Friday, August 17, 2012

Progressive School: Nutrition Week

I’m sure mommies who have school kids have had a busy nutrition week as schools celebrated this event by either bringing only healthy snacks to school, students being that plump tomato or a carrot mascot who struggled to deliver their lines in a school play.

My kids spent Nutrition week with mini field trips to Greenwhich for my Nursery son and to Johnny Rockets for my K2 daughter. Both of them loved the out-of-school activities.  My daughter particularly loved that she went to a trip for the first time without her yaya. She felt so adult. My little boy naman had so much fun winning the parlor games hosted by the fast food chain. He even brought home to Mommy the pizza he made during their pizza-making activity. Isn’t he the sweetest?

the little kulitog and his pizza 
Why Johnny Rockets and Greenwhich on a Nutrition week you say? I asked the same boggling question. The teachers shared during culmination day that they explained to kids that these places serve sometimes food and the kids should visit these places only accasionally. Ayun naman pala…

Part of the homework of my K2 girl was to produce a 3-5 minute video ala cooking show featuring one main ingredient which was mango. The video should show a parent-child cooking tandem and the dish should be nutricious and delicious. Came culmination day, the video was shown and judged by guest judges including a nutritionist. Sample of the dishes were also presented to the judges and the scored based on taste. Effort 'di ba?

Although I wanted to see our submitted video as they presented it in school, I was busy preparing the sample dishes. Sophie and I prepared two: Creamy Mango Jelly and Rainbow Salad for the judges to taste. By the time I got out of the classroom-turned-mini-kitchen, I only had a glimpe of the CBB (closing billboard or credits) of our video.

Our submitted recipes: Rainbow salad and Creamy Mango Jelly 

Came awarding time, I was seriously praying that Sophie gets at least 3rd place. She put so much energy and effort during our rehearsals and she was such a great host :) The heavens heard my prayer and gave us something more - a 1st place! Yay! 

The little girl (and I) proudly went on stage and took her prize. I shared in several posts how my kids love to cook and bake and this prize is a great motivation for the little girl to continue with her passion. Her prize was a cookbook made for kids and she’s just excited to do everything in that book ( I think I need to stock more butter and flour now).

I’m as happy that all the efforts (and one sleep-deprived weekend) paid off. My husband told me that our video was a hands down winner because it was edited just like a cooking show; that we can make more cooking videos and upload it online. Well, for one it would be a shame that my job is to make sure programs on TV have everything they need to launch and air without glitch but can’t make a simple cooking show project for my kid. 

The video was shot using a Samsung digicam (in HD) and edited using Window Movie Maker. One tip: unless you have a powerful PC, better to convert an HD video to SD (standard definition) so that it will be faster to edit. You can donwload free converters/transcoder online. Our video was simple but it has all the elements of a 5 –minuter cooking show: title card and chargens (made with powerpoint), music/score, an edited body and credits. 

As for making this a regular thing, let's see... I even don't have the guts to post our video here (super shy?). For now, I'll give you the title card, the title was Sophie's idea :)
our tcard, with downloaded template from Microsoft 
Happy Tuesday everyone!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Recipe Share: Tortilla Wraps

Happy Tuesday everyone! On this rainy day, I’m sharing again one recipe that's easy to make and a great comfort food on a gloomy day, Tortilla Wraps! This recipe used left over meat (meatballs and roasted chicken) so it's so light on the pocket.

What We Need:
Tortilla Wrap
1 pack Whole Wheat Tortilla (I used small ones)
2 cups grated cheese (you can combine 2 or more cheese types)
3-4 cups left over meat 
1 cup whole fresh basil leaves
2 tomatoes, sliced thinly
1 onion, thinly sliced
a few strips cilantro or parsley (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

What To Do:
  1. Fill half of the tortilla with grated cheese, left over meat, tomatoes, onions, 3-4 pieces whole basil leaves. I thought of this recipe because of our left over meatballs and roasted chicken that were a day old and need to get out of the fridge already.

  1. Season with salt and pepper. You can add a dash of hot sauce for heat;
  2. Fold the other half over and grill away! You can also spread melted butter on the outer part of the tortilla for more flavor.

Serve with salsa dip and salad.

