Monday, March 16, 2015

Shake those bellies, we're going dancing!

As part of this year's get healthy resolution, I have committed myself to entertaining any excuse to get some physical activity. So, when a friend asked me to go belly dancing, I cannot answer anything other than "Yes".

Footworks Dance studio is giving out a free belly dancing class this Sunday, March 22, 2015. The catch? Write about your experience. What you think about the new studio, the teacher, how many times your belly jiggles for a minute or how you enjoyed watching me doing awkward steps (that last part, I can guarantee)

Convinced?  Head on over to Footworks Dance Studio, 4th Flr. Elescom Building 213 Brgy. Milagrosa, Katipunan, Quezon City (near Katips Bar and Grillery) on Sunday, at around 10:45am and bring leggings/jazz pants, a fitted top, and a change of clothes.

You can find more information about Teacher Jill and Footworks Studio through their FB pages

Friday, March 13, 2015

The buffet craze is among us.

With the rise of huge buffets, smorgasbords have apparently become a social thing. These dens almost always promise a lot of overeating.

I've heard a lot of people say that it's just not worth for them to go to these eat-all-you-can affairs as they don't eat much.

But how do you make the most out of your buffet ticket?

There's always the rule of thumb of going for the pricier items in the list like cheeses, nuts, seafood, prime beef cuts--but what else can you do to add more value in that expensive binge?

Arrive early

Getting in the venue as an early bird has its perks; the food is piping hot and freshly prepared. You also get dibs on the dishes that you prefer. I usually head for the cheese section and stuff my face with cheeses, grapes, and walnuts. Some buffets only refill certain sections once.

Do not go too hungry.

Yes. You heard me. We have something called "takaw tingin" or "takaw mata" (I refuse to try to translate that in English). Having a small yogurt before the big event will help you make better choices, and have the energy to elbow the older man trying to hog all the walnuts.

Do a once around. 

See what your options are. Have a rough idea of the selection so you know your order of priorities. Mine's usually, cheese first, carving station, the appetizer section, sashimi, other savory dishes, and desserts until I keel over. 

Easy on the carbs.

Yes, that also means bread, pasta, and other starchy stuff.  You want more protein, more of the good stuff. All that starch will make you full faster.

Slow down on the sushi.

I know you may think this is the bang for your buck, but that's a lot of rice-unless it's an all-sushi buffet. Go for more sashimi and tempura.

Ixnay on the soda and fruit juices

Too much sugar will make you bloat and feel full faster. You wanted to eat more right? Stick to water.

Do not put all your viands in one plate

Savor it, don't let the sauces mix, what's the point of eating in great quantities if they all taste the same weird mixed sauce flavor. It's gross, just don't do it. There's a reason there are so many plates for your use. Also, if you have more plates on the table, you can easily dispose of leftovers by putting small amounts on each plate. 

Eat slowly

You know how disgusting it was for the Capitol to waste food while the districts starved? Eating fast only to barf it out later is an insult to people who don't have enough to eat and the chef who intricately prepared your food. Food is meant to be relished, slow down and let yourself taste the food.

Take hot tea while you digest or try not
to burst

The hot tea (or just hot water) will help ease some of the bloating, making more space for more chow.
If you came early, you have the luxury to rest and have seconds or thirds, or fourths while sipping tea with your pinkie raised(you glutton!)

Pick your shots

Stop telling yourself you need to get a better bang for your buck.
That buffet franchise you're dining in IS making money. And if you can afford that 500php+-, you should know that the best way to make the most out of it is to eat what you really want, and not just stuff your face with everything you see. I will binge on cheeses, beef, and fresh fruits but not on seafood because I'm allergic.

It also pays to know that some buffets are just not worth it.
I'm still working on that list without getting a heart attack.

Monday, March 2, 2015

I am NOT a morning person.

See those extra minutes left before 7? I need those.

I procaffeinate.

My system runs more efficiently on lunar power.

My work starts early, earlier than the usual 8-5.

That means all activities are reduced to a minimum. We have different struggles in life. My mornings are made up of making the most out of sleep and stripping away the unnecessary rituals in life in favor of getting more shut-eye.

Yes, science has evidence that hitting the snooze button isn't good for you, but it makes me happier. I will hit you if you don't give me those precious 15 minutes to do something that can be done after coffee.

I'm a grumpy, violent minimalist in the morning--if that sounds any better.

