Sunday, March 18, 2018

Inspiralized Chili Boss Bowl Goodness

Hello friends! I made this chili bowl today from the Body Boss method cookbook and it seems a lot of my friends and family on social media are interested to know how it's done. So here I am blogging to share how I made it + the spiralizing part. (It really is quite easy to do) Hope you'll like it! :)

Whenever there are recipes from fitness sources, I would apply caution and not expect too much because they are usually not so tasty. Healthy, yes but the tasty part is still up for debate. Before deciding to make this, I checked first from the community page for reviews. And what do you know, it seems that this is one of the fan faves in the group! Of course I had to make it! Aside from the fact that it is included in the Week 1 menu plan. Hah! :p


2 onions, finely diced
2 large carrots, grated -- in my version, I spiralized it, it looks like carrot pasta - see video below
4 sticks of celery, sliced
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp smoked paprika
500 g lean beef mince
4 Tbsp tomato paste
800 g tomato puree -- I just use Spaghetti sauce
2 red bell pepper, deseeded & chopped
800 g red kidney beans, drained
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
a bunch of cilantro, chopped
200 g baby spinach leaves
1000 ml water
salt & pepper to taste
1 avocado, chopped
1 lime, juice only
2 Tbsp nut oil of choice -- I use almond oil because it's what's available now 

The "Trinity" of Cajun Cooking -- Onions, Celery and Red Bell Pepper


1. Heat 2 Tbsp of your nut oil and saute the onion, carrot & celery for approximately 3 minutes, until softened. 

Obviously, I forgot to add the carrots during this step teehee... :D

2. Add cumin, paprika, beef mince and cook until meat has browned for approx. 5 minutes.

It looks so *EXTRA* hahaha..

3. Add bell pepper, beans, tomato paste and puree (or spaghetti sauce). Pour in 4 cups of water and let it simmer for about 30 minutes until thick.

4. Season with salt & pepper and add in the cherry tomatoes. Since I made a big batch, I didn't add the tomatoes right away for the entire thing..just for the portion I will.

5. Before serving, fold in the cilantro (love this!!) and spinach.

6. Divvy into bowls, add some chopped chili or chili flakes and avocado. Also a squeeze of lime juice if you so prefer.

7. Heap on top of veggies or brown rice. I prefer quinoa :)

That's it!!! :) You can refrigerate or freeze to be consumed for later. Or otherwise, feel free to halve the recipe :)

I love it, I've had 3 bowls today and it's really filling. Eat with steamed quinoa or veggies, or even toasted bread...ahhhhh, heaven! :)

About the Spiralizer

I'm using Cuisinart's CTG-00-SPI Food Spiralizer which I purchased from Lander's Otis. When I was still shopping around, I would much have preferred the Paderno spiralizer as it has more blades / spiralizing options but it was a few thousands more expensive and I was not willing to shell out more money that time for a device I wasn't sure I'd get to use often.

I learned to love Cuinart's spiralizer version because it's simple to use and not too cumbersome to clean up. Plus it also has a "catching bowl", if that's what it's called haha. The only thing is that it only has 3 spiralizing options - thick julienne, thin julienne, and ribbon. That's okay though because it covers what I need to do. 

I usually make "Zoodles" or zucchini noodles and use that as the "veggie pasta" for spaghetti or even simple pesto pasta concoctions. You can also spiralize cucumbers for an interesting looking salad. What I'd love to do next and I hope I get to do it correctly, is to spiralize a potato, similar to how they do it during parties, and then air fry it. But, no luck for now hahaha :)

Cuisinart Spiralizer
See how I do it in this short video. I used my phone's front camera so this video is showing the mirror image. 

Spiralized carrots using the thin julienne setting. It does look like pasta, right?

Affiliate Disclosure:
In order for me to support my blogging and social media activities, I may receive monetary compensation for links to products from this post, at absolutely no cost to you. However, I only recommend products that I personally love and use myself.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

What's your favorite activity? Here's mine..

So I've been asked this question - "What's your favorite activity"? 

I know it's really simple to answer... I mean it's almost a tie between cooking and *ahem* eating *ahem* but this question has got me thinking. You see, there's a lot and a whole new facet to marriage & motherhood and the many things we moms must do that sometimes, in the sea of parenting, work and other adult responsibilities, we lose the sense of our personal hobbies and activities that brings us joy.

Riding the cable car -- Family time in Tagaytay Highlands

So after thinking long and hard, I guess preferences for certain activities indeed change with the passing of time and the changes in one's life. Speaking for myself, I guess it's not just in the physical act of cooking or eating out -- it's in sharing not only meals, but also time, stories and adventures with family and friends alike. 

