Archives for January, 2010

Olive Garden menu: Zuppa Toscana ” Yassy’s Version “

 As you already know, I like re-creating meals with some twists from restaurants or eatery places that I have visited. It is fun to brain storming what is in the sauce or soup.

One of the restaurants I like to go to is Olive garden. One of the reasons I go there is for their soup, to be specific, ” Zuppa Toscana”. In Italian, Zuppa means “soup”. It is very tasty garlicky spicy bacon potato soup with Kale if you will.

I think, it is basically a bacon potato soup with pork sausage, crushed red pepper and chopped kale. Here is how you can make my version of Zuppa Toscana.

zuppa toscana soup

Zuppa toscana ….

I start off preheating the oven at about 400F

1. To small baking sheet, line non stick foil and place one link of hot Italian sausage and bake the sausage in the oven til done.

** This way, the finished soup does not have greasy top and still tasty when you have them

** I use Italian hot sausage because it has full of flavor and it also can add spiciness without adding crushed red pepper to the soup

** Also,if you do not like spicy soup, you can swap the hot Italian sausage with mild sausage or kielbasa sausage or smoked sausage. If you use fully cooked kielbasa/smoked sausage, just cut to small pieces and cook in the skillet with cold press Extra Virgin Olive Oil rather than bake in the oven

2. When sausage is done, cool it down enough to handle with hands.

3. Cut the sausage to about a little bigger than thumb nail size

4. Pour about 1tbs of cold press Extra Virgin Olive Oil to deep sauce pan, and grate about 1 clove of garlic and when you can smell the garlic, add diced Russet potato and when potato is half done, add sliced onion and cook til translucent.

5. Add cooked sausage

6. Add about 1C of chicken broth, 1C of milk and let potatoes cook through

** This amount is good for about 2 adult serving. If you make soup for more people, add equal amount of chicken broth and milk and finish the soup off with splash of heavy cream.

7. While potato is cooking in other sauce pan, prepare the skillet and, place center cut Bacon about 6 slices and add about 1tbs of water

** Why Center cut Bacon? It is leaner cut of Bacon and you still can get same tasty flavor out of it. My favorite brand is oscar mayer brand. I do not use oil to get the bacon going. All you need is about 1tbs of water. Don’t put too much water in the skillet though. You do not want to steam the bacon

** As Bacon cooks, now and then, flip the bacon and cook till Bacon does not get bend over when lift the bacon up. And Place the cooked Bacon onto paper towel. By letting them rest on the paper towel,it crisp up more

On the talk of Bacon. I think there are many ways to cook Bacon. Some people cook in oven, some people cook in skillet, some people fry them… I found one interesting video to show you how to cook the Bacon in the microwave at  youtube. I have not tried this method yet but interested in trying this method once later.

I do use microwave to cook the pepperoni first sandwiching the pepperoni with paper towel just like the guy in the video did for Bacon to make my homemade pepperoni pizza does not get too greasy when cooked. Maybe using the method for Bacon would work.

How to cook the perfect Bacon in the microwave

8.When soup is close to finish, add chopped Kale about handful

8. Add splash of heavy cream to make the soup a little creamier and simmer the soup a little

9. Right before you serve, pour the Zuppa Toscana soup and cut the crisp bacon with kitchen scissor.

** I usually cut the Bacon over the cup of soup. This way, your hands do not get greasy.

** As side note, I use kitchen scissor to cut bunch of chives over bowls or sauce pan or wherever I like to put the chive in for dish. This way, you do not need to chase around the small bits of chives on cutting board, easy cleaning, and no mess.

This dish is less greasy version of Zuppa Toscana (Toscana soup), and it is very easy to make. I hope your family would enjoy this dish as much as mine does.


Bookmark and Share

Jan 31, 2010 | 0 | Restaurant Challenge

What do you call ….. in Japanese? : Jumper, trainer, and paper driver

 In previous entry titled “What do you call … in Japanese: Apartment vs Mansion, wasei eigo“, I wrote about there are words that sounds like English but words are meaning much different things in Japanese.

 Those words are the words people in Japan think you will be understanding what they are pointing out and you will be thinking about the same exact items. However, often times, those are the words that create misunderstanding each other.

 Some English words that founds place in Japanese sometime have much much different meaning from original meaning in English.

 For example, British English word  “Jumper”. We Japanese pronounce the word as you pronounce it. What we have in mind? It is a clothe that is for exercise, work, or for warmth and cuff and waist area is tightened, and sometimes, students call it “windbreaker”.

 In British English, “jumper” means what we imagine as “sweater”. Do you think you know what we imagine when we say “Jumper skirt”? People in England would call it “pinafore dress” and we are imagining the clothe: skirt without sleeves or collars. Some young kids in Japan call jumper skirt “Jan suka” It is shorten words, just like “paso kon” for “Personal computer”.

 Another word that may create misunderstanding will be “trainer”. If you shout the word to Japanese, they will understand the word but they would think about different thing from what you think.

 The word “trainer” points type of clothe in Japan. Trainer, what we imagine, is an exercise clothe sports athletes would wear to protect their body so as not to get their body cold while practicing. In British English, it means athletic shoes. In Japan, athletic shoe is called “sneaker”.

