Saturday, December 31, 2016

thank you!

How was your year?

Did you get to do all that you wanted to?

It was a krazy year with things happening around the world, including many natural disasters...

We were lucky to have a lot of travel adventures.

I hope 2017 will be filled with happy, healthy and peaceful days for everyone.

I am grateful for your comments and messages.

Thank you and talk to you again in 2017.

Friday, December 30, 2016

books 2016

A list of the books I read this year...hope to get through more books in 2017.

1. Jennifer L. Scott, "At Home with Madame Chic"
2. Laurie Colwin, "More Home Cooking"
3. Michael Booth, "Sushi and Beyond"
4. Sasha Martin, "Life from Scratch"
5. Bill Bryson, "The Lost Continent"
6. Jessica Soffer, "Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots"
7. Sarah McCoy, "The Baker's Daughter"

Did you read anything interesting this year? Please tell me in the comments.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

10 photos

I first posted 10 photos back in 2008 as part of a meme, now I do this every year as a way to look back on the year.

1. This Fishcake Tempura came close to the ikamenchi we tried in Aomori.

2. Super easy and tasty Watermelon Rind Pickles, is a great way to use all of the watermelon.

3. An adapted version of Mom's Okara Scones using dry okara.

4. Dashi, a dish from Yamagata has a nice array of veggies, perfect to beat the heat of summer.

5. Seed Studded Anzac Biscuits, a great version using lots of seeds.

6. Kinkan Conserva, a nice way to use kinkan (kumquat).

7. This version came close to recreating Smoked Ahi Dip

8. Japanese Veggie Soup with Ginger, a nice way to warm up with ginger and lots of veggies.

9. Spring Cabbage Shumai, a great way to eat more veggies while cutting out some carbs.

10. Spicy Pork, super easy to put together and great to have in the freezer for days you don't feel like cooking.

Lots of new adventures and was your year in the kitchen?

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

oh em gee

The moment you notice algae growing on the bottom of your Brita water filter pitcher...

Then wonder how long it was there...

And how long you were drinking that water....eep!

Monday, December 26, 2016

past couple of days

Friday was a holiday, so Satoshi and I went to see a movie that he's been wanting to see.

Saturday, we worked on our nengajo (new year cards).

Every year Satoshi whines and groans while writing out his cards... (he has the most to send out)

Sunday was Christmas and it was nice to be able to spend the day together.

Usually, Satoshi has to run off to work if Christmas falls on a weekday...

I bought us some sake and umeshu (apricot wine) from Nanbubijin, a maker in Iwate Prefecture.

I like that this umeshu does not use any sugar, just ume and sake. Sometimes umeshu can be sickly sweet.

Dinner was by lamp as the light in our dining area burnt out...I guess we should've lit some candles, but with the air being so dry, I was afraid it would start a fire...eep!

We also had some cakes from Rocket.

I loved my Amao (type of strawberry) tarte while Satoshi enjoyed his Mont Blanc.

I hope your Christmas was a nice one...I'm busily doing o-soji (cleaning for the new year) so we can go holo-holo (gallavanting)...have a nice week!

Friday, December 23, 2016

happy holidays

I had an appointment in Honmachi the other day and most of trees along Midosuji were lit up.

It was nice to see some leaves still on the trees too.

Happy Holidays everyone!

p.s. Today is a National Holiday, the Emperor's birthday.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

strawberry jalapeno corn muffins

It's been awhile since I made dark beer chili and jalapeno corn muffins.

Over the summer, my brother had given me a jar of strawberry jalapeno jam and I was wondering how to use it...

Since the jalapeno corn muffins call for a dollop of jalapeno jam in each muffin, I tried using the strawberry version I had since I noticed that a couple of recipes for jalapeno jam includes sugar...

It was good.

A little sweet from the fruit but with a little kick from the jalapeno.

I'm glad I tried this.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

daily stuff

I'm still trying to get adjusted to the time difference...

Before I went to Hawaii, I had put a couple of Happy Camper Bagels into the freezer thinking we could eat it for the New Year...

