Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Now Serving in Style: Gourdo's Swissmar

If you're the kind of kitchen whiz who loves entertaining just as much as cooking, then these two names should be your top-of-mind and word-of-mouth.

Now, not to be cocky or anything, but I happen to be a pretty lean, mean cooking machine myself (second to my husband… eep!). So you can imagine the crazy thrill I had when I got an invitation to Gourdo's --world-renowned name in anything food and cooking-- for a press launch and lunch introducing Swissmar --the innovative brand to beat in European gourmet houseware.

My first impression upon gazing at the Swissmar products spread before us was, "Wow! These are pretty!" Swissmar's designs are fashionable as they are functional, which is a big win for me.

Susan San Miguel, Gourdo's Assistant General Manager for Merchandising went on to tell us that these kitchen tools are all high quality and the creativity in each piece's design is actually a purposeful innovation. Ooooh… I'm liking that! 
Then, Swissmar Brand Manager and International Sales Manager, Marc Hoffman, added that each Swissmar product is user-friendly. Thus, giving every Filipina housewife the chance to bring gourmet cooking into her home so she can entertain her family and friends in the highest form of style. Okay, darn it, I'm sold!

But apparently, the good stuff doesn't end there. Gourdo's invited celebrity chef, Jackie Ang-Po, to give us a  cooking demo. Swissmar in action? Nomnom right after? Oh, Lordy!
The next few drool-worthy pictures, I have no words.

Absolutely… no… words.

After an orgasmic gastronomic food fest, we've decided as a whole that the Swissmar Raclette Party Grill was easily the crowd favourite. It cooks the food on the top grill and melts the cheeses on the trays below, and transforms you into a stress-free party host in no time. It is so ridiculously easy to use!

Swissmar's Foundue Set came as a close second. Nothing says celebration quite like a delectable dipping affair composed of bread, cheese, meat, fruits, and chocolate. Fondues make me happy. I speak from the heart here.

You'd think it's nuts to be excited about peelers but  when the Swissmar 100% Swiss-made Peelers were rolled out, I was just beyond giddy. Light weight bad boys in a variety of sharp blades: Scalpel for hard fruits and veggies, Serrated for soft fruits and veggies, and Julienne for stick form fruits and veggies. Sweet!

Swissmar Spatulas are also 100% Swiss-made and each is designed with the perfect blend of flexibility, sturdiness, and comfort in handling. Cooking has never been this fun and colourful!

There were other fabulous kitchen tools introduced that would surely catapult you from Kitchen Queen to Hostess with the Mostest but these, by far, are my top faves. And you can get them all at Swissmar's  new Philippine home, Gourdo's. And I mean, every Gourdo's on the map. Swissmar is also at Living Well branches.

Oh, and Swissmar made it to my Blogger Goody Bag, too. SO. MUCH. YAY!

For more info on Swissmar, click here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Papier Macheniacs: Rubberatronic Freddy Fazbear

"Hey, buddy! I'm Freddy Fazbear!"

Yeah, this guy creeps up on me every night now. He's our version of one of the animatronic robots in the game, Five Nights at Freddy's.
Eh, you know how we roll --new online game discovery, new paper mache project.

So today, brace yourself as we take you through the Freddy Fazbear Rubberatronic Mask DIY!
Why 'Rubberatronic', you ask? Ah, in due time, little grasshopper, in due time.

First, we gotta do some sculpting. Most of our masks are paper plate-based. Because paper plates are easy to shape and they've got that nice shiny silver surface that doesn't rip when the wearer of the mask sweats or decides to sneeze. Uh-huh.
Our Freddy mask is made up of two parts: The face itself and the jaw. This has something to do with the Rubberatronic awesomeness I've been blabbering about.

Second, when you've got all your sculpted newspaper down pat, it's time to whip out the glue and tissue. Paper mache-ing in progress! Now, for this particular mask, the nooks and crannies were insane. So you have to fill those pockets up with paper mache to make sure every bit of the mask holds in the end. Do the same for the jaw and teeth.

Third, applying the details. We use standard marker for this. Make sure you do this with Freddy's picture right in front of you. I mean, even the freckles were crucial to my boys.
If you haven't punched holes for the eyes at this point, you better do it now.

Fourth, paint!

BAM! Pretty handsome specimen, eh? :P

Just as an added tidbit here, the Freddy mask is heavy up front because of the bear's snout, the hat, and that jaw attachment. So instead of our usual backstrap, we opted for a full-on 'skull cap' to keep the mask secured on the wearer's head. Yes! We measured my son's head and then paper mache'd and painted the mould accordingly. The skull cap is then cinched with a horizontal strap and an additional vertical strap.

Fifth! The Rubberatronic attachment!
Okay, okay… too much fanfare. It's really just a couple of rubber bands that the jaw attachment can hang from at a good distance from the bottom of the face. So with just a tug, you can get Freddy Fazbear to talk like a robot. Kinda like in the game. Except it's manual. Not, uh, technological. Hahaha!

