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Thursday, January 29, 2009

DB Challenge - January - Tuiles

I don't know why I procrastinate and then kick myself for doing so. It always happens that the DB challenge date is always around when I am super busy and I barely squeeze in the time to meet the challenge. Luckily this month's challenge were cookies, not something that takes all day to make. I had always wanted to try making tuiles, so I was quite happy with this month's challenge.

This month's challenge is brought to us by Karen of Bake My Day and Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte aka Kochtopf. They have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angélique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux.

Traditionally, tuiles are thin, crisp almond cookies that are gently molded over a rolling pin or arched form while they are still warm. Once set, their shape resembles the curved French roofing tiles for which they're named. The Dutch angle: traditionally this batter was used to bake flat round cookies on 31st December, representing the year unfold. On New Years day however, the same batter was used but this day they were presented to well-wishers shaped as cigars and filled with whipped cream, symbolizing the New Year that's about to roll on. And of course the batter is sometimes called tulip-paste....

There were several recipes for the batter, we were to choose one, shape it, and then pair it with something light. So I chose to shape it with a round cardboard stencil, and bend it to make a "bowl", put in a scoop of vanilla ice cream and some blackberries. We ate these for dessert tonight, and they were very good.

Making "bowls" were a little tricky, so half of the batch turned into cookies. Here's one with some valentine sprinkles on it.
Made another one with some sliced almonds.
Seeing that the batch looked like it wasn't going to make much, I doubled it and still only got about 16 cookies. I had a hard time spreading the batter over the stencil, it was a little frustrating. So I was telling myself, I doubt I'd be ever doing this again! And then David eats one and tells me this is THE BEST COOKIE I HAVE EVER MADE!!! Seriously?! I guess I'll have to re-visit this one someday...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


As someone who makes things handmade, and know of many who are in the same boat, there are certain laws that really destroy people like us. It is such a shame that the government needs to control everything and tells us they are doing it to protect us. What is this world turning into?

As parents and concerned citizens I’m sure most of us at one time or another have been confronted with the question of lead poisoning. But have you asked yourself what your government is doing to protect your children from lead contained in toys? The answer? They're banning toys, taking books from schools and libraries, hurting low income families, killing entrepreneurial spirit and risking putting the economy in an even greater depression than we've seen in decades. I'd like to introduce you to their solution: the CPSIA.

Do you know about the CPSIA? No? Then I ask you to take a few minutes to find out about it.The CPSIA stands for Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, a new set of laws that will come into effect on 10 February, 2009 and will impact many, many people in a negative way. Make no mistake, this is very real. View it for yourself. If Forbes, the American Library Association and numerous other media are paying attention, perhaps you should too. How will these new laws affect you?

Well, here are a few examples:

To the Parents of Young Students:Due to the new law, expect to see the cost of school supplies sky rocket. While those paper clips weren't originally intended for your student to use, they will need to be tested now that your 11-year-old needs them for his school project. This law applies to any and all school supplies (textbooks, pencils, crayons, paper, etc.) being used by children under 12.

To the Avid Reader:Due to the new law, all children's books will be pulled from library and school shelves, as there is no exemption for them. That’s okay though, there's always television. Our children don’t need to learn the love of reading after all.Article from the American Library Association

To the Lover of All Things Handmade:Due to the new law, you will now be given a cotton ball and an instruction manual so you can make it yourself since that blanket you originally had your eye on for $50 will now cost you around $1,000 after it's passed testing. It won't even be the one-of-a-kind blanket you were hoping for. Items are destroyed in the testing process making one-of-a-kind items virtually impossible. So that gorgeous hand-knit hat you bought your child this past winter won’t be available next winter.

To the Environmentalist:Due to the new law, all items in non-compliance will now be dumped into our already overflowing landfills. Imagine not just products from the small business owners, but the Big Box Stores as well. You can't sell it so you must toss it. Or be potentially sued for selling it. You can't even give them away. If you are caught, it is still a violation.

To the Second-Hand Shopper:Due to the new law, you will now need to spend $20 for that brand new pair of jeans for your 2-year old, rather than shop at the Goodwill for second hand. Many resale shops are eliminating children's items all together to avoid future lawsuits.

To the Entrepreneur:Due to this new law, you will be forced to adhere to strict testing of your unique products or discontinue to make and/or sell them. Small businesses will be likely to be unable to afford the cost of testing and be forced to close up shop. Due to the current economic state, you'll have to hope for the best when it comes to finding a new job in Corporate America.

To the Antique Toy Collector:Due to the new law, you'd better start buying now because it's all going to private collection and will no longer be available to purchase. “Because the new rules apply retroactively, toys and clothes already on the shelf will have to be thrown out if they aren't certified as safe.”

