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6.08.2018

5 Tips to Make Your Stainless Steel Pots and Pans Last Longer.

Cooking is one of the most rewarding hobbies and duties as a mom. Whenever you see the whole family, especially the kids loved what you prepared, the appreciation is priceless. However, after pre-cooking, preparation, cooking, meal setup, and eating, then there comes cleaning. It is one of the most unfavorable and most unlikely tasks in the house. But, whether you like it or not, cleaning is a must-do duty.

Cooking wares such as pots, pans, knife, ladles, tongs, chopping board, etc. are not easy to clean especially when there is already sticky build-up. Stainless steel pots and pans are one of the cookware that needs special care when cleaning; here are some tips on how to give extra attention.
Photo credit: Amazon.
Basic Cleaning
For regular, daily use, clean your stainless steel pots and pans with a sponge using warm soapy water. Wash it first with water to remove any remaining food before using the sponge. If there is a thickened or substantial remnant, use warm water in washing. You can also put the cookware with water in medium heat so the residue will get soft. Never use steel wool and rough towels in cleaning and drying or else, the surface will get scratches.

Stain Removal
Stainless steel cookware is very susceptible to stains that come from food reaction. You can use oxalic acid cleaner for blemishes, and you can buy it from grocery stores. But if it is out of reach, you can also use baking soda, and hot water for soaking before you wash it. Let the mixture set, do not clean so soon, set it for a couple of hours before you clean.
Photo credit: Stay at Home Mum.
Burnt Food Removal
Before removing burnt food, soak the stainless steel cookware with hot water first. Bring it to low heat and set to boil. Turn off the heat and let it cool down. Once the water is cooled down and configured, you can now wash it. Aside from warm and soapy water, you can use a nylon scrub pad for cleaning.

Calcium Deposit Elimination
If you are using the stainless pots and pans for boiling, there is a vast possibility of calcium deposits. These are shown in white spots at the bottom of the cookware. Vinegar is one of the harshest cleaners when it comes to calcium deposits. Mix 4 parts of water to 1/4 part of white vinegar then let the mixture soak in the cookware for just a few minutes. Never soak it for a longer period or else, the cookware will get tarnished and will no longer be excellent for future cooking.
Photo credit: Instant Pot.
Discoloration Solution
Have you seen a rainbow color on your stainless steel pots? It is a discoloration, and it happens when there is too much heat applied to the cookware. For a quick cleaning, wash your stainless steel cookware with vinegar to help bring back its bright and original color. You can also try cooking high acidic food to avoid and treat discoloration.

Cleaning must not be a difficult task, especially for busy moms out there. It can be a pleasant and enjoyable task, as long as there are helpful tips that will ease your cleaning burden.


6.04.2018

Dreaming of Iceland | Things to Do in the Land of Fire and Ice.

At the height of my addiction to Super Junior, Big Bang, and several other K-pop groups, Korea was my dream destination. But now that I have fulfilled my dream of traveling to the land of K-pop and skincare, visiting at least twice a year thus making this country almost like my second home, I have been eyeing another country, a new dream destination - with hopes of traveling to and exploring the sights the way I did with Korea.

These days, I have been dreaming of Iceland, with its majestic, unspoiled landscapes and stunning natural attractions. A Nordic island country located just below the Arctic Circle, Iceland has been dubbed as an environmental paradox with its smorgasbord of volcanoes blanketed in ice and snow. It's one of the few places on Earth where you can see glaciers and volcanoes in one place at one time, and where the phenomenon of subglacial eruptions (volcanoes erupting under ice) actually takes place. This contradiction of sorts is one of the many reasons why this country made it to the top of my travel bucket list.

I must admit, I'm not the most outdoors-y person and I'm not the kind of traveler of who packs less and light. But if backpacking is the best way to enjoy the sights and sounds of Iceland, then I'd gladly give up my 20-kilogram baggage allowance to explore and experience all these:
The awesome Aurora Borealis.
Photo credit: Iceland Tourism.
1. Bask under the Northern Lights.
Also known as the Aurora borealis, the Northern Lights is a natural phenomenon that paints the horizon with dazzling colors. It's like watching a ballet of lights dancing across the sky, with a color palette reminiscent of Sailor Moon's transformation.

