Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sandalias Festival: Step Into Some Love

One of the benefits living in a tropical country is that you can never have enough flip-flops.  People in the tropics wear flip-flops practically everywhere, since it's always flip-flop weather here.  We take ours to the beach…
Rider sandals

Ipanema brand flip-flops
And we run errands in it, too!
Ipanema Gisele Bundchen brand flip-flops with crystal studs
The local distributor of the Ipanema line of footwear recently hosted Sandalias Festival, a fun event held at the Trinoma that featured exciting activities and highlighted the new and stylish footwear from the brand.

Guests and invited bloggers were treated to an afternoon of pampering as make-shift alcoves sat side by side, parading luxurious services such as free foot massage, nail art, foot and body tattoo.  Sporty guests can also try their hand at wall-climbing and the whirling mechanical surf-board.

The giant piƱata was definitely the event’s show-stopper.  Everyone inched their way to get a chance to win gift certificates from the event’s various sponsors.


Patxi Elizalde, Managing director of ELRO Corporation, exclusive distributor of the Ipanema line of products, shares that the mounting of this annual event is part of their continuing effort to establish an emotional connection with the brand’s loyal patrons.  He stresses that not only does he want the clients to experience their products, but he also wants them to be immersed in the culture and lifestyle that inspired the creation of the footwear.

Ipanema for the fun and laid-back folks, Ipanema Gisele Bundchen for the fashion-forward ladies, Grendha for the city girl who wants a stylish pair of shoes with the comfort of flip-flops, and Rider for the active explorer who is always out looking for the next adventure. 

You can buy all the above-mentioned footwear at Bambu, located at Trinoma, Glorietta 4, Marquee Mall and at the Alabang Town Center.

~ A big thanks to Michelle of Mom-Friday and to the media-relations team of Sandalias Festival for inviting me to this event.

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Monday, September 27, 2010

Fall-Off-The-Bone Baby Back Ribs

If you are feeding a pack of rapacious carnivores that you call family, do try out this recipe for the Baby Back Ribs that I made for a recent barbeque party.
 
Fall-Off-The-Bone Baby Back Ribs:
  • 2 racks baby back ribs (ribs that have less meat on them are better suited for this recipe)
  • Dry rub (recipe follows below, but feel free to look up a dry rub recipe on the internet)
  • Barbecue sauce (I used Hunt's Hickory Sauce, but you can use any bottle of your favorite sauce.  Still, if it time is on your side and you've got plenty of help, there are a lot of recipes available for home-made barbecue sauce on the internet.)
Ingredients for Dry Rub:
  1. 1 tablespoon cumin
  2. 1 tablespoon paprika
  3. 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  4. 1 tablespoon granulated onion
  5. 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  6. 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  7. 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  8. 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Directions: 
1 day before the party: 

1.Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.Set aside.
2.  Trim the membrane sheath from the back of each rack. Run a small, sharp knife between the membrane and each rib, and snip off the membrane as much as possible.
 3.  Sprinkle as much of the rub onto both sides of the ribs as desired. To prevent the ribs from becoming too dark and spicy, do not thoroughly rub the spices into the ribs. Cover ribs with aluminum foil and plastic bag. Refrigerate ribs for at least 2 hours, but it is best to leave it on for up to 24 hours.

The day of the party:
  1. Preheat oven to 275 degree F.
  2. Line a 13x9 baking pan with non-stick foil.  Put ribs in (still with the foil) meaty side up.   Bake the ribs for 3 hours.  (The low heat and long cooking time is what makes the meat soft and tender.)
  3. Remove the ribs from the oven, and let stand. 
  4. Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat.  Remember to lightly oil the grates for an easy clean-up.
  5. Let the ribs cool for at least thirty minutes to let it firm up before moving to the grill.
  6. Remove the racks from the foil, and brush with barbeque sauce. 
  7. Lay ribs on top rack of grill.
  8. Grill the ribs for 3 to 5 minutes on each side. Brush sauce on the ribs while they're grilling till they are nicely caramelized.  
You have to do step 8.  This really makes a difference in the presentation because it makes the sauce stick to the ribs - restaurant style. If you skip this part and just take the ribs out of the foil and serve them, the ribs still taste as good, but they look pale and unappetizing. Just be sure to check the ribs frequently as they are grilling so that they don't get burned

Alternatively, if there is no space for an outdoor grill or weather does not permit, you can also finish the ribs by broiling them in the oven for 15 minutes with the oven door slightly open.  Again, watch the ribs as they easily burn.