And not only that, I realize that it's also become a favorite activity of mine to document these dining and out of town trips through blogs and vlogs - wherein the calories may have long gone, but the memories still remain! That's a win in my book! Hahaha pak, ganern! :D

Seriously, I know how they say that this season of life where the kids are still small are all so fleeting? I completely agree! That's why whenever I have the time, I make sure to always bring my camera so I can always document whatever small, big or even silly milestone we are privileged to witness.

Me, documenting my girls who are also co-brokers :) Taken at La Cocina de Tita Moning

I'll be sharing some of the vlogs I've made, memories of which I still hold dearly and often reminisce about :)

Our trip to Real, Quezon with the family. The kids really enjoyed the sun, sand, and waves

A nice staycation in Zambales. It's not as roughed up as when I was still single (camping, trekking, etc.) but still a nice way to spend time with family (minus the traffic)

This time with friends. We were wrapping up a short beach vacation in Batangas and decided to have our meals in Twin Lakes Tagaytay. Special time with my friends and their kids too!

The first ever vlog I made using my videocam. The longest time I spent editing as well! :) I was still learning the editing software but still had fun when I produced this output :p

I hope you enjoyed my vlogs! When I sit and edit these on my computer? I don't actually notice how long I've been there, except when my little baby calls out for his mommy :D 

I'm happy to share these with you because vlogging captures the real me. If you have the time and a nice phone camera especially with Expert & Ultra HD features like #OPPOF5, please try vlogging to document your trips because I'm very sure that it will definitely, also #CaptureTheRealYou :) 

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Supplier Review: KidzTown PH

Ready for another party supplier review? I actually have 3 in the party entertainment category but I'll go for this first. Gear up for KidzTown PH mobile playground! :)

Photo credit to our photographer, Cradles by Anne Naig

Isn't this the cutest thing??? If the pictures don't tell you enough, this is just so much fun! :) I mean, if I were a toddler? I'd be in playground heaven for sure! 

What does their package include? 

-There are 6 mobile themed playhouses with full accessories. These are the children’s hospital, police
department, the bakery, home sweet home, build zone, and town library.

- 4 ride-ons (Tayo bus, Little Tikes Police coupe, Little Tikes Pink coupe, Construction truck)

- 1 mega blocks table with chairs

- 2 staff

- 2 dozen children’s socks and 2 dozen adult socks

- Fence and safety rubber matting

- Transportation to venue, Ingress (set-up), and egress (pack up)

Of course, all of this comes at a premium but it is so worth it! At least in my humble opinion :)  At the most basic, I like that it is clean, safe and so much fun. It is well thought of and really goes well with the mix of ages of the kids we invited to celebrate with us. Even our just turned 1-year old boy immersed himself with playing blocks. I mean, even Little Miss Z wanted to get our photo-op over and done with so she can already dive into this mini playland. I'm just glad that the two had a great time at their party. 

As I observed during the party, the kids' different personalities can really be seen wherein those who wanted to participate in games were front and center near the stage and those who were more into self-directed play were busying themselves at the KidzTown mobile playhouse installation. 

And you know what? Most of our guests who have kids really went early to the party so they can play all they want while waiting for our program to start. Kids playing (of course, with parental supervision) + parents catching up with friends and also having fun? Yeah, not bad at all :D


1. Make sure your event venue has ample space for their playhouse set-up. It would be best to send them a layout or floor plan so they can prepare for this in advance.

2. Announce to your guests that you would be having playhouses. I received feedback that some kids were really very eager to come just because of this. Guests coming in early, happy kids, everyone having a great time. Really, it's a win-win situation.

I do suggest having them start way ahead of the party program. That way, the early birds can enjoy while you wait for other guests to start pouring in. Believe me, the kids playing here will not be bored! :)

3. While KidzTown does provide a dozen socks for kids and adults, still remind your guests to bring their own :)

4. If you want to have a fun and non-stressful party, I really think you can get away with just having the playhouses + food catering services as party basics. Well, you just have to adjust or extend the time for the playhouses. Inform them in advance so they can plan their ingress and also so they can let you know how much they will charge for the hours in excess of 3.

5. They also charge an extra for non ground floor venues. Make sure to read the contract well.

My only regret? It's that "I" wasn't able to play in the KidzTown mobile playhouses! Boohoo hahaha :)

This supplier was very easy to talk to, provided hassle-free kiddie entertainment and was really lots of fun for the kiddos!

I DEFINITELY recommend them! Two thumbs up! :)

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

My Valentine...

As with most important occasions, I always try to find a song that best encapsulates what I feel. For this year's Valentine's, the song that is most apt is Edwin McCain's "I Could Not Ask For More". I'm posting another version here by Sara Evans because the way she sings it is just so much feels :)

I loved this song from high school and I feel that I understand it a little better now that I'm married.'s just different, you know? The kilig when you're still single and gushing and dreaming, versus the now - married with kids, the struggle, the love, and everything in between. I mean, I can try my best to explain here but I guess that won't be necessary because Daddy A would be the best person to understand how I feel now. Right? :)

So what went down on our Valentine's? I wish I could say that he whisked me off to a faraway place (which is partly true LOL) and spent the entire day by ourselves (entirely true). But as I said earlier, it is just so different now. At this point and with the age of our kids, we really can't just take off in a whim and be back in 3 days. 

