Have a box of good cheer with MDJ Cookies

It’s been three-and-a-half months since our seemingly well-ordered life has been upended by the community quarantine and I won’t be surprised if we don’t find ourselves a little out of sorts with the world every once in a while.

You know what comforts me when the doldrums come?

A little bit (or a lot!) of something sweet – like a cookie! – can get me right back into a cheerier mood. It’s not just about the rush of sugar in bloodstream. It’s more about the comfort and warmth that emanates from a piece of well-made cookie.

This morning, just as I was about to take a well-deserved break from working with multiple gadgets open and heated discussions scrolling up my screens, a box bearing my name (well, IG handle actually) arrived from MDJ Cookies.

MDJ Cookies

Talk about a welcome sight!

MDJ Cookies (from owner Martine De Jesus’ name) is a tribute to her mom’s baking prowess. Using her mom’s recipes, Martine gets to spread little packets of good cheer through her cookies. As she puts it: her cookies feel like a warm hug you can eat!

MDJ Cookies

MDJ Cookies

As soon as I opened the box, the smell of freshly baked cookies wafted to my nostrils and made me think of my own Sunday baking sessions with my mom when I was a little girl. Oh, such happy memories!

MDJ Cookies

MDJ Cookies

And guess what: the box’s cookie contents are no less cheery. Check them out!

Salted Brown Butter Chocolate Chip (Php30/pc | Php190/6pcs | Php370/12pcs). The good ‘ole chocolate chip cookie gets an upgrade with use of brown butter and a bit of salt.

MDJ Cookies

MDJ Cookies

Birthday Cake (Php35/pc | Php220/6pcs | Php430/12pcs). There’s something so festive about this cookie… Is it the colorful sprinkles? Or the sweet smell of toasted marshmallows? Whatever it is, it’s good for any day worth celebrating.

MDJ Cookies

MDJ Cookies

White Chocolate Macadamia (Php40/pc | Php250/6pcs | Php490/12pcs). A creamy and milky cookie wonderfully complemented by buttery macadamia nut pieces.

MDJ Cookies

MDJ Cookies

Dark Chocolate Macadamia (Php40/pc | Php250/6pcs | Php490/12pcs). This time, the luscious macadamia nuts come with semi-sweet dark chocolate.

MDJ Cookies

MDJ Cookies

Double Chocolate Fudge (Php40/pc | Php250/6pcs | Php490/12pcs). Double the treat for chocolate lovers!

MDJ Cookies

MDJ Cookies

Red Velvet (Php40/pc | Php250/6pcs | Php490/12pcs). The cookie version of the rich deep-red colored chocolate cake with cream cheese icing.

MDJ Cookies

MDJ Cookies

Peanut Butter Bomb (Php40/pc | Php250/6pcs | Php490/12pcs). Any kid knows that peanut butter and cookies are a winning combination. Add in a piece of peanut butter candy for some real decadent sweetness.

MDJ Cookies

MDJ Cookies

Loaded Crinkles (Php50/pc | Php310/6pcs | Php610/12pcs). A fudgy chocolatey treat for the certified sweet-tooth.

MDJ Cookies

MDJ Cookies

While my faves among these yummy treats are the Peanut Butter Bomb and the White Chocolate Macadamia, all variants feature a moist buttery texture and just the right amount of sweetness to highlight the featured ingredients.

MDJ Cookies

MDJ Cookies

To get your hands on these sweet delights, send MDJ Cookies a message via Instagram or Facebook with your name, address, contact number, delivery date, flavors (with quantity of order) and mode of payment (GCash and BPI are accepted).

MDJ Cookies

Plus, personalize the box with the recipient’s name for just an additional Php20.

Sure, the situation in the metro, and in our own daily lives in The New Normal may seem stressful and daunting; but with a little bit of good cheer, I’m sure we’ll pull through.

Are you a cookie lover, too? Give yourself a box of good cheer and give these a try!

