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Being sick is not fun… March 3, 2012

Filed under: Carry Out,Cozy Soups,Dinners,Something Sweet — cocoyo @ 11:13 pm

Things I can actually eat and drink when sick.

-Ginger Honey Tea (must be ginger that’s been marinating in honey 1:1 ratio)
Soothes nausea, and helps with upset stomach.
Can get a giant jar of this goodness from already put together at the Korean market.
This could possibly be good with some club soda.

-Vernors Ginger Ale
And yes, it must be Vernors. I guess that’s the Michigan in me.

-Dark Chocolate Covered Pretzels
I like the ones from Trader Joes, but the Walgreen brand ones are not too bad either.
Chocolate helps kill bad bacteria in your stomach and pretzels are dry and salty. Plus the combo of this is just plain good. Cacao is said to be good for stomach and intestinal cancer too. 🙂

-Japanese udon with egg
This is a given for any Japanese person I think. I even like it with the skinny noodles we call Nyuumen. Not so strong in taste, gives me protein and something to fill my stomach.

-Okayu or Congee (Rice Porage)
No explanation necessary, I think. Bland and filling. Easy to keep down.

-Korean Cold Buckwheat Noodles (Mul Naengmyun)
This is my new sick person remedy food. Vinegary soup and cold noodles with the pears go down so easy and the garlic and ginger is very appetizing. Da Rae Jung on Lincoln North of Foster in Chicago. There is no sign in English, but it says Korean Restaurant on the outside.

-Korean Samgyetang(삼계탕), “ginseng chicken soup”
Has ginseng, ginger, garlic, chicken, rice, do I need to explain this bowl of get wellness?

-Vietnamese Pho
Warm, slightly spicy and sour soup is perfect with sprouts and noodles.
I recommend going to Pho777 on Argyle in Chicago for that.

-Tom Yum Soup
Sour, spicy, garlicky and appetizing but has all the good veggies and protein to get better.
We like Thai food from Opart Thai on Western in Lincoln Square. Always yummy. Have not had a bad item from here.

-Salsa Verde (no onions)
Sour taste is actually great for my appetite but only with baked chips not the fried ones. Too oily…

-Lastly, Mexican Chicken Soup (tortella soup. Not the Tex Mex kind that has cheese)
Slightly spicy, a little sour, and lots of veggies and chicken. Kind of like your Chicken Noodle Soup but better.
Fortunately we are not that far from where we call Little Mexico. Lots of great Mexican places to go to get real Mexican cuisines. No Tex-Mex here!

Well this is my list of foods to eat when sick. One of my greatest remakes is Mexican to Korean.
Day one have half of the Mexican Chicken soup. And then on day two, cook up some Korean Buckwheat noodles, add some apple vinegar to the left over Mexican soup and some salt and a little bit more water. Julien some pears and cucumber, add to soup with the noodles and eat cold. Now you have something like the Korean Cold Buckwheat Noodle soup (Mul Naengmyun). Very good and good for you.


This Facebook Thing January 12, 2012

So Facebook has done wonders for me. I’m keeping up with my family who lives in Japan, while I’m here in the US, and keep in touch with my friends all over the world. I’m very close to my family and relatives so it’s great to have a community on FB to know what they are up to in their part of the world. It’s actually been great for me after the Tsunami for keeping me updated about my family and friends. But today I’m not liking what FB has done to my family too. My dad has just announced that he has cancer on Facebook, before letting me or my sister know in person or over the phone. It was done in a matter where he was posting it as a thought on his wall. Like he’s saying “I’m having coffee at Starbucks, I hope my stomach can handle it with this cancer and all.” So nonchalant. My mom says he just lost it a bit. I say, he’s always been so bad with being serious with his family, he can’t find a better way to say it. I can’t get mad at him because this is horrible for him, he just lost his brother to cancer, but it’s just so annoying that it was announced this way. My heart hurts because my uncle(his brother) just died from cancer last month, and that’s why he decided to get checked. He should have gotten checked earlier since 3 of his brothers were diagnosed with cancer.
I’m so scared of the word cancer right now. I lost 3 friends and family to cancer last year. And this, although may be not that big of a deal, it is eating away at me. I keep thinking of going home and staying there for a while.
Agh! I’m just blowing off steam now.
Anyway, why do I have to get one of the most important messages through a social network!? I found out the same time some of his random follower/friends found out. WTF! Whatever. In some weird way he was venting but “F”udge. Right now I’m just a bit mad at this turd who is my dad and had to vent.
I’m on a diet so can’t splurge with sweets but I can have maybe one piece of good chocolate or one good chocolate chip cookie.  Who am I kidding, I want the best chocolate brownie that exists in this world.