Although we did go to a faraway place -- 4 hours from Manila, this was more because we had responsibilities to attend to. But I guess being away does SOME good. No dreamy picnics or fancy dinners, just some decent food from gasoline stations and eating on the go. Since we were on the road for maybe 10 hours total (back and forth), we had some discussions, little arguments and agreeements too :)

Because we expected a very long drive, we ordered Rafik Shawarma's Wagyu version right after ordering our lunch to-go: Tokyo Tokyo's beef bento meal. Ganyan ako pag gutom don't want your significant other to go "hangry" while on a road trip, do you? :)

How do I feel? I feel like a college kid who cut classes just to have a date in Tagaytay hahaha...Although, I haven't really done that so, I guess this is how it must've felt.

Ever ready for hunger my Tokyo Tokyo lunch, got our shawarma for sharing..and this, spanish bread! Still, nothing beats LA Bakeshop's Spanish bread..

Quick stop at a gasoline station, selfie time too! I make sure to always bring a floppy hat and shades whenever we're out and about. There's something about extreme sunlight that makes my head hurt..

We planned to go to Padre Pio shrine in Sto. Tomas Batangas for our Ash Wednesday Mass. But we weren't able to do so because of some delays encountered in BIR Lucena :( I don't want to end this Vday blog on a sad note but I was really bummed that day. Imagine, travelling 4 hours (one-way pa lang yan) and not really getting the result expected. This means I have to go back to Lucena again and finish this requirement. Oh well...

Since it's Vday after all, traffic was horrible even down South. We settled for another gas station meal. Tapa King this time. I always order Tapa Queen because it's a bit spicy and a bowl of Sinigang na Baboy. 

P.S. No flower / no gift post -- why? 
I have this NEW thing with flowers. I used to be so sad whenever Daddy A forgets or decides not to get me one. So this is my new rule. I told him specifically - Please don't give me flowers..

(a) If I have to tell you to give me flowers. 
(b) When they're ridiculously expensive!! [Might as well hand me a steak! Hahaha]

Of course, this can be over-ruled if he really can't resist buying me one! Hahaha..The catch is, if you don't give me flowers (see a & b above), please also don't buy me flowers when I'm gone (hahaha)..

This is what I ask him instead --- sing me love songs, write me a letter, dance with me :) Much better? Much better!

Happy Valentine's everyone! :)

Saturday, February 10, 2018

PTAA Travel Tour Expo 2018 - Our Experience

It's our first time to attend the PTAA Travel Tour Expo and I'd like to share our experience with you guys :)

Okay, so normally we don't really prioritize travels and tours in our family expenses but since there are a few scheduled weddings and reunions we are attending that are out of town, we figured, "hey, why not give this a try?" If we find very discounted and decent accommodations for all of us, we could bring the kids and have them enjoy the hotel while we have the peace of mind that they are close by OR, we could just go as a couple and have a grand time! Hahaha..either way, win-win, right?

While on our way there, my husband's cousin gave me a fair warning - in the form of a picture with throngs of people lined up, all going to the Travel Expo. My immediate reaction was "kaloka!" I mean, I got his message and we're already halfway between SMX and our home and since we were in a Grab/Uber, so there was no turning back. I brought the Little Miss pa naman with me and our fold-away stroller (similar to Baby Zen Yoyo but minus the steep price..sorry na ma's, I honestly didn't know it was a copy of something huhu). I thought that if the line was still that bad, then we'll just watch a movie and stroll inside the Mall of Asia. 

I promise, there's no filter here..just good old sunlight and lots of oil in my face :D
Thank God the crowded lines panned out. We immediately saw a booth for Citi card holders and they provide free entrance for their card holders. We saved PHP 70.00 there :)

Because our destination was just in Tagaytay, we were directed to the second floor of the expo hall. I had a hard time looking for Taal Vista Hotel's booth because their booth number was not displayed. I eventually found them just beside Conrad Hotel's booth.

Anyway, I looked around the area first and found something intriguing. These are religious icons that are for export to the Vatican. What's nice about these is that although designed by Italian masters, they still incorporate local raw materials like lahar. Then they apply an italian varnish/coating to protect the finished product from the elements. You can choose from different finishes like gold or silver antique finish. As a Catholic with a devotion to Mama Mary, I chose the "Mary Undoer of Knots". What this represents for me is that Mary, as our mother always helps and intercedes for us and the many challenges and roadblocks we face in life; and because she has a special place in Jesus' heart (as His mother too), there is a very good chance that our prayers will be granted. I've never understood much as I have now how utterly many "knots" we have in our life. Maybe I was too sheltered? Maybe too naive? That's why I'd like to ask for help and intercession from our Holy Mother and Jesus, to help us in our life and help us undo the knots that life presents.

