Thursday, December 31, 2015

How To Make Toshikoshi Soba

      As I mentioned in my previous entry, soba is one of popular Japanese foods. Toshikoshi soba is a Japanese traditional noodle dish eaten on New Year's Eve. Tonight, I cooked this toshikoshi soba. :) I'm going to share how to make toshikoshi soba with you.
My Toshikoshi Soba 2015

Ingredients (2 servings)

1/2 lb of chicken thigh (chopped)
2 servings of soba noodles (cooked according to a package)
3 cups of water
1 tablespoon of sake
3 oz of mentsuyu
2 tablespoons of mirin
1 teaspoon of konbucha
1/2 cup of green onion (finely chopped)
tenkasu (optional)
shichimi togarashi


1. Bring water and sake to a boil in a pan.

2. Add chicken, mentsuyu, mirin and Konbucha. Simmer them for a several mintues.

3. Put cooked noodle in a bowl and add the soup and chicken.

4. Garnish it with green onion, tenkasu and shichimi.

5. Enjoy!


Wishing you a bright and happy New Year! :)))



    My entries related to Japanese instant ramen can be seen here.

    My entries related to Japanese noodles can be seen here.

    My entries related to Japan Haul can be seen here.
 

    My entries related to Best Japanese Beauty Products can be seen here.

    My entries related to Japan can be seen here.


    My entries related to cooking can be seen here.

    My entries related to my favorite recipes can be seen here.

    My entries related to foods my husband cooked can be seen here.


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Best Japanese Beauty Products of 2015

      Today, I read a Japanese beauty article, Best Beauty Products of 2015 by Steady, which is one of popular Japanese beauty and fashion magazines. I'm going to share with you which products were chosen as the best products this year.



■■■Best Makeup Removers■■■

http://amzn.to/1Py3D9D
      Fancl Mild Cleansing Oil has been very popular in Japan. According to Steady, it has been sold every 7 seconds! Also, this cleansing oil was selected the best makeup remover award by @cosme.


http://amzn.to/1ZCocWW


http://amzn.to/1Py4RS3




■■■Best Facial Cleansing Products■■■

http://amzn.to/1R99rbf
     Biore is a brand of Kao, one of the biggest cosmetic companies in Japan. Now, you can find Biore in many countries, but Japanese version of Biore is pretty gentle to your skin.


http://amzn.to/1Py5B9S
     Shiseido Perfect Whip has been my all-time favorite facial cleansing product as I mentioned in my previous entries.

http://amzn.to/1Py5MSw




■■■Best Moisturizing Toners■■■

       SK-II is a very high-end brand, and I've heard that it works very well. This 160 ml of lotion is 7000 yen in Japan and $70 in the U.S.


http://amzn.to/1mSvist


http://amzn.to/1R9c7Wq





    This is my entries related to Best Japanese Beauty Products.
http://itisapieceofcake2011.blogspot.com/search/label/Best%20Japanese%20Beauty%20Products 

     These are my entries you might like.

Top 5 Life-Changing Japanese Beauty Products 

Top 5 Japanese Sunscreen Products

The Best Japanese Shampoo & Conditioner

5 Best Japanese Deep Conditioning Hair Masks

The Best Japanese Hair Dryer, Panasonic Nano Care Hair Dryer

Top 5 Most Popular Japanese Charcoal Soap

4 Reasons Why I Love Kose Softymo Cleansing Oil

Popular Japanese Facial Cleansing Products - What I Want to Buy in Japan

5 Best Japanese Facial Lotion (Toner), Kesyou-sui 

Top 3 Daiso Beauty Products

Top 10 Products You Should Buy at Daiso



     My entries related to beauty can be seen here.
http://itisapieceofcake2011.blogspot.com/search/label/beauty

     My entries related to Japan can be seen here.
http://itisapieceofcake2011.blogspot.com/search/label/Japan


Tuesday, December 29, 2015

How to Make Starbucks Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha Latte

      Last night, I made peppermint white chocolate mocha latte which tasted like Starbucks one. :) I'm going to share how to make it with you.


