Vote for Aryanna To Be The Next MTV VJ!

If you’ve been following my social media accounts, you would know that my daughter Aryanna has joined the MTV Pinoy VJ Hunt. We’re all very excited and proud of her. I will blog the full story soon. For now, Aryanna and seven other VJ hopefuls have been competing in different challenges (Aryanna won the first challenge as the Mentos’s Coolest VJ, YAY!).

There’s also voting.

Vote for Aryanna!

Easy steps:

For Globe & TM users
Step 1: Text MTVVJARYANNA
Step 2: Send to 2363
Step 3: You can vote up to100 times a day! P1/vote

Shoppingero/shoppingera, you can vote until September 30!

The Best Dulce de Leche Cupcakes & Cookies

Dulce de Leche (pronounced “DOOL-se de LE-che,” meaning candy of milk or milk jelly in Spanish) is one of my family’s favorite treat! We love it in ice cream, cookies and cupcakes!

Last Sunday while bonding with Aryanna at Powerplant Mall, Rockwell, we chanced upon Sugarbee‘s dessert stall in the basement. They had free tasting of their desserts so Aryanna and I willingly obliged. We tried the Alfajores (cookies with dulce de leche filling) and Dulce de Leche Cupcakes. After tasting both sweets, we were hooked!

It all started with one bite…

Then one Sugarbee Dulce de Leche Cupcake…

Became four…

Then none.

The cake is the moistest and lightest cake I have ever sunk my teeth into! The Dulce de Leche frosting is sticky and to-die-for! Overall, the cupcake is not so sweet but so soft and heavenly! I would go as far as saying it’s the best Dulce de Leche cupcake I’ve tried so far!

Sugarbee’s also has Dulce de Leche Cake. Aryanna and I were afraid to buy it because we might inhale it in two seconds, haha!

Now, let’s talk about these Sugarbee’s Alfajores

These cookies are oh-so buttery and lightly dusted with powdered sugar. The dulce de leche creme filling perfectly complements both flavors.

Stairway to cookie heaven

They are crumbly and sweet. You will surely be licking the sugar down to the last granule off of your fingers. I did.

Perfect for tea time. Only if you can actually wait for the tea to steep before devouring the cookies.

Ubos!

Order now!!!

Sugarbee cookies and cupcakes are the kind treats that you want to share with the world (because everyone deserves to go to dessert heaven) but at the same time, you want to keep it as a secret (because it’s so good, you want it all to yourself! LOL)!

I am going to order their Dulce de Leche and Salted Caramel cakes next. I have no fear.

Note: According to the seller, allow 2-3 days notice when you order.

Excuse me while I stalk Sugarbee. Have a sweet weekend ahead everyone!

Reblogged: “7 Habits Of An Insecure Woman”

The dictionary defines insecurity as being unsure, unstable, shaky, apprehensive, or lacking in self-confidence. There are many components in a woman’s life that can create an environment where this state of mind will flourish. It can be anything from upbringing, unsettling circumstances, mistreatment, to individual fears.

I’ve had my share of dealing with insecure women. Most of them are competitive and spoiled brats that feel threatened when someone else succeeds. They are suspicious, manipulative and worse, will sabotage you. It’s disheartening.

Over the years, I have learned to understand them and just stayed away from them—they are emotional vampires.

I thought I’d share with you the latest meme that exploded in Pinterest and
The Pastor’s Wife blog:


7 Habits of an Insecure Woman
By: Sara Melissa Hudson

Insecurity has been a plague to women since the beginning of time. That’s not how we are intended to live. God desires us to be women of confidence and power to fulfill our callings and destines. I do not have this all figured out. Please know that I am writing to you as I can identify with each of these traits, but I am striving to embrace the confidence God intends for me to possess and with His grace and help, I’ve been able to gain confidence. Want to join me?

