Monday, December 28, 2015

Lodge Cast Iron Skillet

For most people who know me, one of my dreams is to be a chef or a very good home-cook, or at least to master the art of baking. You have no idea how much time I spent watching Wolfgang Puck , Rachel Ray & other chefs do their stuff on TV, willing myself to be like them some day hahaha! And trying to savor their dishes from the comfort of my home. Lakas ng imagination di ba? 

But I didn't get enough practice (my fault) and it was one of my hesitation before getting married. As in I thought, "how would I feed my husband?!?" Hahaha..I'm really scared of getting burned by pans or crackling hot oil so I thought if I used an oven, perhaps our food will be healthier and I don't risk getting burned every time. I definitely lurked in most blogs trying to see which we would get and we decided on a convection oven.

Since I received the Imarflex convection oven as anniversary gift last year, I've been on and off trying recipes which hopefully, my family would love :) For a time we made banana bread thrice in a week, healthy baby food, pasta, etc. etc. I was okay with my simple-beginner-amateur tools until I landed on Sally's Bake Blog and found a delicious pineapple upside down cake recipe. To be more specific, after reading a comment on her site which recommended cast iron skillet in baking it. Suddenly, I wanted to stock pile those cast iron pans (plus a bigger oven perhaps, Daddy A?).

My first ever Lodge Cast Iron Skillet *happy dance!*

BUT!! They are expensive, I mean for pans. They also require special maintenance -- yep, there is such a thing as having to "season" your pan with salt (as needed), it's also a different story having to oil your pan after use. Another is NO SOAP! You don't have to use soap in cleaning it after use. Kakaiba di ba?

So after taking a couple of looks at Gourdo's, reading up other blogs and with my hopes of ehem, having better tasting dishes, I finally decided this was gonna be my Christmas gift for myself, and my family! Hahahahaha :D 
DISCLAIMER: Yes I know, my hubby already told me pans and pots don't necessarily make one a better cook. Hahaha..but if it helps even a teeny weeny bit? Why not!?

Merry Christmas from my skillet to yours! :p

I finally took home my first ever cast iron skillet, the day after Christmas. I can't say for certain at this point but what I'm feeling right now....it must be love!!! Hahahaha..actually, I'm not sure if it'll fit inside my oven (crossing fingers here). Luckily, I was able to try it when I was over at my parents' house and the cake, to my chef-wannabe-self, looked sooo beatiful, I kid you not!


Prepping the Pineapple Upside Down Cake in this gorgeous cast iron skillet


I'm so excited to make many more dishes (baked or not) with this. As the label says, it's the "right tool to sear, saute, bake, broil, braise, fry". Stove to oven, no problem. I just love, love, love, love it! :)

Next on my cooking to-do list: cornmeal, more upside down cakes, and a properly-done steak! Yay! :)

Some things you need to consider before heading out to get yourself a cast iron pan:

  1. Size / Type: Well, there are lots! I started with a 9 inch skillet and hopefully I'll be able to move up to a bigger casserole and griddle in the future. Think of the things you plan to do with this as well as the size of your current stove, grill or oven. Will it fit? If my oven size was not an issue, I would have dove straight into the 10 inch skillet (or bigger) since the bigger ones have an assist handle.
  2. Weight: Since this is cast iron, this definitely is some heavy stuff! The bigger size you choose, the bulkier and heavier it gets. For the uninitiated newbie kitchen warriors (like me!) this might take some getting used to.
  3. Maintenance: Do your research on how to properly season and take care of a cast iron pan. It's not exactly high maintenance but it's quite different from how you would handle typical cook ware.
  4. Cost: The cost can run pretty high but consider this as an investment. It's really sturdy and fairly flexible in terms of use. I'd even want to plan a camping trip just to be able to use this over a bonfire!
  5. Longevity: I've read accounts that cast iron pans outlast their owners. Some are handed down from generation to generation and some sell theirs later on. Just make sure it is cared for and it'll really be something you & your family will treasure for years! Of course, given the choice, opt for brands you trust with sourcing and manufacturing process. 

Check out this link for more Lodge Cast Iron Products. Let me know your skillet size and please share your signature cast iron dishes! :)

Party planning...sort of

It's not even the new year yet here I am ultimately wasting away time to plan for a party we might not even hold..ha! Well, that's if dearest hubby A would approve :p

Sandbox Party!!! (Image courtesy of Pinterest)

I know, I know...we kinda promised that after Z's 1st birthday bash, we won't have anything grand until maybe her 7th birthday. We were so decided to just have a very very simple 2nd birthday celebration. You know, "tayo-tayo lang na family" ang peg. Hahaha.. :D For the most part of the year I really did not bother to think or plan on anything. Promise! 

BUT!! There are so many fun ideas for a kiddie party! If only budget wasn't a concern, di ba mommies? AND, they are only young for just a short while!!! I'm really torn now. Gaaaahh!!!

