Sunday Farmers Market

There is a Sunday farmers market in my neighborhood through the year.  There are vendors of produce, cheese, flowers, baking, and more.  There is a musician who plays a violin so the people can enjoy music while they check each vendor to shop.  It’s a nice place to shop, meet people, eat lunch, or just enjoy fresh air.  

Continue reading “Sunday Farmers Market”

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。

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。

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。

What’s for Dinner Tonight?

It’s Chinese for today’s dinner! When we buy ground pork, my husband usually cooks gyoza and mapo tofu. I made rice with green peas and there is miso soup with pork and vegetables leftover from yesterday.

Since pandemic started, we cook more homemade meals and eat at home. I am not good at cooking so it’s mostly my husband cooks. Lucky for me! He tried a few different ways to fry gyoza making it golden and crispy. we used to use a prepackaged mapo tofu sauce from the store but my husband started to use a few different Chinese sauce to make mapo tofu from scratch. How good it is compared to mapo tofu made from a prepackaged sauce! Rice with green peas is my favorite and remind me of a school lunch when I was an elementary student in Japan.

We used to go to a restaurant every Friday to enjoy food and Friday night, but we have more time at home. We still go to a restaurant for takeout and I miss to enjoy meals with my friends at the restaurant. However, it’s also good we cook healthier food at home and spend more time with family together. Cooking and eating dinner together with my family is something in everyday life. It’s very precious and small happiness in it!

今日の夕飯は中華です。コロナが始まってからうちではますますおうちご飯を作るようになりました。私が料理があまり得意でないため主に作ってくれるのは旦那なのですが、彼はちゃんとレシピに沿って美味しく作ってくれます。餃子の焼き方もしっかり焼き色をつけてカリッと焼けるようになるまで試行錯誤を重ねて写真のような餃子の出来上がりになりました。以前私が料理してた時はパックになってる麻婆豆腐の素を使ってましたが、旦那は何種類かのソースを使い一から麻婆豆腐を作りました。麻婆豆腐の素を使ったものと比べると一から作った麻婆豆腐の何て美味しいこと。残り物の豚汁と私が作った豆ご飯も一緒に。豆ご飯は子供の頃の学校給食で好物だったもの。

コロナの前は金曜の夜によくレストランへ食事に出かけてました。今はたまにテイクアウトをするぐらいで、もっと家でおうちご飯を作って楽しんでいます。また前のように自由にレストランで家族や友達と食事を楽しめるようになってほしいと思います。でも家でもっと体に優しいものを家族と一緒に料理したり食事を楽しんだり。毎日の普通の事だけどとても大切なもの。小さな幸せがここにもあったんですね。

My Favorite Things on My Birthday

No matter how old I turned, flowers from family or friends make me happy. I am not so interested in the present anymore. I value more how I spend time on my birthday. Yet I still want have flowers and a cake, a very good one.

My husband and I started making a cake for a special occasion like my daughter’s graduation, Mother’s Day, or birthday. It’s always same cake, a simple sponge cake with berries and whipped cream, but it’s super delicious just like a cake sold in my home country, Japan. My husband baked a sponge cake and I helped the decorations for my birthday cake.

I took a day off and enjoyed a photo walk with my favorite camera. Later my husband and my dogs joined and we had a good time at the park in warm sunny winter afternoon. There was no present because I didn’t want anything. However, I was so happy spending my special day with my husband, my dogs, flowers, a cake, and my camera. My favorite things. 🙂

いくつになっても誕生日にお花をもらうのは嬉しいものです。年を重ねたせいか最近はあまりプレゼントを欲しいと思わなくなりました。と言うより欲しい物が無いと言った方が正解かも。花とケーキと好きな物や人に囲まれてその日を過ごせればそれでとても幸せだと。

