Friday, February 22, 2019

Franny Mommy Favorites : Fisher Price Smart Stages Toys and Shoes

I have to say that I'm a pretty detail-oriented Mom. I guess it comes with my natural OC (obsessive-compulsive) personality. When it comes to my twins, I really do not settle for second best. Personally, I don't mind paying a bit more on certain items that my twins will use for as long as I get the peace of mind and security knowing that it won't harm or pose any risks to their health and safety.

Education and early childhood learning is also something I value a lot. Growing up, my parents would encourage my sister and I to read and read and read. We would even have assigned classical books every summer break and Mommy would make sure that we get to finish the book/s before our vacation is over. Looking back, I was so thankful that they did this as it has fostered my love for reading and I somehow have learned to speed read because of this. Furthermore, my love for reading has also led to my passion for writing. 

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You know how there's this age old marketing strategy that targets primarily moms and this is simply because in most households, it is really the moms making the decision. Looking back, most of the brands that I grew up being familiar with is because of my Mom. From her Monterey fresh meats to her Del Monte Tomato Catsup, I remember instinctively going for all these same brands from the moment that I began to do my own grocery. Likewise, whenever I'm out shopping for my twins most especially when I was really a new mom and I have no idea which one is the best out there, I would go for the ones that my mom and dad would buy for us when Pan and I were much younger. One of those brands is -- Fisher Price. I'd say this is definitely one of the most reliable, household brands for children's toys as they've been in the market for decades. One thing that I do remember about Fisher Price toys is its durability. Had we not shifted houses, perhaps we would still have some of our old toys that may still be good enough to be handed down to our own kids. 

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Celebrating Family Milestones at Stories by Lilypad in Times Street, Quezon City

About 5 months ago, my dad had a bad fall. Actually, he missed a stepped and slipped in the bathroom. Perhaps for any ordinary person, one could easily just stand up and recover with probably just some minor bruising that an ice pack could easily fix. Unfortunately, as we age, so does our bones and for my 70-something Papa, this led to him damaging one of his hipbones. It was so bad that he felt so much pain and given his high tolerance for pain, we knew that something was just not right when he began complaining of the pain even with just very short distance walks. Anyway, long story short -- Papa had to undergo a partial hip replacement and that posed so much risk whether he can recover a.k.a. walk again. Thankfully, his surgery was a success thanks to his dream team (a.k.a. his team of doctors headed by my brother in law E). After surgery, he had to stay in the hospital for a few more days despite his wishes to go home right away as they wanted to get him started on his therapy. Finally, right on Paul's birthday, his  doctors gave him the green light to go home. Yahoo! What a perfect timing.

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To celebrate Papa's homecoming and my dearest Paul's birthday, we went out for a quick family lunch as the Doctor told us not to tire Papa so much yet. I've read so much about Stories by Lilypad and since this was located right behind the hospital where Papa was admitted, we took the opportunity to check it out. I love the old ancestral home vibe most especially the mug collection displayed right at the garden area. Inside was a very cozy dining space which I feel would be a great place to unwind or to catch up with work without any distractions. 

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The menu was very simple yet I had a hard time choosing on what to get. Haha! Very typical of me! Finally, I went for the Sausage and Garlic Pasta (Php. 290) which was so good! I was so happy with my choice which I happily shared with Paul. We loved the generous portion of minced sausage meat cooked in garlic cream sauce and served with fusilli noodles, my favorite type of noodles. This is the type of pasta dish that you'd love to have after a busy day at work or when you just want something familiar and truly comforting. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Black Forest Mille Crepe by Paper Moon Philippines

I got to admit that among all the cake flavors, Black Forest is one of my least favorites. Why? In the past, the versions that I've tried just have this off-balanced flavor of the dark chocolate cake together with the bitter cherry filling plus that diabetic-inducing heavy cream frosting. For my younger self, it was just too... weird.

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Since then, I've stayed far far away from ordering Black Forest in whatever occasion it may be. This may be one of the most classic cake flavors in the display case but I'd often go with the fruity kinds or the good ol' Mocha Chiffon Cake if I want to play safe. So, when I recently received a beautiful box of Black Forest Mille Crepe (Php. 2,000) from Paper Moon for Valentines Day, I proceeded with a bit more caution.

First things first, I tasted with an open mind. After all, my last recollection of having Black Forest was 20-something years ago. Things do can change and they can definitely change for the better. I took one small bite followed by another and this time I went for a bigger scoop. Unlike other Black Forest cakes, this one was delicious *ding ding ding!!*.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Sizzling Ramen at Kureji, Malakas Street in Quezon City

If there's one thing that excites me is when I get to dine at a restaurant that retains the good ol' tradition in terms of their quality and taste yet one that is also bold enough to break the stereotype and continues to surprise their patrons with "something new."

Take the Japanese cuisine for example.

Immediately, visions of delicious and comforting bowls of ramen would come to mind, right? How about if I tell you that recently, I tried one that's served in a sizzling bowl. Yup! It's one thing that probably not a lot of people would imagine to have in a traditional Japanese restaurant setting. Thus, this is precisely what sets Kureji apart.

Situated along Malakas street in Quezon City, I immediately fell in love with the beautiful interiors of this restaurant. It has kept the structure of an old traditional Filipino bungalow-style home with rooms in split-levels and an old-school bodega (storage room) situated at the back of the house with a few steps heading down to this. While you won't be greeted with the typical screams of irrashamasei yet you'll surely still feel the warm welcome and enjoy the good service from the wait staff.

