Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Guangdong Zongzi 广东粽子 by Harmony Cantonese Kitchen

In food, there's one thing that I strongly believe in. "You don't need to offer a long list of dishes but simply just highlight on that one or two items that you're extremely good at and you're sure to succeed."

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I guess this belief can easily be applied to any aspect in life but let's stick to food for now. Take for example, Harmony Cantonese Kitchen. It's a very new home food business that specializes on one thing -- their delicious glutinous Guangdong-style Zongzi. Here in Manila, this is more commonly known as machang. Steamed glutinous rice packed with an assortment of meat, nuts and spices and wrapped in bamboo/lotus leaves.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Franny Mommy : New Year, Clean House by Cleeneco (Mike Gamez)

Call it timely that as 2019 rolled in, Netflex suddenly launched Tidying Up with Marie Kondo and I swear, everyone I know -- even the major hoarders and my non-OC friends have been giving their closets major overhaul, giving out what doesn't "spark joy" and basically, cleaning up their homes. Being a big OC nut, I've been Konmari-ying my closet regularly all my life. Cleaning up is, after all, second nature to me.

What I did differently though was to do a thorough clean of our room. It began when I noticed that my twins have been falling sick since their 1st birthday last October. I swear, we have been visiting their pedia pulmo every single month and we have been spending way more than we should on medicines. I also dread it whenever one or both of my twins fall sick as this spells sleepless nights and fussy days.

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I learned about Cleeneco by Mike Gamez from several fellow mommies like E and D. They couldn't stop raving at how clean Mike's team has turned their house into after a full day of thorough cleaning. Finally, I managed to book a schedule with Mike who's super receptive and friendly on Instagram. He's very easy to talk to and he can do either per spot cleaning (by mattresses/ per item) or if you just want to do a good deep clean, I highly recommend going for a general cleaning. Payment is also a breeze as Mike accepts credit card payments aside from cash. I loved his service so much that we've availed of Mike's service twice already as of this writing.

First thing that I liked about Mike's team is how professional they were. We agreed at a certain time and they would always show up way before that. No such thing as "Filipino time" for this team. After giving them our instructions on which ones to clean first, they quickly got to work. No chitchats, no cellphone break. They would just stop for an hour to have their lunch and would come back to resume work quickly.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Chocolate Dream Cake from The Culinary Studio, San Juan

Hello 2019! 

I honestly can't believe 2018 just flew by so fast. Just like that, my twins are now 14 months old (wow!) and they've literally went from them being tiny, fragile newborns to active, super talkative toddlers. Over-all, 2018 was a good year for us. It's this year that we've learned so much as new parents, as freelance professionals and as start-up entrepreneurs. I got to admit that at first, it wasn't easy. I've been part of the corporate world for more than a decade and I'm someone who loves schedules, routines and specific job scopes. It took a while but I feel like I'm slowly getting there. For one thing, I do value the time that I get to spend with my twins. I know this is considered a luxury and I am forever grateful to have the opportunity to be at the front row as I watch them grow.

I face the New Year with a lot of optimism. I hope that it will be a bigger year than what 2018 was to us. I pray for good health and safety for everyone in our family and for everyone who's dear to us. I hope for stronger relationships and genuine friendships. This year, I am excited that our small family will have a new additional member in a matter of weeks. As I welcomed my niece A, two years ago, I am looking forward to create fun memories with her soon-to-be little brother too. It's amazing to think that we were once just a family of 4 which later became 6 and soon.. we will be 10. The house of my parents, for instance, can never be kept tidy or organized with all their little toys and shoes scattered around, we've long said good bye to the concept of "peace and quiet" but I can say that our little ones have just given more meaning and color to our lives from the time they were born. As the saying goes: "Sometimes the smallest things occupy the biggest space in your heart."

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Anyway, I would like to start the year by sharing with you one of my favorite finds for 2018 -- Chocolate Dream Cake. This was clearly one of the most trending dessert of the year and I've lost count of the number of bakeries, restaurants, home bakers that are offering this. I've tried one of the pioneers and I loved it. However, this one I loved the most as it wasn't as gooey or sweet compared to the others. I love it so much that I gave this out to most of my family members and friends in hopes that they'll like it as much as I do.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Honestbee x Rustan's Marketplace #justhonestbee

This year's Christmas was a bit different for my family. Our dear Kongkong was confined in the hospital so we had to call off our annual Christmas Eve dinner outside and opted to just spend it quietly at the hospital. The holiday season is all about family and loved ones coming together, after all, so no matter where you may be, you can still feel the warmth of the holiday with the presence of family and friends around you.

