My Happy Valentine’s Day

My Valentine’s Day was a bit different this year as I’m down with the flu. I told my husband a few days before V-Day that if he had planned a dinner or any surprises that involved going out of the house, I would pass. But Tom, being a romantic had already planned months in advance a weekend staycation in a hotel. So sweet!

I didn’t want to waste his hotel reservation and I felt a little better anyway so I was game.

While packing, here’s a typical scenario in Maison Epperson:

Dylan: “What are you doing, mom?”
Me: “Packing. Dad and I are going somewhere. (Purposely speaking in general terms and without disclosing details to my 5-year old because I know how it’s going to pan out, haha!)
Dylan: “OK, I’ll pack too!”
Me: “No, dahling. Just dad and me. No kids allowed.”
Dylan: (In his this-is-the-end-of-the-world kind of tone) “WHAT?!! I’m not going?!! That’s not right. That’s not fair.”
Me: “It’s OK. We’ll be back soon. Aryanna is not even going.”
Dylan: “Aryanna can stay. I’m going!”
Me: “Dylan… Sometimes, dad and mom need time to be alone. Just like when the two of us go out. *blah, blah, blah*
Dylan: *Puppy face and teary-eyed* “I know, mom. But… but… I love you and I just always want to be with you.

It’s getting harder to reason with my son as he’s growing up smart! OMG. May sakit ako. Kapagod mag-explain! Sige na! Sumama na kayong lahat!!! LOL

How can I resist these gestures of love?!!

It really doesn't take a lot much to declare ones love. My kilig moment from my boys!

Time to check in!

Marriott Manila Hotel

We had a family meeting while Tom fixed our stay. We all agreed that the kids could stay until 6pm then Tom would bring them home to get some alone time.

I've always liked the Executive Lounge in Marriott Manila. If you're staying in the Executive Suite, you can check in the lounge. Easy breezy.

My son was not convinced—malayo ang tingin, haha!

Sweet Valentine’s Day treats in the hotel’s lounge. None for me because I’m dieting.

Palm Sunday

Relax?

Swim fans

Pool time with the kids.  I was snuggled in thick beach towels watching Aryanna and Dylan have fun in the pool. I’m glad I caved in and brought them to the hotel with us. Seeing them happy makes me happy too. Tom on the other hand was watching the clock—hashtag: 6PM! LOL

Finally, some peace, quiet and room service.

After Tom dropped off the kids back home, we snuggled in bed and watched TV and movies. Since we don’t have a TV in our room at home, it was a nice change. We actually finished watching three movies without anyone yelling at us “MOM! DAD!”

Thank you hun for always making me feel special! Happy Valentine’s Day and I love you forever!

The view from our hotel room. It gave Tom and me ideas for our garden. Love it!

Relationships are all about love and compromise. A happy Valentine’s Day and life in general is about making simple gestures that say ‘I love you,’ living in harmony and some uninterrupted movie-watching time. ;)

Cheers to love!

Valentine Chicken

My husband and I are celebrating our Valentine’s Day a bit different this year, well, at least I am. Usually, we have a dinner date but since I’m on a super healthy diet and a bit down with the flu, there will be no steak and bubbly for me. Boo. I will pop my Moët & Chandon Rose Imperial once I’ve achieved my goal.

Just because steak is not on the menu doesn’t mean I have to suffer eating grass, haha! I can’t live without meat.

Here’s what my entire family (they’re so sweet and supportive) is having on
Valentine’s Day:

Valentine Chicken

Ingredients: 1 small skinless chicken breast, butterfly cut; pinch of cayenne pepper; 1/2 tsp garlic powder; salt and pepper; 1 cup mixed greens; For the dressing: 2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil (use half for greasing the pan); 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar; 1/2 fresh lemon juice

Easy peasy: Step 1: Using a sharp knife, lay the chicken breast on its side and place a cut through the center of the breast going from side to side (do not cut all the way through, leaving enough of the chicken breast connected so that you can open up the breast to ‘butterfly’ it creating a heart-shaped breast) or ask your butcher to do it for you. Step 2: Season chicken breast with cayenne pepper, salt & pepper. Step 3: Heat the pan with the olive oil and pan-sear the chicken till done. Step 4: Serve with salad and balsamic vinegar dressing.

