My White Confession

I have a confession to make.

I am not that much of a cake eater.

If you gave me a choice between ice cream and a slice of chiffon cake, I would choose the ice cream. Every time. Oh yes, I loved cheesecakes and chocolate mousse, the desserts that are more melt-in-your-mouth type rather than the spongy, cakey ones.

When Red Ribbon hosted the mommy bloggers one afternoon in order to introduce their new, surprise ‘White’ cake, I went to the event more out of curiosity over the kind of cake that was going to be launched. The weather that afternoon was not very cooperative as it rained cats and dogs just as I was on my way to the Libis branch. There was a time when I thought of just turning back as I did not want to risk getting caught in a flood just to try a cake.

It was an intimate affair as only mommies and a few kids were present. There was the usual round of introductions and opening remarks as well as a sneak preview of the cake which turned out to be the White Forest Cake.

I actually felt excited listening to the presentation as they described what the White Forest Cake was made of. For one, it was all covered in white chocolate shavings. Mmmmm… Then the piece de resistance was… oh my, long-stemmed maraschino cherries. LOTS of them, sitting right on top of the white chocolate shavings. I was not disappointed when they brought out the actual cake. Unlike many photos where the advertised picture is sometimes far off from the real thing, the White Forest Cake looked exactly like it did on the tarp inside the room.

We all started clicking away with our cameras taking shots from every angle. What else does a blogger do but take lots of pictures, right?

But here’s the part that really surprised me. When I was finally given a slice of the cake to sample, I was actually looking forward to taking that first bite. No, I was not disappointed. There were cherry bits folded into the chiffon cake together with cream filling, the chiffon was very light (cloud-like) and unlike a lot of cakes that are too sweet for my taste, this one was JUST RIGHT!

See how nothing was spared to fill the innards of this cake with cream & cherry bits? Yummy!

See how nothing was spared to fill the innards of this cake with cream & cherry bits? Yummy!

When the event ended, I was one of those left behind at the branch because the car was still fetching my children. That was a blessing in disguise because Red Ribbon’s branch head offered me still another slice of White Forest Cake. Yes, by this time I no longer minded eating another serving!

Red Ribbon also gifted us all with our very own White Forest Cake so I was really excited to have the kids try it as I knew that if I loved it, they were sure to do so too.

If there is one gauge of a cake’s success, I would say it is the length of time it takes to consume. I had another meeting that evening so the cake was sent home ahead for the children to have for dessert. I was lucky I still had the chance to eat a slice the next day because with my 4 kids and a nephew at home, the White Forest Cake was gone within 24 hours. Now you know why I have no family pictures with the cake…

Luckily, October is the month when 3 of my family members have birthdays. Maybe that’s a great excuse to go get another White Forest Cake from Red Ribbon. 🙂

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Krispy Kreme Celebrates Six Dozen Years with over 10,000 Doughnuts

KK 72 Years

Block off July 13!

Krispy Kreme will be celebrating its 72nd anniversary and all of us Krispy Kreme lovers and fans are invited to any of their stores in the Philippines or in any of these countries:  USA, Australia, Canada, UK, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, and Indonesia.    

It’s as simple as this.

Just visit a Krispy Kreme store nearest you and get one FREE Original Glazed Doughnut for any purchase. That translates to over 10,000 free doughnuts for us on this day!

My kids all love Krispy Kreme.  And so do I. My all-time favorite has always been the Original Glazed doughnut.

The Leaning Tower of Chocolate

Here we are at the launch of KK's Chocolate Karnival doughnut line

So on July 13, let’s come together, Krispy Kreme fans, and enjoy whatever favorite doughnut or beverage we love and get that free doughnut besides!

See you there!

For updates on Krispy Kreme’s 72nd Birthday Celebration, join the Philippines “Friends of Krispy Kreme” by visiting www.krispykreme.com.ph

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Kefir – Time for a Second Look at this Potent Probiotic

In February of 2007, a co-parent at our boys’ school gave me a batch of what looked like cottage cheese-like, curdled milk. I saw kefir for the first time.