But when I do wake up, breakfast is important.

If you're like me, here are some things I like doing to make sure I still get breakfast food that doesn't scream fast food or empty calories. It has to be easily stuffed in my bag in an ugly fashion or is available in or near my office.

Remember, it's all about being resourceful.
Do you have a hot water dispenser or a microwave? Is there a grocery that opens early or a convenience store nearby?

Oatmeal + Fruits + Milk/Yogurt

There's a plus sign because you could do with just one or all of them together. Of course, the real treat would be whole rolled oatmeal with fruits, nuts, and milk. But I'm not as lucky every day.
I usually pack portions of uncooked oatmeal in my bag or office desk. Make use of the hot water dispenser-that usually does the trick for me, but if you like it more cooked, nuke it for a bit.

Steamed Plantain Bananas/Sweet Potatoes

Where to get them: Jollijeep/random maglalako

By far the easiest and cheapest option. A steamed plantain banana (saging na saba) costs around 4-5 pesos a piece and will cover much of your carb needs for the rest of the morning.
I prefer sweet potatoes over the bananas, but they're not available all year.

Hard Boiled Eggs

Where to get them: 711/Your local jollijeep

Cons: 711 has a habit of boiling cold eggs or worse, heating refrigerated cooked eggs. In doing that, inner skin of the egg sticks and can be extremely frustrating / With Jollijeeps, you need to make sure they are newly boiled that day.


Where to get them: Office pantry/convenience store. 

When I'm running extremely slow, but I'm still too sleepy to eat, a glass of milk keeps me from going cray-cray.

Easy Open Canned Tuna

Protein, salt, and a long shelf life! It doesn't need delicate handling, and you can stash some under your desk if you're allowed to do that. I suggest looking for chunks in brine and making sure to grab the ones low in sodium. 

Omelette Marguerita Mug

Ah, a glimpse of the good life. There was a time when I arrived a the office early. Only because the shuttle arrives too early or too late, a corporate Russian Roulette if you ask me.

In those times, I'd bring whole eggs, bell peppers, tomatoes, and basil. Crack the eggs in a mug, roughly chop peppers, tomatoes, basil, add and whisk with a fork. Plus points if you bought salt and pepper. Pop in the microwave for 4-6 minutes. And there's your good morning right there.

They're no fancy mason jar salads, and they're almost guaranteed to have very little visual appeal, but it helps me get by ghastly mornings and doesn't really leave a burning hole in my pocket.

How about you? What keeps jumpstarts your morning?

Monday, January 19, 2015

For reasons I could no longer remember, it has been an annual ritual for me to write a last will. I didn't have assets or anything of value to give. In a way, there was some release in knowing that nothing I own had been left behind or forgotten.

I stopped when someone important felt it was too morbid. That, and I realized that writing a will that makes your pet dog a benefactor of your old stuff is just plain silly.

I got tired of that, so I decided to get a colonoscopy and a gastroscopy today.

I had a few episodes of gastritis this year and a number of severe hyperacidity-so I really didn't have much of a say in the matter.

The preparation required a day where I was not allowed to consume solid food, then had to completely avoid ingesting anything in the last 8 hours before the procedure.

When the doc said I should eat now, it felt like it was an important job to eat what I love the most so I'd have enough strength to keep myself from eating the next day.

Being the drama queen that I am, I said to myself "If this was my last meal and I could eat anything, keeping in mind a few reasonable limitations like not blowing my entire paycheck, my stomach's capacity, and whatever was in the Glorietta-SM-GB area, what would I eat?"

It took me about an hour of aimlessly walking before I decided on my first meal.

Kaya's 육개장 (Yukgaejang) 

A thick spicy soup with shredded beef, 고사리gosari (bracken fern), bean sprouts and other vegetables. There's something about soup that make everything seem alright. I would have preferred the 8-side dishes but that would mean going out of the mall. meh.

Oddly enough, I just discovered as I was writing this that there are several studies linking bracken or gosari  to colon cancer. While studies remain inconclusive, it would be sound advice to minimize consumption. 

I ate all the paper. hardcore. XD

White Rabbit

Ah, the classic, chewy treat. I can't believe these babies have gotten so expensive--around 50php for 8 pieces. It felt like I needed to pay a huge sum for a trip down memory lane.

