Recipe: Beef and Mushroom Taco

If you want a fun food to bring to your holiday potluck or serve on the table on Christmas or New Year's Eve, try considering Tacos. 

For the last two years, my husband and I had Tacos for our holiday meal. It's light enough for midnight snack. It's perfect to pair with two bottles of ice cold beer to toast the night away. 

This year, I'm serving up a jazzed up version of our family's holiday classic. Using Jolly Cream of Mushroom and Jolly Mushrooms, we got a perfect Beef and Mushroom Taco recipe. I recently found out that mushroom is one of the foods that give a natural umami flavor when cooked. That means this Beef and Mushroom Taco recipe will surely leave you salivating and licking those fingers clean. No crumbs left behind. 

1/2 cup Jolly Mushrooms, minced
1/2 kilo ground beef
1 can (10.5 oz) Jolly Condensed Cream of Mushroom
1/4 cup water
1 pack (40g) Taco Mix
1 Tbsp paprika
Cayenne Pepper
Sour Cream

For Garnish:
shredded cabbage
diced tomato
diced onion
taco shells

1. Saute Jolly Mushroom. Add some salt to draw the liquid out of the mushrooms and help it develop the umami taste that will make you want more. Add onion and garlic.

2. When onion is cooked, add the ground beef. Cover the pan and cook on medium high heat, stirring occasionally. Wait until Beef turns brown.

3. Add the Jolly Cream of Mushroom. Add water and stir until thoroughly mixed. (you can dilute the Cream of Mushroom with some water before adding to the pan if you prefer).

4. Add Taco powder, paprika and cayenne pepper. Add a little at a time, tasting in between because some brands of Taco powder can be really salty. Cook until liquid is reduced to half.

5. Remove from heat and transfer to a strainer. Catch the sauce in a bowl. Add a dollop of sour cream (all purpose cream can substitute). You now have your delish sauce.

6. Transfer the meat back into the pan and cook for a few more minutes to brown. Serve with slices of lemon.

Tip: when building your Taco, add the cabbage at the bottom so it will drippings from the salsa, meat, and sauce to prevent the shells from getting soggy.
Beef and Mushroom Taco Jolly Cream of Mushroom


#milaOOTD: Mila Cool Catz

It's Sunday night and weekend is almost up. I hope everyone got the chance to bond with their family, or at least had spent some time praising the Lord. For us, Sunday is always church day. 
I try to dress up Mila in her best Sunday Dress as much as I can. But then again, it does not always have to be a dress. Early this morning, she got to wear her boots on her own. So she gets to wear it the whole day.
I'm glad I got this little girl to make me feel better and stay cool when something is bothering me. See, I got called out for not wearing the right clothes in church. As far as I know, non-revealing blouse with short sleeves and loose slacks are appropriate enough. When I was told I should change my top, my initial reaction was to ask why. Not because I don't want to follow rules but because I need to know what I did wrong so I won't make the same mistake. Sadly, I was told to just follow and stop asking. I think they thought I was just being rude. Since we were in church and I have respect with the people around me, I just shut my mouth and focused on good thoughts. Mila is always a good thought. (note to self: I need to ask the right persons to tell me what clothes are right to wear and be more conscious since I don't really think too much of what I wear and just grab the first thing I get in the closet).
It was so hot outside, we were sweating in no time. Yet the little girl could not stop running and kept her cool. She would not even let go of the cat because it's "my pet", she said. 
At one point, her cousin Ashton came to join in the fun. I want to take their photo together but the little 1 year old was so curious with Mila's Lalaloopsy that I was holding, he kept running towards me. I gave it to him and Mila's reaction was priceless... 
I'm not sure if she finds it weird that a boy is playing with her doll, or that her cousin is playing with socks. Maybe because Ashton would not pose like she would. I was laughing so hard when I saw her face on this shot.

Today as I end my weekend, I sleep with a happy heart because I get a big hug and a huge smile from this little cool catz. 

Work Hazard

Almost a decade ago, when I started working in the BPO industry, my family and friends warned of the work hazards associated with night shifts. Not to mention the effects of working at night on my health. They said it's more dangerous for girls like me because there are just people with no good intentions that can easily over power my then flimsy built. I had lost a phone or two to pickpockets but I was never hurt. I take precautions as much as I can but I know there will be these work hazards I could not avoid.