It was only after I did some googling on the internet that I discovered that kefir was one of, if not THE most potent, probiotic there is. It contains different varieties of good bacteria and far outweigh the benefits of products claiming to have lactobacilli and even yogurt.

Since then, that first batch of kefir grains has multiplied over and over again. From just that one batch, I have given out kefir grains to friends and even unknown persons who ask for them — many times over. And up to this day, our household continues to culture it, harvest its liquid and drink it plain or as a smoothie (for the kids). Our youngest, who used to consume Yakult by the pack (that comes in packs of 5 bottles), has totally switched over to kefir smoothies, thereby saving me quite a sum of money.

Kefir is not a miracle drug and does not claim to be so. But its powerful live organisms have been known to normalize the digestive tracts of people suffering both from diarrhea and constipation. Other kefir users I have come across on the internet have claimed it boosts the immune system, lowers high blood pressure and reduces the effect of acne (it can be used as a facial mask too!).

With the H1N1 virus threatening the world and who knows what other diseases are out there waiting to explode, it might be good to take a second look at kefir and see if its benefits go beyond just the ones we know so far. At the very least, if it boosts our immune system, we could stand a better chance resisting whatever viruses there are out there.

Here are links to my older posts about kefir:

1. Kefir – An Intro

2. Kefir – Paraphernalia and Process

3. A Kefir Smoothie

4. Kefir – Loads of Good Bacteria

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Krispy Kreme brings on a Chocolate Karnival

When I brought 3 of my blogger kids to Bonifacio High Street’s Krispy Kreme (KK) to attend the launch of their chocolate doughnut line, I thought we would just go there, listen to an introductory speech, be treated to samples of the doughnut and that’s it!

What greeted our eyes when we came down from the car was this — a full carnival at KK complete with clowns on stilts and bikes, carnival music playing, lots of games for the kids inside, and free-flowing doughnuts and beverages. They even had a Leaning Tower of Pisa Chocolate made of KK boxes!

Krispy Kreme in carnival mode

Brewed coffee served at your table on demand (woot!)

Brewed coffee served at your table on demand (woot!)

My kids had fun playing the games like Doughnut Ring Toss, Stack It, Speed Stacker and Pachinko. M2 met this 11-year old speed stacker who truly amazed us with his stacking abilities. Mind you, he stacks cups 3 levels high in seconds!

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Pachinko

View of the Doughnut Ring Toss and Stack It games

The Leaning Tower of Chocolate

Another view of the Leaning Tower of Chocolate

My mommy blogger friends came with their young kids. It was my first time to see most of the kids whose names I was already familiar with via our online communications so it was a thrill to meet them. My own kids seemed so grown-up beside all these young ones!

with Julie, Chats, Noemi, Cookie & kids

with Julie, Chats, Noemi, Cookie & kids

With Lynn, Feng, Chats, Julie & kids

With Lynn, Feng, Chats, Julie & kids

 Lunch was served to us all – pasta, sandwiches, chips & dip. Afterwards, there was a magic show inside (but there were so many people already that I dared not try to squeeze my way in.

The assembly line of Krispy Kreme was covered with a brown curtain. Wow, that made the unveiling of their new chocolate line even more exciting. I got a good view of it as I was standing right at the entrance to the production area. When Az was allowed into the area, I instinctively followed him, as did Noemi. Only the 3 of us bloggers got INSIDE! But…we were required to wear the KK hats for good measure.

From our vantage point, we were able to see the glazed doughnuts roll down the conveyor belt. The chocolate syrup was flowing and everyone hooted and clapped as the first line of doughnuts went through the chocolate “waterfall”, coming out on the other side with dripping chocolate syrup. Yummmmmy!

This picture, courtesy of Noemi, shows me eating the chocolate glazed doughnut fresh from the production line.

Taken by my friend, Noemi

Here is a short video of that moment. I got to interview Az as he took his first bite of the chocolate delight.

