Thursday, July 2, 2020

Premium Baked Macaroni from Simply Maarte

I'm indeed a very very lucky girl. Why, you may ask? It's because I come from a food loving family and I married into one as well. I've probably mentioned this some time before that Paul's family hails from the foodie capital of Luzon called Pampanga where you can find the most delicious yet heart-stopping delicacies and dishes that has ever graced our tables. From the famous pork sisig, the very umami tamales and bringhe, loads of kakanin variants and a lot more. It's not a big surprise then that Paul and his family are such foodies that our annual family Christmas gathering would start at lunch and could last past afternoon snack with food being served non-stop and we would sometimes even have enough to bring back to Manila.

simply maarte baked mac 1
So, when I found out that one of my cousins-in-law is selling her special Baked Macaroni, I quickly dropped her a message to place my order. Of course, primarily, I'm also all for supporting family and secondly, I'm curious to try B's premium baked mac. She told me that she only makes this twice a week and was initially just making this for close friends and family. Luckily, I fell within this category. Anyway, after much prodding from her friends, B decided to sell her Baked Mac over at her Instagram account called Simply Maarte.

Maarte in English refers to someone who is very particular about how things are done and this is exactly what makes B's Baked Mac extra special. B makes sure that she uses good, top quality ingredients from her choice of beef to the sauce that she makes as well as how everything is put together and baked to perfection. It's what I would call a very classy, adult-friendly Baked Macaroni. Perhaps my kids would love the creamy, cheesy kind but this is what me, Paul and my parents loved. The macaroni has a good bite to it -- not hard nor was it soggy, the sauce has just the right amount of tangy flavor and is incorporated with B's secret blend of spices. I loved it! I am a big big big fan of spices and herbs and this one was just so flavorful and delicious.

simply maarte baked mac 2
One thing that we truly love about B's Baked Macaroni is the absence of the usual thick layer of bechamel sauce that you normally would get from old-school cafes and my Mom was so happy about its absence as she doesn't like creamy macaroni. As she enjoyed B's macaroni, Mommy even said that finally, she found the perfect Baked Macaroni that suits her equally maarteng taste buds haha. Finished off with a layer of cheese and more herbs sprinkled on top, we just couldn't stop raving about B's Baked Macaroni.


Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Celebrating Milestones with China Mommy

Ever since we discovered China Mommy more than two years ago, our basis for "what makes a good Chinese lumpia" has improved and increased significantly. For us, the best Chinese lumpia is what China Mommy makes -- fresh ingredients, clean taste and easy to prepare. It's been two years since and so far, I haven't came across a brand or restaurant that comes close to China Mommy's amazing lumpia.

china mommy 1
This is also why we find ways (and reasons) to celebrate with China Mommy's dishes as the main highlight of the meal. From Chinese New Years to our birthdays and even recently, Father's Day, there's just a hundred and one reason why we just have to have some good Chinese lumpia and more.

Related post:
China Mommy : Authentic Chinese Home-Cooking Delivery
Have a Festive CNY with China Mommy

This year, I celebrated my birthday during the quarantine, it was actually the day when the enhanced community quarantine was lifted but we weren't taking any chances and still decided to stay home as a family. While this birthday was indeed different from the rest, it was nonetheless very special. I got to celebrate it with my family and I was showered with a lot of greetings from friends and family alike. My heart was bursting with so much happiness that day and my tummy was bursting with so much food hahaha.


Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Franny Mommy Finds : Belo Baby Wipes with Zoeily DIY Cookies

Ever since the start of the quarantine, Paul and I have been finding ways on how to keep our twins busy. Of course keeping them busy is easy but we want to do it the right way and that is to allow them to also develop a new skill or to learn something new. Since they can't go to pre-school yet because of the current situation, we took it upon ourselves to be the first teachers of our kids in hopes that somehow, we are prepping them to be ready for formal schooling when the pandemic ends and it's safe for everyone to go out again.