There you have it --Papier Macheniacs' very own Five Nights at Freddy's top man, Freddy Fazbear!

And now, I leave you with a few words from our sponsors.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Penguins of Madagascar: Pure Madness!

"Nicholas! Cage them!"
"Drew! Barry! More power!"
"Kevin, bake on! We still need that victory cake!"

These are just some of the insane reasons why Penguins of Madagascar is such a huge hit. It's a movie that makes no excuses. It looks you in the eye and says, "We're here to have ridiculous fun and there's nothing you can flappin' do about it!" 
*cue intense side eye*

The Penguins --the best thing to ever come out of Dreamworks' 2005 Madagascar movie, other than King Julian's 'I like to move it, move it'-- are back. And this time, it's spy versus spy with an outrageous bunch of new characters who go head to head with the flightless badass birds' individual expertise.

Skipper and Classified ('That's not my name!'). Leaders.

Kowalski and Eva. Brains.

Rico and Short Fuse. Demolitionists.

Private and Corporal. Just so darn cute!

And, of course, there's Dave.
That maniacal be-tentacled antagonist with a bizarre motive and an absurd vengeance plot whom we've all come to recklessly love. John Malkovich makes it so. And this sea creature's 'I HATE CUTE!' battle cry just makes us all feel better about ourselves. Hahaha… ha… ha… eherm.

All in all, the Penguins of Madagascar seemed to have broken into some high level security facility and stole the formula for an unbelievably enjoyable family movie: Impossible gadgets, fantastic action, incredible confrontations, brilliant pacing, and hilarious upon hilarious dialogue. Cameos by King Julian and Mort are just the coolest icing on the cake, too.

So if you want to just laugh your medulla oblongata off, then this is the family quality time for you. The Penguins of Madagascar. In theatres.

Oh, and the best part? This throwback.

Awwww…. <3 <3 <3

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Bigness of Big Hero 6

Not one to shy away from death and despair, Disney returns with another movie about loss and coping… dressed up in ultra-nerd robotic warfare!

Yeah, yeah, I'm talking about Big Hero 6.

An animated action flick that boasts of tech genius in Bot Fights, nerd labs, and… you know, massive microbot attacks on the sweet city of San Fransokyo. (note: my boys want to move to San Fransokyo ASAP, by the way)

Now, if you'll only look at Big Hero 6 on the surface, you'll probably shrug and say, "Oh! So it's like the cartoon version of Kickass?"

Yes and No.

Yes, because these kids did make superheroes out of themselves, with costumes and weaponry to boot, eventually making the world a better place and all that.
No, because if you look deeper, the storyline will tug at your heartstrings BIG time.


Hiro's whole young life is riddled with losing people he loves. He's lost his parents. Then lost his big brother. And when he finally found a friend in an inflatable nurse (no, it's not what you think) named Baymax, he goes off and sacrifices himself to save Hiro, too.
When the world seems to eat at you like that, you get angry. You want revenge.
The cool thing is how Hiro's feelings are mirrored by the enemy, too. Kabuki Mask is also out on a rampage to avenge the death of his own daughter.
Ah, the irony of it all.

Ah, but I have said too much. Bottomline is that when you watch this movie, after marvelling at the awesome science behind the gadgets and gears, look beyond the lasers and smoke and see real people experiencing real emotions. And see how they cope and live again.

And if there's anyone who can tell you a thing or two about survival --whether it's from being typecast as a bad building wrecker in a video game or from being dubbed a freakish queen with freeze-inducing hands-- it's Disney.

So it you want to go big on flash and feels for this week's family movie, catch Big Hero 6.
And do hug the huge Baymax balloon man figure at the gate. You know you want to.

*Images from Hitfix.com.

Friday, October 31, 2014

A Little Meh on the Mutant Mayhem.

From Planet Scream to Fright Fest to Takotown.
We've been going to the Nickelodeon Halloween event since 2011. It's become our favourite holiday mecca. So this year's Nickelodeon Mutant Mayhem, we took the same ghastly expedition dressed in our usual brand of intense party gear.

Kenji as Doc Emmet Brown from Back to the Future.
Miro as Hunk from Resident Evil.
If you've read my earlier Halloween event reviews, you'd know that our standard for bar none spookfest is Nickelodeon Planet Scream.
And… it still is.

Onto my Mutant Mayhem personal review then!

It surprised us how this year's party space was made so much smaller than before. There were also smaller sponsor booths, and less booth games. This time around, the games happened on stage which isn't really that friendly for kids who are stage-shy. The result was most of the kids just lounging around the empty corners of the venue since there was really nothing much to do on the grounds. The audience area was a bit cramped, too.
The Trick or Treat lines were still crazy-long. But kids still line up for their sweets like their lives depended on it. So it's kinda heartbreaking that the loot was less than expected.

Oh! And the biggest crime… unlighted backdrop! (cue thunder and lightning) Lol! Okay, okay, I was unfair there. There was another lighted backdrop somewhere. But it would've been cooler if both backdrops were lit.