Salsa dip:
2 tomatoes, coarsely chopped so it go easy on the blender
1 tbsp. onion, chopped (add more if you prefer)
2 whole fresh basil leaves (you can also use cilantro)
salt and pepper to taste

How to make the salsa:
  1. In a food processor or blender, blend tomatoes and basil together. The goal here is to bring out the juice of the tomatoes while making sure there are still bits of tomatoes left after blending.
  2. Transfer the tomatoes and basil into a mixing bowl, season with salt and pepper.
  3. Mix in the onions (I don’t like my onions to be too overpowering so I add this at the last part).
This recipe yields 8 tortilla wraps. Enjoy your tortilla dinner!

tortilla wraps served with salsa on a bed of lettuce and chips

You can also make tortilla dessert: spread butter on one side of the tortilla, spread 11/2 tbsps of chocolate chips on half of the wrap, sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg and grill. Serve warm and enjoy the oozing chocolate goodness.Yum!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Baking Partners: A new Baking Group
A group of home bakers helping each other to achieve perfection.

Baking a homemade bread, cake or cookies will give the best outcome. However in order to achieve the best results, a perfect recipe and right techniques are required.

We are a small group of home baker friends, who love and want to learn more about the nook and corners of baking.  We are planning to try out recipes from books/magazines and cooking shows.  Every member gets a chance to present their choice of recipe and share important points with the rest of the group.

Main purpose of this group is to learn the techniques, critic the procedure if there are ways to improve, and to eat a delicious food.

Rules are simple, we will choose one recipe and send it out to the group by 16th of every month and the reveal date will be 15th of the next month. On that day we will blog about it. A linky tool will be open during that time and each member can link their post.

First month we are going to do a recipe, 2nd and 3rd month will be a theme and the 4th month we will be back at a recipe. By doing in between recipes, we will able to learn more.

All enthusiastic bloggers interested in baking are welcome, please email Swathi  at

We will appreciate the use of logo or worded link that will help to spread the word.  A bunch of thanks to Tina for designing this beautiful logo

If you   want to make it a gluten or vegan free diet, you can do those modifications also.

Baking Partners are
2.    Julie Erivum Puliyumm
4.    Priya (Priya's Versatile Recipes)  
5.    Suja ( Kitchen Corner Try It)
6.    Archana  ( Tangy Minds)
7.    Reshmi  ( EasY Cook)
8.    Prathibha ( Cook Ezee)  
9.    Priya R ( Cook Like Priya)
10.  Sweatha ( Tasty Curry leaf)
11.  Vidhya (  A Portion to Share)
12.  Usha Rao ( My Spicy Kitchen)
13.  Divya Prakash( Divyas Culinary Journey)
14.  Swasthi Blank ( Swasthi The Health Freak)
15.  Sanoli Ghosh ( Sanolis Kitchen)
16.  Pam Capone ( Live Ranch Delux)
17.  Mirellie( Gourmet Global Creations)
19.  Reshwani( Daily Cuppa)
20.  Peachy  (Peach Kitchen)
23.  Gayathri  ( Gayathris cookspot)
24 Lorraine ( Joys Misadventures)
25.  Jayasri(Samyalarai)
26.  Sowmya(Nivedhanam)
27.  Anuja ( Simple Baking)
28.  Janani(
29.  Ivy (Kopipaste)
30  Janaki ( Janakidiary)
31 Samantha( SamanthaMenzies)
 32. Swathi ( Zesty South Indian Kitchen)         Creator and Owner


Friday, August 10, 2012

A Positive Weekender

Happy Friday everyone! Today, we had a relatively good weather as compared to the past days. I hope it keeps on until the weekend (even with the latest news that it's gonna be a wet weekend again...). Here, still hoping for the best.
I plan to keep my weekend busy with stuff to do. The past days I have been thinking of ways to extend a helping hand to the victims of Habagat and realized I have more options than I can handle. That's a far better dilemma for me than the other way around, right? Morever, I recently recently a blessing so abundant I feel I don't deserve it (but I need it hehe) so thank you God! Truly, He knows our needs and provides them according to His riches and glory :) 

I'm capping of the week with a beautiful quote from Nu Skin's President Luke Yoo. 

"The reason that it is important for people to make their own goals and apply them in their business is so simple. There are two kinds of people: those who achieve their goals and those who fail to do so. Those who have clear goals tend to be closer to success. People who carefully establish their goals find more opportunities to achieve them."

Luke Yoo


Let's all do our best to achieve our goals and God will do the rest :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Donations For Habagat Victims

I hope everyone will have a safe night tonight with the torrential rain and flood not seem to be leaving our land anytime soon.

For those concerned citizens who wish to provide any kind of help/donations, please click the link below. The link provides the updated data on the institutions where you can send your help.

Most of all, let us all continue to pray for sunshine in the coming days and that our brothers and sisters in the affected areas of Luzon will find the physical, emotional and spiritual strength to surpass the struggles and heartaches of this sad event.

God bless everyone. 

Need-To-Have vs. Nice-To-Have

With August already in and half of 2012 already gone, it’s nice to look at how things went during the 6 months that passed. 

