Friday, October 06, 2017

Frances Finds: Homecooked hash browns using frozen US Potatoes

My kids love hash browns and twister fries. I think all kids like fried food and finger food. Hash browns and french fries just happen to be both so every weekend, we order from McDo. But our food deliveries every weekend cost about P700. We don’t buy just the fried potatoes, you see. Syempre, we also buy burgers and spaghetti. Anyway, P700 or so every weekend, aba, that’s P3,000 na every month!

So last weekend, I went to the frozen veggies section of Rustan’s The Marketplace to buy frozen fries and hash browns so I can save some money. And, mamas, there’s a wealth of US Potatoes I found! 

Okay, first, let me tell you the brands of US Potatoes: Carnation, Park Lane, Dane, Lamb Weston, Island Valley, Food Service Pack, Alexia, American Maple Leaf (hindi siya bacon haha), Golden, and Frenchies. There are many shapes and kinds available, too: wedges, thin slices, crinkle cut, basket weave, tater tots, and of course the ones I need, hash browns and loop/curly (a.k.a. twister fries).

All are reasonably priced even though they’re from the US. I’m particular about that because the United States is the only country that is required by USDA Grading Standards to ensure food safety by using state-of-the-art technology to instantly freeze potatoes to lock in the flavor and nutrients. 

Okay, now that you know how careful I am with the food I buy, here’s what I got: Carnation Mini Hash Browns and Golden Crinkle Cut Fries.

Here was the kids’ breakfast:

Crisp and crunchy outside, soft and moist inside. Tasted slightly buttery, too!

They loved brekkie! Thank you, US Potatoes, for making me feel like a smart, money-savvy mama! 

US Potatoes are found at major grocery stores like Cherry Foodarama, SM Supermarkets, Rustan’s The Marketplace, Robinsons Supermarkets, and S&R. For more recipes and information, like the Potatoes USA Facebook page.

This post is brought to you by US Potatoes.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Shepherd's Pie recipe made special with Gold Seas Tuna

A few months ago, I discovered Gold Seas Tuna—and it's one of my best mom finds this year!

I love tuna. I've loved tuna forever! I make the best spicy tuna sandwich spread. I know because I've not tasted any tuna sandwich better than mine and everyone who's had my tuna sandwich says so, too. I make really amazing tuna and roasted tomatoes pasta. Super quick and easy to make and everyone who's had it thinks it's so gourmet, they get shocked when they find out my tuna's canned. Yes, I'm very mayabang when it comes to my tuna recipes!!!

Maybe one day I'll share the secrets of my super special tuna recipes with you, dearest Loyal Readers. One day, but not today!

Today, I'll share with you the delicious shepherd's pie we made with Chef Rosebud Benitez (the lady at center, with glasses) at The Cookery. With other mommies, I learned to make shepherd's pie with tuna. Not just any tuna but with Gold Seas Tuna Chunks. It is the very best canned tuna in the Philippines, mamas!

  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled, chopped, boiled and mashed
  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 720g jar tomato pasta sauce
  • 2 celery stalks, trimmed, chopped
  • 150g broccoli, chopped
  • 1/3 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cans Gold Seas Tuna in Spring Water, drained, flaked

1. In a mixing bowl, add butter, milk and two-thirds of the cheese to the mashed potato. Season with salt and pepper (I use white pepper so that my mashed potatoes won't look "dirty."). Stir gently with a wooden spoon until smooth. Cover to keep warm.

2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion. Cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes or until onion has become transluscent. Add pasta sauce, celery, broccoli, and corn. Stir until vegetables are tender (around 7 minutes). Add basil and tuna. Season with salt and pepper. Stir.

3. Preheat oven on medium. Divide tuna mixture between four 1 1/2 cup-capacity ramekins. Spoon in mixture so that it fills just two-thirds of the ramekins. Fill to the top with mashed potato. 

4. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Lots and lotsa cheese! Grill for 4 to 5 minutes or until potato is golden and cheese has melted. Serve.

This was soooo easy and soooo delicious! My husband—who is a meat man—loved it! Definitely a lighter and healthier version of shepherd's pie, which is usually made with ground meat.

Next week, I'll share with you another recipe Chef Rosebud taught us. Of course, we made it with Gold Seas Tuna Chunks—the chunkiest, most delicious canned tuna ever!!! Happy cooking!

This post is brought to you by Gold Seas Tuna.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Exercises we can do at home to get sexier!

It's the last quarter of 2017! I'm almost 41! I haven't done any real consistent fitness regimens at all this year! This time in 2016, I promised myself that because I'm turning 40, I need to be fit and fab. I was going to use #FrancesFabAt40 and #FrancesFitAt40 to document my journey to fabulosity. Alas, it din't happen, mamas.

I did do more physical work than I ever have this year. But since I wasn't consistent, I guess the effects weren't visible. I do feel stronger. I'm doing things I've not done in decades—briskly walk 3 kms straight, jog, climb stairs without dying, heck, I actually can even run up stairs now! So, yes, I am healthier and more fit, but I also want this new strength to be visible on my body.

Problem is, as a super busy working mama who can't rely on yayas and kasambahays to look after the kids while I go to the gym, I can't go to a gym. So let's do this fitness thing at home!!!

I went on YouTube and found this lovely woman who does exercises at home. Bodibiday deserves more views and subscribers, mama, so let's give those to her. Watch her videos and WORK OUT WITH ME!!!

Okay, so I collected the videos I plan to do every MWF (let's start slooooow) on this blog post so I can just keep going back to this page every time I need to exercise. Here we go!

Because I need to tone my arms. My arms are strong. After seven years of lifting and carrying babies and toddler, lifting heavier loads of groceries and diaper bags, I know my arms are. I just don't like that all those muscles are buried by fat!

Because I have a big belly and a big belly doesn't look nice on a skinny lady. Everyone keeps asking me if I'm pregnant again.

Because I want to lose my back fat. How can I be skinny and have back fat anyway???

Because I want nice wide hips. My hips already widened after three pregnancies but I have these awful things called hip dips.

Because I want a big butt! I used to have a cute butt but when I became a mama, it flattened to pancakes. Whhhyyyyy???

Because I want toned legs. I know my legs are stronger than they've ever been. I run after little boys! I run up MRT steps! I walk everywhere! But they still don't look firm and toned. So I'm doing this.

Okay, yan na muna, mamas. I'll start this week and then I am super hoping that in a month's time, which would be my birthday week, I'll not only feel better, I'll also look better. Good luck to us!