Happy cooking!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Freebie from Delifrance

Are you a sucker for freebies, like me? 

When the Japanese cosmetic brand, Shu Uemura, officially launched it's entry to the Philippine shores,  I remember agreeing to be a part of it's focus group.  It was held at one of the offices of a high-end shopping mall, and promised free product samples and catered snacks for the participants.

I was just newly-married then, and my husband was aghast that I would so willingly allow myself to be held captive for two or more hours, all for the sake of a bagful of freebies.  "Doesn't your time count for anything?" he asked.  Uhm, not really.  And besides, who can argue about the value of time when a bottle of the famed Shu Uemura cleansing oil is at stake? :)

Anyhow still on the topic of freebies, these came in my inbox a few days ago and I just thought that I'd share it with you.



Get a FREE Chicken Bourbon Sandwich sampler from Delifrance! All you have to do is to print out the online coupon from here.  Present the coupon to the cashier and say their tongue twister 3x fast! “How much bourbon could a chicken drink if a chicken could drink bourbon?”

Campaign ends October 31, 2010.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Li'l Man Turns 6 with a Barbeque Party


My li'l man turned six recently, and to celebrate it, we had an outside barbeque... 

He had been asking for three parties in celebration of his 6th birthday.  I had to explain only celebrities do week-long parties.  We are just simple and ordinary folks so naturally we do what simple folks do - have a simple celebration.  "But I need three parties!!!  How else will I get a lot of gifts if I only have one party?" Hahaha! 

 

All of the food was prepared at home, save for the pizzas, which we ordered using a buy-one-take-one promo.  We used a grill which we got as a wedding present some many years ago. 

I saw some baby potatoes in the grocery while grocery-shopping for the barbeque, I thought they would be a nice addition.  I always include the skin when cooking baby potatoes as the thin, crispy skin provides a contrasting texture to the soft interior.   No worries, potatoes were nicely scrubbed and prepped before cooking. :)
Just toss in foil, put some garlic butter and a dash of salt and freshly ground pepper and roast till fork-soft.

Roasting corn is hands down a better alternative to boiling.  Grilling the cobs over charcoal brings out an intensity of flavors, mixing the bite of hickory with the sweet and juicy kernels.

Slice a pear thinly and roast it on top of the grill.  Melt some sugar on a pan and quickly toss in some roasted walnuts.  Layer them both on a bed of arugula or your choice of greens.

Grab a few cobs and slice off the kernels and add some diced mangoes. tomatoes and minced onion to make a roasted corn salad.  Finish off with a sprinkling of some lemon juice and a generous pinch of salt.

Grill some all-beef patties over high heat.... 


... add some caramelized onions and button mushrooms to make the tastiest burgers this side of town.

Fall of the bone baby back ribs.

Bottles of your favorite beer to gulp it all down with...

Cheers!  Maybe, some wine, perhaps?  A guest bought a bottle and was finished off right away.


But the birthday boy could not care any less about the food as he was overjoyed with the boxes of Lego toys he received!

He quickly got to work.  And while he needed no help making this....

... this one is too complicated and still waiting for Dad's help.



Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What Are You Doing This Weekend?

There are so many things happening this weekend that I don't know where to go first.  I have short-listed all the events that are on my must-visit list.  This is going to be a very busy weekend...

1.  Manila International Book Fair ~ September 15-19, 2010.  This is an annual trek for us, and it would break our hearts to go against tradition by skipping this year.

2.  Hobbes and Landes Sale ~ September 16-18, 2010.  There is an urban legend going around that Legos go for upto 60% off during this annual sale. :)
 

3.  The Stork Exchange ~ September 18, 2010.  Here is the answer to all the baby items and other stuff that our kids have outgrown.  If you are interested to join this children's item swap, read the mechanics here.  It comes with a P299 entrance fee, but that is inclusive of food and drinks catered by M Cafe.  

4.  S&R Member's Treat ~ September 15-19, 2010.  I always look forward to S&R's sale! 


I got a foldable party buffet table at 50% off last year.  When it's not doing the party circuit, it doubles as my kids' study table so I can keep a sharp eye on them while I cook in the kitchen. :) This is the same place where
I got my super cheap bookshelf, also on sale.

