Thursday, August 15, 2019

#FrannyCooks : Sausage and Mushroom Rice with Tiger Tacook Rice Cooker

Just tonight, I came across a funny joke. It goes like this:
Me: I'm good at multi-tasking
God: Here, have twins.

I must admit that I have said this line way too many times during job interviews from the time that I've graduated from my university up until my days in the Lion City. Funny thing is, I don't recall telling this to my current boss when she interviewed me last year. Can't really remember why I didn't but well, my plate has been overloaded from the day my twins came into this world and I think that will remain that way up until they probably graduate from college or when I retire..whichever comes first. Thankfully though, being a multi-tasker is normal in today's world. Gone are the days when we have the luxury to do one task at a time. In order to get things done while keeping your sanity intact, you just gotta hustle all day, every day. 

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I got to thank technology for making our lives easier. Not wanting to sound like a tech-crazy millennial but it's true! We now have equipments, gadgets and appliances that can help us get the job done in record time. Just recently, Paul and I were invited to the demo of Chef Kai San of Tiger Philippines where he made 3 yummy dishes using a variety of Tiger kitchen appliances. One that stood out was his Japanese Cheesecake which was made using a rice cooker. Yes. A real, fluffy and yummy cake from a rice cooker. Indeed, we can make more things than just cook rice in a rice cooker. The Tiger Tacook Rice Cooker (Php. 10,000) can make congee, rice, steam your meat and bake simple cakes too. 

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My family has been long time users of Tiger from our lunch boxes which we brought to school, to our water bottles and even our current rice cooker is also the slightly older version but very similar to the Tacook Rice Cooker as it has multiple functions took like make porridge, various types of rice and more. 

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Monday, August 12, 2019

MaArte oPen House returns with more Foodie Finds!

Remember how Paul and I went to check out the MaArte Fair at The Peninsula Manila last year and while it's an annual fundraising event showcasing a perfected curated line up of local vendors and artists selling their home and fashion masterpieces, I stumbled upon two food finds namely Tsaa Laya and Buen Provencho by O&M as I was making my rounds then.



This year, MaArte oPen House will open on August 16 to 18, 2019, once again, at The Peninsula Manila and they got not 1, not 2 but 6 exciting food vendors joining in the mix! We were so lucky to be invited to an intimate afternoon tea party where we got to sample some of the products that will be up on sale this coming weekend.

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There's Green Babes which was established in 2011 and is the brainchild of good friends Bopeep Arroyo and Zerla Mayuga. They have been sourcing various delicious products all over the country and for MaArte oPen House, be ready to try their Organic Eggs which, I promise you, will blow your mind. The salted egg has this perfect oily consistency and it wasn't overly salty too. In fact, they served it with a slice of fresh tomatoes and it was just so good that I went back for a second round. The balut is about 11 days old so expect that the embryo inside is really tiny and is free of all those terror-causing feathers or bones. No "Fear Factor"-like moment for this balut, I can assure you. I also loved their bottled products such as the Boneless Bangus in Olive Oil as well as the Bicol Express Tinapa which is perfect for people like me and Paul who love getting a bit of that spicy kick in our food.

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Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Serenitea x Sesame Street Collaboration 2019

Sunny Day
Sweepin' the clouds away
On my way to where the air is sweet
Can you tell me how to get?
How to get to Sesame Street
This song has been our household background music every single weekday morning 30 plus years ago. With just the opening tune, my sister Pan and I would rush over in front of the TV and sit there quietly for the next 30 minutes. In fact, that's the only time we would watch TV and after the show is over, we'd continue with our pretend game of bahay-bahayan or teacher teacher. Back in the day, we didn't had YouTube so that's pretty much the only screen time we get and we didn't mind at all. My favorite character has always been Cookie Monster followed by the duo Bert and Ernie. Unfortunately, I was never fond of feathered animals so Big Bird somehow terrifies me. For some reason, Elmo wasn't so popular then instead we had Oscar the Grouch who lives in a trash bin and Count Dracula who taught us how to count.

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One metal straw each for my twins!
Fast forward to today, my 1 year old twins are crazy over Elmo! They would watch his sing along videos on YouTube and you know what? We got them to love brushing their teeth from watching Elmo's Brush You Teeth video starring Bruno Mars, Nicole Kidman and many other celebrities. We didn't had to go through the ordeal of getting them to love this daily routine as they would instantly clap and jump when they know it's time to brush their teeth. They also got to learn how to stomp their feet, flap their "wings" and turn around after watching "If you're happy and you know it" by Elmo, Abby and Rosita.

Sesame Street turns 50 years old this year and I just love how it continues to play a big role in the developmental years of my children as it did to mine. I'll never forget how I would look forward to the segment that says "Today's show is brought to you by the letter ___" and every segment would be all connected to that.

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Just timely, my favorite milk tea brand, Serenitea, partnered with Sesame Street from now until October 2019. We noticed the cute store decors, the adorable Sesame Street designed aprons and pins on the store staff, the specially designed plastic cups (I heard there's a paper cup version too) and plastic covers as well. Well, the one thing will get all Sesame Street fans crazy is this limited edition line of metal straws! Of course, I just had to head over to my favorite Serenitea branch to check it out one evening. Well, it was also a good excuse to go for an impromptu milk tea date.