This Valentine’s Day, let’s take care of our hearts, literally. It’s all about loving our body, ourselves and life!

Celebrate today! No pressure, just pleasure.

Unboxing: Sevenfriday

I first came across Sevenfriday watches on my Instagram feed. They have cool-looking timepieces that I thought my husband Tom would like.

Since it’s Valentine’s Day, it’s time to spread love!

Let’s open this baby!!!

Sevenfriday watches come in a khaki and leather backpack

Cool wooden crate as watch box

The cover slides open…

And reveals… A foam. LOL!

This is it!

Loving the industrial look and the pop of yellow color of Sevenfriday’s M2 watch!

Boom.

Sevenfriday is a Zurich-based brand, inspired by industrial elements, tools, engines, machines, wheels, and art.

The products’ design is a combination of high-end production and complex construction. The interplay between industrial-looking design and complex mechanics make this haute horology interesting—so interesting that my husband snapped it up even before I was done shooting the watch! Tom!!

Happy Valentine’s Day, hun! I hope you top my gift! LOL

Shoppingera, it’s time to get your man a Sevenfriday for Valentine’s Day!

Sevenfriday watches are available at the following branches of Washington — Shangri-La Plaza Mall, SM Megamall, Greenbelt 1, Powerplant Mall Rockwell, Alabang Town Center, Festival Mall, Glorietta 4, SM North EDSA, Eastwood Mall, and Robinsons Place Manila.

Recipes For A Bikini-Body

The older we get, the harder it is to stay fit. Our metabolic rate generally slows—ugh. We need to make an effort to make better food choices and exercise choices in order to live a good life.

Summer is nearing and the call of the island is irresistible. In my opinion, for one to truly enjoy the beach or the swimming pool is by jumping into the water, swim and frolic. It’s liberating and fun!

We all love our tunics, robes and caftans but you can’t swim in them. It’s time to face the music and don a swimsuit. Let’s get ready for our bikini-bodies!

Here are some healthy and super easy recipes to get started:

Breakfast

Tomato, Basil & Onion Omelette with Mixed Greens and Balsamic Vinaigrette

Ingredients: 1 whole tomato, chopped; 1 tbsp onion, chopped; 1 egg; 1 tbsp water; 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (to grease the pan); fresh basil leaves; 1 cup mixed greens. For the dressing: 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar; 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil; 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice; salt and pepper

Easy peasy: Step 1: Beat egg with cold water, set aside. Step 2: Heat 1 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil in a small, non-stick frying pan, then swirl in the egg. Cook until done to your liking. Step 3: Spoon the tomato, basil and onion mix over half of the omelette. Step 4: Fold omelette over the tomato, leave for about 30-45 seconds, then slide onto a plate. Serve with a salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

2-Egg White Frittata with Basil and Spring Onions

Ingredients: 2 egg whites; 2 tbsp cold water; fresh basil and spring onions, finely chopped; 1 tbsp mozarella cheese; 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil; salt and pepper

Easy peasy: Step 1: Beat eggwhites and cold water in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Step 2: Heat 1 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil in a small, non-stick frying pan, then swirl in the egg. Step 3: Add the basil, spring onions and cheese then, cover the pan for 30 seconds. Step 4: Cut in wedges and serve with a smile! (I only eat 2 pieces and refrigerate the left over)

Lunch

Pan Seared Garlic Chicken Breast with Mixed Greens and Balsamic Vinaigrette

Ingredients: 1 small chicken breast; 1/2 tsp garlic powder; 1 tbsp olive oil; salt and pepper; 1 cup mixed greens; For the dressing: 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar; 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil; 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice; salt and pepper

Easy peasy: Step 1: Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil. Step 2: Season the breast with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Put chicken in the pan and sear both sides until cooked. Step 3: Cut chicken into cubes. Serve with a salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

Healthy Pancit Canton

Ingredients: 1 pack of buckwheat noodles; onion, cabbage, carrot and broccoli; 1 tbsp olive oil; 1 tbsp Bragg’s Liquid Aminos; 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice; pepper