So here are my options thus far:


1. The very simple celebration with our immediate family at home. Home cooked meal, little pretty cake and make a wish!

2. Rent a small function room, hire a budget caterer [and maybe DIY styling]. No hosts, no backdrops, just plain get-together for a sumptuous meal and photo-ops for the birthday girl. O siya, tayo-tayo na rin ang photo/video! Hahahaha :D

3. Do it in a resto that's in a mall (one that has steaks, ribs, the works!). Shop afterwards. Ooops, did I say that out loud??

4. Book a suite just for the three of us. Room service all day! With massage please! :)

5. My dream: an outdoor party (I already have a theme!!), a fiesta of some sort..food, drinks, lounge on the pool, kick some ball....ohhhh isn't it amazing?

So what do you think?? Eeeeeeppp!!! Less than 2 weeks to go!! Wish me luck! :)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Things I "should have" brought to the hospital for labor and childbirth

Looking back to some twenty months ago, God gave us the best gift ever - our baby daughter. While we did our best to plan and prepare, there are still some misses in terms of our preparedness. As Frank Sinatra sang about in My Way, "..regrets, I've had a few but then again, too few to mention.." Well don't we all have regrets in life? In my case, I think it's good to mention a few of my labor kit regrets - the "shoulda woulda coulda's...should have brought 'ya!" items. So here's from me to you, a supposedly clearer hospital bag inventory from hindsight.

Oh I can just hear Daddy A saying, "What? Ang laki na ng mga bags natin nuon, may kulang pa pala?"

Patiently waiting..


Yes dear mommies and daddies, despite my long list in my previous post entitled What should go in your Maternity Labor Kit, there are a few items I found, that should have been there in the first place. Please take this to heart as they are some of the essential ones that may just provide that much needed comfort after the rigors of childbirth. 

1. Belly Wrap or Binder


After my CS operation, I woke up feeling a little bit weird in my tummy area. Like my body was about to collapse and fold by my incision, if not for the binder. The binder was really (for me) more of a comfort thing. And how come nobody even told me to bring one? Luckily the hospital provided a Long Bone blue binder but it can get itchy and uncomfortable for long-term use.

It's best to research about this ahead of time as there are binders that have better materials. During times of extreme discomfort, a more breathable material can really make a lot of difference.

The generic ones from local drug store companies cost less but can get uncomfortable. What the nurses suggested was for us to use the lampin (thin towelettes) as buffer and to also use baby powder on affected areas (usually the back side) to alleviate the rash or itching.

My suggestion is to have at least two wraps or binders. You know, the first post-partum days can get really dirty with stains of all kinds. This way you can ensure that you always have a clean one every time you need it.

I used the binders extensively for a month and used it sparingly for the next two months. The weather in the Philippines as it is, is really hot! Wearing a binder plus the baby it's doubly warmer. But because I really needed it, I did my best to persevere in using the binders.

Since the Long Bone was provided by the hospital, we bought the Mamaway Postpartum Bamboo Charcoal Belly Band as my spare and I really loved using it! It's available from Mamaway Shangri-la Mall, the price was in the range of PHP 3,000.00 - 4,000.00 when we purchased last 2014. Aside from the bamboo-charcoal material which makes it more breathable and renders anti-bacterial properties, I loved its 3-step compression fastening - makes me feel really comfy as I adjust it to my body.


2. Breastfeeding Pillow

Even if we have already decided (way way before giving birth) that we wanted to breastfeed our child, we shied away from purchasing a breastfeeding pillow because - what if we failed or what if we can't breastfeed? Sayang naman..

Luckily or unluckily, again I woke up to see one in our hospital room. I just found out belatedly that we were also billed for it for around PHP 1,500! Gaaah..if only I knew then I should have purchased the highly rated breastfeeding pillows in advance!

Breastfeeding with the help of our pillow during Z's monthly check-up

What I didn't like about the hospital-provided BF pillow is that it's too stiff and not as stuffed. We ended up having to use additional pillows whenever we tried to breastfeed in the earlier post-partum days. I understand now that these are minor adjustments but to a new mom, any extra complication could add to their pressures of making breastfeeding work.

Of course there are pillows available in SM Baby Company and also in Mothercare outlets. The brand I was rooting for because of many rave reviews, but have not tried, was the Boppy Nursing Pillow and Positioner together with the Boppy pillow slipcover .


Actually, there are a lot of options now! There are those with extra recliner [Leachco Adjustable Nursing Pillow] and even those with arm & back support plus extra nooks for toys and remote controls [My Brest Friend Original Nursing Pillow]!

Okay, some would say that our grandmothers have breastfed our parents without these accessories but come on!!! Any additional help or support for breastfeeding mothers, anything at all that can make it easier or at least more bearable is a good investment in my opinion! Besides, you can use it as a positioner for when baby is learning to sit and also as a regular pillow thrown in the mix!

