Winning Your Child’s Heart

MOM AND GUM

“Unfortunately, some parents give in to what is easier to do than standing their ground.” – This particular line at the Introduction of “How To Win Your Child’s Heart”  really struck me. I am guilty of this. Often we do yield to our children and choose the more convenient option than what is right just so that we can keep the peaceful and harmonious environment. Who wants a tantrum-throwing kid anyway, right? Anything to hush them especially when in public.

However, we also know that in the long run, our constant giving in to our children does not exactly mean that we love them. We cannot always equate our love to the number of YES we say to them. In fact, it may even reveal the opposite. So how then do we make our children feel loved without having to sacrifice our authoritative position as parents? How do we assert our being parents without being harsh nor bossy? How do we set boundaries and still make sure our kids know we love them? How do we make them follow without pushing them around? How do we make our kids obey out of respect, and not fear?

My church has constantly taught us that parenting is a heart issue. And in my constant search to mold my daughter’s heart, I came across Dr. Ruth Chang’s book – How To Win Your Child’s Heart, where she provided simple guiding principles in rearing emotionally-healthy and self-confident children through an authoritative and loving parental approach. To make these principles easier to remember, she came up with an acrostic: P-Praise, A-Accept, R-Respect, E-Empathize, N-Nurture and T-Train.

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P-PRAISE. “Praise is a necessary ingredient in the development of a healthy self-image.” Parents, especially of exceptionally smart and witty children often tend to forget that their kids are just kids that must be taught a few times before getting things done correctly. The smarter our children, the higher our expectations for them to understand our instructions and to easily pick up what we say. And when they don’t do things right we tend to become like policemen criticizing them for their mistakes. We think that the best way to correct wrong behavior or actions is through pointing out mistakes and criticzing them. Not. “Criticizing is not the best way to promote change.” Children respond more effectively to change through praise, encouragement, good modeling, positive reinforcement and hearing positive feedback from parents – the healthy reassurance that making mistakes is okay and that they are not loved less because of those.

Some parents are apprehensive about overly praising their children. Here are Dr. Chang’s suggestions on WHAT to praise our kids for:

1. Praise your kids for their effort. When they exert effort in doing something, even though the outcome is below your standards, you praise them for working on what they did.

2. Praise them for anything they are doing right. Highlight the good.

3. Praise them for improvements or strengthening in their weak areas. “Instead of criticizing weakness, find improvements to praise and eliminate criticism.”

4. Notice small improvements, not perfection. Humans tend to look for end results and often forget the process of getting there. Children’s efforts and improvements, no matter how small should be recognized and built on.

As to HOW we should praise them:

1. Be specific and concrete. Avoid general “good job” statements. State where they did a good job and how. Specify what in particular you liked. Be detailed.

2. Be sincere. Kids, just like adults, know when you give empty compliments.

3. Avoid “pressure compliments” or statements where future expectations come after praise. When you praise, just praise. Save the “you can do much better next time”  next time; at a different time and context. Otherwise it will sound like yet another criticism to the child.

4. Avoid exaggerations. Just like insincere compliments, your child will know and feel if you are exaggerating.

5. Reward your children. It is nice to give your kids incentives for doing something good. These also affirm your verbal praises.

6. Verbalize and write down your praises through little love notes.

7. Surprise your child with praise when they least expect it. This makes the experience of doing a good job more memorable, not to mention more gratifying and rewarding for the child.

8. Show public affirmation to your child. It feels nice to be recognized in front of other people sometimes.

Parents should focus on praise-worthy things instead of catching trivial mistakes. Remember, we are parents, not policemen.

A- ACCEPT. “Acceptance is the means to show the child that he or she is loved unconditionally.” It is the parents’ duty to help their children feel comfortable and be secure for who and what they are. It is the parents’ job to provide their children with opportunities to help them grow in different areas. Generally, people who are secure and comfortable in who they are are more attractive and draw more people closer to them.

Dr. Chang enumerated barriers to accepting a child unconditionally.

1. Our own dreams and expectations. Sometimes we have unfulfilled dreams that we hope to happen in the lives of our kids. Or we want something badly for them that we tend to dictate their choices and control them as to what they should want because of what we want for them rather than let them course through life and search for what they really want.

2. Our own insecurities and lack of self-acceptance. Admit it or not, sometimes we see what we don’t like in ourselves in our children. And that sure pisses us off. This inevitably affects the way we relate to them. If we want to be good parents, advised Dr. Chang, we must have “an increased self-awareness and continuous personal growth.”

3. Social standards and stereotypes. Sometimes parents are pressured by the accomplishments of other children of the same age as their kids. Consequently pressuring and pushing the child too hard to excel. Let’s face the truth, sometimes we prioritize saving our own face and protecting our image over our children’s feelings and needs.

