Monday, September 21, 2020

Prime Cut Meat and Deli : Our go-to meat shop

 I guess this is truly the "new normal". How things have quickly moved online -- paying bills, processing payments, ordering food, sending out courier items and many more. Since the start of the quarantine, our family has heavily relied on our friends who have took their products online. From breads, to fish, from veggies and fruits and even cooked food. I've lost count of the number of deliveries that have been made and with that, we follow a very strict sanitation protocol to ensure that the dreaded virus stays out and away from our home. As you know, we had a scare just a month ago and it was really stressful and horrible. It was so hard to isolate someone much more to isolate 4 people in the family and to adjust how we do things here. The inconvenience was one thing but more than anything, it was the emotional stress that really took a toll on us. The fear that one may be positive and could have possibly infected the rest was one thing we were so scared of. Thankfully, the tests all came out to be negative and we're just so happy. However, that also means, we have to "tighten" our rules to ensure we won't have that kind of scare anymore. 

prime cut 1
Grilled Rib-Eye with Creamy Mashed Polenta

This is also why it has been a while since I've made any new online orders. Instead, we would go for the ones that we've tried before or those being sold by our friends. There's still that fear and we just need that extra reassurance that the products are okay. For instance, when it comes to ordering top quality beef we rely on Prime Cut Meat and Deli for several reasons -- they always pack the meat so well and clean. No oily and wet boxes, the vacuum-sealed cuts were well-labeled with the right names and weight, it's so compact that it's easy to store. 

I'm not going to show you the raw meat as some might not like that but instead, let me make your mouth water with some of my favorite dishes using premium cuts of steak and deli meats from Prime Cut. 


Monday, September 14, 2020

#FrannyCooks : Croquette Surprise!

If there's one thing I realized while feeding my twins is that kids have this great love for anything crispy or crunchy. No matter how hard you try or how long you'd slave away in the kitchen, remember this -- prepare something crispy or crunchy and believe me, your kids will praise you like a kitchen god / goddess. Well, at least, as far as my twins are concerned. Save for the ever-reliable adobo which they love or their all-time fave Baked Spaghetti, my twins are huge fans of fried chicken, corn flakes, crunchy toast sandwiches, crackers and croquettes. This is why I always make sure to have a bag of panko breadcrumbs in our pantry cabinet to make it easy for us to whip up a deep-fry batter whenever the need arises.

Don't get me wrong, they get their fair share of veggies and other protein too and we try our best to limit their deep-fried intake on a weekly basis but on days when it just gets slightly tough to satisfy our picky gourmands, well deep-fried crunchy creations are indeed the way to go.

us potato 3

This was how Paul and I created our newest kitchen experiment called the -- Croquette Surprise!
The secret to any croquette is this -- make use of top quality potato. Without a creamy, well-mashed potato then your croquette sadly won't be able to hold itself together and be one crumbly disaster. Recently, we discovered Potato USA's dehydrated potatoes and after a bit of trial, Paul managed to create a pot of really creamy, restaurant-style potatoes. It actually reminded us of the type of Mashed Potatoes from a famous chicken chain that's finger lickin' good. Not as peppery but the texture was spot on.

Anyway, it was our first time to try dehydrated potatoes and I got to admit that I was initially hesitant to try it as I grew up making Mashed Potatoes the old fashion way -- peel the potatoes, boil and mash. It takes a lot of time to make a simple Mashed Potato and without mixing it properly with the right ratio of milk and butter, you also will end up getting chunky dry potatoes which are not very yummy. So, we gave these US Dehydrated Potatoes a try. I have to say that it's very time-saving! Paul literally just mixed the right proportion of US Dehydrated Potato flakes with milk, butter and water and within minutes, he had a huge pot of creamy mashed potatoes. Amazing!

us potato 4

So why Croquette Surprise!? Well, you can really get creative when making croquettes. For as long as you know the basic, you can fill it with whatever your heart desires. For years, we've done countless of croquettes and so far we've loved them all. Today, we were in the mood for something comforting and so we decided to make use of luncheon meat. Yup, all you need is one can of luncheon meat to make almost 3 dozen croquettes!

