Mixploring at Jamba Juice

When Ken and I decided to add more fruits and vegetables to our diet, we swore off milk teas and looked for alternatives. Thankfully, Jamba Juice made the switch easier… and yummier too. πŸ™‚

Jamba Juice Mixplorers

I love fruit smoothies and make them a lot at home too. So when we go out, like now that we’re living in Makati, Ken and I enjoy frequenting their Bonifacio High Street branch late at night after our almost weekly now Fully Booked visit. Their store in BGC is open till 1am, in case you didn’t know. πŸ˜‰

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Microwave Mango Buttercream Cake Recipe

After two grueling move-ins, we were finally successful in bringing my baking equipment and ingredients to Makati. Sadly, my beloved oven was left behind in Malabon since gas ovens and ranges are not allowed in the building that we’re staying at. Most baking addicts will lose their minds over not having an oven and go into baking withdrawal. Luckily for me, I found this unfortunate circumstance more of a challenge to be resourceful than anything else. Who says I need a gas oven to bake a decent cake? It’s time you meet the underrated baking power of  the Microwave Oven! πŸ˜€

Microwave oven recipes

Now that it’s settled that we’ll be baking using the microwave oven, another dilemma has presented itself — I have no idea what to bake! So I scoured our pantry and realized I have all the basic ingredients to make a plain vanilla cake. But who wants that, right? Then I remembered we still have a kilo of mangoes, slowly rotting in the refrigerator, that my Nanay has brought us when she visited last week. Now we’re all ready to make my favorite Microwave Mango Buttercream Cake.

Mangoes for the Cake

The first thing we need to do is the cake. We’ll be using the microwave, so our cake ingredients require some adjustment. To be honest, it’s not the best cake, texture-wise, but it can do the job if you want a quick, no-sweat dessert for lunch or dinner.

Mango Buttercream Cake made using a microwave oven

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Juiceria Cleanse : Detox Your Way to a Healthier Lifestyle

When Ken and I decided to move out of our home in Malabon and live on our own, we both agreed it’s the perfect time to kick-start a healthier lifestyle by eating better at home. So when a high school batchmate asked me if we wanted to try their juice cleansing programs at Juiceria Cleanse, Ken and I immediately said yes.

Juiceria Cleanse Reboot program

Okay, we didn’t exactly say yes right away. πŸ˜€ I’ve been hearing so much about juice cleansing that I had all these doubts in my head. I am very much aware of the benefits and the nutrients you can get from juicing, but I wasn’t prepared for fasting or not eating anything at all. I might go HANGRY (y’know, all the mood swings or you get easily angry because you’re hungry πŸ˜€ ) during the 3-day program, and I might not be able to concentrate while working. Sure, I was working from home then, but it was quite an intense week since I was transitioning from online work to office girl again. Can I handle not eating anything when I’m used to eating the stress away?! πŸ˜€

Junlyn, the woman behind Juiceria Cleanse, assured me that I wouldn’t have any issues during the 3-day period. She said that they have many clients who go through their programs during workdays. To play it safe, I chose Juiceria Cleanse’s Reboot program since this allows me to eat at least one healthy meal a day. Ken, who went on a strict diet a few years ago and was determined he can take it, went for their 3-day Bootcamp program so it was all juice for him.

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Bohol Bee Farm : a Foodie Haven

When we planned to travel to Bohol back in 2012 for our birthdays, Ken kept on insisting that we pick Bohol Bee Farm for our accommodation. He told me nonstop about how good their food was and that I’ll love our stay there. He was 100% spot on!

Our family of 3 at Bohol Bee Farm

What we love most about Bohol Bee Farm is they continue to stay true to what they are all about. They boast of using organic ingredients in preparing their dishes, which means no fertilizers, pesticides or anything harmful were used in their farming. Most of them are produced from their own farms, and right there at Bohol Bee Farm (read about our tour on Travelsilog -soon!). They highly support organic farming and, in turn, has given jobs to Boholanos, especially with their livelihood projects at the farm.