Okay, and I also got a limited edition item for my mother-in-law. I don't recall what it is exactly but the kind sir who was manning the booth told me that it's a replica of Cardinal Sin's gift to Pope John Paul II.

I booked the Taal Vista room as they said it was discounted. They were nice and accommodating and even gave us a nice notebook freebie. 

But when I asked my husband's cousin, he said their expo rate was still expensive. I checked again online and what do you know? Indeed, there were cheaper options for the same hotel. It was a face palm moment and instant "buyer's regret" but I'll just file it under "lessons learned". 

Ditto for Manila Ocean Park tickets. I gathered from a mommy group that their PHP 525 only expo rate is about the same as the usual discounted rate they give so....there goes not really saving anything! 

We strolled some more and not really wanting to spend more, we headed straight for the concessions before I get "hangry". Besides, we were gearing for a commute back home so I have to make sure our tummies have their fill.

Bags and luggages were also on sale or under installment sales. So too with some sneakers that are only PHP 800, wow!

I got Good Munch's Rosemary Chicken (quite salty for me), Polland's Siomai & Siopao for the little girl.

We eventually headed to the terminal and found the best one to ride. This was our first experience riding the UV Express with stroller in tow! We got off at P. Noval just across UST. I wanted to buy from Tita Nitz but the Mini Stop was more convenient in terms of location. So it is -- Kariman for the mommy and yogurt drink for the Ate.

Would I go back to the Travel Expo next year? Short answer is no. Unless, there is a major compelling reason like really deep discounts to make all the stress, time and effort worth it. The best tip probably would be to research first and make sure to list the prices online and go only if you have a free entrance pass (like showing your card or miles, etc.) and other back up plans aside from touring the expo, in case you get faced with a huge crowd.

Safe travels and I hope you enjoy your destination! :)

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Supplier Review: Sugar and Sunbeams and a Vintage Baseball-themed party

I've got a bit of time here and you can say that in terms of blogging - I'm feeling it! Hahaha..Well, I'd like to share some of the pictures from the kids' joint birthday celebration, courtesy of Cradles by Anne Naig. :)

It's been a month since the party and when I received the pictures, I just can't contain all this giddy feeling! One party supplier who was so instrumental in bringing these all to life is our party stylist, Sugar and Sunbeams

To share a little background, I was actually deciding between two stylists who came highly recommended by my friend, Mother Jobs. I won't mention the other stylist here but Ms. Jem Perez-Chua was so pleasant to talk to. I was doing mostly online inquiries from my suppliers so it was a big thing for me that she was able to communicate superb customer service, friendship and eagerness to make it happen. All that even if we were a month from the event date (sorry, we really planned late) and I was doing my best to maximize our budget (that's different from making tawad ah). Of course, her portfolio of previous styling works are also easy on the eyes and were just right for our vision. So even if her package rate came out a few thousands more than the other supplier, she was still the definite choice for me. Once we finalized the booking, I was "Team Panatag" :)

She immediately got down to work on her vision board. I do not even remember if I shared some pegs with her but everything I liked from Pinterest, she was able to incorporate into that plan. Baseball is really not a big thing here in the Philippines but we chose it loosely based from the movie "A League of Their Own". Remember, Madonna and Geena Davis? No? Uh-uh hahaha :) That was quite a statement for female empowerment back then. Now what this means to us is that the kids are on a league of their own and that we, parents, look on them as the embodiment of our hopes and dreams.

Anyway, the reason I shared that is I thought it would immediately add to her costs if the props from theme is not something she can re-use in the future. In fact, I asked if given our budget, would she be able to build a locker-room type setting? She replied in the negative because it would still be fabricated, and I understood.

But Ms. Jem is something else. I was so floored that on the day of the party, my "wish" came true! Hahaha...Oh my was I sooo happy!!!!! :) Grabe!! Super thank you, thank you, thank you again Ms. Jem :D

This going beyond expectations is something that is really admirable in Ms. Jem of Sugar & Sunbeams. Even from the start, her dedication and go-get-it attitude really assures me as a customer that everything will be okay and I don't have to worry about a single thing. She's the one who also coordinated with our caterer to check out the catering inclusions and choices especially for table cloths and the like.

Would I recommend her services? ABSOLUTELY! Yes, yes and another big YES!! :D

Thank you so much again Ms. Jem, we definitely enjoyed your styling work for our children's party :)

Contact: Ms. Jem Perez-Chua
Event styling coverage: Stage / backdrop, dessert area, ceiling treatment

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