  Recently, I was talking to my husband that my sister was “paper driver”. He thought I meant my sister was the person who delivers newspaper to neighborhood. In my mind, “paper driver” meant person who took and passed driver license test and have drivers license but not driving cars for years and years.

 When you travel around the world,
and meet people and learn their culture is very interesting.
Language is one of the things you may find it interesting to learn more too.

Bookmark and Share


Jan 26, 2010 | 0 | Uncategorized

Do dogs have favorite types?

 Dogs have full of personality, and each dog has their own quirks. And, there are many kinds of looks, sizes, and scent in dogs’ community.

 In doggie community, do they have their favorite types?

 I think they do to some extent. Dogs have emotions and express them with facial expression, vocal, and body language whether they are comfortable with situation around them or sad or happy or feeling fear etc.. So, maybe they could have dogs that could not get along with or dogs that are inseparable and get along very well.

 With Palette, to some dogs, she put her ears fold back,head low to the ground, butt wagging in the air and greet nose to nose. To other dogs, especially to dogs that come up to her and go to her rear right away without nose to nose greeting or the dogs that barking at or lunching at her from a bit distance, she freezes, and I feel tense although she does not lunch at them or anything, just I can tell she is uncomfortable and be alert around her.

 She seems to do fine with any size of dogs as long as the dogs that come up to her comes and greet nose to nose calmly. Dogs come right to her butt without nose to nose greeting is, it seems, she does not feel comfortable with.

 Occasionally, when we meet other dogs, she folds her ears back,head low to the ground, butt wagging in the air and go attempt to nose to nose greeting but other dogs just growl at or start barking at her as she comes close, and end up keep walking and pass by the dogs. So, sometimes, her friendly manner does not get accepted.

 What matter to dogs that make them go ….. ” My favorite type is ..” ?

 Looks? Personality? Female/male? Or, scent? Do they have scent they do not like? If they had very bad experience with particular dogs, they feel uncomfortable around dogs that resemble to the particular dog? In other words, bad experience also influence to form the new relationship?

  Please tell us what you think. We would love to hear your thoughts on this.

  Recently, I have found a cute video of Doberman and Chihuahua being a best friends. This video makes me smile.

Bookmark and Share

Jan 24, 2010 | 0 | Uncategorized

Nabemono dish Part I: Sukiyaki

 I like dish that is cooked and shared at the table. People sit around the dish to enjoy eating and talking. One dish that may come to your mind maybe “Fondue“. Did you know its origin is Swiss? According to wikipedia, term “fondue” derivered from French word “fondre” which means “to melt” ? The past tense of the word “fondre” is “fondu” meaning “melted”.

 In Japan, there are several kinds of Nabemono dish. Nabemono dish is type of the dish cooked and shared at the table just like fondue. Since it warms up your body, often times, people enjoy this kind of dish winter time more.

 One popular nabemono dish is probably “sukiyaki”. Some people may have heard of the name. When you have sukiyaki, you will see the iron pot or ceramic pot on table. In it, you will find thinly sliced beef, Tofu, Chrysanthemum leaves, Green onion, Shrataki (noodle made from konnyaku), Udon, etc in simmering sauce (mixture of soy sauce, sugar, sake, and mirin) and our family used to have Mochi (rice cake) cooked in there too. You also see a plate that has raw vegetable, raw meat, and other uncooked items along side the pot. Idea is to put those ingredients in the pot as you eat the cooked one in the sauce. You can see picture of the dish at wikipedia here.

 In Japan, you will crack an egg in small individual bowl, and beat it up and dip the cooked ingredients in it and eat them. When coming over to the states, I was surprised to know people are not supposed to have a raw egg. Maybe eggs in Japan and eggs in US have different standard to be sold and used to consumers?

 Since I learned raw egg is no, no here in US, I serve no raw beaten egg to dip meat, vegetable etc and eat just as is.

 Best part is next day. Next day, the dish has more flavor and my mother used to make risotto-like thing out of it. And that was delicious. What she did was just to put leftover rice into sukiyaki dish and heat through.

 Sukiyaki is easy to make and it is a great dish to share and enjoy with family. You maybe wondering how to make sukiyaki dish. Here is how. I will omit unique ingredients.

1.prepare ingredients on plate to go in to the pot.

Beef- slice thin
green onion/leek- slice diagonally
onion-slice to about 1/4″ thickness
Nappa cabbage (hakusai)- cut to about 1″ chunks
Tofu-cut to about 1″ dice
Udon-cut the bag into half.This gets you to have shorter noodle in a dish rather than long noodle. Usually Udon require only a few min to cook in the pot.

2. To 100ml water, add 100ml of mirin, 100ml of soy sauce, 2 tbs white table sugar and simmer

3. If you had iron pot at home, you can bring the pot to the table, cook the green onion/leek and beef in it, pour the mixture of soy sauce, mirin, sugar, water over and add ingredients as you like from prepared plate.

