Friday, October 29, 2010

Real Living Launches its Book on Handy Hints and Instant Makeovers

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Thanks to Summit Media, I got to attend the launch of Real Living's newly launched book "Handy Hints and Instant Makeovers".

I've been living in our present home for as long as my married life. And a lot of the furniture and "look" of the house is as it was when we got married. It gets a bit tiring when the familiar becomes TOO familiar, right? So I've been trying to find ways to change the look of the house without having to go right out and spend a fortune. I felt that little touches here and there could really do the house a lot of good.

But, my creative imagination is really sorely lacking in this department. I always feel that if I walked into a bare room, I would not know what to put in it. I prefer to see a magazine or picture and point to stuff to say, "I want this. And I want that."

The next best thing is of course to leaf through the glossy mags, right? But why, oh why, do they have to feature such expensive stuff that I can't afford?

Well, this book is just the answer I need and for good reason:

Water Plus Goes Beyond Just Being Water

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Have you seen this picture on billboards yet?

That's Andi Manzano and she is the endorser for a new kind of flavored water that comes in several variants recently released -- Water Plus by the Zest-o people. One of Water Plus' variants is their Waterplus Reduce line which comes in three flavors - grape, lemon & berries, and apple, and is touted as a weight loss water product.

OK, I know what some of you may say. Another water product? It's touting itself as water but has a lot of sugar? What's new?

I must say, the thought crossed my mind too. But I was willing to listen to the organizers tell me a bit more about the product before I made any conclusions of my own.

Some water drinks introduced in the past which I tried were heavy on the flavoring. They tasted nice but because the flavorings were quite strong they already bordered closer to being juice than water. That made me wonder about the sugar content in WaterPlus Reduce. 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Mang Inasal Delivers! Dial 733-1111

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I come from the land of inasal -- Iloilo. And there, we eat it the yummy way. Grab the chicken with both hands, take a huge bite, then follow with hot rice eaten kamayan (bare hands) style. Nothing could be more enjoyable than eating chicken inasal with one's hands. Well that was before everyone became civilized and started eating inasal with spoon and fork, hahahaha.

So it is no wonder that I always find a chance to eat chicken inasal. It reminds me very much of my childhood. My kids love inasal too because on vacations to Dumaguete, we also get our fill of the chicken inasal there. So we were all excited when I got an email offering me a chance to try out Mang Inasal's new delivery service.

My kids and I were raring to try them. I made the call around 7:15 pm last week and in exactly 30 minutes (7:45 pm on the dot), our doorbell was ringing. Dinner had arrived -- PROMPTLY!

Pumpkin Recipes for Halloween and Any Day

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The Dona Elena Cuisinera Club (DECC) recently sponsored a meet-up with its club's members and mommy bloggers (including me) to show us how to prepare three delicious meals using pumpkin as a basic ingredient.

These 3 dishes were appropriate for Halloween but I think that these will be just as good any day of the year.

What I love about Dona Elena is that I'm able to buy olive oil for cooking or for my salads without spending an arm and a leg. You know how expensive olive oil can be. And yet, I splurge on this every so often, knowing that it is the healthiest oil there is.

Dona Elena olive oil is known to be rich in antioxidants, counteracting the harmful effects of free radicals which place us at risk for heart disease and certain cancers.

For this session, we were introduced to the health benefits of pumpkin, as well (the more common variety is squash or, as we call it in the Philippines -- kalabasa). Here's why you should consider pumpkin as part of your family's dish ingredients:

- phytonutrients prevent cell mutations
- for men's health, it helps reduce risk of prostate cancer
- its orange-red carotenoid helps reduce risk of emphysema and has anti-cancer properties
- reduces chances of birth defects, heart attack, and the folate promotes colon health
- the betacarotene is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, protects vs diabetes, regulates blood sugar, and reduces the severity of conditions such as asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis
- potassium helps lower blood pressure
- it has other nutrients such as Vitamin C, fiber and more

Halloween is just a few days away so if you're looking for yummy treats to serve up on that day, here are 3 recipes for Pumpkin and Sausage Pasta; Pumpkin, Tomato and Basil Soup; and Pumpkin and Shrimp Fritters (popularly known as Okoy).

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

October 20: National Thank You Day

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Years back, when I got my issue of Reader's Digest, I noticed it published the results of a survey done to find out which countries were most grateful. As it was with their previous surveys, Reader's Digest people scattered people anonymously and observed the behavior of the country's citizens, counting the number of times "Thank you" was said.

I really thought the Philippines would score pretty high, considering how we're known for our hospitality. Imagine my dismay when I found we only ranked #22! And the top scorer was, of all places, New York! You'd think that in a place as busy as NY, people would have less time to say thanks!

Now I am wondering what ever happened to the value of gratitude taught to us as little kids as well as the importance of saying thank you. Have we become too busy? Or is it that we really have  taken a lot of things for granted these days?

