Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Snack Time : Hokkaido Cake by Milk Box PH

Oh man! Since when have I turned into a serial snacker? For the past months, I've been snacking all day long! From chips to cookies to cakes and even to a glass of cold milk. I am forever hungry especially in between feeding the babies so after nourishing them, off I go to the dining room to feed myself. I sure hope that I can maintain this weight even after breastfeeding as I seriously am eating like there's no tomorrow.

Anyway, here's the fun part though. Discovering new snacks and goodies along the way. A few months ago, I stumbled upon Milk Box PH while browsing through Instagram and was instantly lured by their Hokkaido Cake. I messaged them right away and well, what do you know?! I got two boxes of Hokkaido Cakes delivered to my doorstep the very next day which coincidentally were the #AngTwins' 3rd month celebration. Thanks so much R for the very very efficient service. Each box holds 6 cups of Hokkaido Cakes each and it sells for only Php. 380.

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So what are Hokkaido Cakes? These are super fluffy, yummy Japanese cakes which are filled with light sweet cream and dusted with milk powder. If you've been following my blog for the past 10 years, you'll know that I can't take anything with heavy cream and given that, I try to avoid anything creamy or one that's loaded with icing to avoid any tummy troubles. I have to say that Milk Box's Hokkaido Cake is totally out of this world! The cream is the lightest that I've ever had in my life and the cake texture is so light and fluffy. The milk powder also wasn't too sweet. Overall, it was perfection in a cup. I wasn't expecting to fall totally in love with it but I sure did! I had two cups within the first 5 minutes of trying it for the first time.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Franny Mommy : The Society of Twin Parenting

During one of our recent meet-up with friends, some of them gave us sweet encouraging messages on how they're at awe on how we're raising our twins and still look human during the day. Well aside from the fact that they didn't get to see us during the first two months of being twin parents, we're also blessed to have very disciplined kids who can now sleep through the night which allows us to have better sleep or at least some quality evening time. There are still fussy nights but they come rarely and we get over them quickly.

Modesty aside though, I never felt like what Paul and I are doing is something out of the ordinary. To us, this is our NORMAL. For us, it's normal to repeatedly change two sets of diapers each time, it's normal to prepare two bottles every time, it's normal to tandem feed, it's normal to deal with two crying babies, it's normal to put two babies to sleep at the same time, the list can go on and on. I guess we're also lucky that J and L are our first borns and we will never know what it's like to just take care of one. It also doesn't hurt that both Paul and I are incredibly OC so we try to track everything from their diaper changes, to their poop schedules to their drinking frequencies and quantities too. We try to understand our twins and listen closely to their cries. 

parenting emporium twin support
However, what made the ride enjoyable for us is knowing that we are not alone. Even before the twins were born, we got to know fellow twin parents like K, B and S who have been so helpful in sharing their tried and tested tips with us. From what UV sterilizer to get to getting two single strollers vs a tandem one and so on. They also all have boy and girl twins too so somehow, we never felt like we are so different in this parenting world. 

When I gave birth to the twins, I also met D who has been my Mommy buddy since the twins were a month old. It's funny because we both have the same OB-GYN, the twins have the same neonatologist and both our little girls have to undergo the same procedure just a few days apart. Her set of twins were born 3 days after mine and we've been going through pretty much the same things at the same time. I'd say she has been my twin parenting soul sister and I don't think I would have survive the first two crazy months without our late night messaging which have made feel that finally, someone out there can totally understand me. That was also one reason why I didn't fall into post-partum depression and believe me, the struggle to not fall into the hole is real. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

#FrannyCooks : Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownie with Anchor Philippines

"Hi, I'm Fran and I'm a Chocoholic."

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All my life, I've never (and I say this with conviction) been fond of chocolates. In fact, chocolate flavored cakes will never be one that I'd go for at any given day. I can barely consume an entire bar of chocolates and it's not one that I'd go out of my way to buy when doing my grocery shopping. Here at home, it has always been Papa and Pan who are the chocoholics in the family. All that has suddenly changed after I gave birth to my twins. The more I nurse them, the more I start to crave for chocolates. It's crazy! From chocolate milk to chocolate bars and truffles to chocolate cakes and ice cream. I would purposely order Iced Chocolate when I'm out with my family and we now have a steady supply of chocolate milk, bars of chocolate and tubs of chocolate ice cream in the fridge. I would like to think that it's my hormones playing trick on me and suddenly, I turned into this chocoholic mommy and believe me this addiction seems to be hard to cure.