One time, on my way home, I witnessed these two stories of work hazards:

Story 1: The Thief

I was on a jeepney on the way to Buendia LRT Station, from the Academy of Pastry and Bakery Arts school. We just passed Bautista St. when I noticed a woman running in panic from the other side of the street. Of course that got my attention. As the jeepney moved forward, I saw the woman's destination. In the corner of Buendia and Edison Streets, at least a dozen men who looked like (motorcycle) riders were hitting a man, now lying on the ground. Right at the moment a space cleared out to allow me to see the man's face, one of the men standing hit his head with a helmet. It was like slow motion. I saw the man's head bounced on the road and his eyes just closed in shock. He had no time to defend himself. There was blood all over his face. Then that space that allowed me to see him closed and I never found out the man's faith.

Just a few yards from where we're at, there was a police station and it looked like they had no idea what's happening. We figured out the man snatched the woman's cellphone. Motorists helped to catch him and turned him into a punching bag. I could not help but think of his family. He may had been 'working' for them but being caught is a work hazard he had not been able to avoid.

Story 2: The Electrician

I still had a long way home and could not keep the man's face off my mind. After an hour, I was just a short jeepney ride away from our house. Another passenger asked his companion what could the people outsode be looking at. I realized everyone has their face turned in one direction. "May shooting ba?" "Baka may sunog." We were guessing. Then a tricycle blocked the road and parked in front of an open gate. This was were everyone was looking at. I was sitting shotgun and I saw 3 men carrying another man into the tricycle. He had bad burns all over his body. His clothes were tattered. He had been electrocuted. He is conscious but obviously in shock. They sped off and I just prayed he gets healed well. 

We got news that he was working on one of the constructions in that gated compound. The man was working alone and no one realized something had happened until minutes after he had fallen. This person, trying to earn an honest living, had been caught in a work hazard. I wonder if he ever gets back to work again. 

Mila Loves Lolo Joe

I've always been a Daddy's girl growing up. My dad is my favorite parent and even my mom knows that. During the rough times my family went through, I even wished that my dad would just leave and take me with him. 

Part of the reasons I was boyish was because I wanted to give my dad a 'son' he can relate to. I may be a girl but I made myself think and act like a boy. When my dad was around, I would watch basketball with him. When he is out on the sea, I record and download action movies to send to him. My husband claims my dad has a son now but that's another story.

Being first born has its advantages. That's why I've always told my sisters that I want my child to be the first apo. Aside from the fact that I would prefer that they take their time before building their own family, I thought it would be awesome if my child gets the perks I enjoyed being the first. My dad rarely brings packages from abroad ever since. This year, he had a box full of toys for her favorite.

It may be lucky for my dad too that he is the favorite lolo by default. He is the only Lolo (aside from Lolo Titos) and Mila adores him so much. Mila glows with Lolo. When my dad was here, my mom was jealous because Mila only wants to go with Lolo. Sila lang ang magkakampi. 

Even with my daddy away for work, my heart melts when he talks to Mila though Skype. My little girl loves talking to his lolo and would do all cute things to make him smile. She'd make faces, practice her Po and Opo, sing and dance, and do acrobatics. In one of their conversations, Mila was pretend driving. Immediately, lolo said he will ask lola to buy her an electric toy car. The big one where Mila can ride and drive around on. That costs P5,000 to P10,000 on average. OMG! I had to say no to it though.

I tease my dad that he had forgotten about his own children. But in reality, it does not even hurt me a bit when my dad prefers to use up his limited internet minutes just talking nonsense with my little girl. I know it gives him strength and energy during the times that he just wants to quit and go home. I cry when I see him teary eyed talking to my daughter.

I wish we had this technology before. I wish we got to share crazy moments with my dad even if he was far. Whenever he calls back then, it was short and sweet because satellite phone was too expensive. I should say I'm sorry that I was not good in keeping our communication with him when we were younger. I know how much he and his colleagues get excited when they receive letters from loved ones. And he always get disappointed because there's almost always no letter for him. There may be the occasional package of magazines and recorded TV shows. But rarely would there be greeting cards, much more long heartfelt letters. 

Making sure that my daughter is available to talk to him every time he can, that's the least I can do to make up for all those mail days we disappointed him. We promise that Mila will grow up with full respect for her lolo. Mila loves lolo Joe as much as I love daddy Joe!

Imacoto Beach

We go to Bicol four times every year. We go there to attend our family and church's occasions. Then again, a little side trip to the wonderful beaches of Bicol is makes our vacation complete. Last October, after the official stuff, our last day in Bicol was left for the fun stuff.