Easy peasy: Step 1: Cook buckwheat noodles according to the package. Step 2: Steam all veggies then add to the cooked noodles. Step 3: Make sauce/dressing – in a jar, add olive oil, Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, lemon juice and pepper, shake well.  Serve size: 1/2 cup noodles and 1 cup veggies

Dinner

Lean Burger & Broiled Broccoli

Ingredients: 150 grams lean ground beef; 1 egg white; 1 head broccoli; 3 tbsp olive oil; salt and pepper

Easy peasy: Step 1: In a bowl, mix broccoli and olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Step 2: Using an airfryer or toaster or oven, broil the veggies for 10-15 minutes until cooked. Step 3: Mix lean beef and egg white. Season with salt and pepper. Step 4: In a pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil. Pan sear the burger on both sides.

Stir Fry Pechay, Shrimp & Squid

Ingredients: 1 bunch of pechay or bokchoy, chopped; 1 small squid, cut into rings; 30 grams of fresh or frozen shrimps; garlic powder, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1/4 cup water, salt and pepper

Easy peasy: Step 1: Heat pan and add the olive oil. Fry the squid and shrimps. Step 2: Add the pechay or bokchoy, season with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Step 3: Add the water and cover. Cook until veggies are slightly wilted. Serve with a smile!

Tips:

• It’s all about portion control. If you’re making a batch, make sure to divide it into smaller meals.
• Meal preparation is key. Plan a menu and prepare all the ingredients in different containers. You’re likely to eat healthy when you have healthy food readily available.
• Use smaller plates to make the food seem more. This is effective in “tricking” our brain.
• Drink lots of water. A glass before and after eating and drink 10 glasses a day.
• Eat 3 meals a day only but you can snack in between with Kashi Crisps (available at Healthy Options) or Jacob’s Hi-Cal Crackers, 2 pieces only.
• No alcohol. No desserts.
• Avoid parties and gatherings for now unless you have the willpower to not eat and drink.
• Sleep early so you don’t have to deal with unnecessary midnight snacks.
• Don’t buy junk food. If it’s not in the house, you won’t eat it.
• Read inspiring stories on healthy weight-loss and keep dreaming of that bikini body!
• Stay active. Keep exercises light if you’re eating smaller portions. Try swimming, biking or walking.
• Reunite with your kitchen or learn to cook basic recipes. It’s empowering!
• Seek your doctor’s advice before going on any kind of diet. Make sure your heart and hormones are in check plus, you may also need vitamins and supplements.

I really believe that eating healthy and staying active are the answers to a rockin’ body!

We have 8 weeks to prepare for the beach. I think that’s enough time to get fit. If we keep at it, we can do it!

Who’s with me?

Mandala Spa & Villas, Boracay Island

When it comes to quick beach getaways, the best way to fast track relaxation is to book a massage the minute you land the island.

Booking a spa treatment is one of my “Me” time rituals when I’m at the beach. It melts my stress pronto!

Mandala Spa & Villas is one of my go-to wellness centers in Boracay. In fact, my husband, friends and I were regular guests when they first opened. I remember booking appointments days before flying to the island to make sure I never miss a spa treatment (they get booked out quickly!) I’ve been to Mandala Spa so many times that I’ve amassed tons of their free sarong. I believe I have all the colors already, haha!

The moment you step in Mandala Spa & Villas you immediately feel a sense of serenity. The resort is quiet and with a lush garden to boot. It’s a place where time stand still. I’m always happy to re-visit this resort.

The charming Garden Villa is nestled on a hilltop, surrounded by 2.6 hectares of tropical, lush greenery.

It offers a quiet retreat from everyday life. The romantic, exclusive, and discrete Garden Villa is less than 10-minute walk to the beach.

This is the best Valentine’s Day retreat every couple (and singles too) need.