To the American Economy:Already struggling under an economy that hasn’t been this weak in decades, the American economy will be hit harder with the inevitable loss of jobs and revenues from suppliers, small businesses and consumers. The required testing is far too costly and restrictive for small businesses or individuals to undertake.

To the Worldwide Economy:Due to this new law, many foreign manufacturers have already pulled out of the US market. You can imagine the impact of this on their businesses. If you think this is exaggerating, here is a recent article from Forbes

And for those of you prepared to be stupefied and boggled, The New Law

Did you know? If this upsets or alarms you, please react.

We are having a blog-in where all of us with blogs post about the CPSIA and its effects on the same day(s) in order to make as much of an impact as possible.We're hoping to go ahead with this and have picked this Wednesday (today) as the first date in order to hopefully get as many people on board as possible. Please share this post and help end the madness! Thank you!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Men Without Gears

Can you say "Cheeeeesssy"? That was the name of David's singlespeed team for the 12-hrs. of Temecula on Saturday. Our friend Jason puts on these 3-race series every year and is kind enough to let us set up a booth. The weather was kinda crummy, cloudy and cold. Just glad it wasn't raining.

Man, what a long week I've had. Making shirts for this expo and my circuit boards came in with a bigtime RUSH job on it. Squeezed work in wherever I can, staying up working close to midnight, in between being a mom and driving my kids around. So when raceday finally came around, although I coulda used that day to work, it was nice break just sitting around all day drinking beer and laughing with David's crazy friends.

Manning the booth means I can't go out and take ride pics, just ones of the guys hanging out. Btw...nice socks! ^_^

The kids made some signs for the booth, Sage made one that says: "Be Awesome, Buy a Shirt" as quoted by Brendan, whom we've had the pleasure of having stayed with us for a week.

Here's some new designs that debuted that day. A pic of a Pennyfarther bike.

Anti Gear Hero... inspired by Velocitramp. That's David with his old W.U.S.S. sportin' the AA jersey lookin' all emo...

Can't leave out Bikeman... he's our signature shirt. In new colors...

And we even tried out some totes. Our next expo will be in May at the Idyllwild Spring Challenge. Maybe we'll add some buttons into the mix next time.

Emis Art Show

Emi took art as her elective last semester and they had a group show. The students, rather than the teacher, chose which pieces to exhibit and from seeing what she chose, she seems to like the oil pastels. They looked good.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Green Tea Bread

There's this Matcha Tea Bread from Trader Joe's that's really good. But there's something about mixes that say there's something else in there that shouldn't be so I looked for a recipe. Found one that came close, but it was very, very thick and just didn't look right. So I added some sour cream and a little more sugar. The end result, a bread that wasn't as big as I would of liked, and the tea flavor could be stronger. But it's pretty close to what I have searching for. After a few more tinkering, and a more favorable result, I'll post the recipe. ^_^


I made some foccacia to go with some lasagna the other day. This batch came out better than past attempts that they were thicker, and not so thin and crunchy. But I have a tendency of overbaking/cooking most things, and the bottom got burnt. But I am hopeful next time will be better.
Foccacia #1: eggplant, mushrooms, and sliced olives.
Foccacia #2: Plain with olive oil and garlic salt.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Homemade Simple Kimchi

I'm not a big fan of spicy foods but for some reason I like Kimchi. Yeah, I know it's weird, but it's like those people to hate tomatoes but love ketchup and salsa. But usually the kimchi sold at stores are a bit too spicy or just plain expensive so I tried making my own.
First, I made a paste: 1T grated/pressed garlic, 2-3 T (or to taste) korean chili powder, 1T salted shrimp (tiny little shrimp in a jar, found at a korean market), 1/2 apple (grated), a little salt, and 1T ground sesame seeds.
I used one whole small napa cabbage, washed and drained, then cut into 1" sections. Took a little bit of salt (about 3% of the weight of the cabbage) and rubbed and massaged it in to pull out the water. Let sit about 20 minutes.

Squeeze out the water of the cabbage and mix with the chili paste. Put into a container and let sit in refrigerator for about a week. As more water comes out of the cabbage, it creates its own brine. I used 2T chili powder so it was on the mild side so the kids can eat it too. Simple and delicious.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Can I Get it Used in a Sentence?

Today was the annual spelling bee at our school. This was Emi's third straight year as a contestant. She does better each year, this year she made it to 3rd place. The winner and the runner-up go on to the district bee. A lot of kids were eliminated in the first round. It's gotta be tough to study for a spelling bee during the holidays. I tested her on some of the words, there were words that I didn't even know the meaning of. The word that did Emi in this year: fragrance. I bet she'll never misspell that word again. ^_^

Let's Try This Again...

Still on the lookout for Homemade Gummies. I found a recipe that uses fruit juice instead of Jell-o so I gave it a shot. I used grapefruit juice (since that's all I had in my fridge today), and poured them into little molds. One batch made 64 gummies about 1" each. They came out softer than the gummies you find in stores, which is what I'm looking for. The search continues...

UPDATE: After letting them dry for several days, the gummies got harder. I think I'll try this recipe again with a different flavor juice.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Can't Stop Laughing

David's new look... with the "happy" moustache. We'll see how long he sports this look!

Emi & Abby's Lemon Tea Muffins

I was having a productive day... making turkey soup with the turkey carcass from last night's belated Thanksgiving dinner, some more english toffee, loaves of sheepherder bread for tonight's soup and salad dinner, and this year's first mochi. I don't know if that made my girls want to bake something, they wanted to bake cookies at first, but the cookie sheets were being used for my bread. So I suggested they make muffins instead. They chose Lemon Tea Muffins, minus the lemon topping. It's interesting how my kids choose to make things I would never choose to make. I'm not a big fan of lemon in baked goods (except for lemon bars ^_^) so I never would of made these. They came out pretty good and I think the girls were pretty happy with them.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Microwave Peanut Brittle

Easy and tasty? I'm all over it. I've tried this one before, maybe a year ago and I remembered it yesterday. I took all my toffee down to SD so I needed something to satisfy my sweets craving and candy bars just didn't sound good. I ended up eating about a third of it soon after it was made and made my stomach feel funky, but it was worth it! Here's the recipe, I did end up cooking it a few minutes longer having read the reviews that everyone's microwave is different. Too bad Emi can't eat this, but she asked if I can make this with soy nuts. Sure, why not?

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Ebisu Express

A plug for my older brother's side business... Ebisu Express, an online Japanese goods site. Many of us live where there's no Japanese stores, nor Asian stores, but still crave Japanese food. Now you can get it delivered to your home! Selection is slowly growing so check them out often. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated as well! (link also located on my side links. ^_^)

Kenchinjiru (Japanese Vegetable Soup) & Sweet Potato Rice

It's soup season and one of my favorite soups is Kenchijiru, a Japanese vegetable soup. Originally from Kenchoji Temple, the first Zen Buddhist temple in Japan, this warming soup is a typical temple dish, made from root vegetables stir-fried in sesame oil then simmered in konbu-flavored broth. Crumbling a block of tofu into the soup for all to share is an example of the Zen belief that food should be divided equally between the residents of a temple, regardless of their status. Today soup was made with burdock roots, carrots, taro potato, daikon radish, konyaku (yam cake), and tofu, seasoned with dashi (fish stock) and soy sauce.

The soup was paired with a Japanese sweet potato (satsu-imo) rice. The rice was cooked in dashi stock, sake, and a pinch of sugar, and then black sesame seeds sprinkled on top before serving.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Monkey Bread

I made these for our x-mas breakfast. Monkey bread I can make the night before, freeze, and bake in the morning. Nice... No yeast, so no need for waiting for the dough to rise which was really nice. However, that caused the bread so not be as fluffy, and me forgetting to cover with foil as directed let to a somewhat dry bread. But it was still fun to eat and our house smelled good. And not having to cook on x-mas morning... priceless. Recipe by King Arthur Flour.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Happy 2009!

Wow, what a week. We headed down to San Diego after x-mas for nine days. My brother's been housesitting for we went there for a night. The kids like spending the night at places other than home, it's like vacation.
Ate some tamales and Mexican pastries for breakfast at some parking lot. The tamales were really good. It's got me thinking about making another attempt at making them.
Robb Field, near Ocean Beach.

Tried some Vietnamese sandwiches. There were some sweet pickled radishes and carrots in them. Interesting and different, but were quite good.

Visited the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park where my younger brother works.

Saw an exhibit by Minoru Koide, who makes neat stuff like bowls and vases out of blocks of wood.

Mission Bay Park. We turned the playground into an obsticle course.

Hiked Cowles Mtn.

Allied Gardens Rec Center.

New Year's Eve dinner. Make-your-own sushi handrolls. Mmmm.

New Year's Day breakfast.

Mitsu brought some fireworks he found at a Chinese store.

Everyday was good food and drink.

Found some sort of Charger rally thing in front of Junior Seau's restaurant. Different radio stations set up booths with games where you can win stuff. We all did good.

Family picture. My kids in the front, parents off to the right, sister-in-law and nephew in the middle, and me with my two brothers in the back.
And then I came home to find I have two Etsy sales! 2009's off to a good start...