It came in handy the day after coming back from Hawaii for breakfast.

I brought home a bottle of Wild Friends' Gingerbread Peanut Butter (reminds me of the Chai Peanut Butter from Big Spoon Roasters).

My aunty also gave us a bottle of Trader Joes' Pumpkin Spice Cookie Butter. (think of a thick pumpkin pie filling with crunchy cookies here and there...Thank you!)

We preferred the Gingerbread PB over the Pumpkin Spice...

I'm glad we got to try both.

Monday, December 19, 2016

when life throws you curves

At the end of November, my Dad had severe pneumonia AND some kind of infection.

His breathing was kind of shallow and when I face-timed with my brother (love technology!), he wasn't sure "which way" things would go.

One thing I learned when my mom was sick was that we should "hope for the best and also prepare for the worst".

So last week, with Satoshi's understanding, I was able to fly to Hawaii.

I am relieved that my Dad was moved from the hospital into a skilled nursing facility yesterday.

And I hope that he will continue to get stronger, maybe even get some of his mobility back.

I appreciate all of your emails and concerns.

I am flying out today, be well everyone.

Friday, December 09, 2016


I've always thought that the reason people with kaki trees left kaki (persimmon) on the trees were because...a)they didn't eat them, b)grew tired of them or c)just couldn't reach them.

The other day, the weather dude taught me something new...kimorigaki (key-mow-ree-gah-key).

Kimorigaki is when you pick the amount of kaki that you will eat and share the rest with the birds/deer/monkeys/wild boars/bears (yup, there are all these wild animals in Japan) by leaving it on the tree...

So the next time you see a kaki tree with some persimmon still on it, you'll know why.

Cool, yeah?!

p.s. Just wanted to let you know that it will be quiet here as I go to Hawaii for an emergency...have a nice weekend, be well and hope to talk to you soon!

Thursday, December 08, 2016


Saturday, the weather was really sunny so the ginkgo leaves were really golden. (Photo taken at Horikoshi Shrine)

Monday, the golden color was deeper but still very pretty.

I think the fall colors will soon be over.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

morning glass coffee

Morning Glass Coffee recently opened a shop in Osaka.

I've only been to the one in Manoa once, but that was awhile ago.

I remember the Manoa location being quite cozy, so I was surprised when I visited the one in Osaka on Monday.

This place was really spacious!

Prices are relatively the same as the Manoa menu.

I tried the Mac and Cheese Pancakes with Bacon...1000 yen + 200 yen (bacon)

Added a cup of their coffee of the day...450 yen

Kinda pricey, but it was nice to have crispy bacon.

I'll be back whenever I am in the area to try their sandwiches and/or their breakfast menu.

Morning Glass Coffee + Cafe
3-2-14 Azuchimachi
Chuo, Osaka
Phone: 06.6484.7002
Hours: Monday-Saturday 7:30-20:00, Sunday 8:00-15:00

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

lilo coffee

We tried Lilo Coffee recently.

Their system to ordering was a bit confusing, but in the end we ordered cups of Brazil and East Timor...350 yen (tax included) each.

I love how they give profiles of each coffee they serve.

Satoshi thought his cup of coffee (Brazil) was a bit lukewarm, while I enjoyed my cup (East Timor).

I'll be back.

Lilo Coffee
1-10-28 Nishi-Shinsaibashi
Chuo, Osaka
Phone: 06.6227.8666
Hours: Wednesday 13:00-23:00
Other days: 11:00-23:00

Monday, December 05, 2016

grill bon

I've had Grill Bon bookmarked for a long time. It's the beef katsu sandwich that made me bookmark them.

Finally, we got to try them on Saturday.

We arrived 10 minutes before opening and there were already 6 people ahead of us.

The shop is teeny.

3 counter seats, and 3 tables for 4.

Their lunch service is only 2 hours, so you should try to get there as early as possible.

Satoshi tried their beef katsu curry.

Tender beef is fried then cooked in their curry sauce...1800 yen (plus tax).

If you want rice, it is a separate order and they only have one size...200 yen (plus tax).