Bohol Bee Farm - a charming resort for you and your family

Since they were also planting their own herbs and vegetables, you can taste the freshness of the ingredients. And the food wasn’t just healthful, but quite good too.

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Sugarleaf Organic Market and Cafe : Haven for Health Buffs

For us who grew up enjoying savory dishes and sweet desserts, the mere mention of healthful food gives us this impression of bland, sacrificial eating. And we think this is normal since our brains and bodies were mostly programmed to relish anything with salt or sugar. However, through this blog and our desire to be healthier, we’ve started to go out of our ways to discover more nourishing yet flavorful food, and we found one of the must-go places for health buffs: Sugarleaf Organic Market and Cafe.

Sugarleaf - Foods that nourish

We were invited for lunch in Sugarleaf at their Medicard Lifestyle Center branch in Makati. It was the first time we felt genuinely excited to learn more about how to eat well… and smarter. πŸ™‚ That nutritious lunch forever changed our perceptions of what healthful food tastes like. Thanks to Angelo “Jello” Narciso Songco, co-owner of Sugarleaf, who shared with us his passion for healthful eating.

We are well aware that by just changing your diet, you can drastically improve your health. Food can be medicine, or our poison. But, we’re not here to preach about health since we love bacon, desserts and chocolates. πŸ˜€ We just want to share this with you so you know your options. πŸ™‚

Sugarleaf Garden Greens Salad with various dressings to choose from

When it comes to healthful food, we usually think we have to compromise flavor – this has been instilled in us, not just here in the Philippines, but everywhere in the world. We have this impression that only food products and dishes that have actual sugar, pork fats / oils, and salt can be tasty. We have learned over the years that there are other more healthful alternatives.

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Boosting Your Brain Power with Food

I remember back in my senior year in high school, a few months before I was scheduled to take the UPCAT (entrance exam), I noticed my mother buying bananas and vegetables more often, feeding me peanuts and forcing me to eat tuna (I wasn’t into fish when I was younger). She told me all about their benefits to my brain and they should help me while I review and study for the UPCAT (not that I needed help, really πŸ˜€ ).

I’m no expert nor did we consult any nutrionist or scientist to back up her claims, but throughout the years, I learned she was right. There are many foods out there that have been proven to boost brain power, but their effects are not immediate. So, if you’re looking to improve your mental health, you might want to change your diet now to include some of the best brain food items out there.

There’s broccoli. They’re supposed to be something kids hate, but we actually loved it even when we were younger. Every time we’re in Baguio, expect us to come back to Manila with kilos of broccoli to enjoy at home.

Broccoli is brain food

Berries (blueberries, grapes, strawberries, raspberries, etc) are known to have high levels of flavonoids which can help with dealing with stress too.

Nuts are good sources of Vitamin E that help slow down cognitive decline. I know peanuts help promote good memory. Same with egg yolks. πŸ™‚


Even with all these healthy and nutritious food, you have to remember that though they can help you, if you don’t get enough sleep or rest, don’t expect that much improvement. Your brain needs rest from working, with all the processing, analyzing, deducting and even daydreaming it does. Take it from me. I used to be very good at memorizing things, especially numbers. But, after years of suffering from insomnia and not sleeping enough, I’ve noticed how forgetful I’ve been. With my recent lifestyle change, I’m gradually seeing positive changes, especially now that I’m eating healthier at home, including these brain foods I listed above.

What’s your favorite brain food? Let me know at the comments section. πŸ™‚

Oh, I passed the UPCAT with flying colors, by the way. πŸ˜‰

Top Picks at 2nd Ultimate Taste Test in Rockwell

If there’s one day we allow ourselves to completely indulge on good food, it’s at the Ultimate Taste Test. This time is no different. Upon seeing the lineup of food purveyors that will be presenting their new products for the coming holidays, we couldn’t wait to be there.

