PLDT hey U Android App-A new way for families to communicate

We live in a day and age where our kids have tablets instead of textbooks, homework is being posted on the school website, and our kids tweet us when they need to be picked up from school. Facebook has us updating people on what we are doing, and how we feel about it. We call family via video conferencing and send messages with emoji, stickers, and moving characters to get our point across when we are chatting with someone. Not to mention that with the help of apps for our phones the world has suddenly gotten smaller because we can talk to our family near and far in real time messaging.

 

PLDT has made it even easier for parents and kids to communicate with their new hey Ü app. For a minimal fee of P100 charged monthly to your PLDT landline, you can download the app on your android smart phones and tablets, enabling you to text, send stickers, make voice calls and even video calls to other hey Ü users for absolutely free.

How does it work?

Photo Credit: Screen shot taken from PLDT website.

Photo Credit: Screen shot taken from PLDT website.

1) Register.

2) Download the app to your Android device.

3) Enter the username and password generated by PLDT upon your registration.

4) Start using your app!

This app was designed for PLDT customers with added savings in mind. Not only can you text message, send stickers, have private, group, and secret conversations, but you can also call any PLDT LANDLINE and hey Ü subscribers for FREE and for an unlimited number of times! 

There is also an opportunity to connect with family and friends near and far with IDD calls to the U.S., Canada, and Hawaii for as low as P1.50/minute. Check out some of the rates below.

Photo Credit: Screen Shot taken from PLDT website. For more rates click here.

Photo Credit: Screen Shot taken from PLDT website. For more rates click here.

Not everyone in the family has the same needs for their devices but everyone can access what it is that they do need. Dads can use the video call feature when he is working late and wants to check in on the family. Mommas like me, can take advantage of the low IDD rates to catch up with family and friends abroad, while the kids can chat with their friends, use stickers to have fun conversations, and let mom know when they need to be picked up from an after school activity.

With the NEW features on the recently launched app, PLDT provides yet another way to bring the family together by entering to win for a chance to take home a BRAND NEW SAMSUNG GALAXY S5!

It’s really simple and all you have to do is follow the steps listed here for your free chance to win a either a Samsung Galaxy S5, a Bluetooth Speaker, or a gift certificate, if you are a landline PLDT hey Ü subscriber.

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By following the instructions to enroll in the new offer and downloading the app, you are already eligible to enter for a chance to win ONE of these three prizes.

Android users can definitely make use of this new offer from PLDT while having fun with the whole family. I only imagine this app making it easier to communicate with the kids as well as extended family and friends. 

Thanks PLDT! Apps like these are what makes life easier for Mommas like me ;-)  

Rainy Day Cookie Swap

It’s really rainy today. I sometimes pretend that rainy season marks the beginning of what I was used to as my winter, in New York. The rainy days are always welcomed here in Manila. But the terrible STORMY days always leave me feeling very prayerful and thankful that my children are safe. Many people do not

Rainy Day Cookie Swaps have to have Rainy Day themed Recipe Cards. Finding an image on the net, I asked my printer to create something that would work in a 4X6 size for our recipes.

Rainy Day Cookie Swaps have to have Rainy Day themed Recipe Cards. Finding an image on the net, I asked my printer to create something that would work in a 4X6 size for our recipes.

Winter in New York means a hiatus from outdoor sports, stews in the crockpots, fresh baked breads and big pots of chili. It means stoking the fire in what used to be my dining room, and planning big family dinners for holidays where there are multiple generations sitting at the table together.

I chose to make a Martha Stewart cookie this year. I made an adjustment of using Black Cocoa instead of Hersheys which is what the recipe called for.

I chose to make a Martha Stewart cookie this year. I made an adjustment of using Black Cocoa instead of Hershey’s which is what the recipe called for. The next time I make them I will stick to the Hershey’s.

Winter also means more quiet time.  Watching the first snowfall, hot cocoa with the kids, and preparing for Christmas which is just around the corner. But in New York, Christmas does not come before Halloween or Thanksgiving…and I love both of these holidays equally.

I set a simple table without flowers and kept the cookies as our centerpiece while we had a simple lunch.

I set a simple table without flowers and kept the cookies as our centerpiece while we had a simple lunch.

Rainy Season here, kinda plays out the same way for me here in Manila. We slow down a bit more, cuddle on the sofa, and take the crock pot out of storage. We serve up some more soups and fresh baked breads and Gia and I also like to bake a lot more. Like for example, on a day like today where school is cancelled we will try and bake some cookies or cupcakes for the lunchbox desserts for the week.

Last month, I was feeling a little bit down. Current events and news had another plane missing, and people were (and still are) being persecuted for their religion. I was overwhelmed with so much hurt that I saw, and I felt like I needed a “pick me up.” Cookies make everyone happy, and with my Cookie Swap group we have often talked about having a Cookie Swap outside of the holiday rush. So I put it to the group if anyone could make it for a rainy season cookie swap and we got a few takers.

I took the time to dig out all my recipe cards. Its fun to see how the cookie swap recipes anand

I took the time to dig out all my recipe cards. Its fun to see how the cookie swap recipes (and cards) have evolved.

We had a lovely lunch, chatted over the cookies, put aside some cookies for some special people, and left each other with the promise of the Holiday Cookie Swap just around the corner. It was a lovely afternoon, filled with positive people, wholesome energy, and delicious cookies. 

