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.

soru izakaya 3
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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Friday, June 28, 2019

#BestEverLife with the new Best Ever Joy

I remembered back when I was based in the Lion City, despite not having kids then, our day-to-day life still remained equally busy. For example, after a busy day at work, I would literally rush home at 6pm. Sometimes, I even have to squeeze in a quick trip to the grocery if I'm running low in ingredients and make sure that I get home by 7pm. As soon as I step into our empty apartment unit, I would be on auto-pilot. Cook the rice, chop, wash, mince, prepare the pan, saute, bake, boil, steam, check if the rice has been cooked, set the table, serve the dishes and wait for Paul. The goal is the moment Paul walks in the house, dinner will be ready for him. After dinner, I would then take on the role of dish washing while he takes care of other household chores like doing the laundry, folding the dry clothes and ironing. We would then take a quick shower by 10pm and while drying my hair, I'd be blogging or catching up on work. Our normal bedtime would still be past 12 every single night.

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Thinking about it is enough to make me feel really exhausted. It was in 2017 when we made our New Year Resolution of wanting to start our own family and following our doctor's orders, we seriously have to lessen stress if we want this to happen. Thus, we began to review our daily activities and see how we can simplify things. No shortcuts still but rather, we changed how we do some things. For instance, cooking a bigger batch of dishes during the weekend and storing them into smaller containers that way I can just reheat these when I'm pressed for time. I would also cook double the amount of rice that way I will only have to cook rice every other night. We've also subscribed to Netflix then and instead of catching up on work after our shower, we would end our night with a movie or a couple of episodes of our chosen TV series. I'd say, this was our version of #NetflixandChill (haha!). Even when doing the dishes, we gave more attention to choosing the right product to make our chores easier. This is precisely why I ended up buying hoarding bottles of The Best Ever Joy as I know how good it is in cutting grease making it so much faster and easier to wash the dishes and pans.

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Thursday, June 20, 2019

Ang Family takes the Tabasco Family Challenge

Every night, I thank Him for leading me to Paul 16 years ago. How he became my first serious and last boyfriend. Our love story is something that I just love telling over and over again. Apart from meeting and eventually marrying him, I am also thankful for gaining a new family who loved me like their own. I am blessed to have the best in laws who continuous to support me in whatever I do. So much so that they all were so game when I sent them this message a few hours before our Father's Day dinner last weekend:

"I got a bag filled with 6 bottles of Tabasco. Let's do a Tabasco tasting challenge later, ok?"

Within minutes, I got replies from Paul's siblings all saying yes! Aren't they just the best?

tabasco challenge
We had so much fun doing the challenge that even Daddy happily watched on and even helped me with the mechanics. Even my nephew J appointed himself as our game master and scorer, if you listen closely, you'll hear his cute commentator lines.

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Wednesday, June 5, 2019

My Lazada Live Experience with Fisher Price

Hello everyone! It's finally June and it's my birthday month. Soon, we're pretty much halfway through 2019. Time is zooming by so fast again, don't you think? 

Anyway, let me backtrack a bit and tell you about my first ever experience doing Lazada Live. I guess everyone all know what Lazada is as today's world is all about online shopping and basically doing everything and anything online. Before I had my twins, I remember attending an event where moms and (then, this momma to be) were asked to stand up and share two of their guilty pleasures. Mine was a no brainer -- chips and carbs. These are still my guilty pleasures till today, actually. Well, most moms mentioned "online shopping" and in my mind, I was like.. "What?!" Back then, I felt uncomfortable trusting online sellers with my money...worst, my credit card details. I had a million and one questions then like "what if the item was fake?", "what if no item gets delivered?", "what if I want to return it?" With all these hesitations, needless to say, I wasn't really a big fan of online shopping here in Manila..before. Yes, before... before I had my twins and I had to be home 24/7 for them. Before I realized that I am not getting anything done for being stuck at home. Before I did my first successful purchase and realized that the online shopping world was pretty neat. Before I discovered that I can actually score deals and get products online that I don't think I'll ever get or find in a mall.

From being a mom, I've learned to make the most of technology to help me get things done. I literally planned my twins' birthday party with the help of online suppliers and retailers. From the time they were born, I have been purchasing all sorts of items from diapers to wet wipes, from baby carriers to their feeding bottles all online. I turned into that kind of Mom who would stay up till midnight to be one of the first to snag the best deals during big online sales.

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So, when I was invited to guest in one of Lazada Live's shows for Fisher Price, it was definitely a big YES YES YES for me! Okay, well maybe one tiny fear was that I am deathly afraid to be in front of the camera. Big shocker there, huh? For someone who talks and writes a lot, I'm still more comfortable being behind the scenes. However, I'm also not the kind who chickens out so Lazada Live guesting, here we go!

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Friday, May 31, 2019

Franny Mommy Favorites : Books by Learning Adventures

It's been a while since I've shared with you one of my twins' favorite things as I've been too coped up with my yaya woes, had to prepare for our back to back staycation and family trip, dealt with each one of us (even the twins) falling sick, then there's work and everything else in between. Finally, I got a teeny bit of breathing time so let's do some mommy chat, shall we?

During the 1st birthday of my twins, they were blessed to have received a lot (and I really meant..a LOT) of presents from their aunties, uncles and relatives. Of course, kids being kids, they were soooo happy to open all of their presents and I really had to find ways to manage this by allowing them to play with only one to two toys at a given period of time. You see, if you allow them to play with all the toys at the same time, chances are, they'd get tired of it quickly and you'd be left with nothing else to keep them busy and entertained. Thus, I've been spending all these months rotating the gifts, allowing them to choose 1-2 toys each and keeping the rest and when I sense that they're starting to get tired of a particular toy, then I reintroduce a new toy. So far, I think it's working as I have managed to keep them entertained all these time.

learning adventures books 3
Apart from toys, my twins have received books from some of their guests and this was how we have actually started to include story time as part of their bedtime routine. In fact, they love reading so much that L, for instance, would wake me up in the morning to ask me to read to her AGAIN and AGAIN...and AGAIN. It's interesting to see how varied their personalities are. J is really more into toys most especially building blocks and cars. He can hold on to this toy truck all day and night. He likes to read but his attention span is shorter so he prefers picture books over those that has real stories in them.

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L, on the other hand, is my little bookworm. She would quietly sit in one corner of the room while flipping through the pages of her books. She's so adorable! I love watching her do this and it's amazing how she can really hold the book right side up ever since. Whenever her Gwammy (my mom) would be in the room, she would asked to be carried to the book cabinet for her to choose a book. I also noticed that she has her favorite books which she loves reading over and over again.

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