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12.18.2020

Cooking with my Air Fryer | Lemon Yogurt Muffins.

After my successful experiment with apples, I decided to try another fruit with my muffins. This time, I used lemons in this recipe because you know what they say... when life gives you lemons, make muffins with it. Haha!

If you've been reading or have tried any of my muffin recipes, you might have noticed that I always use milk for baking. For this recipe, I switched to yogurt instead. Yogurt, as it turns out, makes baked goods taste better. Its tanginess adds an interesting, non-cloying taste to your muffins (or cakes, for that matter), while its creaminess helps make your baked goods soft and moist. In addition, it gives muffins a good rise as its acidity activates baking soda, which I also used in this recipe. Looks like I'll be using yogurt for baking more often from now on. 

Now enough of this chit-chat and let's move on to the recipe. :)


Lemon Yogurt Muffins

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cups all purpose-flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (or plain yogurt)
1/4 cup butter, melted
zest and juice of one lemon (about 1/4 cup juice and 1 tablespoon zest)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For Lemon Drizzle Topping:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Just some muffins cooling down and waiting to be eaten... :)

Procedure:
1.Preheat air fryer to 170° Celsius.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Mix in the lemon zest.
3. In another bowl, whisk the eggs together with the butter, yogurt, lemon juice and vanilla extract.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  
5. Pour the batter into paper-lined muffin cups. (This mixture yields about 12 regular-sized muffins.) 
6. Set your air fryer to Bake mode and at 170°C for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
7. Optional: Switch to Convection Broil for 2-3 minutes if you want the muffin tops to look more brown. (Kindly make adjustments to the temperature settings if you're cooking with a conventional oven.)
8. To make the drizzle, sift the powdered sugar in a small bowl. Add the lemon juice and stir until the sugar has melted enough and the drizzle can be poured. 
9. When the muffins have cooled down, pour the drizzle on the muffin tops.


12.17.2020

McDonald’s Brings Fun and Mischief with the New Minions 2 Happy Meal!

From the hit Despicable Me franchise, the world’s favorite little yellow trouble makers are back with more mischief as they arrive in the nearest McDonald’s store near you! 

The new Minions 2 Happy Meal is now out! :)

Adding in to the fun of the family’s holiday celebrations, McDonald’s introduces its newest set of collectibles with the Minions 2 Happy Meal. These much-anticipated toys will come in 15 new designs, with their quirky yellow charm making it hard for anyone to resist. But the fun doesn’t stop there— each Minion comes with a rare Golden Minion version, making this collection all the more special. To add to the excitement each Minion toy comes in a mystery ball capsule for that surprise unboxing moment, making the hunt for each design all more thrilling! 

Get a chance to find and take home the rare Golden Minion!

Every purchase of the Minions 2 Happy Meal also lets you spread the happiness to others! Through the Happy Meal Buy 1 Share 1 Program, McDonald’s matches your purchase with a book or toy to be donated to another child from partner beneficiaries in areas affected by the recent typhoons Rolly and Ulysses. The program runs until December 31 so don’t miss the chance to make someone’s holiday a bit brighter.

What are you waiting for? Happiness awaits when you take home these yellow creatures. Head on to the nearest McDonald’s store to get your Minions 2 Happy Meal via Dine-in, Take Out, or Drive Thru, or order via McDelivery starting December 18.

For more information, follow McDonald’s Philippines official Facebook at fb.com/McDo.ph, Twitter at twitter.com/McDo_PH, Instagram at instagram.com/mcdo_ph, join the McDo PH Viber Community, as well as the following link for store updates: https://www.mcdonalds.com.ph/store-locator 
 

12.06.2020

Cooking with my Air Fryer | Apple Cinnamon Muffins.

Apples are pretty much a staple in our home. Apples are Yue's most favorite fruit, and he makes sure to eat them everyday because as the saying goes, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." 

Today, I decided to experiment with apples in the kitchen, after seeing that we have way too much of them in the crisper. It seems that the fruit delivery guy handed us a few extra pieces when he delivered apples the other day. Either that, or the price of his apples have decreased, because I usually hand him a hundred peso bill and get six apples in return. I have like, a dozen apples inside the fridge and I don't even know why, haha.

Anyway, this is my first time to add fruit into my muffins, and I'm so happy with the results! The muffins that I made were super moist, and they smelled divine. The kitchen smelled like Christmas as soon as I opened my air fryer to take out the muffins! Even Yue was impressed! :)

And with that, I give you my Apple Cinnamon Muffin recipe.