What You Will Need
75 cc of Espresso
2 Tablespoons of White Chocolate Sauce
1/2 Teaspoon of Peppermint Extract
150 cc of Milk

Garnish
Whipped Cream
Chocolate Shavings

      How To Make

1. Brew espresso.

2. Add white chocolate sauce and espresso into a mug, and mix them well.

3. Add hot milk and stir.

4. Add peppermint extract.

5. Top with whipped cream.

6. Sprinkle with chocolate shavings.

7. Enjoy!


      This is my YouTube channel.
Ringo's Coffee Channel

      My entries related to coffee can be seen here.
http://itisapieceofcake2011.blogspot.com/search/label/coffee


      My Starbucks entries can be seen here.
http://itisapieceofcake2011.blogspot.com/search/label/Starbucks

      This is my entries related to our Starbucks collections. 
http://itisapieceofcake2011.blogspot.com/search/label/Starbucks%20mugs
 
      This is my entries related to my favorite recipe.
http://itisapieceofcake2011.blogspot.com/search/label/recipes

      This is my entries related to cooking.
http://itisapieceofcake2011.blogspot.com/search/label/cooking


       These are my entries you might like.

■Japanese Drip Coffee Bags - UCC & KEY COFFEE

■How to Make Caramel Macchiato

■How to Make a Frappuccino Less Watery
 
How To Make Espresso Ice Cube Latte

How to Make Thai Iced Coffee - Oliang, Cafe Yen

Trader Joe's Pour-Over Coffee Brewer Review

Two Ways to Make Coffee Granita

How to Make Café de Olla - Mexican Coffee

How to Brew Coffee with Bodum Pour Over Coffee Maker 

How to Make Starbucks Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha Latte

How to Make Starbucks Peppermint Mocha Latte 

How To Make Salted Caramel Mocha Latte

How to Make Salted Caramel Mocha Frappuccino 

How to Make Affogato, Italian Espresso-based Dessert

How to Make Pumpkin Spice Latte

How to Turn Mason Jars into A Coffee Grinder and Compact Blender

How to Make Nutella Frappuccino

How to Make Iced Caramel Macchiato

Monday, December 28, 2015

Starbucks Reserve Christmas 2015

     Starbucks released their Starbucks Reserve Christmas of 2015 about a month ago. On Christmas Day, my husband and I went to our local Clover Reserve Starbucks to have their special Reserve Christmas. At the store, it was not on the menu board. Because Reserve coffee is always small-lot of rare coffee and limited, it's sold out pretty fast. However, we asked barista if they were still serving Reserve Christmas Just in case. Eventually, we got this Starbucks Reserve Christmas 2015! Yay!
Starbucks Reserve Christmas 2015

        According to Starbucks, this lot of aged Sumatra, aged to 5 years, is different than those selected for our other holiday options. It is less rustic, evoking a softer, sweeter flavor that serves as the perfect complement to our Costa Rica coffee. The coffees selected from our farm have an abundance of wonderful sweet orange-like flavors. Together, they create an alchemy of flavors. From the first sip, you taste each component as if it were alone in your cup before the coffees join up in a gift of flavors that taste like Christmas.

      Since we had their anniversary blend coffee this year, we've been really into aged coffee. This Reserve Christmas was also used aged coffee beans. :)))
Starbucks Reserve Christmas 2015

         My entries related to coffee can be seen here.
http://itisapieceofcake2011.blogspot.com/search/label/coffee

         My Starbucks entries can be seen here.
http://itisapieceofcake2011.blogspot.com/search/label/Starbucks

         This is my entries related to our Starbucks collections.
 http://itisapieceofcake2011.blogspot.com/search/label/Starbucks%20mugs



Sunday, December 27, 2015

Donated Goods to Goodwill

      Next year, I am planing on reading Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Indeed, I've ordered the book on Amazon and will be supposed to receive it in early next year. :) I watched her on Japanese TV and learned how to declutter your home from the show. Last night, I just did what I learned from her. I decided which ones I should keep or get rid of. As a result, I collected so many clothes which I wouldn't wear any more from my closet. Now, my closet is neatly clean, and I am very happy. It's like the life changing magic as she says. I can't wait reading her book next year. :)

     Today, my husband and I went to our local Goodwill Donation Center to donate those goods. I am glad that we just finished this task before New Year's Day. We received this Donation Tax Receipt, which we will need to fill out information to fill a tax return next spring.
Donation Tax Receipt

Donation Tax Receipt


     Here is my entries related Konmari Method.
http://itisapieceofcake2011.blogspot.com/search/label/Konmari%20Method

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Haul - Very Popular Inexpensive Casio Watch

