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.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Franny Mommy : Real Talk, Real Moms by #BabyDovePH

"Twin A out at 6:36AM"
"Twin B out at 6:37AM"

Despite how groggy I was so early in the morning of 25 October 2017, these two statements were heard loud and clear by everyone in the operating room and these marked the start of a new chapter of my life. I'm finally and officially a Mommy. For months leading up to my delivery, I would try to imagine how that moment would actually be. I honestly thought I'd cry. Well, I didn't. In fact I didn't say a word as I was barely conscious but I caught Paul's eye right at the moment we first heard J's cry followed by L's and all I saw was love... pure, unconditional love and happiness.

angtwins 1
Our first month as parents was unfortunately not an easy walk in the park. It began with our babies having to be admitted in the NICU for two weeks as they were born underweight. I was on my one-month ge lai where I wasn't supposed to go out and I have to keep myself warm but I seriously pushed all these practices, customs and superstitions aside while ignoring disapproving comments from relatives. Okay, so I still took all the soup, drinks and food but I was out of the house every single day from the time I got discharged up until we finally brought our babies home. Each day was filled with trying to produce as much milk as I can for them, being blessed to receive donated milk from friends, heading to the NICU to do skin-to-skin with them, spending as much time possible with our babies, singing to them, talking to them, bonding as a family. It wasn't easy but I had Paul by my side 24/7 and as it turns out, we make such a great team.

As soon as we brought them home, our hired yaya went AWOL on us so for one whole month, Paul and I took care of our babies. Taking care of newborn is not easy. It's all about trying to keep their diapers dry all the time, keeping them warm, filling their stomach with milk, getting them to sleep soundly, understanding their cries and at the same time, keeping yourself nourished, trying to catch up on sleep and most of all, staying sane. I never thought I could be so busy...so busy to even bother to change out of my PJs each day or to even have the time to brush my teeth. I don't think I had a decent, full meal at the right time during the first two months of my twins as they somehow would cry for milk when I was just about to head to the dining table.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Staycation Files : #AngTwins First Staycation at F1 Hotel Manila

This year is all about FAMILY.

It's the first year that we'e moved on from being a married couple to now a family of FOUR. For the past 3 months, we've done everything as a family. With the twins growing at rapid speed, they're starting to insist on what they want and that also means wanting to sleep closer to us and not on their crib anymore. Being fully aware of the dangers of SIDS (new moms, I urge you to read up on this), it's been a struggle trying to get my little L most especially to sleep on her own and not beside me or snuggling close to her Daddy. For several nights it has been endless cries and kicks until one of us would give in. My sweet little J has always been an independent sleeper from Day 1 but he would still wake up at the middle of the night wanting to feed and that's when he would refuse to go back to be let down on his crib. We're working on it and hopefully soon I'll gain back my space on our matrimonial bed once again.

Aside from us, there's my parents who have been super helpful in taking care of the twins. I say this without exaggeration but I don't think I would have survived the past months without them by my side. It's the little things actually like how Mommy would come rushing in at 8 in the morning, the time when the twins would suddenly tandem cry to signal their wet diapers or simply wanting to be picked up and she would come in to assist or she'd get the crying twin and tell me and Paul to go back to sleep. It's also when Papa would quickly finish up his meal to go check on the twins allowing Paul and I a bit more time to eat in peace. Apart from the people in the house, I also have my sister and brother in law E who willingly stepped in and took care of J overnight when L had to be admitted in the hospital. I also got Paul's sister J and our brother in law Ahia J whom I would run to whenever I have any questions about child rearing as they have 3 adorable kids of their own. As the saying goes... it takes a village to raise a child. In our case, it will take the entire universe to raise our twins.

