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November 25, 2016


Food, Japan, Life

This is our third year of hosting Thanksgiving dinner. Unlike previous years where we hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for all our Japanese and European friends, this year we hosted Thanksgiving for E’s Girl Scouts of America troop.

It was our troops very first Thanksgiving since it was created a year ago. Everyone brought a dish and everything was incredibly delicious. Since everyone brought something to share, I only had to cook a few things instead of the entire dinner.


One mom read a book about the first Thanksgiving and about the pilgrims to the girls so that they could appreciate this holiday. To make this even more special, it was the first Thanksgiving in many years for some of our troop moms who have lived in Tokyo for many years. I can understand the nostalgia and the feelings of homesickness during the holidays so I was really happy we could host this special dinner for everyone.

Sometimes, I really miss being able to celebrate this holiday with my family. My family’s Thanksgiving is always a mish mash of food that ranged from Spaghetti in meat sauce to the traditional turkey to the red bean soup dessert my grandmother made every Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s always a strange variety at the dinner table but it was my family’s tradition so it was always special.

Of course, even if I were to be able to celebrate with my family again, it wouldn’t be the same since my grandmother is no longer here with us.

So now it’s up to me to start my own tradition while living thousands of miles away from the rest of our family. It’s why even though it’s a lot of work every year, I want to host a Thanksgiving dinner for our friends. That is my tradition.

November 17, 2011

The One with the Big Mayo

Food, Marriage

Sometimes I wonder about Jason. He’s a very strange person and he never ceases to surprise me with the things he does.

For example, today, as I began making dinner, I realized that we didn’t have any mayonnaise for the sauce I was making.

Me: Jason, do you think you can go downstairs and buy some mayo? I need some for the recipe and we’re out.
Jason: Sure. I’ll be right back.

Several minutes later…

Jason: Is THIS enough mayo? *holds a bottle of mayo up to me*
Me: *stare at him, then at the mayo, then back at him*
Jason: *he smiles at me proudly* I got this big thing of mayo for only 500 yen! It’s even made for restaurant use!
Me: But that’s a lot of mayo…
Jason: And it’s only 500 yen!
Me: What are we going to do with all this mayo?
Jason: At least you won’t run out of it anytime soon!
Me: *looks at expiration date* But it’s going to expire January of 2012!
Jason: Really? Only 2 months? Then I guess we’ll just have to eat a lot of it before it expires.
Me: You mean you’ll eat a lot of it because daughter and I will be gone most of December.
Jason: Minor point.

So how big is this bottle of mayo?

A whole kilo. How in the world am I going to use it all up?

Well, at least it was cheap.

November 14, 2011

A Post that’s not really a Post


Today’s been a long day. My head hurts and I’m tired so I’m just going to put up a pretty picture and call it a post. It’s not even a picture from today.

It is however something I’m wishing I can have right at this moment

Gingerbread Latte and Candle Roll Cake - I love Starbucks holiday menu

Mmm, Gingerbread Latte with a Candle Rollcake.

Hope you have a good Monday!

November 8, 2011

Can this thing BE any Pinker?

Food, Japan

Pepsi Japan has done it again! They put out another interesting flavored Pepsi for the holiday season!

I’ve written about a few flavors in the past before. There was the Carribean Gold: White Sapote Flavor from earlier this year. Then there was Pepsi Baobab last year. There was also a Pepsi Shiso and Pepsi Azuki Bean in 2009. There are actually a lot more flavors that have been out but I don’t always buy them out of fear of what it’ll taste like.

This time they made everything pink. They even called it “Pink” just in case it’s not obvious to you what color it’s suppose to be :)

Since Jason and I are gluttons for punishment, we just had to get it out of principle and try it for ourselves. The flavor this time around is Strawberry and Milk, though there isn’t a trace of milk flavor to the soda (thankfully). It does have a very strong strawberry fragrance to it and it tastes lightly like strawberry soda.  It’s not too sweet which is nice since the ones that came out recently taste like you’re drinking syrup with your Pepsi.

So how do I like it? Well, it’s definitely not as bad as the previous few I’ve tried. Like I’ve mentioned earlier, this one doesn’t taste as sweet. It doesn’t leave that weird syrupy feeling in the back of your throat which is a plus for me since it’s the reason why I avoid a lot of soda. The taste of this soda does remind Jason and me of something but neither of us can pinpoint what it is.

Total sidetracked note about this drink: When Jason first showed this drink to me, he told me that the pinkness of it reminded him of a “Rory” from Gilmore Girls (the episode where Rory turns 21 and had a pink drink named after her). I thought it was funny that he remembered that episode and the drink. It’s safe to say that this tastes nothing like a “Rory”.

Ah, I wonder what flavors Pepsi has in store for us for next year!

February 9, 2011

R is for Resist


What’s this I see?

Mmmm….Krispy Kreme…smells so good….

Resist, Jen, resist!  Just taking a peek….

Oh!  Must resist….

*sniff sniff*  Must……resist…..

Caught red handed!

Mmm… That was so worth it.  I don’t even regret eating the whole donut :)

Resistance is Futile.

I blame it on my sweet tooth.

Oh and the fact that there was absolutely no one in line at Krispy Kreme made me go in and buy some.

Last Thursday

Especially since the lines are normally pretty long like this

The line back in 2007. Not as long these days but on a nice day, it can still be quite a wait.

Jenny Matlock

December 13, 2010

Expanding my culinary repertoire

Food, Life

On Saturday, I had a grownup girl’s day out with my friends Elif and Karin, the 2 girls I did Design Festa with.  It was the first time we’ve seen each other since that weekend and we were all looking forward to hanging out together again, especially since Karin will be moving to Switzerland in two weeks.

It was an awesome girl’s day.  A bit sad but we still had a lot of laughs and enjoyed ourselves.

We chatted about life.  We gossiped about things.  We shared stories about our relationships.  We even cooked together.  Actually, Elif was the one who taught us how to cook 2 Turkish dishes because, well, she’s Turkish.

They were both very simple dishes to make and both very delicious.  Lucky for you I took notes.  They’re not precise measurements since she cooks by approximating everything.  I forget their names but this is what we made…

This is a couscous dish.

First, you have to soak the couscous in just enough boiling water to cover the grains.  Then, you cover the bowl it’s in and just let it sit while you prepare the other stuff.

Slice up a lot of green onions or parsley and put it aside.  You’ll also need to have some lemon juice, pomegranate juice, dried mint, dried crush red pepper, olive oil, tomato paste and if you want, some Korean chili paste.

Check on the couscous.  It should have absorbed all the water by now and you can tell it’s ready when you mix it.  It will be a little stiff but kinda sticky like rice.  Mix up the couscous and add about a tablespoon of olive oil and about 1 1/2 tablespoon of tomato paste and mix until everything is red.

Now, add the green onions.  Mix well.  Add the pomegranate juice and mix.  Squeeze about 2 lemons (3 if you don’t use pomegranate juice) and continue to mix.  Add about a half a soup bowls worth of dried mint and continue mixing.  The mixture should look very dark green now.  Then, add about 1 tablespoon of crush red pepper, a teaspoon of the Korean chili paste and about a teaspoon of salt and mix well.

Give it a taste.  It should taste a bit sour because of the lemon juice and the pomegranate juice.  If you think it needs more salt, add some salt.

The way we ate this dish was by wrapping some of it up in lettuce and eating it like that.  It’s very yummy.

The other thing we made is that big rectangular cheese thing in the photo above.  It’s cooked in an oven but since she doesn’t have an oven, we used her little toaster oven to cook it.

For this dish, you’ll need 2 eggs, spring roll skins (not the vietnamese kind but the type you’d find in a Chinese or Japanese market), milk, a bag of shredded cheese (you can use the type you put on pizza but Feta is the best choice), a handful of fresh parsley and sunflower oil (or canola if you can’t find sunflower)

First, you chop up the parsley until it’s pretty fine.  Mix the cheese and the parsley together.  This will be your filling.

Line the pan you’ll be using with aluminum foil.  Rub sunflower oil all over the foil.  In a small cup, mix together half a cup of milk with a teaspoon of oil.  Mix in 1 egg and add some salt.  Make sure you mix this up really well.

Take the spring roll skins and cover the bottom of the pan, making sure to leave about 2 inches over the edges of the pan (you’ll be folding it up at the end).  Add another layer of skin to the middle of the pan to make it more sturdy.

Now you’ll start layering.  Start with a layer of the cheese mixture.  Next, add a layer of skin.  Then, spread some of that milk/egg mixture all over the skin.  Continue adding the cheese, skin, milk/egg layers until you are out of skin.  The one she made had 2 layers of cheese.

The last layer should be a skin layer.  Now you fold up the overhanging skin from the bottom layer so that it wraps up the entire thing into a neat little package.  Take the 2nd egg and separate the egg white from the yolk.  Squeeze the yolk over the top of the package and spread it all over the top.

Bake it at 500W for 15 minutes.  Elif said that it’s always better to cook it at a lower heat and at a longer time than at high eat since you want the cheese to melt evenly without burning the top of the dish.  Also, she said that you can add anything you want to the filling.  You can add mashed potatoes to the cheese or cooked minced meat with onions.  It’s all up to you what you want to experiment with.  The possibilities are endless!

Just for kicks, we baked a loaf of bread in the bread machine that she got from Karin.  It was more of an instructional thing since all the instructions were on a VHS tape and none of us have one of those anymore.  Karin’s baked a lot of bread with it before so she knew how to do it.

So yes, I can now add Turkish food to my list of foods that I can cook :)

I can’t wait to cook it for someone just to try it out.