Monday, December 23, 2013

The One About Maple

Aaaaaaaaannnnddd the breakfast adventures continue!  :)  This is actually a late post as I had totally forgotten to blog about our dinner at Maple restaurant.  Maple restaurant, located in San Antonio Plaza and Shangri-La Plaza Mall, is the high-end all-day breakfast restaurant of the Pancake House group.  Once we learned about the new restaurant, we knew right away that we just had to dine there.  It was like the restaurant was built for people like us who love breakfast food but are looking for innovative recipes and imaginative breakfast menus.

 The place was almost packed on a Tuesday night.

 The restaurant offers the signature Pancake House fluffy pancakes but I really wanted something that I had never seen in a breakfast menu before so I opted to try the Chilean Mussels.

 I thanked my lucky stars that night for my choice!  It was soooo good!  Fresh Chilean mussels cooked in premium beer and saffron sauce.  I tasted white wine as well and it was heaven in my mouth.  It was served with large slices of crostini.

I downed all (yes, all!) the mussels with their yummy and refreshing Country Iced Tea.

Hon-some is a tapa lover so naturally, his taste buds gravitated toward the Prime Rib Tapa.  A marinated prime rib that rests on garlic rice and two eggs with tomato-onion salsa and atchara.  He's very particular about tapa marinades and this one was right on the mark.  The serving was good for two but telling us that would get you a good slap on your face.  Haha!

After our meal, I arrived at the following conclusions:

1.  Brinner (breakfast for dinner) rocks.  Really rocks.
2.  Breakfast food may be the easiest to prepare of all meals but not everyone gets it right.  Maple does.  Big time!
3.  A weeknight dinner date is so much more fun than one in a weekend.  :)

Here's to happy tummies!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wednesday Nugget

I have to keep reminding myself this as I succumb to the holiday stress. :)

Happy midweek!  Lovelies, amidst the stress, don't forget to do something wonderful for yourselves.  :)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Weekend Tidbits

Spent Saturday evening at Shangri-La Mall and caught the holiday showcase of the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra under the conductorship of Gerard Salonga.  We were one floor above but were lucky enough to score seats.  Magical evening. :)

Have a great week ahead, lovelies. :)

Friday, December 13, 2013

The One About the Parol

My co-teacher's recent trip to downtown Manila led to a serendipitous craft moment...

We -- including me -- all learned how to make a parol!  An almost-lost heritage craft, in my opinion, but I'm very thankful to have learned it nonetheless.  They have been bringing cheers to our classroom. :)

Happy crafting!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Wednesday Nugget

...through the last few days of school, that is!  Hahaha!  I can hardly wait for the holiday break! :)

Happy midweek! :)

Monday, December 9, 2013

The One About the TSM Class

Last November 12th, I held a washi tape crafts class for Trade School Manila at the Midnight Owl Snack Cafe in Teacher's Village, QC.  It was a small class but I still made sure that it was loaded with opportunities for the students to let their creative juices flow.  I also made it a point to provide crafts that made relatively new purposes for washi tapes aside from simply sticking it onto notebooks or cellphones.

 My students at work

 I taught them two ways to use washi tapes for giftwrapping considering the holidays were upon us.  We made washi tape bows!


 Washi gift wrap #2!

We also made washi tape pendants. :)

Since Trade School Manila operates using the barter trade system, instead of receiving cash, I got barter items in exchange for the crafty knowledge that I imparted to the participants.  I received MRT stored value cards, calligraphy inks, teas, and a few small surprises too.

I prepared a lot for this class and now that it's over, I'm devoting the rest of December to my personal craft projects and I have never felt more serene and calm as far as crafting is concerned.  I now have regular dates with my sewing machine (Hon-some watches me with an amused look on his face every time I - as he puts it - "unbox my toy.") and I can't wait to pick up my knitting needles again soon.  

Before I go, class picture muna!

Happy crafting! :)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Wednesday Nugget

Today, this has made my heart sing...

Photo from here.

Happy midweek!  Create a life you love! :)

Monday, December 2, 2013

Weekend Tidbits: Breakfast and Lights

I had been looking forward to the opening of a new breakfast place in Maginhawa Street.  Days before the official (soft) opening, I had already placed reservations for two (talk about being excited!!!).  Last Saturday, Hon-some and I woke up early to enjoy our favorite meal of the day at The Breakfast Table.

