The food part of this blog has moved to I'll see all you foodies over there!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

San Diego

Summer's first visit to San Diego. My older brother Mitsu is moving to Michigan and made a stop in San Diego to see my parents before he left. Knowing we aren't going to Michigan to visit, we headed down there to see them off. So it was a weekend of fun for the kids.

Kids sure love playing in the sand.

Rock hopping on the jetty.

I made a shirt with Mitsu making a funny face as a farewell gift. He liked the shirt. ^_^

Family pic, (minus my younger bro Teru and hubby David.)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Daring Bakers-June 09-Bakewell

The June Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Jasmine of Confessions of a Cardamom Addict and Annemarie of Ambrosia and Nectar. They chose a Traditional (UK) Bakewell Tart... er... pudding that was inspired by a rich baking history dating back to the 1800's in England.
Like many regional dishes there’s no “one way” to make a Bakewell Tart…er…Pudding, but most of today’s versions fall within one of two types. The first is the “pudding” where a layer of jam is covered by an almondy pastry cream and baked in puff pastry. The second is the “tart” where a rich shortcrust pastry holds jam and an almondy sponge cake-like filling. The Daring Baker version is a combination of the two: a sweet almond-flavoured shortcrust pastry, frangipane and jam.

I was happy to be able to use my tart pan, come to think of it, it may have been my first time ^_^.
At first I was going to use lemon curd for the filling. But after finding an easy blueberry jam recipe I decided to go with that since it'll get me to try a new recipe. The jam was a speedy refrigerator jam, found the recipe at
The finished tart looked burnt but it wasn't...thanks goodness. The shortbread crust got a little soggy from the jam, but over all I think it came out good.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Idyllwild to Palm Springs

Emi & I hiked from Idyllwild to the Palm Springs Tramway (8 miles) today. I had done the hike via a different route last year with David but this was Emi's first and I think she was looking forward to riding the tram.
Started off heading up Devil's Slide.
Saddle Junction...there were fields and fields of ferns creating a beautiful green carpet.

Willow Creek

Some rocks with some strange spots, all in this one area.

Getting close to Long Valley. Abby and Sage would of loved climbing on these huge boulders.

Riding the tram down. Pretty amazing site. It was a nice hike.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Cherry Picking in Cherry Valley

Cherry picking has turned into an annual tradition with my kids and my parents. We always meet at the same place and eat at the same restaurant afterwards. The kids enjoy u-pick place but there just isn't enough of them around us. Cherry picking goes well, the fruit isn't too small where it takes forever to fill our container (like blueberries) and we can eat quite a bit before we get full (unlike apples), and yeah, they taste great!
Need a ladder Sage?

Look at all those cherries!

Climbing the trees is part of the fun. ^_^

Monday, June 22, 2009

Speedy Blueberry Refrigerator Jam

I know jam's supposed to be pretty easy but I have yet to make a successful batch. Even when I follow the recipe on the pectin box they just haven't come out quite right. I needed a jam for this recipe I was making and was happy when I found this one. So simple, how could I go wrong? So here I went, and they came out pretty good! Maybe a little too sweet but overall I'm quite happy with the results. I found the recipe at Foolproof, I tell ya.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Tamales, ole!

The first time I tried making tamales they didn't turn out so well. And after all that work I was bummed and didn't think I'd try tamales ever again. The masa part just tasted horrible. But the other day I found already prepared masa at the Mexican market and decided to give it another try. I cooked some pork in the crock pot with some garlic, bay leaves, and onions, and after it was tender enough I mixed them with some enchilada sauce.

I had some helpers this time so it only took a couple hours to make 50 tamales.
The tamales came out much better this time. The filling tasted a little light with the masa, but with a little salsa all was good!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Yeay, Buttons!

I had some buttons madefor our expo this Saturday, but since the stars didn't align for that one they'll probably end up on Etsy and the kids' bags. They're 1" buttons, I wasn't quite sure if the images would look too small but they came out pretty good.
The line up: Pedal 1 Long bike, Creepy Dave, Marmu, Evil Abby, Peace Bike, and LoPan.
There are so many photos of Abby making funny faces, there could be a whole series just on her. ^_^

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Homemade Menma

I'd have to say one of my favorite ramen noodle condiment is menma. Menma is a Japanese condiment made out of dried bamboo shoots, often served with soup noodles. This is one item I cannot find in the Asian section of the grocery store. Even the Chinese stores carry something close, but it's usually seasoned with chili oil, so I have to get this at a Japanese store. My last visit to my parents house they gave me a bag full of unseasoned sliced bamboo shoots and told me I should try making menma. They were easier to make than I thought and came out quite tasty.

Here is an English recipe with general directions. I used a recipe from a Japanese site, here's the link with the step-by-step photos, and my translation:
Homemade Menma
300 grams bamboo shoots
1 T. sesame oil
500 cc water
1 T. dried chinese stock
1/2 T. sugar (to taste)
pinch salt (to taste)
1/2 T. soy sauce (to taste)
Slice the bamboo shoots into thin strips. (If using shoots from a can, boil in hot water for approx. 2 minutes first to get rid of the smell.) Saute in sesame oil, once coated with oil add the water, stock, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer until half of the liquid has evaporated. Add soy sauce and cook till most of the liquid is gone. (I added a little more sesame oil at the end for that added flavor.)
Not only is this good on top of noodles, it's good in fried rice and makes a good beer snack.

Applesauce Doughnuts

I know fresh donuts are good but something about that rolling out thing just turns me off. But donut holes...they're another story. So easy to make and tastes like donuts, can't beat that. This one had applesauce in it. Any little edge to make something that is obviously not healthy into somewhat healthy gets a big thumbs up in my book! (although I couldn't really taste it.) Only alterations to the recipe is that I omitted the ground cloves and halved the nutmeg amount. These tasted good rolled in sugar and also plain. Maybe next time I'll try a maple glaze. That sounds goooood!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Abby's 8th B-day

We took the kids to Knott's Soak City in Palm Springs for Abby's birthday this year. Wanting to avoid the weekend crowd, the kids missed school and we went on her actual birthday. It had been cold where we live, cloudy and in the 40's so I wasn't sure how the weather would be but was glad to see it was sunny.
Sage liked this one, he rode this one many times.
The wave pool, kinda like the beach but with pool water. I'm not sure why but my kids hung out here a lot.

Sage and Abby chickened out in this one so Emi and I rode it together. They make you climb up all those stairs carrying your huge innertube, but it was worth it.

This one must of been Abby's favorite. A huge loop, you just drift. A relaxing, calm "ride."

Her birthday cake, a chocolate layered cake with marshmallow frosting and "magic" candles. ^_^

One of her gifts, a shoulder bag. I had her draw a picture and then I screenprinted it on it. That's Marmu. She loves bags, she's going to turn into a bag lady!