I ordered the beef katsu sandwich...1800 yen (plus tax).

Everything is cooked to order, so be prepared to wait.

Also, if you don't have 4 people in your party, be prepared to share your table with others.

The sandwich was a little larger than the one I had at Harijyu Grill.

Though Grill Bon's could use less karashi (Japanese mustard)*cough*

We want to try other items on their menu and hope to come back to this area soon.

Grill Bon
1-17-17 Ebisu Higashi
Naniwa, Osaka
Phone: 06.6632.3765
Lunch: 12:00-14:00, Dinner 17:00-20:00
Closed: every 6th, 16th, 26th

Friday, December 02, 2016

okara chicken fingers

Was craving mochiko chicken, but wanted to use the dry okara that I have, so I marinated some chicken breast in the wet ingredients for mochiko chicken, then just before frying, I coated each piece with some dry okara.

I didn't deep fry, just pan fried, so am wondering if this may be the reason the outside didn't turn out crisp.

Still, it was a nice way to cut some carbs and soothe my mochiko chicken craving.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

a terre

We recently tried Patisserie A Terre's stollen.

It has marzipan in it and I enjoyed all the different dried fruits in it too.

They'll be moving soon, so I look forward to seeing their new shop.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

so fast

Hard to believe that there is only a month left for this year.

We're supposed to get more rain tomorrow.

Was nice seeing some of the yellow gingko leaves today.

Hope your November was a nice one.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

coffee uta

There is a tiny cafe we stumbled upon...Coffee Uta.

From the outside, it looks like someone's house, but if you look carefully, you'll see a sign and realize they are a cafe.

It was a nice space with lots of natural light coming in from a skylight.

I had their orange toast plate with coffee 1050 yen...this came with a small salad and some orange pieces.

I loved their toast, speckled with orange peel and slathered with butter.

Satoshi had their sandwich plate with coffee 1150 yen...his plate also came with salad and lots of fruit (apple and persimmon).

A bit pricey but we loved the different pottery items they had displayed (I think most are for sale) and they also don't allow smoking!

We'll be back.

Coffee Uta
1-8-28 Minoo
Minoo, Osaka
Phone: 072.721.8033
Hours: 11:00-17:00
Closed Wednesdays, Thursdays, Sundays

Monday, November 28, 2016


Hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving.

It isn't a holiday here, but Black Friday is slowly catching on here.

Since Satoshi went out on a drinking thingy on Tuesday, which was Ii Fufu no Hi (literally good couple day), we went out for dinner at Menu the next day which was a national holiday (Kinro Kansha no Hi, like a combination of Labor Day and Thanksgiving).

Dinner started out with a plate each of their appetizers...salad, proscuitto, dragon fruit, purple sweet potato terrine, sweet potato frittata, clam rice croquette (arancino), tako (octopus) with a broccoli puree.

Soup: Daikon potage topped with cacao nibs

Pasta: mushroom pepperoncino and gingko nut ras el hanout chicken cream pasta (both to share)

Main: sea bream stuffed with mushroom puree wrapped with bacon, cooked saltimbocca style and chicken piccata

Dessert: dark cherry brownie

Coffee or Tea

Satoshi also had a glass of wine with dinner.

We love this place because their servings are just right, their food is delicious too, they serve reasonable servings of wine and their prices are quite reasonable too.

7050 yen for our dinner.

We'll definitely be back.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

inari gyoza

There is a new recipe that is getting quite a bit of attention here...Inari Gyoza.

Instead of using gyoza wrappers, you stuff the gyoza filling into an aburage pocket.

The recipe was super easy, so I had to try.

Inari Gyoza by Yanagisawa Hideko : 2 servings

150 grams minced pork
2 handfuls of minced chives
4 thin aburage (fried tofu)

Cut each aburage in half so that you have a total of 8 pockets.

Carefully open each pocket.

Mix the pork with salt, pepper & chives.

Divide your pork mixture into 8 and stuff each pocket.

In an unoiled pan, fry until the outsides turn a light brown.

NOTES: This recipe was so easy!

The hardest part was opening up the pockets to fill.

