Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Auntie Arnie's Ready-to-Heat Food Pack is here to the Rescue!

Question: Do you have that particular person in your life who has been known to prepare the best meals ever? 

I do and I actually have three! First is my Mom, for me, she makes the best fried rice in the world. So good that I would crave for it regularly when I was living in the Lion City. She also makes really good ma-wan (pork meat balls) that I would ask her to pack me some whenever I visit Manila and yes, I'd bring a container filled with fried meatballs with me every single time. Of course, that also includes her bringing over more meatballs for us to enjoy whenever she and Papa would go and visit me in Singapore. Second, my Kongkong. I guess I've shared how much of a foodie he is that I totally credit my food-loving personality and spirit to him. He is the Masterchef of the family and boy, does he make the best Amoy Fresh Lumpia and Kiam Peng (among many others). I remember how we would always host parties in his house as everyone in his side of the family would always request for him to cook. He's 93 yrs old now and has long retired from the kitchen but to this day, he would take him out and he would unbashfully express his thoughts on every single restaurant that we would visit. Lastly, I also have Paul's Manang. His doting nanny of 35 years. She can cook so well and she would always make sure that we have food to bring home whenever we visit my in laws which is more than twice a week. There are times when Paul and I are just so tired of preparing food for the twins that we would call her and ask if she has food that we can get. My twins love Manang's cooking that only with her food, L would gladly eat rice. Other than that, she would forever be on a no-rice diet.

Now, this-is-why-I-am-Fat. Haha!


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Kidding aside, recently, I was invited to the launch of Auntie Arnie's. It's a new brand serving ready-to-heat food packs and the best part is, it's currently available at La Contessa Deli which is literally a stone's throw away from my home. Talk about having an extended kitchen just a block away. Over lunch, my fellow mommies and I were treated to a wide array for dishes and products.

We started with the cheese and charcuterie board which has Auntie Arnie's Dips and Spreads. I love how she has different flavored butter, my favorite is the Chorizo Butter. I love the pesto sauce too which I can't wait to bring home and try on my next pasta dish.

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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

#FrannyCooks : Pampanga's Best Bacon wrapped Cheezy Chicken

Hi guys! It's been a while since I've shared a recipe here.

My apologies.

My entire family's (except for Little L, please spare her) down with the weirdest viruses since last week so we've been pretty much resting and getting drunks with meds. Anyway, J and I are recovering much quickly and we hope Paul's virus will go away pretty soon too as it's hard to watch the twins without Daddy. *waahh*


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Anyway, let me share with you one of the most recent kid-friendly dishes that Paul and I made for our twins. It's really not easy to have a picky eater but we somehow now have a better idea of what she likes and so we try to bank on that. For instance, L loves chicken. So, we try to be creative with this apart from the usual chicken soup, stir-fry chicken noodles, roast chicken and chicken nuggets, we try to introduce different dishes to them and while there's really no telling if the twins will like it or not, we will just keep on trying.

We recently got a lot of Brickle Bacon from Pampanga's Best and I was so excited that I asked our helper to fry up one pack immediately the same day that I got the package. A few days after, we tried this easy dish not only for our twins but for the entire family too. One thing that I love about Pampanga's Best's Brickle Bacon is how it's not super fatty and salty. Two reasons why I personally am not a huge fan of bacon. This is also why I was brave enough to introduce this to my twins knowing it is safe for them to eat.

Anyway, I'll stop talking now and here's our latest recipe:

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Bacon-wrapped Cheezy Chicken

What you'll need:
1) 1/2 kilo of chicken breast (approx 7-9 pieces)
2) 1/2 box of Quickmelt cheese
3) 1 pack of Pampanga's Best Brickle Bacon
4) salt, pepper and herbs

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Saturday, April 13, 2019

This Momma got Style at Benibana Beauty Hub (Discount Code Inside!)

So I had a lot of firsts last week -- 
-- had my first sponsored event for my brand, HerStyleAsia which was for the Panasonic Manila Fashion Festival 
-- my first fashion show experience and I got to sit at the front row 3 out of 4 days! 
-- my first nights out since I gave birth to my twins
-- my first few sips of alcohol since 2016 (and I'm not gonna lie.. it felt so so so good!)

To many, probably the last event that you'd ever imagine me being present in would be a fashion event. I guess it's because I've been a food blogger way too long and the lifestyle a new mom (or rather a twin mom at that) doesn't really go hand in hand with staying out late and watching fashion shows. However, I really do feel lucky to be able to have this opportunity and I think the happiest thing about it is I am truly loving my new role at work where I get to be really creative and do big things to take my brands to the next level. HerStyleAsia is very new in the country and this is actually our first event where it was "formally" introduced and was made known to the fashion industry. I do hope we have made an impact and will be remembered for many many years to come.

