The Month of the Heart of Winter

the new leaf of January is my Month!

Category Archives: culinary knack



We’ve always celebrated Media Noche grand and bigger compared to Noche Buena, maybe because we never really had a big Noche Buena even way back. We don’t really stay up late on Christmas Eve rather we’re excited to wake up at dawn to check if Santa left something for us.


*our “field trip” going to Divi market 🙂

On December 31st it’s a tradition that we’ll drove to Divi Market amidst the threat of traffic and crowd, we can’t miss that yearly activity of hoarding cheap fruits and veggies and even fireworks from the streets of Juan Luan & Ylaya. We can’t afford the overpriced supermarket tag during this season so it’s really an effort for us to squeeze the city drive to make our New Year Eve’s festive and truly exceptional among other occasions. So, after picking up 13 rounded shape fruits (said to bring good fortune), some more vegetables and chestnuts and doughnuts, we queued at Contis to get our box of cakes and later on to S&R to get some cheese. We found ourselves dining at the nearby McDonald’s before we finally drove home. Well, it was worth the trip because we got everything we need in one pace.









Arriving home was a busier sight; we need everything prepared before the big leap, my sister commissioned the boys to perfect the pork bbq, including our favorite baby back ribs and some giant TJ hotdogs, yes, and they’re giant and not your ordinary jumbo. 😀 The kitchen was busy with two pasta dish being readied; of course the matriarch didn’t miss to cook her signature pancit canton and “palitaw”. We had to set up 2 tables this year because the customary buffet table was loaded with everything, the second table was filled with sweets, wines and cheese and…that distorted Salted Caramel Cake we got from Contis, sayang it was so divine-looking pa naman, nonetheless it tasted really good and we don’t mind getting the same cake again albeit the sad-fate of our cakes every New Year. I think we need a good chiller or probably a bigger travel cooler to avoid this from happening every year. The other cake we got, Black Velvet, made it to our buffet table in perfect form.


The household never sleeps. It’s a directive, at least at our household, that everyone must be up during this occasion. No one gets to sleep in lullaby until the firecrackers and fireworks and horns get into the deep of your ear, loud banging music at the stroke of midnight welcoming the New Year. So even the house helps remained wide and awake and somewhere in limbo because its way their sleeping time. While I remained in high spirit like the past years, excited like a kid to welcome 2015.


The kids, they’re equally excited


…and the dogs, they’re agitated 😦 except for my big B who’s more annoyed of the cracking sound outside while our little pup was clueless of what will happen next.



*Astro’s first of the many NY to come, brace yourself little one! 





Then, 10…9…8…7…6…5…4…3…2…1! Happy 2015! 🙂

We lit fireworks and some firecrackers (?) as we join the multitude chase off the bad luck and hold close whatever good fortune this New Year will bring. We silently wished and prayed for fresh beginnings, continued blessing and closer family ties, good health and a good amount of resources to aid whatever project will set off this year, well, I have more than a truck full of wishes and wants and hopes and every year the list keep coming but seriously, I have to ask for a bigger and better 2015, a different perspective, a career move (?) which I think should set forward this time, and a lot of things new to wash away the old (including new set of clothes, shoes, bags, etc…ssshhh!).


A happy and prosperous 2015 to all!


😛 🙂 😀 ♥



a merry christmas|2014

And so it’s Christmas


We were home in Cavite on Christmas Eve even if the 24th was already a holiday, you know that last minute Christmas rush, the holidays wouldn’t be complete and happy without it anyway. Say that we even managed to have dinner at S&R Macapagal despite the store closing early that night, I feel so Christmas already with clam chowder, so babaw lang! 😀 And for a moment I thought we’d spent Christmas on the road once again because the husband ran out of gas, it’s a lesson learned, never take chances because most gasoline stations closes early on Christmas Eve and I bet it’s the same on New Year’s Eve. Arriving home, we had to rush wrapping some more gifts so it’d be ready in the morning. We forced the kids to sleep early so dear Santa can finally drop off his presents, the bigger kiddo a.k.a. SAM was snooping the entire night. Well, I think she’s at that stage right now where she just needs to believe to old Saint Nicholas so she can get her wish without any tough ordeal.



Like the past Christmases, we need to be up early for the traditional gift opening, well, the kids of course were the star of our Christmas and their huge and expensive gifts.


And what do you know, Santa was extra generous this year because I got a box too, for the first time in many years my Christmas present came just in time for Christmas Day and my smile was ear to ear. 😛


I also got the kids initial gift (?), so I’d expect a grandeur one from the “Mom & Dad”?



Definitely not our Astro Boi…Big Boi or Pompeii? 

And because I became busy during the last few days of work I had so little time to check the mall for the big B’s gift so she ended up helping Ysabel unwrap her huge box. But my big B had her early Christmas gift as early as November –that three new handsome looking pups was more than enough to make her Christmas a merry one.


