Thursday, July 12, 2018

Franny Mommy : 10 things I've learned about Breastfeeding

Before I start this post, let me tell you that I am no breastfeeding advocate. Yes, I do recognize and believe in the benefits that it bring but I promise that this won't be the type of post that will lecture you on and on that breastfeeding is the only way to go. I still do believe that fed is best. That said, I do respect whichever way a Mom feeds her kid. Breastfed, bottle fed, formula, pureed solids, baby-led weaning... for as long as the baby is properly nourished and fed, I am all for that.

What I would like to share is my personal experience as a breastfeeding mommy to my twins for the past 8 months (and still counting..whew!). It was actually silly of me to think that I won't have milk to breastfeed. Well, I do have some basis. Looking at my genetic line, neither my Mom nor my Ama breastfed and my sister actually didn't had much so I saw how she struggled and persevered to be able to feed my niece A up until she reaches a year old. Pan totally won the determination award for that. So, while I was pregnant with my twins, I didn't even bothered to read up nor to at least read the manual of how to operate my pump. Believe me, my breast pump was still safely kept in the box up until I delivered my babies. Paul and I agreed that we won't drive ourselves nuts to breastfeed if I eventually have shortage of milk. So, remember that turning point on my 3rd day post-partum when I tried to pump my colostrum in the hospital and what do you know, I actually can produce enough for my twins! It wasn't much but it sure was enough to sustain them for that particular feeding. That was when I officially entered the world of breastfeeding.

It has been 8 months of nursing my twins and while I have been mix-feeding them as they're already eagerly taking more and more solids, I still make sure that they stay breastfed at least all throughout the night. That said, let me share with you my top 10 learnings as I breastfeed my twins:

1) Take it easy.
Understand that your baby's tummy grows as he grows so on his first few days and weeks of life, his tummy is so small that he can only take in about 10-30ml of milk per feeding. However, expect that he will cry for milk at least every 2 hours so it's best to be ready for that.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Eat. Travel. Love. with Singapore Airlines

It's no secret that I am a big foodie traveler. This is also one of the reasons why came about. For the past decade, I've been sharing with you my travel adventures which leans mostly on the restaurants and food hops that Paul and I would come across in whatever destination we'd be in. I also got to admit that I am also a luxury traveler. By that, I mean I tend to be very picky when it comes to my choice of airline, hotel and mode of transportation. Comfort is always my top priority. After all, we travel to recharge and feel rejuvenated right?

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Singapore Airlines has been my top choice of airlines since I used to shuttle back and forth Singapore and Manila for four years. I realized that the cost of flying via Singapore Airlines is not that far from our local budget airline and if this means getting an extra legroom, bigger seats, a hot delicious meal and a wide selection of in-flight entertainment as I fly to and from Singapore, then I'm totally for it. I somehow feel that my vacation starts the moment I step into the beautiful aircraft and is warmly welcomed by their friendly flight staff.

My best memory flying Singapore Airlines was exactly a year ago. It was our last flight to Manila from Singapore and I was already pregnant with my twins. Aside from giving me that extra legroom by letting us occupy the front row seats, they also surprised me with a delicious birthday cake and complimentary plushies for my twins. We also purchased Business Class tickets then so I got to try their Book the Cook program and I loved the Steamed Cod Fish that was served to me as well as the free-flowing freshly warmed bread too. That experience was definitely one for the books.

Read: Onboard Singapore Airlines : SQ916 Business Class

Given the numerous routes that they have available, Singapore Airlines can take you on an amazing food trip all over the region.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

First Taste : Ramen Nagi at Ayala Malls The 30th

Summer is definitely over and in comes the rain. Lots and lots of rain! I won't lie, I was really glad that we're no longer experiencing the warm weather and somehow, I do welcome this bed weather. The kind what makes you want to curl up in bed and sleep all day. Well, if you're a twin mom..."sleep all day" may not happen anytime soon but still, one can always dream.

