Thursday, August 29, 2019

Our favorite find at National Book Store: dotted journals!

Last week, a video that Vito and I made for National Book Store debuted (naks, debut talaga haha) on Facebook.

I love working with my son. This is the second video we've done for National. Last year, Vito and I starred in a back-to-school marketing campaign where we hawked lunch bags.

I really like that lunch bag. I still have the pink and purple of it. Vito's blue and Iñigo's red were so well used and abused for an entire school year, nabutas na haha. I was really hoping National would sell them again this year.

Anyway, we also did an unboxing of our shopping.

So some moms who watched our video this month asked, "What did you buy po? Sana may unboxing din!" Oo nga naman! Well, it's not very exciting kasi we bought ball pens, Spider-Man pencils, highlighters, bond paper... you know, school supplies!

But Vito and I did find a very nice and affordable journal. As in sobra kaming tuwang-tuwa sa kanya. Are we mababaw to get all excited about a notebook? Maybe. Pero sa pamilya ko kasi, we are writers and artists. We love to write down everything. As in everything! The kids love to draw. They draw every single day! So notebooks are a HUGE deal here in our home. So, mamas, check out our favorite National Book Store find: Limelight Dotted Journals!

The blue has subtle gold flecks.
Love the cheerful color and lines!
The journal is really thick. I can do 12 months plus notes and drawings pa!
Pocket at the back cover.
Empty pages excite me!
Vito uses his as a planner, gaming notes, and writing his stories and comics. 

Vito's dotted journal is already used but I'm saving mine for my 2020 bullet journal. Actually, we both want to buy more because there are more cover designs and P220 lang siya! Sobrang affordable!!!

We found this at the Glorietta 1 branch. The two branches near our house are small so very limited ang items available there so I think, if you want to buy this dotted journal, you'll have to go to a big branch like in Glorietta.

Now remember: Everything you need for school is at National Book Store. You can shop at their hundreds of branches nationwide or you can shop online at You can also call 8888-NBS (627) to order and have your shopping delivered! Follow @nationalbookstore on Instagram, and @nbsalert on Twitter, Viber, and YouTube.

*This post is brought to you by National Book Store.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

2 easy recipes to elevate your favorite tuna sandwich and Thai noodles

PRESS RELEASE - Admit it, more often than not, what you have in your pantry would be hassle-free instant food. As any person who’s lived independently (ahem, alone) knows, instant food is pretty painless and requires minimal to no cooking. That means not only do you get to eat faster, but you also lessen the potential damage you can inflict on your kitchen. 

But hey, eating shouldn’t just be about filling your stomach. Good food can work wonders for the soul – and your ego – since you’re actually going to do this. A quick scan through The Maya Kitchen’s trove of recipes has provided these 2 simple ways to transform your instant meals into tastier, healthier, and over-all, fancier dishes. Let’s get down to business! 

From canned tuna to Italian sandwich! 

This Chili Corned Tuna Salad in Panini Toast provides a yummy twist to your canned staple. And you can do this in just 3 steps! Start by mixing drained corned canned tuna with celery, onion, pickle relish, mayonnaise, chili powder, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Lay thin cuts of cucumber and red onion on top of a slice of toasted batard bread. Lastly, spread the tuna salad mixture onto the bread. Enjoy it by yourself or share the hefty servings!


1 can corned tuna, 380 grams, drained
2 tablespoons celery, chopped
1 piece red onion, sliced or chopped
3 tablespoons pickle relish
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
3 pairs prepared buttered batard bread slices, pressed in panini machine
cucumber, thinly sliced
red onion, thinly sliced

1. In a bowl, put and mix together drained tuna, celery, onion, pickle relish, mayonnaise, and chili powder. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside. 
2. Get a piece of toasted batard bread and lay pieces on top, thinly slices of cucumber and red onion slices. 
3. Scoop a dollop of the tuna salad mixture on top of the cucumber and onion, placing them alternately on top of one another, then cover with another batard bread on top. 
4. Serve with slices of lemon on the side.

Yield: 3 servings

Instant noodles to Thai stir-fry! 

Your favorite pack of instant noodles is filled with endless possibilities far beyond the instructions on the back. Use it to whip up this Thai Chicken and Peanut Stir-Fry Noodles recipe, a great (and healthier!) option to your usual instant fare. Pan fry pieces of chicken until lightly browned, then add in carrots, onion, garlic, mushroom, bell pepper, and oyster sauce. Cook the noodles together with peanut butter sauce for 5 minutes. Place noodles on a platter, then top it with the stir-fried chicken, vegetable mixture, wansoy leeks, and roasted peanuts. And voila, you’ve added a Thai dish to your menu! 