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Thanks to Anchor Philippines for sending over this lovely crate of our favorite Anchor products, I was inspired to do some baking. I was craving for cookies and brownies so a quick search on google led me to this awesome recipe of Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies. It's the perfect combination of my favorite snack at the moment. Not only that, it's really chocolatey just the way I love it.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Flossom Kitchen + Cafe at N. Averilla, San Juan

In our many years of eating out, it's quite rare for us to keep visiting a particular restaurant as there's always that constant desire to try something new. After all, there are thousands of new restaurants yearly and the choices are pretty much endless. However, there's one particular restaurant that I've been frequenting on a weekly basis. I guess we got ourselves a winner. :)

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It was one afternoon in December when my friend M came home for a quick visit and invited me out for a coffee break. Since I had to feed the twins round the clock and I only have a two hour window to be away from them, the challenge is to find a good cafe nearby. It was in the wee hours of the morning when I stumbled upon Flossom Kitchen + Cafe. It was then a newly opened restaurant located right behind Rustan's Supermarket along P. Guevarra, literally a stone's throw away from home. Perfect!

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Luckily, my friend M was game to try this new cafe out and that marked the start of my love affair with Flossom Kitchen + Cafe. Stepping inside the restaurant, it was love at first sight. Each corner was so photogenic or in millenial-speak -- totally Instagram-worthy! I love how well-lit the entire restaurant was with the two couch nooks on one side, the huge glass window panels and my favorite spot -- the Glass House.

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It all began with one slice of Ube Cake and a plate of Panna Cotta (Php. 150). I didn't thought much about it as, in fact, the place was empty when we went. Very typical for a new restaurant still trying to build its clientele and making itself known in the neighborhood. Other restaurants would eventually bloom into the hottest spot or others would just quietly disappear within a few months time. The food industry, after all, is a very tough world where survival of the fittest is one that restaurants deal with from day 1. As I sinked my fork into the Ube Cake, I remember noting how springy it was. "The chiffon cake was so soft and fluffy", I thought to myself. Taking a bite, I love how full-flavored the ube was. This is definitely the real deal. The Panna Cotta was also very refreshing as it was served with sweet mango cubes.

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A few days after that, I invited my family to give Flossom Kitchen + Cafe a try. Over lunch, we had their Baked Meatloaf (Php. 320) which was their house specialty and one that won our hearts 6 times over. It was soooo good! Sweet embutido topped with melted cheese. If you think about it, it's simple -- yes but truly comforting. Served with rice, this makes for a great lunch plate on its own. Then again, who am I kidding? I can never stop at just one plate.

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To go with the Baked Meatloaf, we had the Buttermilk Chicken (Php. 350) which was another winning dish. Deep-fried, crunchy Chicken Thigh served with Cajun Rice, Coleslaw and Bacon Gravy. We were lucky that day as we also got some maple syrup which, in my opinion, made the chicken taste so so so good! I love how they're so generous with their serving making it good for sharing.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Snack Time : Think Wink Cookies

So, for Mommies like me who's up at the wee hours of the morning while feeding a sleepy and hungry baby...what do you do? Stare at your baby's face? Stare into space? Surf the internet?

I've done all of that and even once attempted to blog but I was just so scared to squish my baby which will surely wake her up in the process. Believe me, a startled baby who suddenly wakes up because of sudden movements is not a happy baby and you wouldn't want a wailing, unhappy baby at 3 in the morning. Thankfully there's my phone and Instagram. I normally would scroll through my feed to see what my friends are up to. For some reason, I always stop at my friend Spanky's post who shares mouthwatering "food porn" shots (and random sexy girls photos too for the interest of all the men out there hehe).

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Spanky has been my dessert guru as of late. Since I gave birth and officially joined the no-sleep club, I love seeing Spanky's photos of cakes, cookies and whatever sweet treats he happens to discover in the metro. Last December, he shared a photo of a stack of cookies from Think Wink Cookies as it was the cover of his Let's Eat magazine. My gosh, seeing this so early in the morning really made my mouth water and my tummy rumble. Of course, I had to do something about it. With just a few clicks, I ended up ordering a couple of boxes for the Holiday season. It's perfect as I didn't had time to do any Christmas shopping so I decided to trust my friend's taste and got this as gifts for our godparents. Of course, I just had to get a box of myself too.

Think Wink has several flavors available : Oatmeal Choco Chip, Oatmeal Kahlua Raisin (Php. 375), Chocolate Chip (Php. 400), Cranberry White (Php. 550) and Peanut Butter M&Ms (Php. 550). I got the Oatmeal Choco Chip (Php. 375/box of 10s) as it was their best-selling flavor. I believe they also add in a few more flavors on a seasonal basis.

One thing I love about Think Wink is their packaging. Each cookie is packed in individual plastic bags ensuring its freshness for a longer period of time. All 10 cookies are then placed in a nice box making it so presentable and ready for gift giving. It's just elegantly package just the way I love it.