** If you did not have iron pot, you can make it as one pot dish that will be shared at the table.

Here is how you can do it. After preparing vegetable and all other ingredients you like to have in a dish, in one pot, make the sauce (water,soy sauce,mirin,sugar as I have described in step#2). Then, you can cook leek and beef in a bit of oil in sauce pan and add the ingredients you want in dish, and add the sauce. Cook through and you can put the pan on table and family can have bowl of rice and pick what they like to eat from the pan.

Next day, you can put leftover rice to the pot, heat through and eat as sukiyaki risotto like my mother used to.

Here is a tip for you. Be careful not to over cook the beef. Especially red meat tend to become tough when simmer/cook too long.

There are some more dishes that can be categorized under Nabemono dish. I will introduce them next time. For now, enjoy sukiyaki!

Bookmark and Share

Jan 21, 2010 | 0 | Uncategorized

Do you really know what’s going into your dog stomach?? Part III

 In previous entry titled “Do you really know what’s going into your dog stomach?? Part I”, I wrote about why I have changed Palette’s diet. Then in the entry titled Do you really know what’s going into your dog stomach?? Part II”, I wrote about it is important for you to know what are in the treats you give to your dogs not just dog food ingredients.

 Here, I like to write about it is also important for you to know where the treats are made, and if there were no full ingredients list available or no information regarding treats’ origin; where the treat was made, you should ask the store what are in it, where it is made before you purchase them.

 Sometimes, I find even big name online pet supply stores website lack in showing such an important information for their customers.

 One online pet supply store had this all natural Jerky treats with 100% duck meat. Ingredient was just duck meat. Description says, it is slow roasted to lock in the flavor. Sounds great! The website did not have where it was made and turned out it was “made in China”.

 One day, I came across website where you can buy bully sticks in bulk. The website had information on length of the treats,shape of the treats,wrote it is all natural treats etc.., but it did not say where they were made.

 I asked them where the bully sticks are made. Turned out, it is either from China or from south America. Which means, you do not know whether you will get one from China or from south America.

 Another online pet store had stuffed treats.

 The website had information on what it is mainly made out of , and that it said it is all natural treats, but no information on where it was made, what are the ingredients of the stuffing to stuff the particular treats with.

 The product was stuffed treats, but website did not say as to what it was filled with, in written form. They had a video on the page and if you had watched it, you could get information on what is stuffed with.

 I wish they had information in written form as well. Turned out that the treats had stuffed with brown rice and bully stick bits that were mixed to paste.

 I just got one stuffed treats for curiosity before I realize it was brown rice and bully sticks were what stuffing was.

 Result? Palette had watery diarrhea. Maybe reacted to paste? Or, paste maybe preserved with something and that got her digestive system upset?

 Same store had rabbit Jerky with information that says “this treat is good for allergy dog” but no information as to where it was made, or no ingredients were shown on the website.

 Rabbit has to be one of ingredients, for sure, but what else will be there. Some Jerky treats uses sweeteners such as molasses or other ingredients such as flours or caramel coloring, or maybe food additives such as soy lecithin etc..

 Some brand market lamb Jerky with 36 ingredients to make one.

 Of course, the less the meat is used, they can sell the treats cheaper than 100% meat treats but still..

 I asked them, and answer? It was ” made in China”. It looks like some products had full ingredients list, some had none, the other product had half ingredients list shown by saying ” This treats has ingredients a, b, c, and other good stuff for your dog”.

 I have to wonder what IS the “other good stuff”?

 Another pet supply store had this all natural Jerky treat with 100% rabbit meat. None of the particular product description was shown except title of the products and weight of the products.

 This store had such a large selection of treats to choose from, but all you see was front picture of the treats with weight of the treats information along side the product name.

 I inquired what are in it, where it was made. Turned out,it was “made in China” again. Answer to ingredients? I was just told it was made with pure rabbit meat.

 The answer, to me, was not good enough. Considering some of the products have more than meat in Jerky: brown rice, rye flour, chicory root syrup,salt,garlic etc are popular ingredients for commercially made so- called “all natural dog Jerky”, and some of the Jerky treats are fortified with vitamins etc.

 Jerky treats that has more than meat tends to be priced lower with good net weight amount because they use less meat and cost to make the Jerky goes down.

 As you know, I run k9 restaurant called “Yassy’s Gourmet Dog Kitchen“.

 Our Surf Turf Jerky is, made fresh for you with simple 2 ingredients: fully grass-fed buffalo meat with wild caught salmon and we add nothing to it.

 Our Down Under Roo Jerky is 100% Kangaroo meat. No mixed tocopherols, no coloring, no sugar added.Just simply meat is dehydrated.Nothing added to the meat.

 In fact, I do not understand why the dog treat companies need to add more “flavor enhancer” when meat itself is already being enticing enough.

 Fully grass-fed buffalo meat we use for our Jerky is sold for human. I have eaten their meat before on our wedding anniversary. Very tender, juicy, and flavorful. Very good.

 Palette eat their buffalo meat as raw diet meal too, and she enjoys them very much.  I am sure if we use less meat to make the Jerky, by adding  fillers such as rye flour like other makers do, we could price it down.

 However, if we offer something, I like to offer healthier, better ingredients products to furry friends.

 We value “quality of the products”, not “quantity”.

