Food · Mrs. Monologues

Pandan Chicken

Here is my take on the Pandan Chicken recipe that I found over at Panlasang Pinoy. I followed everything to the letter except I used water instead of fish sauce. Also, instead of ordinary soy sauce and oyster sauce, we use the low sodium versions. I read somewhere that the recommended sodium intake should be around 1500 mg only. However, most people in the US, take in double that amount everyday. Not sure if the same is the case in the Philippines. Just to be safe, I stopped buying salt and patis (fish sauce). Did you know that one tablespoon ( or was it one teaspoon) of fish sauce contains 1500 mg of sodium?! Ordinary soy sauce has about 800 mg of sodium. Low sodium versions cut back on salt by 50%.

Anyhoot, here is the recipe that made my kitchen smell so good

Chicken thigh fillets
Pandan leaves
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons low-sodium oyster sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon calamansi juice
1 thumb size ginger, minced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced Continue reading “Pandan Chicken”

Memoirs of a Mummy


Halu! How are you? Me? I am not fine. Thank you. Our social calendar has been full. This weekend alone, I attended one parent teacher orientation, 2 parties and one Father’s Day lunch. The trip to this new playground and a get-together with my dormates were rescheduled. I know I should be thankful for having family and friends but I wish I have more time to sleep, watch Game of the Thrones and blog.  Work has been crazy. I have been going home late lately. What is worse I am so stressed to the point that when I get home, I still can’t stop thinking of the things I was not able to do. Aki has also been crankier than usual. It all started when he got sick last last Friday. I was ready to leave for work. I was dressed already. Aki was still sleeping then so I did not wake him up to say good-bye. I was checking out my eggplant plants before I head for the gate. Then, Aki woke up crying and feverish. He asked me to stay and not to go to the office. That was what I did. I stayed with him because I needed me. Thank God for understanding bosses and dependable officemate. However, that Friday morning gave Aki the impression that if he asks me hard enough, I will not go to work which makes our morning goodbyes harder for both of us.

Anyhoot hoot. Sorry for sharing  negative vibes on a Monday morning. Life is great and I really should be thankful.

Last last Saturday morning, I was laptop-ing on the bed while Aki was minding his own business on the floor. I was happy to have that short me-time since I was so tired from taking care of my sick boy the day before. Hearing “cooking cooking” got my attention. Here is what he was up to…

Continue reading “Concoction”

Akisms · Memoirs of a Mummy

Yesterday Morning’s Heartbreak

I was about to leave for work. I knew it was gonna be difficult to leave because Aki woke up cranky again.


Me: I am going now, Aki.

Aki: (Crying) No, Mommy. No going now. (Then hugs my legs) No going now fiiis (translate: please). House pey (translate:play) lang.



Musings of Madam-wannabee · Personal Finance

Nine Things I Learned from our Financial Adviser

In line with our 2012 Wealth Management New Year’s resolution, we met with a financial planner last January. Yes, I know this post is almost half a year delayed. I wanted to make sure that I have closed all our assignments before I share my learnings.

So who is Efren Cruz? Efren is the national best selling author of “Pwede Na! The Complete Pinoy Guide to Personal Finance” and “Pwede Na! The Complete Pinoy Guide to Retirement and Estate Planning”. He is a contributor for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, and MoneySense Magazine. Experience-wise, he is backed with more than 25 years, working for insurance and mutual fund companies as well as for banks. Now, he is the chairman & CEO of the Personal Finance Advisers Philippines Corp.

So why did we meet with a financial adviser? I want to think that Franco and I spend our money wisely but in terms of knowing of how to strategically manage and grow our hard earned cash, we needed help. A lot of people, mostly insurance agents, call themselves financial advisers. However, since they are representing certain products, I wanted to delay meeting them until we have a game plan.

So what happens when you consult an independent financial planner? The first meeting is mostly information gathering for Efren. He wanted to know how are we at managing our finances. It is good that I already prepared a statement of assets and liabilities and a summary of our expenses. These were not required but were very helpful in getting the ball rolling.  Efren wanted to know what our financial goals are. Honestly, we knew what were our goals but how much and when, we only learned during our meeting. Because I prepared a two page list of questions, the first meeting was actually spent doing Q&As. On the second meeting, Efren presented to us a report. The report has 4 key areas: cash management, debt management, risk management and wealth management. If you would like to know the cost of the consultation, I can send the information to you thru a personal message. Please leave a comment or send a message thru the contact page if you would like to know. Let me tell you, it is not as expensive as you think. It is a small amount to pay for information that will help you for a lifetime.

What we learned:
1) Since we are full time employees, it would be wise to let the expert fund managers grow our money. Efren stressed that we do not need the additional and unnecessary stress. Prior that meeting, I was somewhat curious about stocks. Efren made me realize how stressful the stock market is. By getting pooled funds like mutual funds, UITF’s and VUL’s, I am letting the fund managers, the experts,  handle the buying, selling, monitoring, and stress of the stock market for me.

2) It is best to get insurance with pure protection and investments separately. Variable Unit Linked insurance policies offer both insurance and investments but for a higher administrative cost.

3) Not everyone needs and is fit to go into business. Reading Colayco’s Pera Mo, Palaguin Mo, left me feeling pressured to have a business. Work is stressful enough. I don’t have time to comment on my favorite blogs. I wish I have more time with my family. What in the world will I do if my one and only lotto franchise employee goes on AWOL?