3 tablespoons oil
150 grams chicken breast fillet, chopped
1 piece large-sized carrots, julienne
1 piece medium-sized onion, sliced
1 tablespoon garlic
100 grams sliced fresh shitake mushrooms
1 cup bell peppers (red, yellow and green)
3 tablespoons oyster sauce or light soy sauce
500 grams fresh egg thick noodles “miki”, blanched, washed and cleaned
prepared peanut sauce
1/3 cup wansoy, chopped
2 stalks leeks, sliced diagonally
freshly roasted peanuts, as needed

Peanut Sauce:
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter 
2-3 tablespoons Chinese chili-garlic sauce
1 cup water
2 tablespoons rice wine/mirin
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon grated ginger
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a clean bowl, mix all ingredients together until all sugar has dissolved. Set aside. 
2. Heat oil in a sautéing pan and pan-fry chicken until lightly browned.
3. Add in carrots, onion, and garlic and continue sautéing until onions and garlic are translucent and aromatic.
4. Stir in mushrooms, bell pepper, and oyster sauce, give a quick stir. Do not overcook the vegetables. Set aside a little amount of stir-fried chicken and vegetable mixture for toppings.
5. In the same pan, toss in noodles and pour in the prepared peanut sauce. Cook no more than 5 minutes.
6. Before turning off the heat, mix in the wansoy and leeks into the noodles.
7. Serve noodles on to the platter, top with the remaining stir-fried chicken and vegetable mixture and sprinkle on top with roasted peanuts before serving.

Yield: 5-6 servings

Nothing beats quick, easy-to-follow recipes from The Maya Kitchen to help you turn your instant meals into everyday gourmet dishes. Learn more uncomplicated ways to eat well at

Like and follow The Maya Kitchen on Facebook and Instagram @TheMayaKitchen1 and follow us on Twitter @TheMayaKitchen.

Learn great recipes at If you want to take your baking and cooking skills up a notch, check out Maya Kitchen’s course offerings at the website, email, or visit The Maya Kitchen Culinary Center every Tuesday to Saturday at 8F Liberty Building, 835 A. Arnaiz Avenue (Pasay Road), Makati City or call 8921185 or 892-5011 local 108 or +63929 679 6102.

*To be featured on Press Release Tuesdays, send it to

Monday, August 26, 2019

Here are photos of my fab finds for your home office at MY MC Home!

I spent one of the long weekends of this month at new home store MY MC Home, looking for stuff for my home office. I also went there with a special mission from my mommy readers: report on good sofas that are perfect for a small condo. Here's what I found for you! 

I especially like this living room set for your home office, if you have one. Its gray color recalls the professionalism of the corporate environment but that gingham print definitely puts a playful and homey feel, right?

Here's another option that will do well in your living room and also your home office. I like the Scandinavian design of sleek lines and simple wooden frames. They're quite comfy, too! But they're not long enough to accommodate your whole body so you won't be tempted to lie down and nap.

If you do like taking naps in between work deadlines (I indulge in power naps a lot!), then fold-out sofa beds are also available at MY MC Home. I found a streamlined piece that will fit into a small room and then fold out into a comfortable bed. Great for you and for guests!

Here's a multi-functional piece, mamas! It's a desk and a bed! It has tons of space for storage, too. Here is a closed one...

... and here's what it looks like when opened! The desk is specially designed to stay level so that even when you pull down the bed, you can leave your laptop or notebooks on the desk and they won't fall off. Love it!

Speaking of desks, we all need organizers to make sense of the mess that inevitably piles up when work gets crazy. Here's a desk organizer I found. Lots of compartments for pens, highlighters, folders, paper clips, et al. I was hoping for more feminine variants, though, like florals or pink.

There are other desk organizers that aren't black, don't worry! They come in different materials, too, like faux leather, wood, and wicker.

Another fantastic find for the office (or your living room and bedroom) is this corner shelf. Definitely a great space filler and perfect for books, picture frames, and scented candles to calm your frazzled nerves.

Last but definitely will be the pièce de résistance of your home office—this unique bookshelf!

For more home and office finds, visit the store! MY MC Home has 2 branches: Level 3 MET LIVE Mall, Diosdado Macapagal Blvd, 1302 Pasay City, and at MC Home Depot San Fernando Interchange, Jose Abad Santos Avenue, 2000 San Fernando, Pampanga. You may also find more furniture and promos at their Facebook page and Instagram

*This post is brought to you by My MC Home.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Piero is 5!

Everyone says Piero is my favorite. He's not. He's just my last. My last baby. That's really what it is. You push the first two out into the world. You hold back the last. It's a selfishness I relish while I still can. Sooner than I want, this littlest one will be launched into the world, too. And I'll be left behind. As I should. 