I also stock up on liquid hand soap, body wash and shampoo.  My kids use the Ivory Body Wash, so I got several bottles at buy-one-take-one promo during the sale early this year.  They have just used up their supply so this is the perfect time to horde again. :)

People start coming in before the store opens; and the queues at the cashier are notorious, with people lining up for more than an hour to pay.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Psalm 37

I just thought that I should share this with you, just in case anyone’s spirit needs some words of upliftment. Psalm 37 is one of the best-loved of David’s Psalms. I find myself reading it whenever I feel the need to re-discover the purpose in living a righteous life amid the wickedness that life unfortunately sometimes brings. 

This is a good verse to visit to remind us that when we trust in the Lord and continue to do good, He promises to give us the desires of our heart.

I have taken the liberty to give you excerpts of the verses which I find most meaningful, but should you want to read the whole chapter, you may do so here.

PSALM 37

1 Do not be provoked by evildoers; do not envy those who do wrong.
2 Like grass they wither quickly; like green plants they wilt away.
3 Trust in the LORD and do good that you may dwell in the land and live secure.
4 Find your delight in the LORD who will give you your heart's desire.
5 Commit your way to the LORD; trust that God will act
6 And make your integrity shine like the dawn, your vindication like noonday.
7 Be still before the LORD; wait for God. Do not be provoked by the prosperous, nor by malicious schemers.
8 Give up your anger, abandon your wrath; do not be provoked; it brings only harm.
9 Those who do evil will be cut off, but those who wait for the LORD will possess the land.

23 Those whose steps are guided by the LORD; whose way God approves,
24 May stumble, but they will never fall, for the LORD holds their hand.
25 Neither in my youth, nor now in old age have I ever seen the just abandoned or their children begging bread.
26 The just always lend generously, and their children become a blessing.
27 Turn from evil and do good, that you may inhabit the land forever.

34 Wait eagerly for the LORD, and keep to the way; God will raise you to possess the land; you will gloat when the wicked are cut off.
35 I have seen ruthless scoundrels, strong as flourishing cedars.
36 When I passed by again, they were gone; though I searched, they could not be found.
37 Observe the honest, mark the upright; those at peace with God have a future.
38 But all sinners will be destroyed; the future of the wicked will be cut off.
39 The salvation of the just is from the LORD, their refuge in time of distress.
40 The LORD helps and rescues them, rescues and saves them from the wicked, because in God they take refuge.

The Psalm contains advice on how to achieve tranquility and peace of mind under difficult conditions.  Sharing the Bible Commentary below for a deeper understanding. 

1.  The first guidance begins in verses one and two:  Do not be provoked by evildoers; do not envy those who do wrong.  Like grass they wither quickly; like green plants they wilt away.

Because the wicked seem to prosper in this world, the natural reaction from the righteous is to become incensed, or to become envious of their success. But the righteous are reminded that success by the wicked is short-lived, and they will come to a distressful end.

2.  The second counsel is found in verse three: Trust in the LORD and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.

This means the righteous are assured security and sustenance. “For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name . . . ” (Hebrew 6:10).

3.  We find the third counsel in verse five: Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust him, and he will help you.

God should be relied upon for whatever one undertakes in life. He will make your innocence as clear as the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun. (Ps. 37:6).

4.  The fourth admonition is recorded in verse seven: Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for him to act. Don't worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.

The admonition in this verse is to rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.  Patience is a godly virtue. Clearly, a manifestation of patience is the art of learning to keep silent even when provoked into an argument.

5.  The fifth admonition gives us: Stop your anger! Turn from your rage! Do not envy others-- it only leads to harm.

And indeed it does. How often do people react to situations emotionally and then later regret the damage that has been done? We need not take matters regarding evil into our own hands. God promises to provide justice for the iniquity that is done under the sun.

For the wicked will be destroyed, but those who trust in the LORD will possess the land. (Ps. 37:9-11).
The wicked plot against the just and grind their teeth at them;   But the LORD laughs at them, knowing their day is coming.  The wicked draw their swords; they string their bows To fell the poor and oppressed, to slaughter those whose way is honestTheir swords will pierce their own hearts; their bows will be broken.   (Ps. 37:12-15).

The righteous should be patient and trust in the Lord.  Better the poverty of the just than the great wealth of the wicked.  (vv. 16-17).


Notice the contrast between the reward of the righteous and of the wicked.