Martha Stewart Checkerboard Cookies

Martha Stewart Checkerboard Cookies

Butter Pecan Cookies by Anna Constantino

Butter Pecan Cookies by Anna Constantino

Thunder Cookies by Lolet Dela Cruz

Thunder Cookies by Lolet Dela Cruz

Melting Moments by Vangie Jaehn

Melting Moments by Vangie Jaehn

And the WINNER of the Rainy Day Cookie Swap:  Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies

And the WINNER of the Rainy Day Cookie Swap: Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies

One thing we did a little differently this year, was prepare extra cookies for The Haven. I think this is something we may incorporate into future Cookie Swaps as well.

One thing we did a little differently this year, was prepare extra cookies for The Haven. I think this is something we may incorporate into future Cookie Swaps as well.

Thank you ladies for coming out and sharing your cookie loot and your energy. I would love some of that energy today! 

 

Ble Real Greek Food in BF

And we did it again!

My ladies who lunch (aka my pot luck group) found another restaurant that I am simply in love with! I LOVE Greek food, so Ble is an affordable answer to my Greek cravings!

Ble is a simple restaurant that I would like to visit again.  Photo Credit: Ble Facebook Page

Ble is a simple restaurant that I would like to visit again. Photo Credit: Ble Facebook Page

Ble is located on Aguirre Avenue in BF Homes. It’s really close to the house and and easy to meet up at when I’m meeting the ladies for lunch. I can leave my house and be at the restaurant in less than 15 minutes if there isn’t any traffic. That leaves for more chikahan time with the girls!

Greek Salad (P190)

We can't have Greek food without a Greek Salad!

We can’t have Greek food without a Greek Salad!

When my friends described the place to me they said not to wear anything “fancy” because we will smell like we were the ones doing the cooking. They really don’t mind it though, because they said that it’s super yummy and super affordable. (They are right on point with both of those statements.)

Dip Platter (P300)

I love all kinds of dip. This dip platter has a little bit of everything. Hummus, Babaganursh, Tzatziki, and Olives, served with large pita.

I love all kinds of dip. This dip platter has a little bit of everything. Hummus, Babaganursh, Tzatziki, and Olives, served with large pita.

The restaurant is so tiny, that we took the whole main table for ourselves because we were four ladies. The table could fit six comfortably so I know I could take the family here if I just made reservations ahead of time. 

Moussaka (P150)

Moussaka is probably one of my favorites because it's so similar to Eggplant Parmesan. Owner Yanis has a different take on this dish by layering potato, eggplant, wagyu beef, tomato sauce and a thick later of bechamel.

Moussaka is probably one of my favorites because it’s so similar to Eggplant Parmesan. Owner Yiannis has a different take on this dish by layering potato, eggplant, wagyu beef, tomato sauce and a thick later of bechamel.

The owner Yiannis, is super hands on. (As in super…) He was making the falafel while we were chatting the afternoon away…

Strawberry Yogurt Shake (P150) Chicken Souvlaki (P150)

Greek Strawberry Yogurt Shakes in the background with my Chicken Souvlaki front and center. This was so delicious. I didn't put my Souvlaki down until I was done with it. Full of different layers of flavor and sauces all complimenting the marinated chicken breast.

Greek Strawberry Yogurt Shakes in the background with my Chicken Souvlaki front and center. This was so delicious. I didn’t put my Souvlaki down until I was done with it. Full of different layers of flavor and sauces all complimenting the marinated chicken breast.

With all of this food…we were totally stuffed. But we never stuff ourselves so much that we don’t have room for dessert! This is what I love about this group of ladies :-) We like to eat, and luckily BF Homes has a ton of different restaurants to lunch and catch up.

Did someone say Baklava?

Baklava (P150)

Owner Ayse focuses on the desserts and sweets. She also takes orders for her baked treats during the holidays.

Owner Ayse focuses on the desserts and sweets. She also takes orders for her baked treats during the holidays.

Don’t judge. We ordered three orders of these bad boys. YES. We did. And some take home too. And I don’t regret any of it. It was delicious. I was also a little excited to learn that they cater :-) Sometimes, it’s easier to just order…and when the food is this good you know your guests will be happy!

The Greek Coffee was already sweetened. If I was to order this again, I would order it without the sweetener because the Baklava was enough sweetness for me!

The Greek Coffee was already sweetened. If I was to order this again, I would order it without the sweetener because the Baklava was enough sweetness for me! I was surprised to taste different spices mixed in with the coffee. I wasn’t quite sure if it was cinnamon or even nutmeg…I’ll ask Yiannis next time I go back for a visit.

Would I visit this place again? Absolutely. I will bring the kids too. We will call and make reservations (I suggest you do the same if you want to eat inside with the air conditioning at the big table) and we will all enjoy it. My boys were already asking why I didn’t take them there because they saw me editing my pictures…

Ok ladies...where are we eating next?

Ok ladies…where are we eating next?

Ble Real Greek Food 

188 Aguirre Avenue

BF Homes, Paranaque

Sunday through Thursday 10am-12mn 

Friday and Saturday 10am-2am

0917 833 9271

for email inquiries:  yiannistr@gmail.com

Yabu, Our Favorite Restaurant

Another blogger friend just asked me what keeps me coming back to a favorite restaurant for our family. I thought about that question for a while before I answered.