Product samples were provided to facilitate an honest review.

Check out my blog posts on other small enterprises and startups in the food business:

Ready-to-eat dishes from San Miguel Foods and Petron Treats

Momshies, does working from home still leave you with little time to prepare and cook your family’s meals?

Worry no more, because San Miguel Foods has a line of pre-cooked dishes that are sure to be showstoppers at the dinner table.

With these ready-to-eat dishes, you won’t have to stress yourself out in the kitchen: all you have to do is heat, serve and enjoy!

San Miguel Foods x Petron Treats

I was able to serve some of these to my fam for lunch. Check them out:

Cook Express Chicken Karaage (Php424 for 1 kilo). Karaage is a Japanese cooking technique in which food items – mostly chicken – are marinated and lightly coated in flour prior to frying in light oil. After I’ve heated the chicken karaage in my oven, I found it close to restaurant quality, especially when accompanied with Japanese mayonnaise.

San Miguel Foods x Petron Treats

Cook Express Lechon Paksiw (Php495 for 1 kilo). I usually encounter lechon paksiw the day after big celebrations like fiestas or Noche Buena because this is the Pinoy mom’s answer to “”What happens to all those lechon leftovers?” (at least those not carried away by the Tupperware-toting guests, hehehe!). The leftover lechon is simmered in vinegar and the liver-based lechon sauce resulting in a dish with fork-tender roasted pork meat in sweet-sour-savory sauce that’s good for another family mealtime.

San Miguel Foods x Petron Treats

San Miguel Foods x Petron Treats

Cook Express Beef Kare Kare (Php693 for 1 kilo). I have great appreciation for kare-kare every time it is served to me at the dinner table because I know how much effort went into making it. My mom used to grind peanuts herself, meticulously clean and boil the animal parts prior to cooking up a great tasting peanut-y beef stew. This one has the same tender meat and peanut sauce I love and is enjoyed best with bagoong. Add in some veggies string beans, eggplant slices and pechay and it’s almost like the kare-kare that my mommy used to make.

San Miguel Foods x Petron Treats

San Miguel Foods x Petron Treats

Chef’s Selection Fresh Corned Beef (Php655 for 900 grams). Corned beef is called that because in the process of salt-curing the meat, it is treated with large grains (or “corns”) of salt. Today, it is one of my favorite breakfast food when served with fried rice and a sunny side up egg. This corned beef version differs from the canned iteration because the beef comes in chunks, not flakes. Still, it can be sliced up thinly to be sauteed with garlic and onions, or added to beef broth and veggies for a fresh take on nilaga.

San Miguel Foods x Petron Treats

San Miguel Foods x Petron Treats

So momshies, there’s no need to sweat it out in the kitchen. Just order these ready-to-eat dishes and more from San Miguel Foods through this website and schedule pick up at your nearest Petron Treats store.

San Miguel Foods x Petron Treats

Thanks to Harvard of AlwaysHungry.PH for sharing from his ulam stash!

The Jelly List: Desserts for Delivery During Quarantine

How are your sweet cravings, foodies?

Sugar addicts like me are sure to be missing their usual dessert places with many restos and cafes closing shop during the enhanced community quarantine.

If your usual dessert haunts are currently inaccessible, you’ll be happy to know that desserts and baked goodies from these stores are available for delivery.

1. Cookies from Sugar Creations by Alex

“C is for cookie. That’s good enough for me.”

For all you Cookie Monsters out there, mommy Alex whips up crave-worthy cookies like Dark Chocolate, Dark Oatmeal, Classic Chocolate Chip and Smookies.

Sugar Creations by Alex

Sugar Creations by Alex

Sugar Creations by Alex

Sugar Creations by Alex

Sugar Creations by Alex

To order, call +63 988 5447945, or send a message via Instagram or Facebook.