Apple Cinnamon Muffins

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup milk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon white vinegar
2 cups apple pieces, peeled and chopped into small cubes
1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

Apples and cinnamon make a great combination!


Procedure:
1. Preheat air fryer to 170° Celsius.
2. In a large bowl, mix the butter and brown sugar until well-combined. 
3. Stir in the egg and vinegar until incorporated.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon powder, and salt until well-blended.
5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not overmix!
6. Lightly fold in the apples and walnuts to the mixture.
7. Pour the batter into paper-lined muffin cups.
8. Set your air fryer to Bake mode and at 170°C for 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
9. Optional: Switch to Convection Broil for 3 to 5 minutes if you want the muffin tops to look more brown. (Kindly make adjustments to the temperature settings if you're cooking with a conventional oven.) 



12.02.2020

Holiday Gift Ideas.

Accomplishing your shopping list for all your loved ones is no mean feat. There is undoubtedly such a thing as shopping until you drop when the holidays come around. If you have hit the point where you are out of ideas and motivation, the time has come for some inspiration. Here are a few gifts that may be great options for you.

Jewelry
Descendants of the Sun, 2016.

You can't go wrong with the gift of jewelry. While it may seem like a go-to for many people, you can make your choice more individualized by matching the style of whoever you are shopping for— even better if you can remember them saying they had an item in mind. There are tons of online jewelry boutiques that will make it easy to find the perfect piece for your special someone. There's the option to customize even further by including a personalized jewelry tray for cute and functional storage.

Experience
BTS on stage, Map of the Soul 7.

Buying your loved one an unforgettable experience is a top-notch present. Whether you get tickets to the concert of their dreams or make plans for an amazing excursion, this idea will be a fan favorite. Shopping for experiences is a win-win for everyone because not only do you get to see a massive smile on the face of someone you love, but you also get to tag along with them, right? If you have someone in your life who isn't interested in any tangible gifts, you can still show you care about them by making fantastic memories together. 

Electronics

The Playstation 5 is finally out in the market!

There is no denying that technology has taken over the world. There is an electronic device out there for everyone to enjoy— no matter your age or interests. With such a wide variety to choose from, it may help to look up reviews online to find the alternative with the most recommendations. The following items are a good spread of options for this year's gift-giving season:
  • iPhone 12
  • Security system
  • Xbox or Playstation
  • Roku

The good news is, you now have all your shopping completed. The bad news is, the standard of presents has been set sky-high, and you might have found yourself down a rabbit hole of impressive gifts. All the same, there is no feeling like the one you get when you see your family and friends enjoy the new necklace or Ring doorbell you got them. So long are the days of walking around Target aimlessly looking for the perfect gift.  


11.24.2020

Cooking with my Air Fryer | White Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe.

I'm on a baking roll lately. I've been baking almost twice a week, ever since I've achieved my goal of baking a cake from scratch. Maybe because I have become more confident with my baking skills (after all, it's been almost half a year since I started experimenting with my air fryer), or maybe because my son is very appreciative of my cooking - he pretty much eats (and compliments) everything I cook or bake, and he devours it with so much gusto. 

Yue requested for cookies again today, because he wanted to snack on something sweet while studying for his exams. (Yes, it's hell week again, lol!) I made Chocolate Chip Cookies for him last week, so for a change, I made White Chocolate Chip Cookies instead. This recipe is inspired by Chef RV Manabat, whose YouTube channel is a treasure trove for homecooks/homebakers like me. Thank you, Chef RV for your easy-to-follow cooking videos! :)


White Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1 large egg 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Because I have a cookie monster at home. :)


Procedure:
1. Preheat air fryer to 170° Celsius.
2. In a large bowl, mix the butter with the white sugar and brown sugar until well-combined. 
3. Stir in the egg and vanilla until incorporated.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt until well-blended. 
5. Add the white chocolate chips and walnuts and mix until the chocolates and the nuts are well-coated with the flour.
6. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture until just combined. 
7. Scoop out 1 1/2 tablespoons of the dough and place 2 inches apart on a baking sheet.
8. Set your air fryer to bake mode and bake at 170° Celsius for 12-15 minutes. (Kindly make adjustments to the temperature settings if you're using a conventional oven.)






