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 :(

Our hunt for the "perfect-for-us" sofa

Who's looking for a sofa too?? We've been on the hunt for quite a while, a few years actually, ahem! :) It's become quite a challenge for us since we always need to find the balance between: our available space, budget, intended use and aesthetic qualifications (especially of my husband).

I mean, our living area is used for a lot of things and it also forms part of the dining area. We could probably do away with the sofa, as we've obviously living without it, right? But I dunno...I just don't feel comfortable to have guests over without being able to offer them a seat on the couch. Haha..Yes, we could use the dining table and chairs if it's strictly for that but for me, a sofa really represents not only our hospitality to guests, but more so, our fond and loving interactions with our family. Needless to say, even if we are still co-sleeping and bed-sharing with the kids, spending active time with them (reading, braiding, story-telling, anything under the sun) is really different when done in bed. Well, we'll have to see about that when the "chosen one" arrives :p

For a while I've been following several Japanese Instagram accounts that feature #MyGoodRoom tag. Yup, go check that tag this instant and most likely you too would be captivated by the simplicity, elegance and real-life functionality of their living spaces. Regardless if their space was huge or small, there's this recurring vibe that simply resonates with us too. Kumbaga, yun na talaga yung peg namin! I loved it so much that whenever we get stuck in traffic, I'll instantly go to that tag and admire, sometimes even send a message to ask where they got the furniture from. As in we were really thinking about importing from Japan. However, I found out that they don't come cheap! It'll go upwards of PHP 150,000.00 - shipping not included pa. Yikes! That's way above our heads! 

So we decided to just look at options that range from PHP 15,000-35,000. Anything 'fancier' than that would definitely break our budget (what budget?? hahaha). Conversely, anything that's cheaper than that would probably be smaller in size or the quality may not be up to par with our family's needs.

When Daddy A and I talked about it, we decided on the following:

  1. A 3-seater that's not too long nor too bulky
  2. No corners because we still have a kulit toddler
  3. Fabric should be leatherette, preferably. In  neutral colors or it should be in white / off-white. If need be, a shape which I can make  (sew) a pillow cover / slip cover for.
  4. Should be easy to clean - vacuum / wipe down
  5. Should at least match our existing dining table that's in light wood finish. 
  6. Preferably Japanese / Scandinavian design aesthetic
  7. Clear under-sofa so we can vacuum regularly
  8. Something we can really live and relax in and not be too high-maintenance

Back to the drawing board, we looked at furniture stores and also asked for recommendations from our friends. This is the short list of our store options and some of my insights on them:

  • LUFU (Binondo) - I haven't visited the place, maybe seen from afar lang. My husband says that they are mostly offering traditional/classical designs. If I'm not mistaken, this might be where he purchased our Lazy-boy-like rocker/recliner in my earliest breastfeeding days :)
  • Lazada (Pearl Panda seller) - We liked the Kruzo sofa but when we visited their warehouse (near J. Abad Santos) to check on the quality, hubby was a bit skeptic if it'll really last long. Especially with kids running and jumping around! If it was just the 2 of us, we'd probably get this because it's very affordable. I almost bought it during the 11.11 sale! Gosh!
  • Mandaue Foam (Quezon Ave.) - I did some online shopping in their website and liked a few. It was well below our budget too! But hubby did not approve the design cause it won't go well with the existing furniture.
  • SM Our Home (Mall of Asia) - I'm guessing this would have to be one of their biggest showrooms, or at leasat one of the most updated ones. We liked a few in terms of the look. But hubby did not like when the seat level is too low. I would have loved to buy from SM so that I could at least collect SM Advantage points :)
  • Furniture Republic (Solenad, Nuvali) - while being here on a side trip post-Christmas, hubby visited their showroom and liked a display in Nuvali.
  • Furniture Source (online, Santolan) - we've been fans of Ikea products and the Nordic furniture/space look in general. It feels very similar to the Japanese minimalist grams I've been ogling in the past.


Ta-daaaahhh!!! I found a sofa (with lamp freebie) on sale online and immediately carted it LOL!! :D 

Expectation: Karlshamn 5-in-1 Sofa bed

Reality: A bit smaller than the picture but fits right in the space we have for it :)

So, it is really nowhere near the peg we were originally going for. BUT! There are still some elements that were still present: leatherette, white / oak combination, size and I guess that's about it hahaha :)

What I'm trying to say is that there are a lot of aspects we have foregone in this sofa hunt! As a marketer too, it's fun to observe such Consumer Behavior in action (even my own) affected by sales and freebies. 

Did I like it? My heart sank a bit when I saw IRL how it appears smaller compared to the picture.  My husband is a stickler for measurements and he did check on this aspect but there was really a difference as well in some of the features shown in the picture (throw pillow size, oak color). I even asked if we can exchange it for something else in their store since the item wasn't delivered yet. They didn't allow it and since this was my idea and my doing after all, I decided that that was to be the extent of my mini buyer's remorse :p 

Of course, Daddy A gave me a knowing look and reminded me to see the actual product first before even carting (next time). To be fair, the sofa has it's own merits too:

  • 5-in-1 sofabed
  • Ottoman with storage. It can be attached to the sofa side or be used as a foot stool or even as a center table
  • Pull-down center backrest. Can be used as a table for tea or reading. Definitely won't use it for eating as the crumbs might fold back into the sofa
  • Extra pull-out storage drawers
  • Armrest can be attached to left or right side of the sofabed


After about a week from the store visit, they were able to deliver our order. I calmed myself and learned to love our new sofabed. Count and be grateful for your blessings, as they say :) 

We had to move everything out of the way and finish our set-up that night. 

It was really a good thing that we visited the store to still check on it. Otherwise I'd have the surprise of my life!! Happy as I was with the white leatherette, I immediately realized that as long as our kids are toddlers, this seat HAS to remain covered. Hence we make do with our single-sized bed sheet draped over the sofabed. Eeeepp! :D

One day soon I'll make a spandex cover for this. Till that time, we'll be alternating between the bed sheet and the katsa/canvass cover I practiced sewing on :)

Our freebie Lersta lamp :)

So to all mommies web-surfing sofas / couches, I hope you will seriously consider seeing the actual product before buying online. Even if dimensions are fully stated in the website, there is a world of a difference to see the real-life look and feel of your chosen furniture. 

Happy hunting! :)

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'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 :)



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