4) To know if an investment vehicle is right for you, you have to determine your financial goals first.

5) Emergency fund should be equal to at least 3 months of one’s monthly expenses for employees. This was a major wake up call for us. All this time, we thought the EF should be at least 6 months the monthly salary. Three months is good. More months would be better but one should consider that by over protecting, we are limiting our potential for growth.

6) It is possible to retire at 50 but you have to start planning ASAP. I thought early retirement is an option only for people who are already rich in the first place.
Continue reading “Nine Things I Learned from our Financial Adviser”

Memoirs of a Mummy

Less Structure and Toys = More Imagination and Creativity

If you’ve been reading my blog, you probably noticed that we don’t have as many learning activities as we used to. That is because Aki comes up with his own games. The less structured our activities are, the more imaginative he gets. The fewer the toys, the more his creative juices flow. 

Fide, Pol, Tlee, Too, Nan!
Blast Off!
The Koh (The Claw)
Improvised Tube Game using an empty Yakult bottle, pieces of chalk and his disassembles football goal
Jake from Disney’s Jake and the Neverland Pirates

Continue reading “Less Structure and Toys = More Imagination and Creativity”

Memoirs of a Mummy · Playdates

Playdate with Pophie and Bella

A couple of weekends ago, Aki and I were in Royal Palms for a playdate with Pophie and Bella.

One thing I learned about the playdate, is that I need to teach ki how to play more gently with girls. Yikes! Sophie did not understand why Aki was so unruly but soon learned the mechanics of the game.

This is Sophie’s lovely room.Even with all the mess, it still looks dainty, right?

Sieggy prepared lunch for us. I have been stalking Sieggy’s blogs since 2008. Somehow, I feel like I know everything about her. Well I was wrong. Not only does she like to cook, she is very OC, waking up in the middle of the night to check if the bathroom is clean. Haha. I clearly remember the first time I met her. I was starstruck. We used to go to the same old pedia  in Medical City ( We are both dra Saulog fans, now). After hours of watching her from afar, I finally mustered enough courage to talk to her. I said something like this ” Hi. ummm. I am Maqui…(awkward pause). I read your blogs (she was giving me a forced smile).. ummm.. We exchanged emails about the cost of giving birth here in TMC”. Finally, she remembered who I was. Relief! We have been online friends since.

And there’s Imee. Imee and I go all the way back in 2008, too. I met her and her husband Mike in a pre wedding  seminar. We later found out that one of my closest friends from work happens to be Mike’s barkada from high school. We attended pre cana and childbirth seminars together. From planning our weddings, we moved on to plannign our kid’s first birthdays. And now, we both going thru the tantrum and picky eating stage together! haha Continue reading “Playdate with Pophie and Bella”

Food · Mrs. Monologues

Fish en Papillote {Fish in Parchment Paper}

Don’t be fooled by fancy shmancy name. This is one of  the easiest fish recipes ever!  Just put the fish, the veggies and whatever flavors you want to add in the parchment paper. Crimp the edges and bake.  The possibilities are endless! You can also use aluminum foil if you run out of parchment paper.

Here are two fish en papillote recipes that I adapted from my South Beach book and from one of my Martha magazines.

In a bowl, mix the following together.

1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon sesame oil (let me confirm if I used one tablespoon or one teaspoon)
1 teaspoon soy sauce

Fold a 2 foot long parchment paper in the middle. Place half of a fish fillet on one side. Add the Asian sauce mixture. Top with sliced mushrooms and young corn. Fold away.


For the second fish, I put the asparagus first, then the fish. I poured the juice of one calamansi and then added half of a small onion and half of a red bell pepper. Lastly, I topped  the fish with a teaspoon of butter and dried thyme.

When it comes to folding the parchment paper, the more and the sharper the creases are, the better. The idea is to let the fish cook in its own liquid and steam while infusing flavors.

Bake for 15 minutes. In my SB book, the fish are microwaved on high power for 6 minutes.

What I liked about this cooking technique is that I was able to cook two dishes with very different flavors simultaneously.

After 15 minutes, here is my Teriyaki-ish Fish en Papillote. Yum yum yum. Continue reading “Fish en Papillote {Fish in Parchment Paper}”

Gardening · Mrs. Monologues · Personal Finance

Farming in the City

I have a new hobby! In addition to being a mom, wife, menu planner, party organizer, craft enthusiast, sister, daughter, recruiter, aunt, wealth builder, playdate scheduler, Booksale loyalist, now, I am also an urban gardener . 

I have always been interested in gardening but it is only lately that I decided I want to concentrate on growing our own food. No more crafts or any decorative project for me for now because I will channel my time, energy and resources all to gardening.

These are what I have been reading

And these are what I have been collecting. If you have bottles and cans, let me know! I particularly need empty 6-liter mineral water bottles.

If you are a resident of Los Banos, you are in the best city to get into gardening. Our municipal hall buys seeds from farmers and gives them out for free. My mom said, she also got a sack and a half of compost for free! Good job, Mayor Genuino! I hope more Elbi residents would learn about your seed dispersal project.

Goodbye ornamentals, hello vegetables. I like the idea of having my own herb garden but the truth is, we don’t use a lot of herbs when we cook. No more marjoram, sage and vietnam mint for now. Instead, I want to grow my own kinchay, green onions and kangkong. These are the okra, eggplant, tomato and squash that we planted a few weeks ago. They are big now. The squash plant is almost as tall as I am.  Continue reading “Farming in the City”