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Anyway, since the event was held at EDSA Shangri-la Hotel and the show was at night, I also had to make sure that I dressed the part. I can't go there wearing my comfort jeans and loose top, can I? I took this opportunity to also experiment with my look in particular, with my hair. So for four days, I visited 3 salons and tried different styles. Among the 4 looks, we (this means my family), unanimously loved the last day style. This was done at Benibana Beauty Hub which came highly recommended by our friends from Flossom Kitchen + Cafe.

My friend J was the one who convinced me to go try the Beach Wave Hair which to me sounded like my everyday look : "wavy hair, slightly messy" but my stylist Ken won't take no for an answer and he quickly got to work as he shampooed, blow dried and prepped my hair.

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Friday, April 12, 2019

New Kid in Town : Presotea in Robinsons Magnolia

A few days ago, I posted something on my Instagram stories. It was a photo of a milktea which I recently tried and sadly wasn't too impressed by it. I shared my experience in 5 short lines and what I didn't expect was a sea of messages directed to me the next day. So basically, this particular milktea brand was said to be one of the best, if not the best, by a popular foodie influencer. With all due respect to that particular foodie influencer, me not liking the drink is not in any way his/her fault. Taste is, after all, very very subjective. Majority of the comments that I got were from fans of the said milk tea brand. Luckily, the comments were very kind and courteous and none of the scary, violent kind. A lot told me to consider trying it again and perhaps it's because I ordered the wrong drink or I must have drank it wrongly. I also got messages from fellow foodies whom I truly respect telling me that they actually agreed with me. That's how it goes, folks. We can never ever unanimously agree when it comes to food. What may be amazingly, mind-blowing, day-dream inducingly good for me may come out so-so for you and vice versa. In order to make the world a kinder place, let us just agree to disagree. Okay?

Okay. 

So where was I? Oh yeah, milk tea. 

It's pretty amazing though that the milk tea craze started about a decade ago and we're still all crazy about it till today. There were definitely more players now which I think is always a good thing. More options, more happiness for the consumers. However, my favorite still remained the same. For me, the original brand has been my benchmark on what a good milk tea should be. Even when I was based in the Lion City, my standards for a good milk tea has remained pretty high and not a lot of brands has made the cut. Now back in Manila, I recently discovered a new brand and this just might be the #2 that I was looking for.

I frequent Robinsons Magnolia as I find the mall to have the perfect environment/vibe for families with little kids in tow. Apart from the fact that it has an amazing changing/breastfeeding room, all our favorite brands are in there, they have a good selection of quality restaurants and the crowd consists of mostly students and families. It's not very crowded especially when we take the twins there during weekdays for their Gymboree play sessions. Earlier this year, I chanced upon a newly opened stall at the 2nd floor (right outside Toys R Us) that sells milk tea. Not that the mall has a lack of milk tea stores as there are already 2 existing and this one being the 3rd to open but sadly, the 1st 2 aren't really my favorites so I was happy to check out this one.

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The name is Presotea and I then learned from fellow food bloggers that it's a brand from Taiwan. On my first visit, I got myself an Iced Genmaicha Tea which was so refreshing and light. Genmaicha is my favorite green tea as I love the roasted rice flavor. A few weeks after that, I got an invite to check the other drinks as well. Yay!

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Paul and I got to Presotea right on time to have our little tea appreciation session. We found out that what makes Presotea different is how they pride themselves in being tea experts. The owners of Presotea actually has a tea plantation in Taiwan thus they grow most of their tea leaves and these are process in-house. Furthermore, they have their own R&D group which does non-stop research in order to create more products that will answer to the needs of the market.

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Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Fiery Night at Mimi & Bros at Bonifacio Global City

There was once a girl named Mimi who was the youngest in the family and while her brothers used to party a lot in their home which actually was one of the popular house party venues back in the day, Mimi missed out on all that as she was way too young to stay up late and party then. So, as a "gift" for her, her brothers created Mimi & Bros which is a venue for Mimi (and her entire family and pretty much all of us) to hang out and to party with good food and booze. 

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Mimi & Bros gives you 9 sauces to choose from
After a long day working in BGC, Paul and I decided to go for an early dinner date. I tell you, I could still count the number of times we've stayed out past 6 pm since we had our twins. Don't get me wrong, I love my twins and being their Mommy is truly a dream come true but I got to admit that I do miss those days when it was just me and Paul and our random, impromptu dates. It was just one of those days when we were craving for real good, deep fried chicken when we remembered that we've been wanting to try Mimi & Bros. It's the brainchild of our friend Chef E and as big fans of his other restaurants, I was pretty sure that the food here will be just as awesome. We've been promising him that we would visit and so that day was meant for our promise to be fulfilled.

Since we got there pretty early, we managed to get a nice table in the air-conditioned area. I know that probably the rest of the crowd wanted to hang out at the al fresco section as they can watch the game or show on the big screen and enjoy the Happy Hour which runs till 8pm. Not for us though. Summer is here and with the humid weather even at night, I was so happy to settle into my seat with the cool air blowing on top of us.

