Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Dreaming of Chocolate Cake, Without the Nightmares Afterwards

  Cakes have always been associated in  my memories with love, goodness, giving and joy.  I grew up adoring chocolate cakes from Goldilocks.   When Red Ribbon came, not a birthday passed by without my sister buying for us.   The reason why I learned to bake is due to my undoubted love for it.  Instead of tangible yet nonsense gifts, rolls and rolls of this dessert lace every table, in every occasions.  Now, everywhere you go, a bakery or a cafe  always have a version of this.  

   Now my kids bore the same love for it.   Well, as a kid, anything that's chocolate is already food.  My kids would devour bars and truffles in one sitting and the culprit on stains on clothes can easily be determined till the "dramastic" change in our life came.       (Dramastic is a portmanteau word were drastic and  drama were compounded).  

   So why the word dramastic, it was the time we found out that both my parent's had become type 2 diabetics from type 1.   Worst came the heart-breaker, when our then five-year old daughter was diagnosed as type 2 diabetic.  She almost went to coma but with God's ultimate grace and friends' and relatives' contemplative prayers and support we were able to accept the fact that she needed to take insulin injections all her life with constant blood-sugar monitoring.   She got better, but facing the big change in the family's lifestyle was tough.   We have to surrender our sweet cravings when she's around.   Coke and soft-drinks are no-nos in the house.  Candies are given away and I have to lay off baking and chocolate-making. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

All-Filipino Pizza Choices

I'm sure if you are a Filipino, you must have tried Sisig in one way or another,   Soo Pinoy have actually featured the dish and had followers nominated and voted the best Sisig.  My daughter Danielle always rant about it whenever she hears Pampanga.  But I'm not writing this blog for Sisig, do I?
I'm to feature pizzas.  Another of the family's favorite.
Before I go through with my new food discovery, let me just share something that could be helpful to parents like me.
Do you have a child like mine,  who  dominates every minute of every day with her fits and fights and tantrums.  Does she get into everyone's nerves and make your home uncontrollable?  Do you ever ask yourself, how in the world I could get everyone tamed even for just a few hours to get something perfectly done at home, or breathe some fresh air into your home.
In my case, it's a bit extreme, I have two teens and two primaries ( a 6 and soon to be 8).
Usually, the one mentioned in the first question is the youngest of all the children, so older kids really goes through a hard time understanding younger siblings.   Most of the  time, the next best thing they can to any uncontrollable situations is to yell, "Stop it!", and the next thing is that the dad or the mom barging in with another scream, now involving everyone in sight.
So how do we cope with situations when our tolerance, patience and understanding wear very thin and shouting seems the only way out?
Bear in mind that determining what is difficult behavior from a child falls into an ambiguous category; what one person may attribute to bad behavior may not be considered so by another.
In our case, I have observed that the four kids manage so well with each other if there is food at their center.  Yes, FOODS!  We are all happy when food is the center of our topic, or if are to go to an unusual place where our activity is to eat.  Does it show in this blog? Hahaha...
My younger kids can actually be left at home with a baby-sitter, if you have promised to bring home donuts or their favorite pizzas or whatnot, even my two teen can be bribed with the same to take care of  home or their younger siblings.
Of course, they are all like saints if we are to go to church or any church activities, that doesn't count, but also another great family prioritized activity that harness their character.

I will be giving more points on this below, but let me go to what unites our family, minus the clamor, petty fights and whines.  Let's talk about pizza.   Just a few days ago, we promised our kids to go on swim at a remote river with astonishing falls at Amadeo, Cavite, and eat somewhere afterwards.   It was Monday and a holiday, but migraine attacked their dad.   So after dinner, we left to buy pizzas, no we don't go for franchised anymore, we wanted to try something unique.   I've read in a certain blog that there is now a restaurant that has Filipino dish fused into their pizza choices.   Dishes such as Bistek, Laing, and Sisig.
Sizzling Sisig, Danielle's favorite, made famous by Aling Lucing in Angeles, Pampanga, is a dish wherein pork cheeks and ears are boiled, grilled, chopped, seasoned with onions, calamansi, chili, salt and pepper with mashed grilled chicken liver and placed on a sizzling platter.
Good heavens, now it's on a crust, on a pizza even.  Knowing there is a resto serving this, I turned to Google, to search for that.   Thanks to Mangyan Blogger, for his  review on MJ's Cafe Bar and their offerings of rightful thin crust, hand -rolled and grilled pizzas.