 

One of our favorite places to eat with family and friends is YABU! WE LOVE TO GET YABUsog!!!

One of our favorite places to eat with family and friends is YABU! WE LOVE TO GET #YABUsog!!!

Of course it’s the food. But there are other reasons why we will visit a restaurant time and time again. It’s like it has to have the whole package…and it has to be consistent. I thought about the reasons why we visit YABU again and again and wanted to share them with you.

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THE FOOD

The food is always dependable at Yabu. We know when we visit, that we will always have the very best Katsu in the country.

In fact one of the main reasons you must try Yabu is for the Kurobuta. What is Kurobuta, you ask? Well, Kurobuta pork is only the most flavorful and fork tender pork you will know and enjoy. It’s one of those things that once you try, you will want to come back for. Again and Again.

Aside from the most tender tasty pork you will find in Katsu, we go back to Yabu because of their constant recipe development. There are always new additions to the menu popping up every so often. Recently, they even added mixed drinks to their menu in the Greenbelt location! I can’t wait to try them out with my number one guy!

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APPETIZERS! Clockwise starting at the top left: Octopus Salad, Cold Spinach Salad, Edamame, Potato Salad, Seaweed Salad, and my favorite, Chicken Salad.

For those of you who haven’t yet had the pleasure of dining in Yabu, you should. Aside from the food being really delicious, you have the opportunity to an all you can eat type of experience without the hassle of standing up for a buffet. 

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One of the usual suspects that makes it to our table: Oyster Set for Nino

Here’s why.

Your rice is refillable. Your soup is refillable. Your salad is refillable. Your pickles are refillable. AND YES. Your fruit is refillable.  Bet you didn’t know that one.

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The Oroshi Katsu set is served with slice of Ruby Red Grapefruit. I love this take of the radish atop the crispy tender pork.

SERVICE

One thing you know when you step into those sliding doors here in ATC, is that you will have service with a smile. The servers are attentive, well trained, and they know exactly when you are ready for your REFILLS!!!

 

AMBIANCE

Not sure if you have taken notice of the trademark back wall in all of the Yabu restos. Those are saki cups! The lighting gives all Yabu outlets a homey feel, and if you request to sit in a booth, you can take your time and pretend that there is NO ONE in the restaurant except you and your date (because it’s always full) and relax while you enjoyed your fried pork. 

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If Nino’s go to meal is the Oyster Set, mine is Seafood Set Two. With Salmon, Oyster, Ebi, and Creamy Crab this leaves me super YABUsog!

Easy to PARK

Because many of the Yabu outlets are found in popular malls that are easy to get to, that means it’s easy to park. AND for those of you that know my hubby…he hates it when it’s hard to park.

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Thank you Yabu for hosting us in your ATC branch! It made driving (and parking) so much easier for my fellow Alabangers! Patty! Joei, Jane, and I missed you, but we are so glad Tristan is all better now!

FAMILY FRIENDLY

Gellibean is welcome. They have high chairs, a kiddie menu, and their staff is also friendly to the kiddos. If you eat out with the kids often, then they should also be used to sitting at a table without walking around the restaurant and disturbing the other guests! I never want MY kid to be the one that is that annoying kid who won’t let you eat your dinner in peace. 

Yes. Families are welcome. Most of the time if you take a gander around the resto you will see that many of the tables are all families.

Yes. Families are welcome. Most of the time if you take a gander around the resto you will see that many of the tables are all families. This picture was taken on Mother’s Day in 2013 in the SM Southmall branch.

Yabu has a serious hustle and bustle going on in the restaurant because it’s always so full. I don’t worry that Gelli will disturb the super quiet atmosphere or ambiance in the place because it’s really a place meant to eat in with the whole gang. You can have a conversation without whispering (Gelli doesn’t know how to whisper yet.) and you can even celebrate your birthday there!

BIRTHDAYS!!!

Did you know that if you sign up with the restaurant and provide them your email you will have BIRTHDAY Kastu for free? YESSSS! If you fill out the card (I’m sure you’ll ask for that card the next time you are there.) and provide your email address and other important information, they will send you a voucher to your virtual inbox for a birthday Katsu meal just in time for your special day. Bring the printed out voucher in and CELEBRATE!!! 

Gellibean's Birthday 2014. Gelli sat in her high chair and ate like a big girl.

Gellibean’s Birthday 2014. Gelli sat in her high chair and ate like a big girl.

So Jenny…you asked me a while back…”What keeps you coming back to your favorite restaurant?” THIS. ALL of these things keep me coming back to my favorite restaurant…all the time…

Visit Yabu in any of their branches and surely you will receive the same stellar treatment that we receive every time we visit ATC. Check out their Greenbelt branch and try their new mixed drinks curated by Erwan Heusaff.

Yabu on:

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

#ShareACoke Philippines

You’ve seen them all over…in the grocery stores and out at your favorite restaurants. There are these catchy little nicknames printed on the cans and bottles of your favorite soft drink. 

Truth: If I’m going to indulge in any kind of soft drink, it is COKE REGULAR with LOTS of ice. Bring it on! Especially on a super hot day with the right meal? I will try and trick myself into halving a can or a bottle with Nino, but in the end we end up ordering another can when it really hits the spot. 

For a long while I was wondering where we can get our own personalized bottles…are you wondering too?

