My Father’s Day 2015 Wishlist

It’s Father’s Day on June 21, 2105 and here is my shameless wishlist and gift guide for Father’s Day.  I really want new gadgets. As if, I don’t get a new one every year.  Hehehe… But these are top of its class and I will probably keep on wishing for them for years. 😀

If you still don’t have ideas for a gift to give for Father’s Day 2015, this list will surely make your dad happy. I also accept donations. Wink Wink!

Continue reading “My Father’s Day 2015 Wishlist”

Benefits of Menu Planning

Slow-cooked Chicken Adobo

In a previous article, I wrote about some tips to get started with Menu Planning. Menu Planning takes a while to become a habit. But after seeing how much time and money we have saved, Quennie and I make it a point to have a menu plan at the start of the week. The week goes more organized and less stressful.

Here’s why you should start committing to a regular menu plan too and reap the benefits of menu planning.

6 Benefits of Menu Planning

1. Healthier Meals. If we haven’t properly planned for the week, our tendency is to buy quick and convenient meals like instant noodles, canned goods, and processed meats. These are full of preservatives, fat, sodium and other ingredients that are not healthy.

But when you have a menu plan, you easily avoid these traps by buying healthier options and fresher meals. You also are able to avoid junk foods since your meals make you feel fuller and helps you resists unnecessary cravings.

Vegetable Samosa

Learned how to make a Vegetable Samosa

2. Avoid Long Lines. Part of menu planning is finding the most convenient time to do the shopping. Thus, I was able to find the best time when there are fewer shoppers and when the freshest produce arrives. Doing grocery becomes easier and less stressful when you avoid the rush hour at the supermarket.

3. Lesser unplanned trips. I hate it when I miss an item at the grocery. And I would always remember it when I am at home, or worst when I am about to prepare the meal. It is such a waste of time. But with menu planning, we can avoid these unplanned trips back to the supermarket since we have everything need for the meal listed down.

4. Save money. Dining out is expensive but with menu planning, you will eat out. Menu planning also means you need to budget. So you can adjust what meals to prepare based on what you can afford. Menu planning also lessens impulsive buying and prevents overspending.

5. Add variety. From one recipe to the next, you will have lots of ideas to spice up the next meal. It can mean cooking something new every week with a new found recipe. Or make a simple chicken adobo more special with new cooking techniques or new ingredients being added.

Slow-cooked Chicken Adobo

Classic Chicken Adobo gets a makeover using an Electric Slow Cooker

6. Less Waste. You remove the guesswork with menu planning. Gone are the days that you go to the grocery and toss anything on the shopping cart only to end up in a trash.

These are a lot of benefits of menu planning.  As you can see, food bonds family together. Make it more meaningful and less stressful by regularly making a menu plan. You’ll be surprised with how much time and money you can save and spend them on what really matters instead.

With the Electrolux Philippines Do More With Less campaign, I became aware of how little changes can create a big impact on time and money. I also become more conscious with what I buy and with what I do since I know there could be a better way to do it with something less.

By using the right kitchen tools and appliances, you can also achieve more.  It is often worth investing in new technologies that have energy saving features.  Just like how smartphones have made a lot of things more convenient, today’s appliances have smart features that can make kitchen tasks faster and easier.  They help you do more with less.

Electrolux Bread Toaster

Perfect toasted bread in less time with a new Electrolux Bread Toaster.

You can also #DoMoreWithLess. It just takes a little creativity and resourcefulness. You’ll be surprised with the results.  For inspiration on how to #DoMoreWithLess, visit Electrolux PH’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You may also visit www.electrolux.com.ph.

Save Time and Money with Menu Planning

Recipe Ideas from Magazines

Electrolux Philippines is encouraging families to Do More With Less.  Less wastage, less clutter, and less stress means more savings and more time with the family.

I apply this when I do some menu planning for my family. Menu Planning or Meal Planning is about organizing what to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and the snacks in between. It is the plan that is made before going to the grocery to shop. If you keep on asking yourself, “What’s for dinner?” or “What’s are we going to cook tomorrow?”, then a menu plan will help you answer these.