Mascarpone Brownies
(adapted from Food Network Canada)

1 cup unsalted butter
3 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder (sifted)
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
3 large eggs, at room-temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

6 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 tablespoons whipping cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 325F and grease 8×8 pan.

In a glass mixing bowl melt butter in microwave about 20 seconds. Stir in chocolate and mix until combined.

Add sugar to chocolate/butter mixture. Heat for an additional 10 seconds at a time until it looks shiny. It will still look a bit grainy.

Add mascarpone, vanilla, eggs and mixing until smooth.

Sift flour, salt and cocoa into mixture and stir until combined. (The mixture will be light than your average brownie batters)

Pour batter into prepared. Bake for 40-50 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Leave in pan and set on wire rack to cool.

While brownies are cooling, make the ganache.

Heat butter and cream for about 20-30 seconds, or until butter is completely melted, then add chocolate. Stir until all lumps disappear. Immediately pour over brownies. Let cool completely. (You could even put it in the fridge to cool.  It is very good chilled.) Done. Just cut and eat. So bad, it’s super good. Mmmmmmm…

I tell you, making the original version, you will feel super guilty. And then eating it, you just can’t stop at just one. These little moist not too sweet, suckers are just vein clogging good.  So I came up with a less guilty version.

And this is MY version of this recipe (not so guilty) in Japanese. If you are interested in the English version, let me know and I will post it here.


Into the year of Me January 10, 2012

Japanese New Years Celebration Food

We have come into the New Year and I’m hoping that this will be a way better year than last.  I am not going to say Happy New Year in respect to those who are still suffering from the Tsunami of 311 to those who are morning from my uncle who lost his battle to cancer last month.

2011 was a very difficult one for so many of us.  The pain is still there but I think all of us are strong and supportive that we can try to be strong and help those who need help to move on.  I also believe that it is important to not forget that people in the Tohoku area of Japanare are still suffering from having no jobs, no homes, and no more family members and we should try to help in whatever way we can think of.

Since this is the year of the Dragon, I am “Toshi onna”, which means that I was born in the year of the Dragon. Every 12 years that year comes and becomes my special year.  I feel that this year will give me strength in many things and bring me happiness and strength in getting me where I want to be.

There are many things that I’ve given up since the birth of my kids and I am starting to get back into some of the things that I have been missing the most.  Creativity.  Since last Spring, after the Tsunami, I have opened my eyes to the fact that you never know what will happen to you in your life and life is shorter than what you think it is.  I want to make it count. I want to do the most that I can. Work towards what I really want, and do what makes me happy.  I think for a while I was only thinking of what my family needed and not myself.  Now, I believe that it’s important for me to do things that will make me happy in order to be good to my family.

I started Hula last Spring to take my mind off of things and help me be happy.  It’s been the most help to my life and I can’t get enough of it.  This was my first step to a better me.  Since then, I really started being more creative and inspired to do more things.  And I want to do more.

The year of the Dragon will bring me these opportunities to better me, my family, and all what I care about.  That is my hope and I think I’m off to a good start.  After over a 14 year of blank, I got back into pottery this year.  I used to love wheel throwing and I was pretty good at it too.  It’s meditating and relaxing.  Even after such a long blank of not even touching clay, it’s like riding a bike, I made and squashed about 10 bowls and voilà. A beautiful bowl was made.