LOOK NO FURTHER.

My friend Trixie just let me know that they will be having a #ShareACoke Mall Tour at two more locations this weekend! You can finally have your own bottle too!

  

Curious how it works?  

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Click on the picture to be brought to the #ShareACoke Facebook Page for the location and mechanics.

 
Since the caravan will be on Bonifacio High Street the mechanics for the Malls would apply. You can check out the full mechanics here.

 

MALLS

  • BUY: Any Coke Regular, Coke Zero, Coke Light, Sprite, Sprite Zero, Royal Tru-Orange, Sarsi and Sarsi Light 330ml, 500ml, 1liter, 1.5liters and 2liters from participating Malls worth PhP 150.00 single receipt per consumer
  • GO: To the redemption area located beside the selling area or in the supermarket within the mall
  • CHECK: Have your receipt checked by Coke Marshalls
  • GET: Share a Coke Stubs from the Coke Marshalls
  • PROCEED: To Coke vending machine for personalized Coke
  • TYPE: Your name (8 letters) in the touch screen of the Coke vending machine
  • GET: Your personalized Coke Bottle
  • QTY/PERSON: Only four (4) Coke Personalized Bottles are allowed per person, per receipt, per day
  • WHERE TO REDEEM: Schedule for printing of personalized Share a Coke bottles is from 10 A.M. to 6 P.M. Valid stubs may be claimed and personalized bottles may be redeemed only on the date and at the Share a Coke activation venue where the receipt was issued.

And it’s that simple! Go! Get your own :-)

Gelli even has one for her Mama. Mom-hurry up and come back to Manila! Gelli has something for you!

Gelli even has one for her Mama. Mom-hurry up and come back to Manila! Gelli has something for you!

For more information you can visit the Facebook page by clicking here, or the learn more about the app by clicking here

DIY Sesame Street Birthday Party

I love small, detailed, DIY birthday parties. 

For me, the fun is not just in the executing, but also in the planning.

Gelli has expressed a serious fondness for her buddy Elmo recently, so this birthday despite the popularity of Princess Sofia and Doc McStuffins, we opted for a classic DIY Sesame Street Birthday Party for her celebration in school.

I loved planning this simple celebration and putting it together for Gelli and her classmates.

I loved planning this simple celebration and putting it together for Gelli and her classmates. Thanks Tita Vangie for my birthday outfit! It’s perfect for the theme of my party!

I also opted for this themed celebration because I just LOVE IT SO. Gia’s first birthday party theme was Sesame Street themed and I had tons of fun planning for that one too! This also meant I got to use my Sesame Street chocolate molds again after all these years. I have kept them all this time with the hope that I would be able to put them to good use again.

I made these chocolate lollipops using the molds I kept from Gia's first birthday, and a local colored chocolate called Mayfair.

I made these chocolate lollipops using the molds I kept from Gia’s first birthday, and a local colored chocolate called Mayfair.

And I’m so glad that I did.

I love Pinterest for sourcing ideas and putting together inspiration boards. I found an invitation that I liked, which was simple enough, that Gelli would give her classmates (and their mommies) an idea that Gelli would be celebrating in school.

 

I emailed the design of the invitation to my local print shop and was able to have the invites printed for only P300.

The Magnolia Cookbook is my go to cookbook for our favorite cakes and icings.

The Magnolia Cookbook is my go to cookbook for our favorite cakes and icings. I chose a simple Vanilla cake recipe with Dark Chocolate Buttercream Icing.

I also found these cupcake toppers which would be perfect for the Magnolia Vanilla Cupcakes that I would make for the little ones as a treat to take home. The toppers are a steal at P60 for 6 pcs. Since Gelli only has 5 classmates on a full day, we were able to just buy two packs of these so that even the teachers would receive a cupcake to take home as well.

Angel had the perfect ribbon for me to put together a set of clips for each girl in Gelli's class.

Angel had the perfect ribbons and accessories for me to put together a set of clips for each girl in Gelli’s class.

While thinking of a give away for the little girls, I remembered my friend Angel over at Keishables had Sesame Street Ribbon. I remembered this, because I wanted to make these ribbons for Gelli BEFORE! I just never got around to ordering the supplies from her. After I contacted her we were able to meet up in ATC a day or two after so I could get cracking on the ribbons for the girls. Angel said she could make necklaces for the boys with an Elmo face, so that helped me square their favors away and I didn’t have to worry about it anymore.

 

The two boys in Gelli's class received a necklace with Elmo on a bottle cap. Angel made these for me to make my life easier.

The two boys in Gelli’s class received a necklace with Elmo on a bottle cap. Angel made these for me to make my life easier. I topped each cello bag with simple cardstock and a Sesame Street character.

My friends over at The Bento Mommas have been a source for inspiration for me for some time now. Even before we were friends, I would stalk their IG feed for ideas on how to creatively pack a nutritious lunch for my kiddos. (This was before Gelli was even in preschool!) 

I packed a bento of everything I knew the kids could eat with their hands. Chicken Fingers, melon, whole wheat sammies with Goober Peanut Butter and Chocolate and a Baby Bel Cheese disc.

I packed a bento of everything I knew the kids could eat with their hands. Chicken Fingers, melon, whole wheat sammies with Goober Peanut Butter and Chocolate and a Baby Bel Cheese disc.

