Wednesday, April 8, 2020

#FrannyCooks : Corned Beef & Potato Croquettes

8 years ago, I made my first ever croquette. In fact, the last time I ever did croquette was 2 years ago. Remember my Sardines Croquette? This is because as easy as it may seem, it actually entails a lot of step and I never really got around to doing it again. Furthermore, I don't really like deep-frying because the thought of cleaning a very greasy pan is enough to discourage me from even entertaining that thought.

However, I never thought my culinary creativity will be put to the test the moment I became a Mom...well a Mom of a picky eater. You all know that my little princess L can be quite picky with her food and one thing that she doesn't like is to eat the same dish repeatedly... so, we always have to make sure that we have a new dish every meal so as to entice her to eat. *sigh* I tell you, my twins are like night and day. As picky as L can be, my little J is so easy to please. Just give him rice, add some sauce or soup and small cubes of meat and he's good. He can have rice or pasta or even both. Well, I guess, that's how balance my life is. I just can't win them all.

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Given that I have a lot more time on my hands during the weekend since we're experiencing the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) or what we normally just call the "lockdown", I decided to take a look at our lockdown grocery stash and see what can I make out of it. I saw a can of corned beef, two medium sized potatoes and bags of flour and breadcrumbs too! Of course, I also have a tray-ful of eggs as we just eat eggs almost every day.

That said, I decided to do croquettes again. I realized that my twins love anything crunchy so I hope my bag of Japanese breadcrumbs will do the trick.

Here's the recipe for Corned Beef & Potato Croquette:

What you'll need:
- 2 medium-sized potatoes
- Fresh Milk
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 can of corned beef
- onions
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups of Japanese breadcrumbs
- 2 cups of flour
- Spices to taste (pepper, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, etc)

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Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Unboxing with the #AngTwins : Another Package from Tiny Buds Baby

Wanna know what was one of the first few words that the twins can both say clearly? 

It's.... WOW.

Yes, Wow! Every time I walk in the room with a new package or a gift box. They get so excited and would quickly run to their playmat to signal that they're ready to open the box. I guess, it always feels like Christmas morning to these little ones as they just love ripping gift-wrapping papers, opening boxes, seeing the contents, setting the real present aside and play with just the box or the paper "confetti" that comes with it. Haha! Kidding aside, kids will always be kids and the kind folks of Tiny Buds Baby are always spoiling my twins with all these pretty surprise packages that they've been sending our way. This box was actually sent close to half a year ago. I'm so sorry as my blog-lag is terrible!

tiny buds 3
Remember their first unboxing experience was also when they received a package from Tiny Buds they were just over a year old then and look how fast they've grown! It's really true when they say that we have to take each moment as they come because babies grow up super duper fast. Here's sharing the two unboxing photos of the twins and you can really see how fast they've turned from being babies to active toddlers.

THEN
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NOW
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Anyway, this time though, J was more excited to open the present so he took charge of unboxing for now while his sister was busy with her toys. She just later joined him when he finally opened the box and was starting to play with the contents inside.

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Monday, April 6, 2020

Learning from Home with Charts Unlimited

I'm not going to lie. Being on quarantine and working from home has really caused a lot of anxiety and worry especially during the first week that it was implemented. A lot of questions ran in my head, a lot of uncertainties and fears came out. However, as humans, we are created to adapt to our environment. Temporary or not, we cope with what's happening around us and we find ways wherever we can.

For a while back, I was worried how our home routine will be. My kids no longer can go to Kindermusik and we've been looking forward to enrolling them in pre-school this summer which probably will be pushed back till then. That really should be the least of our worries as what we have to prioritize and pray for is that the number of cases will start to drop and no one should fall sick anymore. Enough COVID19...enough!

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I'm thankful though that the entire family is home to help take care of the twins. Of course there's Paul, Yaya M and even my parents. We take turns in teaching them the alphabet, numbers, singing their favorite rhymes and reading their favorite storybooks. The twins are at this stage where they can easily copy whatever is being taught to them. Their vocabulary has been increasing on a daily basis and they can memorize songs and actions now.

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One of the things that we love to use when teaching the twins are these two picture card charts that we got from Charts Unlimited last year. One has the full set of alphabet with pictures for easier identification and another one has shapes. It's so cute listening to J say "triangle" while creating a mini triangle with his fingers. L would always get the card with the picture frame and say "mama!" while giving it to me. Well thank you my Dear L for thinking that that blonde lady in the photo is me haha.