Beautiful outdoor bath

I wish Tom was with me…

Nature provides the best drama

Time to unwind. Here we go…

I had the Filipino Heritage Package. The experience starts with a floral foot bath and Suob, a ritualistic smudging to clear the surrounding energy. A scrub of fresh coconut extracts, organic rice and precious oils purify skin. Next is a 15-minute dip in Mandala’s coconut milk bath, a tropical fantasy of natural oils and Hibiscus flower extracts. Personally, I loved bathing in fresh flowers. It’s calming and relaxing. To cap this truly indigenous and indulging Filipino spa journey, an award-winning Hilot Trilogy.

The entire treatment lasted 2 hours and 45 minutes. I really got into the whole spa rituals—the smell of burning incense, foot and body scrub, the milk and floral bath and the amazing Hilot. No phones, no thoughts, no distractions and just savoured the moment. What an amazing experience!

I have to say, every time I go to Mandala Spa I feel relaxed, refreshed and spiritually awakened.

Thanks to the professional and amazing staff of Mandala Spa & Villa for a wonderful experience and special shoutout to my favorite island girl Freida Dario!

The next time you visit Boracay, make sure to book an appointment at Mandala Spa & Villas, you’ll thank me for it!

For more information about Mandala Spa & Villa’s treatments, yoga schedule, accommodations and other services, visit their website.

Charriol St-Tropez Style Collection

I remember when I was in college it was during the late 90′s when watches were one of the popular gifts for graduation specifically the iconic Charriol watch. At that that time, it was THE watch to have. In fact, a lot of my classmates and I wanted one or their Cable Bracelet. Thanks to my parents I got both as presents!

Fast forward to the 2000′s when I was working in ABS-CBN Publishing, I had the honor to style Philippe Charriol’s daughter Coralie for the cover of Metro Magazine. I remember her being glamorous and stylish. She was nice and friendly towards me. She was also happy to know about my Charriol watch story.

Last week, I was invited to Charriol’s luxury getaway and presentation of the brand’s St-Tropez Style Collection. I also found out that Philippe Charriol’s son Alexandre was going to join the event. I knew he is an artist but I didn’t realize till later that he is now the VP of Philippe Charriol International and he personally designed their latest collection. I was excited!

Time for the Charriol getaway!

Touchdown!

#OOTD

Nothing says welcome more than a drink with an umbrella and a big fat steak for lunch, haha!

Guests were treated with their own villas

Room tour!!

If I could, I would bring these faux shells at home. LOL

“Survivor Charriol:” Outwit, outlast, OUTFIT! ;)

Charriol prepared themed activities so I packed some of my favorite robes and tunics for the beach.

Welcome gifts from Charriol

I read our itinerary and guests were encouraged to relax—I love it! As soon as I unpacked, I wasted no time—I changed into my beach attire and booked a massage agad-agad!

Namaste

All relaxed and pampered. It’s time for the Charriol sunset soiree! Ahhhhhhh! Check out the fabulous set-up !

With the man of the cocktail hour Alexadre Charriol looking casual and cool. We’re twinning in white.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet my Charriol crew! No one told me complete casting pala dito! LOL

At the Charriol Sunset Soiree: Mika Martinez, Charina Sarte, Charmaine Palermo, Divine Lee, Victor Basa, Nix Alanon, Jonathan Jackson, Rajo Laurel, Tim Yap, Ruffa Gutierrez, Jordan Mouyal, Phem Barranda, and Alexander Charriol

It was a full moon on our first night. After cocktails, it was off to dinner and some serious dancing.  Cue: “tugsh…tugsh…tugsh…”

The money shot! Alexandre proved he lives and breathes the brand—HTT (head to toe) in Charriol! Boom.

Day 1 was quite tame for some, like me. Got back to my room before midnight and woke up refreshed at freakin’ 5:30 am!

SO, guess who was one of the firsts at the Charriol St-Tropez brunch and presentation?!

The early bird got to style her own Charriol product shots, haha! I used flowers found in the island and propped the Charriol St-Tropez watch on a wooden bench with the perfect ray of sunlight hitting the face. I love my job!

Spotlight on Charriol's latest St-Tropez Collection

The St-Tropez Style is crafted from stainless steel and features Charriol’s hallmark twisted cable strap. A white mother of pearl bezel and dial is etched with an exclusive guilloché pattern supplemented by polished counters at 3, 9 and 12 o’clock. A small seconds dial is shown at 6 o’clock and the Charriol logo appears at 12 o’clock. Each timepiece is made in Switzerland and contains a quartz movement. The clips and bracelet can be easily removed and interchanged, with a maximum of two clips around the strap. An optional variant with a pink-gold plated case and detailing is also available.

