Thursday, February 25, 2010

Brown Rice Okayu and Chicken Soup

I finally had to admit defeat a few days ago. I have joined the ranks of the sick and diseased with a pretty nasty cold. I have spent the last week taking it easy, coughing like crazy, napping and hiding away from the world.

Being sick is easier when you're married. Being single you learn to either suck it up and go get the things you need like food and medicine, or make do with what you've got by eating the probably too old stuff in the back of your pantry and freezer. With a great hubby on hand I'm very well taken care of. He'll pick up anything I ask him to at the store and offers to bring dinner home for me if he goes out.

Being Japanese American comfort food has two meanings. The American side of me wants orange juice and chicken soup. That's what everyone has right? I asked hubby to get me some chicken soup, my favorite is the dry packages that you add water to. When I walked into the kitchen this is what I saw:

OK, he didn't really put them into a pyramid but he did line them up along the counter. Made me LOL. I hope I'm not sick for as long as it would take me to eat all of that soup!

The Japanese side of me craves Okayu. It's a rice porridge, I call it Japanese oatmeal, because it's very similar to oatmeal but is made of rice. I make mine in two steps using pressure cooked brown rice. I add in twice as much water as needed so it comes out sticky and mushy. You can create the porridge by adding even more water, like a four to one ratio to make a big pot all at once (1 cup of rice to 4 cups of water).

But I like cooking up each serving individually so I do it this way:

When I want some okayu I add water to a small saucepan and add some already cooked rice to it. I put it on the stovetop and bring it to a boil. I let it simmer for awhile, 15 minutes or so, then pour into a bowl. I add a minced umeobshi plum and some toasted nori seaweed. Nori is the paper thin sheets of seaweed used to wrap sushi in. The Okayu is warm and comforting and easy to digest. Yummmmm the picture is the bowl I had for breakfast this morning. Not pictured is that I do eat it with a spoon, the chopsticks are handy for breaking up the minced umeboshi.

And here are my good friends, Kleenex and cough drops. I actually prefer Ricola cough drops but the store was out so I had some Halls blue cough drops instead. Last night I was watching tv and bored so I made a tiny origami crane out of a cough drop wrapper. Made me laugh. And I could use some laughs these days.

The cold is running its course and I am basically hiding away from the world until I'm over the worst of it because I don't want to spread it to anyone I know and I don't want to catch what you might have if you're sick and I see you.

Germ Girl out.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Downtown Campbell Wine Walk

Last week I was asked to come photograph the Inaugural Downtown Campbell Wine Walk. So the funny thing about this post is that I don't drink wine. Everywhere I went everyone was asking how the wines tasted. I could only defer that until there is an "Orange Juice" or "Club Soda" walk I wouldn't be sampling the libations :) But it was very fun watching hundreds of other people enjoying the wines and their local community at the same time.

The starting point to register and pick up your wine glass was at Import Connections on Central Ave.

Twenty four local merchants participated hosting 22 different local wineries who offered samplings of both red and white wines.

Each winery sent one or two representatives to serve the hundreds of guests who participated!

And of course there can't be wine without some cheese.

The Courtyard was packed as were the participating shops.

There were over 20 wineries participating.

Pictured here: Soyna Paz and Stone Griffin Art Galleries

There were lots of musicians interspersed on each block...

Barefoot Wine and Bubbly and Stroth Hall Cellars

Solis was served at 23 Skidoo.

KwikCart pedicabs offered rides to wine goers all evening.

There were crowds in every shop!

This event was such a huge success that another is already being planned for later this summer on September 22nd. If you would like to be kept up to date about when tickets for the next Wine Walk go on sale please subscribe to the Downtown Campbell Newsletter by CLICKING HERE. You will see a text field to subscribe in the lefthand side bar.

