let me tell you, it's a tough decision. This is because we all want to taste that filling right away.  So when I bit into another bao (not the one I cut for the filling and bao bun ratio) I was so happy to bite into the right amount of filling AND bao bun.  It's not all filling and not all bao bun.  It was a good mixture of both!  I really hate it when, I'll say it in Tagalog *hinanahabol mo yung kagat mo for the bun and the filling*  With this bao, every bite - you get the right amount of both filling and bao bun.

CHECK!

Criteria #5 The crisp on the bite
It's not the crisp of the bun, but the crunch of when you bite into the filling.  The filling, is for sure mostly meat - but I have tried really really good baos in other countries that have this *crisp/crunch* in them.  When I bit into this bao, I knew it was a winner because I bit into something crisp.  That was the clincher for me.

CHECK!

The jian baos of House of Bao PH passed all my criteria.  It was aromatic (when I picked up my order, it was pure torture in the car!  Connor was even saying how yummy the car smelled!  Hahaha.. It was intoxicating that I couldn't stop myself from having a piece while driving - I had to control not to finish them!)  I really looooved that when I bite into the baos, there's filling and there's the bun!  I don't think there was an instance where I was left with excess of filling or bun.  Wala akong hinahabol na kagat, it was perfect.  This made me realize that the size (when I first thought it was small) was actually just right.  The size I think was made to make you want to eat another bao (and another), and when you do - it's not super filling that you'd want to stop, it will not make you feel guilty for having more than one.  It would actually make you want to have more and more!  Don't ask me na how many baos I can have in one go.  Hahaha!!  Then there's the crisp/crunch into the bite.  I looooved it so much!  I was telling my mom that what got me was the crunch bite into the filling, since I haven't tasted any that had that *bite* here in Manila, EVER.

I reached out to Darren right after trying his jian baos and ordered some because I wanted to share the joy of this really yummy bao with family and friends.  Hahaha!  I shared it with my brother, who incidentally is friends with Darren's older brother.  They have a history with food you know, they were the pioneers of Belgian Fries and Slammin (my forever favorite is Slammin's John Candy).  I was told that Darren went to Taiwan to master the art of making jian bao.  Darren shared that he was in Taiwan for another mission actually and found this instead.  I must say, THANK YOU Darren for these baos.  I swear, they're life changing - feeling ko it's all I want to eat all day!  Hahaha...

Try this guys, TRY IT and for sure my criteria will be yours too once you've tasted House of Bao PH's jian baos.  It's really really good.  Don't take my word for it, have some and try it.

Go!

Get in touch with Darren on the House of Bao PH's Instagram.  He'll reply right away for sure!

video


video

*Videos are from House of Bao PH's IG account.

#MidaTurns20: Feast of the Pacific

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

I dislike going to wet markets.  For one, I cannot distinguish a fresh seafood from an old one.  I remember being given tips to look at the eyes of the fish, to pinching a particular side of a crab.  Those tips have remained tips as I do not personally go to buy fresh fish in the wet market.



In this day and age, I am so very very thankful that good quality seafood is available in supermarkets.  I first saw Pacific Bay packs in S&R.  I assumed that this was imported as the packaging and design was really nice.  It was only last year that I learned that Pacific Bay is 100% Pinoy!  It was so refreshing to learn that Pacific Bay is Pinoy and that they are making seafood available for home cooks!  You know, it makes cooking so much easier AND convenient for us moms.

I remember seeing a pack of Pacific Bay clams in the supemarket - I was so happy!  I bought it and for dinner that day - I made Pasta ala Vongole!  Cooking that was so easy - the clams were already clean and ready to be cooked.  It has cut my prep time to more than half!  I was so happy with the outcome that I swore when I saw it again, I would surely buy a pack or two.  Unfortunately, that never happened again - as it was always out of stock on my supermarket runs.  I think I've got competition in buying them.  Hahaha!!  But the thought that it was available in the supermarkets, was comforting - ika nga, unahan nalang.


