Paradise Dynasty: Chef's Recommendation at The Podium

Friday, August 30, 2019

When I first tried Paradise Dynasty in S Maison in Conrad last 2016, I was impressed with the quality and taste of the dishes.  But there was a hitch - the distance.  How I wish they opened somewhere nearer me.  It was in 2017 that I learned that they have opened in The Podium mall!  Technically, it's still quite a distance but nevertheless, nearer than the other two branches (S Maison and SM Aura).

I have a confession.  There is this one dish that I truly truly TRULY love from Paradise Dynasty - and that's the Boiled Beef in Szechuan Chili Oil.  It's just sad because I can't order this dish when I'm with my family - as I'll be the only one eating it.  My Panget finds it too spicy while the kids obviously won't be able to take it in.  So for the times that we dine in Paradise Dynasty - I would longingly stare at it's image on the menu and secretly utter 'next time' with a heavy sigh.


Last week, we were treated to Paradise Dynasty's Chef Recommendation dishes, these are exclusive to The Podium branch.  And here they are:

Grouper with Pine Nuts and Fruits 
This grouper tasted so fresh and the flavors were spot on.  Didn't think fruit bits would compliment a grouper dish, but this one was perfect.  Order this instead of your usual grouper fare.


Shanghai Style Braised Pork Belly
 What I loved about this dish is that the ratio of the fat and the pork in the pork belly.  It was just right and so when you bite into a piece, everything is so tasty and blends really well.  My daughter loved this and I felt too that this was kid friendly (as my son is allergic to seafood).  This is something everyone will enjoy, it looks basic but the flavors are there and it's perfect to pair with rice or noodles.


Grilled Grouper with Tofu in Mapo Tofu Style
Here's another variation to the typical grouper dish.  It infuses a classic Chinese dish of mapo tofu and topped it on a grilled grouper.  This dish is definitely filling because I enjoyed the tofu cubes with the grouper.  I like that you can also top the sauce on white rice.  This I think is their vegetarian mapo tofu - the meat is substituted with fish!  It's a welcome variation, in my opinion.


Deep-fried Duck with Steamed Bun (served half)
It wasn't love at first sight, because I judged it immediately when I saw it.  Hahaha!  It was good nevertheless.  Something worth ordering.  I guess I'm just really biased with preferring my duck to be roasted and served in thin sheets of wrapper compared with this dish, served in a steam bun.  It was something different and something you'd want to order just to try a different style on your usual roast duck.  

Here are some of the usual favorites from Paradise Dynasty:









Please visit Paradise Dynasty at the Podium Mall.  They have the most wonderful and committed staff to help you with orders and everything else that you need.  They always serve with a smile and is very knowledgeable on their menu and which dishes goes with what.  The food is served fast hot and fresh too!  They are located on the 2nd Floor

Hope to bump into you there!

Cooking Quest: Homemade Chicken Sopas

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

I really like Chicken Sopas.  I remember when I was in grade school in ICA, I would run down to the canteen right after the bell rang for recess, so I can buy myself a cup of chicken sopas or arroz caldo.  I remember trying this every so often because I really liked hearty soup during recess.  There were times that the canteen would sell out on the chicken sopas and arroz caldo.  But surprise surprise, the kuya or ate who serve will always give me a smile and offer me a bowl that they've kept for me.  Sweet, noh?  Awwww!!



Since I also wanted some Chicken Sopas at home, I would buy the trusty Knorr Chicken or Beef Sopas pack in the supermarket.  This has been a staple in all of my supermarket runs.  I would need to have a few packs in the pantry just in case I had a craving.  It was so easy to make and I felt comforted when I had it.  I would still do this after I got married.  I even introduced my kids to having it because they were curious what Mommy was having.  It was last year, I think - that I noticed that the supermarket that I frequent doesn't carry the Knorr Chicken or Beef Sopas anymore.  I remember one time seeing packs of Knorr Beef Sopas on the shelves of Landmark Trinoma (maybe a year ago or so), I bought a few packets.  In my mind, since it was still sold there - I can always go back.  But when I went back a month ago, I didn't see it anymore.  I asked the staff in Landmark and was told that the product was phased out.  I never got a confirmation because I didn't try to call the consumer hotline of Knorr.  Maybe I should.