Speaking of Family, we also got our KTG (Kain Tulog Gang) Family. Even back when I was in Singapore, they're one of the few friends who continued to keep in touch with us. Every time we come home for a visit, they would find time to meet up with us for a delicious meal or two. So, as 2018 rolled in, we joined them for a fun weekend staycation at our favourite city hotel, F1 Hotel Manila. This staycation was to celebrate the New Year and the birthday of one of my favorite foodies and dear friend, Richie of The Pickiest Eater. It was also just the perfect opportunity to introduce the #AngTwins to our KTG family.

f1 hotel 5
As much as Paul and I hate being late, having babies means simply throwing all your clocks and timelines out of the window. Despite how early we started preparing for our overnight stay, we somehow manage to still leave the house 30 minutes before noon. 2 hours late for our intended call time. *sigh* Thankfully, our friends and the kind folks of F1 Hotel Manila were all so understanding and warmly welcomed us as we entered the Premier Lounge to check-in. Our dear friend Spanky even waited for us to arrive! (You're the best, S!) We were given the Fort Suite which was similar to the room that Paul and I got last year. I was really touched that they put in the extra effort to add a crib for my twins to sleep in. However you and I both know where they pretty much ended up that evening. That pull out bed was for their Yaya D who happily told me that her bed was really big and comfy.

f1 hotel 6
Here's a peek at the Master's Bedroom where it has an adjacent bathroom. The bed was big enough for all 4 of us. Despite how my twins tend to twist, turn and kick throughout the night, both Paul and I manage to sleep well sans any back pains as we got our entire bodies fully on the bed.

To view more details of the room, see my older posts here and here.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

#FrannyCooks : Japanese Beef Curry with House Foods

I love Japanese curry!

house food curry 5
The kind that's really creamy with a hint of spicy note and one that goes so well with fried meat and rice..yes lots and lots of RICE. I remembered how eating at Go Go Curry in Tokyo was actually one of the highlights of our trip. This goes side by side with that swanky sushi bar that Paul took me to or that delicious bowl of tendon where it took us more than 2 hours waiting time just to get two seats in the house. 

Nursing my twins always leaves me really hungry and craving for random things. It's like I'm pregnant all over again only I wasn't this hungry when I was carrying them in my womb! Lately, I've been eating like there's no tomorrow and I'm so thankful that I still manage to lose weight despite eating so much. Hooray for the calories burned while breastfeeding my twins! 

house food curry 2
Recently, I got a couple of boxes from House Foods which are all Japanese Curry sauces in two different variation. The Vermont Curry is meant to be cooked with your choice of meat and it has a sweeter profile as it includes apples and honey. It comes in 5 different spice level and we got the first three - mild, medium hot and hot. The other variant is the ready-to-eat Japanese Curry with Vegetables. This is perfect for people who are in a rush as all you have to do is to pop the container in boiling water or pour the contents in the microwave and enjoy this with a cup (or two) of piping hot steamed rice. 

I tried the Vermont Curry to make our Beef Curry. Let me share the recipe with you:

Monday, January 22, 2018

Twenty Eighteen : My New Year's Post

fruits in bloom 1
I know it's kinda late to talk about the New Year as in fact we're just a week away from February. I guess this is what first time parenthood is all about. Your days will just roll by so quickly as you busily deal with endless changes of dirty diapers, frequent cries for milk and basically trying to keep your baby (or in our case, our babies) healthy, happy and simply alive every single day.

However, as I watch my twins sleep soundly right now I can't help but feel an immense amount of gratitude and happiness. Just a year ago, I made a wish that hopefully on 2017, we will finally have the answer to our prayers. I prayed that we will be blessed with a baby...regardless if it's a boy or a girl, I promise to be the best Mom that I could possibly be and I'll bring him or her closer to God too.

ang family 1
Just three months after, our prayers were answered and shortly after that, we found out that we were expecting not only one but two beautiful babies. More blessings and surprises came after that when my OB-GYN Dr. Pilar Lagman Dy, confirmed that we're having a boy and a girl. In Chinese, they're called Double Phoenix Twins which is considered to be very very lucky. I have given up my career temporarily to fully concentrate on my pregnancy and to take good care of my twins. That's after 12 years of non-stop working. I sure miss the daily grind but I'll never exchange that for unlimited dose of toothless smiles, baby bear hugs and playful kicks that I would get on a daily basis.