3. Baby Wearing Sling / Wrap

Slings or wraps intimidate me! They look so complicated and it wasn't something I was confident to use back then. That's why I really admire those moms who were able to do it early on. I mean, I felt we were kind of late in the game, only getting comfortable to use the Saya or the Baby K'tan in the 3rd or 4th month post-partum. Thank goodness really for hybrid wraps because I really don't know how to work out those really long ones (e.g. Boba, Moby, etc.)

The moment I finally got the hang of it, I immediately wished I have done it sooner! It was really a life-saver for those times when your child impossibly needed to be carried all the time and you also HAVE to do other things to keep your sanity!

SAYA Baby Carrier - This is a locally made cloth baby carrier. I chose the SSK or semi-stretch knit (cotton or close to cotton?) model because it's cheaper and I was scared of the extra give from the fabric of the Versa-Tekk blend. They have really nice designs and best of all, it's a quality product that's proudly Philippine-made. #SupportLocal

Since they were not offering the stabilizers last year, we used this primarily at home. I purchased our Saya locally from their stockist Mama Baby Love. Note: make sure to inquire about the right size for you.

she was really peaceful when carried in the Saya

Backside with the Saya

Baby K'tan Baby Carrier - This is another carrier similar to the Saya. I chose the Black Breeze model. It's half mesh (yung butas-butas) and half cotton. For me this is nice because it helps baby stay cool while inside the carrier. This has added built-in features (compared to the Saya) such as the adjuster and the stabilizer which also doubles as a bag.

I also chose the black breeze k'tan because it can weather dust and dirt more (hindi dumihin) and  the color could relatively be matched with my very limited post-partum/breastfeeding outfits.

Aside from the Original, Baby K'tans now have different variants such as Breeze, Organic and Active. Our Baby K'tan Breeze was purchased at PHP 2,850 in 2014 from Cebu stockist Ms. Gretchen Choa-Uy of Modern Mama Baby Shop (MOMA). 

This was the carrier we used all the time until Z got heavy enough and we had to transition to an SSC or a soft-structured carrier like the Tula.

Note: make sure to inquire about the right size for you.

Sleeping in a noisy restaurant
Having my cake and eating it too...while wearing my baby!


These are really great commodities especially for first-time parents who are not used to taking care of babies. Daily chores and tasks from simple to relatively complex ones can be done easily even with baby in tow! :)

Other families will benefit greatly from carriers especially when they need Kangaroo Care all the more! Plus I really believe this would've significantly lessened the crying fits and help baby become calmer as she's closer to mommy or her care giver.

4. Breast Pump


We owe a lot to Medela House now called The Parenting Emporium for making us aware of a lot of things related to breastfeeding especially the benefits. So when the time came to finally purchase a breast pump, we bought from them vs. buying from the mall. We loved the personalized service and the fact that the horns / flanges are fitted to a mom's actual size.


NOTE: A pump is not necessary to ensure successful breastfeeding. Even if you only do hand expression (Marmet technique), you will still  be able to get milk.

So if mommies can just rely on hand expression, why did we still buy that pump? Basically, it's for when we're on the road or travelling and while at work. If you know how horrible traffic can get here in Manila, you'd definitely want to invest in a good pump.

Pumping in the wee hours - a story of engorgement and a sleeping babe

That's the reason we chose Medela's Freestyle Breast Pump. Precisely for the kind of lifestyle we have right now as well as the nature of my work.




We were told during breastfeeding seminars that pumping should be done on the 3rd week post-partum and not earlier. But due to some complications, I had hubby bring in the pump on the second day instead!

P.S. Always check the wattage compatibility before purchasing anything online.

5. Breastmilk Collection / Softshells for Nipple Protection


And lastly, before I turn this post into a novella, I really wish I knew about these softshells for nipple protection because I was oh so sore! The good thing about this is that while you're breastfeeding on one side, it helps air out your other nipple after a feeding. Y'know, because contact even with your shirt will definitely make you say yeoooouuuucchh!!!

This also doubles as a breastmilk collector (the collected milk is not for consumption) for those times when we continuously leak with liquid gold. We bought ours from Medela House, now The Parenting Emporium, for about PHP 1,000.00 a pair.


So there's my list...I know most of these are utterly expensive or for some unnecessary but really if I had to do it all over again, these 5 items would definitely be in our maternity bag! :)

Did I miss anything? Let me know what your "shoulda woulda coulda's...should have brought 'ya!" items are! 

And if you missed it, here's the list of our ORIGINAL Maternity Bag / Labor Kit contents.