Our 2nd Rockwell Ultimate Taste Test tickets

Sadly, Ken couldn’t come because he had to work, so I invited a long-time friend of mine to join me. He’s a food lover too and we both genuinely enjoyed the experience together. Thanks, Alex! πŸ™‚

Since I came from work, I wanted to take a few winks before I went to Rockwell. We finally started our UTT food trip at around 3pm and we finished past 6pm. Take note that we didn’t get to taste everything. Some of the purveyors there are already familiar, so we chose to head on over to the new ones that piqued our interest the most. Plus, the fact that we were already too full at 30+ food items tasted, we just had to skip some.

Just like before, it was hard to pick our (mine and my friend’s) top favorites since there were many standouts, but the decision on who makes it here was all on me. πŸ˜‰ In no particular order, here are our top favorites from the 2nd Ultimate Taste Test in Rockwell:


Bayani Brew Iced Teas

Since there’s only one beverage at the event that we absolutely loved (except for the beer, of course), I’m putting Bayani Brew on top of our list. Dubbed as Filipino iced tea, their line of products are made of nutritious, local ingredients from Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm in Bulacan. Their section at the UTT was mostly crowded because they were very enthusiastic in telling people about their products. And it’s good to see that many were genuinely interested, including us. πŸ™‚

Bayani Brew Iced Tea - ingredients from Gawad Kalinga Enchanted Farm

We were given a taste of 2 of their iced tea flavors. The original variant was a combination of calamansi, lemongrass and pandan. It has this refreshing aroma, and as soon as I took a sip, the exciting combination wanted me to drink some more.

The other flavor was Purple Leaf, brewed from sweet potato, purple leaf tops and lemongrass. What made this iced tea pink was the talbos ng kamote extract. It changes color after brewing, as we were told, thus, staying true to Bayani Brew’s promise of no artificial colors or flavors. If you like your iced tea with an extra dash of sweetness, you’d definitely love this one.

Ron Dizon, the Social Enterprise Head of Bayani Brew, said that they haven’t officially launched Bayani Brew yet, but the price is Php 35 per bottle when they become more readily available here in Metro Manila.

There’s one thing that Ron said that resonated in me – the fact that foreigners are more aware about the hard work of our very own Filipino farmers and the abundance of quality local ingredients that we have available. The beautiful lady pictured above is French, and she was very eager to tell us about the product and what they do, which is just amazing. That’s why we appreciate events like the Ultimate Taste Test where those businesses who can’t go on full-blast marketing are given a chance to let us know that they exist or what they have to offer.

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The Stock Market at Bonifacio High Street

Last week, Ken and I were invited to an intimate dinner with fellow bloggers at The Stock Market Cafe in Bonifacio High Street to introduce us to their new menu.

The Stock Market Cafe at B3 Bonifacio High Street in Global City Taguig - CertifiedFoodies.com

We were told to come in our 1930s clothes. Ken dressed up all in black, with a buttoned up polo and hat. Hannah of FlairCandy was also there and she wore a Chicago-inspired dress. She looked more like Cleopatra and was really pretty. HereÒ€ℒs the 3 of us right before dinner:

Us with Hannah of FlairCandy.com - CertifiedFoodies.comI know, I only wore that printed blouse. I donÒ€ℒt have any skirts or dresses in my wardrobe. πŸ˜€

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Ayala Westgrove Heights Mango Festival

On May 22nd, we were invited, along with a couple of fellow bloggers, to join Ayala Westgrove Heights Mango Festival in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. We were told there’ll be chefs preparing a couple of desserts for us, with Lori of Dessert Comes First hosting the demo. Oh, they already had us at mangoes!

Ayala Westgrove Heights in Sta. Rosa Laguna - CertifiedFoodies.com

After a not-so-long trip to Laguna, we arrived at Ayala Westgrove Heights. It’s a 400-hectare (yeah, the place is huge!) orchard environment at the heart of the Calabarzon region.

