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Why do dogs circle before going to potty Part 2

 In the previous entry titled “Why do dogs circle before going to potty?“,I wrote that there are a few theories behind it.

Palette 3 months old with pee pad dress (unused) ..

 If you have missed the entries, here are a few theories behind it.

1. Dogs stomp the grass to have perfect flat potty spot

2. Dogs circle left and right to be able to spot any predators and make sure the spot is safe to potty

3. By circling, leaving their scent from foot ( dogs have scent gland on foot and anus)

 Palette does her circling things every time we take her out for potty. First, she sniffs on the ground and moves on to walk to left,walk to right and back and forth for a couple of times, and then, the distance between the turn gets shorter,shorter as she does that and eventually, it becomes tight circle and she goes right,left,right left and then finally squat to pee or poo.

 If anything interrupted her circling. she has to start over from the scratch and I never understood why she had to do it all over again.

 Just recently, I came across quite interesting article on the very topic about dog’s circling behavior and magnetic sense and, it was the article looking into this dog’s unique behavior from more scientific point of view.

 If you were asked to name an animal that uses magnetic sense,you would soon imagine birds that immigrate from north to south,south to north but you would not have thought of dogs could be one of those animals.

 I thought it was interesting article.

 According to Ellen at dogsheir website, dogs go potty facing toward certain direction based upon Earth’s magnetic field.

 A team of scientists from Czech University of Life science and the University of Duisburg -Essen took several years to study on this very behavior from scientific point of view.

 They observed that the dogs preferred to poop with their body aligned along the North-South axis under calm magnetic field condition, although when the magnetic field was unstable, the dogs did not care which way to face to potty.

 Interesting thing is that, the scientists found out that the dogs tend to avoid to go to potty East-West directions.

 This study was done by measuring the direction of the body axis in 70 dogs,37 breeds, and they observed 1,893 potty #2 , and 5,892 potty #1 times over 2 years.

 Then, they looked at the data along with geomagnetic conditions.

 The scientists concluded that dog’s pooping behavior was predictable based on magnetic fluctuations, although they are still not sure why the dogs prefer to aligned along with Earth’s magnetic field when they go for potty.

 If the dogs has preferred direction to go to potty using magnetic field then, another theory as to why dogs do circle before potty can be added as “Dog circles trying to find and aligned along with the North-South axis using the magnetic field.”

 This also could mean that if the dog got interrupted the circling behavior, they might loose the sense of magnetic field and they have to do the circling all over again to be accurate.

 Now and then, you would hear the dogs came home from far far away from home and scientists thinks that the dogs have orientation ability just like their ancestor “wolf” has, and the reason why they can come home far away from home on their own is that they might be using magnetoreception; sense to detect the magnetic field to perceive the direction,altitude,and location.

 Isn’t it interesting?

 To read Ellen’s full article, please click here.

 To read the study published in Frontiers in Zoology,please click here.

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Mar 05, 2014 | Comments are off | Uncategorized

TGI Friday’s Menu:Jack Daniel’s sauce Yassy’s Version

 If you ask my
husband what kinds of dishes he likes best, answer will be grilled
steak. It is either thick cut of juicy medium rare fillet, or thinly
sliced flavorful flank steak.

 I cannot cook up fillet all the time but,when I do,my husband gets very excited and enjoys every bite of it.

 Needless to say, Palette gets excited thinking she might get tiny tiny nibbles out of it. She has a good nose so, she comes to kitchen running when she hears me opening up the beef steak package.

 She is a smart Corgi. She never tries to stand right next to me to see what I am doing while I am cooking, but rather, she knows from her experience that she gets yummies when she is on “down” position. Therefore, once she reaches to the destination,she stays like a sphinx with her eyes on the prize.

 She knows that I usually trim the steak before seasoning, and grilling the steaks, and I will have some itty bitty pieces I could share with her.

 When she down-stays with “sphinx” style, she sometimes get a small pieces of steaks. I toss the piece of rare steak toward her, and she catches it in the air pretty nicely. She is very good at catching things She loves that rare treats.

 When we go to grocery shopping, we have a grocery list.

 Do you make one too? If not, start making list of what you need to buy. That way, you know what you need to buy,and less likely buying things that are not really needed,a.k.a. impulse buying. Therefore, it is one good tip I could give you to save a cost on the grocery bill.

 One other thing I do is to make a weekly menu plan,based on what you already have in your pantry,freezer,and fridge. This way, you would cut the grocery bill quite a bit,plus you would probably have less “waste”.

 Also, since you would most likely buy less cost-wise, you can spend the money on good quality meat.

 I used to cook up steak with various kinds of cut from NY strips,Rib eyes, Fillet, Flank steak etc.. but now if I cook steak, I will use either flank steak or fillet.

