Sunday, February 24, 2008


I know I haven't been updating my blog for the past few days... again, I'm not being lazy. (rolling eyes)

John and I are going to the first Mountain Regional Barista Competition in Denver, and we've been practicing for it, and trying to get all the things that we need to take with us.

They (whoever they are) say that no one has placed on their first try in the competitions, but I really hope John and I can do well.

I'd better go and practice a bit more.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

maui gold pineapple

Cody brought me a Maui Gold pineapple when he got back from Hawaii. He said he brought back a whole case of it. At first I thought it was crazy... to bring back that many pineapples back from Hawaii... until I tried some myself!

maui gold pineapple
Maui Gold!

maui gold pineapple
Very helpful cutting instructions... I never knew how to cut a pineapple until I read this card!

So I finally learned how to cut a pineapple:

1. Cut off the crown (top where the green leaves are) of the pineapple.
2. Cut the fruit into two halves, and then into quarters (length-wise). Cut off the center core.
3. Seperate the fruit from the skin (shell) with a sharp knife.
4. Slice/cut each "spear" of pineapple into pieces.
5. Enjoy!

maui gold pineapple
The pineapple pieces were so delicious Nuki wanted some, too.

This pineapple was so sweet and delicious! I was amazed how its texture was "not stringy" but just super good. I think I'm in love with pineapples now.

Monday, February 18, 2008

hanging out

jasper, naicha, and ginger
Jasper, Naicha, and Ginger like to hang out and enjoy the sunshine together in the front room.

Friday, February 15, 2008

peter peter

It was an eventful morning. Peter Rosen from Salt Lake City's KUTV (Channel 2) came to interview us at the caffe about the upcoming Mountain Region Barista Championship in March.

Peter was very nice and patient with me, so I actually was not nervous like I thought I would be. :) I don't know if John was nervous, but he did sweat a bit. hehe.

I haven't really been writing about the MRBC much. It's the first barista competition in this region, and the first ever barista event for me as well. I didn't want to say too much about it and not be able to do well in it. :O John and I have both been practicing for it, and I actually think we can do well if we don't get too nervous. I know there will be a lot of talented baristas at the competition, and I'm really excited to see what everyone will bring.

I hope John and I can place in the competition... that will really boost my confidence! OK I'd better get back to work and practice pulling a few more shots.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

happy valentine's!

I was determined to pour a little heart in everyone's latte today, and I did it. This one was the first of the day where I took a picture of it and sent to our myspace friends. Cheesy I know, but wasn't it lovely?

Monday, February 11, 2008


We almost never have friends over because everyone will be covered with a lot of dog hair when they leave (because of our big fuzzy dogs!) and because I usually don't have time to clean the house very well. *blush*

Yesterday, though, we invited Joyce and Otis over for lunch! Both of them love dogs, so we figured our dogs could keep them entertained and they wouldn't mind a little bit more dog hair on them. :O I did kindly ask that they stay on the main floor because that was all I had time to clean for the day. :p

So together we had our late Chinese New Year lunch! I made some food, and they brought Chinese BBQ duck and pork. Yummy!

Yes I photographed the food after we'd eaten some.

We played games after lunch, and had dessert, and then Joyce and Otis played with the dogs more. It was fun!

I may just do some more cleaning, especially downstair the entertainment room, so we can have friends over for Karaoke some time. Maybe.

Friday, February 08, 2008

little buns for the new year

We didn't do much for Chinese New Year this year... yet! My friends Joyce and Otis are coming to our house for lunch on Sunday, so I guess we'll catch up with the celebration then.

I did steam up some small buns (xiao long bao) for lunch... just to add a little bit of festivity.I bought some WeiChuan frozen ones from the Asian market the other day, and I finally used the bigger bamboo steamer that I got a while ago. Bamboo steamers rock. When I was steaming the buns the kitchen smelled like a bamboo garden!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

OSAKA: happy chinese new year!

Theoretically Chinese New Year falls on February 7th this year, but since the majority of people who celebrate Chinese New Year is in Asia, it's already the 7th anyhow... therefore, Happy Chinese New Year everyone! We've gotta eat a lot of Chinese food today.

new year dog
We saw this puppy dressed up all festive on New Year's Eve when we were in Osaka. She was waiting for her people outside a shop next to her bicycle. She was really calm and quiet, and just sat down when we were taking her pictures.

P.S. I know people say it's "Year of the Rat," but "Rat" just doesn't sound cute. I think I'll call it "Year of the Mouse."

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

OSAKA: hot snacks

We finally got some sunshine here in Salt Lake City, but it's still really cold. I'm starting to miss all the hot snacks at the convenience stores we got in Japan.

There was oden (in the front), and all sorts of bao.

Hmm... hot snacks... just thinking about them makes me feel warm.

Monday, February 04, 2008

cherry coke chicken

I made some Cherry Coke chicken in my slow cooker (crock pot) this weekend. Actually it's Cherry Coke Zero chicken because that was what I used in the recipe.

I almost forgot to make it, so in order to cut down the cooking time, I boiled the chicken drumsticks in water with a little bit of sake (rice wine) prior to putting them into the slow cooker. It worked very well this way. :)

cherry coke chicken
This is what went into the pot: drumsticks, 1 can of Chrry Coke Zero, 1 cup soy sauce, 1 cup water, 1 tablespoon dry chopped chives, 1 tablespoon chopped garlic, 6 dry Asian red hot pepper, and about 2 tablespoons "rock candy" (the semi-transparant little cubes in the photo) or sugar.

cherry coke chicken
I cooked these drumsticks in the slow cooker on high for just under 4 hours. They turned out very tender, flavorful, and delicious!

Usually the Coke chicken calls for regular Coke, but since we only had Cherry Coke Zero at home, that was what I used. The dish turned out great!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

bread from joanne

My friend Joanne has been really into making bread these days, and I get to try her creations all the time. It's a very nice thing.

She made savory bread (like the on the left) and sweet bread.

Thanks Joanne!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

little visitors

I found these little footprints in front of our garage yesterday. Apparently *someone* has been taking little walks on our snow-covered driveway... right in front of our "dog room" (Adam helped us build walls all around our big car port with walls, windows, and two French doors so the dogs can be "inside" where there's plenty of room for them to play and rest when we're out without having to be "inside".) I bet the dogs all get slightly crazy when they watch these little visitors stroll down the driveway.

I think these are probably from the two neighborhood cats that I see hanging out in our backyard and by the neighbor's garage sometimes.

Friday, February 01, 2008

california nuts

My friend Joyce went to visit a relative in California, whose family own many nut/fruit/vegetable/egg/dairy farms. She went with a small bag and returned with a big box of goodies!

She brought me some walnuts, almonds, and dried fruit of some sort... They were really delicious! She also gave me some packaged nori (seaweed) with festive Chinese New Year Hello Kitty on them. They were so cute!

california nuts

Joyce also told me about how the family grows their own food... it made me want to seriously start planning for our garden.

I've been telling John that I want to grow Japanese cucumbers and jalapenos, and his response has been, "You don't want to grow them. You just want the harvest." Hmm. He knows me well, and he's got a point.