The serene environment at Ayala Westgrove Heights really makes me want to live there someday - CertifiedFoodies.com

While driving by the houses, we were raving about how most of them were constructed, plus the pretty unique designs, too. And with the foliage everywhere, you can only expect fresh air. Even when the sun was up, the warmth of the air around us was not as scorching as we were expecting. The environment is simply serene.

Fresh air, relaxing surroundings, serene environment awaits you at Ayala Westgrove Heights in Sta. Rosa, Laguna - CertifiedFoodies.com

When we arrived at the sports center of Ayala Westgrove Heights, we were informed that the open house there isn’t like the usual, which is why they called it Mango Festival.

Prospective residents flocking the open house at Ayala Westgrove Heights in Laguna - CertifiedFoodies.com

Because they pride on how much they nurture nature, especially the mango trees at the orchard in their neighborhood, they made sure they highlight that through the said event, which is part of their year-long 12th anniversary celebration.

Mangoes straight from the Ayala Westgrove Heights' Orchard - CertifiedFoodies.com

You can even buy fresh mangoes right there. They were grown at their orchard. We were supposed to buy before we went home, but completely forgot. My mom would’ve loved to have a taste of those big, juicy mangoes!

Ken and I were with Ning and Eihdra who are both foodies, too. We were so lucky to be there since, as part of the Mango Festival, they invited two renowned dessert chefs – Buddy Trinidad and Sau del Rosario – for dessert preparation demos. Everyone, including the prospective residents, were welcome to watch and join in.

Chef Buddy Trinidad showing us how to prepare Mango Crunch while Lori of DessertsComeFirst.com walk us through it - CertifiedFoodies.com

First up was Chef Buddy Trinidad who prepared Mango Crunch. Lori walked us through what’s happening, asking questions here and there for our benefit.

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Strawberry Farm in La Trinidad, Benguet near Baguio

Though we’ve been to Baguio a lot of times in the past, we never got to see Strawberry Farm for some reason. So, when were in Baguio last December, it was really part of our itinerary. We headed up there as early as 8am since we were going back to Manila in the afternoon.

We hired a taxi for the day and he was pretty familiar with the places in Baguio. He’s actually from La Trinidad, Benguet so getting there was a breeze.

As soon as I saw the strawberry farm itself, I got all excited. I love strawberries! No, I don’t like the powdered or artificial strawberry flavors. I want the actual fruit.

Strawberry Farm in La Trinidad in Baguio City - CertifiedFoodies.com

Outside the strawberry farm, there are a lot of people selling a lot of goodies. There are also pre-packed strawberries being sold there and you can choose to buy them instead of having to pick your own strawberries at the farm. But, I mean, c’mon. You’re already there so why not do it yourself, right? πŸ˜€

Pre-packed strawberries are being sold for Php 100-200 each - CertifiedFoodies.com

Before we get to the Strawberry farm, we had to try the Strawberry Taho in Baguio. It was sweet and I love that they put actual strawberries in the taho. Yum! πŸ™‚

Strawberry Taho being sold at Strawberry Farm in Baguio - CertifiedFoodies.com

We also tried the Strawberry dirty ice cream being sold there. I forgot the price, but I think we paid Php 15 for this cone of ice cream. It’s a little bland for me compared to the ones you can buy at the grocery. But, yeah, duh, right? Of course, it’s being sold at a cheaper price so it was okay. There were bits of strawberries, and the flavor was just okay.Strawberry Ice Cream at Strawberry Farm in Baguio - CertifiedFoodies.com

Anyway, when we asked how much it is if we pick our own strawberries, they said it’ll cost Php 300 per kilo. Way expensive, right?! They explained that it covers those strawberries we’ll smash, plants we’ll damage, and those we’re going to eat while we were there. They have a point ’cause I saw a lot of other pickers actually doing all of the above. πŸ˜€

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