Baked Oysters were served during cocktails

I was very excited to be invited to celebrate Pacific Bay's mother company's 20 years in the business.  20 years in a long time - and in that long time, they company has developed relationships with the country's top chefs.  I was most starstruck on Chef Margarita Fores.  That night, there were four (4) chefs that showcased their expertise with certain seafoods offered by Mida Food.  Here they are below:

Hamachi made by Chef Lau


Pulpo a La Gallega


Shrimp Pomelo Salad by Chef Jonas Ng 


 Barramundi with Panettone crumbs by Chef Margarita Fores


A few days after, a bag of goodies arrived at my doorstep.  There was a pack of Jumbo Shrimps, they were already peeled and de-veined.  Convenient right?  So I thought, what have I wanted to cook for the longest time but couldn't?  Tom Yum Goong!  It was perfect.  My sister in law sent me some Tom Yum soup pack and what a perfect way to cook the shrimps! 





And here's the finished product:


The shrimps were still crisp to the bite.  It was very clean on the palate, no taste of *lansa* at all.  It was perfect!  It was really made for us home cooks, so convenient!

Thank you Mida Food for bringing to our homes and tummies the seafood we deserve!  Congratulations again!

Perla: 50% Coconut Oil 100% Pinoy

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

I have very early memories of Perla.  I remember seeing them in my Ama's house's sink.  My Ama would have a bar in EVERY sink in her kitchen, beside it was a laundry bar.  I often wondered, why did she put Perla bars on the kitchen sink, why were two different kinds of bars?  When I got older, I finally asked her - she said that the Perla bar was for the hands and to soften the washcloth that was washed using the *more matapang* laundry bar.  I was still very confused really, but I understood it better when my aunt explained to me that Perla was used to make the washcloths softer again, in our generation - Perla was the fabric conditioner.



Fast forward to when I was pregnant.  I was told to use Perla by friends and family to launder the clothes of the baby.  They said it's the mildest amongst the brands in the market.  I followed this advice for the first three months Kailee.  I stopped, I think because I found the scent not overly *mabango*.  When Connor came, I did this same thing - launder his clothes using Perla and stopped after a few months.

To be honest, I always always see Perla during my supermarket runs.  I remember noticing that it had a different packaging look and realized that it was already a P&G brand!  I thought to myself, Perla must really sell well for P&G to absorb them.



A few weeks ago, I got invited to an intimate gathering of friends to re-introduce the brand to us.  Apparently P&G sold the brand to a local Filipino company three years ago.  May I just say, I came there without any expectations - but I came out there with a new sense of pride with new learnings from the brand.  I'm sharing with you what I learned.

Perla is a 100% Pinoy brand
Did you know that Perla started in 1952?  It has been around for a very long time.  It has built TRUST all these years.  As your great grandmother, grandmothers, mothers and your aunts.  For sure they know the brand.  I'm sure they're have a little anecdote to of Perla.   When I learned that Perla is 100% Pinoy, I felt an unexplainable pride in my heart.  Here is a brand used by my Ama that is still available in the market!

Perla is 50% Coconut Oil
Yes, half of the Perla bar IS coconut oil.  I remember my economics teacher in DLSU, she would repeatedly tell us that Coconut Oil should be our number one export.  She would tell us over and over again until it's in your head forever (like me! Hahaha!)  I was very very very astonished to learn this particular thing from the brand - that Perla is made of 50% Coconut Oil!  Isn't that ahhhhhmazing!  I personally can attest to the effectivity of coconut oil.  I used coconut oil on Kailee when she had skin asthma as a baby.  This made me realize, I can actually use this soap on the kids!  Confession - ever since that intimate event, I have been using Perla on my face and body.  I also gave Yaya Belen a lot of bars to use as she wished.  I handed her one bar to use for the kids when they bathed and so far, so good!

Since Perla 50% Coconut oil, that means that they need to source coconut oil from local farmers.  Not only is Perla very good for the skin and cleansing - it also takes it's social responsibility very seriously by supporting local farmers!  It's very nice to learn that a brand that has decades of experience behind it, still supports and cultivates local coconut oil farming.

And since it's made on natural ingredients - it's safe for the environment!  Another brownie points for their environmental friendliness!!  Woohoooo!