I'm finally a Mom and this is definitely one title that I proudly hold. It's not easy, I got to admit. There are days when I feel like crying when I find myself still in my PJs at 5 in the afternoon or when I could barely find the time to have a relaxing meal. I'm so used to routines, schedules and timelines and I have to throw all that out from the day they were born.

My twins are turning 3 months old in a few days and I'm starting to feel more alive again. I'm slowly gaining back my independence although I don't think I'll ever have my old spontaneous life back but hey, baby steps right? We've came a long long way from me delivering them in the operating room to seeing them grow in the NICU for two weeks to finally taking them home to cheering whenever we cross every single milestone. Today, they're two very responsive babbling little babies who are winning everyone's hearts.

This 2018, all I wish for is to be able to enjoy watching my twins grow more. This year will be filled with a lot of firsts and I want to be there when those happen. I might not be able to blog as often as I used to and I thank you all for bearing with me. Meanwhile, do follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more regular updates as I share with you my latest food finds, new home-cooked meals and random snapshots of my twins.

Happy New Year to all!

P.s. The beautiful fruit bouquet above is from Fruits in Bloom!

Thursday, December 28, 2017

What's Inside : Starbucks Planner 2018

Well, hello there! Missed me?

This was definitely the longest break that I've took since this blog was created 10 years ago. Well, I got a good excuse reason. The day after my previous blog entry was posted, I gave birth to my adorable twins J and L. What happened after that were days filled with non-stop feeding, burping, diaper changes, sleepless nights, random playtime and more. It has been 60+ days since and I'd say, we've pretty much mastered the art of not-sleeping-at-night-or-ever. Haha! Kidding aside, I'm so in love with my twins and while never in my wildest dreams would I thought that I can change diapers in 3 minutes or less as well as turn into a human milking cow, my dream of being a Mommy has finally became a reality and I'm just so so so happy.

I have yet to share with you the highlights of my year but I guess you all know what will sit on top of my list. 2018 is looking very bright for our family and I really can't wait to see what's in store for us. I do wish the same for all of you.

starbucks planner 1
Having twins is no easy walk in the park. Just imagine the challenges of parenthood and multiply that by two. That's double the feeding, double the cries, double of everything. I think one thing that Paul and I realized is that being organized helps keep things manageable. Sure, there are still days when I'd find myself still in my pajamas at 5pm in the afternoon as I was just so busy caring for my babies but there are better days where we just wanted to give each other high fives for pulling our plans through. Speaking of being organized, of course each year brings a brand new Starbucks Coffee planner which we all love.

I'm pretty sure you're all curious to see what this year's planner look like especially inside. Here you go!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Souv! by Cyma at Net Park, Bonifacio Global City

Opa!

There are a number of restaurants in Manila that I love for their consistent quality in taste and service. Cibo of Chef Margarita Fores is one and the other is definitely Chef Robby Goco's Cyma. In fact, I wouldn't limit this to only these two restaurants but will consider all the chain of restaurants under their hats. Somehow, both chefs never fail to come out with impressive restaurants that has been making us go back to over and over again. I think one factor is how hands-on they've been on their businesses. Take Chef Robby Goco for example, I've seen him countless of times in Cyma, Green  Pastures, Charlie's Burger, even his Mexican restaurant a couple of years back called Ristras and just recently, we met again at Souv! -- his newest business venture.

souv 3
While Cyma is clearly a household name here in the Philippines as it is probably the first restaurant to introduce Greek cuisine to the local market, Souv! is it's hip, younger brother that presents a more modern take in the classic Greek cuisine. It's Chef Robby's answer to how times have changed even in Greece and the dishes in Souv! showcase the demands of today's customers as well. Serving fast, healthy and clean dishes which allows most especially it's lunch clientele to enjoy a good, healthy meal in less than an hour.

Paul and I got to try a number of Souv's specialties so allow me to share them with you too:

Mezze


souv 5
Cheese Saganaki (Php. 480)
How can you say no to a piping hot pan of melted fried Kefalotiri cheese drizzled with peppered fig jam, honey sesame and served with freshly baked bread. It was so yummy! I love the sweet-salty marriage of the cheese, jam and honey.

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