I mean, he just turned 5 last month! And in the one month since, he already thinks he's some hotshot conquering the world! This kid. Always hurrying up. Always thinks he's the biggest person in the room. Always thinks he knows best.

For his birthday, he wanted it at home. I insisted, "Don't you want to have a party at your preschool like your kuyas did?"

"Nope," he answered with derision. "Why would I spend my birthday with people I don't know?"

Why indeed.

He said he wanted an all-Oreo party because that's his name. "Don't you know my name, Mama?"

"I think I should know it given the fact that your Papa and I gave it to you."

"Well, it's not Piero. It's Pi-OREO!" Then he laughed at how clever he is. "I'm an Oreo Monster!"

So we had an Oreo ice cream cake, Oreos to eat with the cake, and Oreo ice cream sandwiches after! We had Oreos all frikkin' July because the Oreo Monster said so. And because he's my baby ("I'm not your baby anymore, Mama. I am FIVE!"), I buy him all the Oreos he wants. Every week.

(Send us Oreos please!)

For gifts, he didn't want a lot. Just some play clay and raccoon plushies. "That's also my name, Mama. Piero RACCOON Sales. Didn't you know?"

I didn't! What kind of a mother am I, I muse, as I take note that I have a wild animal as a son now. And just like a raccoon, Piero raids the ref and the cookie box all day long, he's aggressive, and he loves holing up in the dark like in his closet or in his pillow fortress with all his plushies.

Piero is, in many ways, the son who's exactly like his parents. It's fascinating—and worrying—how he has all our stubbornness, moodiness, and bad temper. But of course, right? He's our son. (How come the first two are also ours but aren't like us then?) I'm so glad Piero came to Vince and me because we know exactly how to deal with stubbornness, moodiness, and bad temper. Imagine if the stork had brought him to sweet and innocent parents??? He'd eat them alive. 

Well, to be honest, there were a couple of years back then when Vince and I also thought we wouldn't get out of this alive. This Piero! Our feral child! With our first two boys, they loved us immediately. With this littlest one, I always felt we had to earn his love and approval. How weird is that!

But we did it. We became better at parenting and now we have the sweetest little boy—just like his kuyas! Happy, loving, affectionate. We survived!!! Four is actually my most favorite age. And last year was wonderful! That was when we finally knew how to dance around each other and when I said to myself, "After 4 years, I think we've finally earned his respect!"

So 5 is fantastic! Piero still has a lot of moments when he'd say, "Why are you in my room? I want to be alone, Mama." Darling, you're 5! Why do you want to be alone? But because Vince and I are also loners ourselves, we understand and back off. He's the one most like Vince and me! 

Happy birthday, my wild one. You are the one who humbled me, who keeps me on my toes! You are exactly what our family needed and I wish I could keep you little forever because one day I will need to unleash you into the big wide world and they will think you are too much. Too honest with your words and emotions, too brave, too smart, too independent, too self-assured. And that's you at 5! Imagine that. What will you be like at 10, 15, 20 and beyond? We are already so proud of what you'll become!

Friday, August 02, 2019

We're purple and pretty at Welch's 150th anniversary party! Plus, Grape Salsa with Goat Cheese Crostini recipe

Welch’s is 150 years old this 2019 and we celebrated with a purple party last weekend! I'm so happy to tell you all that Welch's has partnered with my blog to help in their mission to "Share What’s Good." So that means you can expect me to write about healthier nutritional choices from now on, mamas!

For 150 years, Welch’s has brought the natural goodness of grape juice to millions of homes around the world. But did you know that the Philippines is their biggest market in Asia? Ang lakas pala natin sa grape juice! The real good news there is Pinoys chose 100% real grape juice vs powdered juice or flavored juice. 

To be honest, I've been buying fake juices for a loooong time. Yes, nakakahiya man aminin but that was how I was raised and I continued that tradition with my family. But a few years ago, my husband told me to try real fruit juice. Pagdating sa grape juice, favorite niya ang Welch's. So that was the start of my slow transition from powdered juice drinks (which was mainly sugar) to real juice. Now, because of Welch's 100% Grape Juice, I feel better about giving my kids juice, knowing that I'm giving them real natural goodness that's healthy!

My new friend Erika Rodriguez is the VP for Marketing of Gemco, the Philippine marketing agent of Welch’s International. We met late last year when Iñigo and I worked together to promote our favorite Welch's Sparkling Grape Juice. Erika is very much what Welch's stands for—giving her family and friends good and healthy food. She's so wholesome and good for the heart and soul! I loved her immediately! I want to be just like her! 