The past weeks, I haven't felt 100%.  I felt that my colds have been overlapping, bummer right?  But then last weekend, I decided that I need the comforting chicken sopas.  Seeing Rowena's IG post that she made chicken sopas from scratch inspired me to make my own.  I knew I had to do it because there were no short cut anymore.

So I browsed through Panlasang Pinoy's Rich and Creamy Chicken Sopas recipe and used it as a guide.  I tweaked it to become my own version.  I was also tipped by Animetric to use Cheez Whiz instead of salt.  So I bought a tipid pack during my supermarket run.  I will share below the ingredients and the procedures.



I honestly can't believe that I made my own chicken sopas from scratch!  It was possible.  I reminded me so much of the chicken sopas that I had in ICA.  The kids and my Panget loved it too.  It was a success!  Hahaha..  Now, I know that I can do it again - and it's not that hard to do.




Ingredients:
1 Kilo Chicken Soup Pack (this is usually the breast part)
6 cups of Water (or more since you will be cooking the macaroni in the 'soup')
1 pack of Elbow Macaroni
1 big can of Carnation Evap
Cheez Whiz
2-3 pcs Knorr Chicken Cubes
1 large Onion
8 strips of Bacon chopped into smaller pieces
1/4 cup Butter
1 medium Carrot (diced)
1 small Cabbage chopped

In a large pot, boil chicken in the water.  Boil for about 20 minutes, take out the chicken let it cool.  When cooled, take out the meat and chop (I rough chopped it, but for uniformity's sake - dice it).  But the bones back in the chicken broth and continue to boil over low heat.  Add the 1 can of Carnation Evap and boil.  Add elbow macaroni and cook.  Please stir from time to time.

In another pan, cook the bacon with little oil.
Add the butter and cook.
Add the onions and carrots.
Cook until the carrots are softened
Add a little chicken broth so you can scrape the pan better



Take out the chicken bones from the boiling chicken broth.
Add the bacon, onion, and carrot mixture to the broth.
Add chopped cabbage and boil 5 minutes.

Taste the chicken sopas and add Cheez Whiz.  Don't forget to season with pepper too!  Oh by the way, I felt that the Cheez Whiz I added was too little, thus I needed to add chicken cubes for more flavor.

That's it!

Hope you enjoy!  If you have other tips, let me know!  I would love to try your version!!

On my next try, I would do the following:
1)  Use Ham instead of Bacon
2)  I'll cook the elbow macaroni beforehand in whole milk and add the liquid to the chicken broth (instead of evap)
3)  I'll add pounded garlic
4)  Use one whole chicken (cut up) for the broth
5)  Use the chicken breast and dice it (I rough chopped kasi)
6)  I will try to put vienna sausages

PAYMAYA: The convenient way to pay and receive money!

Monday, August 26, 2019

Ever since I was introduced to PayMaya, my shopping and spending has never been the same.  I am able to pay bills, buy load and receive money 24/7.  It was so easy!

When they introduced the QR payment, my golly - it became much more convenient!  Even if I didn't have my wallet on me, I would still be able to pay using the app!  I didn't need to take my wallet out!  As we always have our mobile phones on our hands - it was so much easier!  My friends would often wonder why I keep using PayMaya - well, it's because of the ease and convenience.

They have deals like my favorite cash back.  At first I was't aware of that promo, and then one time - I made a purchase in Mercury and I received a text message right after I scanned and paid via QR.  The text said that I received a cash back with the amount of 10% of my total purchase!  Well, since then - I would always make it a habit to use my Paymaya and pay via QR code.