The St-Tropez Style also includes intriguing clasps to clip around the cabled watch strap. Six different designs celebrate the eternal themes of love and adventure:

‘Ocean Echoes’ is seashell clip perfect for those with a traveller spirit while the ‘Name It Love’ in rose gold keep romance close to hand

Charriol’s now-iconic St-Tropez watch for women captures all the glitz and glamour of the famous French Riviera town.

‘Everlast’ shows the intricate Charriol insignia decorated with cubic zirconia stones

Characterized by a mother of pearl bezel and elegant chain bracelet, the St-Tropez timepieces are exceptionally elegant. The latest addition to the range, St-Tropez Style, combines personality with femininity.

How sweet love can be, with heart-shaped ‘Disco Heart’ clasps? The whimsical ‘Lovebug’ brings luck and reminds us that love is in the air!

Charriol jewellery is crafted in Switzerland and Germany; timepieces are handmade in Switzerland. Visit www.charriol.com

Go bold with bracelets that symbolize strength and empowerment: “Starlet” is for free spirits, delicately embellished with sparkling cubic zirconia stones; “Gorgeous” is strong and sophisticated, accented with white pearls. “Romeo” is for incurable romantics, with a double heart design. Show a cheeky side with “Double Trouble” or stay happy with the endless, infinity shapes of “Sunny Day”.

What better way to showcase the latest St-Tropez Collection from Charriol than a runway face off with models wearing the iconic watches and clad in designer Charina Sarte’s beachwear collection, directed by Robby Carmona of SAGA Events.

Someone won a special prize for posting the best Charriol #mysttropezstyle photos on Instagram. Woohoo!

I won the award for Best Photos on Instagram for the #MyStTropezStyle. Thanks, Alexandre, Thibaud and Anton for the fab gift!

Star style. Phoemela Barranda with Charriol Regional Sales Director Thibaud Jaouen and SSI Group President Anton Huang

To cap off the night, the VP of Philippe Charriol International Alexander Charriol jumped into the pool! Gotta love the vibe of this guy!

With a watch brand as successful and iconic as Charriol the question is, how to keep the collections fresh and exciting? Accessorize the accessory! Thanks to Alexandre’s cool and clever designs, Charriol’s future is bright and blinged out.

This Valentine’s day, fall truly, madly, deeply in love with the new St-Tropez Style, a new sophisticated way to tell the time… with a twist.

Thank you Alexandre Charriol, Thibaud Jaouen, Alex Jentes, SSI, Anton Huang, Malu Francisco, Susan Joven, Danica Jeanger and Jenny Gapan of Visions & Expression, SAGA Events and friends for a memorable time! It was truly one for the books.

In the Philippines, Charriol is exclusively distributed by Stores Specialists, Inc. (SSI) – a member of the SSI Group – and is located at Greenbelt 4, Power Plant Mall, Rustan’s Makati, Rustan’s Tower, Gateway Mall, SM Mall of Asia, 158 Designers’ Boulevard Alabang Town Center, TriNoma, Robinsons Magnolia, Robinsons Midtown, Newport Resorts World, The Podium, Rustan’s Ayala Cebu, Abreeza Davao and Limketkai Cagayan de Oro.

DIY: Personalized Candle

Lighting scented candles in the morning is bliss. The scent of vanilla makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside especially during chilly days. It’s a great way to start the morning positive and inspiring.

I woke up extra early today, 4:30am to be exact. I think I had way too much of Dylan’s leftover birthday cake last night that I had a mild case of sugar rush. After dinner, I quickly spiraled to La-La Land at 7:30pm. Oh, man.

Sometimes, waking up at before the crackof dawn makes me restless. So much so, pinag-initan ko yung kandila! I had the urge to “personalize” the scented candle I recently bought. Check it out:

D.I.Y. Personalized Candle

What you need:

Embossing label maker
Tapes/stickers
Plain, label-free scented candle of your choice

I bought a local brand of candle and just took off their sticker label

Easy peasy:

Use the label maker to create your monogram or your name or you can also use your favorite quote to DIY your scented candles.