The LORD watches over the days of the blameless; their heritage lasts forever.
They will not be disgraced when times are hard; in days of famine they will have plenty.
The wicked perish, the enemies of the LORD; Like the beauty of meadows they vanish; like smoke they disappear.
The wicked borrow but do not repay; the just are generous in giving.
For those blessed by the Lord will possess the land, but those accursed will be cut off.  (Ps. 37:18-22)

God promises over and over to help the righteous. Those whose steps are guided by the LORD; whose way God approves, may stumble, but they will never fall, for the LORD holds their hand.
Neither in my youth, nor now in old age have I ever seen the just abandoned or their children begging bread.  The just always lend generously, and their children become a blessing.   (Ps. 37:23-26).

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Johnson's Baby Bedtime Freebie

Inviting all of you to participate in the Johnson's Baby sponsored online promo.  All you have to do is click here or on the Johnson's photo badge that appears on the right sidebar of my blog to take you to a short online survey.  Simply point your mouse to answer the questions, and if you are among the first 100 lucky respondents, then you win for your baby a special gift set from Johnson's Baby.
 

"For over 100 years, Johnson’s Baby has walked with millions of moms through their own journeys and intends to continue doing this for every new mom." 

Johnson’s Baby recognizes that modern Filipino moms are more conscientious in learning more about the best way to nurture and care for their baby that they not only rely on the pediatrician, but they also do their own research on the internet and ask tips and advice from fellow moms as well.

That is why Johnson’s Baby is reaching out to the Filipino moms through mom-bloggers that Filipino moms follow. The company's advocacy to make every night a peaceful slumber for both the mom and the baby. 
 
Johnson’s Baby shares this clinically-proven bedtime routine to help mom give their babies better sleep.   This simple and effective 3-Step routine includes (1) a warm bath, (2) a soothing massage and (3) some quiet time to drift baby off to sleep.
 For more on the Science of Sleep, please visit the Johnson's Baby webpage:  www.babycenter.com.ph/bedtime.

Hurry!  Freebies are limited only to the first 100 to take the survey.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Manila International Book Fair 2010


Bibliophiles all over Manila must be counting the days till September 15, the day when the annual Manila International Book Fair (MIBF) opens its doors to its over eighty thousand book-loving loyalists.  The MIBF is the longest-running, most prestigious and internationally-recognized book event in the Philippines.  The event boasts of showcasing hundreds and thousand of books, magazines, periodicals, journals and other educational materials and equipment by 150 local and foreign exhibitors. 

Everyone in my family looks forward to the MIBF year after year.   For a very good reason, too, as it has proven to be the best place to buy books – from a title on the best-seller’s list to the hard to find elusive trade book;   there is always something for everyone as we browse for hours and hours.  While C and I are raring to search for the numerous titles in our list, the kids are bowled over by the plentiful freebies that some of the exhibitors are generously handing out – even without purchase!  The MIBF is a wonderful place of discovery for my kids – they have found new book series to collect; new titles to devote their time to for a couple of days; and  hopefully, a life long love for reading, too! 

If you plan to take the family (kids in tow!) with you, here are some of the booths that you might want to prioritize: 

WS Pacific – this is one of the booths that is a sure hit with my kids.  They have a wide selection of  children’s storybooks and activity books, all selection at very affordable prices.  A few years back, this is where I did my Christmas shopping for the children of my friends.

Adarna House – I love Adarna’s children’s books.  I love it that they have bilingual texts that allow for Filipino kids to get more proficient with the Filipino language.  If you get there early, they also sell some books with big discounts, but the selections disappear very fast.

Scholastic – The kids are such great fans of Scholastic.  The titles and collections are great.  One of the favorite books I bought from them is “I Love You Forever”  by Robert Munsch.   The booth has a lot of promos and freebies, too.  I remember J getting some Junie B. Jones scrap booking materials and stickers a few years ago; they were so liberal in giving that she was able to get a big bunch to share with her good friends.

National Book Store –  They have one of the biggest, if not the biggest, booth in the exhibit.   However, the off-site branches are also on sale, so if you are running low on time, you can opt to skip this.

OMF Lit-  This bookstore has a lot of Christian/Spiritual titles.  Some of the wonderful books I bought from OMF that have inspired me are:  Power of a Praying Wife and the Power of a Praying Parent, both titles by Stormie Omartian,  If you want to encourage your kids to get acquainted with the Bible, there are a few Bibles for kids sold here, too.  Last year, they gave away an eco-bag for every purchase, as well as a thick stack of bookmarks.



Put on your most comfortable shoes and bring your largest eco-bag!  Be prepared for an afternoon's worth of book shopping ... I'll see you there!

The 31st Manila International Book Fair is happening on Sept.15-19 at the SMX Convention Center, Seashell Drive, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City
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