**In the spirit of full disclosure, there are affiliate links on this post, which means that I may get a commission if you decide to purchase anything from Amazon. I only recommend products & systems that I use and love myself, so I know you’ll be in good hands :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Hello Three-Oh! :)

SUPER DUPER LATE POST: This was a post I never got to finish last year. Exactly a year ago. You know, when I turned 30. And because I'll be adding another year in the next 4 hours or so. I guess I'll have to post it na. Now or never. And so you see what being 30 meant to me! Unfinished sentences, unfinished businesses, plans diverted and dreams put on hold. Such is my life now. :)

Hahahaha...Wish me luck in posting a 30+1 blog in the next few days! :p :p

========================================================================

Last week I celebrated my birthday and I just hit the big 3-0! :) I spent a considerable amount of time just taking stock of what being thirty means to me. You see, when I was younger I had totally different visions of what being thirty would be! That would probably include me spending a grand time somewhere totally exotic with a generous serving of tequila rose in my hand. Or finally getting to cross out a million and one things on my to-do or dreams list! That's probably the closest I could get to Jenna Rink's "thirty, flirty and thriving!"

Ahhh..to be young and quite naive!

Thank you to all my well-wishers, family and friends who greeted me and even made heart-warming collages to celebrate my special day. I love you all too! :)

From Mrs. Lo, one of my best friends. Super happy to have you guys in my life!

From Mrs. Ang, my sweet sister-in-law, who I got to share the dance floor with

From my Mommy. I love you so much!

Starting them young with BDO Junior Savers Club

Have you ever wondered what to do with the money given to your child? In the Philippines, it is usual (not customary) for some relatives or guests to give ang pao (cash gift) on special occasions. I myself was surprised with those little red envelopes starting from Z's birth, then on her baptism and also on her birthday. Sometimes she also gets those when she visits a house for the first time (may ganon?! hehe) and of course on Christmas too! :)

Photo credit to: http://www.canadiansavers.ca/
So being the excited first-time mom that I am, I immediately proposed to Daddy A that we should open a savings account for Z, instead of us pooling it with the family account. This is something he did not immediately agree with.

Daddy says No, Mommy says Go!


Our child's own bank account has been a subject of discussion between Daddy A and I. While he says that multiple bank accounts may be harder to manage, I still wanted Z to have her own. I hope that as she grows older, she'll be able to appreciate the generosity of her godparents/other sponsors and that we were able to save those gifts for her. We'll have to deal with the nitty-gritty's of maintaining balances, keeping the account current and what not. Besides, it's not as if there's really a lot of paperwork or pencil-pushing to be done at this point. At the minimum, we should just ensure that:

  • the account is secure : passbook (and ATM, if provided) and any password is safe and protected
  • the account is secured: the amount deposited is backed by the PDIC
  • minimum maintaining balance: that we have deposited an amount above the minimum required balance
  • the account is updated: that we have transactions within the year so that it is not tagged as a dormant account (banks make deductions / charge fees for dormant accounts)

Another very valid point that Daddy A raised is that because of the current inflation and very meager bank interest rates, money in bank will actually be losing value and the opportunity to earn more had it been invested in another manner. To which I definitely agree. Hence we should also look at other options like stocks or mutual funds or even insurance. I hope I can share with you my experience in a future blog post!

Deal or No Deal?


Having my personal bank account goes way back. I still remember me and my mom personally going to the bank and depositing whatever sum I was able to muster. It was fun to do "grown-up things" then. You know, saving my allowance and cash gifts, counting them (even if they only amounted to Php 500.00 then), filling out the bank deposit slip (with my kiddie handwriting of course!), and actually seeing my account steadily accumulate. Of course it helps that the passbook design was too cute (with a dolphin, I think?) and the bank would usually give tokens for Christmas :)

Aside from wanting to have similar bonding moments too with my kiddo, we want to teach her about capital preservation (at this point) and in the future, evaluating different investment options and (hopefully) making the right choice. Hence, Daddy A and I arrived at a healthy compromise to open an account for Z, with certain reservations.

At this point it was important for us to have discussed as a couple: the minimum and maximum amount we need to deposit, what we should do when it reaches a certain amount, under what circumstances will we allow for a withdrawal, etc.

I knooooow you can just deposit and deposit (or make withdrawals) as you wish but we're two complicated folks who like it that way hahaha :)

BDO Junior Savers Club


Since we already have an account with BDO, it was a no-brainer to open one for Z in this bank. It was relatively a breeze to open the account and we were finished in less than an hour. We were just asked for the following requirements:

  • Copy of Z's Birth Certificate
  • Our Identification Cards (ID)
  • Photos (1x1 or 2x2)
  • Opening Balance: PHP 100.00 [the minimum balance to earn interest is PHP 2,000.00]
Please do check out the BDO Junior Savers Page to see other features as well as the fees and charges. 

Oh, they also provide a Junior Savers Club ID which actually bears the same design as their regular ATM card (so much fun in that?!?). This is free but you have to ask them specifically for this and in our particular branch, it took at least 3 weeks before we got the Junior Savers Club Card. 

This can entitle your child to special treats or promotions from partner companies such as those listed below. You can check with your branch as they change the participating merchants and the promotions from time to time.