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Now, on to the taste. "OMG." This was my initial reaction upon taking the first bite. The cookie is the chewy kind and one bite you'll feel how the cookie literally melts in your mouth. I love chewy cookies as I do not like getting crumbs all over my shirt or worst on my sleeping baby's head. The size is just right for you to pop one whole cookie in your mouth and enjoy it's buttery, chocolatey goodness with your eyes closed para with feelings.

I'm crazy about Think Wink Cookies and I think I can easily consume one entire box in a day. It's just so good and really addicting. I'm pretty sure our godparents loved it too! I never thought I'd be the kind who'd shop on Instagram but hey, I've been trying various desserts which were highly recommended by friends and I haven't been disappointed since. Big thanks to my dear dessert guru for always sharing his newest sweet discoveries with the world.

Now, it's time to pay it forward and so here I am sharing the news with you. What are you waiting for? Order your box of yummy cookies now! :)

Search for Think Wink Cookies on Instagram or Facebook to make your orders. You may also message them at +63 9772148060. 

Monday, February 26, 2018

Franny Mommy : Merry Moo Lactation Ice Cream

Back before I had my twins..even way before I got pregnant, I got to admit that I would scroll over photos of friends sharing their milk and would wonder to myself what the fuss is all about over one's ability to produce milk. It was on my 3rd day post partum when everything just made perfect sense and that was when I finally entered the world of breastfeeding. I got to admit that all throughout my pregnancy, I never really prepared myself for breastfeeding. Paul and I kept an open mind that in case I won't be able to breastfeed my twins, then we are willing to give them formula. I didn't even bothered to join any lactation classes and I barely educated myself about it. In fact, I still remembered that day when I had to ask the NICU nurse to help me express my colostrum as that's one thing that I was determined to give my twins.

Luckily, the NICU nurse was super helpful and encouraging. As I tried to express my first amount of liquid gold she told me that I was doing it right and the amount that I was able to produce was actually a lot considering I am a first time mom. Those words really gave me so much hope and since then, I never stopped feeding, expressing or pumping milk for my twins. From 2ml to 10ml to an ounce and now to an average of 8 ounces of milk, I just kept on going. I got to admit though that there were rough times. I remember staying up all night during the 1st month of my twins reading up on how to achieve the perfect latch and how to produce more milk. I just felt like I am not providing enough to meet the increasing demands of my babies. However, thinking about the bond that I have with my babies while feeding them is something that keeps me going day by day.

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Then, I read about galactogogues and lactation snacks which can help increase one's supply. I wasn't sure how that exactly works but I was open to try anything. My best friend T gave me a box of yummy snacks from Mommy Treats and while I happily munch on their mouthwatering lactation cookies and brownies in between feeding sessions, I noticed that I'm starting to produce more milk. Hooray! I read up on it and apparently, galactogogues is a substance that helps increase milk production not only for humans but for animals as well. Food items such as malunggay leaves, fennel seeds, garlic, chickpeas, papaya and more are examples of galactogogues. I started taking Malunggay Capsules on my last trimester and I've been eyeing snacks which have galactogogues too. Since I'll be indulging on these, might as well choose those that will help me right?

Monday, February 19, 2018

Lenten Special : Mcdonald's Fish and Fries

Look what's back at Mcdonald's this Lenten Season and yes, it's yummy and British!

For decades now, I've been practicing abstinence from meat on Friday thus my numerous Meatless Fridays restaurant and recipe posts here in the blog. (see here, here and here). For me, it's not difficult to have seafood all day but I got to admit that seeing meat on the table can really be tempting. So this has been my annual act of sacrifice during Lent.

mcdonalds fish and fries ph
Since the Philippines is predominantly a Catholic-practicing country, majority of the restaurants would offer Lenten specials featuring their signature seafood dishes. For our go-to fast food chain, Mcdonald's, there's always the dependable Fillet o Fish which has been my favorite even when there's no need to abstain. I love the lightly breaded, deep-fried fish topped with their tangy tartar sauce, a nice slice of cheese and their pillowy soft buns. I would normally dip my fries into the tartar sauce before consuming the sandwich.

mcdonalds fish and fries ph
Well, guess what?! They're re-introducing the Fish and Fries (Php. 150 One Piece / Php. 245 Two Pieces) which apparently was a hit when it was launched a few years back. I wasn't in the country then so it was my first time to try it. Unlike the fish used in the sandwich, this one was a chunkier, meatier kind and the size was pretty generous. It has a golden crisp coating and is paired with three sauces of your choice -- tartar sauce, thousand island or sweet and sour. Among the three, my favorite was the sweet and sour which is the same one used for their nuggets. How I wish they'll offer curry or honey mustard sauce here similar to the ones we had in Singapore.

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