Making a menu plan has its benefits. It saves the guess work on what to cook and what to serve. It saves time from going back and forth to the grocery when you missed an ingredient. And menu planning helps improve nutrition by realizing unhealthy foods that goes often in the home menu.  Menu planning will also maximize the food being bought by having the right portions, proper storage and having ideas for leftovers.

When planning for a menu, it really depends on what is convenient and effective for you. You can plan for the whole week or the whole month. Or you can even plan twice a week if you love visiting the fresh market like I do.

Here are some ideas for a successful Menu Planning

1. Commit to Make a Menu Plan. Making a menu plan can be tedious and time consuming. You may need to research on recipes, write down several revisions, check on availability and what is still in stock at the cabinets. But it is worth the effort. You will save a lot of time and money by starting with a menu plan.

2. Look for recipes. Spend time looking for recipes. Find recipes that suit your taste. For beginner, I would suggest simple recipes with fewer ingredients. Then as you become more comfortable with menu planning, explore more challenging recipes.

Recipe Ideas from Magazines

Food magazines and cookbook are good places to get menu ideas

Save these recipes in a system that you prefer. You can print it out and place in a folder, save in an online cloud, or place sticky notes in cookbooks and food magazine. I prefer Pinterest. You can follow my Pinterest Boards for some ideas.

DADDY TIP: I often find recipes that have similar ingredients for a particular week. This reduces the number of items I look for when I shop and thus lessen the time. For example, if a menu on Monday will have string beans, I would look for a meal that has string beans for Tuesday.

3. Ask for suggestions. If you are cooking for a family or for other persons, be sure to include their suggestions. I would feel bad if I cook something only to find out that Gab doesn’t like to eat the food. So I always ask Gab if there is something he likes to eat for the week.

This will also make menu planning much faster since more people are involve. You can also get inspiration on what other recipes to include for the menu plan.

4. Make a calendar. Now that you have a list of recipes, write down what you will cook for the next few days or the next few weeks. Fill up all what you will eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can make the calendar using pen and paper or something electronic like an Excel Sheet or in Google Calendar.

5. Make a shopping list and schedule a shopping day. From the calendar, you need to write down what needs to be bought. Be sure to check the recipes for the complete ingredients so you don’t keep on going back to the grocery. It will also be nice to organize the shopping list into sections based on the supermarket layout. It will make your shopping faster and efficient.

Here’s my post in making a grocery list and why you should make one regularly.

DADDY TIP: Make a generic list so that you don’t need to write down the same item all over again. The generic list are the regular items bought like milk, eggs, bread, chicken and others.

Once the shopping list is complete, schedule a shopping day that is most convenient for you. It will also be a good idea to make the shopping day close to when the fresh stocks arrives at the supermarket or stores.

Shopping at the Grocery

Find time to shop

Once you are finished with the shopping, post the menu plan on a fridge or a place where it is visible for everyone to see. So when someone asks, what’s for lunch, just point them to the menu plan. That was easy now.

6. Store properly. After the shopping, store your items properly. You can start shredding, slicing, or chopping then store them in plastic containers in the fridge. Wash the fruits and vegetables. Set aside portions for the meat before freezing. You can also arrange them on the fridge based on what is needed first over what will be cooked last.

It is also important not to overstuff the refrigerator. It may not be able to maintain its proper temperature and could spoil whatever is inside.

7. Plan for leftovers. I hate it when the family does not consume everything that I have served. But it does happen. Thus, I add leftovers in the menu planning. Usually, what is not fully consumed on Monday and Tuesday becomes breakfast and dinner for Wednesday. Or some dishes can be recreated into something new like leftover fried chicken becomes shredded pieces for a chicken soup.

Pull Beef Sandwich using Lefover Beef Brisket

Yesterday’s Beef Chucks becomes Pulled Beef Barbeque Sandwich

8. Recycle Menu Plans. Make menu planning easier by recycling menu plans. So for next week, you can just follow the same menu plan. Just add or replace with new recipes. You can also use the same menu plan for the future by cycling them every 3 months or every 6 months.

You’d be surprise by how simple and more efficient you will be when you practice menu planning. You save a lot of time and money as well. That is doing more, with less.

For more #DoMoreWithLess tips, visit Electrolux PH’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You may also visit www.electrolux.com.ph.