A result of the collision between gaseous particles in the Earth's atmosphere and the charged particles from the sun's atmosphere, the Northern Lights is a stunning celestial show that's best viewed during the winter season when the nights are longer and relatively darker. They're rather elusive and unpredictable, so there's no guarantee that you'll be able to see them during your stay in Iceland. But if the odds are in my favor, or if luck is on my side, then I might just chance upon this marvelous sight.
Myvatn Nature Baths.
Photo credit: Iceland Tourism.
2. Relax in a hot spring.
Swimming in chlorine-treated pools isn't my cup of tea because my ever-so-sensitive skin tends to react negatively with the water. Hot springs, however, are a totally different story.

With its milky blue color and warm, soothing, temperature, the hot springs in Myvatn Nature Baths are perfect for relaxing  the mind, body, and soul. They're also rich in alkaline and minerals which are good for even the most sensitive skin. Some of the hot springs in Iceland also contain traces of sulfur, which can be beneficial for those with asthma (like me!), sinusitis, and other respiratory problems.
Inside an Icelandic volcano.
Photo credit: Timothy Barker.
3. Plunge into a volcano.
Iceland is home to about a hundred or so volcanoes, thanks to its location on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. About thirty of these volcanoes are quite active, with the last volcanic eruption occurring three years ago in the lava field of Holohraun. During this time, the area of Bárðarbunga, where the lava field is located, was closed to tourists and visitors.

There is, however, one place in Iceland that allows visitors to see a volcano up close and personal. And by that, I mean you go inside the volcano, descend its crater, and make a journey towards the center of the earth. This place is called Bláfjöll, where the dormant Thrihnukagigur volcano is located.

If you're a thrill-seeker, into geology, or just someone who is brave enough to go on this one-of-a-kind adventure, then this is an experience you should not miss. Not only will you get to marvel at the beauty of the magma chamber, you'll also get to explore the ground of the volcano itself. That's about 40 floors below the ground, but who cares? :)
Inside an ice cave.
Photo credit: Iceland Tourism.
4. Explore an ice cave.
Living in a tropical country (where it feels like summer all year round) has made me want to visit and explore countries that have ice and snow and everything else that comes with the cold winter season. Iceland easily fits into this category, as the country is cold and chilly all throughout the year.

This makes ice cave tours a popular activity all year long, giving tourists and visitors an amazing opportunity to explore the wonders of the Vatnajökull glacier, Europe's largest ice cap. These guided tours usually include a ride in a massive Super Jeep, which is perfectly designed for riding through the steep and icy slopes of the glacier.
Whale watching in Husavik.
Photo credit: Guide to Iceland.
5. Go whale-watching.
Located in the northern region of Iceland is Husavik, a beautiful fishing town which is extremely popular with tourists. Also known as the Whale Watching Capital of Iceland, Husavik is the place to visit if you want to see whales frolicking in the beautiful Skjálfandi bay. Over 20 species of whales live in this area, which includes the Humpback whale, the Northern bottlenose whale, and the Blue Whale - the largest animal on the planet.
Icelandic hotdogs, they say, are the best in the world.
Photo credit: Arctic Adventures.
6. Eat like a Viking.
Back in the days, a typical Viking meal would be comprised of sheep balls, sheep head, dried fish, or fermented skate. These days, a typical Icelandic diet would include lamb, skyr (an Icelandic cultured dairy product), vegetables, fish, and other seafood. Lots of seafood, to be exact, as the country is surrounded by Arctic waters teeming with cod, salmon, herring, monkfish, and lobsters.

One of the more interesting eats in Iceland is the Hverabrauð, thick and chewy rye bread cooked by burying the pot near a hot spring and letting the geothermal heat bake the bread. This 'hot spring bread' is best paired with Plokkfiskur or fish stew, a simple mix of white fish, potatoes, onions, and bechamel sauce.

Another popular meal that's a hit among tourists is the traditional Icelandic meat soup, a hearty dish made with lamb meat, potatoes, turnips, rice, and herbs. It's the ultimate comfort food, especially on a frigid, overcast day in the Land of Fire and Ice.