So, what else can PayMaya do?   When you register, you automatically are assigned a virtual credit card.  This virtual credit card can be used on all international sites that require a credit card purchase!  Can you believe it?  You don't need a physical card to purchase on the popular international shopping sites!


If you do what a physical card, you can get yourself one from their website.  They have promos on it too because you can link multiple cards to your account.  Also, the PayMaya card is widely accepted worldwide!  I have successfully used the PayMaya card in Tokyo and Hong Kong, convenient - right?!!

Try it to believe!

So download the PayMaya app NOW on Android and iOs!  Input the code below and earn yourself P50.00!

3snfehf



Geena's Deliciously Rich Chocolate Cake

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

I am not a chocolate person.  It was only when 8 years ago that I started to appreciate chocolates - the brown ones I mean.  I prefer white chocolate, but some say that it's really NOT chocolate per se.  But I started my appreciation with chocolate during a pregnancy craving while I was pregnant with Kailee.  I would eat certain chocolate cakes and drink hot chocolate.

I like my chocolate cakes sweet.  I've tried so many 'the best' chocolate cakes but most of them are a bit bitter.  I think it's really me - because a chocolate enthusiast will appreciate the more bitter darker chocolates, am I right?  So I'm the pretend chocolate fan.  Hahaha! I can admit that.  Hihi..

My in laws are chocolate lovers.  They like and appreciate anything chocolate.  So during our usual family dinner, I thought to bring a chocolate cake from somewhere we haven't ordered before.  I saw on Leslie's (shootfirsteatlater) and Jin's (jinlovedtoeat) IG feed - Geena's Chocolate Cake.  They were raving about it and it looked really interesting and good!  To be honest, it wasn't very appealing to me - because 'not much of a chocolate fan', but then I made a mental note to remember it for the benefit of my in laws and for future reference.  Hihi..

So I ordered and the very nice person at the other end of the mobile number was very kind to accommodate my quite last minute order.  (Thank you!!) I sent the order from, made payment and waited the next day for my order to come.  I ordered the 10x14 and it cost Php1,650.00.   It was quite painless - our exchange was very fast and clear.  They deliver via Lalamove and so it was all the more convenient, I didn't need to have it picked up!  Yey, right?

When the order arrived, the cake was inside a pristine white box with a black ribbon and a tag that says Geena's Cake Boutique.  When I opened the box - it looked so perfect!  I swear, it looked really chocolatey.  I was honestly a bit repelled since it was all brown!  Hahaha..  Look how perfect the ganache is - my reflection is there taking a photo (buking!)







So that night, when dessert time came - I did the first slice - and I knew I had to try it first, if it was dark chocolatey or if it was the kind of chocolate that I liked.  The slice was quite an experience, the cake knife dug into the ganache and I knew that I was cutting into the cake because of there was a bit of resistance.  This was the first corner slice:



Look at that gooey ganache and chocolate cake.  I was afraid honestly.  It looked really chocolate-y, I was hoping that it will be the right kind of chocolate that I liked!  Hahaha...  And when I took the first bite.  I was sooooo perfect for me!  The texture was exactly how I imagined a rich chocolate cake was to be, the ganache had the sweetness that wasn't overly sweet.  I was honestly afraid that my in laws would think it too sweet!  I gave my panget a bite and he said it was good.  I got my father in law spoon full to try and he said it was good.  It was such a hit!  Kailee and Connor asked for slices too - and they were saying how yummy it was!  We even gave Shobe some to try and she kept going back to my Panget because she wanted more - she looked really cute and messy eating it.

Look at what happened to the cake:



On our family dinners, my Panget and I usually take home the left over dessert.  It was always us and no one else.  But guess what happened - my SIL took home half of what was left!  Hahaha..  I think she loved it too!  See how good it was?

When we got home, Connor asked for a slice.  I was reluctant but gave in.  The next morning, my Panget and I had it for breakfast - and by lunch time - our 'take home' was gone.  It was that good!



