Thursday, May 29, 2008

mexican bread

There's this wonderful Mexican market in a plaza on Redwood Road (whose name I could not quite pronounce or remember yet, but I shall find it out soon), and I visited it for the first time last week. There were great looking meats and produce, as well as rows after rows of hot sauces and spices. I was in love.

Right next to the market there was a deli/bakery, where there were trays of large bread and cookies. They were not like the Asian or European bread that I was more familiar with... they were HUGE, and they "looked" hard. I waited until several people pick up little trays full of these bread and decided I had to try some.

mexican bakery
I think the one on the left looks like a cooked turkey!

These were some simple and yummy bread! I was very pleasantly surprised. From the picture: The turkey-looking bread was a simple sweet bread, and the cookie in the middle was a chocolate-and-spices cookie, and the GIANT biscotti looking bread on the right was a sweet bread with butter and sugar. Simple and delish!

These breads probably have better and proper names that I still need to figure out. I took John there a couple days ago and we chose a few more different bakery items. They were so fun!

Next I'm going to try the big flan that I saw AFTER we already paid for the breads.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

i'm making a bear

My friend Brian sent me a book on amigurumi and I loved it! I bought a couple amigurumi books when I was in Japan, but never really started making anything until now.

The book Brian sent me was "Kyuuto! Japanese Crafts! Amigurumi" by the same Japanese lady that authored the other two books that I got in Japan. The book is so cute, and after flipping through it I decided to start making one of the little bears on the front cover.

I don't know if it's the English translation or printing error, but the pattern that I decided to use (the first pattern on the little bears) was missing information. As I started crocheting the first "row," I realized I had to crochet in rounds in order to make it work... not mentioned in the book... I know the experienced crochet-er all know this by heart, but I really had no clue until I checked the Japanese books.

After figuring out how to properly start the construction, I made the bear's head and body. As I move onto making the arms, I was confused by the pattern because it only lists 3 rows each for the arms and legs. Didn't quite make sense. I checked the other patterns and determined that the pattern is missing some parts. I guess I'll have to figure it out myself. (So far I'm thinking I'll make 9 rows in rounds to make the arms, based on some magical mathematic calculations... I don't know if it'll work quite yet.)

I did a quick search online and found that I was not the only person who ran into the missing-pattern-step dilemma. I guess the book is flawed.


The other patterns all look OK, though, so I'll probably try to follow them in the future (until I run into another problem). As of now I have the head and the body done for my little purple bear. I'll try to finish him up soon. (I still need to buy a pair of eyes for him... ) I think he'll be a handsome little bear when I'm done.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

ginger is ok

After Ginger's Scary Plastic Bag Moment Sunday, I checked all the areas the animals can get their paws on in the house and removed most of the items that were potentially hazardous. I realize almost everything can be "potentially hazardous" to the animals, and that anything can still happen (like someone chewed up the an unopened bag of cookies or a piece of furniture... it could happen....), but I'd like to minimize the possibilities of the scary moments ever happen again to our pets.


Ginger seems to have been over the incident, and is following and chillin' with me around the house again.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

ginger and the plastic bag

I was in the bathroom getting ready to go out this morning, and I heard someone running super fast with a plastic bag down the hallway and into the bedroom. I then heard the same someone running back to the big TV room.

I figured it was Ginger, so I said, "Hey Ginger!" Then I heard the same plastic noise back into the bedroom. I followed her into the bedroom, and saw the plastic bag that had a small bag of chips was at one of the legs of the bed frame.

I almost passed out! Apparently Ginger got caught in a plastic bag from the big TV room and she panicked and started running and trying to get rid of it. The plastic bag was torn, and she was nowhere to be seen.

After a while I still didn't see her, so I asked John for help. We looked for her for a while, and we heard her run upstairs. We eventually saw her under a side table, and Jasper was sitting on the chair next to it and looking at us.

John got down and saw that a piece of plastic was still around Ginger!

He carefully petted her and calmed her down, and slowly got the plastic off her. She stayed under the side table for quite a while and still seemed a little shocked.

Later in the afternoon she was fine and was hanging out with the dogs up the stairs. I'm relieved.

pets 022

We all know that we don't leave plastic bags around kids, and apparently not around animals either. We had some unopened bags of treats downstairs, which were in an open plastic grocery bag. We really shouldn't have left it there.