Hotdogs are also very popular in Iceland, that some even regard them as the country's national dish. Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur, a hotdog stand in Reykjavik, has been in business since 1937 and continues to serve hotdogs to an endless line of customers, day in and day out. Its name literally translates to 'the best hotdog in town', which I would like to prove to myself when I visit Iceland. :)


5.24.2018

4 (and a half) Tips for Road Trips!

Putting together a road trip is all about being prepared. With these four (and a half!) tips, you can successfully plan and execute a great road trip with no unexpected hitches along the way!
Off to another adventure!
Clean your car before and during your trip.
There’s a very old phrase that you should heed before and throughout any road trip: cleanliness is next to godliness. Nobody enjoys sitting in a confined space for an extended period of time with rubbish and dirt everywhere, so give your car a good cleaning before setting off and take a bit of time to clean it out during as well.

If you’re really after a bit of luxury on your road trip as well, look into hiring a car as well. ICL came recommended for their competitive pricing and are available throughout the UK with a wide selection available for personal hire. Obviously you'll have to keep it clean throughout your trip, but even that will be easier considering you'll be getting a clean car to begin with!

Have a loose plan.
The importance of having a rough plan can not be underestimated when it comes to a road trip. While nobody wants to have a completely planned out road trip with no flexibility, nobody wants to be stressed out dealing with unhappy passengers for hours at a time either. You can use apps such as Roadtrippers to build a route and also look for interesting places and sights along the way.
Take me home, country road...
Have an escape plan to get off country roads. 
You can have the very best intentions of taking in a bit of a scenic route and going down the path less travelled. However, this comes with its own risks of not actually knowing where you’re going and ending up stuck down endless back roads. Saga has a great guide for driving down country roads if you do end up needing it however!  If you do find yourself a little bit lost, you don’t have to persevere down the country roads. Have a plan B ready to escape the country roads, and get your road trip back on track. You’ll be better off and ready to go again once you’ve got your bearings back.
My new phone is awesome.
Preload your phone with entertainment options.
Having some entertainment options can be the difference between having a peaceful time, and developing a case of cabin fever! Stock up on distractions and portable entertainment that you can load on to your phone before you set off. After all, there is no guarantee that you’ll be able to find these on the road during your trip.  And if you don’t manage to get this done for your children, you can always refer to this for tips on keeping your sanity!
Dreaming of Dak galbi...
Eat local and stay local.
Finally, it’s a road trip. You’re taking in the darkened corners of the towns and villages that you’re travelling through. Make the most of it and live as much like a local as you can. Don’t stop to eat at a chain restaurant or coffee shop. Seek out a local favourite, find the village pub or the quiet little fish and chip shop. If you need a place to rest your head for the night, find a local bed and breakfast and really experience the culture and local quirks. Your road trip might be a once in a lifetime experience, so make it a unique, memorable time that you’ll always fondly look back on! nbsp;

5.22.2018

Seoul Searching | A Gastronomic Adventure at Gwangjang Market.

