Friday, February 15, 2019

Review: Beef Kabsa by Super Mama

When I was still working in the corporate world (feels like eons ago!), it'd be such a treat (for me, at least) to get out of the office building and check out good food in the area. Of course since our lunch break would only be an hour, we had to narrow down our choices to places that are just walking distance or just a few minutes of drive away.

Such a thoughtful package from Super Mama. You got me at Extra Sauce :D


One particular food I'd ask my friends to go back to again and again is a Middle Eastern food joint near UA&P. My friend G would recommend the Beef Kebab Koobideh. This is a grilled minced/ground meat kebab and she says to just get this one so I don't have to bother with possible hard or chewy meat. And since we've got just an hour to walk back and forth, wait for the elevators, order, eat and make chika-chika...then I'd definitely order the koobideh, just so I can eat in peace for all of 15-20 minutes :D

Fast forward to 2019. I've had the luck of joining a fun and thriving Filipino community of food vendors and foodies - "Let's Eat, Pare"! Since this was the month of reunions and despedidas, I was always on the look out for new and yummy party dishes to add to our standard fare at home. Usually my dad would head the "cooking department" and would readily dish out kaldereta or kare-kare dishes. But with just a month in the PH, perhaps he's too tired from all their comings and goings and they deserve to sit back and relax as well, right? 

So it was really great to digitally run into a post by Super Mama and asked her immediately for their party tray menu and pricelist. I'm not an expert in Middle Eastern cuisine so I was initially looking for something 'koobideh' hahaha :) I was a bit surprised there wasn't any in the menu set she sent so I just choose the 'safest pick' - for me this would be the most familiar dish within my budget. And so, the Beef Kabsa it was!

What is Beef Kabsa?


According to Wikipedia: "It is a family of mixed rice dishes that originates from Yemen however is commonly regarded as a national dish in the Gulf. Made with rice and meat and is also popularly known as makbus. These dishes are usually made with long-grain rice (such as basmati), meat, vegetables, ad a mixture of spices. The spices used in kabsa are largely responsible for its taste; these are generally black pepper, cloves, cardamom, saffron, cinnamon, black lime, bay leaves and nutmeg. The spices, rice and meat may be augmented with almonds, pine nuts, peanuts, onions and sultanas. Can be garnished with hashu and served hot with daqqus, which is a home-made Arabic tomato sauce." (Source: Wikipedia)

But what is it really? To the uninitiated like myself, it's like magic - smells and tastes like it for sure! It starts gently and you can feel the flavor building on beautifully, without being too overbearing nor offensive - nothing of that kind! The meat was sooo tender and it's like the spices are dancing in their own enchanting medley. 






And what about those with more discerning palates? Of course, I just had to ask my dad and uncles, most of them have worked or are currently working in KSA (Saudi). They simply said it tasted really authentic, just like how they had it back then. 

Super Mama's Beef Kabsa is quite special. I'm glad I went out of my 'Koobideh comfort zone' (haha) and tried it out. It has that festive vibe that also has a comfort food feel to it - just perfect for our mini reunion. My uncles, brother and other guests loved it too! I've had guests ask where I ordered this -- and I say only from Super Mama.



And what about the sauces? Ohhhh...super yummy and really goes well with the Beef Kabsa platter. Yoghurt garlic sauce, Hot sauce and extra Kabsa sauce. Solve na talaga!! Well, if I knew in advance how yummy this Beef Kabsa would've been, I'd definitely go out and buy loads of yogurt to make yogurt milkshake.

Ahhhh!!

Thank you so much Ms. Sarah of Super Mama!! :)


Find them on Facebook: Super Mama Kabsa

Monday, January 28, 2019

Smoothie: Flu-Buster Shake

How to know which smoothie to make today? I have a simple answer: check which fruits / greens would likely go bad first and then make up a recipe from there. 

Most days, as you would most likely see in my FB photo album, it's really an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink smoothie :D



OR.... check out some smoothie books like Smoothie Power: 80 Power-Packed Smoothie Recipes for Every Day and Everyone by Irina Pawassar & Tanja Dusy. My husband gave it to me as a gift/pasalubong from his Singapore trip last year. I like this book because it is straight to the point with the recipes & quantities, but still quite engaging because of the bright pictures. Like a look-and-do book! It literally shows you, in picture form, the approximate size, number of slices, what a handful is for them, etc. 