I'm usually super busy with work during the weekday so I rely on Paul and my mom to help teach the twins while I deal with calls and my daily workload. However, I try my best to make it up to them during the weekend by giving them my full, undivided attention. On one of the those weekends, I received a package from Zoeily Cookies and I was so excited! They sent us a ready DIY cookie kit and I know this will get the twins super excited.

belo baby wipes 1
Before we went ahead and did our little baking session, I got the table ready with all the ingredients and I had a pack of wet wipes on standby. I knew 101% that we will make a lot of mess and I don't want the twins wiping their oily hands on the table, on our cabinets or in places I won't be able to spot. Definitely not taking chances to lure creepy crawlers into the house.

Here's a short video of us trying our hands in making these colorful DIY cookies:

I love how the wet wipes were fragrance-free and was just the right size. I honestly have issues with wipes that are too small because you'll end up having to use more and that won't make it practical nor ecologically-friendly. Also, it's free of any chemicals so even it makes it okay for me to also wipe their mouth or faces with it. Of course, hand washing is still the best but I made sure to wipe their hands with the Belo Baby Wipes before they went to the washroom or they'll stain our doorknob with oil and candy sprinkles.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Food Trend : Sushi Bake and Where to Get this in Manila

A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege to guest in the one and only podcast that I religiously listen to. It's called Sini Gang and it's by my friends and foodie idols -- Chef Edward Bugia, Chef Sharwin Tee and The Pickiest Eater in the World, Richie Zamora. For many nights especially during this quarantine season, I would find myself working till midnight and I would always have Sini Gang playing in the background as I listen in to their various episodes that mostly revolves around food.

sini gang
So when Richie approached me and asked if I can be their guest for one of their shows, despite having a hundred butterflies in my stomach, I said YES. I'd be crazy to pass up an opportunity to join a fun discussion with my foodie friends. We talked about the top food trends that has hit our country since the start of the ECQ and this includes the Dalgona Coffee, the Ube Cheese Pandesal (where I shared about Twin Beans Kitchen) and of course, the ever famous -- Sushi Bake.

Link to the Facebook Live:

So what is it? 

sushi bake alvin
Sometime a month ago, my brother in law sent over a huge pyrex dish of deconstructed sushi. I saw him made one for his girlfriend N and finally after much prodding from me, he sent us one too. Thank you A! It was delicious. Rice at the bottom that's sprinkled with furikake and topped with a thick layer of kani-mayo-cream cheese combination, a layer of nori sheets acted as a divider and its finished off with a generous amount of tobiko. It's really your California Make made in a pan and baked or torched to perfection. I also think that since we're still fighting the virus, we have always been warned against taking raw food so this is such a brilliant solution to satisfy your sushi craving but still staying on the safe side.


Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Milky Dust Donuts : Best Homemade Donuts in Town

Despite how fussy and meticulous I can be with food, there are some food items that I prefer it to be simple. Take donuts for instance, give me a tray of assorted flavored donuts and more often than not, I'd go for the one that's just glazed in honey or sugar, one that has just chocolate frosting on top and definitely not one that's stuffed with heavy cream. In other words, I like my donuts simple and classy.

milky dust donuts 1
That's how I would describe Milky Dust Donuts. It's nothing fancy. No artificial coloring, no fancy icing. All you get are big round donut balls that's stuffed in 4 types of filling -- vanilla, chocolate, mocha or ube and cheese. It's dusted with powdered sugar and kept in microwaveable tubs that can help you keep it for a couple of days in room temp or longer when chilled. From the moment that I laid my eyes on my friend Twinkle's Milky Dust Donuts on social media, I wasted no time and quickly placed my order. I wasn't sure what got into me but I suddenly have this intense craving for donuts. 