 At our store, you can read ingredients for all products, and information on where treats are made, and you would not find treats made with fillers or fortified with vitamins.

 I think some pet supply stores focusing too much on telling customer how their treats are all natural, their treats are good for chew, good for teeth cleaning, good for long lasting etc.

 Sometimes, they tend to miss the important piece of basic information: ingredients and where it is made.

 For me, ingredients and where the treats are made are the information I look up first, and most important information of all.

 When you give something to your furry friends, take a time and make sure you know what you are giving to them, and where they were made.

 If you found no information on them on other online stores, ask them before you purchase them.

 All of the products offered on our website has no mixed tocopherols (vitamin E) either. Reason behind it is that, Palette starts chewing paws, scratch body a lot, and she got bumps when I tried giving her sample treats we got it from supplier which was preserved with it.

 She maybe extra sensitive to synthetic vitamins. Or maybe soy because natural vitamin E is mostly delivered from soybean oil.

 If your dogs got itchy with treats that had 100% meat along with mixed tocopherols in ingredients list, and nothing else is changed in their diet, try stay away from those treats preserved with mixed tocopherols and see if it helps.

 For Palette, once she got no treats preserved with mixed tocopherols, no itchy,and no bumps.

bsp;Recently, one of suppliers sent me peanut butter biscuits. It was interesting. Why? Because what are in it. List read as following.

 whole wheat flour, ground whole oats, peanut butter, amaranth, sunflower hearts, apples, carrots, flax seed, kelp, beta- carotene, green tea extract, L-carnitine, mixed tocopherols.

 Of course, peanut butter smell made Palette nose wet. I was not sure what L-carnitine was but sounds like natural amino acid.

 I was not sure what the sunflower heart is. When I google it, and it seems it is  hulled sunflower seeds.

 The treat is not something I would give to Palette, but Palette snatched it when I was staring at the small piece of treats while reading what are in it. Result? She loved it but, digestive upset and bit of paw chewing.

 Next time, I should be sitting on my chair, not on the floor. Lesson learned.

 Treat is very small part of diet. There is Japanese Saying ” Every little makes a nickle”.

 You would think tiny bit of sugar, salt in the treats are ok but if you keep giving it a little by little, your dog is getting quite a bit of salt, sugar or maybe other fillers after many days of ” tiny bits”.

 I prefer to give treats with simple ingredients without fillers or with sugar/salt. And, if I give something to Palette, I like to give something good for her without fillers.

 Since she has history of limping episode, I like to give something that has natural source of glucosamine/chondroitine as occasional snack;gullet,poultry paws,trachea,cartilage etc…

 Some people have asked me how often you can give bully sticks. I think it depends on your preference. Depends on what for, the bully sticks are given for for your dogs.

 For Palette, it is a jack pot treats along with trachea treats and, I usually give her small bully sticks like 3″ one or trachea for rare snack after bathing time or rare jack pot treat for find it game (it is when she needed to find her hidden toy. She exchange the toy with small bully sticks or other treats such as trachea).

 Occasionally, long bully sticks or trachea as snack when I feed big meal once a month. She probably get one regular bully stick per month, and if she were lucky, 2 small bully sticks or so per month. She gets training treats more frequently.

  Take your time to choose the treats for your dog and know where the treats are made and what are in it, and let your dogs enjoy every bite of it with benefit from good ingredients to make the treats….

 Remember what dogs show interests or what they like does not necessary means good for them.

 They cannot read letters but you can. You need to choose better treats for your furry friends.

  To visit our store,please click here or paste and copy the link below into your browser.

Bookmark and Share

Jan 19, 2010 | 0 | Uncategorized

Japanese/Chinese cooking: Sweet sour pork / meatball with vegetable

 I love sweet sour pork or sweet sour meatball dish.

 In Japanese, sweet sour pork is called “Su buta”. ” Su ” means vinegar. “buta” means “pork”. So, sweet sour pork literally means vinegary pork. Sweet sour meatball dish is called “Niku dango no amazu ankake”. It is long name. ” Niku ” means meat, ” dango” means “ball” , “amazu” means “sweet sour sauce” and “an” is thickened sauce and finally, “kake” means “to pour/to drizzle”. So, therefore, it is a dish that has meatball in thicken sweet sour sauce.

 Interesting thing is, this is 2 separate dish but base sauce is identical. So,you can tweak the food ingredients very easily to fit to your preference and you can make your own sweet sour sauce dish. You can do vegetable only sweet sour dish, you can swap protein, or add ingredients to the original recipe. You can make variety with same sauce. So,how do you make sweet sour dish? Here is how.

 First, prepare the sauce ingredients. The sauce is very easy to make. Here is what you need for sweet sour sauce.

* rice vinegar 1/4C
* white table sugar 4tbs
* ketchup 1tbs
* soy sauce 1tbs
* worcester sauce 1 tbs
* pineapple juice 2tbs
* splash of sesame oil to finish the sauce
* corn starch to thicken the sauce

1. Mix all ingredients in bowl except sesame oil and corn starch. Set aside.
2. If you make sweet sour dish with meatball..