4. The uniqueness of our children. This applies to being blessed with special children. Parents must look at them the same way God sees them. Beautiful, unique and special in their own right. Despite their condition, parents must still love them unconditionally.

From recognizing what hinders giving children unconditional love, here’s a rundown on HOW to show acceptance:

1. Give each child, one-on-one focused attention. When you have several kids, spending time with each one of them is recommended. More than your usual family get togethers, bonding activities, you will get to know your child more when you spend quality time with each of them.

2. Punish the negative behaviors but do not belittle the child nor threaten. We must learn to give appropriate consequences for their misbehavior without attacking the person, criticizing them or threatening them.

3. Give verbal reassurances of your availability and devotion. Children want to know you are always there for them, and that they have your attention when they need it. This could be shown in as simple as dropping what you’re doing to talk to and attend to them. Avoid saying “I’m busy” as well as the mindless listening when you’re really not. Kids know when you are just pretending to listen.

4. Give positive attention even when they fail you. Children need to be reassured that though they failed to do something , they are not loved less.

5. Acknowledge your child’s unique strengths. It is the parents’ responsibility to provide their kids with opportunities to hone their interests. Be observant. Find out where they are good at and continue building on it, rather than focusing on the weakness and pushing them to excel just because we want them to.

R – RESPECT. “Respect is a basic component of any relationship. Whoever said that respect is only for the elders? Even children need to be respected. And if we want (of course we do want) our children to be respectful individuals, we must be the ones to  teach it to them – we must model respect to them.

More often, it is not what we say that children copy. It is what we do. It is how we act. Even if we try to filter our words, avoid bad words, it is HOW we say things that they pick up. It is our tone, mannerism, verbalization and expression of feelings that they imitate. Although it is important to be careful with what we say, we also have to be equally conscious of the things we don’t verbalize but evidently say through our actions.

The following are the ways to show respect to our kids:

1. By acknowledging their feelings, even if the expression is inappropriate. It is important for our children to know that we hear them out and that we accept how they feel. And of course the reassurance after that they are loved still. Remember, our children are starting to discover the different and wide range of emotions. Allow them to explore these on their own.

2. Avoid comparing your children to others. It is the parents’ responsibility to secure children that they are loved and accepted for the unique individuals that they are. Even if our intention is to teach them, comparing them to others is damaging to the child.

3. Solicit your children’s ideas. Nothing beats the feeling that your feelings, thoughts and suggestions are valued and considered. Give your children the opportunity to participate in family discussion and planning. This makes them feel important and respected despite their tender age. I personally, surprisingly learn and pick up new ideas from my four year-old.

4. Encourage your child’s ability to solve his/her problems. Respect is demonstrated in the way we allow people to make sense of things, solve problems and discern situations at their own pace. Parents tend to think that we always know better and can get things done faster. But it is not the point of child-rearing. YOU may be able to solve the problem but you failed to teach your child the value and skill of problem-solving and conflict management. We should make our children feel that we respect their ability to deal with different situations.

5. Discipline with respect. We are most tested in the most trying times. The same goes with showing respect. It is during difficult times such as those that require discipline that we can powerfully demonstrate how to be respectful. When we are tempted to shout or say hurtful words and yet we don’t.

6. Use courteous words in your daily reactions. The most basic way we teach respect to our children, especially in our culture is through the use of “po” and “opo,” saying their pleases and thank yous. We must say the words we want to hear from our kids.

7. Give them your full attention. Usually when a child does something they normally do not it is because they are seeking your attention. Instead of reacting negatively or showing irritation, why not give your child the attention he/she is yearning for? Take the time out to stop what you are doing if it can wait and turn your attention to your child. Otherwise explain to your child why you have to finish your task at hand. Constant ignoring or “I’m busy” lines may make your children feel unwanted. Respect your child’s need for your full attention

E – EMPATHIZE. “Empathy is the  sensitivity and responsiveness to others.” It is “to feel for that person,” as if you know how they feel. Showing empathy to your child does not just show that you respect their feelings but more importantly that you hear them out, you understand what they feel and why they feel that way. It is important for children to feel that what they feel are important to you, even if you do not agree.

It is quite tricky to practice empathy. But basically, you simply listen and repeat what they say – this is how you acknowledge their feelings. Be careful though to listen without reprimanding or correcting. You just let them talk, let them rant or vent. There is no need yet for you to provide solutions to their small predicament. This is a challenge as parents tend to put on the policeman hat. Suspend your advice for later.

How do we show empathy? Listen attentively. Pay attention to what s/he is saying as well as what she doesn’t say. It is equally important to observe non-verbal cues. Even in this context, it is true that actions speak louder than words. Sometimes what they don’t say speak louder than what they do say.