As soon as it arrived, I took very quick camera shots (thus the lack of loading this entry with photos) and I took one chubby piece of donut ball and took my first bite. For all F.R.I.E.N.D.S. fans out there this was my exact reaction:


Indeed, it was OH MY GOD! It was delicious and the chocolate filling was heavenly. I can't help but clapped with excitement. I felt like I just strucked a gold mine and this is one discovery I'm cherishing forever. Another thing that I like about it is how each donut was hand-crafted and was made with so much love and passion. The dough stayed really soft even after leaving it out for days and the filling would ooze out in every bite. I also like warming up my day/s old donuts to bring it back to "life". haha!


Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Twin Beans Kitchen : Breads and Frozen Meats

It's been 6 months since the first news about the virus has been released. Since then, we have been staying home to lessen any exposure and to keep everyone safe. Given that the entire metro has been in quarantine since March this year, I'd say that I've also have discovered a number of delicious food finds along the way. This is because we no longer go out to buy bread or to do our groceries in fear that staying out for long will bring more harm than convenience or good to us. Luckily, technology has been helping us have easy access to food and basically all the essential goods that we may need. We're also seeing the rise of online money transfers and payments nowadays. Indeed, going cashless is the way to go now and to just do things with just a few taps here and there.

One of my favorite discoveries was Twin Beans Kitchen which was created by my dear twin mommy, D. D and I have been mommy buddies since our twins were barely a month old and it's funny how we always are in sync most of the time. For instance, without even knowing, she named her business Twin Beans Kitchen while I have set-up an online shop named Twin Bears. Cute coincidence, don't you think? :)

twin beans 3
Anyway, it was one evening when my Mom came to me panicking that we're running low in our bread supply and given that we're such a bread eating family, my Dad will surely not like it if he finds out one morning that we're out of bread. D came to the rescue! We quickly placed an order for 3 loaves of Plain Loaf (Php. 40) and I added in a pack of the famous Ube Cheesedesal (Php. 100) to try as well.

The bread came a few days after and it got the seal of approval from my parents. Mind you, it's not that easy to get them to approve of any other bread except from their staple Japanese and Korean branded bread which they've been super loyal customers of for decades. I was so happy that they liked D's bread which was so soft and yummy.

twin beans 4
However, I like flavored breads more so the Ube Cheesedesal was my top pick. I got to admit that I haven't tried a lot of Ube Cheese Pandesals but I really like Twin Beans' version a lot. The bread remains so soft inside, the cheese gives a mild salty kick and there didn't scrimp on the ube halaya at the center. It tasted just like a pandesal with the right amount of filling.


Thursday, June 4, 2020

Discovering Coco's Tiny Kitchen

How are you, my dear readers?

If there's one thing I love about being a Filipino is how we can be very resilient. No matter what the circumstance may be, wherever the wind takes us, we are probably one of the most flexible individuals in the region, to quickly adapt to changes and to seek the positivity in all things. It's no wonder that the Philippines was once voted as one of the happiest place on earth.

Take the current situation that the entire world is facing, we were once put on Enhanced Community Quarantine which has led to business closures except for those offering essential goods like supermarkets and drugstores. With just a handful of restaurants offering take out services and public transportation not available, quickly people took to social media and messaging platforms to offer their products. Suddenly, there was a barrage of marketplaces being set-up in almost all communities imaginable. For years, you've never bothered to know your next door neighbor's name and during the ECQ, you're now in the same Viber group with everyone in your baranggay trading news, updates and selling and buying each other's items. On the first day of the ECQ, I found myself swapping food discoveries with my brother-in-law where we ended up buying a tub of kimchi each and a tray of fresh farm eggs. This continued with us buying vegetables, seafood, meat, sausages, bread and a lot more online. I even got to satisfy my kbbq craving with just a few taps, a quick online transaction and tadah! my orders were delivered straight to my doorstep. As a result, we also started our mini business (I'll tell you more about this soon)

coco tiny kitchen 2
Sometime in April, a home-based business called Coco's Tiny Kitchen made its grand entrance on social media. I love how their menu only has 3 main items -- Kiam Pung, Cheesy Baked Prawns and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. This just goes to show that these are the three items that they are incredibly good at and it saves you time in wondering which dish to go for as you just have to get all 3!