Well, the newest and hottest thing for children’s party is to pack these bentos for the guests. It leaves very little to waste (I hate the waste that goes on when the nanny’s take too much food for the kids.) Because I knew I only had to pack 6 bentos, I sought the advice of my friend Kaye and she encouraged me to give it a try. She even lent me some of her personal stash of sandwich cutters if I needed to use them.

I included some silicon cups in the boxes and some reusable picks as well. All the mommas can reuse them in the lunch boxes if they would like. All they have to to do is make sure to wash after each use.

I also baked small sugar cookies with 3 little m&m's. I sealed these in little plastic pouches because I didn't want it to get extra soggy if packed with all the food.

I also baked small sugar cookies with 3 little m&m’s. I sealed these in little plastic pouches because I didn’t want the cookies to get soggy if I packed it with all the food.

Teacher Boom also let me know that I could plan for a game or an activity for the kids to do together since I would have a little more than an hour to celebrate for Gelli’s party. I thought it would be a great idea to decorate some cookies with the kids. And since our theme was Sesame Street, I knew I could use cookie cutters for each of the kids’ first initials in their name. This would also reinforce what Teacher has been teaching them on a daily basis.

Each kit had a different set of sprinkles and three different types of icing.

Each kit had a different set of sprinkles and three different types of icing.

I was so happy that Gia and I finally figured out how to package the icing for these kits so that it was the perfect size for little hands. It also made it easier for us that I have this machine that seals these little cellophane and plastic bags with little effort.

Labeling each of the kits was easy with a magic marker and some Sesame Street tags.

Labeling each of the kits was easy with a magic marker and some Sesame Street tags.

While I was planning for the party, I saw that Gourdo’s had some scrapbooking items on sale in ATC. I snatched up a pack of these embellishments knowing that I could somehow put them to use for her party. In hindsight, I should have put them on each of the bento boxes as well, because the kids couldn’t finish all the food I prepared for them.

I also used the scrapbooking embellishments on the envelopes of the invitations.

I also used the scrapbooking embellishments on the envelopes of the invitations. They just gave the simple envelope  a little something special.

This celebration was an action packed hour filled with fun things for the kids to do, nutritious snacks for the kids to eat, and games that were facilitated by Teacher Boom. There were a few moments that I was very emotional…but emotional in a good way. I know that Gelli will meet challenges as she attends school, makes friends, and tries to find her way in this world. This much I know to be true. But because I’m her Momma, I also know that it is my job to try and help her in anyway I can to be all that she is supposed to be.

And on her birthday….She is supposed to be happy…She is supposed to be very happy…

Moments like these are what I'm grateful for.

Moments like these are what I’m grateful for.

 

Swiss Deli Restaurant in BF

There are always lots of new restaurants to try out in our area. The thing is, whenever I hear of a new place from my friends who live close by, I have to make sure that we try out it out right away because you never know how long the restaurant will be around.

I heard of Swiss Deli from my friends Vangie, Ivy, and Reng so I was curious. I trust these friends when it comes to restaurant recommendations because we have the same taste and standards when it comes to dining out. These are also my friends who cook and bake really well too. 

Actually, this is the same group of ladies that likes to get together for pot lucks. We like to plan a menu, bring the kids together, and then put together a synchronised meal. One of our best meals to date is our Greek themed meal. That pot luck gathering was so good, that I think we might try and replicate it again :-)

Last week, Ivy asked us to go for lunch and it was just what I needed as a break from all the work that I have been trying to catch up with. You know when you feel like you are constantly chasing the clock with projects to finish, deadlines to meet, and events to attend? Lots of my deadlines are self imposed (although some are not) and since I’ve been so overwhelmed a lunch with the ladies (at a new place) was exactly what I needed. 

Fondue a mx of Swiss Appenzeller, Emmenthal, and Gruyere Cheese, served with bread (P600)

Of course, we started with FONDUE!

Of course, we started with FONDUE!

OH MY GOSH. The FONDUE!!! I know I was not being polite when we were eating this delicious melted pot of cheesy goodness. We opted to order without the liquor, and we didn’t miss it. It was so good, that even if by the end of the meal it was cooler and a little stringy, we were all still picking at it, to clean the bowl  “nice and good.” 

Mediterranean Pasta Salad Served with Tuna Chunks and Italian Dressing (P165) 

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Mediterranean Salad

These are my friends who like salad! (I do have friends who don’t eat any veggies.) Hooray for friends who like cheese and greens! Can you tell how happy my tummy was when this second dish came to the table?

Oh-one thing I really like to do when I’m out with these ladies who lunch is follow their lead. Since I have never been to this restaurant before, I asked them to just order what they would normally order and I guess they have eaten here often enough that they already know the best dishes for four ladies to split and pick at. 

Next came the Smoked Salmon.

Smoked Salmon was served with Bread (P310)

Smoked Salmon with the usual garnish

Smoked Salmon 

It’s weird. I like smoked salmon, I like grilled salmon, but I don’t like salmon sushi. (unless it’s torched and on top of toshi but you should look for that post on Sushi Ninja later.)

Assorted Cheese Platter with Air Dried Meat (P300)

Meat and Cheese Platter

Meat and Cheese Platter

We like to pick. We sit around. Catch up on each other’s lives…and pick…and pick some more…and then before we know it, it’s time to pick up the kids from school.