****making meatball****

*1/2lb ground pork
*1/2lb ground beef
*1 egg white
* salt & pepper
* either corn starch or potato starch about 1tbs
* 1/8 of one onion grated
* palmful of plain breadcrumbs or milk soaked white bread (you need to squeeze out the milk very good before adding it to the meat)
* pinch of nutmeg

Mix everything and when you feel the meat consistency got sticky to your hands, make balls and place on non stick foil in baking sheet and bake about 25min -30min at about 400F oven

I usually bake meatball,I do not cook on stove top. And adding milk soaked bread and grated onion are secret to make juicy meatball. You need to watch out your meatball too so as not to over-bake them.

If you made more than enough meatball for your dish,cook them anyway in the oven and freeze it for later use.

When you make meatball for meatball & spaghetti for example, you can add grated Pecorino Romano cheese to the mixture above and swap the plain breadcrumbs with Italian breadcrumbs. The breadcrumbs add extra flavor to the meatball and it comes out really good meatball. And, don’t buy pre-grated cheese. Buy a block of cheese at local grocery store and grate it as you need them. You can store the cheese in freezer.

****If you make basic sweet sour pork, using pork meat..

1. Cut pork tender loin to strip, tenderize it with back of knife, sprinkle nature’s season (Molton brand with blue cap.My favorite basic seasoning bottle)
 ( Tenderloin is generally already tender, but this makes extra tender)

2. Add the pork meat strip to beaten egg, dredge it onto potato starch and deep fry them, when golden brown, take them out onto paper towel

You can swap protein if you like.

So, meatball or deep fried pork is key ingredient in this dish. Now, the vegetable part.

1.Onto skillet, heat oil, add grated fresh garlic, pinch of crushed red pepper flake and when fragrant, add chopped vegetable. I usually put vegetable such as onion, green pepper, thin sliced celery,carrot,  sliced water chestnut, chopped canned baby corn, canned sliced bamboo shoot, drained canned chopped pineapple.

2. When hard vegetable like carrots became fork tender, add either cooked meatball or deep fried pork
(You can make this dish with raw meat of your choice or raw shrimp if you prefer.) to the skillet

3. Add 1tbs of sake and stir

4. Add sweet sour sauce you have made previously

5. Make sauce thickener in measuring cup

 Put corn starch or potato starch in a cup and add water to corn/potato starch.Good ratio is 1:2 (1 being starch amount, 2 being water amount)

6. Pour the sauce thickener onto skillet, and make it come to boil and adjust to the preferred thickness.
(You can add bit of water if the sauce was too thick, if too thin, dissolve bit of corn/potato starch with bit of water and add them to skillet)

7. When taste the food and taste was right, add splash of sesame oil and stir and done!

You can pour this tasty sweet sour pork/meatball dish over hot steamy Japanese rice to serve. My all time favorite of rice is Kokuho Rose Rice. You can get them 5lb as smallest bag at local grocery store at International shelf area. Or, if you go to Asian store, most carry the rice in big bag like 20lb bag.

Bon appetit!

Bookmark and Share


Jan 17, 2010 | 0 | Uncategorized

Do all dogs know how to swim instinctively?

 Many people assume certain things about dogs. For example, dogs instinctively know how to swim, or if dogs were certain breeds, they would love swimming. Are they true?

 Answer is, No. According to contributor Mike Celizic , there are some dogs that love water and swim as if they knew and they have been swimming for ages, and there are some dogs that can’t swim.Some are afraid of water or hate to be wet. The article says, if the breed name include “water” such as Portuguese water dogs, chances are they would love water and good swimmer. I would imagine that there would be good chance that many so called water lover/good swimmer dog breed dogs would enjoy water but then there maybe some dogs with assumed water lover breed such as Labrador Retriever that are afraid of getting into water, or need to be taught how to swim from you.

 You can read full article from site on dog and swimming here.

 Water and our Corgi “Palette” is very interesting thing. Especially weather. When rainy day, since puppy hood, she had hard time going potty. She refuse to go out for potty once she knows it is rainy day even though she rang the potty bell and was excited to go potty. Rainy day brought difficult time for her potty business. To make it more interesting, when she starts hearing slight lightening sound, she hits the potty bell, go and do quick potty and runs to inside the house right away and plan her potty business ahead of times so that she does not have to feel the needs to go potty while loud lightening sound and flashes.

 I figured she maybe does not like getting wet. When she sees the water paddle on ground on day after rainy day, she walks around the water puddle and not put paws in it and walk straight through the puddle. So, when rainy day, I take her to side of the house where hanged over roof prevent rain from falling and dry spot when rainy day and she is having much easier potty business on rainy day. If your dogs were in the same situation: having hard time potty on rainy day, you could make spot for them or take them to dry spot area so that they do not get wet. That may help your dogs to do their business much easier on rainy day.

 Another occasion where water and Palette meet is when she gets bathed. She is 4 years  old and she does great when I bath her and no problem. BUT, when she was puppy, she was handful when we tried to bath her. She was so afraid of water or hated to get wet, she does her “I wanna get out from here” dance and I had hard time bathing her.