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Frannywanny turns 13!

WOW! Thirteen. 

It's like I have a teenager. If you really think about it, is my first baby. It was born out of love and passion, somewhat unplanned and based on impulse but how it grew to what it is today is because of the amount of time and dedication that I have poured into it and of course, the immeasurable support that I have been blessed with. If you have been following this blog for the past 13 years, you have been with me through all my ups and downs as I moved out of Manila, started a new life in Singapore, moved back to Manila, became a twin mom and yet, I still want to think that I am still am the same Frannywanny from Day 1 -- a city girl who loves to eat, cook and to write. 

frannywanny 1

I got to admit that when I started this blog, I honestly thought that I was just writing for a handful of my friends to read. Them and Paul, of course. So, it never fails to warm my heart when I would encounter someone who would write to me or would tell me in person that they've been reading this blog for the past decade and boy, I want you to know that your message/words have not only made my day but it continues to inspire me to be better. To be able to stay honest and true in sharing my food adventures with you, to uphold what professional editors would call "editorial integrity" and to write straight from the heart. 

It's been a while since I really got to celebrate my blogniversary! I do miss blowing out those candles on my cake so together with my little ones, here's us celebrating 13 years of Frannywanny. I hope next year, I'll do a better job by throwing a nice giveaway but let's see, maybe I can do that before the year ends. After all, with all that has happened this 2020, we all need a bit of happy surprise, right? 

To you who have been with me for the 13 years... THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART. 

Love, Frannywanny


Tuesday, September 8, 2020

#SayGoodbyetoDryEye with Systane

We're living in a world where we're becoming really dependent on gadgets and technology. I got to admit that the first thing I do as I wake up in the morning is to check my phone. After getting the kids ready for breakfast, I then turn on the TV supposedly to play in the background as the reporter from BBC updates us on the latest news in the region but when I hear something interesting, I'd immediately turn my attention to it. After that, I head to my mini office where I start my daily calls with various people in the team. This goes on for the next 4 hours before I go down for lunch. After lunch, I take an extra hour to play with the kids and I go back again to work up until it's time for dinner. If I'm not staring at my phone, I'd be on my laptop and even if I try my hardest to create time blocks to walk around, grab a drink or to stretch, I know that I have been overworking my eyes especially during this quarantine season. 

There were instances wherein I would get migraine headaches or I would see glaring silhouettes that would force me to give my eyes a break. I've always had pretty good eyesight all my life except for very sensitive astigmatism, I'm one of the lucky few in our family who do not have to wear glasses or contact lens. This is also why I am extra careful and conscious not to abuse this as I have no plans to dealing with bad eyesight especially at this point in time. 

So how do you know if you got dry eyes? Normally, dry eyes can cause a stinging or burning sensation, some would say they feel something sandy in their eyes, it can cause redness and irritation or excessive tearing. 

This is why I was so excited to join the live session with Dr. James Abraham Lee, who is a pediatric ophthalmologist from American Eye Center, over the weekend as he gave tips on how to manage screen time and how to deal with tired, dry eyes. My parents have long been using Systane Eye Drops and we got lots of mini bottles of these stored all around the house. I never thought of using them because I thought it was something that has to be prescribed by the eye doctor. During the live, I learned that Systane eye drops are safe for everyone to use as it serves as a good lubricant for your eyes. It is then a good idea to always keep a bottle of Systane with you to protect your eyes from drying up. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Serenitea Express : DIY Drink Kits

I got to admit that one thing that I really missed during the quarantine period is my favorite milk tea. When we first had the lock down, I tried in vain to search for any available milk tea shops that might be open during that period and while there sure were, I never really got around to ordering from them for several reasons.

