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Japan 2016 Travel Journal, Part 2 Kyoto

Posted by on May 31, 2016 in Blog, Confessions, Travel & Local Adventures | 1 comment

Japan 2016 Travel Journal, Part 2 Kyoto

  Kyoto is one of my favorite sightseeing destinations in Japan. Throughout my life, I’ve had the privilege of visiting this beautiful city a few times, but because I’ve visited at such different stages in my life, it felt familiar, yet also new each time. (Sorry, some of the images are large and may load slowly; I forgot to compress them!) My younger experiences included visits when I was in early elementary school, followed by visits in middle school and my last visit was likely in college when I travelled with a handful of...

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I Am Back! Japan 2016 Travel Journal, Part 1 Arriving in Osaka

Posted by on May 22, 2016 in Blog, Confessions, Travel & Local Adventures | 3 comments

I Am Back! Japan 2016 Travel Journal, Part 1 Arriving in Osaka

It’s been over a year since I last shared anything on my personal blog, and it’s also been a year since I was last in Japan. I thought I’d kickstart my blog by sharing a few pictures from our travels to Kyoto and Tokyo this spring. I also have several pictures from last year’s trip to Japan in spring 2015 that I’ve wanted to share for more than a year now, but somehow time just kept slipping away. Maybe I’ll get around to sharing those too. Stay tuned. * * * * * We like to fly into Kansai International...

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Happy Girls Day! Hinamatsuri Party Ideas 2015

Posted by on March 3, 2015 in Blog, Confessions, Family Favorites, Japanese Celebrations, Japanese Cuisine Favorites, Meal Plan Ideas, Special Occasions | 2 comments

Happy Girls Day! Hinamatsuri Party Ideas 2015

  Happy Japanese Girls’ Day! Today, March 3rd, is Hinamatsuri, also known as Girls’ Day or Doll Festival. Since Bebe was born, this Japanese holiday is one that we celebrate annually in my family, and is something my daughter looks forward to each year. Many years in my childhood, my Mom would host Hinamatsuri parties for me and a handful of my friends, and now I in turn have the pleasure of doing the same for my daughter. Because it is bad luck to leave the Hinamatsuri dolls’ displayed after March 3rd, I’ve...

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The Magic of Kinako (Roasted Soy Bean Flour)

Posted by on January 14, 2015 in Blog, Desserts & Treats, Japanese Cuisine Favorites, Vegetables & Vegetarian, Wagashi | Japanese Sweets | 4 comments

The Magic of Kinako (Roasted Soy Bean Flour)

As a kid, one of my favorite Japanese foods was sweetened kinako, or roasted soy bean flour. Of course, back then, I had no clue as to what the dry, golden brown, powdery flour-like substance called kinako was, other than the fact that my mom said it was made from soy, but to me, it was magical. It was the most delicious food ever, especially when my mom dusted fresh warm mochi with sweetened kinako. The sugary sweetness of the kinako, combined with its natural toasty flavor was addictive, to say the least. I remember licking sweetened kinako...

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Slow Cooker Recipe for Kuromame (Sweet Black Soy Beans)

Posted by on December 30, 2014 in Appetizers, Blog, Japanese Celebrations, Japanese Cuisine Favorites, Slow Cooker, Special Occasions, Vegetables & Vegetarian | 0 comments

Slow Cooker Recipe for Kuromame (Sweet Black Soy Beans)

  Last year, my mom taught me a new osechi ryori (traditional food for celebrating Japanese New Year) dish that she learned from a friend of hers: kuromame, or sweet black soy beans cooked in the slow cooker. [Photo Credit: Hideki Ueha] This slow cooker recipe is a life saver, given I’ve burned my share of kuromame batches by forgetting about the beans simmering on the stove. The beans need to simmer for a while in order to achieve the “tender on the outside – firm on the inside” texture that is characteristic of this...

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Crispy Sweet Red Bean Dumplings

Posted by on December 28, 2014 in Blog, Desserts & Treats, Japanese Celebrations, Special Occasions, Traditional Holidays, Wagashi | Japanese Sweets | 2 comments

Crispy Sweet Red Bean Dumplings

It’s hard to believe 2014 is coming to a close and Christmas already came and went. I know it’s been awhile since I shared anything on my blog here, but believe it or not I had a post ready for Thanksgiving, and then again one for Christmas. The only problem is that I wasn’t able to find the photos I took of my food.  So those posts have been saved until my archiving (and technology), backup, and memory (laptop’s not mine) issues can be resolved. I’ve been fairly busy blogging for About.com, in addition to my...

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Carmel Apples & Happy Halloween!

Posted by on October 31, 2014 in Blog, Desserts & Treats, Special Occasions, Traditional Holidays | 1 comment

Carmel Apples & Happy Halloween!

Caramel… oozing all over crisp sweet apples. That’s exactly how I like my caramel apples. Last year, Bebe and I made these caramel apples for a Halloween party and honestly, these were just as fun to make as they were to eat. Unfortunately, this year the “Halloween Crunch” (which can be likened to the Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Year holiday crunch) really snuck up on us. Instead of making these fun caramel apples again, we made cupcakes out of the box and decorated them… which in hindsight, might have taken just...

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Spicy Konnyaku

Posted by on October 16, 2014 in Appetizers, Bento, Blog, Japanese Cuisine Favorites, Vegetables & Vegetarian | 3 comments

Spicy Konnyaku

Konnyaku, is the Japanese term for the root vegetable (plant) or yam cake, also known as konjac, konjak, konjaku, devil’s tongue, or elephant yam. To me, konnyaku is a vegetable that was as common as broccoli at our family’s dinner table when I was growing up. It’s also a favorite of mine. I loved it, even before I knew what I was eating. I just accepted it as “konnyaku”, a Japanese food that my Mom cooked, and it wasn’t until I was in middle school that I bothered to ask what it was: yam cake. In...

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Mini Katsudon

Posted by on August 31, 2014 in Blog, Chicken, Family Favorites, Japanese Cuisine Favorites, Meat & Poultry, Pork, Rice & Sushi | 2 comments

Mini Katsudon

Mini katsudon is the epitome of a quick weeknight meal that will fool everyone into thinking you slaved over your stove for at least an hour or two. I like to let my family think I’ve slaved over a beautiful Japanese meal once in awhile, even though I really haven’t. But they’re starting to catch on. I guess you could say I’ve been having a hard time finding time to blog, writing for work, consulting for a new client, and of course, cooking and still being a full-time stay at home mom and now a volunteer mommy at...

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Shio Koji Asparagus

Posted by on July 23, 2014 in Blog, Japanese Cuisine Favorites, Vegetables & Vegetarian | 2 comments

Shio Koji Asparagus

Shio koji asparagus is fresh asparagus sautéed with shio koji and olive oil. It’s a really easy side dish for enjoying fresh asparagus and goes great with almost any seafood or protein. Summer is still in full swing and we’re still as busy as ever. With our schedule full of activities and fun, I haven’t had much time to spend in the kitchen, other than to throw together quick and easy meals.  Shio koji works great for quick meals since you only need a small portion of shio koji and these asparagus spears can be whipped up...

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