     As I mentioned in my previous entry, Casio watches have been incredibly popular in Japan because fashionable designs and reasonable prices. Inexpensive Casio watch is called "Cheap Casio" in Japan. Many Japanese people uploaded photos of their Casio watches on Instagram. You can check the Cheap Casio look at #チープカシオ or #チプカシ on Instagram. After checking Instagram photos, I also read its reviews on Amazon US. Some people reviewed that their watches have been working for 5 years so far. I was impressed at its review because I used to believe that cheap watches usually work for only a few years. Eventually, I decided to order this Casio watch, Casio LQ142E9A. :) This was about $10 on Amazon US! Surprisingly, it was more affordable than one in Japan. I think it's because it's too popular in Japan. :)
Casio LQ142E9A

Casio LQ142E9A

      It's a casual watch but also very chic! It was actually better than I expected. :) As I mentioned in my previous entry, Casio has so many kinds of inexpensive watches. I also would like to get other designs of their watches in the future. :)
Casio LQ142E9A



      My entries related to Japan can be seen here.
http://itisapieceofcake2011.blogspot.com/search/label/Japan

      My entries related to shopping can be seen here.
http://itisapieceofcake2011.blogspot.com/search/label/shopping

      My entries related fashion can be seen here.
http://itisapieceofcake2011.blogspot.com/search/label/fashion

Friday, December 25, 2015

Bon Epi Patisserie & Café

     Today, my husband and I went to Bon Epi Patisserie & Café to purchase our Christmas cake. By the way, last Christmas, we were disappointed at 85℃ Bakery's cake, which was way too sweet. I was really sad that they used to be our favorite bakery. Then, one of my husband's coworker recommended us to try Bon Epi Patisserie & Café, which is a Korean cafe. It was our first time to try their cakes today. This cafe and 85℃ Bakery are located at the same mall. While there were insanely long lines at 85℃ Bakery, this cafe was not crowded. I saw that only two Asian families were waiting for their orders. :) 
Bon Epi Patisserie & Café
      They were selling some kinds of macarons, cakes, ice cream, acai bowls and drinks.
Bon Epi Patisserie & Café
       We chose two pieces of cake, a chocolate cream cake and strawberry cake. They were about $4 each. :)
Cake from Bon Epi Patisserie & Café
        These were pretty delicious but little sweeter than I hoped. Am I picky about sweets?

        The strawberries were very fresh!

Bon Epi Patisserie & Café
2750 Alton Pkwy Ste 101 
Irvine, CA 92606


         My entries related to restaurants can be seen here.
http://itisapieceofcake2011.blogspot.com/search/label/restaurants



Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Best Products I Bought in 2015

       Compared to previous years, I think that I didn't buy many products this year because I felt like I had already owned something that I really needed in my everyday life. I didn't buy many clothes, cosmetics and so on. Yet, I was able to find some great items that ended up having changed my life better. :) I'm going to share the best 5 products I bought in 2015 with you. :)


1. Canon DSLR Camera
http://amzn.to/1RKzDdX
        This year, I decided to upload coffee recipe videos on my YouTube Channel periodically. After uploading several videos, I told my husband that I wanted blurred and sharpened background effects in my videos. That's why we ended up buying a new camera, Canon EOS Rebel SL1 Digital SLR, to make better videos. Indeed, I am really satisfied with this purchase. Even though we are still learning how to use our digital single-lens reflex camera, I think the qualities of our videos have significantly improved. :)
This is one of my video which was recorded with my Canon DSLR camera.
        Since I am a blogger, I frequently take photos everywhere, so this camera has changed quality of my blog too. :) As I mentioned in my previous entry, when we traveled Seattle this year, we were able to take the beautiful night view photos of Downtown Seattle skylines. :)

       Then, we bought Canon telephoto zoom lens, Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4.0-5.6 IS II, for this camera and were able to take photos of a total lunar eclipse in September. :)

      The only downside of having this camera is that the camera is too big to take casual photos such as foods at restaurants. I still use my iPhone to take quick photos outside.


2. Pyrex Glass Containers
       My husband and I decided to make the switch to glass containers from plastic ones because glass ones last so long and are safer to use. We ended up purchasing the set of Pyrex glass containers, Pyrex 18 Piece Simply Store Set with Colored Lids.
http://amzn.to/1ZrqisM

       A few weeks after I purchased these, I found that Pyrex released limited edition items in vibrant colors for their 100 year anniversary. I thought I should get their limited ones, Pyrex 100 4-cup 100th Anniversary Storage Dishes! I eventually purchased all 5 limited ones too.
http://amzn.to/1ZrrDj7

      When I purchased these 14 containers, I thought that I probably wouldn't need so many containers. However, we actually use all of them. My husband uses them as lunch boxes every day, and I use them to store leftover meals. When I cook, I store extra chopped green onions in my Pyrex container and eat them up with miso soup within a few days. When I make ice cream, I use the biggest one to store ice cream mixture in freezer. When I make casserole, I use it as a bake wear and put it into oven. :) These are very useful containers, and we are really satisfied with them. :)


3. Cooking Book
     As I mentioned in my previous entry, I bought these books at 99 Cents Only Store in January this year, and I really love these books. :) Specifically, I love Mexician Cooking and Italian Cooking, and I've cooked some recipes referred to the books. These are very thin and only have 21 recipes each, so I think I can try almost all of them some day. :) Trying new recipes are very fun and makes me happy. :)
http://amzn.to/22qQq9t

       These are photos of some of meals I've cooked and referred to the books.