Perla is gentle on the skin
Since it's made of 50% pure coconut oil, it surely means that it's gentle on our skin.  I have heard stories from friends of friends that they use Perla on their faces.  When I learned that certain celebrities were using it on their faces, I decided to try it on mine.  Hahaha!  So far, so goo since I have not experiences any irritation and I feel my skin is a bit more softer - it must be the coconut oil.  I distinctly remember that Perla is gentle on the hands compared to other laundry soaps.  The tag line used to be *Banayad sa kamay*.  Harsh chemicals used to make laundry soaps affect our skin later on.  I would remember our helpers complaining that their hands feel dry and the skin becomes brittle because of certain laundry soaps.  Yes - it does its job in cleaning - but at the expense of your dry and very sore hands.  Not worth it right?  Some would say - wear gloves!  It's different when you launder using your hands sans gloves.

Perla is hypoallergenic
One thing I learned is that when you say hypoallergenic, it doesnt mean that there will never be an allergic reaction, it means that it is less likely to cause an allergic reaction.  Please see the definition in Dictionary.com.  Since my kids have eczema, it's quite stressful when it acts up.  They are constantly scratching day and night.  I often wondered if it's already a habit or not.  Then one pedia derma told me, do you think scratching is fun?  It's not a habit - it's REALLY ITCHY.  It was then that I realized that I needed to look for a more gentle soap for my kids.  I found two brands actually - but since this intimate lunch, I found out about Perla is made of natural ingredients + 50% coconut oil AND that Perla is hypoallergenic (since it's all natural)  I decided to have my kids try it.  And you know what, so far so good!  Kailee said her legs feel less itchy.  Connor's arms are looking great with less scars from scratches.  With all of our experiments with soap, body washes, lotions and all - my kids have become critical of products we use on them.  They would tell me what works and what doesn't work.  And with Perla, it's really so far so good.  Kailee has declared that her legs are less itchy.  I personally would experience random urticaria (hives) on my arms and legs - and for the past few weeks, these allergy attacks have become less and less.

I am very much impressed with Perla.  The correct term would be in AWE.  Who would have thought that a laundry soap, would be able to help our skin conditions.  Who would have thought that a laundry soap would double as a beauty bar.  What impressed me the most are the two things - the title of this blog entry - 50% of Perla is made of pure Coconut Oil and it's 100% Pinoy.  Perla is truly something that we should be proud of - something that we should patronize.  I came out of the intimate event on a high.  I was filled with PRIDE and inspiration.  I started sharing my insights on Perla with friends and family.  I am hoping that they would shift to Perla.

My ama was right after all - Perla does make clothes and cloths softer as it's a natural fabric softener.  That's another plus - from all the wonderful positive things that Perla has for us.  Imagine, my ama has known this fact for years - and I, I just learned this recently.  There is this valuable trust that the brand has built through the years.  How I wished I knew then.  But now that I know - I want to share it to everyone.  As they say, knowledge is power.

I'm very excited for what's in store for Perla in the coming months.

Thank YOU Perla!

Ola, Bibi Philippines!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Footwear is very important.  I know this because my Panget is flat footed.  I used to complain of achy feet and lower back during my travels.  It was I think 2005 when I discovered a footwear that was so comfortable (but it wasn't very stylish) that I finally understood the significance of a comfy footwear.  I know they say that rubber shoes are the best, but you see - well, I don't think I carry rubber shoes very well.  So I opted to sacrifice comfort with vanity.  I think at one point in our lives - we had shoes that were *tiis ganda*, right?

For my kids - I want only the best.  It shows with the kind of footwear my Panget and I choose for Kailee and Connor.  My Panget is very lucky that nowadays, kids' footwear is not confined to just being *white*.



Bibi shoes from Brazil embodies the *perfect* type of footwear.  It's comfortable AND stylish!  I used to not care what Kailee wore (shoes), for me it was always rubber shoes.  And then I realized that wearing sandals or girls shoes is really nice!  It's very pretty on the eyes, diba?  So I started buying her sandals from those foreign fast fashion brands.  I liked them because they looked really stylish.  Little did I know, they weren't comfortable.  One day, out of the blue - Kailee said *Mommy, can I tell you something?*  She then told me *I don't like the shoes you bought for me, my feet get ouchie*.  It was then that it dawned on me that I must change a significant category for buying kids' shoes.

Kailee and Connor LOVE walking barefoot around the house.  It honestly bothers me, but I read that kids like the feel of the ground when talk.  Another reason might be they feel that shoes are bothersome because most of the time they'd need to wear socks - I remember my mom telling me when I was little to wear closed shoes so that my feet won't grow big!  I felt so constricted - I honestly didn't like it.  And so I was so happy when I was wearing sandals or slippers!  Hahaha..