Try it if you haven't.

I can't stop thinking about it.  Hahha!

Thank you Geena's Cake Boutique for sharing your creation!  We LOVED it so much!!

Tenya Tendon - it's Tempura over rice!

Friday, August 16, 2019

I grew up with a notion that a Japanese restaurant serves EVERYTHING Japanese food.  There should be sashimi, sushi, tempura, ramen, teppanyaki and etc.  But I realized that when I went to Japan, that it was not the case!  Hahaha..

In Japan, the restaurants are stand alone ones.  A restaurant served only one kind of Japanese dish, for example a restaurant only serves ramen, another restaurant beside it will serve sushi and shashimi, and another will serve tempura.  It was quite a change from what we from the Philippines is used to.  I realized that of course, in our country - a restaurant would want to serve as much fare they can to entice customers to eat a variety.

To be honest, when we're in Japan - the kids would ALWAYS ask for ramen.  My Panget and I would always indulge them because they would be eating heartily and fast.  I on the other hand, was already craving for tempura.  But I can't seem to dine in one because Connor is allergic to shrimps and seafood.  One time, on my insistence - we ate at a Tendon restaurant.  A tendon restaurant serves anything tempura fried on top of rice, a tempura rice bowl.  So of course, most of us ordered shrimp tempura, while I ordered chicken tempura for Connor.  But after a few bites, I noticed he was itching and a rash formed around his mouth.  I later realized that this was because all of the tempura food was cooked in the same oil!  Hahaha..

I have tried Tendon previously and I was impressed with the serving size, the taste and of course the pricing.  I was surprised that it was quite affordable - affordable because it was filling.  You also have a choice between a regular and large - the difference is the amount of rice that will be served.

So last Sunday, we decided to have lunch at Tenya in Megamall.  And these are what we ordered:






Look at the generous pieces of shrimp tempura and veggies!  I would remember having tempura that the shrimp was so very very thin because it was covered in so much batter.  With Tenya the ratio was quite good because the shrimp pieces were really solid.  The shrimp doesn't get lost in the fried batter.  Hihi..

They all so delish right?  They were very good and filling.  We ordered the sets so my Panget won't feel bitin - but just the tendon alone, he was already full!  I got the set because I needed to share my hot soba with Shobe.  Kailee thoroughly enjoyed her own bowl of tendon.  She ate everything, well except for the veggie tempura which Shobe looooved.

I wish though that they would open somewhere north of Manila so I can have it quite often.  I needed to travel to Megamall to have Tenya!  Hihi..

Someday..



Bake With shYUMMY: Soft, Moist & Yummy Cupcakes

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

A food post is something that makes me do a double to triple take on IG.  It makes me click the IG handle and then browse the feed for more food posts.  And that is what I did, when I saw Animetric's post on Bake with shYUMMY's cupcakes.  They were running a flash contest and I decided to join.  Who would have thought that I'd win?!  Hahaha!!

So here are my prizes:

Above are the Banana Hydrangea Cupcakes


While these are the Chocolate Weave Cupcakes

They look so nice right?  Well, they tasted as good!  My favorite has to be the Chocolate Weave Cupcakes.  They're soft, moist and really really good.  I can compare the consistency and texture with my favorite Cafe Mocha cupcake from Everyday Mom's.  Now I have a new option - Bake with shYummy's Choco Weave cupcakes!  Yey, more choices for me!

The Banana Hydrangeas are really good too.  I really like that I was able to taste the bananas in it.  And what do you know, I looooooved icing on my banana cakes and this was just perfect!  Talk about meant to be, right?

The boxes were delivered via Grab and they came in perfect condition, lookie:




I was really excited to try them and had my Panget try it too.  He said they were very good!  So, it's also Panget approved!  Kailee liked the chocolate cupcake and asked it to be her baon for school.  I just hope it survives in her baonan.  Hihi..