"Maison Epperson"

Aminin n’yo! Chic, di baaaa?!

You can also use it to promote your brand, social media accounts, etc. "@jenniepperson"

Gift idea for Valentine’s Day

"LOVE"

"Jenni Loves Tom"

"You light up my life"

Inspiration can be found everywhere and can strike anytime especially, when you wake up at an ungodly hour! LOL

Dylan’s Block Party – Happy 5th Birthday, Dahling!

It’s my son Dylan’s birthday today, January 26. He turns 5. Happy birthday, dahling! We celebrated his birthday though last Sunday. We wanted something simple, stress-free and personalized so we threw him a block party—we literally just invited all the kids in our street and some of his friends in the village park.

Our original plan was only to have cake and playtime. Dylan told us last week he didn’t want the kids singing the “Happy Birthday” song (according to him it’s too loud and they sound “bad,” haha) and no party games because according to him, it’s corny. Grabe naman. Anyway, Dylan only wanted cake and to play at home with friends. Easy. OK!

Aryanna found free invitation templates on the net and we printed them. So cool!

Sunday morning…

Dylan: “It’s my birthday party today!”
Me: “We’re picking up your cake today!”
Dylan: “Woohoo! I’m going to have cake, spaghetti, hotdogs and ice cream! What time is my party, mom? Where are the balloons?”
Me: *panicking* I thought you only wanted cake and playtime with friends?”
Dylan: “Yeah. I also want balloons! I want spaghetti! I want lots of ice cream too!”
Me: “You’re joking, right?”
Dylan: “Mom! You’re the joker!”

So, you can imagine how I panicked after that conversation. Haaaay! Shotgun party!!! I only had two hours to prepare for a full blown party before I pick-up the cake. Jesus, take the wheel.

Thank God, I have a good team and they helped me work on some birthday party magic: Tom and Aryanna. It was technically the very first party we organized for Dylan. In the past, it would just be the family celebrating in our previous condo. Oh. Em.

Tom took care of the "pabitin" and Aryanna organized the balloon bouquets. Winner!

My son wanted a Lightning McQueen themed cake so I also got some character gifts for the goodie bags.

“Pabitin” spells instant children’s party!

I love the balloon bouquets from National Book Store. They are super cute and affordable (P300+ for each arrangement) although, they have very limited choices for now.

As requested by my son: home-cooked sweet spaghetti, hotdogs with marshmallows, sandwiches and I ordered Aling Nene’s Pork BBQ (our favorite! They deliver too!) We normally don’t eat these, but since it’s his birthday, we caved in on the sugar fiesta!

We ordered the themed cake 3 days in advance. So cute. So “Dylan!”

The party was set at 3:30PM. I love how most of the kids were punctual—a good start.

Most of the girls came early. According to their nannies, they wanted to hangout with my son. Oh, boy.

Aryanna set-up a Lightning McQueen temporary tattoo station at the entrance. The kids got “inked” before the party. Great idea, sweetheart!

No need to make the kids, nannies, and parents wait. Kain na agad-agad!

How happy is the birthday boy?

HAPPY 5TH BIRTHDAY, DYLAN FINN!

Make a wish and blow the birthday candle… If you can reach it! LOL

You rock, dahling!

Time to divide and conquer the birthday cake!

I scream for ICE CREAM!!!

Everybody loves ice cream!

The most-awaited game: “Pabitin!” Some of us parents gave the smaller kids a little boost.

Soccer and basketball amongst the kids. Tom included.

Our resident fake tattoo artist

There was so much leftover cake. We gave some to the neighbors and kept a few slices for ourselves. Everybody happy.

Time to open the prezzies!

What a cute personalized birthday card! Thanks, Charlie!

Last two standing

A good sign

Happy birthday my dahling Dylan! You are the family’s game-changer. You bring so much joy and happiness into our lives. Wishing you a happy and healthy life!

Happy birthday again Dylan! We love you!