Well for me this is a good thing. Since we won't earn much from the bank interest anyway, why not maximize the account through the perks (discounts and promos) from partner stores like Brownies, Great Image, Museo Pambata, Manila Ocean Park, etc. I'm particularly excited to use this for Zoobic Safari, Museo Pambata and Manila Ocean Park. What a great way to have more teachable moments with the little one! :) [P.S. And some brownies for mommy won't hurt either! hahaha]

BDO Junior Savers Club Perks!

So what are you waiting for dearest mommies and daddies? Let's start building good financial literacy and life habits by teaching our children to save and to eventually venture in investments and businesses in the future. Happy Saving! :D

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own and not influenced in any way. I only blog about products and services that I have tried and truly believe in so I know that you, my readers, are in good hands.

P.S. We haven't even received a pencil case (as stated in their website). I just really advocate for financial literacy for our children, starting when they are young. I support Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas' (BSP) Banking On Your Future Program (BOYFP). It is really my wish that the younger generation see money as a tool, not only to purchase goods, but to do good in this world.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Monday Reflection :: Thankless

I feel like I've been down more than I've been up in the past few days or even weeks. There are things that have not gone on as planned. There are also people and events that made me feel..in a word - unappreciated. Not unloved, just..unappreciated

Feels like a lonely road...
And it can get disheartening. When you feel you've done enough or at least have tried your best but your actions and efforts just get sucked into an invisible vacuum. When it takes more than words; quite literally it took your blood, sweat and tears to achieve something and it isn't even meaningful (not in the least) for some. Again, what a thankless world! 

This was meant to be a (hormonal?) rant until I realized, how ungrateful have I been myself?

  • For all those times I have expected better and better from my family (parents, husband, etc) without realizing they have already sacrificed so much to provide whatever was deemed not enough
  • For all those times my friends have given a part of themselves even if they too are busy, even if they too are struggling
  • For all those times I have received something and have not expressed gratitude as they deserve
  • And so many more
For shame. But what really jolted me back is the prayer we have continuously uttered during Mass, Panalanging Sa Pagiging Bukas Palad. What struck me is that despite praying for this through song, here I am expecting a reward in form of a "thank you" or a pat on the back for doing good. Even more, this made me realize how ungrateful I have been to God, to Jesus. For not being a faithful servant, for always wanting to have the best, for wanting to be the best. 

I know I can never thank You enough, Jesus. Anything I say or do will never be enough for the immense sacrifice You have done for us. And yet despite the thanklessness of this world, You continue to redeem, You continue to save us. Thank You Jesus for loving us! Please continue to guide us that our eyes may be only on God and not on worldly things and agendas. Please help us understand that our focus should be on You, that in any good deed we may accomplish, it is for Your glory. That it is more than enough that we are guided to know and follow Your will. That it will always be more than enough, more than we can ever understand, that You love us. Dearest Mama Mary, please pray for us.

Panginoon, turuan mo akong maging bukas-palad
Turuan mo akong maglingkod sa Iyo
At magbigay nang ayon sa nararapat
Na walang hinihintay mula sa Iyo
Na makibakang di inaalintana, mga hirap na dinaranas
Sa tuwina'y magsumikap na hindi humahanap ng kapalit na kaginhawaan
at di naghihintay kundi ang aking mabatid na ang loob Mo'y siyang sinusundan.

Panginoon, turuan mo akong maging bukas palad
Turuan mo akong maglingkod sa Iyo
At magbigay nang ayon sa nararapat
Na walang hinihintay mula sa Iyo


Saturday, October 17, 2015

Philippine Homeschool Conference 2015

I'm so excited for this!! :) Finally, a chance for me to see if this will be a good fit for our family. 

Homeschooling, ready for the world! See you all tomorrow! :)

P.S. Yes I know, need to sleep na hehehe :)


Sunday, October 11, 2015

Slow Cooker Meal: Tasty's Mozzarella-Stuffed Meatballs

Lately I've been suffering from waking up during odd hours at night. Not too sure if it's insomnia since I get to sleep by 9 or 10 pm. The bad part is I usually wake up at 2 am and not feel even a lil bit sleepy until after a couple of hours. So what do I do with that time? After I get to check on my fave sites, I try to be productive by scouring the net for fun, healthy, yummy and (hopefully) affordable meals I can prepare for the family.


I guess it was just my luck to have seen a slow cooker meal featured by Tasty. Just one look at the video and I knew I just had to make it! I was really pining for it for almost a week so I'm really glad we got the time to buy the ingredients needed when we dropped by Rockwell's Rustan's Supermarket.


Mommy Meowmeow's Verdict


My verdict? This meatball dish is the bomb!!! And every bite just feels like heaven... At first I was scared what would come out of it but now I'm so glad I took the risk. Absolutely goes right away to the top of my hall of fame list for easy and super delicious meals!