Listening and really listening to our children and giving them our full attention already make them feel better, without even having to solve their problems. But as parents it is our role to put everything together AFTER our children have fully expressed how they feel. Because they are kids, they may not make perfect sense of what is happening to them. So as guardians it is our role to put the puzzle pieces together so our kids will understand why they feel what they feel.

N – NURTURE. The most basic role of every parent is to nurture the child in every area of their lives. This chapter covers the basics – feeding and teaching your child to eat right and exercise; teaching them how to communicate effectively, letting them play and be kids, exposing them to music and arts and showing them the world through traveling; teaching them basic time management – studying and taking breaks, enrolling them in extra-curricular activities and the list goes on.

As per nurturing the child’s emotional needs, Dr. Chang pointed out 3Ts: Time, Touch & Talk.

TIME – Spend time. Give time. Make time. Be with your kids. They say LOVE for kids is spelled as T-I-M-E. Show your love by giving them time. Be involved in their lives. Invest time in bonding with them.

TOUCH – Physical touch is very important in any relationship. “Appropriate hugging, kissing and touching are necessary for children to mature emotionally.” These gestures make our children feel wanted and loved. Regardless of our child’s age, it is important to “physicalize” our love for them.

TALK – Words build up and bring life. Take the time to talk to your children. Tell them stories of your childhood, tell them about your day, your dreams and plans. Talk to them. Share things with them. More than narrations, pray with them. “Bless your children through words. Convey to them that they are a blessing to you, that they bring a lot of joy to your life.”

Parents also need not forget to nurture the spiritual needs and life of their kids. By being a good example to them. What you do today, your children will become tomorrow. Introduce the Bible to them. The earlier you utilize the Bible as a source of God’s truth, the earlier we can start planting God in their lives.

Parents must also encourage prayer and worship. Singing is one of the ways we make God happy. Introducing this to your child is one way of letting them know that in their own little way, as young as they are they can already please the Lord. Finally, we can develop and deepen the spiritual lives of our children through doing acts of service such as serving in ministry with them or doing charity together to show them the value of sharing, or simply doing immersion activities. It is good to expose our children to the lives and situation of the disadvantaged in order for them to appreciate what they have.

T – TRAIN. “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it. – Proverbs 22:6” The biggest question of parents: How do we train a child? Dr. Chang points out 3 areas: Instruction, Correction and Modeling.

A. Instruction. “Instruction is an ongoing process of helping a child do what is right.” Parents, being the primary authority in the lives of children, must teach them how to behave, how to act, what to do, when to do what. Parents must also set boundaries – the negotiables and non-negotiables; what is accepted and unaccepted behavior. Reminders in instructing children: our instructions must be age-appropriate and clear – they must be given using words that our children, at their age, will understand so they can easily follow. Finally, parents must get children to develop good habits. Proper eating and study habits, proper hygiene; how they carry themselves, rituals before sleeping. Brushing teeth and praying. “Establishing routines and rituals when the children are young can make our lives simpler as they get older.”

B. Correction. “Correction is the means to change a child’s wrong or inappropriate attitude and behavior.” Correction or discipline need not always be in the form of punishment as there are several ways to correct a child’s misbehavior such as:

1. Ignoring wrong behavior and rewarding appropriate behaviour. I have personally tried this. When I ignore my daughter’s wrong behavior, I notice that she discontinues doing it. I was never a believer of giving in to what she wants just to appease her and stop the tantrums. So when she wails to get what she wants, I ignore her. I walk away and don’t look back. She quickly picked up that her misbehaviour has no effect on me and she should therefore stop doing it. In the same way, when I praise and reward her for behaving properly, the good behavior multiplies. Reward comes in the form of praises or tangible gifts or tokens.

2. Using consequences. Pre-determined consequences must be explained clearly to the child. What happens if they do this and that? There must be clear rules and consequences for misbehaviors. Time-outs or face the wall are common consequences.

3. Giving punishment. Although spanking is the first thing that comes to mind, I  personally do not agree nor practice this. I do utilize taking away privileges, activities and food (sweets, especially). Dr. Chang though warns about using the same thing for reward and punishment. Let’s say you use desserts as a reward for good behavior, do not use taking it away as punishment. Because the child will be discouraged to do good deeds. They could be working for that reward only to know that it may also be taken away from them.

How do we effectively use correction? Know what will work best with your child. If you are to take away a privilege, make sure it is something that is important to him/her. Make sure also that the punishment fits the behavior. Discern what is a fair enough punishment for the misbehavior. Control your emotions. You will not be an effective disciplinarian if you are overwhelmed with anger. Be calm before dealing with an emotional child.

