Monday, May 21, 2018

Fat Fook Kitchen in SM Megamall

Oh boy, time flies so so so fast! Has it really been 7 long years since my visit to Taipei, Taiwan? Still, memories of visiting their delicious night markets and indulging in the yummiest street food is still very clear in my memory. I particularly love the Oyster Cake (orh-tsien) as well as this Baked Stuffed Potato that got me so addicted for all 3 days that we were there. Our visit to Taipei was super short and I can't wait to go back! I'm sure my twins will love munching around town with us too. Someday.. someday.

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Since, my twins are still in the process of enjoying their first taste of solid food, Paul and I can relive our gastronomic Taiwan trip right here in Manila! Finally, I was able to visit Fat Fook Kitchen, which opened a new branch at SM Megamall. I've been wanting to try this out since they opened at SM North EDSA last year but the proximity and my delicate pregnancy just made it really challenging. So, imagine my excitement as I stepped into their SM Megamall branch for an impromptu lunch date with Paul one day.

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I love how they have a snack take-out counter right at the entrance. Being close to the cinema area, this is one snack option to take with you as you catch the latest movies. I highly recommend their Taiwanese milk teas as well as their skewered snacks. If you're feeling extra hungry, then go for their famous Chicken Chop which I'll tell you more about later.

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We visited the restaurant on its second day and were surprised that it was in fact, jam packed! Well okay, we went right during lunch hour but still. Indeed, Fat Fook Kitchen got a very warm welcome from the SM Megamall dining crowd. I love the modern interiors and this Instagram-worthy wall of Chinese plates.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Franny Mommy : 10 Things I've Learned As I Entered Motherhood

"To be a Mom."

To most women my age, they probably have big ambitions and dreams such as to run their own company, be the CEO in a multi-national corporation, to fly to the moon, to perform at the Carnegie Hall, go to an ivy league school and so on.

Growing up, I had my share of dreams too such as to work for the biggest magazine publication company in the country (✓), to travel the world (working on that), to meet the man of my dreams (✓✓✓) and be a full-time, hands-on mom. For many years, I've enjoyed a smooth and gradual climb in my career and I'm lucky to have Paul and my family by my side too. However, as the years go by, I can't help but notice that there's one dream left unfulfilled. Clearly, some things were indeed beyond my control and after 7 long (yet happy) years, I am able to put a bold mark beside the last item in my dream list. This was when my beautiful twins, J and L were born.

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Motherhood is indeed another ball game. It's the best promotion that I have received but the wackiest and most challenging too. There were no training workshops nor not a single book can ever prepare you of what's up ahead so it's really up to your intuition, best decision making skills and a lot of prayers and faith to get it all together. I got to admit that often times, I have no idea if I'm doing it right but seeing my babies develop day by day, I guess we're pretty much on the right path.

Being a mom for 6 months now, here are 10 things that no one has ever warned told me about motherhood:

1) No matter how much you have slept throughout your 9 months of pregnancy, nothing beats the sleepless nights that you'll experience at least for the first 2 months of your baby's life. 
- I will never forget those nights when the twins were extra fussy and Paul and I barely slept at all. I don't know why mommy friends told me to sleep all I can when I was pregnant and yet I was still a walking zombie during those first few months. Often times, I'd fall asleep halfway through blogging. So, if you see some weird off sentence here and pretty know what happened then. ;)

2) Prepare for falling hair...lots and lots of it. Eventually, accept that your hair will get thinner but it will grow back again and say hello to tiny baby hairs that sticks out so awkwardly all over your scalp.
- Relax, this is due to your hormones and if you breastfeed, expect major shedding to happen. Arm yourselves with a good quality vacuum cleaner and have the plumber's number on speed dial if needed. Kidding aside, this will stop as you baby turns 5-6 month old so don't worry about it.