And since we made it using my mom's slow-cooker, I'm convinced more than ever that we should go get our own :) 

In the grocery bag

So here's the list of ingredients including how much it costs in the Philippines:

1 pound ground beef                 = 139.67 [Ground Sirloin]
1 pound hot Italian sausage       = 400.39 [Italian sausage we just peeled the casing]
1/2 tsp garlic powder               = 5.00
2 tsp salt                                       
1 tsp black pepper                     
1 cup bread crumbs                  = 15.25 [Nan Yuan]
1/4 cup parmesan cheese             = 201.00
1 pack mozzarella cheese            = 259.00
2 eggs                              = 30.67
1/2 cup whole milk                  = 28.00
1/2 cup chopped parsley             = 31.86
tomato sauce                        = 77.25 [We used 1 kg Clara Ole Sweet Style Spaghetti Sauce]

RECIPE from Tasty
1. Cut the mozzarella cheese into 3/4 inch cubes cubes. Store in refrigerator while preparing the meat.
2. In a large mixing bowl combine the above-mentioned ingredients (except for the mozzarella and tomato sauce)



3. Roll golf ball sized balls with the meat mixture. Squish mozzarella cube into the center and pull the edges of the meat ball around it until it’s a new ball again. [I now realize what an important step this is if you don't want the mozzarella to "escape" the meatball]


4. Arrange meatballs in slow cooker and cover in tomato sauce. 
5. Cook on high for 2 to 2.5 hours.



So all in all it cost us around PHP 1,188.09 or roughly USD 26.40 --> I know! It's not exactly in the affordable category but it just tastes so good I'll probably still do this every so often! :p I wasn't able to make a count of the total meatballs but from memory it would be something from 15-18 medium balls. 



Tips to make it more affordable: If you notice the Italian sausage is the runaway super expensive ingredient. If you're up to it you might want to substitute a local sausage variant (e.g. longganisang lucban, etc.) but the taste would definitely change a lot! The Italian sausage is actually the anchor or base taste of this dish. Parmesan and mozzarella are also not on the cheap side here in the Philippines; maybe you could change it to Quickmelt cheddar cheese or kesong puti perhaps? Again, proceed with caution! :) Oh and of course, the total cost might go down a bit depending on where you purchase the goods..methinks I have to do more research on quality and affordable sources :)

Over-all

1. I really (really, really, really!!!!) love this! :) I'll definitely splurge on this comfort food at least once a month.
2. Note to self: must learn more Italian recipes...and slow cooker meals!
3. Must buy our Crock-Pot Slow Cooker !! The slow cooker is such an encouraging cooking device! It makes me feel like I can be a "pro" in the kitchen. The results are just fantastic!



Monday, October 5, 2015

Happy World Teacher's Day!

Seems like it was just yesterday when I entered my first class. [Cue John Travolta's: I got chills, they're multiplyin'...] Hehehe...ahhh, that was some 2 years ago but look, I'm still here. The past couple of years have been eye-openers. There are moments of self-doubt when we ask if what we offer is 'enough', moments of inspiration when we look to the works of our students, co-faculty and members of the academe. But what I love most are the fleeting moments of pride in my students when I see something just "clicks". You'll somehow know that you're doing something right. That hope is not lost on the youth.

Today marks the culmination of World Teacher's Day. I'd like to honor my former teachers and my colleagues now at the university for choosing this road, preparing the path for the youth. Despite the challenges and sacrifices this profession requires, we still soldier on for the children. So dear readers, I hope you can say a prayer for all teachers that we can continue to "teach minds, touch hearts and change lives" as we go through our journey.

Illustration courtesy of: http://www.balancinghome.com
As Nelson Mandela said, "Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world."


Our La Sallian Prayer,
I will continue O my God to do all my actions for the love of you. 
St. Philip Neri, please pray for us.
St. Faustina Kowalska, please pray for us.
St. John Baptist De La Salle, please pray for us. 
Live Jesus in our hearts, forever. 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Video: Oh Boy! Baby Shower for Bel & Paul

Aside from weddings and kids parties, it seems that there are more and more baby showers on our calendar :) The last one we attended was for my sister-in-law & her hubby's baby. It was held at Stacy's in Forbeswood BGC, and let me tell you, the ID was so spot-on, I nearly wanted to be a kid again! Or I could peg their shop as design inspiration for a girl's room or a nursery. It's just the right amount of vintage, shabby chic..really lovely! And the Smeg refrigerator! Aaaaggghhhh!! If it's possible to have a "crush" on a home appliance, I think this would be it! :)

The food was good too for a hearty and heavy merienda fare. Okay, I'm not sure if it was actually  intended as snacks but that's what snacking is in my book = anything without rice! ..hahaha.. :) We had salad with pomelo and a nutty vinaigrette, fried/baked soft & crunchy chicken and their semi-spicy pasta. Don't tell A but I think I went beyond seconds here! :p

We certainly had so much fun too seeing grown up men (&women) gulping rounds of milk from a baby bottle, wrestling to fit a diaper, force-feeding an adult with Gerber baby food...and so much more! :)

Kudos to The Happyness Project team (Diane Lim & Kim Go) for a very successful event! :) Here's another home-made video, hope you like it! :)

Congratulations to Mr. & Mrs. Ang for their soon-to-arrive baby boy! :)

Baby Shower for Bel & Paul from Andrew Lim on Vimeo.
http://www.mommymeowmeow.com

Organized & Hosted by: Diane Lim & Kim Go | The Happyness Project

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Christmas don't be late! :)

In just a few winks, September will be over soon. And it'll just be a couple more months til it's Christmas once again! (fa la la la la, la la la la!!!)