Chicken Zurich Style (P210)

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Chicken Zurich Style reminded me of a dish I eat at Palms Country Club. Both these dishes have lots of mushrooms and creamy sauce. However, Chef Hans makes Zurcher with pork tenderloin.

I enjoyed that this dish was done with chicken breast. It’s a healthier version that doesn’t sacrifice the flavor. 

We were much too full to order the chocolate fondue-although I have to admit I gave it a thought. So, instead we opted for two desserts that we would all split. 

Apple Strudel with Ice Cream (P120)

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Apple Strudel

 The Apple Strudel would have been perfect with coffee, since it had ice cream. If only, I didn’t already have my limit of two cups earlier in the day, I would have had another.

Caramel Cake (P120)

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Caramel Cake

This Caramel Cake was delicious. It was chewy and moist. It had a cool caramel cream sauce that added another level of flavor and if that wasn’t enough it had fresh whipped cream and pistachios and walnuts resting atop the pillowy clouds of cream. My friends forgave me for taking more than my 1/4 of a share of this one…it was just so yummy. It was yummy in the way that corner brownies are yummier than the ones in the center. You know what I mean?

We were lucky enough to be dining during a time when owner Jeffry Lua was there with his Dad. As we were the last table to leave at the tail end of the lunch service, we chatted him up a bit. I was surprised to see that he also sells cheeses and other imported goods that often make it to the table in my home. There is a whole cooler full of sausages, sliced cold cuts, and even steaks.

It was so nice chatting with owner Jeff. We could see that he is really hands on with the restaurant.

It was so nice chatting with owner Jeff. We could see that he is really hands on with the restaurant.

We also learned that this particular branch of Swiss Deli is not the first! In fact Swiss Deli first opened in Davao. Thanks for bringing it here, Jeff…I love that it’s right around the corner from my place!

Swiss Deli Restaurant

321 Aguirre Avenue

BF Homes, Paranaque City

Phone: 
02 9850017 
02 9850028
0908 8194880
0908 8984893

 

 

 

Orange Whisk

Orange Whisk is not an easy to find restaurant.

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In fact, if my friend Chef Anna of Pink Wasabi, was not such a big fan herself in posting some of the dishes and desserts that Chefs Isiah and Korinne put together on a daily basis, I might never have heard of the place because it’s like a hidden gem in the Better Living Subdivision.

The main dining room is simple and comfortable. You can see the chalkboard menu which changes virtually every day based on what Chef I prepares.

The main dining room is simple and comfortable. You can see the chalkboard menu which changes virtually every day based on what Chef I prepares.

Whenever Chef Anna would post her pics of the dishes and desserts that she was enjoying at Orange Whisk, I couldn’t help but wonder where this place was! I wanted to go and check it out for myself!

 

Recently, I was able to enjoy a lunch that all three Chefs collaborated on. I was able to enjoy this meal with my friends Patty and Joei. This lunch was just a little different than the ordinary Pinoy fare from your neighborhood restaurant. The Orange Whisk team was just coming off some Gold and Bronze medals from The Philippine Culinary Cup, so they were hot to serve us some of their winning dishes. We not only got to try the winning dishes of this year’s competition, we were also able to try quite a few of the previous winning dishes of Chef Isiah.

Isol salad with Hearts of Palm and Cucumber tossed in a Key Lime and Japanese Mayo dressing with Cilantro

Isol salad with Hearts of Palm and Cucumber tossed in a Key Lime and Japanese Mayo dressing with Cilantro

Many of you who are repeat visitors here to the blog know that I’m not always as adventurous as Nino would like me to be, in trying new foods. His palate is a little more educated than mine in the sense that I have issues with certain textures. It is exactly for this reason that I have never tried Isol. (Isol=Chicken Butt. YES. Chicken Butt.) 

Even when Chef Isiah was explaining the dishes to us, I was having second thoughts and wondering how I was going to get out of eating ISOL. Good thing it was crispy fried! I was able to try more than one piece ;-) AND I really enjoyed the hearts of palm salad that it was served with. I think my issues would surface if it was gelatinous…I’m not sure I like anything that is gelatinous…except maybe Jell-O. (and no, I don’t want to know what’s in Jell-O, so please don’t tell me.)

Aubergines in Char Smoked Coconut Cream Sauce

Aubergines in Char Smoked Coconut Cream Sauce

Pan grilled eggplant gave this dish the perfect finish for me. I LOVE eggplant. This was eggplant done right. I could have eaten the entire plate and called it a meal. The creamy smoky coconut cream sauce balanced the earthy grilled eggplant steaks. Done.

 

Steamed King Fish in a Crispy Mashed Soy Bean Sauce

Steamed King Fish in a Crispy Mashed Soy Bean Sauce

 Next came the King Fish. I’m getting better at removing the edible parts of a whole fish, but I have yet to perfect it. Hopefully, I can master that soon. This topping on the fish was delish…I just didn’t care for all the little bones. I know it would change this dish drastically if it were served with a fillet instead of a whole fish…

Grilled Mustard Tuna Loin in a Bacon Saffron Cream Sauce

Grilled Mustard Tuna Loin in a Bacon Saffron Cream Sauce

 One thing that Nino noticed was that all the dishes had a dramatically different sauce. Then when I started thinking about it, I realized that that’s probably why I liked everything so much. I like different sauces and I like to change things up. So all the very different sauces suit me. 

