Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Our "Big Bad Wolf" Experience 2018

In general, if you say "BOOKS!!", then I'd be there in a heartbeat! Quite literally too, you know? So that was the sort of thing that happened in last year's BBW or Big Bad Wolf book sale.

Together with our "squad" (uhh..that's me, hubby, our 2 kids and their cousin), we braved the humongous piles of books, kindred book-lovers AND.... bahala na si Batman sa budget (cringe! haha kidding, but not really!! LOL-ing so hard!).

I'm still mulling whether it was a good decision to bring kids to the book fair. On one end, I definitely want to open them up to the wonderful world of books. That there's a book for everyone, most especially kids. Of course, this decision weighed heavily on the grown-ups' book-shopping mode. A hungry toddler, a cranky one, a too-tired to walk little one (when we've barely gone through half of the stocks!)

Oh, and of course! "Mommy, buy this please!!" requests :) We're lucky that although they wanted to get every sparkly and cutely designed book, we were also able to go through the process WITH them on what we should prioritize as a family at this point in time. And that decision-making process is an important stuff for us! That YES, we can indulge in stickers and coloring and activity books, but we should also add to the roster books that will aid or supplement our homeschooling workbooks. And for their age, it's very important for us to choose books that promotes virtues for children in form of lovely picture books. Personally, it's always in my agenda to build a library of nice picture books not only for my kids but maybe even for the grand-kids in the future as well :)

Another thing we learned is that we should have opted for a non-weekend day to shop for books. If you like to get lost in mountains of books (and camp in the area), it doesn't really matter anyway. But if you have other things on your plate, then you'll get to enjoy this process with more peace and shorter check-out lines :)

Aside from our small stroller, we also brought our Lillebaby carrier. It is a topic for another discussion but let me just share how babywearing is just so so helpful. Since E was just a year old in 2018, he wasn't too comfortable to just sit in the stroller and face hundreds of strangers. Babywearing with our Lille helps him feel safe and secure and can weave in and out of sleep on his daddy's chest.

Check it out yo! Daddy A rocking the Lillebaby Spot On carrier

There are lots of cookbooks on different types of cuisines. I focused on Asian ones - Malaysian and Singaporean dishes specifically. I dunno, it's just something with the spices or the 'heat' of the food and ingredients that strongly resonates with my taste buds. Yummm!! 

Since we were also trying to 'improve' our health through the kinds of food that we eat, I purposely veered away from Cake / Baking books. Huhuhuhu...I know, I know... Cakes and sweets are my weaknesses  (I was even diagnosed with pre-diabetes back in 2011) but I had to be strong! Hahaha.. I tried my hand in baking when I was still pregnant with E. But looking at the ingredients, too much flour, butter and sugar...uhmm, I just wasn't as comfortable to keep on making and feeding it to my family, given our history and pre-dispositions. No offense to other bakers. I'll still be getting my flour on (my hands, our kids, our floor) but just not as much as before.

When you need to go somewhere (comfort room, cafe) but are still not yet finished with your book shopping, there was a 24-hour holding area for the books you have already carted.

When we felt hunger pangs, we went to the cafeteria outside the hall. They had decent dishes which the kids also liked. These were no-frills typical Filipino cafeteria fare but all good!

On the way back to the main hall, you'll see lots of magazines stacked on the floor, on very deep discount!

In my younger years, I religiously subscribed / bought each month Candy magazines and then went on to Cosmo in college. Now I don't buy them anymore, but still keep my hard copies with me. I fear that one day they'll all be totally gone! So at least I have something to show my kids and grandkids.

The book storage / holding area

Check-out area

Although there indeed was a long line, it was funneled out to a good number of cashiers so it wasn't such a long wait for us. They accepted payments thru cash / card but before you hand it to them, you get to have a final moment to reflect if you need everything in your cart or just maybe, there's something else you've missed?

I 'feared' the check-out area for two reasons: the long lines and finding out our total bill! Hahahaha :) Of course I had a very rough estimate but the very idea of finding out the actual amount was a bit scary.

Our Big Bad Wolf 'Stash'

Daddy A's Architecture books:

Mommy Meowmeow's childcare and self-care (exercise, massage) books:

Mommy Meowmeow's cookbooks:

Because sometimes when you can't travel you'd rather just have a taste of their food too :)

Big sis Z's stash:

These are the books for our little artist. She likes to draw, she likes fashion and art is something that we'd like for both her and little E to have an appreciation for.

For the library:

The fold-out atlas is a token for her cousin and the DK Human Body book is another addition to our library.

Z & E's stash:

Because kids love stickers, who knew? Although it drives me crazy to see some on our floor or on our walls, it's still a life-saver for moments when they just need to have something to be busy with (we try to do everything first before handing them a phone for entertainment, usually it does the trick!)

Still another for our library..huge picture books, which is good for read-aloud time :)

Something for Daddy A again because he likes this story from Dragon Ball Z and he told me that this is also the basis for the K-drama - Hwayugi (A Korean Odyssey)

Soooo the big question is -- are we going back this year?? 

TLDR: I'm actually holding myself back for #BBW2019. It's true! While we have enjoyed the books we have purchased last year, we are saving up now for a major appliance. Of course, I could just 'look' or even just get one book or a couple. Hahaha, but who am I kidding?? LOL!

Well, if Daddy A would want to go or if I have friends (ehem, ehem) who would need me to go with them, I just might...who knows?!?

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.


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

Find them on Facebook: Super Mama Kabsa


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