Not on the picture is Laing Pizza, the next I, want to try.
I was right!  When Bhogs and I went home with  boxes of pizzas,  My kids all went  to the dining table, circled, excited and intrigued capturing our senses.  To be safe, I ordered only Sisig Pizza, since our Kuya was a bit scared, he asked if we could just have the regular pizza, so for his sake I ordered the Neopolitan.
The Neopolitan Pizza, comes simply with bacon, black olives on a bed of mozzarella cheese.   But it was simply pleasant-tasting.  We  love how thin and crispy the crust is, with just the right thickness of the toppings.  This one I can really say "affordelicious" (pardon me for borrowing the term) for just the raw amount of  P190.00.  While the Filipino-pizza fussion is only P230.00.

If my technique, eating or dining out isn't for your family, here are some pointers of disciplining the children, you may want to bear in mind.
  • Try not to overreact. I know that sounds easier said than done, but take a deep breath. Don't let parent stress cause you to become tense and wound up. If in public, ignore comments or hard looks that come your way; it will only make you more annoyed.
  • Do what you feel is right. Think about what your levels of discipline are and what you expect from your child. Don't follow someone else's advice just because they offered it.
  • Talk to your child and tell him why he should not be doing certain things. Help him to understand. Break it down, if you have to, in to simple terms.
  • Offer rewards. No, not a new handheld video game! Hugs or kisses are great! If, for example, you offer ice cream in exchange for good behavior, you are telling how to behave next time in order to get ice cream.
MJ's Cafe Bar
Baypark (beside Rajah Sulayman Park), Roxas Boulevard Service Road
Call them at :

+63 923 3588234; +63 2 475-4163

Food Trip Friday Entry

Friday, January 27, 2012

World Vision Benefits From "Renaissance Woman by Naomi"

NAOMI: an epitome of refinement, a symbol of opulence and an artistry beyond all praise will showcase its newest line of Fine Jewelries in a Fashion Show with some items displayed in jewelry showcases.  Naomi, manufacturer  of  stylish, finely-crafted and affordable diamond, pearl, colored stone, gold  jewelry, is pleased to announce  Renaissance Woman Jewelry Fashion Show on  February 03, 2012  at  the  Genting  Club,  Resorts World.   
Here is a video showcasing the jewelries and the women that best suit the elegance of the jeweled crafts, featuring  Lara Quigaman (2005 Miss International) and Joy Pagurayan, as the faces of Naomi.
Joel Paguio, the designer and owner of Naomi not only exemplifies a gift not ordinary to many, but a heart open to help children coming from the poor sect of the society.   Together with  World Vision Development Foundation, they will launch a project for the benefit of the children and families the said foundation is helping.  Thus, the Naomi World Vision Limited Edition Pendants of different design using precious metals and natural colored stones coupled with Naomi's artistry and craftmanship will be up for public auction on the show.   Twenty percent of it goes to the foundation.

Television personality, TV/Film Actress, former beauty queen and World Vision Ambassadress Miss Miriam Quiambao supports the NAOMI-World Vision Limited Edition Pendants Project.

In this photo, Ms. Quiambao is wearing NAOMI World Vision Special Edition Pendant, an inspiration from World Vision Development Foundation's star of hope, this pendant exudes an illustrious profile with the blending of 100 pieces multicolored Sapphires with a total carat weight of 27.84 and a 1.7 carats checkered board Citrine at the center. The star s attached to an ancient shell bangle with hand-hammered gold sheets intertwined around it. 