3) You may not remember the lyrics now but be prepared to re-visit your nursery rhymes and lullabies knowledge bank right from the day your baby is born. 
- I must have repeatedly murdered the song "Rock a bye baby" just to pacify my crying baby at night.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Beat the Heat with Merry Moo Ice Cream

Summer in the Philippines means having to survive the warm weather. We're talking about having temperature in the high 30s with real feel in the 40s. In fact, I'm typing this with two electric fans blowing on my face with warm air coming out. This is the perfect season to cool down with a bowl of ice cream and by that, let me talk about one of my favorite local ice cream brands -- Merry Moo!

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I've been a huge fan of Merry Moo back when they started at Mercato Central. I would always go for their Sea Salt Caramel while manning my own stall then. Just recently, I discovered that they also sell lactation ice cream which were equally as yummy too!

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This summer, I tried two more flavors -- Scandalously Chocolate and Avocado. Not together as they taste so different from one another but as a good after meal treat every day. The Scandalously Chocolate is every chocoholic's dream. Made from 65% dark, single origin pure chocolate from Davao. It has a velvety smooth ganache-like texture making each bite so indulgent. This easily won my heart and I wouldn't mind having an entire pint all to myself. #sorrynotsorry

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

#FrannyCooks : Chocolate Chip Cookies with De'Longhi Sfornatutto Maxi Oven

My birthday is still 3 weeks away but it sure does feel like I just received my first ever birthday present this year the day when I received a brand new (and sparkling) oven from De'Longhi Philippines. I couldn't believe it! For more than a decade, we've had our trusty and super heavy duty convection oven that was purchased right after my family moved into our new home. That oven has been with us through all ups and downs. It was our handy appliance as we began baking more after Mommy had a stroke, it was my late night buddy when I was feeling restless and I just wanted to bake to calm my nerves, Papa loved using it to toast his bread and Pan, as some point, even learned to bake some yummy bread too. I remembered how Paul and I would master getting the right temperature to perfect our cheesecakes back when we had our little baking business too. However, the time has come for us to bid our old oven good bye. The temperature has always been so off burning pretty much half of what we bake, the light inside is on the verge of falling off the oven roof and even the racks were starting to take a curved rusty shape. With such a good oven, it was hard for us to find one that can match up to its "caliber".

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Then came De'Longhi's Sfornatutto Maxi EO Oven. It was like a dream come true. First of all, the dimensions of this oven was exactly just like our old one making it easy for us to fit it into the same space of its "predecessor." Secondly, it not only can bake but it can roast, defrost, make gratin and grill too! I have yet to familize myself with the different settings but it has a rotisserie function which I'm so excited to try soon.

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It has a double glass door which helps regulate the heat not making it escape outside too much. Basically, this oven has the following features -- heat convection allowing uniform transfer of heat thus no burned section on a beautiful piece of cake, total flat cavity which I really appreciate a lot as the less amount of curves means better way to clean it, rotisserie function, thermo shield and oven ready light which indicates that the oven has reached the desired temperature level.

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Remember my addiction towards chocolates? I still get that but at a more tamer intensity. However, I've long been dreaming of making my own chocolate chip cookies. So, to test drive the De'Longhi Sfornatutto Maxi Oven, I present to you my very own Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.

What you'll need:

Friday, May 4, 2018

ALTA by Relik at Santolan Town Plaza

There's a new kid in town and we were all so excited to give it a try.

Meet Alta by Relik. It's located in Santolan Town Plaza -- a new retail development by the Rockwell Group. While the mall itself is still slowly being filled, Alta by Relik is located at the outer portion fronting the main road and is right across Starbucks Coffee. I can imagine this place being the newest hangout destination of people in the neighborhood. 

During the recent holiday, Paul and I met up with our friends Abet, Joan, Jaz and Eric as well as our kids for lunch to catch-up with one another as it has been a while since we last saw each other. It's so sweet that they all agreed to come to our side of town to check out this new restaurant. Luckily, we got there when the restaurant wasn't that filled allowing the kids to have a lot of space to play around. I honestly never considered this aspect before. However, motherhood has made me more careful in choosing where I take my twins to. Noisy, crowded places are definitely a no-no.