Most important point to remember when correcting your child is to reassure after punishment. Explaining why you had to correct their behavior and reassuring them of your love despite their misbehaviour let your children experience unconditional love.

C. Modeling. Whether we like it or not, our children copy what we do. My church’s Senior Pastor, Ptr. Peter Tan-Chi once said “Your children will become who you are today. Whether you like it or not, they don’t do what you say, they do what you do.” Question is: HOW do we become good examples to our kids?

1. Admit our mistakes. To model humility and forgiveness, we must admit when we are wrong. Even though we are the authority, and should most of the time be the RIGHT ones, we can still fall at times. We must be willing to admit our mistakes when we commit them.  We also earn our children’s respect by modelling humility.

2. Impart our values by consistently living by them. It is easy to teach through words. But living them out is in truth more powerful and more successful in teaching the behavior to our kids. What you want them to learn, you must demonstrate and do. What you want them to become, you first be.

To be a parent is to accept your children as unique individuals with unique gifts from God. Our role is to provide them with the environment to realize the persons they are made to be, with the right guidance and wisdom from God.

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Happy 3rd Birthday Baked Bites by ABC!

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September has always been special to me. Not only because it marks the beginning of the BER months, which is my birthday season (I was born on Christmas Day, for those of you who may not know yet). But more importantly because it is the birth month of my baking business. This year, Baked Bites by ABC turns 3! Every year that it turns older, I make sure to recount my humble beginnings, go back to my struggles in September of 2011 and express gratitude to the people and establishments I would say I owe the success of my business to. This time allow me to share with you through this PICSTORY the history and milestones of my business. How it started, where and how it tipped and where it is today. 🙂 Feeling pensive here, yes.

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                                                                       The History of Baked Bites by ABC

My first ever encounter with the oven occurred in December of 2008, after receiving a baking book for my birthday. I have always had this thing for pandesal. The aroma of freshly baked, hot pandesal every morning on the breakfast table… ahhhh who doesn’t love that smell? I grew up having that desire to one day make pandesal from scratch, without really being very intentional about it though. I don’t recall anything baking-related in my childhood. No girl scout or oatmeal cookie baking with Mummy or cousins. Nah, nada of that. But because I wasn’t particularly in good terms with fire on the stove, I tried my hand at baking. Maybe my gift is in baking, not in cooking. Maybe, just maybe….

The first thing I EVER made was a Whole Wheat Greek Honey Walnut Bread, as shown in the photo. It resembles the Whole Wheat Walnut loaf bread of Bread Talk, one of the few places I would gladly work in and for free! You ask how come not pandesal yet? Because the baking book is not Pinoy and the rolls and buns in the recipe are for sure Western in flavor. Anyway, the first attempt was a success! I deem that our first try in anything is always crucial right? As to whether we will continue pursuing or abort the mission.

I was really into bread-making initially. I made cheese loaves, baguettes, french breads, buns, rolls, pizza, pandesal etc. Eventually I gave in to making those dainty, meticulous, princess-like cupcakes, chocolate and fudge brownies, those unassuming yet chunky cookies and lastly, tiered cakes – all just for my own personal satisfaction – from making them from scratch, feeding them to my family and friends and getting raves for them. I was more than happy baking the whole day and giving them all away.

It was in 2011 when I turned this expensive hobby into a lucrative business. That time I was in need of a way to augment what little savings I had left in my bank; iffy about whether or not there was a showbiz career to come back to (I knew I wasn’t some superstar); and agonizing just by the mere thought of being away from Gummy for hours. PS: I was exclusively breastfeeding her too. I just couldn’t be away from her.  SO I PRAYED. At my lowest point, I prayed and asked and begged God to help me find a way, to tell me how to earn without leaving the confines of my home. It didn’t take long before He answered. Because apparently I had been doing what I had to do. One September morning, I woke up and I knew I am to put up a baking business. I had faith and so I took the plunge.

One week later, after doing R&D, planning packaging, costing, designing logo using the powerful cut-and-paste and screenshot keyboard shortcuts (embarrassing to admit I did not pay attention during Photoshop lessons in my CS classes. buko!), I sold my first box of brownies to my Lola’s amiga, Tita Bardot in September 11, 2011.

Before December came, I was already selling brownies, donuts, cookies, food for the gods, everything I could come up with and concoct at Moonleaf Tea Shop Sgt. Esguerra and Raintree Teapresso Blends in White Plains. I have Adrian Adriano, owner of Moonleaf Teashop chains and Tita Roseanne Bulan, owner of Raintree to thank for. They are the first people who took me in and allowed me to have their stores be my testing ground for selling my pastries. Moonleaf and Raintree were actually the breeding ground of my Nutella Rocks! I no longer sell at their stores but I will forever be grateful for the opportunity they gave me and the many more opportunities that opened up for me because of their kindness.