From Classic Recipes Mexican Cooking Book :
Guacamole
Chicken Tortilla Soup
From Classic Recipes Italian Cooking Book :
Chicken Cacciatore
Italian Mushroom Risotto
Chicken and Tomato Pasta


4. Caramel Syrup
http://amzn.to/1NP6tUW
       I bought a Hershey's Caramel Syrup for my first time because I wanted to make Caramel Frappuccino, which is one of my favorite Starbucks drinks. When I first bought it, I didn't think I could use it up this year. However, I used it for caramel Frapuccino, caramel macchiato and slated caramel mocha, and I ended up purchasing three bottles of caramel syrup in total this year! I didn't know I could make so many caramel coffee drinks!
These are my coffee drink recipe videos. They are so delicious. :)))












5. Mason Jars
http://amzn.to/1kjNZ6v
        I found that a regular mouth mason jar can turn into a compact blender with using my Oster blender, and this hack is very useful when I want to make just one cup of Frappuccino. I don't have to wash both a blender jar and a tumbler. I only need to wash a compact mason jar, so I can save my time and water. :) In addition, I use mason jars as containers for coffee beans. Because mason jars are pretty air tight, they keep my coffee beans fresh longer. Furthermore, my husband takes a mason jar with extra brewed coffee to work. After finishing drinking coffee of his tumbler, he opens the mason jar and pours coffee into his tumbler. He told me that he enjoys the smell of coffee when he opens the lid. That's why we have many mason jars in different sizes now! Mason jars are very inexpensive but very useful. :)
       This is my coffee video which shows how to turn mason jars into a coffee grinder and compact blender.



      My entries related to shopping can be seen here.
http://itisapieceofcake2011.blogspot.com/search/label/shopping

         This is my YouTube channel.
RINGO's Coffee Channel

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Jamiroquai - Seven Days In Sunny June

       Yesterday, I watched The Devil Wears Prada, which has been my all-time favorite movie. This song, Seven Days In Sunny June by Jamiroquai, is used as background music in this movie. Jamiroquai is a British band and pretty popular in Japan too. I've sometimes listened to some their songs while I was living in Japan. :)



Lyrics

The pebbles you've arranged
In the sand, they're strange
They speak to me like constellations
As we lie here
There's a magic I can hold
Your smile of honey gold
And that you never seem to be in short supply of

Oooh, so baby let's get it on
Drinking wine and killing time
Sitting in the summer sun
You know I've wanted you so long
Why do you have to
Drop that bomb on me?

Lazy days, crazy dolls
You said we've been friends too long
Seven days in sunny June
Were long enough to bloom
The flowers on the summer dress you wore in spring
The way we laughed as one
And then you dropped the bomb
That I've known you too long
For us to have a thing


Oooh, so baby let's get it on
Drinking wine and killing time
Sitting in the summer sun
You know I've wanted you so long
Why do you have to
Drop that bomb on me?


Could it be this? 
The stories in your eyes
Tell of silent wings you fly away on

Seven days in sunny June 
but long enough to bloom
Flowers on that sun beamed dress you wore in spring
Yeah yeah, the way we laughed as one
Why did you drop that bomb on me?

Oooh, so baby let's get it on
Drinking wine and killing time
Sitting in the summer sun
You know I've wanted you so long
Why do you have to
Drop that bomb on me?
 