 I ended up leaving groomer to bath her while I clicker train her to get used to be bathed and, after a while, I started bathing her again. A little step at a time.. First step I did was to get her feel comfortable to come to the shower room, then once she got ok to come to the room, moved on to closer to the bath tub. Then once she got comfortable coming closer to tub, moved on to inside the tub without water. Then,once she was fine, a little bit of water in tub and gradually she was able to be standing up 4 paws on floor without any flinch. I think that putting her with bath restraint with non skid mat on bath tub floor helped her feel more secured. She does better with it. Also,it may sound silly, I sing a song or talk to her while I put shampoo/conditioner on her. And when I am working shampoo into her, I stop water running and massage her body around. She loves that a lot. Now she goes to shower room happily when I say “shower” and she is not afraid of her paws getting wet or being bathed or even going into the shower room. A little step at a time could have helped her feel confident about things with water in the shower room.

 I have never took her to pool or bought kid pool for her to play with water, and I am not sure how she takes water for swimming. I think that since she has short legs and if she felt insecure on foot because she cannot feel bottom of the pool, I would imagine, she would go panic mode. Plus she has no tail and has short legs, and probably need to learn how to keep balance in water.

 People tend to assume all dogs know how to swim but, with Palette, probably need to learn to love into water to swim first. Maybe touch water with paw or maybe closer to big puddle of water aka pool could be her first step. And learn to feel confident in it with me, and maybe needs to be taught how to swim with flotation jacket on.

 Maybe dogs learn not to afraid of water through play involve water first and through the play,they learn how to swim. No matter what breeds your dogs are, if they showed fear of water, I think you should take time to get them used to water first. Or get them feel confident to get closer to the water area. It does not matter whether it was bathing time or when you took them to pool for fun.

 Take a time, one little step at a time, be patient are some of the principals I learned through life with Palette.

 Do your dogs love to swim?

Bookmark and Share

Jan 14, 2010 | 0 | Uncategorized

What do you call ….. in Japanese? : Apartment vs mansion, wasei eigo (English words made up in Japan)

 I love traveling. I love making new friends. When I was a junior high school student, my English teacher introduced me to try writing to pen pals overseas to improve my English. It was fun, and interesting to know more of other culture and getting to know them.

 One of the things I loved to do during summer vacation or winter holidays from university years was to visit those pen pals and see things and have fun together.I have visited 8 states out of 50 in USA, Australia, England,Holland, France… and one popular question I get to be asked when I am with them was ” What do you call this?” or “How do you say xxx in Japanese?” Sometimes,they hear the word in Japanese and they try to learn the words and sometimes, they get disappointed to hear there is no difference in Japanese and in English.

 For example, lemon is called “lemon” in Japanese. Chicken is “chicken”.. Even if you do not know Japanese words, they would understand what you meant sometimes.

 However, there are some words people from USA, England, Japan understand the words but what they think they are is different. For example, “Mansion”,”Apartment”.

 In Japanese words, the word “apartment” points wooden or mortared house for rent. Then, “Apartment” in English usually means that self contained housing

(To visit wikipedia to read more on apartment. Please click here).

 In Japanese words, the word “mansion” points what you think with the word “condominium”, “block of flats”, or “apartment”.

 In English, “mansion” means very large dwelling house

 (To read more on mansion at wikipedia. Please click here)

 If you visit London, you may hear the word “apartment” to point at rooms in historic royal palace.

 Such as …

 * rooms at Kensington palace

 To visit Kensington palace official website, please click here.

 * rooms at Hampton court palace

 To visit Hampton court palace official website, please click here.

 And if you hear the word “state apartment”, it points rooms at palace that are used to welcome guests formally.  You can read on Windsor castle state apartment here at site.

 So, in Japan, apartment means wooden/mortared house for rent but in England, apartment means much different thing and it is much bigger room with historic background at palace.

 It is interesting to know that there are words pronounced same and everyone understands them, but imagining very different things.

 In Japan, there are words categorized as “wasei eigo”. What is wasei eigo? Eigo is English, wasei means “made in Japan”. So, basically “wasei eigo” means “English words made up in Japan”.


 * karaoke. Everyone knows what karaoke means but it is combined words made up in Japan.

 Kara in Japanese means “empty”. Oke is coming from orchestras. So, karaoke is appeared as word.


 Fami comes from English words “family” and  “kon” comes from word shorten from “computer”.So, combined word “famikon” means family computer.But generally means, TV game such as nintendo game.

 * How about pasokon?

Paso comes from shorten words from “personal”, and kon is shorten words from computer. So, Pasokon means personal computer.

 These Japanese English words are tricky words for Japanese people and some people use those words thinking English speaking people would understand what they mean.

 Wikipedia site has list of wasei eigo. To visit the page of list of wasei eigo,please click here.

Bookmark and Share

Jan 12, 2010 | 0 | Uncategorized

Palette’s note: Deer Antlers with some velvet

 When you pick up treats for your dogs, what would you look at? Ingredients? Fancy looking pictures? Description of the products?

Have you ever wondered if you could actually see how other dogs are enjoying them? Not pictures,but in video so that you can actually HEAR and feel the treats’ textures?