If you are to get fillet, make sure to pick the piece of fillet that the cut is
even and round as opposed to the fillet that got uneven
fillet (the fillet that has one side is thicker than the other) or
uneven thickness of steaks in the package or round shape with some chunk
of meat attached which normally get trimmed off.

 This smaller untrimmed meat chunk hanging to the other part of fillet is what I normally trim off.

 If you think you cannot trim off that piece of hanging meat, use the butcher’s twine and tie it together so that hanging piece will stay with the rest of the steak during the cooking process.

 If you want 2 fillet, you can get fillet with the same even
thickness,and you can point at what you want in the tray,and often
times,I find fillet at the butcher shop is well trimmed and nice round shape that you would
expect it to be.

 Even thickness ensure the same cooking time and,you would less likely
to overcook one of the steaks, or uneven cooking with the same steak
(one side of the steak is over cooked).

 Plus, in the case of the butcher shop we go to, they tie with the butcher’s
twine so it keeps shape while cooking and, you will get nice steak for
your meal.

 Even if you will get New York strips,or Rib eyes, pick the one with
even thickness of the steak that are not one side is thicker than the
other to ensure the same cooking time.

 Also,if you cook up rib eyes etc.. ,pick up the steak with nice pink-red color.

 You may sometime find packaged meat with greyish color in the steak at
the grocery store.

 As time passes by, since meat is exposed to the air for
so long, it changes its color to grey from pink-red,and sometimes, you
will find accumulated blood in the package.

 If you see discolored steak with accumulated blood in the package,it means,it is the old package.

 One other thing to look at is the marbling of the steak.

 Marbling should be thin streaks line of fat,and it should be
distributed evenly. You would find thick line of fat in the steak
sometimes, and they are connective tissue and the steak will be tough and

 When it comes to steak menu, I think, best of the best so far among the restaurants we have been to, is bacon wrapped filet mignon from Firebirds Wood Fired Grill.

 They use the center cut beef tenderloin, and wrap the fillet with applewood smoked bacon, and serve them with sides.

 What I like about their dishes is that, their filet is always consistent in texture, flavor, and shape, and we never leave the restaurant disappointed with this dish.

 Always even cut steak,and they are not greasy at all,and very tender and juicy filet.

 If there were one thing they could improve on, it will be the bacon.

 It adds nice smoky flavor to the steak and it is tasty but,the bacon is flappy and I think if they use much thinner slice of bacon or par-cook the bacon a bit before wrapping it around the steak, to make it to crispy bacon around the steak,that will be super. 

 Some other restaurants offer fillet as well in their menu but, some offer uneven cut of fillet, some offer chewy, tougher fillet, some offer under cooked/over cooked fillet, and some offer greasy fillet,which you can see the grease puddle on the plate and they are not appetizing.

 I like the filet from Firebirds Wood Fired Grill best,but I find that they tend to have issue of salt with some of their dishes.

 For example, I did not care for chile rubbed steak with key lime butter and chile rubbed salmon with crab and spinach fondue,drizzled with a tomato vinaigrette because it was super salty.
 With steak
, even if I cut them into paper thin slice,it was like eating a block of salt.Same goes with Chile rubbed salmon.I tried to dilute the saltiness with their bread, but it was super salty.

 I have tried their Meatloaf,French dip sandwich also, but they were also salty dish.

 If you visit their restaurant, try Seared Ahi Tuna,Chicken Quesadilla,Spinach Salad, Smokehouse burger,Bacon wrapped Filet mignon, or Wood Grilled Salmon (ask to have the salmon with Ginger mustard Aioli.The sauce is very good). These are all greeat menu without too much saltiness in the dish. These are the disheses that I enjoy a lot.

 Here in the states, you can find “steak” menu with variety of sauce at the restaurants.

 Do you have your favorite steak sauce?

 Back home in Japan, our meal is based around rice with several kinds of side dishes,which may, may not include meat in them, and having steak on the plate as star of the dish at home was a new concept to me.

 However,having living in the states long enough to enjoy steaks with all sorts of sauce, I have found one steak sauce that I like a lot.

 It is Jack Daniel’s sauce from TGI Friday’s.

 When I first visited the restaurant, the steak with Jack Daniel’s sauce was one of the very first dishes I have ordered at the restaurant.

 Their steak was okay. I liked the flavor of the sauce although it did not taste like true Teriyaki sauce, and it was a little sticky sweet for me.

 Probably because the flavor of the sauce was somewhat similar to what I was getting used to:Teriyaki sauce.

 When I tasted it, I thought it taste different from true Teriyaki sauce from Japan, and tasted like they did use brown sugar just like other food TV shows use and call it “Teriyaki sauce”.

 We do not use brown sugar in Teriyaki sauce back home.

