Recipe: Oatmeal Peanut Butter Breakfast Balls

It is a cliche already but breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It fires up your metabolism and gets you going for the rest of the day.

However, in the rush of morning chores and preparations to leave for work or school, family members seldom have the time to prepare and eat breakfast. Fortunately, I came across some recipes for Oatmeal Peanut Butter Breakfast Balls on Pinterest that seem easy to prepare in advance over the weekend and just take out and serve for a quick breakfast before leaving the house.

Another lucky break for me is getting a Super Crunchy Peanut Butter among the sampler jars that Fix & Fogg sent for me to try out.

Fix & Fogg is a maker of small batch peanut butter based in Wellington, New Zealand. Its peanut butter variants have just become available in the Philippines, stocked in retail outlets like All Day Supermarkets, Cartel Deli, Earth Origins Marketplace and Power Plant Market, as well as distributed online via websites such as Beauty MNL, Gerald.PH and the Green Grocer.

I tweaked the original recipe: substituting instant for rolled oats, replacing walnuts with some chopped cashew nuts that I bought from Antipolo, using semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of the regular ones and taking out raisins (because I’m not too wild about them).

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup instant oats
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup Fix & Fogg Super Crunchy Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped cashew nuts
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Procedure:

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop up the mixture to form domes. (I had to firmly pat down the mixture into the scoop to get some properly shaped domes. If the mixture is not tightly packed, it will easily crumble once you take it off the scoop.)
  3. Freeze for an hour or until the balls are firm.
  4. Store in airtight resealable bags inside the chiller.
  5. Take out the balls you plan to have for breakfast a few minutes before serving (like while you’re still making your coffee).

Recipe yields 22 breakfast balls. Each ball has approximately 87 calories.

My little boy tried one and he immediately wanted another!

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Disclosure: Fix & Fogg provided product samples for me to review.  Reactions and opinions about the product are my own.

Work-related hang-out at UCC Park Cafe, Glorietta Complex

Whenever I’m Ayala Center and I pass by this free standing resto amidst the park greenery, I always thought of it would be a great place to hang out in after a bout of shopping.

So far, I haven’t been able to just chill here as during both instances I’ve been are work-related.

Still, I have been able to try its sandwich offerings:

  • Grilled Cheese Sandwich (Php280). Three different kinds of cheese (cheddar, gruyere and mozarella) on buttered toast.
  • Cliffhanger Sandwich (Php250). Chicken, bacon, scrambled eggs, mozarella cheese inside fried custard-coated bread.

I didn’t care much for the side of marinara sauce that came with the sandwiches but I found the sandwiches themselves rich and filling.

The Cafe Americano (Php120) gave me a good pick-me-up. The muscovado sugar gave it a different kind of sweetness.

Thanks to my generous workmates, I was able to sample its other dishes:

  • Pasta Carbonara (Php260). Spaghetti noodles in a white sauce with sauteed bacon and onions, topped with a poached egg and parmesan cheese. I found this pasta a little too wet for my taste.
  • Garlic Seafood Pasta (Php450). Spaghetti noodles with shrimp, cuttlefish, mushrooms and scallops sauteed in garlic and olive oil. This seems to be a light and more preferable alternative to heavily sauced pasta dishes.
  • Crispy Wings (Php320). Fried marinated chicken wings served with garlic dip and fries. A bit forgettable but at least I got some more meat to go with my sandwich at the time.

I wouldn’t mind coming back to try out some of its more unusual food items such as its Cheese and Spinach (Php280) appetizer and Pulled Pork Grilled Cheese (Php320).

This UCC branch is located at Glorietta 3 Park, Ayala Center, Makati.

UCC Park Café Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Barkada Meet Up at Pancake House, Ayala Malls the 30th

I had another holiday lunch meet-up with close friends that I haven’t seen for so long at Pancake House.  We agreed on this branch at Ayala Malls the 30th as one of my friends like practically all of Pancake House’s offerings while I, on the other hand, have yet to fully explore the dining options within the mall.

We ordered our hearty meals:

  • Pork Tocino (Php219). Served with garlic rice, fried egg and mango salsa.
  • Hot Roast Beef (Php310). Roast beef slices smothered in Pancake House’s buttery gravy, served on a thick slice of bread accompanied by mashed potatoes and corn and carrots.
  • Special Salisbury Steak (Php265). A thick patty of Salisbury steak with mushroom gravy and bacon bits, served with rice and vegetables.

Since our bill has reached beyond Php800, we were able to get 3 FREE mini pancakes upon presentation of my BDO Rewards Card.  I ordered a Belgian Hot Chocolate (Php130) to enjoy with my pancake.

The restaurant is quite spacious and can seat a large number of people.  The wait staff are also helpful and accommodating: aside from facilitating our orders, the staff gamely took our pictures.

Pancake House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Holiday Get-together with Friends at Denny’s BGC

The holiday season affords friends separated by distance or circumstance with a valid reason to get together and catch up. That is what I recently did with a group of friends composed of current and former coworkers.

Earlier this year, I had my birthday treat at Denny’s Trinoma. For our yearly get-together, we opted for a Denny’s in BGC, our middle ground when you consider that one of us lives near Fairview, Quezon City while another lives in Binan, Laguna.

The restaurant is well-located at Uptown Parade, easily accessible from the carpark. It does not accept reservations during weekends but, when I called the day before, the hostess agreed to put our group in the priority list.