11.23.2020

3 Reasons to Have Live Music at Every Party.

In the recent Power of Live Study conducted by Live Nation in partnership with Culture Co-op, nearly three-quarters of respondents stated they believe the moments that give them the most life are "live experiences." 

That alone should tell you how much importance people place on live music experiences but if you're still on the fence about whether you should book a musician for your party, think back on the parties you've attended. Which were your favorites? Did they include a live, interactive band with great musicians that made them stand out in your mind? If the answer is yes, you'll immediately understand why you should have live music at every party - otherwise, consider these three reasons to always provide this unforgettable experience to your guests. 

The doctors of Hospital Playlist (2020).

It Makes the Event More Exciting and Engaging
The energy and excitement that comes with live music really can't compare to even a very well thought out playlist. Live performances carry an energy that recordings just can't match - by the time that recording plays, it's been changed multiple times, assessed and adapted to radio, but when it's live, the artist or group of artists are performing their craft directly to the audience. That type of one-on-one communication is powerful and can't be matched by any playlist.

Live musicians also know how to get the crowd excited and engaged, giving any party more of an upscale feel. An experienced leader of any band not only sings or plays an instrument, but knows how to interact with guests while also assessing the atmosphere of the room to choose the best tunes to play. It's a communal event that transforms the group of people who are all sharing the experience together, creating a tangible sense of community. Other research focused on live experiences confirmed this, with an Eventbrite survey revealing that nearly 80 percent of millennials stated that attending live events typically makes them feel not only more connected to the community and other people, but to the world.

Park Hae Joon in The World of the Married (2020).

You'll Have Fewer No-Shows
One of the best ways to get people excited about attending your party is to have live entertainment. It automatically brings that "wow" factor most are looking for - they'll immediately know it's not going to be a boring event where everyone is sitting around twiddling their thumbs trying to come up with something clever to say.

The Liar and His Lover (2017).

Higher Quality Sounds and Songs
With live musicians, they can change up the style or tempo to accommodate your requests or the feel of the room. With recorded tracks, the songs will always sound the same no matter how often they're played. When it's live, the artists often add their own unique flavor and style. Plus, the sound will be much higher quality than what you'd get with a playlist.

Another issue with using a playlist is that it takes a significant time to put together something that will last throughout the party, and no matter how much thought you put into it, it's extremely challenging to accommodate everyone's preferences. Having live music frees you from this arduous task, eliminating the need to consider the music preferences of every guest. Good musicians will have lots of experience performing live and will know how to keep the energy up with a playlist that's much more likely to be a widespread success.


11.17.2020

4 Ways To Stay Young.

As we age, a lot of us try to look for ways to stay younger. While there may not be a magical solution to stopping aging once and for all, there are ways to help you stay younger mentally and physically. Take a look at some of the best tips for looking and feeling younger than you are.

Park Bo Gum in Record of Youth (2020).

Stay Busy
One of the best things that you can do for your mental and physical well being is to stay busy. Fill your schedule with plenty of activities so that you don't have time to get bored.

Beyond just working, you should also have things that you do in your free time. Having a hobby is a great way to keep your mind active and challenged.

Find a hobby that you have a passion for, and it will keep you young and mentally alert. Some people enjoy hunting, while others like playing chess. There are all sorts of things that you can choose from that can challenge your brain to stay engaged.

Bae Suzy, Nam Joo Hyuk, and the rest of Samsan Tech.
Photo credit: Bae Suzy on Instagram.

Stay Social
One of the biggest determining factors of mental decline is self-isolation. Isolating yourself from others is one of the worst things that you can do for your well being. It's important that you stay around others as much as you can.

That's not to say that you can't enjoy being alone once in a while; however, you should see people regularly when the chance presents itself.

Social time can be anything from going to church or simply inviting a friend over. The idea is to share your time with other people and fulfill the social aspect of your life.

Lee Joon Gi loves surfing.

Stay Physically Active
In order to keep your body as healthy as it can be, you should stay physically active regularly. Exercising can be anything from walking briskly to cycling.

People who spend more time moving their bodies don't just look better, but they actually feel better, and they have less body fat. Staying active throughout your life can ward off all sorts of diseases, particularly obesity-related ones.

Bonding with the ahjummas, Crash Landing on You (2020).