World Vision is a child-focused non-government organization committed towards realizing fulness of life for evry child.   It helps more than 100 million people in 96 countries.  To know more about the World Vision and its programs call at 372-777 or log on to www.worldvision.org.ph.
Tippy Dos Santos, 17,  is the Youth Ambassador for World Vision, wearing  Naomi star of hope gold pendant.
  Lara Quigaman, Tippy Dos Santos and Joy Pagurayan with Naomi owner, Joel Paguio.
The four with the World Vision group.
This event is in partnership with UNO Magazine and World Vision sponsored by Genting Club and Resorts World Manila.
Everyone is invited!   Come and see one of the most highlighted jewelry event for this year!
ATTIRE: Formal

Mr. Erwin Viado: 636-0446/09178519043

Ms. Tina Altejos: 09178723005

Ms. Gerel Schwartz:09167825695

The Art and Technology of Preserving Food at Home

Introducing Fujidenzo’s All-In-One Refrigerators
Fugidenzo hosted a media launch for their new product, yesterday at the Quezon City Sports Club A headstart puzzling give-away welcomed us as we head inside the Bagumbayan hall.   A scrumptuous lunch of Japanese cuisine was our fill and here is what I chose from the stuff in the new Fujidenzo refrigerators is this...  Ang Okra! Bow.
I guess you're wondering what an okra is doing at a media conference like this.   We were asked to get something from the 3 new Fujidenzo Refrigerators that will be out in the market.  Some chose, apple, kiwi, bananas and more, while I chose an okra.  Having heard that they will be giving away Fujidenzo appliances, I decided to pick the weirdest item. Indeed, the weirdest item, onion, not our okras, represented one new refrigerator.   It's okay though, I got a Fujidenso desk fan, and we all had fun, finding out what each pick represented their products.
Executive officers of  Excellence Appliances Tech., Inc. (EXATECH)

Press Release

Fujidenzo’s Single-Door, Direct-Cool, All-In-One Refrigerators are some of the most impressive kitchen appliances to greet the market in recent months. All three refrigerator models (5.8 cu.ft, 6.8 cu.ft, and 7.5 cu.ft capacity) are elegant, spacious, energy-efficient, durable, and functional for your maximum advantage, whether in keeping desserts chilled or storing half-consumed dinners, to preserving foods for long periods of time.
Energy efficient
Made with thicker insulation that results in better cooling retention, as well as designed with energy-saving compressors, Fujidenzo refrigerators consume 50% less electricity than no-frost refrigerators of the same size, indeed making them some of the most energy efficient appliances to date.

Moreover, Fujidenzo refrigerators are especially equipped with a 4-Zone Cooling Technology. Unlike some refrigerators with only 3 cooling channels, Fujidenzo refrigerators have freezing zones on all sides of its freezer compartment. This allows the refrigerators to quickly and effectively freeze your food items, providing you with savings in both time and energy.

Durable and functional
With sturdy wire shelves, a heavy-duty refrigerator top, anti-bacterial coating, and a push-button defrost system, Fujidenzo guarantees the durability, functionality, and practicality of its ref models.

Stylish and spacious
Streamlined from the outside-in, with a modern design & finish that add a nice touch to your kitchen, Fujidenzo refrigerators offer the flexibility and capacity to store all your food items. Each refrigerator contains a big freezer space, flexible storage, and a clean back design complete with a stainless look finish.

For the only kitchen appliance that runs 24/7, there should be no compromises – especially since this is where you store your food.  And when it comes to choosing appliances in general, there should be no second thoughts – for reliability, value for money, and quality above all, there is only Fujidenzo.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Lavishly Auspicious Chinese New Year Fete at the Manila Hotel

  Last  January  23, 2012  marked the beginning of the two-week celebration of the Chinese New Year, and you know it’ll be a good Year of the  Water Dragon when  Manila Hotel  kicked  it all off,  which started at 9:30 in the evening of the 22nd.   As Marites Allen gave  out her Feng Shui expertise to usher in the New Year also known worldwide as the Spring Festival. Let me share you my experience of it as a seasoned first timer.