I'm glad Ginger is not hurt and seems to be happy and OK now, but I know I really have to be more careful around the house. I never leave anything laying out that's potentially hazardous to the animals, but apparently I was not careful enough this time. Both John and I will be super careful from now on.

Friday, May 23, 2008

caramel apple goodness

My little sister came to see me at the caffe and she brought me a caramel apple. It was a green apple coated in a layer of caramel, a layer of creamy white chocolate, and a layer of cinnamon sugar. Yummy!

caramel apple

I tried to share it with John, but he only took a small bite. He said caramel apple ruin people's teeth. HUH? He explained that when people had fillings in their teeth and they ate caramel apples, chances were that their fillings would fall out. HUH!? I think it's an urban myth.

I ate the caramel apple, and my teeth were still fine. Nuki ate the core of the apple and he seemed to have really enjoyed it as well.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

TAKARAZUKA: garden fields

After meeting the little puppy the other day, I've really been wanting a little puppy! Talking about little puppies... no one has more adorable tiny little puppies than the Japanese.

When we were at Takarazuka, we ran into this wonderful little park called "Garden Fields," where there were a botanical garden, a couple museums, and a dog park and a specialty shop for pets.

garden fields
A large green house at Garden Fields.

I was really excited to check out the fun little dog park. The largest dog we saw was about Yama's size (65 lbs. or so). Most of the dogs running in the dog park were tiny little ones! They were so cute!

A cool dog being photographed by his owner. I didn't think he enjoyed it, though.

There were all sorts of people and dogs at the park, and everyone seemed very content and happy.

dog park
A guy holding and chillin' with his Boston Terrier.

A cool kitty named "Leon" looking at the dogs play.

After checking out the fun dogs at the dog park we went into the specialty shop for pets. I couldn't get my eyes off a couple of the cute little puppies...

Sleeping beauty.

I think this little guy liked me. He wanted to come out and play with me. If he was mine I'd call him "Butter Ball."

I was really impressed by how peaceful and lovely Garden Fields was. It was a great place to visit, and if dog playgorund was not part of your vacation plan, you could still enjoy the many wonderful things inside and around the park.

I want a tiny little puppy. I want Butter Ball!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

OSAKA: golden dragon ramen

John told me he had started looking for tickets for our trip to Japan later this year, and I realized that I really have to eventually finish up writing about the "Kansai, Japan 07/08" trip soon, or I would probably forget all about it.

With that being said, I'm going write about the "Golden Dragon Ramen" on the famous food/market street Doutonbori in Osaka where we visted one day.

golden dragon ramen

We've passed this ramen shop several times in the past. From what I undersood there were two other sub-locations on Doutonbori, and the one we went to was the main and original shop.

golden dragon ramen

There's almost always a line of people in front of this corner shop. You have to stay in line in front of a ticket vending machine to get your ramen ticket. There were not that many choices... in fact there were two: original ramen, and ramen with extra grilled pork. Simple as that. After you get your ticket a guy would greet you, take your tickets, and show (point) you your seats.

These "seats" and the little tables are on tatamis (that are on platforms). I think you have the options of taking off your shoes or not. I noticed that if a girl was wearing a skirt, chances were that she didn't even get her legs onto the tatatmi, but to just sit side-ways off the tatami platform.

After you are seated you can walk up to the self-service counter to grab water, kimchi, other sorts of pickles, and spices. John got some kimchi and water for us. I saw a lady got a whole bowl-ful of chopped green onions to go with her ramen soup. Interesting.

I think we got the "original" bowls of ramen.

The soup base Golden Dragon was a pork-bone base. Thick and delicious. The pork in the soup was thinly sliced and flavorful. Yummy!

We sat, ate, enjoyed the crowded shop and street, and tried not to look at the people who are waiting in line to buy their ramen tickets, staring at us.

Monday, May 19, 2008

pink sheep

My friend Joyce gave me a cell phone charm. It's really cute, and has an orange cat, a silver octopus, and a possible pink sheep on it. I use the word "possible" because I am not 100% sure what exactly it is. It can also be a piece of pink cloud or a bite of a pink cotton candy.

cell phone charm
And the pink little thing matches my phone!

I've noticed that cell phone charms/straps are super popular, but you don't see them as much here. Every year I am in Japan I see people selling and buying all sorts of cell phone charms... at specialty shops, boutiques, raman shops (that have realistic miniature ramen bowls on the charms), as well as temples and city/town halls... Sanrio would also have Hello Kitty dressed up to represent different parts of Japan. They were so cute!

I did see people putting way too many charms on their cell phone, where the charms themselves were larger than the phone. I think it's a bit overdone. I do like this cell phone charm a lot. It makes my phone not as "naked" as it seems to be.

Friday, May 16, 2008

the puddle

I took my little sister back to the SLCC campus after running errands and saw the school was watering lawns. The water seemed to be overflowing.

And then I saw a possible small broken pipe/watering system:

broken pipe
I thought, "hmm... this is not good. They are wasting water!

But then I saw two little visiters swimming, playing, and cleaning themselves...

The ducks found this small puddle that was created by the broken pipe. They were so happy...

I felt a little bad not to report the broken watering system, but then I was really happy the ducks got to have some water to play in... in this dry and hot Utah May.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

spring is here

Everywhere I look... spring is totally here. The dandilions are just coming like a storm, the grass is growing super fast, and the new bright green leaves are coming out... even on pine trees.

In front of the backyard. Taken with my Razr.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

little puppy

I love our big dogs, but I'm starting to think that I would love a small little dog, too. The other day Shaun and Daena brought their new puppy to the caffe, and they let me hold and play with him.

He was so tiny, and so playful and happy! I used to think tiny dogs would just yap all the time... but this little guy was just relaxed and happy. He was great!

little puppy
I was taking fuzzy myspace pictures with the puppy.

I hope he comes and visits again soon.

little puppy
I *heart* the little puppy!

Monday, May 12, 2008

goodbye for now

My dear friend Otis is leaving for Taiwan tonight. I'll miss him. I haven't even known him and Joyce for that long, but for some reason we have become good friends!

Joyce, me, and Otis.

Goodbye for now, Otis, and take care. I shall see you soon, and we can all go and play!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

the pretty mother's day cake

My friend Joanne made this beautiful cake for her friends (no, not for me... even though I insisted that I was a mom because I have 3 big dogs and 2 cats...) It was so pretty I had to take a picture of it. She learned to make all the breads and cakes from other people's web sites and blogs, and she had never taken a class. It's just really cool.

pretty cake

Sorry I didn't make you anything, mom, but I love you lots and lots!

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 09, 2008

little david

David Archuleta came back to Murray for his American Idol party/rally today, and while I avoided the big crowds that were gathering in and around Murray High, I did have to drive by the area before I got home.

It was later in the day, but there were still a lot of people in the area. Traffic was a bit hectic... I was tempted to take pictures of the ultra happy and excited fans, but I had to pay more attention to the cars in front of me.

Then I was stopped in traffic and saw this Arby's sign:



And yay for little David Archuleta.

don't do that

I hate people who are manipulative. Geez. If you want something, ask and we can talk about it. Don't whine and play victim around me. Poo on you.

When you don't get it, you don't get it. Simple as that. It's really not my fault that you lack confidence, talent, and the drives to learn and excel, and that you suck. Why annoy me with your stupidity?

I know I have to "see the big picture" in this situation. I AM looking at the big picture, and you should not be in it. You're the whining weak link who doesn't belong. I know they say I have to be patient... I AM patient, but I'm just a little stupidity-intolerant. Stupid people irritate me. You irritate me.

I'm glad I don't have to see you often. I don't want to get your weakness/sadness/whininess cooties. They have doctors for that, you know.

As far as all those things I said to you... Yes I meant to say you were incapable of doing those things right. Yes I meant to say you needed learn more. Yes I meant to say you were supposed to be getting better... The rest of us were all moving forward, but you were not progressing. You were pulling us back... and No you were not cut for the job. No you could not take my things. No you were not my friend. No you couldn't manipulate me just because you were weak and sad.

F*ck off already.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

root beer chicken wings

I made some root beer chicken wings and eggs. They were so delicious! We only had diet root beer at home, so that what I used in the recipe. I had always only used Coke to cook before, but I guess now I can use root beer in my recipes, too.

root beer chicken wings

Root Beer Chicken

14 chicken wings
8 boiled eggs
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 sake/rice wine
1/2 cup water
1 can root beer (or diet)
1 small pack of Chinese spices (optional)
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 tablespoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon dried chives
8 dried hot peppers (optional)

It's simple. I put everything in the slow cooker (crock pot) and cook on high for 4 hours and the chicken and eggs were ready. They were delicious. Since I put 8 dried hot peppers in with the recipe, the wings and eggs were spicy... and spicy good! You can leave out the hot peppers if you don't want your wings and eggs to be spicy.

The wings and eggs were really yummy after they were chilled, too. mmmmm.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

about naicha these days

Naicha is still on antibiotics, but she's doing a lot better these days. She started taking her meds about 2 months ago. She is still a little snorkly from time to time, and we really want her to "push" all the sickness out completely.

Anyhow, other than having to take her medicine twice daily, she's doing well. She doesn't even hate her meds that much. John and I usually dip her pills in some yogurt, or wrap them up in some ground meat, and she'd just eat them easily. These days I'd even just mix the pills in with her food, and she's chomp them down, too. Good girl.

Naicha hanging out in the backyard.

Strolling casually.

Running really fast toward me. She is trying to look scary and vicious!

I *heart* Naicha! I hope she gets all well soon and doesn't need her medicines any more.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

gyoza and potstickers

Some people think gyoza and potstickers are the same things, but after doing some research and readings, I learned that gyoza is usually more rounded, with thinner skins and filling that fall apart, while potstickers usually are longer in shape, has thicker skins, and whose filling is firmer and "stuck" together.

Anyhow, I made some gyoza this past weekend. I learned a while ago that when you want to pan fry the gyoza or potstickers, you pour some flour-water mixture to the pan, and then you'd get the thin crispy bottom on the dumplings. It worked!

fresh gyoza
Fresh gyoza. I simplified the recipe from last time I made them, but the dumplings still come out great!

So this is what you do: first heat a little bit oil in the pan, then place/line the gyoza in the pan, followed by pouring a thin layer of flour-water mixture (1:6) in the pan, then cover the pan and cook the gyoza for approx. 10-15 minutes (fresh) or 20-25 minutes if the gyoza is raw and frozen.

When they are done the'd have a thin layer of crispy goodness on the bottom of each gyoza!

Apparently one of the secrets to beautifully fried gyoza is the flour-water mixture... with practice I may be able to have a "line" of gyoza like the ones we had in the ramen shops in Japan:

ramen and gyoza

I think it's also interesting that I never feel full after eating 10 boiled dumplings, but I felt pretty satisfied after eating the 10 fried gyoza... hmm...

Sunday, May 04, 2008

little retro mug

I found this little vintage mug at the secondhand store. It has a red "Japan" on the bottom... and I think it was from the 70s. I love the brown retro designs on the cup!

70s cup

And its 8oz. capacity is perfect for me to have my Americanos or lattes in.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

coffee is good

A little bit ago I posted about how coffee helps your brain protect you, and then I found that people had been studying the benefit of drinking coffee. Studies show that that coffee may help prevent colon cancer (Reuters), and that it may also help prevent liver cancer (USA Today), or breast cancer (Science Daily).

Today I read about another research on how coffee may help prevent cervical cancer. (I read it on a Taiwanese medical site, but I'll post it if I do read it in English later on.)

Coffee IS good.

Friday, May 02, 2008

man purse

Ryan was helping me finalize our first recorded show, and he turned around to grab something from his bag. He referred to the bag as his "man purse."

OMG. It was the first time I heard another person use that term other than myself.

I wonder if he got that term from the same source I did. (The original term, though, was "man bag," but I've just always been calling it "man purse.")

Joey's voice: "Has someone been watching too much Friends? I think so!"

Thursday, May 01, 2008

thank you.

We had our final edition of 7-8:30pm "Chinese Radio" last night. It was a great show, and I loved it when some listeners called in and said how much they enjoyed the show. Thank you, but don't be sad, because I'm going to stick around, with other great hosts at KRCL... to bring great music and topics to our listeners, with some of the different show formats and times... so stay tuned!

KRCL studio
but I'll miss the live studio.

KRCL log
and the studio log.