Wagyu Saikoro Steak in a Blue Ginger Sauce

Wagyu Saikoro Steak in a Blue Ginger Sauce

 Usually, when it comes to the really expensive cuts of meat all you have to do is salt and pepper them. This Wagyu steak melted in my mouth…it was like cutting butter, so soft, so easy to eat, and then it had this sweet soy based sauce. The sauce wasn’t heavy at all, which was good because when you’re eating Wagyu, you want to taste the steak!

Braised Butabara Steak in Blue Cheese Tomato Red Wine Sauce

Braised Butabara Steak in Blue Cheese Tomato Red Wine Sauce

This was another dish with a very interesting sauce! 

This Dessert Sampler was so good I wish I could have had two plates. Clockwise: Black Sesame Panna Cotta with Strawberries, Chewy Choco Walut Bar, White Chocolate Spoon with Dark Chocolate Mousse, Reggies Cheese Kashi Maki from Pink Wasabi, and Sticky Date Pudding

This Dessert Sampler was so good I wish I could have had two plates. Clockwise: Black Sesame Panna Cotta with Strawberries, Chewy Choco Walut Bar, White Chocolate Spoon with Dark Chocolate Mousse, Reggies Cheese Kashi Maki from Pink Wasabi, and Sticky Date Pudding

 You know there is always room for dessert. Sometimes even more than one.

My favorite?

THIS.

THIS. BLACK. SESAME. PANNA. COTTA.

But simply because I can’t choose ONE dessert?

It’s this one too:

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Reggies Cheese Kashi Maki from Pink Wasabi was the perfect combination of sweet and salty, crumbly and creamy. I don’t know how Parmigiano Reggiano works with chocolate…BUT IT DOES.

Thank you for having us Chefs!  Pictured L-R:  Timmy, Joei, Patty, Tristan, Bong, Chef Korrine, Chef Isiah, and myself.

Thank you for having us Chefs!
Pictured L-R: Timmy, Joei, Patty, Tristan, Bong, Chef Korrine, Chef Isiah, and myself.

Orange Whisk is now serving Kashi Maki from Pink Wasabi

Orange Whisk

35 Michael Rua St.,

Betterliving Subdivision 

1711 Parañaque

02-501-6454

Mon11am – 11pm
Wed – Sun11am – 11pm

 

 

Namaste Best Buddies

 

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Best Buddies International is an organization which fosters inclusion and acceptance for individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities through friendship. With eight different programs that begin when children are in middle school and continue all the way through adulthood with job placement, and the chance to later become ambassadors and promoters.

There are so many wonderful things happening for Best Buddies Manila.  In fact, Best Buddies Manila has kicked off the start to the school year with some exciting prospects! Aside wrapping up our second group activity for our Peer Buddies, we have some new developments with some local schools.

We are so excited that DLSZ will kick off their SAFE program with the "End the R Word" Campaign. Pictured here are the Guidance Counselors who will be spearheading the soon to be Best Buddies Special Club for the 2014/2015 school year.

 Pictured here are the Guidance Counselors who will be spearheading the soon to be Best Buddies Special Club for the 2014/2015 school year.

We are so excited that DLSZ has asked Best Buddies to kick off their SAFE program with the “End the R Word” Campaign. In addition to DLSZ, we are also speaking with La Salle College of San Benilde, and Xavier to being chapters and clubs into their schools as well! We are receiving so much positive feedback from these schools that it gives us all great hope in pairing partner schools who have a SPED program so we can start budding friendships on their way to facilitating inclusion.

My friends Anj, Neva, Dan, and April are the people who make the magic happen with Best Buddies. We all have a personal interest in supporting this organization here in Manila and it’s because of our loved ones that we know and understand that being involved in this organization is worthwhile.

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For our second group event, we were able to bring the kids together to play through yoga. I was really excited about kicking off this second event for the Best Buddies Team, because I wanted to have fun with everyone in a safe environment, facilitate some budding friendships, and introduce yoga in a fun and exciting way.

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More than anything…Best Buddies is about building a community. This is what we do when we attend Yoga classes too. We build a community. Photo Credit: Imagine Nation

I figured that many of the participants would have minimal exposure to yoga prior to our Namaste event, so I planned to keep everything light and fun. Between Anj, April, Neva, and Dan, I knew we would be able to pull off  lots of fun for the kiddos.

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Photo Credit: Imagine Nation

We were so very fortunate that Yoga + agreed to sponsor our event, because this meant that we could have everyone meet in a location central to many of our participants, and no one would have to purchase a yoga mat for us to have fun together. Adding an expense to an activity can sometimes be a factor in the amount of attendees that will turn out for the fun that we plan, so Yoga + agreeing to sponsor the venue and mats for us- all the participants had to do was show up ready to have some fun.

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It was a wonderful afternoon filled with some Yoga Games which further reinforced the budding friendships from some of our previous meetings. My boys and I had fun playing through yoga and I was reminded again how fantastic I feel after teaching a class. Teaching is hard. It’s not an easy job, but what I do know is that it feels great to be in the presence of such a wholesome and healing energy. The community we are shaping now for our children will only get better as we breakdown stereotypes and move towards a more inclusive society and culture.