I was actually wanting to make something the size of a large Donburi but these are a bit too small for what I was thinking of. Next try I will make a good size Donburi.  I’m quite excited on seeing how these will turn out after the firing.  Oh, the possibilities of things to make.  I would say this was the best Christmas gift so far.

Since this is too small to be a Donburi, but a bit too large for a rice bowl, I think it can be a big soup bowl.  One of my favorite New Years dishes is “Ozouni“. It’s a soup that has vegetables and mochi in it that Japanese people have for New Years.

Here’s my recipe: Ozoni (Ohitashi)

  • 4 cups of water
  • 2 tsp of dashi or you could make your own dashi.
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 2 tbsp sake
  • 1 chicken breast or 2 thighs cut into about 2 cm
  • 1 carrot 1/2 cm thick “cut into a little flower if you’d like”
  • about 10 cm of daikon cut 1/2 cm into and then cut into a quarter like the shape of a fan.
  • 1 or 2 taro root cut into about the same size as the carrots
  • about 10 cm negi (long onion) sliced
  • pieces of kamaboko (enough for all the guests and you)
  • and some cut and blanched spinach for garnishing.
  • a piece of mochi

In a large pot, simmer the water and add the dashi, soy sauce, mirin, sake and chicken.

Clean all the little chicken fat that could cloud up the soup and bring down to a slow simmer.

Add the carrots, daikon, taro root, and negi and let simmer until cooked through.

At the end, add the pieces of kamaboko cover and turn off the heat.

Cook the mochi in a toaster oven or whichever way you like and when done, put into a small serving bowl and add the soup, with at least one piece of each vegetable and meat in it.  Garnish with some spinach that you have blanched in hot water in advance and there you go.  A nice breakfast or midnight snack.

After eating my Ozoni and starting out the year with some fun activities, I am looking forward to a positive year of me.


A Tough Year… August 30, 2011

Filed under: Just about me,Uncategorized — cocoyo @ 4:08 am

One of my best followers of this silly blog, that I on and off write, is no longer around to be a fan.  Our good friend Dan Sicko has lost his battle with cancer and has peacefully passed away Sunday morning.  This is the first time that I have lost a friend.  It’s really hard.  I have no words to describe how sad I am. We found out just last Friday that Dan was going into Hospice and people were raising money for the cost.  The response was incredible, and within a day, enough money was raised for the care of Dan. Since the fund was not used for Dan’s care giver, it will be used for his daughters education.

Dan was such a great person for the Detroit community.  He has made a mark in history by telling the world what Detroit Techno was by writing a book called Techno Rebles.  He loved music and he loved Detroit.  I remember him coming over to our house some times to play records in the basement with John.  He was often Johns buddy when going to some late night electronic music shows and he didn’t missed our Element Detroit shows.  He was such a great supporter to our ventures.

Cancer is scary and a very painful thing for both the person who has it and the family and friends who are helping.  My uncle was diagnosed with cancer as well.  He is still fighting, and seems to be doing pretty well as for now. I have hope that he will be okay.

It’s funny, yesterday on Zu’s window sill, her Purple Bear, who has been permanently fused to her hand since she was a baby, and Mo the little robot from Wall-E were just sitting right next to each other.  Purple Bear was a gift from Dan and Mo was a gift from her uncle Dave who also just passed away this past Spring. David was also an achiever and although he was a quadriplegic, he has worked on his college degree and later on got his Masters. He was always so nice and has been such a great brother-in-law to me.  I guess out of all of John’s family members, he was the one that understood how I am the most.

I feel like through these little guys, Dan and David are helping us keep smiling.