I am so very happy to learn that Bibi develops shoes so that kids can be kids.  They can move however they want with the comfy feeling of the shoes they wear.  The shoes are not just limited to sandals, rubber shoes, ballet flats and formal shoes.


IBibi shoes has a style for every occasion.  The selection of Bibi shoes is complete.   They have school shoes, they have sandals, rubber shoes, formal shoes and ballet flats.  Whatever the occasion, or style you fancy - whatever the need, for sure they have a something for you.

I picked this style for Connor because it's his usual style, what's more is that these are made of leather!  Yey!  Nice right?



As for Kailee, I wanted something different - I wanted a pair of sandals.  And I saw this pair - Cai picked this for her daughter Y.  I asked for Kailee's size - unfortunately, they didn't have it na.




Such a pretty pair of sandals right?  It was love at first sight.  So as a compromise, I got Kailee this same design, but in white!  Yehey!! :)

Bibi shoes are available at Rustans Makati and Rustans Shangril-La, and will soon be available at Playground stores in Trinoma and Glorietta, and online at www.bibiphilippines.com. Follow @bibiphilippines on Instagram and Like the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/bibishoesphilippines.


Convenience at your fingertips with PayMaya

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

I honestly didn't have an idea on what PayMaya was.  I had to ask a blogger friend about it, hahaha - yes, I was that clueless.  It's a very interesting concept - PayMaya.  I was glad to be able to listen and see what it's really all about.



PayMaya is basically a prepaid card.  One that needs to have load in order to be used similar to a debit card.  You can pay your utilities, make online purchases and more using PayMaya.  One thing I really liked about PayMaya is the convenience it has because of it's mobile app.  You see, you won't need an actual card to be able to pay your bills and purchase stuff online anymore.  When you register - you are given a virtual card (with a corresponding 16 digit card number that is powered by Mastercard if you're on the Smart/Sun network and Visa if you're on the other network)  You literally have the same benefits like those of a credit card - in terms of shopping online (Amazon & other shopping sites) you can use your virtual card number and go shopping anywhere in the world wide web.  You can receive cash or payments as your parents, friends or customers can load up or pay you via loading in ATMs, banks and other partner establishments.  You are rest assured that it will be accepted by shopping sites as you have the Visa or Mastercard logo on the virtual card.  Just make sure that you have enough *load* before you purchase, okay?

It's very convenient as we know most Filipinos don't own credit cards.  It's better than a credit card because you can monitor your expenses!  There will be no problems of overspending or going over the budget.  The best thing about it is that - all you need is a valid mobile number (from any local network) and a government ID to verify your registration to PayMaya (there's a step that you need to upload your ID for security purposes.  You can link your PayPal account with PayMaya and enjoy the numerous benefits of doing transactions online without the hassle of having to apply for a credit card and stressing that your applications may get declined.

In case you want to have an actual PayMaya card, you can purchase one on the site for P150.00, it can be delivered to your preferred address.  The convenience of the real PayMay card is that you can use it to withdraw funds from any ATM in the country - corresponding charges apply of course depending on the ATM company.

So easy right?  I was able to convince my brother to register and get his virtual card.  He was so impressed on how easy it was to do!  What's more is that you can link the PayMaya card to your Facebook account in case you want to boost your post or place an add.  Cool right?

I'm very excited on what PayMaya has in store for us in the coming months.

So, what are you waiting for?  Get the PayMaya app on Google Play Store or on the Apple App Store and start enjoying the convenience of having a PayMaya account.


Ballet Manila at Fisher Mall

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

I was surprised to learn last year that Ballet Manila has opened in Fisher Mall.  I remember seeing posters of Lisa Macuja near the mall advertising ballet lessons, but I never knew where it was exactly, I assumed it was at the village nearby.  It's quite nice actually that they chose to have a studio in Fisher Mall because it can be more accessible to kids who wanted to learn ballet.


So, when an opportunity came up for Kailee to try ballet in Ballet Manila, I immediately said yes.  I made sure to buy Kailee her ballet shoes and leotards.  It was sort of exciting to be honest, because Kailee has been interested with ballet because of her cousins.  I was quite excited for her.  Honestly, it wasn't a priority to enroll her in ballet, but I'm glad that Kailee got the chance and was able to join the class and learn ballet at the studio of our country's prima ballerina, Ms. Lisa Macuja.