Buddy Boat Pose  Photo Credit: Imagine Nation

Buddy Boat Pose
Photo Credit: Imagine Nation 

This whole activity was so much fun because we were all playing our yoga games and getting to know one another. The benefits of a regular practice can be seen for pretty much anyone who practices. From adults, to babies, and children with special needs. If you are considering enrolling your child in yoga, your best bet is to find someone who is certified in a program that involves extensive training.

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The kids were able to work on some mandalas. Coloring these mandalas is meditative. I have often lost myself in coloring when this is our activity in class. Photo Credit: Imagine Nation

Some of the many benefits of practicing YOGA include:

  • Facilitates self awareness.
  • Strengthens muscles and improves posture
  • Improves confidence and social skills
  • Improves coordination and flexibility
  • Provides a greater sense of connectivity to the world
  • Improves digestion and circulation
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Improves the mind body connection
  • Provides the base for a healthy life of well being

Kids make better life choices when they are more aware. Whether the choose to eat better, they sleep better, or are more in control of their emotions, yoga can provide the time needed to explore oneself physically and emotionally. This exploration of oneself leads to greater understanding, awareness, strength, and coordination.

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Photo Credit: Imagine Nation

Making healthy choices is not only about exercise and getting the right amount of sleep, it is also about choosing what we put into our bodies. 

Juju Eats was generous enough to sponsor three different juices for each of our participants.  We are so grateful that JuJu founder, Kat Azanza, saw the importance of a healthy snack after yoga for our Buddies! 

Thank you Kat for your generosity! The kids (and the parents) all LOVED the juices. They were the perfect thirst quencher after an hour and half of yoga!

Thank you Kat for your generosity! The kids (and the parents) all LOVED the juices. They were the perfect thirst quencher after an hour and half of yoga! (Pictured here are Pineapple with Chia Juice, Buko Juice, and Orange Juice)

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You can find Yoga+ on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Yoga+ in Makati

3F Cambridge Center

Tordesillas Corner Gallardo Street

Salcedo Village

 +63-2-847-0697
 +63-927-558-1829

You can find Juju Eats on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Makati Branch:
G/F BCS Building, 2297 Chino Roces Extension

Hours: 10AM – 9PM Monday to Saturday, 10AM – 8PM Sunday

Eastwood Branch:
G/F, Le Grand Tower 1, Union Street

House: 10AM – 11PM Sunday to Thursday, 10AM to 12AM Friday to Saturday

You can find Best Buddies on Facebook and Instagram.

Sources for benefits of yoga for children:

Oilily: Not just kids’ clothes anymore

I have known about Oilily for quite some time.

When Gia was a little girl, I would buy cute colorful age appropriate dresses for her in the Woodbury Commons Premium Outlets. The Woodbury Commons was not only the place where I was able to secure my first retail job, it was (and still is for many) a great place to go for awesome designer goods at a fraction of the retail prices.

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Oilily stores can be found in ATC, Upper Ground SM Mega A, and Megamall Fashion Hall.

So, because Oilily had an outlet in “The Commons” (as those of us who grew up in the area would call it) I became familiar with the brand. What I never knew was that the brand had arrived here in Manila,  with different products than I was familiar with from Gia as a toddler. In fact, I didn’t know that Oilily made accessories like this at all! So much so, that when my friend Janice of Mommy Mundo invited me to explore the newly opened store in Megamall, I originally thought I would be able to shop for clothes for Gellibean!

Oilily patters and colors are distinctive. They provide a little background into the Dutch company.

Oilily patters and colors are distinctive. They provide a little background into the Dutch company that has been around for 50 years. (Fall Winter Collection 2014)

Much to my surprise she corrected my misconception by explaining that Oilily also made accessories, handbags, wallets, lunch bags, and even laptop bags! Umbrellas, phone cases, and overnight bags, all have the same quality and craftsmanship that I had come to understand all those years ago through clothing I bought for Gia.

Even their phone cases have that distinctive Dutch design.

Even their phone cases have that distinctive Dutch design.

Because I have been wanting to go out of town for a weekend get away with Nino for some time, I really had my eye on some of the overnight bags. They were big enough that we could probably fit all of our things with plenty of space for a weekend get away for two. We all know that Moms and Dads need to get away for some alone time.

How cute are these patterns? They look perfect for a beach outing.

How cute are these patterns? They look perfect for a beach outing. This was part of the newer collection. Honestly, it’s hard to choose just one.

I was even surprised to find these lippies! I loved the container! As a kid I had lippies like this in different ice cream flavors! It brought back childhood memories :-)

These super cute lip balms can fit perfectly in my kit for my purse.

These super cute lip balms can fit perfectly in my kit for my purse.

Oilily has scents that are light enough for your little girl, and others that are good for you to wear. Again, I love the packaging for this scent.

Oilily has scents that are light enough for your little girl, and others that are good for you to wear. Again, I love the packaging for this scent.

And I LOVED this lunchbox. I just wanna sing "It's a small world after all..." when I see it!

And I LOVED this lunchbox. I just wanna sing “It’s a small world after all…” when I see it!

I learned that Oilily not only offers something for all occasions and every need, they provide a quality product that is fashionable and fun. It’s easy to find the new collections in the store because they group the bags together by season and collection. It was really easy for me to find a style and pattern in almost every display that I liked.

If you would like to check out the patterns, styles, and accessories for yourself you can see the latest styles at any of the Oilily branches.

Check out Oilily on Facebook and Instagram