Me and my baby
Our little trio :)

2014 was such a life-changing year for our family. Definitely it was also a frantic holiday season with our little one. Daddy A & I agreed to "forego" the celebrations to save some money and trouble. Tipid na, relax pa! Hehe.. It was our gameplan until the Christmas bug bit us! So at the last minute we decided to throw that plan away and just relish the Christmas spirit.

On a superficial level, you could say we gave in to the "retail spirit" as the shops were really decked with nice stuff! We did not have time to scour Divisoria so the next best thing was to just go visit our friendly neighborhood SM mall! Waaah..ang dami ring tao! What did we expect? Haha..since we were rushing to finish the list within the day so we can wrap them at home and write our messages, we shopped for 4-6 hours. My feet and legs were so sore, I think I had hypoglycemia yet still had a tummy ache from all that I ate (bopis, bibimbap, shawarma, etc.). Shopping time and budget were both stretched to 3 or 4 times from what we originally planned. So much for cramming...tipid at relax pala ha! Hehehe :)

Mommy's little helper :)

The gifts we gave were anything but grand. But you know what, it did not matter. Seeing happy, surprised and grateful faces was enough for me. I too am thankful that I was gifted with much in 2014. Our little baby, our growing family..the love, care and support in childbirth and child rearing, friends who just love and understand. Yes, thank you so much for the love. 

Much as Christmas is now equated with shopping or just plain gift-giving, I'm happy to know that there is still LOVE in the giving. So I hope that our gifts, simple as they may be, are enough to let you know how much we remember and appreciate your love and kindness and thank you for being part of our life. And how in your own way, you remind us of God's love.

Looking back, nakakatawa talaga that we thought we can just 'escape' Christmas. But our friends & family and their love for us just melted our frozen grinch-y hearts. I mean, how could we not when we feel their love everywhere we look. It might not have been the best in terms of outward factors but what we learned was something we cherish all the more.

Thank you Christmas 2014 for letting us realize and learn so many things. Thank you for the gift of family and the gift of friendship. Christmas 2015 we're now getting ready so don't ya be late! :)

P.S. Because I have a little more time now than last year I was able to curate lovely items for gift-giving. And no, these are not just something you buy off the store. Watch out for my next post! :)

P.P.S. Here's Alvin and the Chipmunks singing the song in the title :))



Amah with the little Santa baby..

Z with Amah
Z was 11 months old in this picture

With her monthsary cake
Lovely lunch and kwento with Capt. & Mrs. R! So this is how married friends spend Christmas now. Thank you so much for hosting this! And I might have forgotten to tell you, but your letter means a lot :)
Thank you so much to Capt & Mrs. R for hosting our get together! Still remember the yummy hotpot dish!
The growing extended family..We'll soon be welcoming a baby boy c/o Mr. & Mrs. Ang! :)
The growing family
A fresh start in Christmas traditions..I usually just eat and then sleep in. Uh-uh..not anymore, we want to be able to spend it with both our families so it's actually a busy Christmas eve and day for us!
Sopas, Ham and Hot Choco
It's about making time for people who matter...no matter the distance <3
We will travel 6 hours just to visit my dearest Nanay :)
Christmas is not just for people of similar faith. It is enough to know we are one in Christ.
The lovely RB sisters! So glad they were able to visit us :) Thanks for the gift, Ninang R!
One day dear Z, we'll have our Christmas tree :)

Z opening a present...it's a book! Thanks Tita DL!
Thank you Jesus for your blessings, thank you for the people you send to us in our life.
Going somewhere little lady?

Things I blog about..