Nighty Night! HD The bedtime story app

Nighty Night! HD iOS App is FREE today instead of 3.99 USD.  It’s an award winning app and my all-time favorite bedtime story app.  Gab loves it so download it while it’s free today.

Nighty Night! HD has a nice narration and beautiful animations.  While it is designed as a bedtime routine, Gab can hardly sleep while using this app since it is very entertaining.  So don’t expect your kids to sleep right away after you finish playing with Nighty Night! HD. 😀

App Description

Nighty Night! HD – The bedtime story app for children

By Fox and Sheep GmbH

View in iTunes

“Nighty Night!” is the perfect App for a daily go-to-sleep ritual with cute animals, sweet lullaby music and great narration. All around the house the lights go out, and in the barn even the animals are tired. But who puts them to bed? Who turns out the lights in their stalls? That is the task for small children aged 1-4. Watching all the animals go to sleep is a lovely way to set the mood for bedtime.

The most popular bedtime story on the App Store! Over 3 million downloads.

„App of Year“ awarded by Apple!

“You feel as if you are playing inside of a beautifully animated movie.” // USA TODAY / 4 stars out of 4

“Nighty Night!” is brought to you from Oscar-Nominee Heidi Wittlinger (2002, best animated short) who brings a lot of passion and effort in constructing little sets made of paper and combining them with 2D illustration and animation.

Nighty Night! HD - Free App

Cutie Mini Monsters Counting App Review

Cutie Mini Monsters FImage

Cutie Mini Monsters Counting App is a fun and colorful counting app designs for ages 5 and below. The characters are beautifully drawn and comes with a jigsaw puzzle. It’s simple to use and will help kids be familirized with numbers from 1 to 10.

The Touch-to-Count activities is well executed in the app.  It is an engaging way for kids to learn how to count.  It give them a good introduction to numbers.

Cutie Mini Monsters Counting App

App Description

Cutie Mini Monsters
By Paul Smith

View in iTunes

Price: 3.99 USD

Do you have little ones learning to count?

Join Blushy, Toothy, Golly, Taily, Blobby, Growly and other cute monsters on a fun introduction to the numbers 1 through to 10.
App Store Best of 2013, Innovative Kids App
Kids-Best for 5 and under – selected by Apple
Editor’s Choice Award 4.5 Stars, childrenstech.com
Featured on mashable.com,”Top Apps for Kids”
Editor’s Favourite Award, appysmarts.com

Cutie Monsters is a simple app designed specifically for the development needs of toddlers and preschoolers, simple jigsaw puzzles along with an interactive counting book will help children who are learning to count.

Cutie Mini Monsters Counting App Review

PROs

  • Beautifully drawn characters. They are not scary but rather cute.
  • Clear and Simple. Number fonts are clear and the voice is clearly heard as well.
  • Engaging. It has a lot of interactive touch activities to help kids learn their numbers.
  • Child-friendly. No ads, no in-app purchases, no links.

Cutie Mini Monsters Touch Count

CONs

  • No skipping. Kids cannot skip on a number. So if there are some numbers the kids cannot master, they have to start from 1 and do all the activites. But you can skip on the activities to progress faster.
  • Limited numbers. It only counts up to 10. There is not option to count bigger numbers even if just until 20. You need to buy another app just for that.
  • Separate purchase for iPhone and iPad. The app is not universal so you need to buy the app twice if you want it on our phone and tablet.

Cutie Mini Monsters Counting App Review Summary

Kids will love the cute monsters just like Gab does. The activities are simple yet fun as they poke the body parts of the monsters. Learning to count is made really fun and entertaining by the Cutie Mini Monsters.

Daddy Rating: 4 of 5

Daddy Rating 4 of 5

Cutie Mini Monsters Counting App Review Screenshots

Cutie Mini Monsters - Touch Count

Touch-to-Count uses the monster’s body parts

Cutie Mini Monsters - Jigsaw

Jigsaw Puzzle when scrambled

Cutie Mini Monsters - Jigsaw Done

Jigsaw Puzzle when completed

Cutie Mini Monsters - 1 to 5

Cutie Mini Monsters - 6 to 10

Puzzles for numbers 1 to 10