If you attended the wine walk and want to purchase more of the wine's you tasted that night here's a list of participating wineries and the shops that hosted them:

Barefoot Wine & Bubbly - The Olive Bar
Burrell School Vineyards & Winery - Stone Griffin Gallery
Clos LaChance Winery - Gelato Classico and Audible Arts
Coastal Vines - Primrose Spa
Cooper Garrod Estate Vineyards - Celtic Shoppe
Coterie Cellars - Bella James
Domenico Winery - Bombshell Boutique
el Sol Wines - Sonya Paz Gallery
Fleming Jenkins Vineyards & Winery - Palazzi
Hacienda Cellars - Campbell Museum
Heart O' The Mountain - Ayla
JFJ Winery - Dutchess Intimates
Kirigin Cellars - Embellishes / Gridley Company
Mont Pellier - Debbie Marie Gallery
Poetic Cellars - Campbell Showroom
Rabbit Ridge Winery - Vintage & Vogue
Roudon Smith Winery - Quizno's and Faux Salon
Sarah's Vineyard - Lavish Wellness Spa
Savannah Chanelle Vineyards - Simply Smashing
Silver Mountain Vineyards - House of Brass
Solis Winery - 23 Skidoo
Stroth-Hall Cellars - Trailsloggers

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Santa Cruz Fundraiser for Rose Sniatowski Feb. 27, 2010

On October 26, 2009, Rose Sniatowski was an innocent victim in a tragic car accident that has changed her life forever. Rose suffered a broken right arm/wrist/hand, a fractured L3 vertebrae that miraculously has not paralyzed her, a broken clavicle, ruptured bowel and crushed feet. She spent almost a month in Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital's Trauma Center.
Click Image to enlarge and print as a color flyer.

Several of my wedding industry friends (Craig W. Smith, Orbie Pullen and Rebecca Merideth Pullen along with 4 other local photographers) are participating in a fundraiser to assist Rose who has not been able to work since the accident and won't be able to work for quite some time.

They are offering $60 family portraits:
February 27th, 2010
1:30 pm - 4:30 pm at the Mount Hermon Rec Field

It's a great cause. I'm hoping, if you're local, you'll consider attending. If you don't live in the area but would like to help Rose there are donation options on the right sidebar of her BLOG. Just CLICK HERE to donate.

From the Help Rose Blog:
"With the help of friends and family, Rose was able to return to her small apartment in Santa Cruz to continue her recovery process. Someone has been with her at all times since the day of the accident. Each day she gets stronger and able to do more for herself.

Rose has always had exemplary credit, and for the first time in her life, she finds herself in serious debt. The woman who caused the accident may be uninsured. Since Rose's graduation from college, her jobs have not offered medical insurance and she has not been able to afford private medical insurance. So far, no public assistance has come through, either. Many of Rose's friends want to help her. So we are planning a fund raiser to help her out and a way to make direct donations, for those who prefer. We hope you will be able to help, too."
This is the car that Rose was a passenger in.

When a driver coming from the other direction drifted over the center divide she caused a head on collision clipping the car Rose was riding in causing the damage you see here. Rose's friend, the driver of the car she was a passenger in, was also seriously injured as was the young woman who caused the accident.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Showing my Olympic spirit... Clank, clank, clank!

Hubby and I have been watching the Olympics. Right away I wanted a cowbell so that I could ring it during the competitions like everyone in the crowd. LOL I posted this thought on FB and a friend pointed out there's an app for that. Yup, you can download a Cowbell app on your iPhone. This is the one I chose:

Cowbell! by CTS MobileSoft is free and works great! The faster you shake it the more it clangs. It's loud and fun and I love it!

Two nights ago hubby would only let me ring it during the commercials because he was trying to listen to the competition commentary. Last night he downloaded the same app and we were clanging our cowbells together. LOL Now we officially have the Olympic spirit!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Introducing Izzy and Nesting Newbies Ezines

I know some of you are wondering "What is an Ezine?"

In simplest terms an Ezine is an online magazine. Some are simply periodic blog posts or newsletters while others are full fledged online magazines. Though I'm fairly new to them what I love about the magazine style Ezines are that they're eco-friendly because they aren't printed on paper and they are convenient. An online Ezine is easy to view and read without having to carry an actual magazine around with you when you're on the go. For a more thorough explanation you can read up about them on Wikipedia by CLICKING HERE

Ezine Tips:

1. To view an online magazine just look for the arrows and click to visit the next page or to go back to the last one. There is also a thumbnail image gallery on Izzy that allows you to choose the next page you want to see by clicking on the smaller images.