2. Breads from Chloe Creations Bakeshop

Even if you’re working from home, you can still use a coffee break.

Have a few pieces of Ubechizdesal or a slice or two of Banana Loaf to go with your favorite cuppa.

Chloe Creations Bakeshops

Chloe Creations Bakeshops

Chloe Creations Bakeshops

To order, call + 63 915 3196411 or send a message via Instagram or Facebook.

3. Cakes from Carla Kusinera

C’mon… you know there’s always room for dessert! There’s nothing like a sweet treat to cap off a great meal.

So how about a slice of Carla Kusinera’s light and fluffy Creme Brulee Cake or decadent Chocolate Cake?

Carla Kusinera

Carla Kusinera

Carla Kusinera

To order, call +63 917 5638785 or send a message via Instagram or Facebook.

4. Avocado Dalgona Gelato from What’s Your Flan?

With the summer heat intensifying, what we sometimes need is to cool down with a a frozen treat.

Indulge yourself with a tin of Avocado Dalgona Gelato from What’s Your Flan?

What’s Your Flan?

What’s Your Flan?

To order, call +63 916 4978876 or send a message via Instagram or Facebook.

5. Burnt Basque Cheesecake from Sweet Samthings

My birthday-in-quarantine was still a happy one with this lusciously milky and custardy Burnt Basque Cheesecake from Sweet Samthings.

Sweet Samthings

Sweet Samthings

To order, call +63 917 6183443 or send a message via Instagram or Facebook.

6. Apple Pie from Yellowbakerbug

Want a taste of home-style apple pie? I know I did last Mother’s Day!

That smell of cinnamon that wafted from the crumbly and sweetly spiced pastry from Yellowbakerbug got me and the fam salivating! Its crisp apple slices and buttery crumb topping make it a perfect dessert for my Mother’s Day meal.

Yellowbakerbug

Yellowbakerbug

To order, send a message via Instagram or Facebook.

Now you know who to call to sate your sweet cravings during quarantine!

Thanks to Harvard of AlwaysHungryPH for sharing the goodies from Chloe Creations Bakeshop, Karla Kusinera and What’s Your Flan?

Check out my other adventures compiled into Jelly Lists:

Upset tummy? How about some Mint Relief?

As a foodie, one of the banes of my existence is acid reflux. It is when the acidic juices in the tummy make their way up the esophagus.  This results in symptoms such as acid regurgitation, feeling like there’s a lump in my throat, and even a sharp pain in the chest known as heartburn.

It can be quite uncomfortable, even distressing at times, and could curtail, not just my enjoyment of food, and any other activity.

Well, there’s hope in the horizon for acid reflux sufferers like me.

Mint Relief

Mint Relief is the first and only natural quick stomach relief product available in the market today. It is not a drug; rather, it is a food supplement made from a combination of natural ingredients encased in a soft gel.

Mint Relief

Mint Relief

Mint Relief

Its pain relief properties come from its main ingredients:

  • Spearmint: Contains carvone which has been shown in various studies to inhibit digestive tract contractions; Also high in antioxidants, helps support digestion and manage stress.
  • Peppermint: Traditionally used to treat stomach upsets, tension headaches and migraines and menstrual cramps.

Mint Relief can be taken by both men and women to give relief in cases of constipation, gassiness, acid reflux and nausea, as well as a short-term treatment to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

Mint Relief

Ladies who are “surfin’ the crimson wave” can get their reprieve from the pains of dysmenorrhea by taking Mint Relief.

For a foodie on the go like me, it has the additional benefit of coming in such handy packaging. A box containing ten gel capsules easily fits into my bag or purse so I can pop one in my mouth when I feel my tummy act up.

Mint Relief

When I recently overindulged in oily and spicy Korean food (my cravings brought on by binge-watching K-dramas for several days), I was glad to have Mint Relief with me to manage my acid reflux. Plus, it leaves a fresh feeling inside my mouth to chase away the acidic aftertaste.