Inspired by this revelation, Toblerone spearheaded the “National Thank You Day” initiative. This eventually led to Mayor Alfredo Lim officially declaring October 20, 2007 to be Manila’s first “National Thank You Day.” In 2009, the day also saw the celebration of the first Thank You Day Awards where Filipinos recognized former President Corazon Aquino as the person Filipinos should be grateful to the most.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Contest: Keso de Gallo with Kraft Eden Cheese

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100 towns.

100 unique dishes.

100 days.

1 Grand Yuletide celebration.

Yes, for 100 days prior to Christmas, 100 towns are showcasing their unique dishes that feature Kraft Eden Cheese as an ingredient. And they are gunning to break the record for the longest Christmas celebration in the world!

Where else should the longest Christmas celebration be than in the Philippines. The moment BER months come around, Christmas songs are already in the air and malls start decorating for the Christmas season already!

We can all help make the Philippines break this record and, at the same time, make YOUR favorite city's cheese dish win P2 million worth of prizes it can use as a support fund. You can also be your city's HOME PARTNER and win a cash prize for yourself.

The Philippine Beat is rooting for the town made famous by a pancit it is named after. In truth, this is one of, if not my favorite, pancit because I just love the crushed chicharon flakes and varied seafood toppings heaped on it -- Pancit Malabon!

Yes, I am throwing my vote behind Malabon City which has done a twist on their famous pancit by adding cheese cubes.

Pancit Malabon with Cheese Cracking Toppings

Will you help me make Malabon City win? If you love Pancit Malabon, then vote for Malabon. Just check out their yummy recipe for Pancit Malabon with Cheese Cracking Toppings HERE. And while you're on Malabon's page, read up a bit on the history of the city. There's more to the city than just pancit!

What do you need to do to make Malabon City win?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Cherry Mobile Launches its Android Smartphones

My oldest son, who's the geekiest member of our family, has long been saving up for an Android phone. For someone who has the highest expectations and standards for his next mobile phone, he has done his homework as far as mobile OS are concerned and it seems that the Android's performance is IT for him.

On my end, I had been wanting to get a device that would allow me to take pictures and upload them on the fly wherever my blogging activities take me. While I already have a 3G iPad, the absence of a camera means I still needed to bring one. And frankly, my existing camera, which is many years old already, has seen better days. So when I got an invite to attend an Android event, I just had to see for myself what it was all about and to check its specs.

Cherry Mobile (the company that was first known for providing affordable dual SIM handsets) launched its line of Android Smartphones powered by Qualcomm: the Nova, Magnum HD and Superion which is also the first ever tablet phone in the Philippines.

The most affordable model is the Nova (SRP P11,490). Compared to other smartphones in this price range, the Nova offers a lot more, including the 5MP camera and GPS services.

Nova specs:

  • Android OS 2.1
  • Quadband GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
  • Triband UMTS 900 / 1900 / 2100
  • 3.2" HVGA capacitive touchscreen
  • Qualcomm MSM 7227 600 MHz processor
  • 3G/HSDPA connectivity
  • Wifi
  • Bluetooth
  • Google mobile services ( Gmail, Maps, Marketplace)
  • 5.0 MP camera with flash

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A New Comfort Food from Red Ribbon

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When we are under stress, lonely, or just need to be reminded of good memories, we reach out for our comfort food. Usually these are food that reminds us of our Mom's cooking, something that triggers a good memory, basically anything that gives you the same effect as a warm embrace or lifts your spirit.

What is your comfort food?

My top choice is ice cream. Any flavor. Oh, maybe except Tutti Frutti because I don't like those candy-like fruit squares in my ice cream. But I'll take any flavor, and most especially.....chocolate!

Recently, Red Ribbon launched its version of comfort food. And it's one that will truly comfort you without burning a hole in your pocket.

Introducing Red Ribbon's CHOCO FUDGE CAKE!

The Choco Fudge Cake is a version of the classic chocolate cake but with more oooomph: a pound cake smothered with premium chocolate heaped generously on top and layered with chocolate fudge filling. You take one bite into it and your teeth just keep going down into chocolate and more chocolate.

My personal preference is still Red Ribbon's Chocolate Walnut Fudge cake which they introduced last year but as an immediate comfort food that is so affordable, Choco Fudge Cake is a great alternative.

Chocolate Fudge Cake is now available in regular size (P460) and junior size (P275) at all Red Ribbon outlets.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Google Chrome Goes Pinoy with Themes and Extensions

Chrome was launched only sometime 2008 and yet it's now the Philippines' 2nd most popular browser. With innovations in extensions as well as variety of themes coupled with its robust infrastructure, Chrome is truly gaining grounds in the browser war. In fact, on both my desktop and laptop computers, Chrome runs as my default browser.

Last Sept. 30, another first was introduced to the Filipino bloggers -- extensions and themes done by Filipinos for Filipinos.

Themes are pretty much like your desktop wallpaper except that it carries over to the background of your browser and the colors of your tabs, buttons and bars follow the thematic colors. Extensions are small programs that you download and install. These either extend the functionality of existing applications or provide information.

Representing Google at the launch were Google Southeast Asia Head of Product Management, Andrew McGlinchey, and Google Southeast Asia Head of Marketing, Derek Callow.

(Andrew McGlinchey, left, and Derek Callow, right)