Big thanks to Tom for helping me out with the party and being such a cool host too. Aryanna gets the “best daughter and big sister” award for making sure her brother and all the kids had fun, for taking photos during the party and for helping me organize a “not corny” children’s party!

Now, time to eat more leftover birthday cake with my son.

Green Milk Smoothie

I love vegetables but I’m not much of a fruit eater. I’d rather drink my fruits than eat them.

I’ve been making smoothies for breakfast and snacks for a few months now and it’s been great for my metabolism. It also gives me energy throughout the day.

Here’s one of my favorite smoothies that is super healthy and doesn’t taste like grass, haha.

Ingredients:

1 frozen banana
A handful of frozen kale (yes, you can buy kale now in leading groceries. Some are pre-washed and packed already. Make sure to di-rib it. For smoothies, freeze in advance even if it’s only half frozen, the kale will be less pungent and taste less bitter. Plus, it helps makes the smoothie colder and it lasts longer, same with bananas and other fruits — a win all around.)
1-1/2 cup almond milk (you can substitute the 1/2 cup of almond milk with water if you like)
1 1/2 tbsp. freshly ground flaxseed
1 tbsp. chia seeds
ice cubes (optional)

Powerful seeds for your smoothies:

Read about the power of chia seeds here.

Small but incredible

Flaxseed’s health benefits come from the fact that it’s high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, as well as phytochemicals called lignans.

I read somewhere that it is better to buy whole flaxseed then grind it as you need it. They say the potency of freshly ground flaxseed dwindles after 15 minutes of grinding. Personally, I like buying whole flaxseed and I use a coffee grinder (I have two grinding machines—one for coffee beans and one for flaxseed and other beans/seeds. If you only have one grinder make sure to clean it well after every use.) I love the light nutty taste of freshly ground flaxseed. Great for smoothies or with cereals or for baking.

Most nutrition experts recommend ground over whole flaxseed because the ground form is easier for your body to digest. Whole flaxseed may pass through your intestine undigested, which means you won’t get all the benefits.

Flaxseed’s health benefits come from the fact that it’s high in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, as well as phytochemicals called lignans. One tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains 2 grams of polyunsaturated fatty acids (includes the omega 3s) and 2 grams of dietary fiber and 37 calories.

Flaxseed is commonly used to improve digestive health or relieve constipation. Flaxseed may also help lower total blood cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol levels, which may help reduce the risk of heart disease.

Other sources of fiber, flaxseed should be taken with plenty of water or other fluids. Flaxseed shouldn’t be taken at the same time as oral medications or other dietary supplements. As always, talk with your doctor before trying any dietary supplements. Source

Okaaaaay! Back to our smoothie. Combine all the ingredients in a blender and pulse/blend until combined.

Pour the green milk goodness in a cute container

Add a cute straw

Then drink to look cute. LOL

This smoothie actually tastes like banana and peanut shake! So yummy, filling and healthy! It could also be a meal replacement if you’re dieting.

Tune in to my next healthy smoothie recipe you actually want to drink. You’re going to love it!

Have a happy and healthy weekend everyone!

Bertolli Olive Oil 3 Ways: Starter, Main & Dessert

Different types of olive oils have different uses. When used properly, they can improve the taste and texture of any dish.

Did you know? Replacing butter and other less healthy fats with olive oil has been shown to aid in the prevention of a myriad of diseases and counter effects of aging. Olive oil benefits are so extensive that it is considered a functional food with components that contribute to its overall therapeutic qualities including a reduction of risk factors of coronary heart disease, the prevention of cancers, and alterations of immune and inflammatory responses.
Source

Use and abuse:

For those seeking the benefits of olive oil with a barely detectable hint-of-olive taste, Bertolli® Extra Light Tasting Olive Oil is the perfect substitute for butter, shortening and other vegetable oils. And because it has a very high smoke point (468° F†), it is especially ideal for high-heat cooking like frying, sautéing and even baking.

The classic choice for novice cooks and savvy chefs alike, Bertolli® Classico Olive Oil is a versatile olive oil that is right at home in most every style of cooking. Perfect for roasting, grilling and for use in stews, soups and sauces. Bertolli® Classico’s golden hue and mild flavor add an air of distinction to your recipes.