Eat Well
While it's perfectly fine to enjoy yourself from time to time, the majority of your foods should be as healthy as possible. Rather than eating fast food, or extremely oily foods, you should eat as many fresh fruits and vegetables as possible.

Don't forget that macronutrients aren't the only thing you should be paying attention to in your foods. Micronutrients are also an important part of what you should be paying attention to. Eating foods with certain nutrients and vitamins will not only keep you looking great, but it will also ward off things like diabetes and even arthritis. Even though you can take vitamin supplements, the majority of your vitamins should be through the foods that you eat.


11.13.2020

Cooking with my Air Fryer | Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.

My son turned 12 yesterday, and for this year's birthday, I took it upon myself to cook everything on my own for his (simple) birthday dinner. No take-outs, no food deliveries, no 'paluto' from other restaurants, including the birthday cake. Yes, even the birthday cake! I think this has got to be one of the highlights of my airfryer experiments - baking a cake from scratch. I feel so accomplished, haha!

I baked the cake on the eve of his birthday (November 11th), while Typhoon Ulysses (international name Vanco) was starting to cause havoc in the country. It was raining heavily that night, with roaring winds and all, and I was awfully worried that the power might go out any minute. Thankfully, I was able to finish the cake without a hitch, despite the power fluctuations here and there.

I was dead tired after baking this cake, and my arms were stiff from all that grating (tip: use a box grater to make your life easier), but I wasn't able to sleep soundly that night because of the strong typhoon. I was afraid that the roof might start leaking, or worse, be blown off by the strong winds. Good thing none of those happened, and we were able to celebrate Yue's birthday at home with a simple dinner of tuna pasta, roast chicken, and this carrot cake. Sharing with you the cake recipe inspired by InspiredTaste, and my own version of the buttercream frosting. :) 


Carrot Cake with Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour 
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil 
1 cup granulated sugar 
1 cup brown sugar 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
4 large eggs 
3 cups grated peeled carrots 
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts 

For Cream Cheese Frosting:
1/4 cup softened butter
3/4 cup cream cheese
1/4 cup Nestle All-Purpose Cream (chilled)
2 cups powdered sugar

Procedure:
1. Preheat the airfryer to 190° Celsius. Grease two round cake pans and line the bottom with parchment paper, then grease the top of the parchment paper. (I used an 8" springform pan and cooked two batches since I only have one pan.)
2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon until well-blended.
3. In another bowl, whisk the oils, sugar, and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, until combined.
4. Using a spatula, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in three parts, gently stirring until they disappear and the batter is smooth.
5. Fold in the carrots and walnuts.

Carrots and walnuts!

6. Pour the batter into the cake pans.
7. Set the airfryer to Bake mode and bake at 170° Celsius for 35-40 minutes or until the top of the cake is springy when touched and when a toothpick inserted to the center of the cake comes out clean.
8. Cool the cake in the pan for 10-15 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack. Peel off the parchment paper and cool off completely before frosting.

Buttercream frosting, before chilling. 

9. To make the frosting, whisk the butter, cream cheese, and Nestle All-Purpose Cream. Add the powdered sugar in four batches, whisking the mixture until thick and smooth. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
10. To assemble, spread frosting on one part of the cake and place the other part to sandwich the frosting. Spread frosting on all sides of the cake. Top with extra chopped walnuts. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving. (I refrigerated mine overnight.)

My first-ever carrot cake! Neighbors loved it! :)

P.S. Many thanks to everyone who greeted Yue on his birthday! He truly appreciated all the greetings and well-wishes! :)


11.03.2020

Cooking with my Air Fryer | Creamy Tuna Rice Casserole Recipe.

And just like that - it's November. This year will soon be over, and well, it's not as fruitful or as eventful as I had hoped it to be. I guess most of you feel the same way because of the situation we're all in (damn you, coronavirus!). On the bright side, the community quarantine made me rekindle my love for plants and gardening, gave me a chance to binge-watch all sorts of series on Netflix, allowed me to indulge in aromatherapy and essential oils, and made me very productive in terms of housework (kitchen work, to be exact). 

Speaking of kitchen work, I'm back with a new recipe. Yay! I just realized that I have been out of circulation for almost two weeks. Sorry for the lack of updates, but we've been busy with school stuff - projects, unit tests, you know the drill. Thankfully, Yue won't be having classes this week (both synchronous and asynchronous) because the school will be giving the kids some sort of 'health and wellness break'. That means plenty of time for me to bake and try out new recipes, and finish the first season of Black Clover on Netflix.