Some of you may have already recognized I have been putting up treats’ video on youtube so that people can hear the sound,see Palette in action and get more detail on products.

With “Palette’s Note” series, I like to put taste test videos. This time, “Natural Deer Antlers with some velvet left on“.


Natural Deer Antler with some velvet left on Large nl 

 Natural Deer Antlers with some velvet left on Large..

In previous entry titled Long lasting chews/recreational bones for dogs,I talked about what regular Deer Antlers is, and how much I love (and of course, how much my stumpy “Palette” the Corgi loves) this regular Deer Antlers for long lasting chew.

To recap, regular Deer Antlers is Deer horn if you will. Deer shed Antlers once a year and, it is harvested for dogs to chew on.

Our regular Antlers come from Domestic free-range Elk/Deer and, comes with different thickness, texture,color,shapes ( Some are branched out two ways,some are straight, some are different shapes),length and it gives your dogs more variety of fun to chew on.

No antlers comes the same. We have 6 sizes available;XS (2 inch -4 inch),S (3 inch -6 inch), M (4 inch -8 inch), L (5 inch -10 inch),XL ( 6 inch 10 inch) , XXL (6 inch -14 inch).

I have found this long lasting chew “Regular Deer Antlers” almost 1.5 years ago.

I was not sure if Palette would enjoy it,but she was hooked with this regular Antlers and goes back to Antlers religiously 2 times a day,each about 15 minutes chewing session and despite the fact that how much she enjoy gnawing so much and going back to Antlers daily,it has been lasting 1.5 years or so. Same Antlers are being chewed for so long.

Recently, I have found another very interesting and unique kinds of Deer Antlers for her, and it is Deer Antlers with some velvet.

Pal chew on her Antler with velvet 

Palette enjoys Deer Antlers with some velvet

If you look at the picture, you can see the difference between the regular Antlers and Antlers with some velvet left on right away.

Deer Antlers with some velvet has some fuzz on its surface, while regular ones does not have fuzz on it, and they are harder and smooth or bumpy surface.

Then, you can also see that regular Deer Antlers has all kinds of shapes while Antlers with some velvet on is somewhat uniformed shape: No branching out 2 ways and most likely straight one.

Also, if you compare the picture of Palette enjoying Antlers, you can see another difference between the two. Below is how she enjoy Regular Deer Antlers.


As you can see in her pictures, you will find her eating stuff she peeled off from Deer Antlers with some velvet on, and with the picture of her enjoying regular Antlers,you see her enjoying gnawing and nothing to peel it off. That is another difference.

The fuzz you see on Deer Antlers with some velvet on is called “velvet”. It is very soft fuzzy stuff to touch.

The velvet is very good for joint health. The Antler with some velvet on is NOT fully covered with velvet, rather, you get some velvet on Antlers.

Amount of velvet on each Antler is varied, so is width due to natural items. Some are thinner than others, some has more velvet on than others. Length of the Antlers with some velvet on Large, is roughly about 6″ to 8″.

Palette enjoyed peeling off the outer part of the Antlers by holding the Antlers with two paws and enjoyed eating it. At this moment, the Antler with some velvet on is on her bed and,she peeled off all the outer part and she enjoy gnawing it now rather than peeling off. This unique Antler with some velvet on is softer than regular Antler and it is great for starter chew.

Lets watch how she enjoy her new unique Antlers with some velvet on.

Palette enjoys Antler with some velvet on Part I


If you were a blog subscriber , please click here to watch video clip.

Palette enjoys Antler with some velvet on Part II

If you were a blog subscriber, please click here to watch video clip.

If you were interested in watching how she enjoys her regular Deer Antlers with video, you can read her taste test entry titled Palette’s note: Deer Antlers. To visit the entry, please click here.

I wrote Palette’s Regular Antler has been enjoyed for more than 1.5 years,but how long it would last for your dogs will be depending on dogs’ jaws ability to chew and how long they spend on it.

With this unique Antler with some velvet on, since she could strip off the outer part and seems softer than regular Deer Antlers, this one may not last as much as her regular Deer Antlers. We will see how long it will be with her.

Like any other chews,Please supervise your dogs when they are chewing/enjoy stripping off outer part with velvet and, when it gets small enough for dogs to swallow,please take it away.

It is always good practice to wash the regular Antlers with warm soapy water thoroughly before handing them to your dog.

However, don’t wash out the goodness you get with this particular Antler. If you wash this Antler with some velvet on, velvet can get removed and all the best part of this Antlers goes away.

If you were interested in our Antlers with some velvet on, please check out our Antlers with some velvet on here

pal with velvet antler 4

 Palette enjoy her Antlers with some velvet: and chew, chew….

One unique Antlers with some velvet on can provide Palette so much fun,and I am sure you can clearly see how much she loves it.

For those who wonder if the velvet she ate did not cause any digestive problems, she had no digestive problems with it.

She loves to shred paper towels if she were allowed to and I am sure stripping off this Antler’s outer part is very fun for her.

She loves stripping off the outer area of the Antlers and she loves to gnaw. What other chews can provide the same fun to this unique Antlers with some velvet on?