I’m sure everyone knows about what happened to Japan in March. It’s been so devastating and depressing, I’ve been having a very hard time with it. None of my family members were hurt physically, but it’s been extremely hard to not be scared for my family who is there.  My sister with her husband and new born son, who was born 2 days after the Tsunami, my parents who live on Mt. Fuji, and all my family who live right by the ocean in Kamakura area.  With what is still happening with the nuclear power plants, I am scared for everyone’s well being. They are saying that the Philippine Plate will be moving and the area surrounding Mt. Fuji will be getting a really bad earthquake like the one that happened in Northern Japan within the next 3 years and Mt. Fuji could quite possibly erupt.  Another thing that I keep thinking of in the back of my head.  I know that nothing can be done, and worrying about what may happen will just bring stress after stress. I’m trying to not think about it, but it’s hard not to worry.  I’m not depressed, I’m not too stressed, I’m just concerned and sad.

All of these things happening in one year is a bit much.  Being strong is very hard.  But for me, my kids and my blog followers (John & Dan), I think I am going to start writing a bit more on this blog again.  I have hopes that it will help me get my thoughts out, and I feel like I owe more drafts to Dan. (I know, a bit too late, but I feel that he could be reading somewhere.)

Thank you Dan for reading my thoughts the seldom times I’ve managed to post, I will miss you and miss your comments.


1 year today July 22, 2010

Wow! It’s been a year since I gave birth to our 2nd child.  That went fast.  Mo

I can’t believe that a year flew by already.  We were so busy with moving to a new State, new school, new friends, new everything that it really feels like she was just born yesterday!

Now she is about to walk on her own, socializing, and is showing a lot of character of who she is.  Very strong personality.

Her big sister Zu has been such a perfect big sister, I can’t ask for anything more from her.  She tries to help as much as a 5 year old can and has been so good at sharing and being a big kid doing stuff on her own.  It’s hard to see her grow up so fast but it’s so rewarding to see how great of a kid she is.

So for today’s special getting over that 1 year mark, we had such a busy day, but I managed to whip up a simple birthday cake.  To tell you the truth it was just a hot cake with apples, and some whip cream with bananas and blueberries on top.  but it worked out great.  Fastest way to make a cake, use a frying pan.

Simple Toddler Birthday Cake:Birthday Hot Cake

  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 of a Gala apples cut into baby size cubes (smaller than 1/4 inch)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 50 ml whipping cream
  • 1 tsp sugar (for the whip cream)
  • bananas & blueberries or any other fruit for garnishing

In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together and sift and put aside. Then mix all the wet ingredients in a separate bowl. In a skillet, melt the butter and saute the diced apples until soft.  Take out half of the apples and set aside.

Mix wet and dry ingredients and pour batter over apples. (I used an egg mold that looks like a round cookie cutter to make the cakes round.) Just like hot cakes, flip over after you see the bubbles and cook until golden brown on both sides. Repeat with the apples that you set aside and make another cake.

After they are done, let them cool a bit, and whip up the whip cream. Use the whip cream to put in between the cakes and on top of the cake and garnish with the bananas and blueberries.  Simple, fast and easy.

And let baby destroy your 20 min creation.  🙂


After a Very Long Blank June 6, 2010

I finally have found some time to write a post.

Past 2 years in a nutshell.  I have gone through my husband getting a job in another State.  Being pregnant with husband working in Chicago while we were still in Detroit.  Having the worst morning sickness that I lost 10lb in 5 days.  Moving to Chicago when 7 months pregnant.  Giving birth.  Tackling those very busy sleepless, exhausting days of an infant.  And now I am finally heading back to sanity.

Our 2nd born is on a good schedule now, and our 1st born is very ready for Kindie next Fall.

And I have finally found time to sit and somewhat start to have some me time.  Woo hoo!!

Essence of India

So for my nice me time, I got to go out with some moms that I met hear in Chicago, to an Indian restaurant in Lincoln Sq. called “Essence of India”.  The food was wonderful and the chit chat was awesome.  I haven’t had much of this since we moved here so I was very excited for today.

We had a very yummy Shrimp Coconut Curry, Palak Paneer, and Butter Chicken.  All very tasty and we ordered it mild since I’m not too good with spicy these days, but I could have ordered it Medium I think.