1. An Insecure Woman is Critical. She lives with a glass half empty, negative mindset. Insecurity and Positivity can not coexist. She is always finding something or someone to indicate the faults of and disapprove of. The way someone works, acts, and talks. The way something is done or changed. She lashes out at others and often comes across as rude. She is quick to judge and is unforgiving. She lives in a constant state of disapproval, even of herself. She is her own worst critic.
A Confident Woman will always find something or someone to praise, compliment, approve of. She seeks ways to life up, encourage, and empower those around her, including herself. A confident woman sees the glass as half full and lives a blessed and fulfilled life. She sees Blessings in her trials. She highlights the positive, even in a negative circumstance.

2. An Insecure Woman is Fearful. She lives restrained, unwilling to release her true feelings, thoughts, talents, and ideas for fear of being rejected and criticized. Her mind is her prison. She constantly replays situations from the day assessing how others reacted to her and if she has been accepted by the people around her. She shrinks back often, allowing others to project themselves instead of her. She revisits times in her life where she feels a failure and refuses to be vulnerable again.She lives her life idle and lazy, never accomplishing her goals because she fears failure. She is completely Risk Free and “plays it safe”
The Bible says that God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind. (See 2 Timothy 1:7)
A Confident Woman makes the choice to reject fear when it invites itself into her mind. She chooses to take captive of these fearful thoughts and replace them with faith. Faith breeds a holy confidence. Faith brings action instead of idleness. She chooses to step out in faith and works hard to reach her goals. She is a risk taker and is not intimidated by “failure”.

3. An Insecure Woman Competes. Having a competitive drive in and of itself is not a negative thing, but an insecure woman competes with other women. She is constantly trying to measure up with the women around her, trying to become prettier, wittier, more stylish, more popular, and successful than them. She compares her success with theirs and tries to present herself as more superior and more valuable than the women around her. She desires their envy.
A Confident Woman empowers the women around her. She is inspired by their talents and successes and is not reluctant to compliment and encourage them. She speaks courage into other women and pushes them to continue their good work. She celebrates with others and truly empathizes with their happiness.

4. An Insecure Woman lives with Guilt. She punishes herself for her past mistakes. She keeps record of her wrongs. She has decided that she is not “worthy” of happiness and success. She rejects blessings because she is undeserving and disqualified to receive anything good. She lives with shame of her past sins and faults. She lives defeated.
A Confident Woman lives Redeemed. She knows that she is not righteous, deserving, or worthy of blessing, but she has accepted the One who is and by Him, she knows that she is forgiven and free of guilt and shame. Ephesians 1:7 says, “He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.” A confident woman lets go of the past. She embraces joy. She is blessed with success and happiness and receives all the good things that God has to give her. She is qualified through Him. She lives in freedom.

5. An Insecure Woman Gossips. She delights in sharing negativity about others. She feels lifted up by putting down others. She feels that her candle will burn brighter by blowing out someone else’s. She accentuates the faults of others, and in turn, feels powerful. She loves to stir up trouble and destroy friendships. Proverbs 16:28 “A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.”
A Confident Woman rejects the spread of gossip. She protects the reputation of others, as she would desire for others to do the same for her. She possess integrity and is trustworthy, not sharing confidential matters with others. She highlights the positive attributes of others and encourages peace and unity. She prays for others if she knows they are going through a trial.

6. An Insecure Woman Seeks Validation. She is an attention seeker. She lives to hear the praises of others. She will do anything to feel loved, even if it contradicts her beliefs. She will even step on others, destroying friendships, if it means she will receive the affirmation and advancement she longs for. She craves to be the best, prettiest, funniest, most talented, and she wants others to notice. Sometimes she will act clumsy or rude just to be in the center of attention.
A Confident Woman has no need for the affirmation of others. She knows that she is loved and accepted by her heavenly father. She works and lives to please Him first. She has become like a “duck”..when people criticize her, she lets it roll off her back. Even when people praise her, she lets it roll off her back. Nothing that people say or do not say will affect her. Her worth is not determined by the validation of others. Ephesians 1:4 “Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.”