2. To view close ups or to enlarge the print you might have to poke around a bit. On Izzy you can double click on the page to enlarge it. On Nesting Newbies you can use the magnifying glass icons to enlarge or reduce the page view. Other sites may have a "zoom" option where you can increase or decrease a percentage to select your viewing size.

3. Look for a subscription link or RSS link so that you can receive updates when the next issue has published.

At the moment there are only two Ezines I read: Izzy and Nesting Newbies. Izzy just launched their premier issue this morning and I'm proud to say The Flirty Guide is an advertiser.

When I found out Melissa Bagley was creating Izzy I was immediately excited because I know Melissa and her reputation well enough to know that the magazine would be impeccably designed and would feature top notch companies. And I wasn't mistaken. Izzy has everything a bride could want to see in a magazine...




Wedding Gowns...

Gorgeous Wedding Cakes...

Bridal Bouquets...

Wedding details and feature articles.

Nesting Newbies combines decorating and interior design ideas with cooking and food.

It includes many recipes with gorgeous photography...

Decor ideas...


Ads and features about people, products and services.

So if you love to read magazines and haven't looked to see what's available online, go take a peek. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by what you've been missing out on.

I Thought I Wanted an iPad...

A not-so-wise person once said to me "Aim low and you'll never be disappointed." Of course I have never embraced this philosophy. At least I thought I hadn't. But yesterday I learned that perhaps it's time to raise my goals and expectations. LOL

First I have to start off by thanking my friend Katherine for the cool eco-friendly, gift wrap bag she picked up for me after Christmas. We had had a discussion about not using wrapping paper when she happened upon this cute fabric bag designed for the sole purpose of being used in place of wrapping paper, bought it and sent it to me.

My hubby doesn't believe in using wrapping paper because he thinks it's wasteful so I said I was going to sew some cute fabric pillowcase type bags that he and I could reuse each Christmas. For the past three years I've received my Christmas gifts in grocery bags, not wrapped in grocery bags, just placed inside of bags so that we can reuse them again.

When hubby asked what I wanted for Valentine's day I said an iPad. I'd been hoping for an iPad IOU since they aren't actually available until March and April but to be honest I wasn't really expecting any gift at all.

What a shock! I couldn't believe it at first. At first I wondered to myself if hubby had simply used an old powerbook box to put something else into... Like an early April Fools Day kind of prank. But nope, there was a real MacBook Pro in the box.

WOO HOO! This is the coolest and best Valentine's Day gift I've ever received!

I think there were several reasons hubby felt I needed a new computer. My current laptop had all of the memory it could hold and I was running out of space so it was running sooooo slooooooow. Also my mouse on the trackpad would double and triple click most of the time. Plus I was wearing off the keys on my current MacBook Pro. When he first noticed how worn my keys had become he accused me of typing too hard and having "acid fingers." What the heck? Acid fingers? LOL. I told him that I just work a lot and that's why my keys were wearing off.

This was my "N" key. Apparently the keys I most commonly use are N-A-S and T. That might mean that I type the words Stan, nats, tans, ants, NASA, a## or Santa a lot. Or not :)

The funniest part is that just last week he and a friend tricked me into going to the Apple Inc. store with them after having lunch at the Apple Cafeteria under the pretense that his friend was shopping for a laptop for his wife.

Upon entering the store I promptly wandered off on my own to look at the t-shirts, hats and computer bags. I can only imagine they were saying to each other something along the lines of "Well this isn't good." When I did wander back over to them a few minutes later they said they were trying to decide if his wife would prefer the glossy or non glossy screen option. Due to my photophobia (the glaring light problem that triggers my migraines) I immediately said the less glare the better, and thought nothing more about it.

Even after I opened the gift bag yesterday I still didn't put 2+2 together. He had to tell me how they tricked me. LOL Good one! He can trick me any day of the week if me receiving an Apple product is the end result. Thanks sweetie! I love my new computer and love you. It was a very fun Valentine's day all day long ending with the Pizza of Love dinner I made for him that night.

Did I mention he tried to bribe the coffee shop hostess into seating us faster at breakfast by asking if his friend George Washington would help move our names up the list as he flashed a $1 bill at her? Plus there were 2 other people working with her so that would have meant 33¢ for each of them and one of them getting 34¢. They were all laughing at him. Yeah, it was a very fun and funny day.