First -- I was scared of their sanitation. I wasn't sure of the measures that they're taking to ensure that my drink will never ever be contaminated. Secondly -- I wasn't sure what's good to order as the ones open were not the ones that I would usually go get milk tea from. So as soon as we went on GCQ, Paul and I took the chance to check if our neighborhood Serenitea shop was open and it was! Yahoo! Not only that, they were even running a Buy One Get One promo to make us even happier. So for a couple of weeks, we happily had random milk tea runs and finally, our milk tea cravings have been fully satisfied.

serenitea 5
I've been staying home more often now as our family doctor has advised us to do so. This is also for the safety of everyone in the family as we do not want to run the risk of bringing home the virus. That said, we have been cooking and creating yummy things more often now and this is also why I really appreciate and love DIY kits. There are just days when you want to dine out or go to your favorite cafe or milk tea shop and when that moment happens, you just want to be prepared to answer that want.

Look what we got here! Serenitea now has home kits where you can make your own drinks such as the famous Okinawa Milk Tea with Pearls (no less!) and the Taro Lover with Panna Cotta. I have to admit that when I initially opened my package from Serenitea, I felt a bit intimidated. Will I really be able to do this? I've always loved Serenitea and its drinks and I just don't want to ruin that experience for myself or for anyone in the family. After all, the Serenitea staff all look like drinks pros as you watch them brew, mix, blend and shake your drinks.


Monday, August 10, 2020

Lola Ester's Bread and Pastries in Blue Ridge, Quezon City

I just had one of the yummiest breakfasts a few days ago. It was in the form of these interesting looking bread that's generously filled with cream cheese and herbs. What makes it so good is the slightly sweet buttery crust that it has. I discovered Lola Ester's Bread and Pastries through my friend L who shared with me this family secret of hers. Apparently, Lola Ester has been baking empanadas and breads for years and finally, they're allowing the public to have a taste of her specialties.

lola ester 1
The delicious bread that I was talking about is Lola Ester's Herb Cream Cheese Pull Apart (Php. 250 for 2 pieces) which took inspiration from the famous Korean Cream Cheese Garlic Bread which I've never came across with in our neighborhood Korean bakery. Anyway, I'm glad that Lola Ester introduced me to it as it's soooo good! Even my twins loved it that I literally had to put on my Mama Bear cap and willingly share this with them (even if I know I just want more more more haha) . It has a generous filling of rich cream cheese and lots of garlic and herbs. As previously mentioned, I feel like she must have brushed the outer crust with butter and sugar as it has a nice sweet note which broke the umay (cloying) factor the garlic cream cheese. Bravo, Lola Ester! I'm definitely getting more.


Monday, August 3, 2020

#FrannyCooks : Ximending Chicken Pops DIY Kit

Allow me to make yet another fearless forecast -- I smell another food trend coming our way and it's in the form of these nice corrugated boxes that's filled with all sorts of ingredients that's packed and carefully sealed. DIY Kits are here and it means allowing all of us to take our cooking/baking skills to the next level! Since we all have to stay home and to keep ourselves safe from the virus, why not recreate some of your restaurant favorites and enjoy these with the family.

I've actually been cooking and baking more since the start of the quarantine and I have to say that I have became more bold and creative in the kitchen. Back then, I'd stick to the usual baked goodies, easy pasta dishes, stir-fries and steamed dishes. For the past weeks, I've learned to make more seafood dishes, cook steak properly, bake a variety of treats and just tonight, I made Galbi Jjim -- a dish that I've been planning to make for months. 

ximending chicken pops

A few weeks ago, I received my first ever DIY Kit -- it's from J who started this new business called Ximending. As the name refers to a famous touristy place in Taiwan, Ximending sells Taiwanese Chicken Pops and instead of selling them cooked and ready to eat, it's sold in a form of a DIY kit (Php. 750) that allows you to cook your own chicken pops where you can enjoy it crisp and freshly cooked in the comforts of your home. I love that each ingredients are cleanly packed and all you have to do is to open it up, arrange them into small bowls and just follow the easy process. 

ximending chicken 1

So what's inside the box? You get 3 main items:
- frozen chicken pops
- Ximending coating
- your own choice of flavored powder