Rich, robust and distinguished by a deep green color, Bertolli® Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a special blend of select high-quality extra virgin olive oils “cold pressed” to ensure a naturally full-bodied fruity flavor. Bertolli® Extra Virgin is so simple to use straight from the bottle. Just pour it on salads and pasta, add it to your marinades, hearty soups and sauces, or simply mix with cracked pepper and fresh herbs for a delectable dip.

Olive oils can be used in a variety of dishes from starter to main and even desserts! I’m sharing some of my favorite recipes using different Bertolli Olive Oils:

The starter: Bertolli Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar & Parmesan Bread Dipping Sauce

This simple concoction is a great multipurpose sauce. You can use it as a salad dressing or serve it with crusty bread or crispy bread rolls.

Ingredients:

2 tbsp Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1-2 tsp balsamic vinegar (depends on how tangy you want the sauce)
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
freshly ground pepper to taste
baguette or dinner rolls

Easy peasy:

Combine all the ingredients on a plate or dipping bowl. Dunk the bread and eat with gusto!

The main course: Buckwheat Noodles With Bertolli Olive Oil & Sesame Dressing

Main courses don’t have to be heavy. A simple and healthy soba salad (when served cold) or pancit canton (when served hot) are filling and yummy for lunch or dinner.

The key to a good salad or pancit canton is the dressing/sauce. Using Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil adds depth to the flavor and it’s super healthy too (it’s loaded with antioxidants and healthy fats!)

Ingredients

1/4 small pack buckwheat noodles
1 tsp honey
1 1/2 tbsp Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or soy sauce
2 tsps sesame oil
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
1/3 cup Bertolli Classico Olive Oil
2 small carrot, julienne
1/2 cup roasted or steamed broccoli (I prefer roasted broccoli using my AirFyer)
fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp toasted white sesame seeds
chili flakes (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Not in photo: Bragg's Liquid Aminos, honey and toasted sesame seeds because well, I forgot. Ugh.

Easy peasy:

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the buckwheat noodles and cook until al dente, usually it cooks between 3-5 minutes or read cooking directions on the package to be sure. Drain.

Meanwhile, combine the honey, soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, garlic and Bertolli Classico Olive Oil in a jar. Close the lid and shake well. In a bowl, place noodles and top with fresh carrots and roasted broccoli and toss to combine. Garnish with the sesame seeds and fresh cilantro.

Tip: Recycle your jam jars and use them to make salad dressing. The leftover dressing in the jar can be stored easily in the refrigerator too.

Tah-dah!

A healthy version of pancit canton!

Dessert: Lemon & Olive Oil Microwave Teacup Cake

I am loving all the microwave teacup cakes my daughter Aryanna has been making. This time, I concocted my own version using lemons and Bertolli Extra Light Olive Oil. I’m not much of a dessert person but this teacup cake is refreshing, fluffy and oh-so yummy!

Ingredients:

4 tbsp all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp fat free milk
2 1/2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tbsp Bertolli Extra Light Olive Oil
1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2-1 tsp lemon zest

Easy peasy:

Mix together flour, baking powder, sugar, milk, Bertolli Extra Light Olive Oil and lemon zest and juice in a microwave safe teacup or mug until batter is smooth. Cook in microwave for about 1 minute and 15 seconds. Garnish with a slice of lemon. Let cool before eating or it will burn your tongue. Bawal ang atat. LOL

The secret ingredient to a moist teacup cake is using Bertolli Extra Light Olive Oil.

Et viola!

The moistest Lemon & Olive Oil Teacup Cake EVER! It tastes like the famed Calamansi Muffin but softer and moister. Soooo goooood! It's like eating lemon clouds!

Unique in flavor and superior quality, infuse your dishes with Bertolli Olive Oils. It’s the number one olive oil in the world.

Bertolli olive oils is the new addition in the edible oils portfolio of Fly Ace Corporation. Bertolli is the World’s Best Selling Olive Oil brand that is why it is the No.1 Olive Oil in the World. Bertolli is an Italian Olive Oil brand; it is differentiated by its inimitable taste.

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