Much as I love shopping at malls and department stores in Korea, and enjoy the hip and trendy vibe of the shopping streets in Hongdae, Kondae, and Sinsadong, I also love going to the traditional markets in Seoul. There's a certain charm to these traditional markets that make me want to visit them whenever I'm in the country - which is exactly what I did during my last visit to Korea.
Gwangjang Market.
Together with my friend Mel, who was also in Seoul for the weekend, we went on a 'very tita' date, starting with a tour of the Gwangjang Market. Located in the historical Jongno district in downtown Seoul, Gwangjang Market is the first permanent market in Korea and one of the oldest traditional markets in the country's capital. It was established in 1905 and spans a little over 10 acres with more than 5000 stalls selling a variety of items - fabric, clothing, souvenir items, fresh produce, and of course, food.
Stalls at the center of Gwangjang Market.
It was the food, mostly, that made me want to come here, and you gotta blame Running Man for that. If you've been following this blog for quite awhile and have been reading my Seoul Searching posts, then you probably know that most of the places that I've been to in Korea are either K-drama filming locations or have been featured in the world-famous variety show, Running Man.
This stall was featured on Running Man. :)
Gwangjang Market captured my attention after watching episode 186 of Running Man, wherein the cast members happily stuffed their faces with food as part of the challenge. And true enough, this place is a haven for foodies with stalls upon stalls of Korean street food cooked and prepared right before your eyes.
And that's the ahjumma who operates this stall.
The best way to enjoy Gwangjang Market is to come on an empty stomach. That way, you can try a variety of dishes and eat 'til you're full. If you're a light eater, I suggest you bring a friend (or a loved one) along because hey, good food is meant to be shared. :)
Just another busy day at Gwangjang Market.
Mel and I ordered a serving of jeon (Korean vegetable pancake) for sharing, and the taste was absolutely unforgettable. It was extra crispy on the outside and soft and mushy on the inside. It came with a dipping sauce made with soy sauce, vinegar, and freshly-cut onions, which elevated the flavor of this humble yet extremely yummy dish.
Vegetable pancake, 4000 won.
The ahjumma who owns the stall offered us makgeolli, saying that jeon is best paired with their traditional rice wine. But since we are very 'wholesome titas' (lol), we politely declined and instead bought fruit smoothies at a different stall.
Fresh fruit, ready to be blended.
Another must-try dish at Gwangjang Market is the mayak gimbap which literally translates into 'narcotic rice rolls'. Narcotic in the sense that this food is super addictive! These rice rolls are made with pickled vegetables, rolled on a bed of rice and dried seaweed (gim). They are then brushed with sesame oil and sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds, which I reckon is where the addicting taste comes from.
Mayak Gimbap, 1000 won per roll.
If you're a bit more adventurous with food, perhaps you should try the soondae - blood sausage made with pig intestines mixed with sweet potato vermicelli noodles and sticky rice. I didn't try this, but Mel has had a taste of it on her previous Korea trip and she said it was good. Surprisingly, we saw a lot of foreign tourists ordering this at the nearby stall and seemed to be satisfied with it.
Soondae, anyone?
Other interesting food options at the Gwangjang Market are sannakji (live octopus), yukhoe (raw beef tartare), and the sea penis, a type of marine spoon worm, which is usually eaten raw and dipped in an array of spices. Sounds nasty, I know.
A huge basin of sea penis.
If banchan (side dishes) are more to your liking, you'll also find plenty of them in this bustling market. I'm not familiar with all of them, but I do know there are marinated crabs and spiced pork and kimchi in this spread of food.
Lots of side dishes to choose from!
Marinated crabs.
An assortment of kimchi.
Fruits, nuts, beans, and dried fish are also a common sight at the Gwangjang Market. Some stores also sell yakgwa (Korean cookies) which come in lovely gift boxes. They make nice presents for friends and family back home.
Yakgwa sold in boxed sets. 
Speaking of presents, Gwangjang Market is also famous for its hanbok shops, housed mostly on the second floor. Here, you can buy ready-to-wear hanbok (traditional Korean clothing) or have them tailored to your liking. Fabrics, bed sheets, jewelries and accessories, as well as various souvenir items can also be found on the second floor.
Hanbok shops on the second floor.
If you want to experience authentic Korean street food and culture under one roof, then Gwangjang Market is the place to be. Most of the stores operate on a daily basis from 8:30 am to 6 pm. Some restaurants are open until 11 pm, while some stores are closed on Sundays. 

To get to Gwangjang Market, take the subway to Jongno 5-ga Station Exit 8 or Euljiro 4-ga Station Exit 4.
You can also ride the Green Bus numbered 111, 2014, 2112, or 7212 and alight at the Jongno 5-ga bus stop.


5.18.2018

Sneak Peek | Peripera Dal Dal Factory Collection.

Our next trip to Seoul is just a few more days away, and I can't wait to set foot again in the land of K-pop, K-drama, and K-beauty! I've been putting off buying new makeup for the past few weeks, constantly telling myself that I can do all the shopping when I return to Korea and have my husband pay for all of it, lol!

I actually made a list of the stuff that I need to buy - because I'm OC, yes - and that includes skincare products, tons of sheet masks, and makeup - lots of them. Haha! On my list is the Dal Dal Factory Collection, Peripera's latest offering for the summer.
Peripera Dal Dal Factory Collection!
Released just two days ago (that's May 16), this limited edition collection boasts of brilliant colors and a charming candy store vibe.

View the entire collection after the jump!