#CaptureTheRealYou #OPPOF5 100 day wedding 168 18th month 1st birthday 2nd birthday 3rd month 50th birthday 6 months 7th month 8 millennium development goals 8th month a day in the life absolute accessories accessory activity books afritada aggy's Agico alex franco cake algo all of me almost gourmet alphabet altrenergy Alveo amazon kindle anniversary anthem Anthony bourdain apatite appliques araneta aromatherapy art deco asking a godparent AVIDA ayala baby baby back ribs baby food baby gatsby baby gatsby party baby girl baby k'tan baby meal baby ootd baby routine baby shower baby shower games baby wearing BabyComfyNose babywearing babywearing week 2014 back to work bad bird bag bag of beans baked dory baking ballerina ballet ballet kids Bananagrams Banco De Oro band Banking On Your Future baon baptism baptism candles baptism dinner baptism reception baptism seminar barbecue barbeque bargain finds barong batangas bayleaf hotel bazi BDO beach bed sharing beef beef kabsa before five in a 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chicken chicken rice chiffon childbirth chinatown chinese books chinese fables chinese food chinese new year chinese nursery rhymes chinito Chinkee tan chinky christening christmas christmas party christmas spirit chunky chewelry church cisco clara ole cleaning co sleeping Colgate colors conch shell Conti's cookbook cooking cooking time cooking tips cordfree cordless corduroy corporate girl costume couch crib crystal healing crystals CS csb hotel cubao cupcake cwc cyclone dance dawani de-cluttering dear future husband denise laurel design destination wedding diffuser dining dinner distributor divisoria divisoria mall DIY diy candles dlsu Dr. Seuss dry erase dslr dust proof dutch oven Dyson dyson cyclone v10 absolute Dyson v10 dzi beads e-books early bird breakfast club earrings easter eat all you can eating out ecopark educator elena ferrante eleventh month Elin engagement engagement dinner escolta essential oil essential oils essential rewards essentially prudent estrel's estrels etc 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jesus & mary heirloom hello kitty hole in the wall homecooking homemaking homeopathic homeschool homeschool life homeschooling honey glaze cakes hong kong hospital bag hospital kit hotel hotel intercon hotpot how not to die hurom hurricane hwayugi i will take you forever ikea induction cooker infanta instruments insurance intramuros investment ipo ipo jac Jamie Oliver japanese jesse bear Jesus Jesus blesses the children Jo-Anne Wong joe cross john legend johnny air cargo johnson chua jolly phonics jolly songs joy JSC juice diet jujube jumbo jumbo Bananagrams Junior Savers jvc jvc camcorder jvc everio kamagong Kanto freestyle KAP kaya toast kiam peng Kiddie Account Program kiddie party kids kidzoona kidztown ph killiney kindle korean kris lawrence kyowa la cocina de tita moning la mesa dam la sallian lab set labor kit lace lactation brownie lactation room laguna lamco landers otis lcm le bayou legarda house let's eat pare letter of the week library lifestyle treats lillebaby lillebaby carryon airflow lilleletsme little note lodge lolong lotw luck chinatown mall lucky chinatown mall lzm restaurant madison events madre de dios chapel magallanes church makati malacanang mall of asia Mama Mary mamaway bamboo charcoal belly band mambo no 5 mandaluyong Mandarin Chinese Mango Bravo manila manila doctors manila hotel manila international book fair manila ocean park manipulatives mardi gras Marina Bay Sands marriage mary grace cafe mass maternity bag mayon volcano medela medela freestyle medela house medela moms mega prime meghan trainor men's wear messenger bag metromix mexico ferry mibf michael greger midnight snack milestone cards milk mama milk mama diaries carnival mirrorless camera miss universe MoA mobler moira mom and tina's mommymeowmeow cooks mommymeowmeow finds momzilla fair money kit monkey king mosso mother nurture motherhood mozzarella-stuffed meatballs music video my good room my loves my loves babywearing My Sunday narra hill Nasal Aspirator nasugbu national museum of natural history neapolitan novels nesting new orleans New Zealand tapa nicholas sparks nikon nikon l820 ninang ninong ninth month niu noir et blanc non-traditional party nosefrida novotel nursing station Nursing Wear nutrition nuvali oakley oily mama oilymama omelette ongpin Online Shopping ootd orb diffuser outback steakhouse outing paht chee parenting parenting emporium paris partner appreiation night party party doll manila party planning party suppliers party tray party video passion cooks philippine homeschool conference philippines phonics photography picture books Pigeon Pigeon Baby Cotton Swab pilillia pinkerton pinoy food planning a first birthday plant based playground po gelai polar polar hrm polarized polka dots pop post partum post pregnancy clothes post pregnancy exercise post-partum postpartum powerplant powerplant mall prayers pre-nup precious medina precious stone preggy diaries pregnancy preparations prepared childbirth class preschool preschool homeschool 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slow cooker meals sm aura small party smeg smoothie smoothie lover snacks snowflakes obsidian snug a hug pillow soakswimwear sofa sofabed soft structured carrier softshells Solenad sonlight sophia the first sophie's mom spicy spiralizer ssc st. alphonsus st. alphonsus mary de liguori sta. rosa Stacy's stand out stc stick stickers storm strawberry shortcake street photography stroganoff stroller struggles sugar and sunbeams sugarplum suite blanco summer lookbook sunday reflections super mama surco swagger sweet home bakeshop sweet services swimming taal vista tabora taft tagaytay tagaytay children's choir tagaytay highlands talking english tamang kain tapsilog tbt teaching teething teething baby tenth month thankless the boutique bed and breakfast the creamery the happyness project the longest ride the north face the phonics handbook themed party thirty throwback Timberdoodle Timbuk2 time tips on choosing wedding photos tips on making wedding album toddler toddler life tokidoki tomas 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