How much she loves peeling off stuff? Picture below can tell you a lot. Her master work from puppy hood.

Palette's Soccer ball

Palette’s master work from puppy hood. She LOVES peeling off stuff…

Have you got Deer Antlers with some velvet yet? Palette says,it is very fun to peel off the outer part, and the peeled off stuff with hint of velvet is divine and very tasty.

To visit our store,please click here or paste and copy the link bellow into your browser.

Bookmark and Share


Jan 10, 2010 | 0 | Yassy's Gourmet Dog Kitchen

Japanese fish dish: Sashimi

 In Japan, fish is large part of our diet. Our country is surrounded by the sea and, we enjoy fresh fish a lot with various way of cooking with various kinds of fish.

 If you had a chance to,visit fish market in Tsukiji, Tokyo. The market is very big and you can see lots of fresh fish and many fresh food vendors.

 In Japan, many grocery stores sell all kinds of whole fish. Here in US, I don’t think you can find as many kinds of whole fish as I could in Japan and I find more fillet fish with limited kinds of fish. Instead, I can find more kinds of meat than I could in Japan.

 Case in point, you do not find Turkey meat, Elk meat,Buffalo meat,Goat meat etc… in Japan. My first opportunity to try out Turkey was actually 8 years ago at work place. One of the co-workers cooked up a whole Turkey for me when I told her I have never tasted it before, and she brought some for me to try. In fact, 2 years ago,when my father has visited us in US, I cooked a whole Turkey for him to taste because, for him, Turkey is very new kind of meat and I wanted him to try something he cannot get over in Japan.

 So, in Japan, we eat lots of fish. Some of the fish dish is well known in other countries as Japanese favorite dish. One of the dishes comes to my mind is “Sa shi mi “.

 What is sa shi mi?

 Sa shi mi is a dish name, and it is a dish served thinly sliced fresh raw fish with soy sauce and wasabi. Sashimi dish is all raw and you find no cooked fish but we eat cooked fish as well in other dishes.

 Often times, in sashimi dish you find following kinds of items on plate.

* thinly sliced Japanese daikon horse radish
 (some restaurants serve it mixed with thinly sliced raw carrots too)

*Awabi (abalone)

*Buri (yellow tail)

*Ika (squid)

*Maguro (Tuna)

*Wasabi (You are supposed to add a bit of wasabi to your taste to soy sauce served to you)

*Shiso (green perilla as garnish. You can cook it as tempura ingredients but we don’t eat it raw)

*Tai (sea bream)

*Hotate (scallop)

*shrimp (ama ebi: pink shrimp)

 Many people think sa shi mi is raw Tuna fish but it is not the only ingredient. You can see the display of the sashimi plate at wikipedia site. To see the sashimi description and pictures at wikipedia, please click here.

 Some Asian store in US sell Tuna as sushi grade for sashimi. But, I think it tastes different. Tuna roll sushi also taste different. If you eat Tuna sashimi in Japan, it tastes like fish melts in your mouth and has more fresh taste. Maybe something to do with our country being surrounded by the sea and can get fresh fish deliver to stores quicker? 

 How do you eat Sashimi dish?

 When you have sashimi dish, you get one plate with all kinds of sashimi ingredients on center,  thinly sliced daikon horse radish  and wasabi paste on corner of the plate. Then, you get dipping sauce (soy sauce).

 When you eat, scoop up a bit of wasabi with chopsticks and mix it in with the soy sauce served. This will be your dipping sauce for sashimi. You can control how hot you like the dipping sauce will be this way.

 Sashimi is one of my favorite dish to eat in Japan. Whenever I go back there to see my family, it is one of my to-do list: eat sashimi.

 What are other to-do’s in my to-do list that is diet related?

*Eat cake (Japanese cake is more fluffy,less sweet,less dense.. I have favorite cake shop to go)

*Eat Chinese food with family at our favorite restaurant
 (Chinese dish in Japan taste much better in Japan and we have favorite restaurant to go to)

* Eat sushi

*Eat Ebi burger/ Teriyaki burger at McDonald’s
(Ebi /Teriyaki Burger at McDonald’s is very very good)

*Eat & enjoy  my mother’s dishes
(always nice to be able to eat mother’s dishes)

* Cook something for my family to try,
(last time we visited them, I made risotto for my family.)

 I have some more on list but above lists are some of them. There is Japanese restaurant in US and I can go there to eat Japanese food but many of so-called Japanese restaurant (Japanese steak house) here in US do not serve dishes which I think it being authentic Japanese food.

 Many Japanese restaurant here in US do not have dishes I would like to have like Unagi Donburi (grilled eel with sweet teriyaki sauce over hot steamy rice) in their menu and other authentic dishes. So, this is a reason why I have so many diet related to do list when I go back to Japan. My family lives 14 hrs flight away from here and,cannot go see them as much as I would hope but it is always nice to be able to see them once in a while and enjoy meal together and enjoy activity together.

Himeji castle
(Our family took us to castle as family trip when we backed to Japan last time)

Deers that bow to you when you give them deer biscuits (Nara prefecture)

Bookmark and Share

Jan 05, 2010 | 0 | Uncategorized