Anyway, Erika says that Welch’s wants to remind mommies like us the value of making better choices at home and how our wise decisions on nutrition can impact the family’s overall health and well-being. "Welch’s is an advocate of better nutritional choices for families all over the world. To celebrate its 150 years, we continue the tradition of encouraging more people to lead a healthy lifestyle, and it starts with the food and beverage that we consume," Erika says. "Even amidst our busy lifestyle, moms must make sure that our family – especially the growing kids – only get the best when it comes to nutrition."

The Philippine distributor of Welch's is Fly Ace Corporation—another company close to my heart! Remember when I was a Jolly Mommy a few years ago? So happy to see Fly Ace President Lucio 'Jun' Cochanco Jr. again at the Welch's party! Sir Jun said that they're proud to carry Welch’s as it's not only a heritage brand but also one that is popular among Filipino families. He said, "We celebrate with Welch’s as it marks 150 years. It is a product that we are proud of since it is well-loved because of its nutritional values and the natural goodness that it gives to consumers. Moving forward, we want more Filipinos to share in the joy of drinking Welch's together especially during special occasions and family moments."

At the event, I shared the stage with gorgeous and super fit and healthy mommy Aliza Apostol a.k.a. @mustlovemom on Instagram. She's really been drinking Welch's since she was a child, and since her husband is a chef, their meals are always fresh and healthy. She's such a good example to me! I was so inspired to work out after being in her presence!

Anyway, one concern of health-conscious mommies that Aliza raised was the sweetness of Welch's. Well, we need not worry at all. Unlike other beverages that contain huge amounts of sugar and artificial coloring, Welch’s is vitamin-packed and 100% natural. Scientific studies show that grape juice made from Concord grapes contain natural sugars but compared with other forms of sugar, sugars in grapes are considered to be low in the glycemic index. Thus, grape (or grape juice in this case) is unlikely to raise one’s blood sugar significantly.

Erika says, "Each bottle of Welch’s is made from Concord grapes, assuring moms that they give their kids a large, concentrated amount of polyphenols which a natural plant nutrient that plays a key role in supporting a healthy heart. These same polyphenols contribute to the antioxidant power of 100% grape juice."

Another thing Aliza and I love about Welch's is it's not owned by a conglomerate. It's lovingly harvested from over 900 family farmer-owned vineyards across America. They then use the entire Concord grape – skin, seeds and all – to release the plant’s true polyphenol power. In fact, at least 20 grapes are squeezed into each 4-ounce glass. Imagine the vitamins and minerals in each glass of Welch’s that has nurtured generations of families not only in the Philippines but all over the world!

Speaking of families, here are a few of my favorite mom influencers that attended the Welch's event:

The Casa Mamas
April of Daily Dose of Brie and Feliz of Today with the Lucas
Louise of Mommy Practicality and Ina of The Asian Parent

Of course, since we were talking about good nutrition, there was a cooking demo!

Chefs Peachy Mathay and Trisha Ocampo shared delicious recipes with us, all of which had Welch's 100% Grape Juice as an ingredient! We had an appetizer, salad, dessert, and sangria! But the recipe below is my favorite:

Grape Salsa with Goat Cheese Crostini

Yield: 6-8


Grape Salsa
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
½ cup Welch’s 100% Grape Juice
1 cup seedless grapes, quartered (red, green or a mix)
1 cup tomatoes, diced
1 tbsp jalapeño, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
½ cup red onions
1 tbsp lime juice
salt and pepper
Goat Cheese Spread
8 oz goat cheese
225 grams cream cheese
¼ cup heavy cream
salt and pepper
1 loaf baguette

In a sauce pan, pour the balsamic vinegar and the Welch’s 100% Grape Juice. Reduce in half or until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Cool down and set aside. 

In a mixer (using a paddle) or bowl, mix the goat cheese, cream cheese, and heavy cream together until light and fluffy. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside in the refrigerator.

In a bowl, add the quartered grapes, tomatoes, jalapeño, cilantro, red onions, lime juice, and the reduced grape juice. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside in the refrigerator.

Slice the baguette into ¼” thick slices and arrange on a baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Flip and repeat the process. Bake in a 350 F oven until golden, about 5-8 minutes.

To assemble, spread the goat cheese on the crostini. Add a spoonful of grape salsa and garnish with cilantro.

For more information about the 150 years of Welch’s and how to know the different ways to enjoy 100% natural grape juice, visit or follow Welch’s PH in Facebook and IG. Welch’s fruit drinks and snacks are distributed by Fly Ace Corporation and are available in leading retail stores nationwide.

*This post was brought to you by Welch's 100% Grape Juice.