Didn't you get a false sense of rebelliousness whenever you ate the paper wrapper? I know I did :p

Carabao's Milk

Albeit a tad more expensive than the normal cow's milk, Some say it is considered as "the most complete food". I drink it because it tastes so much better and doesn't make me bloat as much.

Roasted Chestnuts

This last one is a no brainer. I love chestnuts.

Given the considerably big budget I allowed myself, I was surprised that instead of going for the restaurants I've been meaning to try, or large buffets up for grabs, I opted for a taste of things I loved in the past. Tastes that reminded me of home.

I guess what I'm trying to get to was that, there were too many meals I took for granted because I didn't have the time, money or energy to eat proper food. And forgetting that some of the best pleasures in life, are experienced by your mouth-that sounds a bit wrong but I think Leopold will be proud.

So from this day forward, I pledge to always remember to not just refuel, not just to satiate hunger, but to relish, savor and delight my taste buds.

How about you? What will your last meal be like? Why aren't you eating those more often? 

I meant to write about it for days but my meds are keeping me extremely exhausted (or it's just lazy old me using that as an excuse.)

Since all our birthday plans were foiled, we decided to just head on to Enchanted Kingdom for a day and we won a gorilla. Yay, I guess.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

So last night, I had this need to eat some hot, decent food that wasn't fastfoody-esque. I had so much trouble deciding because of the following very compelling reasons.

1. The chicken will take too long to thaw. 
2. The fish will take too long to thaw. 
3. Anything frozen in the fridge will take too long to thaw because I didn't want to handle cold stuff. 
4. The canned tuna wasn't frozen. 
5. I live in the 4th floor and I do not have enough energy to descend and climb that flight. 
6. I just couldn't decide. That was really it. 

I eventually settled for tuna salad with some balsamic, only because I didn't have the electrolytes to make honey mustard.
It's not bad, except I just took too long to decide.
Tuna,  cucumbers , apples,  cashews and romaine drizzled with some balsamic

Not that's catastrophic, but if I found this site telling me to just fucking cook the fish,  I probably would have.


There are days when you just don't have any fucks to spare. On those days, this site may just be exactly what you need.

Sad, that I didn't find you last night, but I'll keep you in mind when those days come up again. Thank you kind sir for your work. I will buy the fucking cook book when I get the money.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

One of our pretend chefs (we're all pretend chefs that's the beauty of it) Jan, will be performing this Saturday at the  SpinDependence 2014: Flow Gathering +Year-ender Party this coming Saturday, November 15 at The Collective in Makati from,7pm to 2am

Image from Planet Zips and the SpinDependence page
SpinDependence is an event by Planet Zips as a "celebration of flee flowing arts".
The event will feature workshops, an open fire jam, live bands, and of course flow performances from different flow artists using hoops, led wands, fire wands fire poi, and staffs.

Jan will be performing "Luna" with his prop Buugeng.

Visit The Spin Dependence Page for more information.

Entrance is free and you get to ask Jan for a photo of him doing the macarena.  See you!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Alright, there's nothing too innovative about this dish. What I love about it, is how you can cook this while watching a movie or doing chores half heartedly.  I meant with gusto.

I spend most weekday mornings wondering what happened to my weeknight, why it's difficult to fit the things you need to do and manage to squeeze in a good night's sleep.

Being a fan of home cooked meals, I sometimes just substitute dinner with a piece of fruit, icky fast food or I just head to sleep, too tired to even try ingesting anything. It's nothing new, just some of the problems of the newly independent.

Don't get me wrong, I love the freedom of not having to eat when you don't even have the energy to chew without launching into an hour-long debate why dinner should be skipped.

So dishes like these that you can leave while attending to other things are godsend.

Boil sweet potatoes for about 10 minutes, depending on how big they are. You
want them to still be firm enough to hold their shape when you slice it.

Take the bacon out. Frozen makes for easier and more uniform cuts. Smaller pieces are easier to cook too. 
Who has time to thaw anything?

On a non stick pan, fry on medium heat.  I had a small portable stove so I was stirring it while Evil Ex #2 was filming in Toronto.

Assemble! Add more cheese.

Bake! Or not.  It really depends if you still have the time. 

And you wonder how I managed to squeeze a blogpost after all that. 

The answer is simple: overcaffeination.

I have but enough energy to brush my teeth (hopefully), so I bid you good-night and congratulations on surviving Monday.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

A day devoid of alarms.