Today's recipe is Creamy Tuna Casserole, which I discovered in Nestle Cream Philippines' Create with Cream website. I tweaked it just a bit to my liking. Here goes:


Creamy Tuna Casserole

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 can shredded tuna, drained
1 cup mixed vegetables (carrots, corn, green peas)
1/2 cup water
1 pack 125 mL Nestle All-Purpose Cream
2 cups cooked rice (Japanese rice or Dinorado)
1/2 bar quick melt cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Ingredients for the Creamy Tuna Rice Casserole.

Procedure:
1. Saute garlic, onion, and tomato in butter.
2. Once the onion has slightly caramelized and the tomato has softened, add the mixed vegetables to the pan. Saute for a minute, then add the shredded tuna. 
3. Add the water and Nestle All-Purpose Cream. Gently simmer and season with salt and pepper. Remove from fire once the mixture thickens.
4. Spread the rice in an oven-safe pan. Pour the cream mixture and grate cheese on top. 
5. Set your air fryer to Bake mode and bake at 170°C for 15 minutes or until the cheese turns light golden brown. Serve warm.
6. Optional: Scoop them on seasoned nori sheets, Sushi Bake style.

Enjoy! :)



11.02.2020

6 Financial Steps to Take Before Buying a House.

Buying a house is an exciting next step in your life, but it also comes with plenty of responsibility and financial planning. If you don't take the time to sit down and think about your finances seriously, you could end up with more headache and frustration than you bargained for. 

The home-buying process can be intimidating, especially as you navigate the waters of your financial health, which is why it is so important to plan carefully and intentionally. The good news is that you don't have to work out all of this alone. Read on for our guide on the financial steps to take before buying a house.

Lee Joon Gi in Flower of Evil (2020).

1. Check Your Credit Score
While you don’t need a perfect credit score of 800 to qualify for a conventional mortgage, it’s typically advised that you have a score of 650 or above. If your current score doesn’t quite measure up, you might need to pump the brakes and put your pursuit on pause. Fortunately, there are quite a few things you can do to improve your credit score to set yourself up for home buying success in the future.

2. Save for a Down Payment
Although most lenders don’t require a 20% down payment, they definitely prefer one. At the end of the day, the more you can put down, the more stable you’ll look in the eyes of potential lenders. And, the more money you're able to put down for that first down payment, the easier it'll be to get approved for a mortgage. Not only will your monthly payments be lower, but you'll end up spending less altogether over the duration of the home loan.

Lee Min Ki and Jung So Min in Because This is My First Life (2017).


3. Determine Your Budget
It's easy to daydream about finding the ideal home with all the bedrooms and bathrooms your family needs, the neighborhood you love, and at a price you can afford, but fantasy and reality are two very different things. Based on where you want to buy a home, the price of your dream home could be out of your budget scope. But you won't know this until you determine your budget.

Consider starting with a tool like an affordability calculator. This calculator can help figure out how much house you can afford without putting a strain on your pockets. From there, you can begin to budget other factors like furniture, moving expenses, and other inevitable costs.

4. Optimize your DTIR
Your DTIR— or your debt-to-income ratio— is the ratio between the sum of your existing debt (including a prospective mortgage) to your current income. Generally speaking, mortgage lenders typically prefer to lend to borrowers that have a DTIR under 43%.

If you need a few easy ways to improve your DTIR, use the following tips:
● Increase the amount you’re paying toward monthly debt repayments
● Pay off loans ahead of schedule
● Refinance your debt with a new lender

5. Pick the Right Mortgage
It should come to no shock that you shouldn’t settle for the first mortgage you find. Instead, take your time and shop around to find the best quotes from local lenders. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the difference a lower interest rate can make in the short term and long term.

Outside of conventional loans, there are several different types of specialized home loans that may be worth pursuing, as well. The most common mortgage loans available include:
● FHA Loans
● USDA Loans
● VA Loans

If you’re curious to learn about VA entitlement or what an FHA loan entails, be sure to complete this research before settling on a conventional loan.

Park Bo Gum in Record of Youth (2020).

6. Create an emergency savings account
Owning a house is a big commitment in every sense of the word. The reality is that things happen, and for more costly events, you may need to tap into savings to pay for unexpected repairs, expenses, and so on. As you venture into the homebuying process it’s important to have emergency savings set aside.