7. An Insecure Woman is Defeated. When life pushes her down, she doesn’t get back up. She accepts defeat and has no motivation to “try again”. She will remain stagnant. She will compromise her goals and aspirations when she is faced with a setback. She chooses to remain comfortable with a “less than” life and refuses to go after her dreams.
A Confident Woman knows that a setback is only a set up for success in the future. She does not accept defeat. When life pushes her down, she bounces back with more determination than before. She sees the purpose in pain, the message in the mess. She sees opportunity in opposition. She knows that all things work together for good of those who love God.(See Romans 8:28) She does not hesitate to share her defeats with others. She hopes that her lessons and mistakes will serve as an inspiration to others. She is unstoppable.

I pray that you are blessed by these words and that they inspire you to live life as a confident woman. God is always reminding me and challenging me to be this as well.

I hope you never have to deal with one, though I’m sure you have. Maybe one too many times. It’s hard dealing with insecure people as they are defensive and sometimes delusional. The more you try to help them or be nice to them, the more they are suspicious of your actions. They can’t help it, it’s their defense mechanism. I find that it’s best to let go.

Happy Monday everyone!

Shoppingero/shoppingera, how do you deal with insecure people?

Five Favorites

It’s so freakin’ hot in Manila! I mean, what is up with the weird weather? Sala sa ulan, sala sa jinit!

Personally, I have no desire to go out unless it’s for work or to celebrate with friends or date night with Tom. I’d rather cocoon in the house and read. I also started organizing my plato-platuhan (tableware) as our newly refurbished sideboard (it looks fabulous!!!!!!! I will show it to you one of these days.) has been delivered plus, Tom has already finished painting my china closet. I’m so excited!

Let’s pray for cooler weather sans the storm and flooding, shall we?

Here are some of my favorite things:

1. Porter Magazine. Just when I’ve shifted to digital magazines, comes Porter – the global fashion magazine you have dreamed of, powered by Net-A-Porter.com.

I’ve always been partial to square-shaped magazines. It’s one of the few printed magazines that I buy. The text and layout of Porter is also easy on the eyes. The fashion styling is directional, aspirational but relatable. I lav et!

The world’s best fashion, authoritative beauty and inspiring travel and culture, curated in one luxurious glossy package.

Unfortunately, Porter Magazine is not yet sold in the Philippines. You have to beg friends to buy abroad. You can also subscribe here.

2. Kavali Hearty Thick Whole Grain Crisp Bread. Best crackers for cheeses and super healthy too!

Available in Healthy Options

3. Potterybarn Brass and Inlaid Bone Cheese Knives. Love the style of these cheese knives and the bone inlays give a cool and luxurious feel to the handles.

Potterybarn is located at Bonifacio High Street

They’re made of brass metal so they won’t tarnish.

4. Sala Bistro’s Casarecce with Porcini, Guanciale and Truffle Cream. Cooked homemade loosely rolled up pasta with the combination of cured pork cheeks and truffle cream is divine. Pair it with the restaurant’s House White Wine for an Italian flair experience. Ang sarap. Sarap. Sarap.

Sala Bistro is at Greenbelt 3

5. Snapware™ Eco Flip and Eco Grip. My children are big on hydration while I’m conscious of dirt and bacteria. Loving these Snapware™ Glass Beverage Bottles that are made from durable and safe glass material (BPA-free and FDA approved), that is stain, shatter and odor-resistant. The neoprene and silicon sleeves provide more protection from physical breakage and for a more comfortable grip. Best part? It’s eco-friendly!

You can buy them at Kitchen World, Eastwood Mall, Libis

Lunchbox Idea: Tuna With Lemon Cilantro Quinoa

As promised, I’m sharing with all of you some of my favorite quinoa (pronounced as “KEEN-wa”) recipes and lunchbox ideas.

My daughter Aryanna grew up bringing packed meals to school. She’s now in college and she still prefers homecooked packed meals over fast food (except dessert. Cinnamon rolls, cupcakes, cheesecakes and cookies are her Achilles Heel! Haaay, Aryanna!).