There is always the first time.  As Margot Fonteyn uttered,"  Minor things can become moments of great revelation when encountered for the first time.
It was the first time I observed Chinese New Year.  Being born under the dragon sign in the Chinese Zodiac calendar, I know for a fact that this is to be my year, the year of the Water Dragon.   But it is also to my knowing that I am blessed, without even being under the sign of any animal and a fictitious one at that. 
It is the first time I partied till 2 am at the Manila Hotel,  with it's grandiose preparations from the dragon decorations, lanterns,  to cocktails and to the honored guest who celebrated wit us, namely,    Manila Hotel’s Senior Vice-President Ms. Georgina Banaag,  Manila Hotel's President and Director Atty. Joey Lina, Host Par Excellence Boy Abunda,  Mayor Alfredo Lim, Manila Congresswoman 3rd Distirct Zenaida Angping,  Bourne Legend Actor Lou Veloso, who wouldn't have a good night.
It is the first time I truly realized what it is all about.   The New Year or the Spring festival is the most celebrated occasion as it is not just about holidaying but a time to reflect on the essence of ancient customs.  Chinese people  believe that as they enter a new year, they should drop the last year into the past.    Like what Marites Allen have  suggested accordingly that  people should  clean the houses from top to bottom, wear new clothes, pay off debts, paint  their doors and window panes, and even get new haircuts. Traditional Chinese New Year facts bring forth the essence of new life and new hopes.  
 I never new that such celebrations were conducted with vividly colorful presentations like the  wearing of reds and golds and the traditional Dragon dance.   As Marites Allen went on stage, the dragon dancers followed after,  magically transforming  the serious stage into a wondrous scene though accompanied with mono-toned drum sound, which I think is also essential in the ritual.  
 My first time to finally meet Miss Eugene Domingo.  An acclaimed actress for her character in "Babae sa Septic Tank " and more.    She happens to be one of the best comedian and actress of  this country and one of my favorite at that.
At 11:50 the countdown hurled on as guests all gathered outside the Manila Hotel building,  Armed with out-poured wishful thinking, a pentel pen and a balloon.   According to Ms Allen, the symbolic act of letting your balloon into the sky, where your wishes for the 2012 written on the balloon is believed to go to God so he can answer your wishes.

 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4,3,2,1... Everyone counted backwards along with the resonating  sound not far (for on the Luneta Grandstand a party for counted also was held).
At the struck of the clock to the 12th hour, balloons flew to the midnight sky, followed by the majestic fireworks.

An auspicious  buffet dinner followed after.  With the ceremonial Lo Hei stirring up all our appetite. 
And now, let me tell you all about the auspicious meal that was prepared, definitely a first time for me also.
On our table, I was chosen to be the one to do the ritual preparation for the salad for the Lo Hei.
Yu Sheng, is what the salad is called, is a popular raw fish salad traditionally served on the 7th day of the Chinese New Year season, which the Chinese celebrate as everyone's birthday.  It's a tradition for families to toss the salad while calling out Lo Hei!, which means to whip up or toss up good fortune. It's believed that the higher you toss the salad, the greater your luck and prosperity in the New Year.
Yu Sheng is made with fresh fish such as salmon, peanuts (which symbolize longevity), raw vegetables such as turnips, cucumbers and carrots, wanton crackers, dried fruits , diced ripened mangoes,  roasted and crushed sesame seeds, to be seasoned with white and black pepper  and finally dressing it with plum sauce.

Everyone on every table participated with gladness, careful not to spill any of the ingredient on the salad bowl.  It was the most fun part of the dining experience.
After the salad had been tossed with the chanting and all, we feasted with it (probably the best salad and had whipped up) and  with what  Manila Hotel's  Executive Chinese Chef Sun Bing had prepared.  Eating together is  an important part of the celebration, the dishes symbolizes luck, longevity, and wealth for the coming year.  With that,  Mabuhay Palace  offered a wide array of sumptuous meals including Steamed Garoupa Fillet in Brown Sauce, Dried Fried Shrimp Glazed with Almonds, and the traditional Nian Gao. Fish, which is usually served whole, is an important part of the meal as it symbolizes abundance for the year ahead. The Deep Fried Shrimps, on the other hand, signifies happiness and well-being for the entire family. A permanent dish on the dining table, the Nian Gao or Tikoy symbolizes the togetherness of the family and its usual circular shape represents the never ending flow of luck.
This happened to be my plate, I guess I gobbled up to many Yu Sheng leaving a small room for all the other dishes.
The captivating aroma of  Jasmine tea even harmonized everything up
My dessert plate consisted of Sticky rice ball (Buchi), assorted fruits, and specially prepared tikoy.
Fruit Salad with almond jelly
 Again, Manila Hotel  had  presented an exemplary   New Year  celebration with a countdown that  matched any countdowns I have ever experienced.