During Kailee's first class, I was so critical of her.  It was nice that there was a TV monitor where parents and guardians can watch the kids in their classes - uninterrupted.  You know how parents and grandparents are, right?  So I felt it was such a good idea (the monitor thing) since for sure, we'd be  distractions to the kids ins class.  So, as I watched Kailee follow Teacher Marivic, I was silently laughing to myself!  I know, I'm so mean! (I'm sorry!  Hahaha)  It was because comparing her to the other girls in the class, Kailee looked really awkward in her movements.  It was nice of Teacher Marivic to dote on her and correct her during that time.  I felt that even if the class size was quite big, Teacher Marivic could still notice those who needed extra guidance.

While observing Kailee on her first class, I felt so proud of her.  She didn't cry, she wasn't shy when they were asked to partner up.  She was very determined to follow Teacher Marivic and join the class activities.  She was a very confident first timer.  It looked as if she was having a difficult time following, but when I asked her after the class if she felt the class was hard, she just smiled and said, it wasn't - that she was learning.  My heart was bursting with happiness with her answer - she liked the class.

In the next classes, Kailee was becoming more confident and could follow more easily.  She still needed practice but you can see her determination to catch up with the movement of the class.  She would be conscious on how her movements looked in the mirror and she would correct certain moves without prompt.  I can tell that Teacher Marivic had that effect on her, Kailee was becoming more determined as the classes progressed.

Ballet Manila's studio in Fisher Mall is very nice, considering the location (in a Mall), they were able to maximize the space that they had.  The layout was pretty basic, but well - I feel they did very well in terms of layout, which space goes where and the convenience of the reception area and waiting area.  The place was clean and looked very well maintained, this is something that I really like.  I'm quite maarte when it comes to cleanliness.  It's very important for me that a studio is clean.

On the walls of the studio's waiting and reception area, you'll see images of ballet students during classes, recitals and of course our prima ballerina - Lisa Macuja in action.  The interiors are inviting, the ambiance is very warm, you'll feel right at home in Ballet Manila Fisher Mall.  There was a mom there, who was very nice and reassuring.  I think she saw me smile and laugh when I was looking at Kailee on the monitor.  She told me not to worry as Kailee would be better as the days progressed.  Her daughter too, she said looked every it of bit awkward at first, but as she attended classes (regularly) - her form became better and better.  This made me feel more settled, thank you Mommy friend, I'm sorry I didn't get your name.

Here are some of Kailee's videos from her classes in Ballet Manila.






Thank you Ballet Manila for this opportunity, my Kailee enjoyed every class she attended and would gush on how much she enjoyed her classes with Teacher Marivic.

Ballet Manila has two studios - one is in Pasay and another is in Fisher Mall, QC.  Do visit their Ballet Manila's Facebook page for more details.

*will post more videos later.  my connection is wonky.

Cooking Quest: Beef Bourguignon aka Beef Burgandy

Monday, June 05, 2017




Ever since tasting the Beef Bourguignon of Duck and Buvette in Shangri-La Mall years ago, I have so been looking for a recipe to do at home.  Most recipes I found online were very tedious, they require a lot of cooking steps.  I'm sure the best recipe has to be Julia Child's - but reading through the ingredients and procedure, it was tiring.  But I guess, the labor of love would be worth it.

I finally came across a simplified version that involves a slow cooker.  So I bought all the ingredients and did my first attempt.  Since the recipe used a slow cooker, I assumed that I could just put all the ingredients together and let the slow cooker do it's magic.  And so I waited patiently for hours, checking every so often if the meat has tenderized.  To my surprise, after 3 hours - the meat was still tough.  It thought to myself, why not add 3 more hours to the cooking time, I mean - I already waited for 3, what is three more?!  And so I did, and waited patiently.  The kitchen smelled oh so wonderful and I was really excited.  On the 6 hour mark, I proudly took out the cover, forked a piece and tried it.  It was so rubbery!  The sauce was too thin and it tasted so different from what I had imagined it out.  I decided, why not add another 3 hours to the cooking time.

