Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Happy Birthday to You!

Steve's birthday was Saturday and we spent the entire day celebrating! We went on a lovely drive exploring back country roads and found a whole new world in the hills of the central valley. We enjoyed a yummy lunch at our new favorite spot Roastin' Rooster in AG and soaked in some sun! I spent the afternoon baking Steve a cake and snapped some shots of the birthday boy opening his gifts. Then we settled into a cheesy movie and hoped and prayed that the day would never end! Happy 37th birthday to my true love!! 

steve

Birthday Cake

Drumroll please.....

I present to you my very first cake from scratch for my hubby's 37th birthday! Yellow butter cake with chocolate frosting recipe from Martha Stewart. Baking a cake was serious work. It took me about an hour to prep the kitchen, then another hour to mix, and another hour to bake, cool, and frost. Don't even get me started on the cleanup. Chocolate EVERYWHERE. But, would I do it again? In a heart beat! I think this was the first time in my life that I actually enjoyed baking. It was sort of magical watching it all come together. And of course the end result was pretty and absolutely delicious!

 




Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I can do anything good!

My friend Heather posted this video on her blog, but I keep seeing it pop up everywhere and after watching it again and again, I HAD to post it here too. If you're having a bad day, this will cheer you up! I think we could all learn something from this little one! I like my house...I like my job...I like my hair!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Roasted Quail

So I finally built up enough courage to try to prepare some quail that we had frozen in the freezer. Steve  previously skinned and cleaned the birds immediately after shooting, and I placed them in the freezer. Easy as that!

To cook the quail, I sauteed onions in butter on the stove, then browned the quail slightly on all sides. I transferred the quail and onion to a baking dish with white wine. I added orange bell pepper and large pieces of tomato. I baked the dish for about 35 minutes at 300 degrees. It actually turned out really good!! It tasted just like chicken. It was a little tough and slightly dry but that's probably because I overcooked it just a little. Next time I will try wrapping in bacon - I think that will help keep the birds a little more tender! Overall, it was a fun new dish and I would definitely do it again! We're becoming quite sustainable around here :)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Friday, August 13, 2010

Lost Footage

This will be my second to last entry about our honeymoon in Japan. I hope you all enjoyed reading about our experiences and fun. We had such a memorable trip and would definitely go back in a heartbeat. I think we were most impressed with how polite, quiet, and respectful everyone was. No one was hassling you for a tip, no one was yelling or making a scene on the subway, no one was running down the sidewalk, no one got in your way. I think Americans need to learn a thing or two about politeness from the Japanese. I feel like Americans are so full of entitlement. They believe they DESERVE a pat on the back without hard work, or that they DESERVE a tip for throwing your suitcase in the back of their van. Well, Japanese people just do what they have to do without complaining! The waiters and bartenders smile and welcome you in without that look of "oh great, these people decide to come in 10 minutes before we close! Maybe if I act like a Biatch they will leave". Or if an old lady gets on the bus, a younger person will give up their seat. Common sense to me! At the airport, the employees who load luggage and take tickets, will BOW to the bus driver when they arrive and when they leave. Everytime! And when we went down to breakfast at our hotel, the cook would bow to us as we walked in. How nice!! Even the landscapers were respectful! They used quiet machinery, and bagged all of the green waste up so carefully and thoughtfully. They even wore khakis and a polo shirt while they worked so that they looked nice amongst the gardens. Who does that here?! No one! The construction company across from our hotel (you'll see it in the video), cleaned off the tires of the trucks as they exited the construction site onto the main road so that mud wouldn't get tracked onto the road! Clean, kind, considerate! The Japanese take pride in their work, no matter if its bartending, landscaping, cooking, cleaning gutters, or picking up the trash (although we did see a garbage man peeing IN the gutter next to his garbage truck in mid-daylight). Japanese people take pride in their appearance, and Japanese people take pride in how the treat each other! Anyway, enought ranting!!

 I'd like to share some tid bits that I haven't mentioned yet, then later I will post my video montage where you will get to see what we saw as we saw it.

Our cozy little room.


Roppongi Crossing at night

rice fields on the way to Kyoto

Ginza shopping district on Sunday


what every corner in Tokyo looks like..

Shinjuku - lots of lottery, casinos, and arcades



Biggest billboard in Tokyo - of course Sex and the City!!

 With Cola-Shock in hand, we made our way to the Tokyo Tower on our last night in Japan. Michael Jackson was blasting through the speakers as we rode the elevator all the way up to the top to see a 360 degree view of Tokyo. It was stunning and most of all - romantic.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

That Home

So far this season of So You Think You Can Dance has been INCREDIBLE! But last night, Robert and Lauren performed a beautiful contemporary routine that gave me chills. There has to be the perfect combination of artistry, great music, and a touching story. I I hold my breath and I can feel the music move into my own bones while I watch the dancers intertwine, extend, reach, and breathe. I re-wind to watch over and over again and I just can't get enough. I love how the movement flows with the music so precisely, and the fluidity is calming and angelic. I felt like the dance portrays how I feel about my marriage to Steve and its a story of me and him together in our very own home. That home is us.

You Tube

Where the doors are moaning all day long,
Where the stairs are leaning dusk 'till dawn,
Where the windows are breathing in the light,
Where the rooms are a collection of our lives,
This is a place where I don't feel alone
This is a place that I call my home...

Choreography by Dee Caspary Music by the Cinematic Orchestra

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tsukiji Fish Market

The only thing that I would change about our trip to Japan is my choice of footwear during our tour of the Tsukiji Fish Market. I needed big, tall, rubber wellies to protect my feet from the splashes and sprays of bloody water and fish guts! Since I didn't have any wellies, I cautiously tip-toed down each aisle.

Tsukiji fish market is the biggest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world. It is located in central Tokyo and there are 400 different types of seafood, with over 700,000 tons handled every year, totaling $5.5 billion U.S. dollars.There are 65,000 employees from auctioneers, accountants, distributors, and more. This place is GIGANTIC.

We sort of got lost on the way to the fish market and found ourselves in a somewhat empty warehouse full of fruit, veggies, and men on forklifts. We scampered through the warehouse not knowing where to go and felt COMPLETELY out of place. This was supposed to be the most popular place for tourists, but we were the ONLY tourists around. Plus, it was called the FISH market, and we didn't see any fish! We MUST be lost. No one said anything to us or told us to get out of there, so we just kept walking through trying not to get in the way of the workers.

And then our noses perked up, and we could finally smell fish!! So we followed the smell until it was repulsively close. So incredibly fishy that we were nearly knocked over by the stench! And the first thing we happened upon was this:
Alright! We officially found the fish market!!

The market was layed out like a grid with rows and rows and rows and rooooows of narrow aisles with tiny "shops" selling various fish. The vendors were mostly done selling when we arrived because it was about 9:30am, and the busiest selling time is between 5:30 and 8:00am. Wholesalers and restaurant agents are the most common types of buyers, but it is also a major attraction for tourists. However, I didn't see more than a few other tourists when we were there.


  



There were so many different varieties of fish and seafood. Lots of squid, octopus, giant tuna, crab, shrimp, eel, lots of sea creatures I've never even seen before! I think the most impressive thing about the market was the scale!! The fish were HUGE, the warehouse was HUGE, and the cutlery was GIANT!


After my last Japan post, I will post a video compilation I made of all of my Japan clips including some from the Tsukiji fish market with live table-saw action! Stay tuned!

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Mama Surfs

Heather has started a mama blog called MamaSurfs and its my new favorite blog because even though I am across the Pacific, I feel like I am right there with her through the ups and downs of pregnancy! She amazes and inspires me and I think her story is an exciting testament to the challenges and joys of her new  chapter in life! 

Heather, I can't wait to meet the little one! Baby is lucky to have YOU as a mama! 

I also put the link over there ----> 

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

10 Foodie Things to Do Before Summer Ends

  1. Eat hot, buttered corn on the cob.
  2. Make a root beer float.
  3. Watch the sunset with a glass of champagne or white wine in hand. 4 Champagne Cocktails
  4. Add an umbrella to your drink of choice and enjoy it poolside or at the beach. Pina Colada Recipe
  5. Eat a hot dog at a baseball game. Go to a Minor League game. They're lots of fun and you won't pay Major League prices. Hot Dog Recipes
  6. Grill something, anything!
  7. Go out for ice cream. Haagen Dazs pints have nothing on ambling with a dripping ice cream cone. Better yet, catch the ice cream man. (You're never too old to chase Mister Softee.)
  8. Kick back with an icy cold summer ale of choice. Summer Seasonals, 13 different types of beer
  9. Enjoy some funnel cake, a corn dog or some other purely summer food found only at a fair.
  10. One word: S'mores.
From Shine on Yahoo.com

Monday, August 02, 2010

Japanese Style

One of my favorite things about eating in Japan was all the little sides in individual dishes. So last week, instead of making a traditional meal with an entree with sides all on one plate, I put together a Japanese style dinner with a small salad, bread, baked beans, and mango for dessert, all in separate dishes. The only thing missing was the Asahi beer! It was a nice change from a big, heavy meal and it took us back to our sweet honeymoon!

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Veal Scallopini

On a trip to the grocery store to pick up some tri-tip for this weekend's BBQ, Steve found some Veal Scallopini on "Manager's Special". I looked at him like he was insane. First of all, I've never had veal and I wasn't really interested in trying it now. Secondly, "manager's special" gives me the heeby jeebies when it comes to meat. The sticker should say "this meat will be dog food soon".

Anyway we argued over the veal for a few minutes. He said I never try anything new. I told him it was no different than him not eating corn on the cob or green beans. He argued that it was completely different because he was forced to eat corn on the cob and green beans as a child and never liked them, and he continues not to like them. I on the other hand, have never even tried veal, yet have this instinctual aversion to it. Baby cow? NT, Steve! "But look how tender it looks", he says. That's my point. EW.

Well, Steve won the battle and we took that baby cow home. I googled veal scallopini and came across a recipe that didn't look too bad. Breaded veal, browned on the stove in hot oil and garlic, then simmered with green bell peppers and mushrooms. How bad can it be?!








The verdict? STRANGE! Not necessarily BAD, but weird. And honestly, I couldn't tell if it was the meat that tasted weird, or the sauce or the mushrooms. I just started eating mushrooms recently and usually only eat baby bellas. Trader Joe's only had "white mushrooms" whatever that means, so I used those. The sauce was made from sauted minced garlic in olive oil and white wine. Steve thinks the "weird" taste came from burnt garlic. Could be.

Anyway, would I try it again? Yes...without the garlic and with baby bellas, and without the Manager's Special sticker!!!
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