One of her favorite quinoa dishes that I prepare is simple, tasty and packed with nutrients:

Tuna With Lemon Cilantro Quinoa

Ingredients:

cooked quinoa (recipes here and here)
1 can of tuna or fresh tuna, cooked in the pan with olive oil and seasoned with salt & pepper
1-2 wedges of fresh lemon
cilantro, chopped

Step 1: Top the cooked quinoa with the tuna (drained).

Step 2: Squeeze fresh lemon juice on the tuna and quinoa and garnish with fresh cilantro.

That’s it pancit!

This lunchbox meal is easily prepared and it’s a healthier option than most cafeteria food. I also recommend this for office workers who want to eat healthier and save money.

Shoppingero/shoppingera, tune in for my next quinoa recipe. You don’t want to miss it!

Fried Garlic Pepper Quinoa

It’s hard for us Filipinos not to eat rice. The problem about eating white rice is that it is high in sugar. Quinoa (pronounced as “KEEN-wa”) is a healthier substitute to rice.

Compared to white rice, quinoa has a nutty flavor. The texture is also grainy like couscous. If you’re used to eating white or brown rice it might take a while for the palate to get used to the flavor. I find that one of the best ways to introduce quinoa into your diet is to try a recipe that is familiar and tastes good.

You’ll love this:

Fried Garlic Pepper Quinoa

This is the quinoa version of our favorite garlic rice.

Ingredients:

leftover cooked quinoa (click here for basic quinoa recipe)
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
4-5 cloves of garlic, chopped
salt
pepper

Easy peasy:

Step 1: Fry the garlic in extra virgin olive oil

Step 2: Add the cooked quinoa (preferably day old cooked quinoa)

Step 3: Season with a generous amount of pepper. Add salt to taste.

Step 4: Serve with a smile. :)

Happy healthy eating!

The Power Of Quinoa

What is quinoa (pronounced as “keen-wah,” not “kwin-oh-ah”)?

Quinoa, a species of goosefoot, is a grain crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. It is a pseudocereal rather than a true cereal, as it is not a member of the true grass family. Wikipedia

"The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has officially declared that the year 2013 be recognized as "The International Year of the Quinoa." Proposed by the government of Bolivia and receiving strong support from many Central and South American countries, quinoa has now been singled out by the FAO as a food with "high nutritive value," impressive biodiversity, and an important role to play in the achievement of food security worldwide. We realize that quinoa remains unfamiliar to many people, especially in the practical sense of cooking and recipes. But we hope that situation will change, given the remarkable nature of this easily-prepared, nutrient-rich food." - whfoods.org

Quinoa is a miracle seed. It has been part of my family’s diet for almost three years now. We cook it on a regular basis. The look and texture is similar to couscous. It is a healthier alternative to rice (yup, it’s healthier than brown rice). We like quinoa for is versatility, its ability to take on the flavors it’s cooked with, and its impressive health profile. I can tell you that we’re reaping the health benefit of it.

Loves it:

• It’s gluten-free
• Low in Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Manganese.
• 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa = 111 calories only
• It’s a super food
• Tastes yummy
• Easy to cook
• Super duper healthy

Benefits of quinoa:

- Blood sugar control. If you have diabetes, keeping control of your blood glucose levels is key. A healthy diet that includes quinoa has been clinically shown to reduce free glucose levels, leading to fewer sudden spikes in blood sugar during the day.

- Cardiovascular health. Rich in manganese and fibre, quinoa helps to support the activities of the cardiovascular system. Regularly eating quinoa can lead to lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol and higher HDL or “good” cholesterol. The seed is also shown to normalize blood sugar levels.

- Increased protein. Protein is essential to building strong muscle tissue and supplying the body with energy. Quinoa contains all of the essential amino acids necessary to manufacture proteins as well as lean protein in its raw form. This makes quinoa an excellent addition to the diet, particularly for vegetarians looking for animal-free protein sources.

- Digestive health. The fibre found in quinoa assists with digestion and can help prevent indigestion. The seed also helps decrease the frequency of bouts of constipation.

