Monday, December 12, 2011

Merry Christmas!!!

It really is a very merry Christmas. The Christmas spirit came a little late for me this year but boy, when it did, it came full blast! I have had such a blast this year and have so many things to be thankful for that it is just plain impossible to not get caught up in the revelry and spirit of the season.

I was down for about 3 days with some stomach bug or food poisoning (not sure what it was) and all my plans for baking and shopping for gifts went down the drain.  I had to make up for lost time which made me CRAZY! haha  I spent the 23rd walking in a coma in the mall to finish my holiday shopping. 

Nevertheless, I found perfect gifts for the wonderful people in my life.  I had a grand old time stuffing my face with scrumptious food.  I had the best time with both my families and I have new memories to cherish and remember.

Merry Christmas! 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Housewife Chronicles: Missing Home

There are just some days when I miss my family in Manila.  I miss sitting down to dinner and chattering with my sisters, mom and dad while eating.  Tarlac is my home now and I have my own family but I miss the comfort of eating mom's cook anything-inside-the-ref meals, the way special occasions have their own category of food and sitting around the dining table until we've finished all the little morsels of our favorite dish. 

My mom used to cook us glutinous rice balls (tang yuan) stuffed with either peanuts or black sesame during the Chinese New Year.  She boils it in a sweet soup of brown sugar, water and ginger.  We used to complain and give our mom a lot of grief for forcing us to eat these chewy round orbs.  Only when I got older did I appreciate how delicious they are: soft and chewy on the outside, nutty and mildly sweet on the inside with a hot gingery sweet broth.

Food Trip Weekends: Thai Dara and Mamou Too

Friday Dinner: 

I was in the mood for some hot soup after a tiring afternoon of doctor check-ups for both Jacob and I.  I also didn't want to venture far from home since traffic was horrendous.  I love the Christmas season but I detest the heavy traffic that inevitably goes with the Christmas rush. So off we went to get Thai food to soothe my tummy with hot and spicy soup and deliciously tangy beef salad.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Food Trip Weekends: Good Earth Garden Cafe

I went out to have merienda and some chit chat with my good friend L.  There are limited choices in Tarlac when it come to food and we always end up going to the same places over and over again.  We knew Good Earth Garden Cafe opened a branch at the McArthur Highway (they also have a branch at Romulo Highway), and decided to go there to try something new.  

The first time my friends mentioned this place, I thought it was the same Good Earth restaurant in Manila.  Turned out it was a homegrown Tarlac business.

I remembered the first time I ate here. they only had one menu to pass around.  I'm happy to see they printed out more menus already. hehe

We started with homemade malunggay pesto and crackers.  This  is a good way to insert more malunggay into our diets.  

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Housewife Chronicles: Holiday Baking

It's that time of the year again.. I'm turning my kitchen topsy turvy, depleting my sugary supplies and baking up a storm for my friends and loved ones. What is better than crackly topped, ooey gooey brownies, as prosaic as they are? Revel bars, the recipe I got from my sister-in-law, is in essence a giant chocolate chip oatmeal cookie made over the top.

I'm tired but satisfied knowing people dear too me will be enjoying the fruits of my baking endeavors.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mommy Fashion: Night Out with Blockmates

Saturday was one of those rare times I have a night out with my college blockmates. We planned to eat at Yakimix so I planned on buffet friendly clothes... A garterized skirt, loose top and cardigan are all great ways to disguise the flab.

I also wanted to wear my new booties. My sister-in-law, C, and I have similar taste in clothes and shoes. When we saw these shoes, we immediately wanted to try it on. The salesman informed us that it was all out in size 9 which, coincidentally, is both our shoe size. After looking around, we came back again for the shoes and insisted they double check their stocks again. Lo and behold, they came back with size 9 and 10 in all colors. C got the shoes in black and I got it in gray. As a bonus, we only paid 700 pesos what we thought was 1000 pesos shoes. Our persistence paid off! Yahoo!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Taipei 2011: Day 4

We wanted to buy some things to take home for pasalubong and, luckily for us, SOGO was having a sale.  So off we go in a taxi (it was raining and taking a taxi in Taiwan is compartatively cheaper) to a day of retail therapy.  Don't worry, we spent most of our time buying food and drinks in the grocery.  

*Take note, you could get 5% rebate for things you're bringing out of the country.  Please bring your passport along.  Check this site for details.

We took an early lunch at the food court.  I got chicken chop curry omurice and an oyster omelette meal for J and I.  Yes, we finished the whole plate.  What?!  We were hungry!

Bibimbap for K.

J sipping soup through straw.

Starbucks stuff.

We went our separate ways after lunch.  The girls went crazy at the MAC counter while the boys went shoe shopping.  My sister and I had to go home and get our passport to avail of the rebate.  I also bought some odds and ends at the supermarket. 

Salmon sashimi from the supermarket.

Afternoon snack was Share Tea which was located right across SOGO.   Armed with my rusty Mandarin, I was able to order.  Yey!!