Aside from saving for a down payment, make an effort to create a rainy day fund. Start by setting aside at least six to twelve months’ worth of expenses in a separate savings account.

Wrapping Up
Purchasing a house requires a thousand moving parts and complex to-dos. Using these steps, you will be able to walk into the next chapter of your life with confidence in yourself and in your finances!


10.18.2020

Cooking with my Air Fryer | Cheese Muffins Recipe.

I've been wanting to try to make my own cheese muffins for the longest time. In fact, I've bought most of the ingredients for it on my last grocery run (which was like, three weeks ago). However, I had qualms about baking it without a mixer, thinking that it would be too much of a pain to mix the ingredients with just a spatula and a wire whisk.

Thankfully, I chanced upon a Hanabishi Hand Mixer yesterday, while I was window shopping at the department store. I really had no plans of buying anything inside the department store because the main purpose of my trip to the mall was to pay bills and buy food stuff. I ended up buying clothes for the kids (my son, my niece and nephew), underwear for myself (because they were on sale), some gardening tools, plus the hand mixer. Lol.

Today, I tried making the Cheese Muffins and it was a success! Good thing I decided to buy this hand mixer. My arms would probably be sore from mixing had I used just the spatula and the wire whisk because the mixture is thick! Anyways, here is the recipe. Please use an electric mixer should you wish to try this. :)


Cheese Muffins

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsps baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup refined sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs (room temperature)
1 can (300 mL) condensed milk
2 tsps vanilla extract
1 cup Quickmelt cheese, grated

Procedure:
1. Preheat the airfryer to 190° Celsius.
2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside. 
3. In a separate bowl, mix the butter and sugar using an electric mixer.
4. Beat the eggs in the mixture, one at a time.
5. Add the condensed milk and vanilla extract and mix again.
6. Pour half of the dry ingredients in the mixture. Mix at low speed.
7. Add the remaining half of the dry ingredients, again mixing at low speed.
8. Add the cheese and fold in to combine. 
9. Pour the batter into paper lined muffin pan cups. Top with more grated cheese if desired. 
10. Set your air fryer to Bake mode and bake at 170°C for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 
11. Optional: Switch to Convection Broil for 3 to 5 minutes if you want the muffin tops to look more brown. (Kindly make adjustments to the temperature settings if you're cooking with a conventional oven.)


10.16.2020

#SustainAbilidad: Quarantine Waste Management.

There’s no denying that Filipino’s lifestyle, habits and consumption patterns have radically changed after six months into the community quarantine due to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). As we are compelled to stay at home, we have relied more on deliveries for food, online shopping, and other essentials – posing additional environmental challenges because of our increased municipal solid waste (MSW) and hazardous waste. 

Even before the pandemic, the Philippines has been navigating through overwhelming volume of waste. According to a 2015 report by the Ocean Conservancy and McKinsey Center for Business and Environment, the Philippines ranks third among the world’s highest contributors to the global marine plastic pollution problem.

But were you aware that household waste contribute to the biggest chunk of solid wastes in the country? The National Solid Waste Management Status Report 2008 – 2014 of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) showed that residential waste constitutes the bulk of MSW (56.7 percent), followed by commercial sources and public or private markets (27.1 percent). 

Now, the biggest challenge is for us to break old habits and adopt a more sustainable lifestyle. Through its business activities, Ajinomoto Philippines Corporation (APC) has always been committed in engaging in initiatives that solve social issues which include global sustainability. With environment educational campaign dubbed as #SustainAbilidad, APC aims to aid consumers to incorporate sustainable practices into their daily activities. This campaign includes social media promotions featuring Super Suzy and her kid, the main characters representing ordinary people that champion global sustainability to teach and inspire young and old members of their family and community to bring out their “SustainAbilidad”.

Here are a few reminders from Super Suzy on managing our household waste:

Some tips from Super Suzy! Click to enlarge.

While we may have taken a number of steps backwards because of the pandemic, it’s not too late for every household to start sustainable practices. Segregating at source is a good start for every household as proper waste management is crucial not just for the environment but also for mitigating infectious disease transmission. Visit facebook.com/CookmunitybyAjinomotoPH/ to learn more about #SustainAbilidad


The Ajinomoto Group is a global company with specialties in the business of food and amino acids, guided by our leading-edge bioscience and fine chemical technologies. Based on the corporate message “Eat Well, Live Well.”, we have been scientifically pursuing the possibilities of amino acids in supporting the healthy lives of people all around the world. We aim for future growth and continuous contribution to greater wellness by creating value through sustainable and innovative solutions for communities and society.