This is also the perfect weather for soups and warm congee. I recently started experimenting with a number of soup recipes which I will soon introduce to my twins as they seriously need to level up on their solid intake. Speaking of soups, I suddenly have this craving for ramen. It's really funny as back in 2015, I think I had way too much ramen and I somehow stopped having ramen since then. I think the last bowl of ramen that I had was during our trip to Tokyo sometime in 2016. I suddenly remembered my favorite ramen in Singapore -- Ramen Keisuke Tonkotsu Four Seasons. I loved it so much that I remembered celebrating my first birthday in Singapore there.

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Anyway, after a quick search online, I found out that Ramen Nagi has a very similar concept and this made me so excited to give it a try. Similar to Ramen Keisuke's style, the menu consists of four main flavors : White is the Original King -- plain tonkotsu style ramen with pork slices. Black King has lots of garlic infused into the broth giving it a very aromatic flavor. Green King is the favorite of the younger crowd as it's the pesto-flavored ramen consisting of basil and cheese. Lastly, the Red King, is the fiery, spicy ramen. In addition to this, they have a monthly special depending on the theme of the restaurant. We dined last May and they had the White Tantanmien King. This was perfect as we both love tantanmien a lot.Tan tan mien, as you all know has a slightly spicy taste profile. What makes it so yummy is the additional of peanut into the soup stock. I just love the spicy, nutty flavor that goes so well with al dente ramen noodles. It's normally served with less toppings as you really just want to fully enjoy the soup and the noodles and having it fully loaded might just feel too much.

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Ramen Nagi's version of the White Tantanmien King makes use of the same chili found in the Red King ramen. Look at how sturdy and al dente the noodle is! I love my noodles firm rather than soggy. If the Red King ramen is too spicy for you, you can definitely adjust the spicy level by indicating it in the order sheet.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

#FrannyCooks : Cheezy Corned Beef Lumpia with Delimondo

This year, I got to play queen for two special occasions -- my birthday and Mother's Day. I swear, I was so thrilled by all the surprise gifts that came my way. Delimondo, one of my favorite corned beef brand, made Mother's Day extra memorable for me with their special delivery. Back when I was residing in Singapore, Paul and I would make it a point to fill at least 20% of our luggage with cans of Delimondo Garlic and Chili Corned Beef. It's the yummiest and easiest thing to have when we're in a rush and we don't have time to prepare our baon or dinner. I normally would even cook this with more garlic to make it more aromatic. Of course, it's either I have it with macaroni as how Mommy taught me or a piping hot bowl of rice.

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This time, we got their newest variants -- Delimondo Caldereta Corned Beef and their Sweet and Spicy Luncheon Meat.

I got to admit that this is me taking a step outside my comfort zone as I'm just so used to their original flavor. However, a little change is always good so I was equally excited to give these two products a try.

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So, one afternoon I decided to pull Paul and Pan to help me prepare dinner. I initially wanted to do something like the traditional Irish Corned Beef and Cabbage Spring Rolls but since we were out of cabbage, I had to improvise. That said, let me share with you my recipe for the Cheezy Corned Beef Lumpia. Very Filipino, and I'd say the mere thought of it sounds good already.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Tikka Chance on Me : Little Bear Diner in Kapitolyo, Pasig

"Oh my dhal-ling Paul, you really turn me naan. For 15 years, only you holds the ghee to my heart. One things for sure, there's never a dhal moment with you."

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Excuse the cheese but that, my friends, was my winning entry to Booky's recent Instagram contest. I chanced upon the contest while I was browsing through Facebook and it was for a restaurant in Kapitolyo called Little Bear Diner which recently revamped its menu and now serves interesting Kerala-style dishes. I've been craving for good Indian food as it's been a year since we came home from Singapura so I was so motivated to join. I got to admit that the other entries were so witty that I never thought I'd stand a chance. Well, a week ago, I got a message telling me that I won the contest. Yay! Guess the judges appreciated my cheeziness.