My kids and I had a blast that afternoon. Never mind the summer heat. The fun, carnival mood made us forget the humidity. And the company was just purrrrfect…

On your next visit to Krispy Kreme, do try all their chocolate varieties. 

KK Poster Choco Karnival

KK Chocolate Products

Glaze your friends too! Visit www.chocolatekarnival.com.

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It’s Tikoy Time — Kiong Hee Huat Chai!

January 26 ushers in the Chinese New Year — the year of the Earth Ox!

Here in the Philippines, we celebrate it just as, or more noisily, than the Western New Year. Binondo, most especially, will be the center of fireworks and firecrackers, lion dances, family dinners and the ever-present tikoy.

Tikoy is made of glutinous rice flour, wheat starch, water and sugar. The ones from China are traditionally made with white sugar but here in the Philippines, we have innovated and come up with the brown sugar, ube, buko pandan and even the red bean variety.

(clockwise) white sugar, brown sugar, buko pandan, ube tikoy

(clockwise) white sugar, brown sugar, buko pandan, ube tikoy

red bean tikoy

red bean tikoy

Tikoy is usually given because its stickiness represents the strong bond of friendship that the giver wishes to have with its recipient/s. Its round shape represents eternity, no end. Tikoy has evolved, however, with some of them already coming in the shape of carp. It can be eaten as is, steamed or fried. We normally fry tikoy. We put it in the ref overnight to harden the tikoy. Next day, we slice them thinly. Then we beat 1-2 eggs. Each tikoy is then rolled in egg before it is fried. Yummmmyyyy!

Today, I went to DEC (we call it Diao Eng Chay) along Wilson St., Greenhills. The owners of DEC were very gracious and accommodating and allowed me to take any pictures I wished inside. I also went to Little Store which was not too far from DEC and also took pictures there.

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this pile of tikoy will be sold out most likely by New Year's Eve

this pile of tikoy will be sold out most likely by New Year's Eve

Here are some of the stuff people were buying earlier for the Chinese New Year of the Ox:

our Pinoy carabao (chocolates inside)

our Pinoy carabao (chocolates inside)

gold chocolate coins, the carabao, and other items (carp, pineapple, round objects)

gold chocolate coins, the carabao, and other items (golden carp, pineapple, round objects)

all kinds of round fruit

all kinds of round fruit

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a blown-up representation of an old Chinese gold coin

a blown-up representation of an ancient Chinese gold coin

The main doors of Chinese homes would have what is called a couplet (paired set of Chinese characters wishing the family good luck for the year), something like the one below:

couplet-cropped

I printed this couplet out this evening on red board paper and hope the kids will help me add gold trimmings to it before I hang these up on the left and right sides of our main door.

Tomorrow, I will plan the menu for Sunday evening.

Wishing you all the best in the Year of the Ox!

KIONG HEE HUAT CHAI!

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Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf’s 12 Cups of Giving

I love coffee. Period.

Last year, in order to get my 2 girls the planners they wanted, I was at this coffee shop almost daily ordering a cup of coffee. This year, though, I told myself I would not do that. After computing the cost of daily coffee at that shop, I figured it was an expensive way to buy a planner.

But I have changed my mind after attending the blogger event hosted by Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (CBTL) at Boni High Street.

I confess I had no idea what the event was all about except that I was drawn to the word “Giving” in the text I got from Geiser Maclang.

C1 came along with me. As we entered CBTL, we were surprised to see bloggers huddled around tables talking with people who had brochures laid out. That was how I found out that CBTL was launching its Christmas program, 12 Cups with The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf: Give in to Giving. At each table were representatives of each of the 12 organizations being supported by CBTL this Christmas.

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Here’s how it works. Every cup of coffee or tea you buy, which is covered by the program, gets you a stamp on a card. Once you complete the 12 stamps on the card, you get to choose your favorite cause/advocacy from the 12 supported organizations and CBTL will make a donation in your name. Not only that! For having completed the card, you also get one of the 3 CBTL limited edition commemorative journals specially designed by 12 of the most important Filipino artists in the country today — FREE! And if you get to donate to all 12 organizations (that means 12 cards x 12 cups = 144 cups), CBTL will give one year’s supply of coffee!