As a mother,  I’m happy to say that my kids are doing well in school. My little girl recently won another prize in school, I’ll share about that in my next post. My little kulitog boy is enjoying school immensely; he thinks it’s a bomber that classes are always suspended due to rain. He now recognizes and can write more letters of the alphabet. His social skills has also improved; he tries not to take matter into his own hands but report it to teacher or his yaya. Mommy can’t be happier.
On work life, it’s been busy as hell with so many major programs that launched in the first and second quarter of the year. More late night extensions for me and sometimes weekends are not spared. But I try to keep the rest of work commitment within it’s time and delegate as much work as possible to my team so that my weekends with family is strictly spent with my husband and kids. We are all hoping that the remaining months will have much lighter load at work (but it doesn't look that way).
Financially, during our evening talks, my husband and I have agreed that this (half) year was better than the last. Why, we even afforded those trips to Palawan, Boracay and Ilocos. We are truly blessed.

At this time, hubby and I also discussed and agreed on strengthening our emergency fund. I read that your emergency budget should be 'between three and six months worth of your living expenses set aside...' and should be spent strictly on emergency purposes. Very timely example of an emergency situation is the effect of our weather nowadays, causing parts of Luzon to be flooded. Houses and establishments being flooded waist deep causing property damages and family members getting sick. When the flood water subsides, people will try to get back to their normal lives, repair their houses, have their kids checked by the doctor for any infection, etc. All this will require money. What then if there's no emergency fund? Ika nga nating mga Pilipino, kung may isinuksok may madudukot (if you stash away something, you have something to take out). And no, a year-end sale does not constitute as an emergency situation :)

Please bear in mind that an emergency fund should be different from savings to ensure that the latter will not be affected everytime we have an emergency. What happens if we use our savings as an emergency fund? It's get depleted everytime we use it for emergencies and before we know it, it's savings no more. 

For us, it's something that we somehow put into the sidelines when we made major purchases the previous years. Now, we want it to become one of our major goals. So how do we go about that? It's definitely not going to be easy and that's an understatement. 

For one, I know that we really have to be strict with how we live by our Nice-To-Haves and Need-To-Haves. Group buying sites certainly made me buy those nice-to-haves at some point as a gullible group buy member. Now, no matter how tempting that set of cake decorator is, I know that it’s something that I don’t need right now (some of the parts on the set I already have anyway). 
So what other nice-to-haves I gave up this year? Top of mind would be that Nikon D300 that a coworker offered me at a really good deal compared to its brand new price tag. I would say if I was single, no school fees or kids’ summer classes to consider, I would've gotten that camera without batting an eyelash. Not so because I’m a mom who needs to make responsible decisions. Heck, I could very well bag that camera and tell my little boy, ‘anak, next year ka na mag-aral, bata ka pa naman (son, start school next year, you’re too young anyway) because mommy needs to buy this dreamy camera. It’s the same price as your tuition fee.' 

If only it could as easy as that... 

Then came the moment to prioritize, weigh what is nice to have vs. need to have and make a wise decision: my dream dslr or our 3-year old's dream of school? Weighing the situation under those considerations, I made a decision and sent our sweet son to school. He gave me this as a gift together with non-stop thank yous, hugs and kisses. Priceless right? :)

Of course there are those moments when you can't figure out which aspects in life goes to which category.
The key words in categorizing would be priority, want vs. need, essential vs. frill. I know it will be a struggle at first especially because I sometimes decide on the virtue of  'life is all about living to the fullest' or 'living the moment' but when we want to be financially free, we need to set goals and work on achieving them. 

Let's create the future today.

Have you thought of your Nice-To-Have and Need-To-Have list for this year and next year? 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Indoor Activity For Kids

With the rain and gusty winds during this typhoon season, classes are cancelled again and again especially for preschools. What are kids to do staying indoors? There's TV but we all know too much of that isn't healthy at all. My kids love to do art activities and answer their old books but then again were talking about one whole day indoors. 

One creative activity for the kids is to make their own candy house (my little boy insists it's a castle). 

Here's a sample of how kids can make a simple candy house:

What we used: leftover crepe icing, marshmallows, coco biscuits, chocolate chips, Potchi gummy candy and their favorite Nissin vanilla wafers

The kids busy building their foundation out of wafers and biscuits

adding the final touches

our finish product :)

Then we pretended it was our birthday and got all the birthday candles we have in stock and sang happy birthday many, many times! Pati yung isda sa aquarium nay happy birthday song. As they say, trip trip lang :)

The best part of this activity is eating the candies but the kids won't let anybody touch their masterpiece. They know what happened to Hansel and Gretel when they ate part of the witch's candy house.

What's your indoor activity for the rainy days? Yung tipong trip trip lang?

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