We were charmed by the lovely rustic country interiors done in a palette of blue, beige, and white.  We also loved the small details like the shovel and bucket lighting fixtures and placemats made from old denims with the back pocket used for tucking in the cutlery.

Here's how breakfast works at The Breakfast Table.  On weekdays, they offer their a la carte menu.  Since we visited on a weekend, we were able to avail of their breakfast buffet which was done rodizio-style.  Taking inspiration from Brazilians, waiters at The Breakfast Table will keep serving you food until you signal them to stop.

"Keep this side up to signify that our waiters will continue to serve you your breakfast."

"Having this side up means you are done with your breakfast."

 And here's the breakfast parade that made our tummies happy:  an appetizer of bread chips and kesong puti...

My messy plate with all the breakfast fare:  three kinds of longganiza (Batutay, Recado, Tuguegarao), ensaladang itlog na maalat and kamatis, danggit.

Glorious garlic rice

Choco banana bread

 I washed all the food down with their taho shake.  A must-try!!!

Eating at The Breakfast Table was a pleasurable experience.  The ambiance is wonderful, the food is really good especially if you are craving good ol' Filipino fare, and the waiters are attentive and they really know the food they are serving.  :)  Can't wait to go back.  I hear their a la carte menu is just as good. 

And just to show that I did not just gorge all weekend, we went to see the lights at Ayala Triangle Gardens.  The best one yet in all these years, in our opinion. :)

The weekend that was. :)

Friday, November 29, 2013

The One When We Went Italiano!

I love getting crafty in the kitchen...and so does my waist. :)  I love Italian food and Hon-some and I manage to have pasta night at least once a week (yes, and another night as brinner night!).  Several weeks ago, I was feeling more Italian than usual (hehehe!) and I whipped up this meal...

Sausage and Peppers Sandwich and Minestrone

It's easy peasy!

Sausage and Peppers Sandwich:

1.  Saute onions and garlic in olive oil.
2.  Add the sliced Italian sausages.
3.  Add the sliced bell pepper.
4.  Season with salt and pepper.
5.  Slice a ciabatta bread into two halves.  I just used regular hotdog buns, though.  Butter and toast the bread halves.
6.  Spread mustard on the bread and pile on the sausage and peppers!


1.  Saute onions and garlic in butter.  Add diced carrots, diced potatoes, and sliced celery.  Allow vegetables to sweat for 10 minutes.
2.  Add a can (or two) of crushed tomatoes.  If you want a chunky soup, you can use whole tomatoes.
3.  Add fresh basil and parsley.
4.  Pour in chicken stock.  Season with salt and pepper.
5.  Bring to a boil then simmer until vegetables are soft and tender.
6.  In some recipes, the shell pasta must be cooked in a separate pot and then added to the soup.  I have found that it's okay to add uncooked shell pasta straight to the soup once it is boiling.  The pasta cooks as the vegetables soften.  You know what, any kind of pasta can be used like macaroni.  I even add leftover spaghetti that I cut into small strips.
7.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve while it's hot.

Buon appetito!!!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wednesday Nugget

Things will fall into place eventually.
Happy midweek!

Friday, November 22, 2013

The One Who's Instagramming

It took me a while but I finally caught on.  Wicked Crafts is now on Instagram and now that I'm finding it to be so absorbing, I'm thinking why it took me so long to have an account.  :)  Still, I'm part of the that virtual space now and I'll be posting all things crafty and things that inspire creativity and good, hearty living.

Won't you follow me? :)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The One That's in the Oven

We don't celebrate Halloween.  I actually think it's a pointless celebration.  But still, who can resist getting all dressed up or at least seeing all those children in creative and lovely costumes?

For the past years, I have been making Halloween giveaways.  You can read about them here and here.  This year, I made these beauties...

I am quite proud to say that my chocolate cupcake recipe is the moistest ever!  You can tell from the sheen that peeks under all the frosting.  Plus, it's not too sweet!

As if my cupcakes weren't dressed up enough, I got these patterns for a retro style oven cupcake box.

Now all it needs is for its yummy chocolate-y scent to waft through the room from the oven window!

You can also get the cupcake box here.  Happy crafting! :)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Weekend Tidbits: GK Enchanted Farm

Last Saturday, my parents, a cousin, and my nieces travelled to Angat, Bulacan to visit the Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm.  For the past month, my mom and I were dying to go and we finally got to do it.