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Sunday, April 5, 2020

Lockdown Musings : A close look at LIFE

I hope she won't mind me sharing this story but tonight I had a little argument with my sister. It was over something petty but of course, being the drama queen that I was, I just had to blow things out of proportion and since she's exhausted from her busy day, she didn't hesitate to put me in my place and to give me a piece of her mind. That's also one thing that I love about my relationship with my sister. We both can say our piece as it is, no holds barred and after all that I know that we will be okay and she loves me just the same. I know you're reading this Pan, and I just want you to know that I'm really sorry.

covid19
Photo by Lina Trochez on Unsplash
She also said something which got me thinking all night. She told me to learn to appreciate the people around me before it's too late. Given the current situation where people within our circle are falling sick and dying, it's really the reality that life is truly unpredictable and anyone of us can just end our lives here on earth with just a snap of a finger (parang si Thanos lang). Remember the saying "take each moment at if it's your last?" This rings so true in today's scenario.

It's been 3 weeks since the government has announced the start of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) and staying home has allowed us to spend more time with the family. I think I haven't spent more than 48 hours straight with my parents since I got married and that was 10 years ago. Often times, it's either Paul and I have some event to attend or my Mom has to see a client or Papa has his movie day. Even during weekends, we would normally be out with my in laws or meeting up with friends.

I guess out of everyone in the house, my kids are the happiest right now because they are enjoying everyone's undivided attention for 3 full weeks. Even as we're all working from home, they know that we're just another room away and they get to spend more time playing and singing with all of us. I guess, that's the only upside of staying home, you get to reassess your relationship with the people who matters most to you and that is your family.

sorry
Photo by Felix Koutchinski on Unsplash
This period has also given me a different perspective about life. I'm not perfect and somewhere along the way I know that I may have hurt people close to me. Some with my own doings, some I may have hurt unknowingly. I guess we're all human but I realized that oftentimes, we let our ego and pride take center stage. We often reason that we were hurt first thus we deserve an apology but what if we just take the first step in forgiving and apologize for your own actions too. People come into our lives for a reason and I just feel that moving forward, we should make more effort to keep them there. I don't say this often but... to all those whom I have hurt, I'm sorry.

Maybe my sister is right. I always focus on what I have been doing for others that I tend to expect that they must do the same for me. Maybe I was being selfish there. No one asked me to go the extra mile anyway but I personally wanted to do so I shouldn't expect for this to be equally reciprocated. People reach out and show their love in various ways and in varying degrees. Maybe she's right in saying that I have to learn to say Thank You and appreciate the people around me more.

thank you
Photo by Hanny Naibaho on Unsplash
Before the lockdown, life has always been on the fast lane. I always find myself juggling more pins than I can really handle and with my pride up there, I continue to hold on and keep them up as long as I can. Thus, I forget to see the people who are closely by my side helping me keep those pins up in the air. How about you? Who are those people who have been keeping your pins up in the air? Don't forget to thank them too.

As Dan Hill once sang, "why do we always hurt the ones we love" I guess it's because with the people we love, we are more emotionally invested. We pour our hearts out to them, we let our guards down so oftentimes, we are more critical of their every move too. How often have we really been honest with our feelings and said I love you? I got to admit that I am not a perfect wife. The many times that Paul would get so mad at me for not listening and I have the tendency to brush his advice aside thinking that mine's always better (yabang lang noh?). Again, it's my pride getting in the way.

frannywanny wedding
I realized that the secret to a happy marriage is not love. Sure, love has to be there but the most important thing is respect. Listening to him, allowing him to give you his advice after all, you mean the world to him and of all people in this world, he will always have your best interest as his top priority. Spending quality time is something that's so easily said but with everything that's happening on our daily lives, it's one that's so hard to achieve.

franny mommy
How timely that I saw this photo which was taken during the Mommy Mundo gathering months ago?
I truly hope that we can all fight COVID19 together. I pray for the day when we can watch the numbers go down until we're all cleared of the virus. I wish that as we later on go back to our normal lives, we will not forget to remember this period in time when we allowed ourselves to give more importance and time to what truly matters.

This is why I've decided to write this entry. To serve as my own reminder that as I go through life after #COVID19, I will always remember to say Sorry, Thank you and most of all, I Love You. ♥
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Wednesday, March 11, 2020

New Kid on the Block : Goodgood Philippines -- Taiwan's Freshest Milk Tea

I can't believe that summer is officially here. It happened so fast. I was still enjoying the cool breeze in January and February then suddenly, *bam!* March rolled in and the temperature started to rise rapidly. We started sweating like crazy, skin started to feel really sticky and I have this intense craving for anything cold and refreshing.

good good ph 5
This brought back memories from a few months ago when Paul and I chanced upon a new milk tea place called Goodgood in Banawe, Quezon City. If there's any place in Metro Manila that truly merits the name "milk tea paradise" then Banawe is definitely it. In every block, you can find a shop selling milk tea, boba tea, fruit tea, you name it, they got it. Even brands that may still sound foreign in other areas of the metro has already made Banawe their home.

good good ph 3
Goodgood has been growing rapidly with branches in the Scout area, in the Ortigas CBD and even in the foodie strip of Kapitolyo. We visited the one in Banawe which is located beside an automated car wash and a Chinese beef noodle shop operated by an authentic Chinese chef (who smokes like a chimney..so sorry but I don't think I'm visiting his restaurant ever.) It's a very small shop but you honestly don't need a big space to create real good drinks. The choices are quite extensive with 6 types of drinks namely -- tea, fruit tea, classic, cream, smoothie and juice.