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Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Till we meet again, Kongkong

"If there were no love, there's be no grief." - Zig Ziglar

It just felt like a movie on repeat. The entire family inside a hospital room, quietly wiping away our tears, giving each other supportive hugs as we watch the numbers on the monitor slowly going down. One by one, we each walked closer to the hospital bed as we whispered I love yous, thank yous and basically our last messages. Four years ago, it was my beautiful Ama lying on the hospital bed. After a mad rush home from the Lion City followed by a stressful drive from the airport to the hospital, I made it in time to say my final goodbyes to the woman whom I proudly call my grandmother. Together with my parents and my sister, she and Kongkong were the center of my world for 30+ years. Her death brought about so much "what ifs", "if only" and painful acceptance that she's no longer physically here with us. Of course, the most painful of all was to see my dear Kongkong cope with the death of the love of his life. I can still remember it clearly. As soon as the doctors declared her gone, he began to sing 月亮代表我的心, probably one of their many favorite love songs. He was in his late 80s then and I wasn't sure if he fully grasped the idea that Ama was gone. I'd say, he was pretty admirable in coping with grief. He cried, yes. He had expressed numerous times that he misses her. But Kongkong, being Kongkong has always had a positive spirit. He's always such a ray of sunshine to everyone and so he learned to accept the reality without forgetting Ama but rather, he spent every possible minute with the family.

Related post: Dear Ama...

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For the past four years without Ama, Kongkong was able to meet his 4 great grandkids. He's always so excited with each arrival that he'd make sure to visit them as soon as he can. I still remembered how he insisted on visiting me a day after I've delivered my twins and he was so excited when Paul wheeled him to the NICU to see them. Months after that, he'd always ask me when will I be taking them to his condo unit for them to go for a swim. Just as doting as he was as a grandfather to all 7 of us, he has expressed his joy towards his great grand kids too and it's no surprise how much they adored him. L, given that she could still barely say a lot of words, knows exactly who Taikong is whenever I would ask her to point to him on our family photos.

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Thursday, July 4, 2019

Authentic Japanese Feast at Soru Izakaya

"I miss this."

This was what Paul told me one afternoon as we were driving to an event without the kids. Recently, I learned something new about marriage. No matter how many kids you already have, never forget your role as a husband/wife to your other half. Since I gave birth to my twins, I guess it's pretty obvious that they became the center of our world. Day in and out, we have been so busy helping each other in taking care of them. Add to the fact that we have been quite unlucky in getting a reliable nanny till lately as we finally have Yaya M. Thankful also for my in laws who willingly help us watch the twins as we work and go about our day, Paul and I took a quick lunch date one day.

I was also badly craving for sushi and I got to admit that it's hard to find a reasonably priced sushi that's of good quality too. Most of the reputable Japanese restaurants that we got in our area have menu items priced pretty steep. This made me recall one of the lunch dates that we had months ago at Soru Izakaya. How we learned about this restaurant was during a visit at Geonbae last Valentine's Day where we found out that they have several restaurants under the same management. Anyway, food business is really tough and fast-moving that the very same Soru Izakaya branch in Ortigas that we recently visited is relocating to Quezon City soon. *sniff* There goes another good Japanese restaurant leaving the heart of the Ortigas business district but hooray for all Quezon City residents though.

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One thing that I love about Soru Izakaya is how they have a wide variety of sushi options to choose from. A visit here has totally satisfied my sushi-craving tummy. We started with a fresh platter of Sashimi Moriawase (Php. 690) which I find to be such a good deal. Thick cuts of fresh assorted seafood from salmon, tuna, mackerel and octopus. This is good to be shared when you're on a date or if you're feeling really hungry then you can have it all to yourself.

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Wednesday, July 3, 2019

#FrannyCooks: Instant Pot Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

So yesterday, I raved about my newest kitchen appliance -- the Instant Pot Duo 6QT which I think is an answered prayer for all home cooks who are living in small spaces or are always on the go.  Of course, I wasted no time and started to put this baby on a road test.

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As soon as I got my Instant Pot, my mom told me that it's the perfect appliance to have given that I always make sure to have soup available for my kids in every meal. It's where we've made delicious beef soup, creamy pumpkin soup that L loves so much and a few months back, I discovered that you can also make pasta here without the use of multiple pots. It's truly your machine for those one-pot wonder dishes.

Let me share with you one recipe that I've tried making using my Instant Pot and I was very pleased with the outcome. It's yummy, healthy and so easy to make.

Instant Pot Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese (source: here)

Here's what you'll need:

- macaroni or any short pasta noodles
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1/2 onion, minced
- 1 whole garlic, minced
- 3 1/2 chicken broth
- 1/2 buttersquash, cut into small cubes
- 1 cup fresh milk
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

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Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Instant Pot® Duo 6Q 7-in-1 is finally here in the Philippines!

Finally, the long long long wait is over and this is one news that I've been soooo excited to share with you all. In fact, I had to keep it a secret for more than a year but now, the cat is out of the bag and here's the BIG news.

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The famous Instant Pot is finally here in the Philippines and it's 220v ready! 

Okay, perhaps not a lot of you are familiar with the Instant Pot but let me tell you this, it's the newest innovation in home cooking where you can pressure cook, boil, steam, cook rice, make yogurt, saute and more. Back in the day when we would have the old school pressure cooker and my mom would warn us about getting close to it. 

"I have a friend who's daughter opened the pressure cooker and sago shot up her nose and she needed to undergo surgery. So be very careful, Frances."  

I would still remember Mommy telling me this horrendous story and how that vision of mini sago (tapioca pearls) flying all around the room and one shooting inside our poor family friend's nose has never left my mind. Anyway, I was a pretty obedient child so I stayed far far away from our pressure cooker. 

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