The Ajinomoto Group has offices in 35 countries and regions, and sells products in more than 130 countries and regions. In fiscal 2018, sales were 1.1274 trillion yen (10.1 billion U.S. dollars). To learn more, visit www.ajinomoto.com

10.13.2020

Royal Canin Club App | Rewards Programs, Pet Care Education, and more!

If you’re a loving pet owner stuck in quarantine, chances are you’ve resorted to various online sources to tend to your pet’s needs. All pet parents are known to go a long way for their beloved, loyal pets to ensure they get the right nutrition and care they deserve.

Leading and trusted pet care brand Royal Canin Philippines understands this unique bond between pets and their parents and celebrates this through the launch of their rewards program mobile application, Royal Canin Club. The app is an easy-to-use, system that aims to aid doting pet owners in keeping their furry babies delighted and healthy.

Now available on the iOS App Store and Google Play Store, the Royal Canin Club app provides pet owners with exclusive access to credible pet care information as well as Royal Canin products and exclusive promos. In line with the brand’s thrust of providing the best-tailored nutrition for pets, the app is a complementary tool for both new and loyal Royal Canin patrons who strive only for the best, loving experience for their furry friends.

The Royal Canin Club app is now available for download on iOS and Android.

As soon as one downloads the app and completes registration, Royal Canin already rewards pet owners with an awesome gift set and vouchers, whether they are loyal users or new to the brand.

Pet owners will also get to enjoy the Royal Canin e-learning tool, with informative and engaging content on maintaining pets’ wellbeing: proper diet and nutrition, digestive health, neonatal to ageing care, skin and coat care, training, and understanding pet behavior. Users also get access to exciting app features such as pet quizzes, store locators for partner establishments, and first dibs to sale and promotion announcements from Royal Canin. Through the application, Filipino pet owners will have access to an exclusive store finder feature that can connect them to the nearest pet store, veterinary clinics, and pet breeders at the utmost convenience.

The app is a product of Royal Canin’s 50 years of passion for pets’ health and wellbeing, five decades of understanding each pet’s unique needs and care that match their physical and emotional requirements.

“The Royal Canin Club app aims to be a trusted partner of pet owners who want nothing but the best for their cats and dogs. Through the app, we hope to provide guidance to discerning pet owners with accurate and relevant information about caring for their pets, all while they earn redeemable points for when they engage with the app’s activities,” says Adriann Eusebio, Royal Canin Philippines’ Country Director.
A sneak peek at the Royal Canin Club app.

The app is expected to appeal to a huge group of the public, especially with the growing number of pet ownership in the country. According to Euromonitor International, pet care in the Philippines continues to improve in performance, which can be further attributed to the increasing popularity of dogs as pets, growing sales of pet healthcare products, and a greater propensity for owners to feed dogs with packaged food.

The global pet care e-commerce market size is also expected to grow owing to the increasing usage around the world, according to a Grand View Research, Inc.’s study. Additionally, Asia Pacific is expected to witness a CAGR growth of around 10% due to rising pet adoption and the growing economy of the region.

Over the years we have committed to attending to the unique needs of dogs and cats. Our passion for pet health continues to drive us to introduce new products and innovative solutions that foster a healthier environment, all while working with the best pet shops, veterinarians, and breeders around. We look forward to the positive impact that the Royal Canin Club app will have on our beloved pets here in the country,” Eusebio remarks.

The Royal Canin Club app can be downloaded from the iOS App Store and Google Play Store, free of charge. For more product news, promotions, and information on special giveaway contests, one may follow Royal Canin Philippines on its social media pages.


10.09.2020

Spotlight | Aurae Natura Diffuser Blend in Blissful Sleep.

I've always been a fan of aromatherapy - the art and science of using natural plant extracts to promote health and well-being. I reckon that my penchant for aromatic materials began way back in junior high school, when my then-boyfriend would gift me with scented candles and reed diffusers. These days, I've leveled up with essential oils and oil blends because 'hashtag adulting'. Haha!