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Our lunch began with the Chicken Manila Gyoza (Php. 200) and boy, oh boy was this delicious! I love gyoza as this is my usual order every time I dine at a Japanese restaurant and this one gives a good Pinoy twist with the chicken filling and the annatto sauce which makes this a great starter. There's literally no need to dip this in any sauce as the gyoza itself was bursting with so much flavor. I loved it! I highly recommend this.

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Moving on, we have an interesting starter called the Tuna Tataki Taco (Php. 320). It's comes with a bowl of freshly chopped tuna sashimi mixed with avocados tossed in tuna sauce and served with nori tempura salsa on the side. One good tip that I got was to generously top the nori tempura sheet with the tuna, avocado and salsa. I guess it was also my fault that the photo taking session took longer than it should that the nori tempura wasn't as crisp as I think it should be. The tuna mix was quite mild thus be sure to add in the salsa for more flavor. Perhaps with a crunchier nori sheet, this would have made a better impact.

Monday, February 18, 2019

#FrannyCooks : Crunchy Fried Kesong Puti

Wow 2019 is zooming by so so so fast, don't you agree? Look at this, we're half way in February and before we know it, we're halfway through the year and 2020 will start making its way through. Don't you wish that time would slow down a lil bit allowing us to breath, relax and have a bit more fun? As I was going through my blog archive, I realized that I haven't shared any recipes with you guys for the past 2 months. A lot of things have happened in 60 days that sometimes I feel like I just can't keep up!

Anyway, let me have a good start to this exciting week by sharing one of my favorite easy-peasy recipes with you. This one can be done in less than 30 minutes and one that I love to do when I'm literally in a rush. That said, I apologize in advance for the awful photo qualities that you'll see below. No glamorized shots, no proper lighting, no stylized plating. I was seriously rushing to make dinner as I got stuck in traffic and came home with less than an hour to dinner time when Mom and I found out that our helper hasn't prepared anything. Talaga nga naman. *sigh*

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Anyway, luckily I have a pack of fresh Pinkie's Farm kesong puti (white cheese) which I love buying from Titallennials as well as a pack of panko breadcrumbs (my pantry staple!) and a carton of eggs. That instantly gave me an idea on what to prepare for dinner that evening. Before I begin, let me tell you about this delicious Pinkies Farm Kesong Puti, I've long been subscribed in this super active Viber group hosted by the ladies behind Titallennials. Day in and out my phone would get non-stop notification of people sending in their orders, the owners updating us about the latest products and so on. One day, I was so intrigued as a lot of mommies started ordering products from Pinkies Farm which is being distributed at Titallennials. I checked the price list out and while I can't take in heavy full cream milk, my eyes zoomed in to the bottom of the list -- Kesong Puti. I love cheese and I love kesong puti as it's like our local version of the Italian's Buffalo Mozzarella...or I'd like to think it is.

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I placed an order and as soon as I got my first pack, I gave it a try. It was simple, I sliced it into bite-sized portions, added it inside a piece of warm pan de sal, add a scoop of pesto sauce and ...oooh lala! I was in heaven.  I promise you this is not even an exaggeration as it was just so good. The saltiness of the cheese, the creamy texture, the coarseness of the pesto and that warm pan de sal. It was indeed an amazing combination. So good that I ended up consuming most of the kesong puti. I knew I had to order more and so I did the following week and weeks after that.

So here's one of my easy recipes which you can try using the Pinkie's Farm Kesong Puti:

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Say it with Pizza by Greenwich Pizza Hawaiian Overload

"Dear xxx, You'll always have the biggest PIZZA my heart."
"To my one and only, I PEPPERON-ly have eyes on you."
"My love, you had me at PIZZA."

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Sounds cheesy? Well, you are allowed to be as cheesy as you want this Valentines Day (all the way up to this weekend) and surprise your special someone with a box of pizza too! That's what I did as Paul and I opted to stay home with our twins on this special day. 

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Franny Mommy : My Grand Baby Fair 2019 Experience

Two weeks ago, I literally spent the entire weekend shopping at Baby Company's Grand Baby Fair. If there's one baby fair that all moms should be present in, then this would definitely be it. It happens twice a year but the biggest one happens every January. Most of you may know by now that I'm definitely not the shopping fanatic kind, so in order for me to brave the crowd just to score a number of great deals, that equates to a lot of energy and thus I ended up feeling super exhausted but very satisfied as most twin mom will definitely agree with me that with more kids.. every peso counts.

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Spot me and my little J!
This year's fair was definitely much better in terms of logistics and variety as compared to the last. I was so happy with this thus making all the effort to go all the way to SM Megamall so worth it. We went both on the first and second day. The first day was spent shopping for all of our babies' necessities and the second day.. well I went there for work (more about this next time) and I was so proud of myself that I resisted the temptation of buying more things.

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Super Daddy Paul trying Vpharma's newest product -- Bifina R
As with all other baby fairs, Paul went with me as he actually looks forward to events like this. He's really very hands-on with our kids that he actually takes charge in searching for the best deals for their diapers, wet wipes and more. Ask him which brand is the cheapest in whatever size and believe me, he'll have an answer ready. I'm thankful that he's such an awesome dad which is also why our twins just love their Daddy so much.

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