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Anyway, service was pretty good at Alta by Relik. Paul and I agreed to share our meal so we started with a plate of Caesar Salad (Php. 208). I was surprised at the size of the salad! The serving was very generous that it can indeed be shared not only by two but perhaps it can stretch to 3 or 4 too. It's a very simple salad but it has all the yummy components -- fresh, crisp greens, crunchy bacon bits, boiled egg and creamy dressing. So good and I was so happy we got this.

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For our mains, we had the Crispy Bagnet Kare Kare (Php. 475). This was highly recommended to us by our friend and fellow foodie M who went there ahead of us. Once again, the serving was very generous and it comes with a bowl of bagoong rice.

Monday, April 30, 2018

China Mommy : Authentic Chinese Home-Cooking Delivery

My twins recently turned 6 months.

To be really honest, I think celebrating their monthly milestone is really more for me and Paul rather than for the kids at the moment. Perhaps, for them, they get to discover that they can do something new each day and most especially for this particular month, they finally got their first taste of solids. However, for us, their parents it's all feeling triumphant over surviving twin parenthood for 6 whole months (and still counting). It's all about still not having 8 hours of sleep since the twins were born, it's about double the number of diapers that were worn and thrown away, it's all about cheering and doing happy dances every time we witness a new milestone, it's all about gaining that extra arm muscle that we never thought existed as our twins are really gaining more weight. I can't help but look at their photos back when they were a day old up until the photos that I took of them today. They've grown so much and only 6 months have passed. My life has changed drastically too since I officially became their Mommy and despite my growing eyebags and temporarily thinning hair, not a day has passed where I don't feel a great sense of gratitude that finally, my prayers were answered and it came in two-fold!

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Remember that time when my twins celebrated their first month  (mua ge)? That was really an important milestone for our family and I made sure to make that day (or was it that week) extra special. Since I was home-bound then, I really appreciated Instagram which allowed me to do my "online shopping". Browsing through several pages, I landed at China Mommy who specializes in traditional Chinese and Asian dishes such as Cha Misua, Curry Crabs, Fortune Bags, Hokkien Lumpia and more.

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My family's first taste of China Mommy's cooking was when we had their Hokkien Fresh Lumpia (Php. 2,800) for lunch. When you order this, you get a number of plastic containers where each ingredient is stored. There's one big one for the lumpia filling, another for the nuts, another for the seaweeds (I love this!), another one for the sweet lumpia sauce, then there's a huge ziploc bag for their fresh lettuce and another one for the lumpia wrapper. I was told that one set can make 18-20 wraps which is good for approximately 10 pax but really, this can still be stretched to a family of 12-15 as the serving was really generous. My family has a strong Hokkien palate and China Mommy's Fresh Hokkien Lumpia passed everyone's verdict with flying colors. No doubt there as we loved everything about the lumpia.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Franny Mommy Favorites : Dr. Mama Milk Storage Bags

If you're someone who's just as OC (obsessive - compulsive) and a neat freak like me, then let me tell you this. Expect this OCness and neat freak-ness to escalate to greater heights once you have a baby. I've honestly lost count of the number of times I've cleaned my hands with soap followed by a splash of isopropyl alcohol in a day or how much I value our UV sterilizer that I would literally sterilize everything within arms reach from my twins. From their toys to their bottles, I would make sure to sterilize them most especially at this stage where they're teething and would put everything in their tiny mouths.

When it comes to their milk, then that's another level of sanitation. My twins were exclusively breastfed for the first few months of their lives but lately, we're starting to introduce formula milk as the pedia wanted to "bulk" them up. Not wanting to fully wean them off my breast milk yet, I would just give them formula 1-2x in a day and the rest would still be breast milk. I don't know but I do find great joy in nursing my twins. Somehow, I take those moments to bond with them one by one...and if they get hungry at the same time, then tandem feeding it is. It's extremely tiring, yes but I know that soon they'll grow up and I'll miss moments like these.

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Storing breast milk is actually very tricky as it's extremely sensitive to change in temperature and can spoil easily. I would still refer to the hospital guide when I'm not sure and Paul and I are very careful about storing them. I never really thought much about it but one of the best gifts that I've ever received were boxes of milk bags. Not only are they space savers, it makes it easy for me to freeze my extra milk for them for the next 6 months.

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