A major milestone, the turning point, The Tipping Point, I would say that really put Nutella Rocks out there is my participation and placing in the 8th Ultimate Taste Test, the event of ourawesomeplanet.com’s Anton Diaz where he, together with partner RJ Ledesma bring foodies and aspiring home chefs and bakers together for a day of exceptional, gastronomical adventure. The concept behind UTT is for foodies to get to know great food finds by home-based chefs and bakers who have no physical stores where they can offer their items to their clientele. And consequently for start-up food entreps to reach out to the market and make their offerings known.

I was fortunate enough to land in the top 10, out of the 40 concessionaires who joined the event. And because I made it to the cut, Anton blogged about my Nutella Rocks extensively. And because of his credibility as a reputable food blogger, his readers really do take his word for his recommendations. The event was in May. The results came out in July. And since then orders had never stopped pouring and Nutella Rocks flooding here and there. Whenever there is an opportunity, most of the time though it is not known to him but I always mention and thank Anton and give credit to UTT for how it helped a small-time baker like me start selling cookies like hotcakes! So when I do meet home-bakers, I pitch the idea of joining UTT. In fact I told the same thing to my brother Clinton with his KISSTACHIO COOKIES and so he and his partner, Kimmy of Sweet Fervier are joining the 3rd Rockwell UTT this coming Saturday! To Anton, his wife Rache and their business partner RJ and the rest of the people behind UTT, I thank you and admire you for the kind of opportunity you offer small-time, no-name businesses to carve their names in the food industry.

Year 2013 was a remarkable year for Baked Bites by ABC. Since I moved back to GMA 7, features on both TV and print came one after another. And because I was also constantly seen on TV (with Temptation of Wife and My Husband’s Lover closely tailing each other), Instagram followers were increasing and thus more people were being exposed to and aware of my baking and selling. But it wasn’t all bed of roses. I had to deal with conflicts and rivalry in the selling floor, geographical issues and other constraints which led me to slowly and one by one bid goodbye to the three branches of Moonleaf I was supplying. It was a year of tests, I guess. On whether I could already stand on my own, with no physical drop off and pick up point other than our QC home.

Come January of 2014, I was seeking God for wisdom on how to expand my business. I wasn’t physically and financially ready to build and maintain a cafe or a mall kiosk, at the least. “Where do I go from here?” – sounds familiar, right? My business was okay, earning, but it was plateauing. I fasted for a week and the answer I got was to expand the business through bringing it to more people through provincial resellers. The map in the photo shows the provinces my Nutella Rocks have reached. I had 15 “angels” – in different areas in Laguna, Cebu, Cavite, Batangas, Bulacan, Davao, Iloilo, Pangasinan. Truthfully speaking, my objective was not just to sell or earn, but as well as to provide jobs to stay-home moms or women looking for additional income.

Sadly though, the provincial market for Nutella Rocks is small and not sustainable. At the beginning it was such a big hit. It was new and everyone was curious. I remember sending out as little as 3,000 to as much as 5,000 Nutella Rocks a week at that time! However the reorder rate was quite poor. And one by one my resellers bid goodbye. It was painful but inevitable. I could not not lay them off. Some had found day jobs, some had to focus on family, some just really didn’t have a market for Nutella Rocks. Just the same, I am grateful to have had the chance to work with and provide for these ladies and their families, and of course to get to know them personally.

And finally, the most recent milestone in the history of Baked Bites by ABC is my acquisition of a motorcycle to do door-to-door delivery, ensuring that I get to keep my promise that my babies are “Freshly baked daily. Delivered from my oven to your homes.” It is June of this year that I was blessed with a driver and rider/delivery man in one. I was afraid to depend on someone else to do the deliveries and purchasing for me. But I know for a fact that I can’t and will never be able to drive a motorcycle. Haha! Business life has been more manageable with Kuya Nonie around. I praise God for blessing me with such an efficient and hardworking runner.

So that’s it. That’s 3 years of my baking career summed up in a Picstory and a thousand words to narrate it. 🙂 I hope I didn’t bore you guys. Just the same thank you for reading this entry, hopefully from beginning to end.

I would also want to thank Ms. Angel Javier and Lendl Fabella of GMA Corporate Communications for arranging a Pocket Presscon for my business last Thursday, September 18, gathering lifestyle editors from various magazines and broadsheets. Thank you to the following who spent their afternoons with me: Raoul Chee Kee of The Philippine Daily Inquirer; Bot Glorioso of The Philippine Star; Michael Delizo of Manila Bulletin, Tessa Mauricio of Manila Times; Isah Red of Manila Standard Today; Dinah Ventura of The Daily Tribune; Gerard Ramos of Business Mirror; Jeff Valisno of Business World; Gie Trillana of Malaya; Bernie Franco of PEP.ph; Luigene Yanoria of Yahoo! and Gabby Libarios of YES! Magazine.

