Thursday, February 4, 2016

Easy Breakfast Ideas-Green Tea Waffles

As a new mom who doesn't get to spend a lot of time with my baby due to having a full time job; I often feel guilty about spending time doing other stuff instead of holding her and playing with her. Everything I do must be done while she's sleeping or can be accomplished in a short period of time. 

One of the things I enjoy for breakfast is waffles. I usually make these from scratch because it doesn't take much time.But I recently started to appreciate the box mixes; it makes the process even shorter. The ingredients you need are minimal and it's very versatile too. 

If you want green tea waffles, just add green tea powder. If you want chocolate waffles, then just add cocoa powder. Add your powders and mix well before you mix in the wet ingredients. I also like to add a good amount of flaxseed once I scoop the mix onto the waffle maker. Basically, you can jazz it up with what ever you want. 

I dust mine with powder sugar and cocoa powder, drizzle it with a bit of maple syrup and top with fruits. 

P.S. if you want to save money, cooking at home is an excellent way.  A simple waffle like this can cost around $7 dollars. With $7, you can buy all the ingredients you need and make break fast for the next few weeks :) 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Life As A New Parent: Rant

I still can't believe some big chain restaurants still don't have baby changing tables. I swear it's like they don't want our business. Or perhaps it's a scheme to get us out of the restaurant quickly for a high turn over. These changing stations (like the one pictured above) can be had for less than $200. I mean, you get your money with just a few customers. Parents with babies deserve to dine out too. Who knows, maybe parents with babies dine out more because they're too tired to cook. Ever thought of that? 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Royal at Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

Oh, this is long overdue. I took this trip back in Sept 2014. I still fantasize about my time there. It's an adults only beach front resort. It's all inclusive. September is usually a cheaper month to visit. It does rain a lot more but that only happens during the night time while we're dining on wine and steak. I looked up the rates again and the price has double from what I paid for, even during the same time of the year.

The resort: What you see on the travel website is exactly what you get. This place is beautiful.

The Ceiling :)

We hangout at the beach once and spend the rest of the time in the pool with alcohol flowing the whole time :) The beach wasn't all that great, they do have cabana and stuff but we didn't care for

The room: we had the standard room and it was pretty awesome. You can pay a little bit more for the location or the room with a pool (it's pretty awesome). 

Alcohol in your room, that black box is the fridge fill with snacks. All inclusive!
Told them it was our honeymoon :) Everyone gets a bottle of wine in their room. We didn't drink it since alcohol is included, we just bring it home with us. I can't stop being frugal lol. 
Oh, the room service is amazing!

There is turn down service every night.
There is a 24hr game room with a pool and pingpong table. There are decent snacks and desserts to munch on and also a coffee and alcohol self serve bar. 
The food: That's what it's all about! The resort has your everyday buffet, and a few dine in restaurant that requires reservation. Most of the food we had was phenomenal, I mean, there are some misses, but someone else might enjoy it.  When you first check in, you'll get this wrist band, this is your access to everything. 

We dine every night at Maria Marie, it's fine dining. You're guaranteed to comeback a few pounds heavier.

The lobster and steak dinner, this does carry an extra charge, but it wasn't too bad. I forgot the exact amount though, $25 to $30 maybe? 

There  was another restaurant called Asiana, at first, we were skeptical - Asian cuisine in Mexico? We didn't visit the restaurant till a few days in and it was our regret. They had some awesome Thai salad, good drinks and decent sushi rolls. But what we keep going back for was the tempura ice cream. It was the best I've ever had. 

Tempura ice cream, oh so good. 

Our hotel was in the prime location, step out of the lobby and it's 5th Avenue. There are shops and restaurants. Mostly these stuff are marketed toward tourists, pretty pricey in my opinion. They have American stores like Victoria's Secret and Forever21 as well.

Cautions and tips: When you're walking around 5th avenue, there are so many excursion vendors. They always ask your what hotel you're staying in. That is mainly a scheme to charge you. The Royal is pretty high end so of course we get over charged. These excursion are often a scan as well. We were promised a lot of activities. For the one excursion we bought, we were processed activities like 6 zip lines and rock climbing. Well you know what? There was only one zip line and it's the world's shortest one. There was rocking climbing all right, a whole ten feet high. The cenotes (caves) were a disappointment. It was cold and wasn't much to see. Our guide was very knowledgeable and worked really hard so we didn't have to heart to tell him how this excursion was sold to us. We were also promised a buffet with alcohol and all we got was chips and salsa to share with the other people. I lost my appetite after seeing other double dip... gross!
I wouldn't say these excursions are a waste of money, but just always bargain. Always!