I’ll be sure to keep one handy, especially during foodie meetups and dinners out!

Mint Relief is available at Lazada and Shopee for Php150 for a box of ten.

To know more about, visit the Wellness Refill website.

Disclosure: Product sample was provided to facilitate an honest review.

Cute Cheesecake-in-a-Jar from Sugar Salt Cakes & Pastries

Staying at home for the next month or so need not be the punishment we sometimes think it is.

We can stave off the dreaded cabin fever by injecting some sweetness in our lives, like the cute cheesecake-in-a-jar from SugarSalt Cakes & Pastries.

This operation started when thirty-year-old Carmela Aprecio decided to quit her job as a web developer and devote herself towards something she loves: baking cheesecakes!

What began as a hobby that provided sweets for herself, her husband and their friends became a new concept in dessert delivery.

Each SugarSalt cheesecake comes in a 120-gram jar, contains milk, cheese and sugar and costs Php75 per piece. Each cheesecake-in-a-jar should be kept refrigerated and will keep for six days from the time it was baked.

Sugar Salt Bakery

Sugar Salt Bakery

I was able to sample the best-selling Turtle Pie Cheesecake made with dark chocolate, caramel kisses, caramel fudge and pecan nuts over freshly baked cheesecake in a crushed graham cracker crust.

Sugar Salt Bakery

Sugar Salt Bakery

I loved SugarSalt’s cheesecake filling: it’s mildly sweet and richly cheesy, not too stiff and not too soggy. With every spoonful, the chocolate and caramel chips as well as the pecans add texture and flavor. The jar’s serving size is just right for one person… assuming that person is not a dessert addict like me.

Sugar Salt Bakery

Sugar Salt Bakery

I can imagine going through two to three jars of these yummies all by my lonesome.

(Okay, fine! I’ll share some with Hubby and the kids…)

Other cheesecake-in-a-jar variants available are Almond Matcha (made with almond nuts and graham powder on a crushed graham cracker crust) and Oreo (made with Oreo filling on a crushed Oreo cookie crust), both at Php75 per jar.

If you’re in the mood for variety, why don’t you go for a SugarSalt Original Set which has all three variants for only Php225?

Planning a party? SugarSalt accepts bulk orders and can accommodate personalized jar labels. Just email sugarsaltph@gmail.com.

To order your own SugarSalt cheesecake-in-a-jar, fill up this form, and make your payments via BPI, BDO, GCash or Paypal.

SugarSalt delivers only within Mandaluyong, Makati, Pasig, San Juan, Quezon City, Manila, Pateros and Taguig via Grab (requires additional Php59 to Php129 delivery fee depending on recipient’s location). Pick up at its store near MRT Boni Station may be arranged.

Disclosure: Product sample was provided to enable an honest review.

Check out my blog posts on other small enterprises and startups in the food business:

Delicious charcuterie delights in a box by Platterea Luna

In case you’ve been hiding under a rock in the past year or two, one of the most popular food trends nowadays is charcuterie.

By definition, it is the art of preparing meat products such as bacon, ham, sausages, cold cuts and the like.  Despite being originally intended as a way to preserve meat before refrigerators became prevalent, charcuterie today is enjoying a comeback among gastronomic circles as a way to showcase the flavor of the meats derived from the preservation process.

Parties and holiday get-togethers just have to have a table elegantly laden with preserved meats accompanied by cheeses, fruits, breads and wines that further enhance the meats’ flavors.  These setups in which diners can take their aperitif of choice along with selected meats and cheeses have come to be known as grazing tables.

Taken visually, these sumptuously arranged grazing tables have come to represent the bounty of food or the generosity of the host. They often serve as conversation pieces at parties because of the beauty of their arrangement, while also encouraging guests to mingle while enjoying their food.

Something this wonderful can also be enjoyed at home through grazing platters that an Epicurean can put together for a small party or even a quiet time at home.