At the end of 9 hours in the slow cooker, my attempt on Beef Bourguignon was a complete FAIL.  The meat was still not tender, the sauce was still thin and it had a different taste, like a sour wine or something.  I tried to save it, but it couldn't be salvaged.  I was so sad to see the ingredients go to waste.  I even thought to have my dog try the dish but Jacob was not interested on those pieces of meat.  It was a major FAIL.  This was yearssss ago.  So, after this incident, I never tried again.  I was too scared that the ingredients might go to waste.  Every so often, I'd look up at Julia Child's recipe thinking that someday, when I have the courage again - I will be brave and make one.

Last year, I bought the Assumption Legacy Cookbook from Joey (one of my FAVORITE food bloggers of all time).  As I was browsing through the wonderful pages, I saw a recipe for Beef Bourguignon.  I was so happy because the recipe was very simple and easy to follow.  I vowed that when I found the cut of beef that I liked, I would try this recipe out.

Months ago, during a supermarket trip I finally found the beef cut I was looking for.  Well, I guess I wasn't really looking for it, it just so happened that I grabbed that beef pack thinking of cooking something else.  I tried to cook that meat in a different way only to discover it's not *bagay* for what I was thinking to cook.  Then a light bulb moment came - I can use that meat for Beef Bourguignon!  The next few days were spent buying the rest of the ingredients.  I thought to use the wine I bought from the S&R sale because the recipe said to use a wine that you'd drink.  I was slowly buying the ingredients, I guess I was still a bit scared to really dive into making the Beef Bourguignon, haha!

But one afternoon, I finally decided to make it.  I followed the recipe off the Assumption Legacy cookbook, but instead of using just a pan on a stove, I used my trusted Breville MultiChef (slowcooker)

I marinated the beef overnight with the red wine.  I read online that this doesn't do anything to the beef, but I trusted the recipe and I wanted to see what the effect was.  I also remember that wine has the ability to make meats tender.  So I trusted the recipe.

The next afternoon, I started making the Beef Bourguignon.  I followed the recipe to a T at first.  After I poured everything in my Breville slow cooker, I said a short prayer - that this time, to make it at least edible.  So, I put my slow cooker on high, and a few minutes and when I saw bubbles from boiling, I switched it to low and patiently waited for 3-4 hours.  Since I started slow cooking at 7pm, I had to wait and battle my sleepiness.  I waited and prayed, I check on the glass cover every so often.



When it was 10pm, I decided to check it again and thought to try the sauce.  I was so happy with the consistency of the sauce, but I felt that it needed more garlic, and so I added about 5 pounded garlic cloves (I love garlic kasi).  I also added some dried thyme.  I forked a piece of beef and felt that it could still use a bit more time in the slow cooker.  So after mixing it a bit, I covered the pot and waited again.

I was really sleepy, I could feel my eyelids getting heavier by the minute.  I was watching the movie Somethings Gotta Give so as not to fall asleep, but I could't help it anymore.  So by 12midnight, I went down, while walking down the stairs, the aroma was wonderful - I was scared and excited.  I opened the pot and there it was - the Beef Bourguignon.  It smelled really wonderful, really really wonderful.  I was suddenly awake!  Hahaha..

First, I tried the sauce - it was really goooood!  Then I forked the beef - the moment of truth!  Hahaha - I was so happy that it was tender.  I then put it on a small plate to see if the meat was really tender, I was about to use a knife to cut it, but it broke down while I forked it.  I couldn't believe it, it was definitely softer compared to when I cut the meat earlier (on the 3 hour mark).  I got another piece to try, and it was the same.

I felt so happy, it was like I achieved something that I tried so hard to make!  I felt that my labor paid off (since it was a really warm night when I started cooking) and it was a success.  I wanted to share the good news to my Panget, but he was already asleep - the whole house was already asleep!  Hahaha..

The next morning I brought some for my mom and brother to try.  My mom approved and so did my brother.  Yehey!  My Panget had this for dinner and said it was good!  He usually says *Ok lang* but this time, he said *Masarap*, so it's masarap talaga!  I was so happy.  Super duper happy that even the kids liked it.  Woohoooo!!

I finally did it!  I finally made a version of Beef Bourguignon.  I wouldn't have had the courage to make it without the help of the Assumption Legacy Cookbook.  Thank you Joey and friends for coming up with this.  Thank you for sharing your recipes with us for us to try at home.  In case you're interested to get the cookbook, see the details below.  Enjoy!