Since my packets were quite bulgy, I added some water to the pan, to steam the insides.

It took me about 10 minutes (with flipping every 3 minutes) for it to cook.

I would recommend flattening your packets when frying so that it cooks quickly and evenly.

I would serve this with shoyu or your choice of sauce.

This is a great recipe to cut carbs because you aren't using wrappers.

I'm making these again.

p.s. Today it snowed in Tokyo, it was 54 years ago that it snowed in Tokyo in November! Krazy weather...

p.p.s. Happy Thanksgiving! I am thankful for family, friends and you, the readers of our blog...have a delicious one!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


If you've been reading this blog for awhile, I think you know how much I love MUJI.

I recently saw this "make your own gift" can on television.

They come in 3 sizes.

The top is sealed.

You need to fill the can from the bottom.

It holds quite a bit.

They recommend not putting in anything too fragile and not over stuffing it.

Then pop the bottom on.

I decorated the can with masking tape.

Then I wrapped the plastic box with craft paper so that I could write the address on it...and sent it off.

Cool, yeah?!

p.s. Today is a National Holiday Kinro Kansha no Hi

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

ii fufu

(photo taken on Sunday in Osaka)

Today is Ii Fufu (good couple) day in Japan.

I've written about this before here.

Sadly, the Tohoku area had another big one (earthquake) this morning.

They were told to evacuate and are on tsunami watch.

Hoping there won't be too much damage this time.

Sending hugs to Tohoku and the surrounding areas.

Monday, November 21, 2016

foodie friday in kyoto

We've been having rain off and on. Kinda gloomy.

Friday was forecast for sun, so I made sure to get out and about.

I started by walking around Tofukuji.

I didn't want to pay admission and fight the crowds, so I just admired the fall colors from afar.

Then I went to Demachi Futaba and queued up for some sweets.

They have been in business for over 100 years...

Love their mame mochi (mochi that is filled with sweet bean paste and studded with black beans).

It's kuri (chestnut) season, so I made sure to get one of their kuri mochi too.

I also got an inaka mochi (yomogi mochi filled with sweet bean paste) for Satoshi.

Afterwards, I went to Matsuhiro Shoten to check out their gamaguchi bags & purses.

I've written about them here.

After trying to decide on a print and style of bag, I got myself this one.

There may have been wine with the duck and fig terrine I had at Le Bac à Sable...the cheese bread they served was good too!

After lunch, I checked out Weekenders Coffee.

They opened a little shop on Tominokoji.

The shop is at the far end of a parking lot, so you may walk past it without noticing it...I almost did! (thank goodness for GPS!)

Their cappuccino was nice, too bad there aren't many places to sit...

Window shopped in Gion at the new Hermes shop.

This area is widely known for geisha and high end places to eat, so this shop totally fits in.

It was a warm autumn day and it was nice to get out.

Demachi Futaba
236 Seiryu-cho
Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto
Phone: 075.231.1658
Closed: Tuesdays & 4th Wednesday
Hours: 8:30-17:00

Weekenders Coffee Tominokoji
560 Honeyano-cho,
Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto
Phone: 075.746.2206
Closed Wednesdays
Hours: 7:30-18:00

Friday, November 18, 2016

things I'm liking

It's been awhile since I did one of these...

Ika-ten that we brought back from Onomichi...fried, a little fishy (from the squid), sweet & salty...super good with beer. (did notice it has sorbitol in it!)

The holiday cups at Starbucks.

Apparently there are 10 different designs by artists from all over the world, 2 designs per beverage size.

Sparkling green tea with yuzu.

I'm usually not a fan of flavored green teas, but this was nice. I liked that they didn't add any sugar and I also enjoyed the fizz too.

Stollen Cacao by P√Ętisserie Cri de Coq.

1st time trying their stollen. This version was really rich & chocolatey.

Lombard's Matcha & Caramel Popcorn.

Love how the matcha balances out the sweetness of the caramel popcorn.

Objet by Lee Jae-Hyo.

Amazing to see up close.

This one too.

What have you been enjoying these days?

Have a nice weekend.