Luckily, Kongkong has been discharged so the fun continues! We still have the New Year to celebrate and we're planning to do it at home to give Kongkong more space to rest and the kids to walk/run/crawl around. Oh how I dream to just turn into beautiful Giada de Laurentiis or talented Ina Garten and be able to not only cook up a storm for my family but turn these dishes into beautiful masterpieces too.

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Perhaps if I get a little help from my favorite bee. If my kids love the big red happy Bee, their momma adores this small, helpful yellow Bee called Honestbee! Recently, aside from adding an impressive amount of merchants for this holiday season, Honestbee has also partnered with Rustan's Marketplace (and a lot more other grocery chains in the metro). That said, we can now finally put together a nice Charcuterie Board or a delicious Cheese Platter with just a few taps here and there. In addition to that, I can finally stock up on our grocery needs without having to step out of the house.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Ombu Kusina Modern Filipino Restaurant at the Sequoia Hotel, Quezon City

I'd say that when you look at the F&B industry, one of the easiest yet toughest cuisine to specialize on is Filipino. It's simply because every household has its own version of most of the local dishes from the adobo to pochero to sopas to sisig and to all types of pancit (noodles). I can boldly say that there's probably millions of adobo versions all over the country given that our population is now 104.9 Million strong (thank you Google!). That said, it would really take a lot for you to beat what one may have considered their best adobo/pochero/sisig. But hey, as the saying goes.. "if you got it, flaunt it."

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Recently, Paul and I stumbled upon Ombu Kusina near Timog Avenue. It's at the Ground Floor of Sequoia Hotel as the restaurant also operates as the F&B arm of the hotel. We were invited to try their newest menu items and luckily, some of their best-selling ones too. I've heard of Ombu Kusina from fellow bloggers when it opened a few years back. We were still based in the Lion City then and given the short period of time that we always have when we're back home, travelling all the way to Quezon City barely gets included in our trip itinerary.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas 2018!

Before anything else, let me wish you and your family a Merry Merry Christmas!

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I remember that I would always do this Christmas blog post every single year. Except for last year where my days were just so mixed up with my nights and I began to lost track of time, of the day while trying to catch up on sleep, juggling all our tasks as new parents and basically adjusting to motherhood.

Things are much better now. Much, much better, actually. We get to sleep more, routines are now in place, my twins are definitely much bigger and their personalities are more defined. I'm not gonna lie. I do miss the scent of newborn babies but I love each day spent playing with them even more. Trying to decipher their baby languages, laughing at their latest antics and a lot lot more. This is our life now. We are now parents of 1-year-old growing babies.

Before we know it, they'll turn into full-fledge toddlers, then will transition to school age kids, teenagers and *gulp* move on to adulthood. I dunno if this blog will still be around by then but at least while I still can, I will continue to write and to document our lives in hopes that someday, L and J will find this and will be able to read all about our stories.

2018 has been kind to us with new opportunities, big wins, small triumphs, lots of new learning experiences and the chance to build new friendship with a number of awesome people whom we had the privilege to meet along the way. We're looking at 2019 with the hope that it will be a bigger and better year for us. More love and kindness to go around and more successes too.

Cheers, everyone!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

#FrannyCooks : Spanish Sardines Pandesal with Nanay Luisa's Queso de Bola Spread

When you say Christmas in the Philippines, a number of things come to mind...

Parol (lanterns), Bibingka (rice cake with salted egg), Lechon (roasted pig), Noche Buena (Christmas feast) and Queso de Bola.  Actually, I think I can name a lot more but that will definitely make this blog entry so so so long.

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Let me focus on Queso de Bola. Recently, I wondered how come this round cheese that's traditionally coated in red wax cover became so popular especially during Christmas. Well, a quick research showed that back in the day, edam cheese or queso de bola is one of the staple items during Noche Buena. I'd also credit this to brilliant marketing work of whoever is behind the brand who sold the first ever Queso de Bola. Imagine, while having cheese with crackers, nuts or fruits is something very European yet this was successfully adapted into our Noche Buena spread together with Jamon, Fruit Salad, Bibingka and Puto Bumbong.

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