This place could be comparable to my favorite Indian Place in Berkley Michigan called “Passage to India”.  This place is very good and very affordable, I guess now they have a new store front?

Anywho, the food was excellent at Essence of India and the day was fun with no kids climbing all over me.  Thanks John.

Family Dosa

Where we live now, we are very close to Sari Town, which is Chicago’s Indian/Middle East town, which is located on Devon St.

We have gone to Sari town quite a bit for their Southern Indian food, “Dosa’s” which are vegetables wrapped in a crape. So since we knew nothing about these Dosa’s, we ordered the on that said “Family Dosa”, which had potato and peas in it.  Sounded great.  We asked the waitress if it was a good size for us (a 4 year old, John, and myself).  She said it would be a good size.  It was a GRANDE size!  The thing took up our whole length of the table!! “Family” meant Indian family, not 2 adults and a 4 year old! It meant mama, papa, 4 kids, grandma, grandpa, kids husbands and wives, and their kids and their kids kids!!!  Two men brought the thing out together! So if you are to get the “Family Dosa” from Mysor on Devon, bring your relatives.

So, speaking of curry, here is one of my favorite soup recipe’s;

Split Pea Soup:

  • 12 oz. yellow or green split peas, rinsed and picked over for any rocks
  • 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1/2 carrot, chopped
  • 1 smoked turkey leg
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Sweat all the vegetables in a tablespoon of butter or olive oil (2~3 min.) do not brown, and then add the rest of the ingredients except for the salt and pepper and start simmering with the lid on until peas are tender.  I used my pressure cooker so it took 10 min cooking time but without a pressure cooker about 45 min to an hour should do.  Take the turkey leg out and tear it appart into bite size pieces. Then use a stick blender to puree the soup and then add the turkey meat salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with heavy cream and some defrosted green peas, and it’s all done and yummy!


Trying Something New… October 6, 2008

Filed under: Healthier Me,Just about me,Luncheon — cocoyo @ 3:55 pm
Tags: ,

Finally it has come to the day that I am sitting at a coffee shop, by my self, typing up my blog. (I actually don’t like the smell of Starbucks, but I didn’t know anywhere else to go…)

Dropped off Zu, she didn’t cry and just said “Bye.”
Last week was the first time she didn’t cry at preschool.  We were about to give up on the Preschool thing, but I am so glad that she is finally getting used to it.

I am doing something on my own.  By my self…  Strange…  A little uneasy of the fact that I am not running around doing something for the house, Zu, or us.  I am sitting down, sipping on tea at a coffee shop.
I said I wanted to do this when I find time for myself, but when it actually happens it just doesn’t feel right that I am not “Working” (mom job), you know!?

I even have a lunch date today with my girl friends!  It’s mid-day, and we are hanging out!  We usually have “Ladies Night”, where we all leave our kids with the dads and the Girls get together for a gourme potluck and drinks at one of our houses.  Lot’s of fun.  These are the times we get to let loose.  But this time it’s strange because it’s day time!  Our kids are in school or some of the girls are just coming out durning their lunch break from work.  I’m really excited!  We are going to a really good Japanese restaurant called Sharaku.  And it just so happens to be my cousins place, where I work!  I may like this lunch thing a lot.

So as I am typing this up, I am talking to my husband via iChat.  He says I need some “me time”.  What’s that?  Who’s me?  Me = ME! Ahhhh…  Such a strange concept that I haven’t had a chance to think about since before Zu!  Wow…  I feel a bit more comfortable with this “Me” thing now, than I did a year ago for sure!  I’m happier, more organized, and things are more under control.  Let’s see how this “Me” thing pans out in the next coming months.  I know I am going to start enjoying this.  Can’t get too cofortable though, we may want another little terror of joy.

Here’s a link to the lettus wrap recipe in the photo: my friend made it, I made the samosa’s.

Need it in English?  Just let me know and I will put up a post.