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So, after spotting an opportunity to have a quick lunch date while the twins were with their grandparents, Paul and I made a reservation via Booky for our lunch at Little Bear Diner. We quickly got the confirmation and boy, did I started dreaming about biryani, butter chicken and papadum. As we walked into the tiny, cozy-looking restaurant (which, by the way, was formerly occupied by Thai Dara), we were warmly welcomed by partners Pam and Pau. I love their partnership! Pau rules over the kitchen while Pam takes care of the front of the house. Pretty Pam told us about her Indian lineage and how they got recipes from her grandmother in India as well as ingredients are sourced there as well. Talk about authentic! She has a very warm and hospitable nature that will surely make guests fell right at home. Pau, on the other hand, is more soft-spoken but she truly is a kitchen goddess! I was so surprised when she told us that she didn't took up any formal culinary course but wow, her dishes would make you think otherwise.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Celebrating Filipino Culinary Pride at Corniche, Diamond Hotel

When two of the country's well-respected chefs come together to serve you their best creations, then you know that this is one buffet that you can never pass up. Happening now up until Sunday, July 1, 2018, enjoy the best dishes made by Chefs Sau del Rosario and Miko Aspiras at Diamond Hotel's Corniche for both lunch and dinner.

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June, as we all know, is the month when we celebrate our Independence Day so it's just fitting to celebrate this with an impressive, mouth-watering spread of the best Filipino dishes in the country. You don't even have to take a plane to enjoy the freshest Oyster Ceviche from Aklan or Chef Sau's signature Crispy Pork Kare Kare Macadamia with Truffle Oil, Salted Eggyolk Prawn Rebosado more so, the show-stopping Lechon Trio with filling from Luzon (Buru), Visayas (Chili Mango) or Mindanao (Malagos Chevre and Cocoa).

Paul and I were lucky to try this delicious spread last week, on the first day it opened to the public. I didn't know where to start as everything seems to be calling out to me. Of course, I allowed my eyes to feast first then I decided to start with some salad and ceviche.

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Maya Maya Mayonesa
It's like Chef's take on the classy caviar pie, a beautiful round masterpiece with minced fillet snapper with aioli sauce, capers, black olives, eggs and spices. It's very light and yummy.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Hong Kong Bites : Kam's Roast opens in SM Megamall

It's been a while since my last trip to Hong Kong and even that was the quickest visit that I've ever had. I can't remember much about that trip as we basically were there for a client meeting so it was a blurry shuttle from the airport to our hotel to the client's office and a mad dash back to the hotel to catch out flight to Singapore. Prior to that, my last leisure trip to Hong Kong was back in 2011 if I'm not mistaken. I think it's time for a return soon.

Read: At a Glance : Hong Kong and Hong Kong Itinerary Must Haves

When you say Hong Kong, images of delicious Cantonese food quickly comes to mind. The best dim sum creations and the most succulent and savory roast meats too. You can literally eat your way around Hong Kong and would still continue to want more. One thing that you shouldn't miss is Hong Kong's roast goose or duck. A very simple dish paired with a bowl of warm white rice. The best ones can actually be found on random alleys and most likely they don't have an English menu and the owner could barely also utter anything other than Cantonese so do your best to just point and pray that they get your order right.

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Anyway, since I have yet to plan that return to Hong Kong, I was so happy when I heard that Michellin-star awardee Kam's Roast has landed in Manila! Perfectly located in SM Megamall, it won't be hard to spot the restaurant as there seems to be a permanent line forming in front ever since it opened to the public a month ago. You have no idea how much joy this has brought me! This is because Kam's Roast opened in Singapore two years ago and I failed to visit that branch so I'm so glad that it's finally available locally.

Just to let you know how popular Kam's Roast is, even the late Anthony Bourdain personally visited their Hong Kong branch and featured this in his show. In Hong Kong though, Kam's Roast is known for their roast goose but sadly our Manila restaurant is not carrying this due to the strict regulations on China-imported poultry. Not to worry though as while goose won't be part of the menu, there's still a lot of dishes you can look forward to when you dine at there.

Let me share with you some of the things that we tried and truly loved:

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Marinated Cucumber with Vinegar and Garlic (Php. 220)
Start your meal with this very refreshing appetizer. I love the crispy strips of fresh cucumber that's submerged in a delicious vinegar and garlic dressing. It's actually a good palate cleanser too before you start your meaty feast.

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