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Just some of the attendees. Wasn’t able to take a complete group photo. UNDYING THANKS TO YOU GUYS AND GIRLS 🙂

And since it’s my third anniversary, I would like to celebrate by giving away 3 boxes of this limited sampler box containing the best of the best amongst my babies.

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                                                                                         WIN ME!

How do you get to win one? Tell me what you believe to be the secret ingredient/s to success. You must answer HERE. Leave your name and email address too. Will choose the winners by Wednesday 🙂 Oh this is only open to readers residing in Metro Manila. The cheesecake cups unfortunately cannot be shipped 😦 Hope you guys understand. GOOD LUCK!

INDOMIE FOR ME & GUMMY

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Only Indomie for me and Gummy!

Last week, Gummy and I were officially launched as the very first endorsers of Indomie Mi Goreng Noodles, a world-renowned noodle brand alongside actor Dino Guevarra and son, Joaquin. This blessing definitely holds a special place in our hearts since it is our first PRODUCT endorsement – and it is IMPORTED!!! Previously, we have endorsed as Mom-and-Daughter Certified Positive and CBN Asia’s Superbook.

As ambassadors it is our duty to properly represent our product. And a big part of doing that effectively is in truly believing in what we are endorsing. How can you make others believe that your product is good if you don’t think it is good, right? So allow me to share with you (in behalf of my daughter and I) why a Mom like no other (Ahem, ahem. Thank you Indomie for this compliment) would choose this noodle like no other. 🙂

Mi Goreng or “Fried Noodles” is more familiarly known to us as pancit canton. We all grew up having this for breakfast with pandesal or baon for recess or even as an after-school meryenda at home. But never did I think it possible to create levelled up noodle dishes from a packed instant noodle!

It is a giveaway that it’s the quality that got us patronizing Indomie. This noodle is like NO OTHER. Yes, it is instant but it still attained that al dente finish to it – something lacking in the local, regular pancit canton we’ve all been accustomed to. It’s perfectly tender and firm at the same time. It has this “bite” to it. And it doesn’t get sloppy or soggy.  And it is because of this superb and stable noodle quality that dressing it up or levelling it up through adding on ingredients such carrots and cabbage and grilled chicken or tuna flakes and fried egg becomes so rightful. Trust me, when you start adding meat and veggies to your Indomie Mi Goreng, nobody will guess that the noodle base you used is instant! You can create a celebratory noodle dish in no more than 15 minutes!

I also love that every pack contains not just three but FIVE sachets inside. The usual trio of oil, soy sauce and flavored powder WITH fried onions and chill sauce! Yes, yes, now there is no need to buy a separate pack of a spicy variant if I too feel like indulging in instant noodles. And since Indomie Mi Goreng is 85 grams per pack, the serving is definitely good for two! Half of it I can prepare as original flavor for Gummy, and the remaining can be made spicy, just the way i like it! Talk about convenience, versatility and getting your money’s worth!

As for those criticizing instant noodles to be detrimental to our health, all we could say is that too much of anything – even a good thing is bad. So as long as you consume things in moderation (one pack of noodles a day is deemed acceptable), you are far from danger. I am very confident and secure that what I am feeding my loved ones is safe because Indomie is FDA approved and is created by Indofood, the number one noodle manufacturer IN THE WORLD.

Need I reiterate some more? WE LOVE INDOMIE! And this is definitely my bet! 🙂 Honored to be endorsing the flavor favored by the world!

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Gummy and Mummy with Gummy and Mummy 🙂 Sorry for the borrowed photo. Official press launch photos to follow. Photo grabbed from pep.ph

Indomie Mi Goreng is available in all leading Supermarkets NATIONWIDE!

THE TRUTH ABOUT “SUGAR-FREE” GOODS: WHAT YOU MUST KNOW BEFORE YOU BUY

For the past months I’ve been creating sugar-free versions of my favorite desserts – pecan tarts, apple pies, walnut brownies, carrot cake and whatnot. I took on the challenge that if I can turn it into sugar-free, I would. This experimentation has been out of sheer desire to:

1. Grant the request of my friends so they can indulge without the guilt. It is ALWAYS my pleasure to bake out of my way to make something I don’t normally create when my loved ones make lambing. I just cannot say no. 🙂 

2. So that the diabetics in my family (primarily my Dad and Wowa) can enjoy desserts without having to worry about their insulin levels shooting up; and 

3. Because I have come to realize that sugar is my number oneDIET DESTROYER and so I am now more conscious about the amount of refined sugar I ingest. (The most heartbreaking part for me was slowly bidding my favorite 3-in-1 coffee goodbye – It has more sugar than coffee! And far too much more calories than plain black coffee. HU HU HU HUUUUU!)