ケーキは数年前から旦那と私でシンプルな苺と生クリームのケーキを作るようになりました。日本で売ってるような本当に美味しいケーキを娘の卒業祝いの時や誕生日、母の日などに作りました。今回も旦那がスポンジ生地を焼いて私が飾り付けを担当。

休暇を取ってその日はお気に入りのカメラを持って街へphotowalk 。後で旦那と愛犬のココとハルも加わり公園で晴れた冬の午後を過ごしました。

花とケーキとカメラ。そして家族と一緒に過ごせた特別な日は幸せな時間でした。

Breakfast in the woods

I haven’t gone camping since I was a kid. It was a school camping trip and I remember I didn’t like it because it was raining and I got sick there. However, I decided to go camping again. Why? I wanted to take a picture of stars. I needed to go to a place where has a very dark sky.

My husband and I took our two wiener dogs, Cocoa and Haru to Lake Wenatchee located northeast of Seattle about 2 hours drive. We relaxed by the lake, enjoyed paddle boarding, and headed to our camp site. Our tent was big enough for us with two dogs and very comfortable. Unfortunately it got cloudy at night and we were not able to see stars. However, it was really nice to spend a relaxing time in the tent with my husband and dogs listening the wind at night.

I think Haru doesn’t like a camping. When she was eating her meal, a bee flew around her. She immediately lost her interest to her meal and she escaped to the tent. After that she rushed to our car crying. I think she was saying “Let’s go home!”.

Haru and Cocoa

Next morning my husband cooked the breakfast. He usually makes pancakes, omelettes, baked potatoes on the weekend at home. The breakfast he made was a typical one with pancakes, sausages, and sunny side up eggs. I added berries on the plates and prepared coffee. It was one of the most delicious breakfast I’ve ever had. I think that’s because we enjoyed our breakfast in clear air surrounded by the trees with a partial lake view with chipmunks saying hello.

This camping was a completely different experience from the one I had long time ago. We enjoyed being in the outdoor and appreciated the beauty of the nature.

前回キャンピングに行ったのは中学生の頃、学校からのキャンプトリップ。雨は降るし、テントや毛布もきれいじゃないし、おまけに体調も壊していい思い出は無かった。そんな私がキャンプに行こうと思ったのは綺麗な星空を見たかったから。そしてその星空をカメラに収めたかったから。

旦那と我が家の愛犬、二匹のミニダックスフンド、ココとハルを連れだってシアトルから車で2時間ほど東にあるウエナッチー湖にあるキャンプ場へ向かった。山に囲まれた湖でたくさんの人が思い思いに楽しんでいた。私たちもパドルボーディングをしたりビーチでのんびり過ごした。

キャンプサイトは私達には十分広すぎるぐらいだった。テントは大人二人と犬二匹と荷物でちょうどいい大きさ。寝袋以外にも枕や毛布、マットなど持って来たので快適だった。夜は残念ながら雲が出てきて星空は見えなかった。でもみんなで風の音を聞きながらテントで過ごした夜は不思議なほど楽しかった。

ハルは少し敏感な犬で周りの環境が変わるとちょっと難しい。外でご飯を食べてると虫が飛んできて、ハルは食べ終わってもいないのにテントへ逃げ込んんだ。その後、車までキュンキュン泣きながら走っていった。きっと「早く家に帰ろう。」って言ってたのかな。

翌朝、旦那が朝食を作ってくれた。普段から週末はパンケーキやオムレツなど作ってくれるのだが、今回も普通の朝ごはん、パンケーキとソーセージ、目玉焼きを作ってくれた。私は苺とブルーベリーをそのお皿に足し、コーヒーを淹れた。普通の朝ごはんだけどなんだか今まで食べた中で一番美味しく感じた。きっと外で澄み切った空気と木々の緑、少し見える湖、そして人懐こいシマリス達と一緒に食べたからだろうか。今年の夏もそろそろ終わりを迎え始めてるそんな森の中で食べた美味しい朝ごはん。今回のキャンプは前回よりもとても楽しいものとなりました。