This is what I reach out for on days when I don't want to thumb through my other smoothie books teehee! :)


So Daddy A & I decided that with the fruits / greens stock that we have, what he would like was the Anti-Flu Shake. The citrus fruits packs on the Vitamin C while the ginger helps to strengthen the immune system. If you follow TCM or Traditional Chinese Medicine, you'll find that ginger is one of the warming ingredients and is also good at fighting off viruses/bacteria. We did not add honey to this because it doesn't taste bad naman (also not bitter) and we're also trying our best to be more plant-based in our meals and drinks.

The original list of ingredients calls for the following:

  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1/2 of an organic orange with peel
  • A couple of slices of ginger (to taste)
  • One organic kiwi (with peel)
  • 1 apple
  • 1 tsp honey

We tweaked it to our liking and came up with this:

  • 1 Orange with pith (but not the orange-colored peel)
  • 2 thin slices of ginger
  • 1 kiwi (without peel)
  • 1 apple
  • 1 mango
  • 2 bananas
  • handful kale, handful spinach, handful camote tops
  • Maca powder
  • Flaxseed meal

Post-grocery tip:


  1. Bananas - they usually bruise easily. If you plan on making smoothies more frequently, you can peel some and freeze in bag. I like the large & semi-sweet variant, just not sure if it's Lakatan or Latundan. Bananas make smoothies more creamy so if we have it, most likely I'll add it to the mix even if not called for in the recipe :)
  2. Spinach - try to plant some. Or can also be frozen in bag.
  3. Ginger - Sometimes it already sprouts before I even get to finish a big one yikes!! You can also grate / slice some, freeze on a tray and then transfer to your freezer bag. When you need one, you can just take what you need from your freezer stash.


Cheers!!! :)


I use the Vitamix 5200 for our high-power blender needs :)

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Sunday Reflections: Wait on Jesus

Another busy Sunday for us that we almost were not able to go to Mass. With lots of things to do, things left undone, and two little kiddos, it's really easy to just say, "we can't". But there really was no good reason for us to skip Mass again. Especially since we were able to attend a birthday party and also ticked off an errand on our list. Except maybe to say, "we're tired!"



With an hour of travel time going home from our errand, Waze says we'd barely have 5 minutes to go to Church. Looking out from the window and seeing our airport terminals from NAIAX, I just uttered a request to Mama Mary, sort of a reluctant wish to please let us be able to attend Mass today.

Perhaps my whisper of a prayer was heard. With the intercession of Mama Mary and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we got there on time. While the Sunday 6PM mass is not my favorite schedule because it is the most jam-packed, I consider it a blessing when Fr. Marthy Marcelo is the priest that officiates. He starts off like a clergy-version of Vic Sotto, you know, the comedy type. But the way he delivers the homily is very simple that it is easily relatable by the different classes that attend the same Mass and it is also marked with profundity that really reaches out to and touches the soul. But I'll never forget that one time he blessed my womb when I was 2 months post-partum! Medyo loko si Father ah! Hahahaha :)

Okay, I'll try to share here what I learned today. It may not be as eloquent or straightforward as Fr. Marthy but I hope I can get the message across..

How much time to we devote to the Word of God?


Fr. Marthy asked us how long would we be willing to listen to the Gospel and the Homily (which is usually finished in 15-20 minutes...oo na, I've been timing it since childhood! :)) Would we be willing to listen intently for 1 hour? How about 2 hours?? Or would our minds go back to the errands or events we have to attend to? This question tugged at me because our wedding ceremony lasted two hours instead of the usual 1 hour. It was fine by me but it really did change a lot of things in the program and of course there were some guests who were quite shocked! Hahaha :p Going back to the Homily, Fr. Marthy shared what happened to the Israelites when they returned to Jerusalem, after years of slavery in Egypt. As a time of rebuilding, they were able to gather altogether and listen to the Law or Word of God. Perhaps this was the first in a long time. They listened from morning til mid-day, and they cried. Let that sink in, "they cried".

Of Telenovelas and things of the world..


Fr. Marthy compares this with the faithful or the church-goers. Some have additional devotions to Our Lady of Perpetual Help on Wednesdays, others to the Black Nazarene on Fridays. Most of us probably hear Mass at least just once a week. And yet what are we doing, or rather, how do we accept the Word of God? Some are sleeping, some have their thoughts elsewhere. I'll admit myself that I always think of the kids when they're not with us. It's almost as if there is no reaction, outwardly or within us. 