Margarita Ysabel, our little miss ♥


Gian Paolo, our still baby boy ♥


Samantha Angela Marie, our fine lady ♥

And what is Christmas without showing off the kiddos new collection, I know it’s too lavish these days especially that some kids doesn’t even have a decent tee to wear or totally with nothing on but we’d just like the kids at our house to experience the same thing we did when my sister and I were growing up –new clothes, new shoes, new toys, etc.


I know my parents were a bit spoiler the reason why we never really felt deprived, and tho it may look extravagant and uncalled for to some, well, haters gonna hate and losers gonna lose more. Sorry, but it’s the season of the year to dress up and be merry and make the kids super happy, so, I think splurging quite this one time shouldn’t draw too many questions and raised eyebrows. 🙂


So, I wouldn’t list anymore what the kids got from Santa, everything is lurve, that’s it!


And like the previous years we have visiting cousins and nephews and nieces on Christmas Day.


We had a decent spread to feed guests even tho we didn’t really observe the customary Noche Buena.


Leoncio and I were able to squeeze a late lunch at Mahogany Market on Christmas Day, first-timers to sample what Mahogany is famed for. We had an order of Bulalo and Caldereta, I’ll give a thumbs up for the flavorful Bulalo from Alegre’s Canteen (as recommended by Jewel during her visit to Tagaytay) other than the Caldereta was a far cry of my very own concoction, love your own, hehehe. We didn’t stay really long at Mahogany, we’re actually there to buy B’s “ulam”, our special treat to her for Christmas –beef ribs for a soupy meal at home.





By eve, we drove back to Tagaytay for the annual coffee feast with the maternal. Traffic was heavier and annoying, even the alternate Mahogany Drive was clogged with too many Christmas goers. I was estimating the time because Leoncio had work the following day and seeing the horrible blockage and all was enough for us to make a turn. We’d probably won’t enjoy too because the favorite coffee shop would be jam-packed, seats would be too hard to reserve especially for a bigger group like us, and coffee would be bland and warm. 😦 I assumed we made a good turn because we ended up to another favorite spot in Tagaytay, thank you Bag of Beans for accommodating us and our last minute requests.


We had bottomless brewed coffee, hot mocha, caramel cappuccino, white mocha, pancakes, lasagna, pizza, burger and their signature raisin loaf and shepherd’s pie.




It was indeed a merry night despite our decreasing number every year. One day we’ll celebrate Christmas in complete attendance once again, I’m dearly hoping.


A Merry Christmas still ♥


send-off for the viado’s


Because I grew up with a very close maternal family it makes me very sad everytime someone has to go, not including the early demise of my older folks, it’s a different story you know. My maternal family isn’t that big, average is 2 or 3 siblings for each family, some married cousins also has 2 kids each so you can do a roll call easily and in a quick look you can spot the absentees during gatherings.

At count now, 2 married and one unmarried cousin are now Singapore-based, one is based in Dubai with his family and just recently another one left for Canada with his family as immigrants. I don’t know but the recent send-off was sad, maybe because they’re going away to a far-away land and the chances of seeing them once again might take longer because of resident status issue and the like, say two or three years the minimum, I felt missing them by now especially that Christmas is coming too soon. 😦







A week before the family left we gave them a send-off at their abode, in the midst of clutter because they’re packing and selling all their stuffs that time. It was a simple lunch joined by the maternals and it was like flashback of last year’s dinner –same time, same house, and same faces minus Nanay’s heart attack. It was a bit sickening to remember what happened last year and the sudden commotion that almost took the life of a dear one. Anyhow, the send-off was the like the usual family gathering with food and booze, the mood was happy despite the looming goodbyes on the sideline.


I know occasions wouldn’t be the same without you guys, we would miss you JB because you’re totally the life of the party. But as you step forward and begin another journey we can’t dissent anymore this time. Enjoy the snow pile, embrace the cold winters and be merry until the spring arrives. 🙂


And here’s a toast to a new beginning for your family. Be well, live free and enjoy life to the fullest. Hope you’ll get to start easily a new chapter of your lives to your new home, new job and new friends. Everything awaits you now so hurry up and give your best shot because only a lucky few get to live their dreams and daydreams.


We’re all green-eyed now with your White Christmas! ♥


rigatoni time


Sometimes I think the husband’s erratic work schedule had its own advantage and well, a bit of lessons for me. When he had to work on days I’m off I have no choice but to stay home (most of the time) because I never liked the idea of going out alone. I always find comfort when he is around even if he would just normally stay put in one corner while I’m doing my thing at the mall, except when we’re at the supermarket because he loves to push cart and fill it with his favorite junk food. So everytime I’m left at home mostly on weekends this time, I have no choice but to cook my meals to survive the TV-iPhone-iPad routine. 🙂


I love easy-to-prepare meals because I don’t need to spend so much time in the kitchen and because we’re into pasta these days, I sampled yet another light and delicious dinner to date. Can I add it’s a bit on the healthy side?