Gōng Xǐ Fā Cái!
Kung Hei Fa Choi...
Xīn Nián Kuài Lè. . .


Wedding Belle: The Best Companion for Brides

 It takes a lifetime to find our perfect match,  but it only takes a moment to delight on the match that is perfected for you, on the wedding day, but it lasts forever.  
           When you do find that match, though may not seem too perfect, but perhaps and probably the right match for you, and you'll know it for sure, time binds you together till you realize you want to spend the rest of life with that person-the love of your life, your better half also known as your other couple.   Holy Matrimony is what completes the whole splendid and romantic package.   And it is every dream of the bride-to-be to be lavished  and swooned over as an opportunity for her beloved to prove his love and his capability to build a lifetime of love and joy.
            It was an honor for me to be one of the guests, as the genius behind Wedding Belle magazine thought of having it in the internet, thus weddingbelle.com.ph was launched.   Prive was the venue, where models sashayed donning the latest creations of  prestigious gown designers, bridal accessories and floral arrangements to name a few of the resources the online magazine would like to present.

Official Press Release
There is no doubt that engaged couples all over the Philippines are bursting with excitement over their upcoming wedding. However, the bride, despite her best efforts, can get lost in all the preparation details.
With the official launch of the website, Wedding Belle promises to be there for couples every step of the way. It has evolved from being a printed magazine to becoming a website, e-magazine for mobile devices, and Facebook page for 24/7 reference because it is that dedicated into delivering what’s hot in the industry.
Wedding Belle has revolutionized planning for weddings in the Philippines as it is the ultimate local online destination for high fashion, reception theme ideas, planning advice and top-notch suppliers. Waiting for the next issue to hit the stands is a thing of the past since the website provides updates at everyone’s fingertips.
Brides, grooms, entourage members, and wedding guests can now browse through the website’s library of gowns, suits, and accessories from the most distinguished Filipino designers in the Aisle Style section. They can easily draw inspiration from the themes featured under Wedding Ideas. Visitors can even browse through invitation designs, flower arrangements, music playlists, venue options, reception themes, and cake concepts. Wedding Belle also features couples that have successfully tied the knot in our Real Weddings and Honeymoon sections. The site’s Planning section provides expert advice, and about future homes. The Suppliers section will point brides in the right direction too when it comes to the fine details. What’s more, is that the periodic e-magazine is free for download so that brides can refer to it offline on their mobile devices.
All in all, the young modern-day bride will just love the different features Wedding Belle has for glamorous weddings and out-of-the-box receptions. The connectivity and convenience it has will lead the way for engaged couples today and for years to come. Whether they are browsing the website, reading the e-magazine on their mobile device, or are connected through the social networks, Wedding Belle’s interesting reads and fashion editorials will keep visitors coming back as it helps them create that special day they’ve always dreamed of. 


The event also began with  cocktails and some treats prepared by Purple Dish Catering.  
Do follow them on:
for any queeries, send them emails at info@weddingbelle.com.ph

Sunday, January 22, 2012

On Dining Out and Healing for New Beginnings

Memories are hunting horns whose sound dies on the wind.   As  I hope. . .
There are good ones and there are those who kill.  I think the only reason why people hold onto memories is because memories are the only things that don't change when everyone else does,  it even changed me.
Funny how it could make you smile when flashes of childhood foretold,  how you lost your tooth, how you won the silliest game...But morose comes crawling when the hurtful words mumble in your mind,  horrific scenes you dread are visualized, shadows of what seemed to make you now creeps in.