SF COOKIE BARS

                                           Used Isomalt and Coco Sugar and Dates to sweeten these.

SF PIES

                                Sweetened these pies with Maple Syrup, Isomalt and Coco Sugar.

There have also been a number of inquiries on whether I am already offering my sugar-free goods to the public as part of my product line. Truthfully I am still at the experimenting phase, tinkering with the recipes, finding out what ingredient to put more of to compensate for lost moisture, volume etc… and computing its caloric content. No attempts yet of costing. BUT because I sense that there is a strong demand for sugar-free goods, I MIGHT just start selling sugar-free versions of my items SOON.:-) 

However, before I embark on that, I feel the need to enlighten my dear sweet-toothed customers on what a sugar-free baked good REALLY is. Because honestly speaking, most of us have this misconceived notion about sugar-free desserts being COMPLETELY free of sugar.

People tend to think that sugar-free is NOT SWEET. This is not true.

People expect that sugar-free has ZERO sugar in it. Not true also.

People do not know that REAL sugar-free is just USUALLY only REFINED SUGAR-FREE. Various sugar combinations are still used to sweeten the baked good, only really refraining from using refined sugar.

In sugar-free baking, bakers used to run to using Splenda, the most common and most popular sugar-substitute. That was until Coco Sugar and Muscovado and Stevia came into the picture. However, because Splenda is VERY expensive, most of us (yes, including me) use Isomalt Sugar, which is very much like Splenda, only heavier and cheaper. But because of recent findings on the detrimental health effects of Aspartame, the primary ingredient of Splenda, the more natural (less processed and refined) sweeteners surfaced and are now being widely used in most sugar-free goods.

Before you buy something with a Sugar-Free sticker on it, do know that it may be just FREE OF REFINED SUGAR (table sugar) but it is STILL SWEET because of alternative sweeteners used in the mix such as brown sugar, raw sugar, muscovado sugar, palm sugar, coco sugar, isomalt, honey, corn syrup, maple syrup, glucose, molasses, and even Stevia. 

So why do most people veer away from white/refined/table sugar? Because of its high GI or Glycemic Index, the rate at which sugar enters the blood stream, that in turn causes our insulin levels to spike and consequently mess up with our appetite, mood, blood sugar levels, weight-loss efforts and the whole nine yards.

The sugar-substitutes have lower GIs than refined sugar. Meaning the rate at which they are absorbed by the blood is SLOWER. It doesn’t jolt our system. The most blood-sugar friendly sweetener by far is Stevia. A small, single sachet is as sweet as 10 tablespoons of white sugar BUT… wait for it… has the lowest Glycemic Index AND.. BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE… has ZERO calories. Woot! Woot! JACKPOT!

With all that being said, I hope that your sugar-free expectations will be managed and be put in the right perspective. Now that you know, you are freer to choose. 🙂

I AM NUTS FOR YOU!

I love nuts.images-1

I have always LOVED nuts and anything nutty. Walnuts, Macadamias, Almonds, Pecan, Peanuts, roasted, toasted, candied even nutty seeds. I LOVE THEM ALL. The flavor, the texture and that crunchy,  grainy feeling when I bite into and munch on them. Ahhhh….

However, it is only now that I have studied what is in them nuts that’s good for my body, and just how much of them I should take daily. You know they say, too much of a good thing can be a bad thing, right? (I used to eat them like chips or greens in my salad… the mindless, seeming automatic hand to mouth response when I see a jarful in front of me!) So anyway, here’s a rundown of the usual nuts I include in my diet. As well as reasons WHY you must add them to yours too!

 

PECAN

– rich in oleic acid, the same compound found in olives and avocados

– energy-booster

– good for the heart! contains high levels of manganese

 

ALMONDS

– rich in Vitamin E – aids in muscle repair after workout

– brain food – keeps you alert and preserves good memory

– good source of good fat which helps decrease levels of bad cholesterol and thus your risk for heart diseases

– energy booster! contains a good amount of Vitamin B2 that helps convert food into energy

– curbs appetite

– moderates blood sugar levels a.k.a. diabetic-friendly

 

WALNUTS

– help you sleep better due to its melatonin content

– rich in B vitamins that prevent wrinkles, and makes skin glow

– helps ward off dementia

– cancer fighter!

– stress buster!

 

PISTACHIOS

– fights diabetes

– aids in weight management – low calorie, high in good fats, high in protein, zero salt!

– improves digestion – 3 grams of fiber in it is enough to take you to the bathroom

– improves blood and oxygen circulation in the body

– brain food

– balances hormones (women, this is good for us!)