He also shares how we've been hooked to things of this world. Case in point: our teledramas. Personally this has been true for me, how many times have I hung on to Kdramas waiting for each episode to be released in Netflix? Actually, how many hours have I wasted being glued to Netflix? Huhuhu.. Not saying that it's a bad thing but still, what is our priority as Catholic Christians? I guess it is such a wake-up call to hear Fr. say that we are able to wait and pine for telenovelas (which we hardly understand) but how often do we read or meditate on our Bible? 

Remember, the Israelites couldn't help but weep. They cried because they were so touched by God's Word and finally living His promise. And what about us every Sunday when we sit comfortably to listen to God's Word and sill we go "meh.." mostly. Yes, kadalasan napaka-N.R. (no reaction) natin.

This struck me as another area to improve on, not only for myself but for my family at least. 
  • To be more purposeful as a Catholic.To not just show up and be a 'warm body' in church but to do my part by preparing spiritually. Read and meditate on the Bible. To be mindful of saying the Rosary and ask for Mama Mary's intercession. To be humble enough to go to confessions.
  • To teach and guide our children early on. More than ever, I realize that it is never too early to share about Jesus to our children. To read them Bible stories, share anecdotes, share the lives of the saints. 
  • Most importantly, to do our best in words and actions. Be a better spouse and a better parent.


Crying inside..


I'd like to say a prayer for the faithful who perished and those who were wounded in the Jolo Cathedral blast. They are our modern-day martyrs and my heart goes out to their families and the Church. It's like Christ being persecuted and crucified all over again. May their souls be comforted by our Mother Mary and may they find eternal peace with Jesus.

My heart also goes out to Catholics who feel voiceless. I felt so guilty when I heard certain people (at a Catholic school nonetheless) take turns at making light and making fun of our faith..and I couldn't do anything about it except to pray harder - for them, for our Church and for our faith. It's like having a piercing pain in the heart :(


Thursday, January 24, 2019

Smoothie: A fruity and green afternoon snack

About two days ago, Daddy A was 'making kulit' for us to do the groceries to get some fruits and greens. Normally he doesn't really like to do groceries because of his busy work schedule, much more going to big ones like Landers Superstore in Otis, Paco, Manila.

So we went after dinner, just in time for the last hour before the store closes. It was a Tuesday night and I was so glad we went because the fresh produce section was fully stocked! I rarely see bright fruits and greens on weekends (so I didn't really have high expectations on weekdays) but this night was just wow! Literally was fully stocked with fresh produce. Because greens, fruits and veggies don't exactly come cheap I'd really like to get our money's worth to get them real fresh. Since these mostly would go into our smoothies / salads, it really tastes so much better! AND Landers Otis has a promotion - discounts on fresh produce for all the weekdays of January!

Pre-grocery tip: Clean out your fridge! As in de-clutter, wipe / wash as needed so that you'll know what's still in there (no doubling up on groceries) and it's easier to organize your stock once you return from your grocery shopping.

Post-grocery tip: 
1. Mango - I slice em up, collect the "meat" (hoho, what is it really called?) into a freezer bag or tupperware and freeze it. I make sure to use it up in a month's time. This saves me time in prepping for smoothies and also saves over-ripe mangoes from going bad before the need to use it for our smoothies.

2. Celery - Remove leaves and root end parts. Wash celery stalks to remove debris and dry well with tea towel (or bimpo or clean lampin/birdseye cloth). Cut to desired size, I do about 5 inches long. Keep in foil or reusable food wrap (I tried reusable beeswax wraps too). Try this out please...you'll be glad you did! The celery lasts a little bit longer using this method! You'll keep it fresher and again, minimize wastage. Plus, anytime you need a snack you can just get from your stash and munch away..or dip in hummus or peanut butter! Nom, nom, nom!!!