Platterea Luna

But with Platterea Luna’s stylishly assembled grazing boxes, there’s no need to trouble oneself in sourcing the elements for an elegant charcuterie experience. Each box is filled with a well-curated selection of meats, cheeses and accoutrements, well-suited for leisurely grazing on during a picnic or while binge-watching your favorite series at home.

Platterea Luna got its start when TV writer and producer Helen de Castro and her partner Christine Go, a medical doctor, decided to serve something different for her family to welcome the new year 2020. Being a lover of wine, cheese and other food pairings, she researched on setting up grazing tables and started gathering ingredients to assemble one for the family’s celebration.

Platterea Luna

On New Year’s Eve, she unveiled her first grazing table to her family. Impressed with her work and entertained by the novelty of the concept, her family started posting photos of the grazing table online.

This sparked an idea that this new skill can be the start of a new business.

Platterea Luna was formally announced on February 2, offering stylishly assembled gourmet grazing boxes just in time to get orders for the Valentine rush. The first batch of grazing boxes were delivered to excited recipients on Valentine’s Day.

Platterea Luna

Platterea Luna

Platterea Luna

Through all the doubts and frenetic activity involved in launching her new venture, Helen is kept strong by the support of her family and friends, as well as in her love for her business.

‘They say “Do something that you’re passionate about and you wouldn’t have to work a day in your life, ‘” she shares. ‘I’ve always loved wines and cheeses. Aside from gaining pounds, I never knew how this interest would benefit me. During the development stage of the business, I was always so excited with the thought of assembling the ingredients in the boxes. There’s this satisfaction I get when I see the finished product. It’s as if I’m creating art. And I love art. Seeing all these colors and flavours in one box makes me giddy. At the end of the day, it’s all about doing what you love so you can put your whole heart into it.”

Platterea Luna’s elegant grazing boxes come in four variants:

Solo Box: contains one gourmet cheese and one cured meat and various accoutrements. Good for one person, it’s perfect for leisurely snacking on during a quiet evening at home.

Small Box: contains one gourmet cheese and two cured meats, various accoutrements and one 187mL bottle of wine. Good for two persons, it’s best enjoyed during a romantic outdoors picnic date.

Medium Box: contains two gourmet cheeses and three cured meats, various accoutrements and one 187mL bottle of wine. Good for three to six people, it can serve as the fuel for a family’s weekend-long Netflix binge-fest.

Large Box: contains two gourmet cheeses and three cured meats and various accoutrements. Good for seven to ten people, it’s perfect for parties and can even be a social gathering’s conversation piece.

My Platterea Luna medium box did sustain my family and me through the hours we spent on a Crash Landing on You marathon during a long weekend. While I was shedding copious amounts of tears over Yoon Seri and Ri Jeong-hyuk’s travails, I was sustained and comforted by the delicious contents of my grazing box. These included meats such as Salami Milano, Peppered Ham and Lyoner, as well as Brie and Provolone cheeses along with accoutrements which consist of fresh and dried fruit, nuts, pretzels and chocolate almond sticks and a small bottle of French red wine.

Platterea Luna

To get your hands on a lovely Platterea Luna grazing box, course your order through Platterea Luna’s Facebook page or Instagram account, or call +63 977 8211591.

Platterea Luna

Platterea Luna

Disclosure: Product sample was provided to enable an honest review. Charcuterie board pictured above were assembled from the contents of the Platterea Luna medium box.

Check out my blog posts on other small enterprises and startups in the food business:

Delicious home-cooked meals from The Happy Kitchen

There is something magical that happens when family and friends sit down together over a home-cooked meal.

When people get together at the dinner table, an array of freshly cooked dishes spread before them, good conversation, good vibes and good times are not far behind.

However, with today’s hectic lifestyle and busy schedules, not everyone would have the time to constantly slave over the stove to come up with mouth-watering meals.