I've been trying out several brands of essential oils lately, experimenting with different essential oil blends even. This led to my discovery of Aurae Natura, a social enterprise brand that helps to uplift the lives of the poor and supports efforts that contribute to the spiritual growth of women rescued from sex trade trafficking. Founded in the Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm in Angat, Bulacan, Aurae Natura offers a variety of aromatherapy products - from diffusers to essential oil blends made with 100% pure and natural essential oils, and even inhaler blends. 

Aurae Natura recently launched their newest essential oil blend, and I had the chance to get first dibs on it, thanks to my Human Heart Nature Laguna family. There may have been no face-to-face event-slash-product launch because of this pandemic, but my HN Laguna family made sure that I get to try their new releases, just like in the good, 'old normal' days.

Aurae Natura Essential Oil Diffuser Blend in Blissful Sleep.

Aurae Natura's newest product is Blissful Sleep, a blend of pure essential oils carefully selected to support a calm and relaxed mind to ease yourself to sleep. It's made from all-natural, locally-manufactured ingredients, all of which are known to support deep and restorative sleep: 

A powerhouse blend of all-natural ingredients.
  • Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) - one of the most popular and most versatile essential oils; promotes relaxation and eases anxiety
  • Ho wood (Cinnamomum camphora) - has a woody and floral scent that helps detoxify the body and acts as a natural disinfectant
  • Bergamot (Citrus bergamia) - its tarty, citrusy scent elevates mood and alleviates stress 
  • Mandarin (Citrus reticulata) - a light, fruity scent that helps calm the mind and body
  • Ylang-ylang (Cananga odorata) - a soft, flowery fragrance that soothes stress, tension, and sleeplessness
To use, simply add 8-10 drops of this blend for every 200 mL of water in your diffuser. I like taking a whiff from the bottle before I start diffusing. It's like tasting an appetizer before enjoying the main course. 
Ending the day with some Blissful Sleep.

Blissful Sleep has been my go-to nighttime blend lately. Diffusing it is like a treat to myself after a hard day of juggling household chores, writing gigs, and my son's (online) school activities. Now I can't wait to try the other Aurea Natura essential oil blends. I have a feeling Joyful Mornings will soon be my go-to perk-me-up blend!

Aurae Natura Diffuser Blends retail for Php 359 per 5 mL bottle and can be bought at Human Heart Nature stores, at the Human Heart Nature website, and the Aurae Natura website. 



10.05.2020

Cooking with my Air Fryer | Cappuccino Muffins Recipe.

A-and we're back to regular programming! I had been in (social media) hiatus for about a week or so and had not been baking much because of my eye problem. Halfway through September, I had been having issues with my left eye - it felt dry, the upper part of the sclera had reddish streaks, and it felt like I had something stuck in my eye most of the time. I finally decided to see my eye doctor as soon as Yue's exams were over, and I was diagnosed with corneal abrasion. I'm still under medication as of this writing, and there's still a miniscule white spot on my cornea, but my eyes feel much, much better and less sensitive to light than it did two weeks ago. 

Anyway, moving on to what this blog post is really about - the recipe. I had been baking my Cappuccino Muffins differently, using just one egg. Until I realized that two eggs are better than one, lol. But seriously, my muffins became lighter, fluffier, and definitely more moist after I started using two (room temperature) eggs. And with that, here's the recipe. Enjoy! :)


Cappuccino Muffins

Ingredients:
2 cups flour 
3 tsps baking powder 
2 tsp coffee
1/2 tsp salt 
3/4 cup white sugar 
2 eggs 
1 cup milk 
1/4 cup vegetable oil 
1/4 tsp cinnamon 
1/4 tsp nutmeg 
2 tsp vanilla extract 
1 cup dark or semisweet chocolate chips 


Procedure: 
1. Preheat the air fryer to 190° Celsius. 
2. Stir together all the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, coffee, salt, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg) in a large bowl. Make a well in the center. 
3. In a small bowl, beat the egg with a fork. Stir in the milk, oil, and vanilla extract. Pour this mixture all at once into the well in the flour mixture.
4. Mix quickly and lightly until moistened. Do not overmix.
5. Lightly fold in the chocolate chips into the mixture.
6. Pour the batter into paper lined muffin pan cups. Top with more chocolate chips if desired.
7. Set your air fryer to Bake mode and bake at 170°C for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 
8. Optional: Switch to Convection Broil for 3 to 5 minutes if you want the muffin tops to look more brown. (Kindly make adjustments to the temperature settings if you're cooking with a conventional oven.)