Here are a couple of pictures with a close look at the cupcakes:



And below was what I posted on my IG stories:




So there you have it!  I'm not really obliged to post, but I decided to because I really enjoyed Bake with SHyummy's cupcakes.  And as they say, sharing is caring - so here I am sharing my newly discovered cupcake maker via @Animetric!  Thanks Sharmaine and Ro!





Jeunesse Anion: 6 Foods that Trigger PMS

Friday, August 09, 2019

Whenever I am PMS-ing - I eat chips, have salty food (my weakness!) and sweets (cakes & ice cream)  I never knew they were triggers for PMS, hahaha!!

This is brought to you by Jeunesse Anion



Premenstrual Syndrome or PMS is a bunch of symptoms that even the strongest women would usually face several days before that time of the month. Feeling totally frazzled and waking up with a different kind of fatigue is a reality, a zit on the nose that wasn’t there a night before. And oh, those tender breasts plus the soreness and heaviness. Worst, you can’t stop thinking about that fudgy chocolate cake you saw on Instagram!

According to Anne Price, a Certified Holistic Health Coach, an average woman experiences PMS 450 times in her lifetime. While hormones play a part in these biological changes, there’s a way how to manage it by avoiding these foods that are likely to alleviate the symptoms.


1. Trans fats and hydrogenated fats 
These are the nutritional bad words everyone should be aware of. Trans fats and hydrogenated fats are unhealthy by-products of a chemical process called hydrogenation. Manufacturers alter the fats to solidify liquid oils and lengthen shelf life and flavor of oils and foods that contain them. So, the next time you’re going to pick up margarine, crackers, cookies, and snack foods from the grocery shelves, read the labels and drop everything that says hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated even if the nutritional profile says 0% trans-fat. Go for saturated fats found in coconut or the healthier monounsaturated fats like olive and avocado oil. 

2. Food allergens
Food allergies cause digestive issues and skin breakouts that are obvious signs of a possible hormonal imbalance. But what if you have no idea which food you are allergic to? Either you have yourself checked by a doctor or try an elimination diet. This diet is a three-to-six-week eating plan that eliminates potential food allergens and then reintroduces them one at a time to identify which ones your body does not tolerate well. Top eight foods that belong to the food allergen camp are milk, eggs, peanuts, nuts, wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish. 


3. High fructose corn syrup and refined sugar
High fructose corn syrup is a chemically produced sugar found in sodas and fruit-flavored drinks, while refined sugar is the ones usually stored in your pantry. It comes from sugar cane, processed to extract sugar used to sweeten cakes, desserts, cookies, coffee, and cereals. The difference between these and the natural sugars found in fruits is that the former have empty calories with no nutritional value while the latter are loaded with fiber and other nutrients that your body needs especially right before the shark week. The absence of fibers makes you digest these artificial sugars rapidly resulting in insulin and blood sugar skyrocket. The result? It fuels mood swings and worsens headaches and difficulty concentrating. That’s the reason as well why you don’t feel full even after giving in to your sweet tooth. But of course, you don’t have to deprive yourself especially when you’re PMSing to the max. Just stick to dark chocolates, dates, raw honey, and reach for stevia or coconut sugar as healthier alternatives!

4. Salt
Ever wonder why you’re bloated or your hands and feet swell during PMS? These symptoms are caused by none other than hormonal changes that cause water retention. And loading up on sodium will just make it worse. Swapping salty food with nuts and loading up on fruits and veggies are good choices to reduce the accumulation of water weight because of a diet that’s high in sodium!

5. Caffeine
PMS is usually associated with fatigue, mental exhaustion, and depression. A lot of women try to counter these by increasing caffeine intake. But because caffeine is a stimulant chemical, it causes increased heart rate and blood pressure. This consequently leads to tension, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, and greater exhaustion. Its diuretic nature also increases urine production and triggers dehydration that is home to dysmenorrhea. Try herbal teas and decaffeinated liquids instead while going through PMS. 