Enter The Happy Kitchen.

And by enter, I mean invite it to your home to bring you and your loved ones the flavors you love and grew up with.

The Happy Kitchen (or THK) is the brainchild of Risa Cirineo, a full-time food entrepreneur based in Cainta, Rizal.

She originally operated a canteen in her home to take advantage of a new business opportunity presented by a new school opening nearby, as well as an office canteen in a car dealership.

When she had to close down the office canteen, she jumped on a new and more practical business opportunity: selling party trays online.

In 2018, she started doing exactly that: selling party trays of comfort food such as Beef Caldereta, Kare-Kare and Sisig on Facebook to anywhere in Metro Manila.

The Happy Kitchen

Today, her product lines include include party trays, packed meals and “paluto” requests of comfort food and party favorites, some of which were sent over for me and my family to sample:

Beef Caldereta (Php650 good for 6 | Php1,100 good for 10). A mainstay in many family gatherings and fiestas, the caldereta is a showcase of Spanish influences on Filipino cuisine. Named after the caldera – the cauldron where the ingredients are stewed in – this dish combines simple ingredients such as marinated beef, rough-chopped vegetables and a bit of liver pate to bring about a comforting and hearty dish. In THK’s version, the meat was melt-in-your-mouth tender while the tomato sauce was rich in beefy flavor with a bit of cheese and just a hint of spice.

The Happy Kitchen

The Happy Kitchen

Special Pork Sisig (Php500 good for 6 | Php850 good for 10). This Kapampangan dish is actually one of my daughter’s favorite viands and would usually order it whenever we dine out. She took a liking to THK’s rendition of this classic dish as it was not overly oily and the crunch chicharon bits gave it added texture and flavor. This dish is great as an appetizer or as bar chow.

The Happy Kitchen

The Happy Kitchen

Chicken Cordon Bleu (Php600 good for 6 | Php980 good for 10). Another party classic, this dish is made of chicken breasts thinned and wrapped around pieces of ham and cheese, then breaded and pan-fried to a golden brown. It’s great as a viand accompanied by rice or by itself as a finger food during cocktails, and is usually a hit with the kids because – duh! – cheese and chicken. 🙂

The Happy Kitchen

The Happy Kitchen

Korean Chicken (Php520 good for 6 | Php880 good for 10). With all things Korean being a hit in the Philippines these days, it’s no wonder that THK began offering Korean-style braised chicken to its clientele. Risa built on her mom’s recipe – a family favorite for years – by adding gochujang to this dish made with tender chicken pieces in a flavorful sauce of aromatics and herbs. This fresh take on a chicken-based viand is a hit with my son.

The Happy Kitchen

The Happy Kitchen

These dishes from The Happy Kitchen showcase the care and pride that Risa puts into her cooking. They feature meats that are tender to the bite, veggies with some crisp freshness and flavors that appeal to everyone in my family.

Many thanks to Risa for sending over these THK best-sellers!

Here’s how you can get these delectable dishes for your family dinner or clan gathering:

  • Visit The Happy Kitchen on Facebook to check out its menu of available dishes.
  • Text the following details to +63 922 3057613 or +63 917 5493643 at least three days in advance: your name, contact number, your orders and your preferred delivery date, time and address or your preferred date and time of pickup
  • Pay via bank deposit or online fund transfer to BPI or BDO: 50% downpayment at least three days before pickup or delivery and the remaining 50% one day prior to pick up or delivery

Aside from party trays, THK’s dishes are also available as packed meals good for meetings or as crew meals, with sets priced at Php110 for 1 viand + 1 rice, Php135 for 1 viand + 1 vegetable side dish + 1 rice, Php165 for 2 viands + 1 rice and Php195 for 2 viands, 1 vegetable side dish and 1 rice.

Disclosure: Product samples were provided to enable an honest review.

Check out my blog posts on other small enterprises and startups in the food business: