Friday, April 30, 2010

33°C And Blue...

It's a hot and sunny day today. The sky was so clear and blue. Ironically, MSN forecast thunderstorms here around now. Not happening!?

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Just Puffs...

For many days, we all here have been having trouble with deciding what to eat. We do not even know what we want anymore. It is so difficult to come up with something that everyone has appetite to eat. Maybe it's the heat in this country..............

These are the easier version of cheese puff pastry, instead of twisting the pastry I decided to go easy on myself by cutting the pastry into small pieces. Not only it was faster, because it was a lot less challenging to make. It also allowed me to put more cheese on the top. That's the best part.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I Want Teppanyaki...

It 's only a few minutes after four in the afternoon. The sky was dark, there were lightnings and thunders and the rain started to fall....

The day like this reminds me of our recent time in Tokyo. We managed to have Teppanyaki for our dinner in the city and we could not be more excited about that. We had been looking for some good looking Teppanyaki place and we found one above Daimaru in Tokyo Station.

I am drooling... looking at hese pictures.... the beef and the scallops are soooooo....scrumptious...
I could have these tonite. In fact I want them so bad for dinner.....!!! I wish.

With a glass of Sangria while waiting.....

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Red Petunias

The little Petunia plant that we have, has started blossoming....

Monday, April 26, 2010

Happiness Is...

It was a rough week last week and I am glad to start another new week. A sick kid, a back pain, mildew, worms and snails in the garden... I had about enough of physical work. I probably will have some sort of the same old things this week, but it is another week of living. Here's a yellow Zinnia in our garden, taken a few days ago one sunny afternoon. Looking stellar, bright and gives hope.

I saw an episode of Mr. Monk last night, the one that he went camping with Randy and some kids. Mr. Monk asked Randy of the secret of his happiness. He said he saw a bumper sticker that said "Happiness is a choice.."and that was kind of an "aha" moment for him. I remember reading Andrew Matthews book on Happiness too. I remember what he wrote there, basically, if you want to be happy, just be happy. Don't wait until have three million dollars or your kids are all finish school and go to college. Or after your kids start working and get married and so forth... that will go on and on and on... Be happy now. I understand that. But yet, it is hard to put it in practice.

I was not happy last night and I try to put the meaning of Happiness is a choice into my head. I said to myself, "I want to be happy, I choose to be happy. So I am happy!", but I still was not happy. I tried to think of things that make me happy... like the plants.... nah... my enemies are destroying what I build in the garden and I could not be happy thinking of my poor plants. I think of the food that I could make. Nothing, zip, no positive effect, no smile. I tried a few other things like ..... my children, my family, my good health, my home. Nothing. It is always easier to say than to do, I know that.

But. Just. Be. Happy. Have a good week!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Hey, Soul Sister - Cover By 8-Year Old Boy

I woke up really early, which is not good for a Saturday, I really did not expect not to be able to have more sleep on Saturday. Bad. Anyway, after the rain last night, the garden looked wonderful, I saw many colorful flowers and some leaves eaten by some insects, but the beauty of the blossoming flowers just overcome the unauthorized party there. I will get something to get rid of them....

Then this, the video that melts my heart. A little 8-year old boy layed ukulele and sang Hey, Soul Sister by Train. I am still smiling..... WATCH IT!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

More Lantanas...

Our Lantanas are blossoming again, more flowers than before ....

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


This word, Eyjafjallajökull, or more easily termed as Iceland Volcano has given headaches to travelers, airports, airlines, great material for news people and million dollars of loss to many. It also, just couldn't help it, can give people laughter and joy when one attempts to pronounce. Here is a hilarious video from Huff posts on this. Enjoy.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Four O'Clock

DH got 10 seeds of Mirabilis Jalapa (Four O'Clock) from his caddy sometime ago early in January. I can't possibly imagine how playing golf and carrying the gold clubs ended up with 10 seeds of a plant. That does not matter anyway.

The seeds are large, so it was not hard to plant. I used to have this in the house where I grew up and just took it for granted that they were there. By looking at the seeds, I knew what they are. So there I was, planting them because DH wanted them to be planted. I was not hopeful that they would grow. I was wrong. Seven of them grew and they grew really well. They produce lovely flowers daily and they are so easy to look after. So far I only have the pink ones, but I hope to get the white and yellow ones too. Anybody?

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Manual, In The Toilet

Flushing down the toilet in Japan at times can be a challenge for someone who does not read Japanese. The toilets there are so high-tech and vary in terms of ways to use them. They have so many different features and without proper guidance, one must try every single button there to try to flush. At times, we do not even need to touch anything, it only requires a simple wave in from of a smart detector. Simply amazing.

This manual was found in one of the toilets at the Narita International Airport. I guess it is catered for international users as it is translated in a couple languages.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Kaempferia Galanga - The Flower

We have Kaempferia Galanga (Kencur in Indonesian) and one morning I found a pretty flower blossomed. More information about this plant can be found here.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Small, Round And Pink

This is the small type of Zinnia that has blossomed in our garden. Its diameter is just around 3cm, slightly over an inch. The shape is so awesomely round and the layers stack up really nicely and it looks so close to perfection.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Strawberry Ice Cream

I am always on the look out for strawberry on sale. They tend to be expensive here, as they are imported all the way from the USA or Australia or New Zealand. Some of them also come from South Korea and Japan. Still, they are not inexpensive.

I got some when they were on sale early in the week. Some of them were converted into ice cream and they are handy and yummy.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

White Zinnia

It turns out that we white Zinnia too. I didn't know that.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

From Kitakaro Store

We went to Kitakaro store in Otaru, Hokkaido, it is a store that sell many types of good looking and delicious desserts. Their famous product seems to be their Baumkuchen. They are available in many other places too in Sapporo and reportedly Kitakaro has many chains in Japan. Baumkuchen are sold there under many different brands too, not only Kitakaro.

Baumkuchen is German layered cake, but surprisingly is popular in this country. We got a box and brought them home and are working on finishing them. They do not have long expiration date.

The picture down there is inside the store too, a couple of their employees making and baking the cakes.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Thai Basil - The Babies

We have begun planting the seeds from our Thai basil a few weeks ago. Some have grown nicely. In the container above, some of the plants were taken from the area surrounding the original plants. The seeds fell and grew and we picked them up and moved them there.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Pink First

Our first of second generation Zinnias has opened up and it's a girl, it's pink!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Cheez Twists

Day 2 at home, the business was to bake cheese twists. How we miss them.... so much!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Growing Fast

Some of the Zinnias that we planted and grew on their own, thanks to the wind that blew the seeds away, grow so fast. They were planted just over a month ago after my two sisters left early in March. Upon returning from Japan, I saw the flower buds appearing in many of the plants, some of which were still small, but maybe old enough to produce flowers.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Immediate Business...

When we were in Japan, we sampled lots of food. Some of which, we do not even know the names. We sampled mostly from the small set-ups in the basement of many department stores such as Daimaru, Takashimaya, Tokyu and many other names. There were so many tempting snacks that we just had to try. There were many bakeries and cake shops with so many beautiful creations too. They are absolutely innovative with their products.

Some offer simple bread or cheese bread. One bakery offered sample in generous sizes, so generous compared to those offered in this country. This place barely gives out samples anyway. The cheese bread got us thinking, "We have to make this when we get back....!" So we did, the morning after we arrived and we even put a more generous amount of cheese than those shops in Japan. Yum.

Back To Blue Evening Sky

Back to the island, back to the warm weather and nasty rain. Back to the garden and plants and kitchen. Back and being presented with one of the bluest sky I have seen in a long time in the evening. 7:12 PM. So blue.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Asakusa, So Sweet....

Every time we go to Tokyo, we never fail to visit Asakusa. Not so much for its famous temple Sensoji, which is a tourist attraction. What we love the most is the small shops along the alley leading to the temple. They sell all sort of things. Nice looking stuff.

The shops offer Japanese souvenirs, food and snacks, sweets, bags and many other things. You can find umbrellas, teas and kimonos too.

These are sweets from one of the sweet shops over there, they are very good looking and very nicely packaged. Not being able to resist, we bought a couple packs of them. After we finish exploring the place, we normally stop by at the restaurant by the main gate and have our tempura and kakiage there. Each time, never fails.

Anything Else But...

Nearly all the food that we saw in Sapporo was tempting, the food that we ate were great. The ramen was fantastic, the tempura was delicious, the gyoza was superb and the cakes, the bread and everything else were amazing and so well done. But after a few days of those, I could not hep feeling a bit tired of all the goodness that the Japanese food brought.

By the time we arrived in Tokyo, I felt like eating something else. Anything, but Japanese dish. So did my little partner. We walked along the small streets nearby our hotel in Akasaka area and saw a couple of Italian restaurants. While DH was still trying to get in his Japanese meal, we all finally decided to go for Italian.

Thank God, they had English menu! We had salad to share and three individual dishes. The salad had some mozzarella, the dressing was pretty mild and for us, it was a nice change. We really wanted our vegetables.

The Quattro Pizza came next, with three little plates. DH had all the intention to share it and we tried some while waiting for our dishes to come.

After we finished the pizza, we waited a while before I asked the waitress to bring both the dishes that we were having at the same time. I knew that she understood what I meant, given her limited English. She told the cooks, I saw. I started to be anxious as I saw the next table of ours had their pasta arrived one by one by one. Each plate was for sharing. I started to think, maybe this was the way it is in Japan.... Then came Gnocchi, alone. That's K's order.

As I waited long enough, looking at my daughter finishing her food, I had to ask. I did. Of course, I was told it's coming. My risotto with porcini mushroom, came much later.... It was really good though. I saw a big table with a family and some adults, eight people altogether and told my buddies, they will finish their dinner at midnight!