We timed our get-together on the Saturday morning before Christmas Eve, to avoid the traffic from the holiday rush and to enjoy the hearty and filling breakfast fare that Denny’s is known for, such as:

  • Ham and Cheese Omelette (Php395), fluffy, 3-egg omelette with diced ham and melted cheese. I opted for waffles to accompany this dish to have a nice combination of savory and sweet flavors. I also ordered a Hot Chocolate (Php120) to go with my meal.
  • Fit Slam (Php375), scrambled egg whites with fresh spinach and grape tomatoes, served with chicken breast and apple cubes. This was ordered by one of my fitness-conscious companions.
  • All American Slam (Php395), scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese, bacon strips, sausages and hash browns, served with toast.
  • Tenderloin Bistek Tagalog (Php345), tenderloin beef slices marinated and sauteed Bistek Tagalog style (a Pinoy favorite), topped with onion slices and served with 2 eggs sunny side up and a cup of garlic rice. This was ordered by my boss who simply had to have her “kanin” and “malasadong itlog.
  • Loaded Veggie Omelette (Php355), melted cheese omelette with fresh spinach, mushrooms, diced tomatoes, sauteed zucchini and squash, served with toast and hash browns.
  • Sausage and Pepper Skillet (Php395), cheddar cheese, sausage and Schublig mixed with fire-roasted bell peppers and gravy.

We also ordered a Caramel Apple Crisp (Php295), served with a generous dollop of vanilla ice cream and sprinkled with powdered sugar, as our dessert.

We spent over 3 hours chatting and bantering, a great time spent among close and trusted friends.

Denny's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Birthday treat at Denny’s

My boss treated me and my office buddies to lunch at Denny’s in Trinoma for my birthday.

The Denny’s chain is pretty new in the Philippines. It started in 1953 as Danny’s Donuts in Lakewood, California, and renamed to Danny’s Coffee Shops when it changed to a 24-hour operation. It was again renamed to Denny’s Coffee Shops to avoid confusion with another LA resto, Coffee Dan’s. In 1961, its name was shortened to just Denny’s, and it has stayed that way until today. It now has over 1,000 stores in the US and is further branching out to other countries, including Southeast Asia when it opened its first store in the Philippines in 2016 in partnership with the Bistro Group.

We actually chose Denny’s for my birthday treat because one of my buddies has a BFF card that gives him discounts in restos under the Bistro Group Management. Aside from Denny’s these include some of my old favorites such as TGI Fridays and Italianni’s.

Denny’s offerings seem to meld its heritage of American diner classics with Filipino favorites. They are characterized by big portions (so get ready for a caloric overload!), simple but big plating and eggs, eggs and more eggs!

For lunch, we ordered:

  • Moons Over My Hammy (Php375) – a classic ham and scrambled egg sandwich with Swiss and American cheese on toast served with fries
  • Pork Chops and Eggs (Php325) – two pieces of grilled pork chops served with two eggs, mashed potatoes and brown gravy
  • Pork Belly and Eggs (Php325) – grilled pork belly basted with Filipino-style barbecue sauce and served with two eggs garlic rice and a small mixture of finely chopped tomatoes and onions that usually accompany grilled meats

I even got a complimentary goblet of chocolate ice cream with a birthday candle and a lively rendition of the store’s version of the “Happy Birthday” song from the staff.

It surely was a happy birthday lunch for me, made happier with good food and good friends.

This Denny’s branch is located at fourth floor of Trinoma Mall in Quezon City. Zomato users can book their tables online using the Zomato app.

More info available at Denny’s PH website.

Denny's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cozy hangout at Bon Appetea

Prior to his car-club’s outreach activity, Hubby met up with his friends in this free-standing cafe along Marcos Highway.

The place is clean with a minimalist feel to it. There are ample seating for around twenty people.

I ordered a hot chocolate and a PB&J waffle to munch on while Hubby meets up with his mates. It took some time getting to me (I don’t think the lone wait staff is used to a large group showing up on a Saturday morning.

The waffle and hot choco were okay; I won’t be hankering to go back here for the food, but it’s a serviceable place to hang out in.

This branch of Appetea is located at the Shell Gas Station along Marcos Highway, Masinag, Lower Antipolo.
Bon Appetea Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Comforting food and surroundings at Plana’s Pantry

Considering my workplace for the last three years is located so near to Plana’s Pantry, it’s a wonder that I’ve only been able to dine here just last month.

The place has a rustic shabby-chic feel to its decor. Walls and ornately carved furniture were mostly in white highlighted respectively by framed pithy sayings, teal cushions and various bric-a-bracs. It’s interiors were designed to look inviting and cozy.

It’s offerings are mostly comfort food: a mixture of Filipino and American dishes with some pastas thrown in.

When I dined here with my co-workers, we ordered the following:

  • Tapsilog (Php180)
  • Pasta Carbonara (Php220)
  • Hickory BBQ Ribs (Php285) – my order – I found its marinade a bit too sweet but the meat is fork tender
  • Beef Salpicao (Php260)
  • BBQ Pork Belly (Php230)
  • Fresh Dalandan Juice (Php75)
  • Iced Tea (Php60)
  • Hand-crafted Avocado Ice Cream (Php60 for single scoop – I couldn’t pass this up as I love avocado ice cream, especially artisanal ones

The food were reasonably priced, considering the generous servings. I would probably order the Lengua on my next visit (along with another scoop of Avocado Ice Cream!)

Another plus factor for Plana’s Pantry is the Hi-top Supermarket right next door where my officemates bought some chips and sweets before we went back to the office.

This branch of Plana’s Pantry is located at the Hi-Top Supermarket Building, 1650 Quezon Avenue corner Sgt. Esguerra Street, South Triangle, Quezon City. Another branch is located at the Ground Floor, RC Building, 50 Domingo M. Guevarra Street, Highway Hills, Mandaluyong City.

Plana's Pantry Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato