What I Love in Snow Day

The snow started falling last night and I saw a winter wonderland from my window when I woke up this morning. We don’t have much snow in Seattle and this is a big snow day for everyone. Although snow was still falling, people and dogs were out playing in the snow. Our miniature dachshund, Cocoa and Haru are not so sure about snow. Their legs are too short to play in the deep snow. So my husband and I decided to leave them in a warm bed and headed to out for an adventure in the snow.

Continue reading “What I Love in Snow Day”

Shrimp Cream Croquettes for my Daughter

Croquettes in my family are made from potatoes, onions, ground beef, and cheese. It’s super yummy and one of my family’s favorite foods. This is good for bento box (lunch) too for my daughter when she was little.

After my daughter left for college, I seldom cook croquettes for a few reasons. It takes time to make croquettes because of many steps. My husband and I now try to eat less beef as well as deep fried food. We try to be healthier to reduce meat and oily food. However, we have a good excuse to eat croquettes once in a while when my daughter comes over for dinner.

Although I cook croquettes, I still try not to eat beef. So, I tried something new this time. I made shrimp cream croquettes and beef croquettes. For shrimp croquettes, I used chopped shrimp instead of ground beef. I added cream in mashed potatoes to make it softer and creamy. Shrimp cream croquettes are so good as much as beef croquettes.

I have no idea what my daughter cooks in her apartment but I am sure she doesn’t know the recipe for croquettes. She was happy to eat her favorite food and she liked shrimp cream croquettes too. I added green vegetables, natto (fermented soybeans), yellowtail sashimi with avocado, and more to make the meal healthier.

We had a dinner together just like when my daughter was a child. After dinner, I put some croquettes in a tapper ware so that she can take them to her apartment. It was a good dinner with my daughter and good shrimp cream croquettes. I found a small happiness thanks to croquettes.

コロッケは子供の頃からの大好物。母がよく手づくりで作ってくれたように私も娘が小さい頃はよく作ってました。学校や会社へのお弁当のおかずにも重宝しました。成人した娘が家を出てからは殆ど作らなくなったコロッケ。旦那も私も年のせいか最近はあまり牛肉や揚げ物を取らないようになりました。コロッケは作るのに時間も掛かるし美味しいけどやはり揚げ物なので。でもたまに娘が帰って来る時はコロッケを作る良い言い訳ができます。

今回は牛肉のコロッケだけでなくエビクリームコロッケも作ってみました。やはり牛肉はあまり食べたくないので。エビ、玉ねぎ、グリーンピースを炒めて彩りも鮮やか。潰したじゃがいもにはクリームを混ぜて柔らかくクリーミーに。牛肉のコロッケに負けないぐらい美味しいコロッケができました。コロッケ以外にグリーン野菜やハマチの刺身のアボカド和え、納豆などを添え健康的に。

娘が自分のアパートで何を作って食べているのか分からないけれどきっとコロッケの作り方は知らないはず。牛肉のコロッケもエビのコロッケも喜んで食べてくれました。娘が子供だった時のように家族で夕食を。夕食の後は、私の母がしてくれたように、娘にも残り物のコロッケと野菜をタッパに詰めて持たせました。自分のアパートでお腹が空いた時に食べれるように。成長した娘にたまにこうしてあげられる事も小さな幸せなんだと思います。

Happy Birthday Cocoa

Cocoa is a miniature black and tan male dachshund and he is our sweet boy.

When he was a puppy, he was naughty and destroyed my shoes, my daughter’s toys, and cords. He loved squeaky toys so much and we needed to take it away because of so much noise. He liked to play in the water and he was very active.

He had been an only pet before our baby Haru who is shaded cream female long hair dachshund joined in our family. Cocoa became a good big brother for Haru. He protected Haru from other big dogs and let Haru to get all our attention for herself. I believe he felt sad a little or jealousy but he never showed his feeling and let Haru do whatever she wanted.

We had many adventures together to go to Oregon, California, or eastern Washington. Cocoa has been always with us in good time and bad time. On February 8th, he turned 14 years old. His beautiful tan fur turned white. He often stumbles and doesn’t like to walk. His eyesight got weak. Although he has a big appetite, he became very skinny. He got more and more stubborn as he got older, but he is a still very sweet and beautiful boy.

We will take very good care of you, Cocoa. Please stay healthy and strong for many more years so that we can spend more time together. Happy birthday Cocoa! We love you, sweet boy!

ミニチュアダックスフンドのココが我が家にやって来たのは14年前の春。男の子のせいかとにかく落ち着きがなく家の中を走り回ってばかり。家具の下をくぐって走り抜ける時に頭を家具にぶつけてもへっちゃら。キュッキュッと鳴るおもちゃが大好きでいつまでもおもちゃが壊れるまで遊び続ける。あまりのうるささにおもちゃを取り上げることもしばしば。怖がらず水の中へもどんどん入っていくからこっちはヒヤヒヤ。とにかくちっちゃくて元気いっぱいの男の子だった。

クリームダックスフンドのハルがやって来た時はココは立派なお兄ちゃんに。今まで私達の愛情を独り占めしてきたココだからちょっと心配してたけど、ココはハルの好きなように何んでもやらせてあげてた。きっと寂しかったんじゃないかなと思うけどそんな素振りも見せずお兄ちゃんらしく振る舞っていた。

ココとハルを連れていろんな所へ旅行もした。オレゴンやカリフォルニア。イースタンワシントンでキャンプも何回かした。この14年間、楽しい時も辛かった時もココはいつも私達家族の側で見守っていてくれてた。2月8日にココは14歳になります。ココの鮮やかな茶色の毛は真っ白に。足腰も弱ってあまり歩きたがらなくなり、目も以前より見えてないよう。食欲旺盛だけど体重は10キロを切ってしまった。頑固な性格は年をとってますます頑固に。でもココは今も私達家族を見守ってくれる優しい男の子。

もっともっとココを大事に大切にしてあげないとね。いつまでも元気で一緒にこれからも色々なことをしようね。お誕生日おめでとう!大好きなココ。

Baking Brioche on a Rainy Day

Happy Friday! I took a day off and planned to go out to take some pictures, but it was gray and sprinkles outside. When I took a morning bath, I thought what I would do. By the time I finished yoga exercise, I decided to make brioche with sweet red bean paste.

A Japanese owner of my favorite bakery makes one of the most delicious croissant with red been paste. I love the buttery dough and sweet red bean paste together. When I go to this bakery, I always get one croissant with red bean paste and one matcha red bean muffin. This matcha muffin has a perfect harmony of the hint of bitterness of matcha and the sweetness of red beans. These two items are my favorite and I always wanted to make bread with red bean paste.

I wanted to skip to measure the ingredients but I didn’t. The kneading the dough was the hardest part and made my hands so tired. My dogs, Cocoa and Haru were restless while I was working on the dough. A few hours later I was able to manage to bake several brioche buns with red bean paste and chocolate. It was actually good and better than I expected. Of course, I love the bread from my favorite bakery most, but I think I can enjoy my homemade brioche too.


It was supposed to be a photo walk day but I ended up to bake brioche at home. The plan changed and I was very disappointed at first, but I enjoyed baking brioche and I felt that’s okay. My husband enjoyed my brioche with coffee in the afternoon. I gave a little bit of brioche to Cocoa and Haru. It was a good day and I found a small happiness in my kitchen.

ようやく金曜日になりました。今日は休暇を取って天気予報と相談しフォトウオークを計画していたけれど。。。外は曇り空で小雨混じり。朝、湯船に浸かりながら計画の立て直し。ヨガでしっかり体を温めた頃には家でパンを焼いてみようと計画が変更されました。

日本人がオーナーのお気に入りのパン屋さんではあんこが練り込まれたクロワッサンがあります。バターの香りのパン生地とあんこがうまく絡み合ってもう最高。そのパン屋さんに行く時はいつもあんこのクロワッサンとこれまた小豆の入った抹茶のマフィンを買います。このマフィンも抹茶のほんのりとした苦味と小豆の甘さがうまく合ってるんです。いつもこんな美味しいパンをうちでも作れればいいのにと思います。どうやら今日はパン作りの日になりそうです。

細かいことが苦手な私だけどきちんと材料を量る作業は手を抜かずやりました。生地をこねる作業で手や腕はへとへと。愛犬のココとハルも何やら落ち着きが無いよう。でも数時間後にはなんとかあんことチョコレートの入ったブリオッシュが焼き上がりました。プロのパン屋さんにはかなわないけど、まあそれなりに美味しいブリオッシュが出来上がりました。

フォトウオークに行くはずがパン作りになった今日。最初はフォトウオークに行けずがっかりしたけどパン作りもなかなか楽しかった。旦那もコーヒーと一緒にブリオッシュを楽しんでくれました。そしてココとハルにも少しだけお裾分け。こんなふうに時間を過ごせて家のキッチンでも小さな幸せを見つけることができました。

The Island of Olive Trees

It’s in the middle of winter and we have more cloudy and rainy days in Seattle. The sky is gray and it makes me miss my favorite island in my home country, Japan. Shodoshima is an island where the weather is mild and there are many olive trees.

My husband and I had a chance to visit Shodoshima before pandemic. It was November but the temperature was high 60’s and mostly sunny days. We drove around the island to see a beautiful ocean view from the mountain and visited a local cafe for homemade cheesecake. There was a very old house which was remodeled as a restaurant. This popular restaurant was always full of customers around lunch time. We waited about one hour and finally were able to sit in a table set in the pretty outside garden. The food was excellent using local fresh vegetable, seafood, and beef. Although we had to wait, it was worth it. Another popular place was an olive park where there are many of olive trees and a gift shop we can buy products made from olive. They even had green ice cream made from olive.

Shodoshima has many cute popular spots for tourists but I love most in Shodoshima was the beauty of the nature and the simple quiet life there, a wild boar footprints I found in the beach early morning, a small chat with an owner of a cafe we had coffee, the morning glories by the sidewalk, and beautiful ocean.

I hope I will have a chance to live there someday. The view is gray from my window but it’s always sunny, blue sky, and olive trees in my heart when I think of Shodoshima.

今年のシアトルの冬はいつにも増して曇りや雨の日が多いよう。青空が見れない日が続くとさすがに少し滅入ります。そんな時は日本の小豆島に行った時の事を思い出すようにしてます。コロナが始まるちょっと前に幸運にも小豆島に初めて行く機会がありました。

小豆島は瀬戸内海に位置する島々の一つで自然に囲まれた綺麗な所です。温暖な気候のせいかオリーブの木がたくさんあります。オリーブ公園では沢山のオリーブの木だけではなく、オリーブで作られた様々な物をお土産として買えるギフトショップもあります。オリーブで作られたアイスクリームも!山の中には古民家をレストランにした人気のお店がありランチ時は長蛇の列になります。旦那と私も1時間ほど待ってようやくかわいい庭に置かれたテーブルにつくことができました。料理は地元の野菜、魚、肉などが使われていてかなり待ったけど大満足でした。

小豆島には色々な観光スポットがあります。どれも綺麗で素敵な所ばかりだけど、私が小豆島で一番好きなところは自然に囲まれてのんびりとしたところです。早朝海岸を散歩していて見つけたイノシシの足跡。海辺のカフェでおしゃべりに付き合ってくれた親切なオーナー。歩道の脇に咲いていた色鮮やかな朝顔の花たち。そして青空と青い海とオリーブの木々。

いつか小豆島で暮らせる時が来るといいなと思います。窓の外はまだどんよりとした曇り空。でも私の心の中は小豆島の青い海と空、そして太陽の光りに輝くオリーブの木々が揺れてます。

Weekend Breakfast with Theo

Theo is my daughter’s golden doodle puppy. As all puppies are, Theo is super cute and sweet. I love his fluffy soft fur and he is just like a teddy bear. My daughter and her boyfriend sometimes come with Theo and we have meals together. My husband and I love that they come over but there is one problem, our dogs, Cocoa and Haru. Cocoa is almost 14 years old and Haru is seven. When Theo comes over, it’s always quite a chaos in my house.

Cocoa and Haru are miniature dachshund. Cocoa is Black and Tan male dog and Haru is shaded cream long hair female dog. They are very sweet but very protective and they are not interested in a puppy.

My daughter, her boyfriend, and Theo who is now 6 month old and getting big came over for breakfast on Saturday morning. Cocoa and Haru love their big sister (my daughter) and her boyfriend but are not sure about Theo. He is a puppy who is super excited with other dogs. He wants to play, play and play. He explored every corner of my house and found Cocoa and Haru’s toy basket. He took each toy out of the basket and played with all toys. Although he was chased off by Cocoa and Haru, he never gave up and tried to play with Cocoa and Haru in his way. I feel sorry for Theo but I guess the age gap is too far between a puppy and a senior dog.

Dogs were barking and people were talking around the table enjoying my husband’s homemade breakfast. The squeaky toys were everywhere. I sometimes have a headache after they left. It was quite noisy but happy time with my family. A small happiness in one Saturday morning.

数年前に巣立った娘は今もたまにボーイフレンドを連れだって朝ごはんを食べにやって来る。普段はスムージーと簡単に朝食を済ます旦那と私だが、娘たちが来る時はフルーツを添えたパンケーキやフレンチトーストにハッシュやスクランブルエッグとちょっと私には重い朝食を旦那が作ってくれる。愛犬のミニチュアダックスフンドのココとハルも久しぶりに会える娘やボーイフレンドに大喜びでいつも楽しい時間を過ごしていた。スィオがやって来るまでは。

スィオは娘たちが迎え入れたゴールデンドゥードゥルのパピー。パピーは皆んなそうだがとにかくかわいい。柔らかくてクルクルの茶色の毛でまさにぬいぐるみのテディベアーみたいだ。パピーはかわいいが、とにかく落ち着きが無い。遊びたいの一心なのだがシニア犬のココや7歳のハルには少し鬱陶しい存在なのだ。そしてある土曜日の朝、スィオも一緒に娘たちがやって来た。

スィオは家中をチェックしながらココとハルのトイバスケットを見つけた。全てのおもちゃを一つずつ出して遊んでは、ココとハルにちょっかいを出しに行く。当然、ココとハルは面白くない。ココはただほかっておいてもらいたいだけ。ハルはとにかく気に入らないよう。年がちょっと離れすぎてるから仕方ないね。

犬は犬たちで大騒ぎ。私達は私達で色々な話をして朝ごはんを楽しんだ。とにかく賑やかでちょっとうるさいぐらいの朝ごはん。最近は娘たちが帰った後に頭痛に見舞われる事もあるがそれでも家族が一緒に、新しいメンバーも加わって時間を過ごせるのはとても幸せなこと。小さな幸せを大切に。