- Lessening symptoms of anaemia. Rich in iron, quinoa is an excellent addition to the diet of those with anaemia. Iron is essential to carrying oxygen through the body, so many people find that adding quinoa to the diet gives them greater endurance and energy during workouts.

- Fighting signs of aging. Manganese is a powerful antioxidant that helps to slow down the aging process by destroying free radicals. As a result, quinoa is good for those concerned about the appearance of their skin.

True colors: There are three most widely cultivated and available quinoa: white, red, and black. Some companies sell packs in combinations.

I find that the red quinoa holds its shape and texture more than the white ones.

Everything you need to know about quinoa is on this website.

How to cook quinoa:

Cooking quinoa is just like cooking rice. It is the easiest no-fuss “grain” you’ll ever cook.

Basic Quinoa Recipe:
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups water or chicken/vegetable broth
Bring quinoa and liquid to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
Yield: 3 cups cooked quinoa
Serving size: 1/2 cup
Nutrition per serving: 111 calories, 2 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 4 g protein, 3 g fiber.

Easy peasy:

Step 1: Quinoa grows with a bitter, protective coating called saponin that is, luckily, easily rinsed off.

Tip: Use a strainer to rinse out the small seeds.

Step 2: To cook quinoa, you simply add the liquid of choice, cover and simmer over low heat until done. The ratio is 2 cups of water or other cooking liquid to 1 cup of quinoa. Water is the easiest, cheapest and healthiest choice as it’s lowest in sodium.

Tip: I bring the water to a boil then simmer in low heat for 10-15 minutes. You will know when the quinoa is done because it will look like it has popped open.

Step 3: Using a fork, fluff the quinoa when cooked.

Step 4: Serve with a smile! :)

Note: You can also use a rice cooker to cook quinoa.

I buy quinoa in Healthy Options and S&R.

Shoppingero/shoppingera, tune in as I will share some of my favorite quinoa recipes and lunchbox ideas soon! HUMANDA KAYO!

Found: Pretty Plunger

I know what you’re thinking? Toilet plunger?! Go ahead, chuckle if you must but the reality is clogged toilet bowls happen. You know the scenario: The flush doesn’t sound right and you get that sinking feeling. You turn and see the water is just not going down or the water is all gone and not refilling. Worse, there is a clump of toilet paper and the water slowly rises to the brim. This is when you hit the point of no return and all the bells and whistles go off your head. Nooooooooo!

It is stressful (and embarrassing) to deal with a clogged toilet. Somehow it seems to happen exactly when you are expecting company.

I find that the toilet plungers available in the Philippines are not as effective compared to the ones sold in the States. It’s the way the rubber is shaped and the quality of it. The ones I see in the grocery are mostly sink plungers and made from flimsy material. What’s the point? You need a proper toilet plunger with a sturdy rubber that tappers in the bottom so that it can fit the toilet bowl hole. It’s also hard to find a nice looking plungers.

Here are some cool (and effective) plungers available on Amazon:

InterDesign Brushed Stainless Steel Plunger Capsule, White

OXO Good Grips Toilet Plunger and Canister

Simplehuman Toilet Plunger

We just finished renovating our powder room in the new Maison Epperson. Tom and I put a lot of thought in designing the space to make the rest room experience comfortable for family and guests.

We believe that one way to create pleasantries in the powder room is to provide a plunger.

Sitting pretty. InterDesign Brushed Stainless Steel Plunger Capsule, White from Amazon.com

I bought the InterDesign Brushed Stainless Steel Plunger on Amazon last week and it arrived at my doorstep in less than 5 days. Amazing! What I love about this particular style is that the stainless dome cover lifts and locks in place. The plastic base also keeps the plunger head off the floor (it’s more hygienic that way).

Have a pleasant day!

Easy Creamy, Garlic-y Caesar Salad Dressing

Have you ever tried making your own salad dressing? If not, you’re missing out on some great flavors.