Notebook 1

Notebook 1

Notebook 2

Notebook 2

Notebook 3

Notebook 3

Whatever your advocacy is, there is sure to be one organization from this lot that you can help. Here are the 12 organizations you can help support via CBTL as well as the kind of support CBTL will donate in your name after you complete your 12th cup of giving:

1. Kababaihan Gabay sa Bayan (KAGABAY) – poverty reduction through social, political and economic empowerment of women. CBTL will donate P600/child for their education needs.

2. The Restorative Justice Program of Caritas Manila – service to prisoners and their families through formation, paralegal assistance and outreach. CBTL will donate P1,000 under your name for values formation class materials per school year for inmates.

3. The Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) – animal protection and care. CBTL will provide medicine for animals under PAWS’ care.

4. Bahay Tuluyan – serves streetchildren. CBTL will give a birthday present for a child worth P250 under your name.

5. Haribon Foundation – conservation of Philippine biodiversity. CBTL will adopt a seedling under your name.

6. Cartwheel Foundation – education for the country’s indigenous people. CBTL will donate P8,000 for educational materials, curriculum development, tuition, teacher training & seminars, and school supplies for each student per school year.

7. Kythe Foundation – supports children with cancer; its Child Life Program seeks to alleviate the anxieties of a child during hospitalization. CBTL will sponsor an unforgettable kids’ outing for the kids and the volunteers.

8. Autism Society Philippines (ASP) – committed to the wellbeing of persons with autism spectrum disorder. CBTL will donate P2,000 for books needed for autism disorder awareness.

9. Philippine Cerebral Palsy, Inc. – aids cerebral palsy victims. CBTL will give a patient P1,800 per month to help in their medicine and rehabilitation.

10. Philippine Band of Mercy (PBM) – attends to indigent Filipinos suffering from cleft lip & palate, congenital cataract & glaucoma, hydrocephalus & meninggoceale. CBTL will give P8,000 for the operation of each child & become the leading provider of comprehensive craniofacial health services for the less privileged.

11. Resources for the Blind – seeks to ensure that blind students have access to the same information that sighted students have. CBTL donate P1,000 for the production of Braille textbooks.

12. Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) – seeks to improve the quality of life for Filipinos through corporate citizenship. CBTL will sponsor a child’s medical consultation worth P200.

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Representatives of the 12 NGOs with Paolo del Rosario of CBTL

I had the chance to speak with Coffee Bean’s Marketing Director, Paolo Del Rosario, who enthused about the program. I told him that I was very touched by their gesture to support not one but TWELVE NGOs. And Paolo assured me that this is going to be a yearly thing with CBTL and not just a one-shot deal. Much later, I also had the chance to meet CBTL’s Managing Director, Walden Chu, who was likewise very enthusiastic about their program.

If I had to spend my money on coffee, this is were I would plunk it down. Not only do I actually enjoy CBTL’s coffee and tea (Chai Latte and African Sunrise are my all-time favorites) but their food fare, for a yogini, is very healthy and tasty. There is a CBTL on the ground floor of my yoga center and we would often hang out here before or after classes over cups of coffee or tea. With The 12 Cups of Giving program, CBTL has earned my respect and admiration — not just for their good food but more so, for their generous hearts for the marginalized among our citizens.

A big THANK YOU to Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf for giving us good coffee, tea and food while giving us this rare opportunity to give back a little of ourselves to society as well.

The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf is located at TriNoMa, SM The Block, Gateway, Ortigas Park, Paseo Center, Bonifacio High Street, Mall of Asia, convergys Ayala Avenue, Salcedo Village, Alabang Town Center, Rockwell, Robinson’s Ermita, Greenhills Promenade, Robinson’s Galleria, Eastwood, Tomas Morato and 2 more branches in Cebu.

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