But the worst of it all are memories of being hurt by someone  you love.   Wack  me on the head if  you don't have a memory of this, or if you don't know anyone who have been on that train..   A broken relationship is very hard to erase from one’s mind and very difficult to deal with. One finds it hard to come over the memories of a broken relationship which was one going great guns. Being hurt by someone you love is something that you cannot easily deal with. It is difficult to get over the wounds of the heart. The only option you have is to nurse your wounds and let them heal with time. Time is perhaps the best healer. 
In the words of Daphne Rae, “I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.” 
I have been wounded, like most of the married women,  not many knew but we managed to overcome all the gory memories and I went to the place of forgiveness.  In the midst of all the pain and trauma, there are some silver linings the Lord weaves in.
Someone asked me,"Why have you decided to blog?"  Hmmm, you know what I told her, "To be honest, it's personal and I don't want to go into details, but I love doing it now!"
I guess this blog answers that.  
I have read this  in a book, and I find it somewhat helps relieve some pain. It told me to visualize I am on the top of a bridge with a bungee cord hooked to my ankles.  My troubles and pains pushed me off the bridge emotionally.  Everything I knew to be true was false.  I mean everything!
Now, my job is to find peace while I am plunging toward the ground.  As I was reminded...God is my bungee cord.  He is with me and will prevent me from crashing.   He is the hope that when the fall is over,  I am held tightly and secure.  God will reel me in and again I will stand on the bridge looking down at my past life - always remembering the fall, but not destroyed by it.  In the meantime, I have to realize the ground is a long way away and the fall may take time.  But someday I will stand again above it all.   I pray everyday that God gives me peace because some days I can't find it.  Cry if you need to cry....yell if you need to yell...and get made if you need too.... Get it out in the open so you can see it, reflect upon it, and change it. Keeping the hurt inside and pretending you're OK will not help heal your brokenness.
I feel so sad for anyone who has to go through this. It is difficult and the fall is not fun. Learn what you can, rediscover yourself, and trust in God. Time will heal all wounds - but it takes patience.

A new beginning, ending the disturbingly painful  pasts.

In the rebuilding process a new, truer marriage is often built to replace the old one, which was often marked by emotional imbalances. When a marriage is torn apart and built up again from the ground up, the exposure of faults and weaknesses that were hidden before can foster deeper communication that didn’t exist before, binding the couple together in new and wonderful ways. There is hope; as the Lord has been setting men free from sins of all kinds since the beginning of time, so has He brought many marriages back from the dead. I’ve been privileged to see some of His work, both in my marriage and in the marriage of others. 

We worked hard and still working hard for it.  On the road to rebuilding the bridge and breaking the walls,  we went to places, away from all the burdens, talking about us and how we can improve our lives where the family benefits from it all.  Another  night of pure bliss, after all, there is still hope...

Spaghetti ala Puttanesca

Cream Puff

My undying love for Strawberries and Cheesecakes

Good days are to be gathered like grapes, to be trodden and bottled into wine and kept for age to sip at ease beside the fire. If the traveler has vintaged well, he need trouble to wander no longer; the ruby moments glow in his glass at will... Freya Stark

If you have been meaning  to get away from all the pain, the forsaken past traumas' have given , hit the road and find solace and delight without the scene of harried  people.   Just a few days ago we were here, sufficed by the pasta, pastries and coffees, PAD could offer.    Seeing all the sweet goodness parked inside the store it was enough for me to say, "yes, there are such heavenly pieces scattered in this world, that even for a while, time wouldn't be like experiencing hell, and this place is one of them."
PAD, an abbreviation for Park Avenue Desserts, have always been amongst Lori Baltazar's fave cakes and pastry purveyors.   Our New Year's cake was bought here.
Memories that worth keeping should always include gatherings such as birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and other events where desserts, specially cakes are highlighted the most, and Park Avenue Desserts will prove me right.
So next week I will be back to try out more of their goods, which include, Macarons in rainbow colors, Banana Cream Pie, Croquembouche.   Oh, they too have Vegan cupcakes, sugar-free desserts for diabetics which should be best for my lovely daughter.
New Year's Celebration Cake from PAD
Park Avenue Desserts can be found in #7 G/F MagaCenter, Paseo de Magallanes Commercial Center, 1232 Makati, Philippines.
Call them up at  (02) 8526141
For more information, do check out their Facebook page.