So here's the smoothie I made the day after doing groceries. Because, you know, we have to use up fresh produce right away and it's Daddy A's lambing (request) hahaha :D It is such a filling snack and the kids love it, especially litle E! And as I always say, it literally feels good as it goes down the throat. Maybe it could also be a psychological thing but I really feel cleansed! A says it's the same way for him too! But no matter, it really does make us feel great! And that's always a good thing :)

I computed what I used up for this batch and the cost is around PHP 200.00 which was enjoyed by 2 kids and 5 adults. Not bad considering that in other shops, a 16 oz smoothie would go somewhere between PHP100-250.00 for a single serving. 


Little E enjoying his smoothie

Our smoothie consists of:

Bananas, Apple, Orange, Carrot, thumb-sized Ginger, Frozen Mango, Celery stalks, Kale, Camote tops, Camu powder (a superfood), Chia seeds, some water and ice! Blended with the Vitamix 5200 :)  Yumm!!!

Let me know how your smoothie goes too :)


 

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Merry Christmas loves! :)




I'm grateful for so much and one of the biggest blessings I've received is my family :) So here we are after dinner and a boodle fight during lunch. A bit rested, some more "Tan" (than Lim? hahaha, kidding of course), me and A have been "irked" non-stop by our kids' naughtiness -- but we can only sigh "this too shall pass"... their kulit stage, this inis feeling, having littles to run after. 

Hopefully I can also say "this too shall pass" not just to their kiti-kiti phase, but also (and especially) to our short tempers as parents. You know at 34, I find myself wishing for more energy so we can keep up with our very active kiddos :D Should we have had kids at a younger age?? Anyway, this has been a really wonderful memory that I'll happily look back on when I'm much older.

It also doesn't hurt that we're 'vacationing' at a very nice place in Batangas...no cooking, no dishes to wash but dang!!! My tummy has gotten exponentially bigger, even my overseas uncle thought I was preggy - via video call ha! Can't be helped but even the kids are wondering if I somehow have a ball in my tummy. I'm just thankful that A doesn't yet sing "jiggle bells" ouch! hahaha...LOL! :) That just means one thing and I really have to get back on track with healthy eating and whatever exercise I can fit into my day :)

Well, this is gonna be short and sweet..... Merry Christmas everyone!! :) 

Monday, December 24, 2018

Day-Before-Christmas Smoothie

What do you do when you're running around like crazy getting ready for an out of town trip and you suddenly remember you just shopped for fruits and veggies just a few days prior? Well then you make a smoothie, that's what! Hehehe :)

It was the day before Christmas and I've got the dates mixed up so I haven't really packed for our trip. Of course, I don't want these to go to waste so I sneak off some time to whip this up in my Vitamix blender. I *love* it and is perhaps one of my best purchases of the year for 2018.


So here's what went in the smoothie:

-Banana
-Apple
-Orange
-Mango
-Cucumber
-Celery Stalks
-Lettuce
-Camote tops
-Spinach

I was a bit apprehensive at first since this is a new-to-me concoction. Although it is definitely healthy, I have no idea what the final taste would be like. And remember that I share this with the kids too so it has to taste pleasant as well.




With an eye closed and the other open, I gave a half kiddie glass to my little boy. I immediately thought he won't like it but I was even more surprised when he said, "mommy, yummy!" Awwww... my heart just flutters hahaha. 



Awww..so there you have it, the story of our day-before-Christmas smoothie :D


Hope you had a wonderful and Christ-filled Christmas! I'll raise a glass of smoothie to that! :D



Friday, December 21, 2018

Our YMCA Binondo Zumba Party 2018

Caveat: Blogger Photodumping! :p

Now that you've been forewarned, let me share the snippets mother-lode photos of this wonderful evening with the YMCA Binondo Zumba aunties and mommies :) I'm a fairly new member to this group and probably the only "pure" Filipino (save for Darwin our choreographer) but I really felt the warm welcome from this part of the Fil-Chi community. Thank you so much dear Aunties!



I would also like to commend the planning lead for the party, Auntie Tess and her team for all their wonderful and selfless hard work for making this holiday get-together possible. Thank you so much Auntie Tess!

This Christmas party was planned way back in September/October for our zumba dancing team. That was around the time we temporarily stopped dancing in anticipation of the holiday rush! Every detail was thoroughly presented, discussed and agreed upon in our Viber group. 

A night of pure fun is what this was. Yummy food was provided by Sincerity Restaurant, games and prizes by the organizing team...and of course, lots and lots of dancing to songs that we love! 

Enjoy the pictures and have a Merry Christmas! :)




































































































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