As usual, we had no specific plans. We just knew we'll drive to one of the many beaches nearby and the rest, we can figure out as we go. Early morning, hubs rented a jeep and invited everyone who wants and can go. We thought there will be more of us, nevertheless, it was still a blast. We ended up in Imacoto Beach in Oas, Albay. It's in one of the sleepy towns in Albay. Not a lot of people was there. I think it was just us and another group of locals when you got there. There's not too much fuss, just great beach, and nice people.

I was not able to take much photo since I was mostly in the water with my little girl. But still, let me share with you the beauty of Imacoto Beach and the fun we had though these photos taken by me and our cousin Krish Salgado.

Imacoto Beach, Oas Albay, Bicol
Outing? If the whole clan came, we might need a couple of buses.
Imacoto Beach, Oas Albay, Bicol
Still in her jammies, she's happy just playing with the doggies.
After more than an hour drive (including a side trip to the market), this view made our day!
Clean beach with shells that Mila got to play with the whole day
Row of beach houses that are actually managed by different owners. But they are affordable.
The cabana in front of our hut
There trees provide ample shade while cooking in the grill area
As soon as we got settled in the room, Mila changed into her "bebisut" and claimed the place as her own
Hubs is always the master cook (when the other chef cousin is out)
Simple food, great company, beautiful place. Our Perfect meal!
Grilled Liempo will never be absent during outings
Grilled Tilapia, Ensaladang Talong, and Extra Spicy Authentic Bicol Express. Ready for the boodle fight!
She spent the whole day searching for fishes and collecting shells.
One last shot before we go. We feel like kids again! A few hours at the beach takes away a year of stress!

I wish we could go back this December or February next year. We will not miss another beach trip. I wonder where's our next find?

Visit Museo Pambata - November Activities

If you are looking for awesome and fun learning activities to do this November, then Museo Pambata is your perfect destination!

It had been a while since our first visit but we surely will come back again soon. Museo Pambata is a treat to the whole family. My history-buff husband could not contain his happiness exploring memorabilia of old Manila. Mila's eyes were bright with delight seeing and experiencing new things. We even get to be farmers for a few minutes. It was in the library section that we spent the most time on. If only I can bring half of the collection home!

This November, kids and kids at heart can experience crafting, storytelling, shadowplay, and much more. These are in addition to the regular attractions you will find in Museo Pambata.


Last week, we oganized our Halloween week at work and the big finale was our own Breakout Room challenge. That was morning compared to the real thing.

If you had not had enough of the Halloween scare, then Victoria Court's #VPARTYSERIES MIDNIGHT MYSTERIES is for you.

Mark your calendars for November 7, 2015 and get ready for the ultimate Halloween event of the year! FOX International Channels and Victoria Court are partnering up with Breakout Philippines, the country’s premiere escape room game, to bring you an immersive horror experience like no other!

Ever since 2014, Breakout has been providing a unique experience to thousands of players by trapping them in different themed rooms for 45 minutes. They are given an interactive game where players have to team up to find clues and solve logic puzzles based on various storylines. Participants are encouraged to PLAN as a team, SOLVE puzzles collaboratively in order to ESCAPE before time expires.

This Halloween season, the game is about to change as it is no longer enough to BREAKOUT… you must now also SURVIVE! You and your friends will be trapped in a room and will have 45 minutes to try and survive the horror set before you.

There will be scare actors that will enter and exit the room as they please. Some will be nice and try to help you by giving you clues, while some… are not. Be prepared as they invade your personal space, tell you bone chilling stories, separate you from your friends and sometimes, even leave you alone in the dark. Be ready to be pushed out of your comfort zone.

This is still a BREAKOUT event so there is still puzzle solving involved. You will still choose among the 5 Super-thematic Rooms of Victoria Court Malate, which will determine the style of the overall puzzle you will have to solve:

The Asgard Room
The Casino Royale Room
The Bat Cave Room
The Candy Land Room
The Marakkesh (Sex in the City) Room

If the scares get too extreme for you, there is a safe word… screaming “I want my mommy” will signal our actors to back off and bring you back to your friends. Though be warned, doing so will forfeit the clue you may receive by surviving the scare. Missing out on 1 clue won’t make it impossible to solve the puzzle, but it will make it very difficult. So wear your brown pants and as much as you can, brave up!

If the zombies on last week's Blagapalooza are any indication of what's to come, then I'm really excited (and scared). To add up to the scare, there will be a free fear flicks marathon happening at the Victoria Court grounds from 6PM until 12PM.

The breakout rooms have limited slots, so be sure to register now through

You can also visit Victoria Court’s facebook page ( or follow their Twitter & Instagram (@victoriacourtVC)) for more updates about this event.

Prepare yourselves for a scare that you won’t forget. See you there!