One thing that I instantly liked about Goodgood is how they have a lot of fruit-based drinks. This is perfect for kids and for those can't take caffeinated drinks. I remembered who I diligently abstained from visiting my favorite milk tea shop all throughout my pregnancy because I can't take caffeine and I wasn't crazy about any of their fruit-based drinks.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Challenge Accepted : Quaker Smart Heart Challenge

"Health is Wealth"

This saying is so true as I hear stories of family friends, relatives or friends of friends falling sick. Be it one who's in their senior years or another one who's in his 20s, falling sick can really take a toll not only on one's body but on his financial being, his family's well-being and more. I come from a family with very strong genes of cardio-vascular problems like stroke and hypertension. From my Amah and my Angkong, both of whom have experienced having a stroke or dealing with super high blood pressure for most parts of their lives down to my mom and her siblings who, despite trying so hard to keep a healthy lifestyle, also ended up stroke patients themselves.

When I gave birth to my twins, my blood pressure shot up to 200/120 which wasn't a good sign at all. Prior to that, I was tested to have gestational hypertension so I was on meds round the clock which got me so worried if this will affect my babies in the long run. I wasn't even able to see my twins from the time I was wheeled out of the operating room up until the 3rd day because they were busy regulating my bp. I was put on magnesium drip to help fight the chances of me getting a seizure and boy, was it so awful! The magnesium drip made me saw nauseous that I would end up throwing up whenever they'd try to wheel me even for a super short distance. I felt so weak and warm all over. I later found out that despite how horrible it was, that magnesium drip saved my life. Without it, most severe pre-eclampsia patients can get seizures which could lead to bigger damages or even death.

I diligently visited my cardiologist after giving birth and my blood pressure normalized a month post-partum. I was told that pregnant women who had gestational hypertension have very high chances of having chronic hypertension later on in life. This is something I'm not very surprised to hear but of course, I still do hope that I'd be spared someday. After all, I really want to stay healthy and to live long enough to see my twins grow up.

quaker oats 4
I recently joined the launch of Quaker's Smart Heart Challenge where we learned how eating at least 2 scoops of oats a day can help lower cholesterol level. Scientific studies have shown that beta-glucan which is found in oats, is capable of lowering the cholesterol level in the blood which in particular is the LDL-cholesterol. I've been guilty of having high LDL cholesterol which is the bad cholesterol and less of the HDL cholesterol which is the good kind found in avocado and salmon among many others. You see, the LDL cholesterol is the kind that blocks your arteries and causes stroke. So in many cases, strokes can be caused by the cholesterol in your body and you may not even know that you're bound to have one because not even blood pressure can help predict this.

quaker oats 3
I had my blood chem tested and surprise surprise, my cholesterol was pretty high thus making me very eligible to be part of this challenge. Normally, I'd shy away from these type of challenge but I figured that it's all for having a better healthy lifestyle. I got my package of Quaker Instant Oats and while I'm used to taking rolled oats, I like how easy it is to prepare this. All I had to do was to put two scoops of oats on a large bowl an fill it up with hot water. Once "cooked", I would add in some choco powder and chia seeds to make it extra yummy. On days when I don't have the time to have my oatmeal for breakfast, I'd have it for lunch and dinner. Similar to how I'd eat my congee, I would have my oats with whatever meat and veggie dish that we have that day. So far, I'd had my oatmeal with grilled teriyaki chicken, steamed fish, stir-fried green beans and it went very well together.

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Monday, March 9, 2020

Franny Mommy Favorites : Toddliebaby Diapers

A month ago, Paul and I were faced with a dilemma, one of our kids has formed this habit of removing all of his/her clothes before going to bed. It started out funny and cute until it turned annoying and frustrating because one night, he/she ended up peeing on their bed thus waking the other twin up. I began searching for bedtime onesies but it's not that easy as these are normally worn by infants and I doubt it would fit my toddler comfortably. We've been using pull up pants for the longest time as we thought that they'd big enough to do away with taped diapers. Also, there aren't a lot of sized L or XL tape diapers in the market too.

toddliebaby 3
Then we chanced upon Toddliebaby. A new player in the local diaper industry and it stands by it's promise of providing hypo-allegenic, non-chlorine, non-dye, fragrant-free diapers that's soft, gentle and ultra absorbent. The best part is, it's all taped diapers with sizes from small to large. PERFECT!

The first night that we tried it on the twins, we didn't had to deal with any "stripping incident" and boy, were we so glad! We were so happy that we gave ourselves a pat at the back for choosing to try Toddlibaby that night. No wiwi accidents, no crying, no scolding and all we got was a peaceful night with the twins.

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