Rigatoni with Sausage + Zucchini

4 cups of cooked rigatoni (al dente)
4 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium size Hungarian sausages
1 garlic bulb
1 medium-sized zucchini, sliced into ¼ inch rounds
4 sliced tomatoes (instead of bell pepper)
1/2 cup sliced black olives
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup grated parmesan cheese


  • Cook pasta in a stockpot according to package direction. Drain, return to pot and set aside.
  • In a skillet, heat olive oil, add sausage and cook. Transfer sausage to a plate and set aside
  • In the same pan, sauté garlic and zucchini until starting to brown, halfway add tomatoes and black olives, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add in the reserved sausage then cook until heated through.
  • Pour in the mixture into the stockpot of drained pasta and carefully toss. I suggest use a wooden spoon here. Mix in ½ of the grated parmesan cheese and use the remaining to garnish on top before serving.



Enjoy immediately!

Next time, I’ll try to use some Manila artisan sausages which said to be flavorful and organic (and expensive). Calling sponsors her ye, please. 😀


P.S. Recipe inspiration from


pyj food collage

My maternal family is a bunch of cook, there’s no question to that. We inherited the same passion from the matriarch who passed over the rich taste to her children and later on to us –the “innovative” grandchildren that we are. I have male cousins whose enthusiasm to culinary and degustation is way beyond the limit, meaning their highly dynamic and strong-willed to chase their dreams yet they frolic like kids while pursuing their heart’s desire, and I envy them for that.


A family legacy. My cousin JB foremost is the eldest amongst the male cousins and we’re just a year apart, I’m the eldest grandchild by the way. Way back when we were teens we used to test our culinary skills at their abode and the favorite subject is champorado or chocolate porridge for that part. Then we elevated our cooking a bit and sampled sinigang. I even had several attempts at home doing the same recipe and tho the taste ultimately passed the critics my sinigang always end up too soupy, it looked the one you see on cafeteria. Growing up individually we have mastered some and some remained a miss. JB and his coleslaw, his concoction simply became prominent to family gatherings and it became his trademark later on.


*photo via

Now that we have our own families, we’re matured and all, we dream big and high, cooking remains to be a big part of us that’s why we love family gathering and partying and eating certainly is the most look forward to. And if you’ve been reading this blog religiously you’d probably know by now that I wanted a café, if not soon, well someday. 😛 I wanted something that would create a diverse impression to dining customers, a twist like no other. Hehehe. While my dream remains a dream this day my cousin JB is now reaping the month old success of their food shop. The PYJ Food Collage which they co-owned with Jen’s college besties. The food shop is located at my hometown, a few meters away from the town plaza that’s why it easily became a hit to many. The concept is a bit vague because from pasta and quesadillas and wraps they now serve rice meals. Well, for someone like me who’s very particular with standards, I don’t see it as a good move because it depleted the original Italian-Mexican fusion they’d introduced. But maybe I can’t blame my cousin JB for the switch because as a beginner to the food business he’s after on paying the rentals, utilities, manpower and profit of course. So if in case you’d be passing by Indang, my beloved hometown, pay my cousin’s food shop a visit and let him feed you with some of his bestsellers.


Cheese Quesadillas. This was my first order of business during the opening last June 1. I won’t dare compare it to Army Navy of course, price wise you just get what you pay for.


Pasta Carbonara. My penchant would be biased because I’m not really into white sauce, I tasted it a bit and it tasted okay, it tasted carbonara only that I’d appreciate it better with a good dose bacon and a quality kind of cheese. By the way, the carbonara came with chicken fingers. A real value for your money here.


Tacos. It tasted okay other than its price is a bit steep at P50 considering that my office cafeteria can sells it at P30 only.


Healthy Wraps. There’s no doubt to it that it became the instant bestseller because it’s new for the townsfolk other than it’s an old story for me. Hehehe. Sorry if this does not impress me at all because I’ve been preparing this at home for the longest time, read here, way back even when South Diet was a hit and blue cheese is love. ♥


PYJ Food Collage may have failed to make an impression to me but it was just me okay, there’s too many around town who were wowed and it’s a good hint because I’m all after supporting the business, and I’m equally happy that at least someone from the maternal is starting to steal a scene and make a name in the food business. Way to go JB, impress me on my next visit please. 🙂



PYJ Food Collage
#546 Mabini Street, Indang, Cavite

food pix

Currently obsessing over this app, their too perfect for my food shots.





Whatcha think there? 🙂