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2019 BTS Summer Package Vol. 5 (Korea Version)

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 Buttercream 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 Buttercream 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.)


10.01.2020

Smile Train Philippines Celebrates World Smile Day®.

World Smile Day®, a day devoted to smiles and acts of kindness, will be celebrated by people all over the world on the 2nd of October. Smile Train, the world’s leading cleft organization, through its local entity, Smile Train Philippines, will be hosting an online event to raise awareness for children with clefts. Together with Smile Train ambassadors Marian Rivera, Catriona Gray, and Megan Young, the charity launches #540Today to convey and champion the 540 babies around the world who are born with a cleft every day.

The crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic has affected millions all over the world, including children born with a cleft lip and/or palate. With the global lockdown pushing for cities to establish stringent rules and regulations, thousands of babies are left untreated. It is estimated that COVID-19 has forced Smile Train partners to put more than 33,000 cleft surgeries on hold this year.

“Despite the pandemic, Smile Train is keen on celebrating all of the people who have contributed to their work and help change the lives of babies born with untreated clefts in the Philippines,” said Smile Train South East Asia Director Kimmy Flaviano. “We’ve adapted various avenues and utilized technology to reach more patients and communities in the Philippines.”



The event, which will be hosted Live on the Smile Train Philippines Facebook page at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, will allow Smile Train to bring more smiles into the homes of the Filipinos. More Smile Train ambassadors such as Tim Yap, Barbie Forteza, and Paul Marney Leobrera will take part in the festivities to encourage people to raise awareness for #540Today. They all share their experiences working with Smile Train and raise awareness for access to proper medical care and financial assistance needed by children born with cleft lip and/or palate.

Smile Train’s Team Empower will also take part in the celebration by inviting everyone to Ride for Smile Train Home Edition. Ride for Smile Train Home Edition is a virtual experience that will utilize two fitness platforms, Strava and Zwift, to challenge, engage, and grow the community of Smile Makers. Moreover, Smile Train long-standing fitness partners, Beyond Yoga and Electric Studio, will be offering classes to help promote the cause. Beyond Yoga will be hosting a free yoga class on Facebook while Electric Studio will offer their Ride, Box, HIIT, Strength, and Flow classes for the benefit of Smile Train Philippines.

Smile Train acknowledges the support and collaboration of its donors, partners, and ambassadors around the world as they continue to transform the lives of patients with cleft and help improve their ability to eat, breathe, speak, and ultimately thrive. The pandemic may have posed a challenge to the charity, but it is committed to applying sustainable solutions that would be of great help to their beneficiaries.

“Smile Train has always been and will continue to remain steadfast in advocating for children with cleft and to providing free surgery and comprehensive cleft care to them. With the help of all our partners, we can truly make a difference to create more smiles,” shared Flaviano.

For more information about Smile Train’s global efforts and to donate, please visit smiletrain.org. To learn more about Smile Train’s local programs in the Philippines, please visit smiletrain.ph, follow Smile Train Philippines on Twitter and Instagram @SmileTrainPh, and like us on Facebook at @SmileTrainPhilippines. 


9.30.2020

7-day EGGciting recipes under ₱100.

There are a number of reasons why people love eggs – it’s easy to cook, versatile, and one of the cheapest and convenient protein sources. Filipinos have especially stocked up on this pantry staple amid the height of lockdowns due to COVID-19 pandemic.

7-Day EGGCiting Recipes under Php 100!

Based on the consumption survey conducted in 2015 by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST), chicken eggs ranked seventh on the “Top 30 Commonly Consumed Food Items” in the Philippines, proving that it is an indispensable ingredient in a household. While eggs are often seen as an accompaniment to our breakfast silog meals, it has many other uses from making quick meals, a thickener and binding agent, to adding flavor.

Cheesy Tamago.

Eggs are packed with nutrients that children need for healthy growth and development. It contains vitamins and minerals and all nine essential amino acids that the human body cannot produce on its own, making it an ingredient that can be easily added to other food to enhance its nutritional value. It’s no wonder that it is a favorite of Filipinos as it’s not only nutritious but an inexpensive source of nutrients and easy to prepare especially for busy parents.

Pizza Omelette.

But just because eggs are an obvious choice in making healthy and delicious egg-cellent meals, it doesn’t mean that you should be limited with the usual boiled, fried, or poached. Skip the same-old ways of cooking eggs and try introducing more variety into your child’s diet. Ajinomoto Philippines Corporation has prepared a “7-Day Egg Challenge” for you that will help you learn new ways to cook eggs for your kids. You’d be surprise that even picky eaters would love the way we added other ingredients like veggies to enrich the color, texture and nutrients of the dishes. Best of all, all are under a hundred pesos for a family-size meal!

For full recipes and for more information about Ajinomoto and its products, visit www.ajinomoto.com.ph and facebook.com/CookmunitybyAjinomotoPH. Don’t forget to snap a photo of your eggciting dish and share it with us using the hashtag #AjinomotoEggcitingRecipe.


9.13.2020

Cooking with my Air Fryer | Crispy Fried Chicken (ala Max's Restaurant).

This is a recipe that I've been wanting to experiment with ever since I got my hands on my Hanabishi Air Fryer Oven. It took me quite awhile to actually try it, since chicken leg quarters were always out of stock whenever I do the groceries (which is actually like, twice a month at the most).

Luckily, I chanced upon some chicken leg quarters at SM Supermarket's Bounty Fresh section on my last grocery run. Yay! And so finally, here it is - my Crispy Fried Chicken, Max's style.


Crispy Fried Chicken (ala Max's Restaurant)

Ingredients:
4 chicken leg quarters (or 1 whole spring chicken)
4 cloves garlic, chopped (or crushed)
6 slices ginger
4 pieces bay leaf
3 Tbsps fish sauce/patis
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
4 cups water

Procedure:
1. In a large pot, mix the water, fish sauce, garlic, ginger, and bay leaf. Stir, then bring to a boil.
2. Place the chicken in the pot and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Remove the chicken from the broth and drain using a colander. Let it cool for 15 to 20 minutes and rub with salt and pepper on all sides of the skin.
4. Set your air fryer to Air Fry mode and air fry at 190°C for 20 minutes. Flip the chicken at the 5-minute mark. 
5. Flip the chicken again at let it rest for 10 minutes.
6. Air fry the chicken again at 190°C for another 3 to 5 minutes for added crisp. You may adjust the length of time depending on how crispy you want your chicken to be.
7. Serve with fried sweet potato or french fries and tomato ketchup with Worcestershire sauce.