For those who did not know such a place existed, here’s a description of the place from GK Enchanted Farm’s FB page:

"Named after the place of its origin, Bulacan’s Barangay Encanto—which connotes images of the supernatural and magical in Filipino—the Enchanted Farm is the canvas for Gawad Kalinga’s second phase of the 2024 road map to end poverty in the Philippines. Once idle and unproductive, the area is being transformed into a landscape of vast potential that will sustain communities for generations to come. The first of 24 CSI sites around the Philippines, The Enchanted Farm in Bulacan follows a template that fuses three different concepts. 

First is a Village University for sustainable community development where classrooms are connected to communities. An ideal site for any university student, the Enchanted Farm will expose students on how to start social enterprises and communities from the ground-up attracting students from all sorts of disciplines. Young children will come to the farm to learn and appreciate the growth of plant and animal life through explorer parties and camps. Residents of the GK village will be exposed to social entrepreneurship that can open a world of opportunities locally and globally.

The second component of The Enchanted Farm is a Silicon Valley for social entrepreneurship where young entrepreneurs are provided a supportive business ecosystem and an enabling environment to help them launch Filipino brands. Fifty of the most innovative social enterprises in the Philippines will not only be conveniently located on the Enchanted Farm to showcase their brands, but will also share in the resources of the farm and facilities.

The third component is a Disneyland for social tourism in which visitors from other parts of the Philippines and abroad can get a first-hand experience of the Gawad Kalinga community, and gain insight to the social problems that face millions of Filipinos. Through the magical stories of the Enchanted Farm, enchanting not only through stories of fairy tales of duwendes (Filipino for elf) but also real life experiences, tourists can see how dreams can become a reality in a nation where its people were once provoked to find solutions and greener pastures elsewhere.

Setting the tone for innovation and possibility in the Philippines, The Enchanted Farm is a development that will forever change the future of a nation consistently promised a better tomorrow but perpetually waiting for that day to come. A new dawn has arrived and it will continue to take shape in Barangay Encanto, at The Enchanted Farm."

The tour package included a tour of the farm, social enterprise demonstrations, and a buffet lunch.  The Farm currently houses a community of 50 families, most of whom work in the farm, and they also welcome interns.  The day we were there, there were business students from France and the UK who were completing their 3-6-month internships.

Aaaahhhh....the farm life!

 Our group was bundled with two more groups for the tour.  Ever since the farm was featured on Kris TV, they have been receiving guests everyday.  We were shown around the Hyundai Center for Green Innovation, Tita Cory's Garden, and the Multi-Purpose Hall as well as the homes of the Gawad Kalinga community members.

One thing we especially took note of were the light fixtures.  They were stapled plastic cups around a LED light. 

 We then proceeded to the Dairy Hut for a cheese-making demonstration.

 But even before the demo started, we were already drooling over this basil-flavored puto with ube and kesong puti which the farm produces too.

Goes well with their Bayani Brew -- lemongrass and pandan tea!  Real tea!

 That's my niece making kesong puti!

Lunch was served at the Grassroots Kitchen. I was super famished that I forgot to take photos but the spread included chicken curry with peanut sauce, sauteed green beans (it was the best!), sauteed squash, fried bangusm and camote tops.  Dessert included were bananas and pineapples.

 After lunch, we proceeded to another social enterprise -- Golden Duck.  Seeing how unhealthy salted eggs are made in the country (artificially red and too salty), the farm decided to produce their own salted eggs.

Instead of color red, they dye their eggs using turmeric; hence, the golden yellow color.  And we all know how healthy turmeric is. :)

 Next stop!  Plush and Play!  Perfect for a budding soft toymaker like me!

 All these fruit and vegetable plushies (named after celebrities like Anne Kamatis, Buco Martin, Sili Crawford, Jessica Saging) were handmade by the women of the community.

 My nieces stuffing a banana. :)

 Their Karpentoys are made from bamboo which are also grown in the farm. 

Just before the tour ended, we took a whiff of fresh farm air at the Bamboo Palace and stocked up on farm goodies to take home.  GK Enchanted Farm admits a lot of work still needs to be done at the place but what they already have is enough for curious folks like me to be introduced to social entrepreneurship.  If you love the farm life (you know me and my love affair with the provincial life!) or if you want to know more about setting up your own social enterprise or if you simply have kids whom you want to veer away from their iPads and gadgets, head over to the farm.  Like, right now. :)