– ups the immune system

– good for the eyes

– improves iron absorption (good for anemics like me)

– contains the highest amount of protein – 6g of protein for every 30-gram serving BUT contains the lowest amount of fat

 

Nuts may be minute in size but they are packed with protein, not to mention calories! Nuts are generally rich in fiber, making you feel full, so you eat less; high in protein, omega 3 fatty -acids and antioxidants that lower bad cholesterol. They also contain a hefty amount of calories and fat. And although 80% of this is good fat, it is still FAT. Therefore, nut consumption must be moderate and limited. I usually add a few pieces to my morning yogurt mix, sprinkle onto my salad, or consume an assortment as my midday snack. Here is a 200-calorie nut mix I made. A serving is an ounce or roughly 30 grams. Since I have 4 kinds, I limited the serving size per type to a quarter (8grams per nut).

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200-calorie Nut Mix: 8 Almonds, 5 Pecans, 4 Walnuts, 15 Pistachios.

 

With all the health benefits from these nuts, won’t you include them in your daily diet? Need I say more why I am nuts for nuts? 🙂

TRIVIA: The Peanut, which is the most common nut we know is not actually a nut. It is a member of the legume family. Picture the peanut in its raw pod. More like beans than nuts, right? 🙂

SUPER BREKKY

You may have noticed that for sometime I’ve been putting chia seeds on practically most of my food. From breakfast yogurt, to my omelette to even my entrees. And recently, I’ve added hemp hearts and sunflower seeds and dried fruits as well. I’d be honest to say that I didn’t really know much about these seeds prior to buying them. Embarrassing as it may be, I will admit that I did jump on the bandwagon. All the “superfoods” and “food-as-medicine” posts online are so encouraging and inviting.

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                                                             My daily power breakfast

I guess there’s nothing to lose, (nor weight to gain) for adding these to my diet. So here’s my attempt at understanding what’s in every seed and kernel:

Hemp Hearts – One of the densest sources of plant protein. Helps curb hunger. Also rich in Omega 3, Iron, Vitamin E and Fiber. Provides long-lasting energy.

Chia seeds – Rich in Omega 3 and Fiber. Slows down digestion and prevents sugar spikes (combats diabetes). Strengthens teeth and bones. Zero cholesterol. Fights belly fat. Regulates appetite. Improves mood and sleep.

Sunflower seeds – Contains selenium that fights cancer, Magnesium and Copper to strengthen bones, Vitamin E that alleviates arthritis, Magnesium’s calming effect. Loaded with antioxidants, making skin look youthful. Prevents bad cholesterol from sticking to arteries, thus preventing heart attacks.

I also make sure to add some dried fruits to my breakfast yogurt.

Cranberries – Prevents UTI. Low in calories. Low to Zero Fat. Good source of Fiber.

Dates – Relieves constipation. Good for muscle development. Perfect dietary supplement for anemic individuals. Increases energy and strength. Reduces seasonal allergies. High in natural sugars = energy booster. Lowers night blindness.

The base of my power brekky is GREEK YOGURT. Why this kind of yogurt? Because it contains 30% protein, double the amount found in regular and flavoured yogurt. Definitely good for muscle accretion and weight control. Keeps you full longer. Has good bacteria. Zero fat and cholesterol.

Happy, Healthy, Full Tummy!

#ChefBite is a Cooking Mommah!

So I have been kitchen cray cray lately, but this time not over baking Nutella Rocks. I have been busy MAKING FOOD. FOOD as in ULAM 🙂 Hay kilig. Finally, I could make something savory on a stove and not in the oven; little by little befriending fire 🙂 I will attribute this newly found passion for cooking to the new show I am part of – Idol sa Kusina, where Chef Boy Logro and I cook at least 20 dishes every taping day! It is so inspiring and empowering whenever I assist and cook in the show. The fact that it is an actual demo gives me the confidence that I can actually do the cooking at home too! And I have been using the same recipes, experimenting and tinkering with them along the way. If you follow me on Instagram, you would know just how ecstatic I am every time I cook. It gives me this HIGH and feeling of FULLNESS whenever I cook. Trivia: I only taste what I cook, I don’t really get to eat them. Do you get the difference? I get stuffed just by tasting. And really, just seeing my loved ones devour them is already very filling to me. BUSOG NA KO. 🙂

 

Anyway, I am sharing recipes of the dishes we have cooked in the show, some from my playful imagination or a mere recreation of what I’ve seen in food shows or eaten in restaurants. I am hoping that through these downloadable recipe cards, I will encourage people to be more involved in spreading love through food.

 

Without further ado, here they are my friends! More kitchen experiments to come! Hope you give these a try! Do not be afraid to experiment and fail once in a while.

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Much love,

#ChefBite