For us, the highpoint of Mutant Mayhem is the mascot floor show. Nickelodeon has the best dance numbers, I swear! And the most energetic mascots who just go with that crazy choreography like they aren't lugging pounds and pounds of foam.
From Turtle to Sponge to Star, two thumbs up all the way!

Unfortunately, the mascots weren't enough to pull our rating on this Halloween event any higher. :( In fact, less than two hours into the mayhem and we decided to call it quits. To be fair, the excitement may have started as soon as we left. Hence, this review being more personal than anything.

Thanks though, Nick! See you… next year?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Papier Macheniacs: OFF Halloween masks, on!

First day of the sem break and we're already getting our hands dirty.
Thanks to a new game my boys are currently addicted to: OFF. For this weekend's project, we're focusing on the game's lead character Zacharie and his masks. A little pre-Halloween special, if you will.

Pretty nifty, eh?
Unlike our usual complicated masks, these babies are fairly easy and quick to make.

All you need are thick cardboards. We used juice-by-the-10s boxes here. Sturdy stuff. We could've just painted the simple details on, but since we don't like things too easy (Haha!), we decided to put a little 2D spin to them with sculpted newspaper.

Then, it's back to the glue-and-tissue combo for some messy mache-ing fun! Remember to curve the masks in a concave shape after the first layer. You'll need that space for your nose. We did 3 layers for the each mask surface but kept the eye parts at only 2 layers because we'll need to punch peep holes through them.

And that's where Dada came in. Yes, we're definitely recruiting him for most of our projects now. :P Using a metal hole puncher with a wide enough diameter, a trusty hammer, and a few expert hits… BAM! We got peep holes! The straps were, of course, concertina folded newspaper which we also paper mache'd.

A splash of pretty conservative paint colours, and… WE'RE DONE!
Can i just say that I am so digging the swirly cheeks detail? :)

These can rock as costumes-in-a-snap for a Halloween Cosplay. It's pretty cheap, too.
So if you're up to going down quick and dirty, it's time to put your OFF game on!

*Zacharie pic from Devianart.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

RiCo: A CORNucopia of Health and Yum.

I was drawn to the RiCo Corn Rice launch event by sheer intrigue. Turning corn into the new rice staple is by far a very ambitious drive. And there's this nagging question: Why would you wanna do that?

With that, the great minds behind RiCo shared one eye-opener after another. With bubbly Host Kara at the helm, President Jebe Gayanelo told us the Corn Story --how the country's corn supply is actually more adequate than rice. How RiCo is made from 100% Philippine-grown corn, thus, opening the country up to self-sufficiency. Nutritionist Lulu imparted info that makes corn more nutritious than rice. It has no cholesterol, it's naturally rich in Beta Carotene and Fiber, and fortified with B Vitamins, Calcium, and Iron. Its low Glycemic Index makes it ideal for diabetics. Brand Manager Kareesa Cristolbal, on the other hand, was quick to tell us the culinary possibilities that go with RiCo, giving you the surefire way to a Yummy, Healthy Life.

So how do you sell a better-than-rice concept to a rice-eating race? RiCo nailed it. The technologically savvy company gives us corn in the image and likeness of rice. It tastes like rice. It even cooks like rice.  There won't be a shock if you choose to transition to a corn rice staple --except that you will be a lot healthier, and that you will be greeted with a daily splash of sunshiny yellow from now on. And that's just fluffy lovely!

Now, to demonstrate the endless culinary possibilities RiCo Corn Rice has to offer, Chef Jessie Sincioco took the wheel. And I have NEVER been more floored with good food.

For starters, we had Mesclun Greens Salad in Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing with --wait for it-- prawn RiCo corn rice pops! Genius! This is crunchy goodness you wouldn't believe.

Minestrone was served next. The RiCo corn rice thrown into the mix gave us the thickness and the texture that enhanced the soup's flavour. I finished the whole bowl. I regret nothing.

For the main course, we had Pan-fried Codfish Fillet in Pommery Mustard Sauce.

And, Grilled Chicken Breast in Creamy Pepper Sauce.

Each served with RiCo Corn Rice Pilaf and Sauteed French Beans. Now, THIS is RiCo in its full-on glory! The flavours just exploded in my mouth like the Fourth of July. I kid you not.

To end our corn binge, this beauty came.
RiCo Corn Rice Crocant Roll aka Chef Jessie's Corn-of-the-crop Masterpiece. Crunchy making a comeback, YUM just isn't enough to describe this luscious dessert. The painted-on corn details are chocolate and mango syrup.

Take a bow, Chef Jessie! When you said you were going to make firm Corn Rice believers out of us, you weren't kidding. Thank you!

When all was said and done (and eaten… and burped…),  bags and bags of RiCo Corn Rice were given away along with great recipes that I am so pumped to try starting tonight. You can get yours here.

Corn Rice. A brilliant idea that's finally found its time through a first in the Philippines, RiCo. Now you can Make Healthy Yummy every way, everyday.

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