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Chef E and our new friend P told us that they're having an ongoing Fiery Chicken promotion and we were so ready to take the spicy challenge. Can we take the heat? We started with Mimi's Fiery Fried Chicken Sandwich (Php. 315). In between two slices of buttered bread is a chunky piece of deep-fried chicken slathered with its homemade spicy sauce, creamy coleslaw and some tangy pickles. I tried it and I loved it! The spicy level was just right and I think was perfectly buffered by the bread and the coleslaw so the burn wasn't that painful. I can definitely have this again and I certainly would as it was reallly yummy. I love the crunchy fried chicken and how tender the meat was inside.

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Tuesday, April 2, 2019

ADB Crinkles : Best in Town?

I've never had a sweet tooth. When I was growing up, there were only two types of desserts that I love -- Ice Cream and Crinkles. I don't even like cookies that much..well not as much as my sister who can totally beat cookie monster any day for as long as she has a bag of her famous cookies on hand. I also do not crave for cakes or pastries as majority of which I find to be way too sweet for me.

I guess, loving ice cream is a no brainer. It's the best comfort food and you can have it at any given time of the day. After a meal, in between meals, while watching TV or movie, while nursing a heartache and so on.  I also do not have a particular favorite ice cream flavor as I love trying a variety and my choice also depends on my mood.

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So why crinkles? For some reason, I've always correlate crinkles to Christmas -- my favorite time of the year. Perhaps, that's when we would regularly get to receive a box or two of crinkles. I love the kind that's moist and gooey inside and not too crumbly or hard outside. Crinkles are also covered in powdered sugar and the best kind for me are those that can keep the sweetness level to a minimum. I've had my share of those that would make me cringe with too much sweetness or those with sugar frosted on top already. Yikes! No no no!

Then, I heard about the famous ADB Crinkles. Several reviewers would say that it is the Best Chocolate Crinkles in the Country. Just to make it even more enticing to get, purchasing this much talked about crinkles is not easy. As it is made by the baker from the ADB cafeteria, this then means that it is only available to all employees of the Asian Development Bank and as we all know, not everyone can enter this office premise as security is super strict. So your only way is to find a friend, relative, neighbor, friend of a friend who works at ADB in order to try their crinkles. I never thought I'd have a chance since I do not know anyone who works at ADB...

...then I met R and I..my ADB crinkles angels.

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Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Hot Dish Home Delivery : Real Food for Every Celebrations

Earlier this month, we celebrated the birthday of one of our househelps, B. My twins would point to her as "Yaya B" which makes her very happy. She's been with us even before I gave birth to my twins and in this day and age where long-lasting househelps are a rarity, she's definitely winning the loyalty award so to speak.

I do value birthdays and it has been a tradition for us to celebrate the birthdays of everyone in the house thus including our loyal helpers and even Kuya M, my Mom's driver of close to a decade. Nothing grand but rather we would prepare a simple but meaningful meal for them. After all, they have made the sacrifice to be away from their own families to be able to stay and to work for us so in return, we make it a point to make them feel like they're part of the family. I've been away from my own family to work abroad for 4 years and I know how it feels when it's your birthday and you're not with your loved ones. I am very lucky that Paul has always been there with me but loneliness and homesickness could still be strongly felt. What more our helpers who has no one but us around them?

So, a day before B's birthday, I told her that dinner will be on me. I made a quick arrangement for Hot Dish to deliver some of their best selling items including ones that I know B would love. Ordering was a breeze and one reason why I was so excited to try Hot Dish is because I've been seeing posts and reviews from fellow foodie and mommy friends whose taste I trust.

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First on my list was the Pancit Sisig (Php. 380 / 750 / 960) which apparently is their best-selling item. I have to admit that I had second thought on ordering this as you all know that my Capampangan husband can be very very picky towards his favorite sisig so I was so scared that this might not make the cut. Well, I'm happy that I just took the leap of faith and what do you know?! Paul couldn't stop raving about the Pancit Sisig! To those who are wondering what sisig is, it's a native Capampangan dish which is normally served on a sizzling plate. It consists of chopped pig's ears and for some, the addition of pork liver too which we do not like. Hot Dish's version seems to be one with chopped pork belly thus making it so tasty and filling.

In addition to that, the noodles were al dente and seasoned very well, It wasn't overly salty or too dry which is a common problem of mediocre pancit dishes out there. I love how the sisig stayed crunchy and it surprisingly went very well with the pancit. Indeed, this is a meal on it's own but with Hot Dish's impressive menu line-up, I couldn't just stop at that.

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Next, I ordered my personal favorite -- Lumpia Shanghai (Php. 180 / 350 / 490). This has been one of my favorite Filipino food item since I was a kid. Thus, I really make it a point to order Lumpia Shanghai whenever possible. It's actually deep-fried spring rolls filled with veggies and pork. I'm happy to share the Hot Dish's version was very good. Despite the fact that it was delivered an hour early, the spring rolls remained crunchy and the filling was very good.

Even my Mommy was impressed and told us that this is very comparable to the one from M's which I think means a lot as M has been her favorite go-to place for the best Lumpia Shanghai in the metro. *clap clap clap*

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