Making your own salad dressing from scratch tastes better than bottled ones. It’s healthier too as you have control of what goes in it.

During my birthday dinner at Cru Steakhouse in Manila Marriott Hotel, I ordered their signature Caesar Salad prepared tableside. This was not the first time I ordered this salad and I was reminded why it had become one of my favorite dishes in the resto.

One of my favorite dishes is the CRU Caesar Salad. It is prepared tableside using the freshest ingredients and the dressing is made from scratch! So elegant. Rina has been our constant server whenever we're here. Excellent service as usual!

Photo taken using Instagram

I got inspired to make my own homemade caesar salad dressing and I’m happy to share it with all of you!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup extra virgin oil
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 egg yolks or for kids, substitute with 1 1/2 tbsp mayonnaise (I suggest Hellman’s brand)
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon anchovy paste or 4-5 anchovy fillets
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
salt & pepper to taste
1 head romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces

The details make the difference

To assure that you get the creamiest and most garlic-y flavor, here are my non-negotiables:

Use grainy Dijon mustard. I recommend Waitrose Easy On The Dijon Whole Grain Mustard. I love the grainy bits and the tangy flavor of this particular mustard. Available in Rustan's Marketplace

If you've never tried adding Worcestershire sauce in your caesar salad dressing, now is the time to do it. It gives depth of flavor and adds to the garlic-y taste (the ingredients of the sauce include soy, vinegar, and garlic). Available in all leading groceries

Only use fresh Parmesan cheese. Don't even think about using the bottled version. The intense, complex Parmigiano Reggiano is a cheese like no other.

Cool kitchen gadget: Garlic press

This kitchen aid cuts down chopping time! Moms and cooks will thank me for this.

A garlic press is a kitchen tool, consisting basically of two levers connected by a hinge. There are small cups on the end of the levers opposite the hinge that nest inside each other. To use, separate the levers, place a clove of garlic in the cup, and then close the other lever on top of the garlic. Press the levers together and the garlic will fall through very small holes in the bottom of the cup. The garlic press is ideal to use when recipes call for "very finely minced garlic."

Easy peasy:

Step 1: In a wooden bowl, whisk extra virgin oil, Parmesan cheese, egg yolks, Dijon mustard, garlic, anchovy paste, Worcestershire sauce, and pepper until smooth; season with salt if necessary.

Step 2: Drizzle dressing over romaine lettuce in a large mixing bowl; toss to coat.

Skip the croutons and bacon. You can also add fresh tomatoes if you wish.

Reminder: Don’t use raw egg yolks if you’re planning to serve this to kids. Best to use egg substitutes or mayonnaise.

Shoppingero/shoppingera, try it and let me know how you like my recipe!

Add To Cart: La Prairie White Caviar Illuminating Hand Cream SPF 15

The first time I tried the La Prairie White Caviar collection I loved it! In fact, I’ve become a disciple.

Of all the La Prairie products White Caviar collection has become my favorite. I like that it’s light, non-sticky and the luminous effect it gives my skin. Every time I apply it on my face and hands, they literally glow!

Hands have the tendency to betray your age, sometimes appearing more aged than the skin of the face. Exposure to the elements may result in age spots, lines and an unappealing dry, weathered look. White Caviar Illuminating Hand Cream SPF 15 brightens, refines and hydrates skin for a younger, fresher look while guarding against daily exposure with UVA/UVB protection.

Tip: To avoid wastage (especially using La Prairie) and if you don't want any lotion/cream on your palms, apply the cream on the back of one of your hands then rub the backs of your hands together in a circular motion. This way, you only moisturize the top part of your hands which need the most anyway.

La Prairie products are quite pricey as it’s made from the best ingredients. I make sure that I don’t waste a single drop. Dapat simutin! LOL

I also like the White Caviar Illuminating Eye Cream. It gives my face a radiant glow. I have yet to try their Serum. I heard it’s like magic! I think we all need a bit of magic in our lives, don’t you think?

La Prairie White Caviar Collection is available at Rustan’s Department Stores

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