If you're an American and have the need to tip, I would suggest bringing dollar bills. The hotel prices  are suppose to include tip to the employees, but if you're feeling generous, then why not, these people work really hard.
Don't forget to pack medication like pain killer, Pepto, Neosporin, bandaids etc. This will give you the convenience when you're not feeling well and peace of mind.
Sun Screen- Seriously, bring sunscreen! It's $30 for the 8oz bottle.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

I Heart Latte

Latte and croissant from my favorite cafe- Urth Caffe in LA
I love lattes. Nothing beats having a nice cup of latte and a flaky croissant in the morning. Something about this combination just makes you want to slow down and and enjoy what in front of you. The best cup of latte I've ever had was at the Ballagio casino in Las Vegas. I can't describe it, it just makes my mouth so happy. If I ever win the lottery, that's probably what I would have every morning. Until then, I will have to settle for the occasional visit to my favorite cafe or make my own.

I don't want to drink away my millions, you know the latte factor coined by David Bach. But I still want my caffeine. My brother also appreciate a good cup of coffee bought this little magic machine. It comes with a milk frother too. Now, we can enjoy our daily cup of latte for fraction of the cost. It isn't cheap though (maybe $250?), but it pays for itself in savings in just a few short months.

the magic machine
This is our Nespresso espresso maker. Each capsule costs about 70 to 80 cents. There are various intensities and flavors you can choose from and even decaffeinated ones. We love the intense flavors in this household. As for the capsules, I order the free prepaid bag to ship them back to their facility for recycling. 

Latte arts I made by accident. The heart and the duck. 

I even made my own version of the affogato- it's just espresso and ice cream haha I don't think it legit, but it sure was good. 

Friday, January 8, 2016

Being Conscious Consumer

I've started this year promising to be a more conscious consumer. I'm a deal hunter and when I see a deal that's too good to pass, I buy. And that not only has a negative impact on my wallet but also our environment. The boxes and the packaging it takes to ship the products to my home. The gas it takes for these delivery trucks to get these packages transported; all have a negative effect on our environment. I have so much stuff in my storage that are for "just in case". There are things that have passed their expiration dates that I must throw out... what a waste!

Since I've started the challenge of No Spending Month. I notice some positive changes. Our trash gets fill up slower. My credit card balance has not increased. I learn to make use of what I have. I'm also sorting out my trash to recycle more. 

I'm remembering to bring bags to the grocery stores, and am thinking about getting these mesh bags for grocery. They're reusable, a little pricey, but they might be worth the price if that means one less plastic bag being thrown out. 

UPDATE: I bought these organic Muslin produce bags that comes in three sizes. The tags actually tells you how much the bag weights. Pretty useful  and crucial info. Not sure how that's gonna work at the cash register though. I shall try and see...

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Make your own baby food

Anything marketed for baby is priced at a premium. Seriously, a 2 oz  jar of organic peas is 79 cents.  I know you're paying for convenience, but damn that is pricey. I don't want to buy the jar stuff anyway, making your own tastes so much better and not to mention at a fraction of the cost. And because a baby requires so little amount of solid food, I can afford to buy the organic stuff.

Here we go:
Clean and cut your vegetable in cubes.
Butternut squash
Boil or steam your vegetable. 

Sweet potatoes

Don't toss the water away, use it to blend with your food. You need a bit of water to give it a good consistency. The liquid consistency helps a baby swallow. 
I put them in these 4 oz containers. They were on sale :) Some people make them and freeze them for convenience, I don't. I make them enough for about 2 days. 

I feed her with this awesome feeding spoon.  The puree squeezes through the little hole and onto the spoon. It's a brand call Nuby, my coworker gave it to me. 
So far, my baby has tried, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, avocados, bananas, peas, carrots, pears and cereal. I read something about not making your own carrot, and spinach purees because the risk of them containing nitrate. Those are best to buy in stores because they're tested for nitrate. Of all the foods she's tried, only a few are on repeat. She likes the sweet stuff, and banana is her current favorite.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Life as a new mom

I can't believe my baby is already 6.5 months old. Time is flying by to fast and it makes me miss the times when she was a newborn. Having a new baby does occupy all of your time but no complaints here. I pretty much only get her on the weekends and a few hrs at night before she goes to bed; so I cherish any time I have with her. This is the part I hate about being a working mom.

One thing I some what miss about my old life is the ease of going out. When it was just husband and I, we just get up and go. But with a baby, you change her diaper when she first wakes up, wipe her face and hands. You let her play a little bit, then you feed her. Husband takes over so you can get ready. Then the baby has her first bowel movement of the day, you changed and wash her butt, give her a fresh change of clothes. Baby plays a bit while you get something to eat and drink your much needed coffee and it's time for her morning nap. Now it's 2-2.5 hrs since you got up and you still haven't left the house. Yup, that's how life is now, and as cliche as it sounds, I wouldn't' have it any other way. Our baby girl has brought us so much joy.

I sometimes just go 'forget it' when it comes to going out. So this morning, while the baby played and husband is out of the house for his weekly work out. I made my self a nice piece of wheat waffle.
The funny thing about your meals now is that you get to eat it, but not all at once. I was half way through devouring my waffle and the baby got fussy; it was time for her morning nap. It took 30 mins to put her to sleep.

Once you have kids, you'll soon learn that the microwave is your best friend. #thestruggleisreal.