I didn't understand what the base flavor was but I'm guessing it's wintermelon with rocksalt cheese.  This is sooooo gooooood!!! They also had a sinker which I haven't encountered in Manila.  It was shaped like a jellybean and tasted like kaong. Could somebody verify this for me???  Calling Share Tea Manila!!

We transferred to another SOGO which was one block away on the other side of the road.  The elusive Shin Tong Yang was found there.  We hoarded on Taiwanese sausage for our trip home.

Spotted:  Hello Kitty Cakes!



Since we were leaving for the airport at 10pm, we went home to pack all our things first before going out for dinner.  I had a lovely time at Apple House.  It was sad to leave.  :(

Dinner at some random restaurant.

Sauteed cabbage.

Oysters.  I am very suspicious of oysters so I just tasted one.

Spicy squid.

Various fried thingies.

Beef stir fry.

Sweet and sour fish.

Boiled shrimp.

One more picture before we say good-bye Taipei and good-bye shobe!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Taipei 2011: Stuff I Bought

I went on this trip knowing that I wouldn't be doing any clothes shopping.  Not only is Taiwan entering the winter season (think fuzzy knits and thick coats), but we also have a small boy in tow.  Not conducive for a successful shopping trip.  BUT...I couldn't resist the cute accessories and the cheap cosmetics Taiwan had to offer.  Not only do they have a bigger selection of (for want of a better word) stuff, they also have cheaper prices.  By stuff, I mean all the little knickknacks, unnecessary but irresistible. 

Cheap frames from Xi Men Ding.  I love the wooden frame on the left. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Taipei 2011: Day 3

The family wanted to go electronic shopping and then go to Xi Men Ding for some sightseeing.  Guang Hua Digital Plaza was just a 15 minute walk away from the apartment.  It is a huge building with literally everything about computers and electronics.  Prices are usually lower when compared to Philippine prices.  However, they had a price increase because of the recent Thailand flooding.  Too bad since we were ready to buy hard drives and other computer accessories.  

J and I had a snack of tea eggs and matcha milk while E was looking around. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Taipei 2011: Day 2

I promised E that our second day will be more relaxing than our first one.  He, of the sore feet and bad temper, was delighted to hear shopping was NOT in the itinerary for the day.  My mom specifically asked if we could go to one of Taiwan's many hot springs for a day trip and we eagerly complied.  We planned to go to the nearby Dan Shui area but opted not to go because of time constraints. 

Taiwan's MRT system is easy to navigate.  We just took the red (Xindian-Danshui/Nanshijiao-Beitou) line to Beitou MRT station. From Beitou station a one-station branch line runs to Xin Beitou station, which is very near the hot springs area.  The Taiwanese are so lucky!  It takes only 45 minutes of relatively pain-free commute and they can enjoy a relaxing day of soaking in hot spring.  

J, are you bored?  We promise not to take too many pictures.  

Friday, November 18, 2011

Taipei 2011: Day 1

 Non-stop eating was the main agenda in our Taipei itinerary.  We just ate wherever our journey takes us and decided not to stress too much about our plans.  

Day 1:

What would a Taipei trip be if we did not take a visit to the cult classic Din Tai Fung restaurant for some soupy siao long bao dumplings? We visited the new Taipei 101 branch of Din Tai Fung and was greeted by a huge mob of people waiting in line to get into Zara.  Turned out Zara opened the day before and the Taiwanese were eager to get their hands on the merchandise.  Anyway..Din Tai Fung's line, despite being very long, was moving quickly.  We were given a waiting time of 30 minutes but were given a sit in 15. Yey!


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Taipei 2011: What We Wore

Of course I was mega-excited for J's first trip abroad.  His outfits were planned in advance with matching accessories.  As if he cared. haha  I just wore what was comfortable and hopefully, I didn't appear too frumpy.  

Day 1: 

Taipei greeted us with cool, windy weather and I'm so glad I came well prepared with sweaters and long sleeved shirts for the little boy.  I got paranoid that he might get sick on his first day so we really bundled him up warmly for his first day of adventure. 
 Polo: Mothercare, Cardigan: H&M, Cargo pants: H&M, Hat: Surplus Shop, Shoes: Adidas

Taipei 2011: Avent Tempo

One thing I got worried about was how to bring all of J's bottles and bottle cleaning implements to our trip.  My baby bag was bursting to the seams already and bringing 4 bottles all at once is simply not an option!  The Avent Tempo system was a real life saver.  I just brought one bottle and the refills and we were all set for the trip.  

I also brought along Pigeon hand and mouth wet tissues to clean the bottle nipples and cover.  I just wipe all the parts contaminated with milk and rinse with hot water.  I must say that it worked very well and was super convenient.  

These wipes are food grade and are perfect for babies.  You can even use these to wipe fruit and vegetables if you're suspicious of how clean they are.

This is the complete bottle with the disposable plastic cup inside.  It really made the trip a lot more convenient since I did not have to worry about bringing all of J's bulky stuff. 

Just put a new cup (it's already sterilized from the package) and screw on the lid.  No need to wash and sterilize the whole bottle.  A great thing for Avent users is you can use your normal nipples with this bottle.  No need to buy new ones just to fit into the system. 

Next up, outfit posts for J and I. :)