The coffee maker slowly churns hot water to make a fresh brew.

Today the coffee is weak. Beautifully weak. There's nowhere to go but here, nothing to do but dissect old songs we never had the time to really listen to.

Crisp, toasted bread playfully filled the air. Butter? Jam? Cheese? Doesn't matter, we have time for everything, choosing isn't necessary.

Today, it is "someday".

We should have more of these.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Johnny Depp's character in Chocolat, Roux had good reason to make Hot Chocolate his favorite. For one thing, it cures all ailments, curses, and maladies-plus it helps me replenish my supply of crazy ideas on gray days.


How do you say no to that?

Today I was feeling a bit down and anti-human for no reason. I'm not contemplating wiping out the entire human race, it's just that today, I like them less than usual.

So I went loco and made some choco. Not just one mug, but 7. Different ways I like my hot chocolate. No, there was no gluttony involved.

First the type of chocolate:
You can use either powdered cocoa,  semi-sweet dark chocolate, or tablea.

Milk (don't tell my doc I'm indulging in dairy)

Sugar or not.

Whipping cream. Because the world is a better place with whipping cream.

How to make it?
Heat 1 cup milk, add 1tbsp cocoa powder or about 2tbsp of dark semi sweet chocolate chips (or more, if you want it thicker) , sugar, stir/melt.

Old school plain and creamy.

Rich thick cocoa, milk, a dash of sugar and a helping of whipped cream. Might help resurrect the child in you.

With vanilla and cinnamon.

Classic flavors that I also like with my coffee. The vanilla complements the richness of the cocoa while cinnamon gives it a pleasant kick. I'm thinking pumpkin spice will work as Halloween treat.

Sexy Chili.

You know how they often say chocolate is an aphrodisiac? Hot cocoa and chili is a stronger version of it. One that makes you instinctively bite your lip, feel your curves and electrifying your skin when it comes into contact with your hand. One that helps you realize how attractive you are.

Okay, this one really is cinnamon. The chili one is the first photo :p

With coffee.

Two beautiful things come together to make a cup of world peace.A former officemate liked to call his version "chofee" instead of mocha. He's rebellious that way.


Who doesn't love Starbucks' Peppermint Mocha? It was one of the reasons I got the yearly planner. A dash of peppermint syrup can be very refreshing to the palate as it counters the thick cocoa.

You can add some coffee in the mix to make your version of PM.

The Ultimate Mug of Happiness.

More chocolate. And not just chocolate but a big helping of Nutella. +14 INT, +8 STR , and +10 Resistance to Idiots.

The Ultimate Mug of Happiness is excellent, but isn't my favorite.

This is

The Greater Mug of Happines. It's your usual TUMG but with a dash of peppermint syrup.

Clearly playing too much Diablo while making hot chocolate isn't a very good idea.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Cravings are exempt from reason.

Today, I'm dreaming of Flavored Ice / Shaved Ice / Snow Ice (an Ice by any other name) from Mei Heong Yuen.

[water]Melon Lychee Ice
A few years back, a then new friend showed us around Chinatown in Singapore. We were greeted with stalls of souvenirs, trinkets and thingamabobs. While it was tempting to splurge the remainder of our budget over small items that our friends back home will probably never use, we were here for something more important: cold dessert on a hot day.

It was around $6SGD about two years ago
It was a good idea to take a picture of the receipt after all. I could never have remembered the name of the place. A short walk from Chinatown MRT, Mei Heong Yuen serves as an oasis for exhausted shoppers and dessert lovers.

Mango Strawberry Ice
Sheets of thinly shaved flavored ice drizzled with syrup and topped with fresh mangoes and sago filled with flavored syrup-I have no idea what they called it. I found a local store who sold something similar called it "poppers". It was a pleasant experience compared to when I first tasted seaweed that was bursting with fishy seawater. eck.

While the Mango-Strawberry Ice was more on the rich, creamy side, the Watermelon Lychee was more light and refreshing. It was really good to have someone who knew what to pick, otherwise we'd be lost in the long list of flavors.

Our friend said an order was good for sharing. Looks like they didn't consider sweet-toothed gluttons like us. In any case it melts QUICKLY so eating it fast is a good idea. Thanks for the awesome time, Erik and Vermon :D

Mei Heong Yuen
67 Temple St, Singapore 058611
2 Orchard Turn
#B4-34 ION ORchard