Could it be this?
The honeysuckle blessings seem to show me

Could it be this? 
For seven days in June, I wasn't lonely

Could it be this?
You never gave me time to say, "I love you"

Could it be this?
I know you don't believe me but it's so true

Don't walk away from me, girl
I read the stories in your eyes

Don't you walk away from me
I read the stories in your eyes
And you've been telling me we've been friends for too long, yeah

I think I love you
I think I love you
Why'd you wanna drop the bomb?
Ooh, ooh,




       Today's Vocabularies

pebble 【 pébl 】 : noun : (水の作用で丸くなった,海浜・川床にある)小石,小さな玉石

constellation 【 kὰnstəléɪʃən 】 : noun :  星座、〔着飾った紳士淑女などの〕一群; 〔すばらしいもの・美しいものなどの〕集まり



    This is my entries related to my favorite songs.
http://itisapieceofcake2011.blogspot.com/search/label/songs


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Tacos Sinaloa, Mexican Restaurant

     Last Saturday, my husband and I went to Tacos Sinaloa, a Mexican restaurant in Santa Ana. When we were passing through the road in front of this restaurant, it really caught my eye because the exterior of the restaurant was filled with a lot of Christmas pictures. I think no one can ignore such an excessively colorful restaurant. Because we were really hungry at the time, we decided to try this restaurant for our first time.
Tortilla Chips
       I ordered asada taco, beef taco, for $1.85 and camaron taco, shrimp taco, for $2.50. If truth be told I had ordered fish taco instead of shrimp taco, but it ended up being great actually. :) I don't usually order shrimp taco but found a liking for it. :)
Tacos (Beef & Shrimp)

      My husband ordered this wet carnitas burrito, wet pork burrito, for $7.99. It was very huge! It had a plenty of cheese on it and tasted great!
Wet Burrito (Pork)
         I also ordered this Mexican coffee, cafe de olla, which is made of coffee, cinnamon and piloncillo. Piloncillo is unrefined whole cane sugar. It was actually pretty good! It's not too spicy nor excessively sweet. I would like to make it at home and will share it in my future video through my YouTube channel next year. :)
Cafe de Olla


Tacos Sinaloa
1430 E 17th St 
Santa Ana, CA 92705


         My entries related to restaurants can be seen here.
http://itisapieceofcake2011.blogspot.com/search/label/restaurants


         My entries related to coffee can be seen here.
http://itisapieceofcake2011.blogspot.com/search/label/coffee

         This is my YouTube channel.
RINGO's Coffee Channel

Monday, December 21, 2015

99 Cents Only Store Haul - 2016 Calendar & 99 Cent Recipe Book Review

      Yesterday, my husband and I went to 99 Cents Only Store to get a 2016 calendar. As I mentioned in my previous entries, we purchase our calendar there every year. 

      We finally chose this beautiful beach photo calendar for 2016 because it reminds me of our traveling Hawaii. We had a great time on the Big Island, Hawaii on New Year's day this year. :) I hope we can travel there again soon.
2016 Beach Photo Calendar

2016 Beach Photo Calendar

2016 Beach Photo Calendar

         By the way, when I bought the 2015 calendar there about a year ago, we also bought these three cooking books for 99 cents each as I mentioned it before. I tried some new recipe from the books this year and am really satisfied with having purchased these books. I cooked guacamole and chicken tortilla soup refereed to Classic Recipes Mexican Cooking, and I cooked seafood linguine, chicken cacciatore, mushroom risotto and chicken & tomato pasta referred to Classic Recipes Italian Cooking. Although I didn't try any American recipe. However, I actually cooked some favorite ones more than two times such as tortilla soup and mushroom risotto. :))) These were really worth more than 99 cents for me! I really would like to try more recipes from the books next year!
Classic Recipes Cooking Books

      If you love cooking, I highly recommend these books. Each book has 21 recipes with beautiful photos, and the recipes are not complicated at all. All recipes I have tried from the books so far were delicious and tasted pretty authentic to me. :)) I looked at book section at 99 Cents Only Store yesterday, but they didn't carry these any more, but you can still find them on Amazon. :)
         


      My entries related to shopping can be seen here.
http://itisapieceofcake2011.blogspot.com/search/label/shopping

       This is my entries related to cooking.
http://itisapieceofcake2011.blogspot.com/search/label/cooking

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Goodwill Haul - Vintage Pyrex Casseroles, Forest Fancies, Forest Mushroom, Brown Forest

       As I mentioned in my previous entry, my husband and I went to Goodwill and purchased Fire King plates. In addition to those, I finally got these vintage Pyrex Forest Fancies casseroles because these were in surprisingly good condition!
Vintage Pyrex Forest Fancies Casseroles

      The smallest one was $2.99, and the others were $3.99 each. :)
Vintage Pyrex Forest Fancies Casseroles

Vintage Pyrex Forest Fancies Casserole

Vintage Pyrex Forest Fancies Casserole

Vintage Pyrex Forest Fancies Casserole






       My entries related to vintage products can be seen here.
http://itisapieceofcake2011.blogspot.com/search/label/Vintage