So happy to have conquered my fear!  Hahaha...

DIDIscoveries: Celebrating flavor with Rang's!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

I am always on the lookout for places to order food.  You see, with my in laws' growing family, and to be honest - we're getting too rowdy for restaurants because of the kids.  We prefer to be in a place where grandkids can be themselves and enjoy their cousin's company.  We've decided, why not just stay home (most of the time) - it's more comfortable for us and for the kids.  Order food in and enjoy it without being conscious if we're too noisy or taking too much time and space.



Rang is friend who I met through the #ClosetCleanoutSale2016 where we were both vendors.  I just discovered after that event na she's the older sister of my friend Ro!  The world is so tiny!  A few weeks ago, Rang posted on IG that she's finally decided to dive into the party platter food business because of the wonderful feedback from friends who have tasted her dishes.  I immediately asked for her menu and was so happy to learn that her kitchen is nearby.  I'm glad to have another option to order food next time.

To be honest, I was already running out of places to order from.  My menu has become somewhat repetitive and my mom in law has noticed that.  My Panget said to try other places, but it's quite limited seeing that we're in QC.  And as you know, I am a creature of habit, I don't mind eating the same dishes over and over again, but that's me - how I wish, that everyone was like me, but obviously - everyone is not.  Haha!  So, the task of thinking where to order is quite taxing.  I'm also pressured to make sure that everyone will like the food I order.

Since we were having a family dinner again, I decided to order from Rang's.  It was quite last minute since Rang wrote that order should be at least 3 days ahead.  I asked her if it was too short notice for my order.  I felt so relieved when she said she could still accommodate my order.  I was so excited to be honest - mainly because it was something new and they looked really good!! :)

When I picked up the food, the car smelled soooooo good!  I was really excited to taste them.  When dinner came, I think everyone was very hungry because the food was devoured almost immediately. 





The food was great, everything was good!  My brother in law especially loved the Binagoongang Pork Belly and said that it gave the dish an ooopmh when you put the eggplant chimichurri.  I couldn't stop eating the mashed potatoes of the Chicken.  My parents in law, nieces and nephers loved the Baked Salmon.  I wished I ordered two of that.  Hahaha!  The crab fat spaghetti was also good, the shrimps were cooked very well and seasoned perfectly.

Rang's food was a huge hit to me and my in laws.  Everyone was happy with the food and was filled full.  The size was perfect and the flavors - wonderful.  Rang was able to pack and present the food very well too!  The plastic wrap was tightly done to avoid accidental spills.  It's also very easy to re-heat since they're on aluminum pans.  

I'm excited to order the rest of the food on her menu.

Congratulations Rang, on this venture!  Thank you for sharing your food, for us to enjoy with our families!

For more details on how to get in touch with Rang and how to order - you may visit Rang's Facebook Page.

Here's another look of my orders:


Top Left is the Binagoongang Pork Belly with Eggplant Chimichurri
Top Right is the Chicken with Roasted Garlic and Herbs
Lower Left is the Baked Salmon with Buttered Corn
Lower Right is the Crab Fat Spaghetti with Garlic Prawns






Meet Belle and Rapunzel in SM Malls this May 19 to 28!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Every little girl's wish is to meet a real princess face to face.  While you will need to visit their respective kingdoms to see a princess; Toy Kingdom is bringing Belle and Rapunzel over to the country for little girls to experience this once in a lifetime chance for FREE!

Yes, you read that right - for FREE!!

Here's your chance to have your little girls meet and greet Belle and Rapunzel!



Here is their schedule:

May 19 to 21 - SM City North Edsa
May 26 to 28 - SM City Cebu

Time Schedule:
May 19 & 26
2pm, 3:30pm, 5:30pm and 6:30pm

May 20, 21, 27 & 28
12:30pm, 2pm, 3:30pm, 5:30pm and 6:30pm

Mechanics:
  • .    Event is open to the general public. No entrance fee required.
  • .   First come, first serve policy applies.
  • .   No food, drinks, strollers and sharp & pointed objects are allowed in the event area.
  • .   Entertainment subject to change without prior notice.



Follow Toy Kingdom online. Visit our online store at www.toykingdom.ph. Find us on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Youtube: ToyKingdomPH