6. Alcohol
When alcohol enters the bloodstream, it alters the brain function that produces serotonin. Serotonin is called the “happy hormone” because it contributes to a person’s stability and well-being. It regulates mood, social behavior, appetite, sleep, memory, and sexual desire functions. It is also responsible in mood alterations and disorders. Now imagine, that PMS is at its peak and you decide to wreck them further by drinking your favorite bar drink. Not very helpful, right? And like the previous item, it is also diuretic. It will rob you of your much-needed bodily fluids that will lead to prolonged dysmenorrhea. That said, abstaining from drinking alcohol during this time is strongly encouraged. 

Remember that diet plays a key role in balancing the fluctuating hormones in a woman’s body. But aside from choosing the right food, picking the right sanitary pads will keep you centered. The first anion sanitary pad in retail that’s available at Watson’s, Mercury Drug, all leading supermarkets, and groceries nationwide, it’s also on offer at www.lazada.com.ph and www.shopee.ph. The anion strip feature helps to ward off bacteria and fungi that cause a foul odor while keeping its freshness up to 3 hours. The findings are a result of the clinical trial by the Laboratory of Inorganic Nanomaterials, Institute of Chemistry, UP Diliman that’s why women who are looking for a menstrual pad with better benefits should try Jeunesse Anion. On top of these unique benefits, it’s made from sterilized virgin pulp material that provides extraordinary softness and absorption capacity leaving you fresh and comfortable all day!  Jeunesse Anion comes in ultra-day non-wing, ultra-day pad, ultra-night pad, all-night pad, and panty liner to help every woman to go through their period with ease and comfort. 



Wellgold International Inc. distributes Jeunesse Anion Sanitary Napkin and Liners and currently available at Watsons, selected Mercury Drug and South Star Drug outlets, SM department store’s health and beauty section, Robinson’s Supermarket and selected department stores, Shopwise, Rustan’s Supermarket, Waltermart, Landmark Department Store, PCX stores, selected Metro Gaisano outlets, plus other selected stores in Visayas and Mindanao. For more health tips, visit www.jeunesseanion.com and follow Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram: Jeunesse Anion. For inquiries, email: wellgoldinternational@gmail.com or call (02) 4701294.

PLAYGROUND: Bibi Shoes & Saltwater Sandals

Thursday, August 01, 2019

Shobe started walking at 10.5 months.  Yes, she was that fast.  She crawled just a short while - and then progressed to walking.  Now at almost a year old, she has been walking steadily.



I have to be honest.  I wasn't prepared.  We had no footwear available in the house for a 10 month old.  We were clueless.  Kailee was gifted by a pair of soft shoes years ago, and that was what Shobe would use when she walked around the house and outside the house.  But I noticed that it wasn't giving her the right kind of support.

It was only last week that I realized that I really needed to get her a good pair of shoes to aid her walking journey.  I had only two brands in mind - Bibi Shoes and Saltwater Sandals.  It was a very good thing that I can find both brands (and Melissa too!) at the Playground Store in Trinoma.  I headed there and decided to buy two pairs of shoes.  One Saltwater Sandals for Shobe to wear everyday and a nice pair of Bibi shoes for a little more formal feel.  I was hoping to buy a silver or gold pair of shoes - but they were all out of stock.  I think we were really meant to get a pair of white shoes.

Look how cute they are on her feet.


My kids are fans of Bibi Shoes - Connor's school shoes are Bibi, his PE rubber shoes are also from Bibi.  Kailee loves wearing her versatile Bibi slip ons.  I find it really nice because she can pair it with anything.  How I wish there was an adult version.



The Playground
3F at Trinoma
2F at Robinsons Magnolia
3F at The Podium

Official retailer of the following brands:
Mel, Mini Melissa
Saltwater Sandals
Bibi Philippines