 However, one thing I liked about the sauce was it got pineapple flavored,and it was something new and unique to me,plus I liked the addition of alcohol-whiskey, in the sauce.

 As you know,I am from Japan;the origin of Teriyaki sauce dish. I ate many kinds of Teriyaki dish back home but, I do not think we had the sauce similar to Jack Daniel’s sauce;the one with pineapple sauce although you might find Teryaki sauce with lemon juice in it.

 Looking at the freezer, I had 1 fillet and half flank steak.

 Therefore, I thought why not try recreating that Jack Daniel’s sauce, and drizzle that sauce over the sliced steak.

 Result was good.

 My husband wowed over the sauce,and really liked my improved version of Jack Daniel’s sauce. Since I do not like sticky sweet sauce, I have added Korean red pepper paste to bring up the level of “zing” in the sauce and,it came out good.

 As always, my husband liked the sauce very much,and drizzled it over the hot steamy white rice, and mixed it up and ate the Jack Daniel’s sauce infused rice.

 Since I had 2 different kinds of cut of steaks, I paid attention to each individual steaks but if you got a whole package of flank steak or different kinds of cut of steaks,different kinds of protein source, you can still make this dish the same way also.

 Only thing you need to do is to grill those protein source to your desired doneness,and slice it thin except seafood;shrimp,scallops, and fish fillet, and serve them over the sauteed vegetables.

 Protein source that has distinct flavor such as Turkey or Lamb probably not suited with this sauce.

 Sauteed vegetables gives the color that “pop” in the plate, and if you use different color of peppers etc..,it looks pretty.
 In this entry, I would share the recipe of “Grilled sesame steak with zesty Teriyaki Jack Daniel’s sauce”.

 To keep the sauce flavor similar to original version of the sauce, I used a bit of brown sugar.

Grilled Sesame steak with zesty Teriyaki Jack Daniel’s sauce…

Ingredients for grilled steak:

1 Beef tenderloin steak (Fillet) 8 oz
12 oz Beef Flank steak
Extra virgin olive oil
McCormick Grill mate Steak seasoning
Zesty Teriyaki Jack Daniel’s sauce* (recipe follows)

Ingredients for Zesty Teriyaki Jack Daniel’s sauce:

1.5 tbs soy sauce
3 cloves garlic grated
1 tbs grated onion
tbs Mirin* (recommend Morita brand)
2 tbs sake* (recommend Gekkeikan brand)
1 tbs white sugar
1/2C pineapple juice
1/3C dark
brown sugar
1 tsp lemon juice freshly squeezed
1/8 tsp Kochujun
(Korean red pepper paste)

2 tsp Jack Daniel’s Whiskey
Ingredients for sauteed vegetables:

1/2 red onion sliced
1/4 red pepper sliced
1/4 green pepper sliced

Morton’s Natures Seasons
1 tbs Zesty Teriyaki Jack Daniel’s sauce*(recipe follows)

<Grilled sesame steak with Zesty Teriyaki Jack Daniel’s sauce>

0. 1 hour before the actual cooking time, take the meat out to let it come to the room temperature

1. Make Zesty Teriyaki Jack Daniel’s sauce (recipe follows)

2. Pat the steak dry with paper towel and,sprinkle steak seasoning both sides

** Wet/Cold steak would not make nice sear on the steak

3. Drizzle Extra virgin olive oil in the skillet and wait until you see the steam coming off from the skillet

** You would need screaming hot skillet for the nice good sear on the steak

4. Cook 4 minutes,flip and cook 4-5 more minutes

5. Take temperature of the steak

** For medium rare steak, take the steak out from the skillet when your meat thermometer reads 125F to 130F

** For medium,130F-135F is the temperature to take the steak out from the skillet.

** Temperature of the steak continues to rise while steak is rested about 5F-10F more

*** How to finish cooking very thick beef tenderloin ***

When you have very thick tenderloin (1″ thick or more), you may find that after certain time cooked in the skillet, the outside of the steak starts burning but steak is not at the right temperature to take it off from the skillet.

What you can do about i t?

One thing you can do is to cook the steak on the oven safe skillet,and after about 8-10 minutes on the stove top and still steak is at lower temperature than you want it to be, simply preheat the oven at 350F and put the skillet in the oven to continue cooking them.

With our oven, from my experience, 1 minutes at 350F oven usually brings up about 10F each time so, I usually set the timer accordingly and make sure to give even cooking time on each side.

If you needed 4 minutes in the oven roughly, I will set the timer for 2 minutes,and take it out and flip and put it back into the oven again and set the time for 2 minutes to finish cooking.

Giving equal cooking time in the oven can ensure even color in the meat; nice red/pink center will be at the center not close to top or bottom.

6. Put steak onto the plate and cover it with foil.Let steak rest for 15 minutes.

** If you slice steak without it being rested, you will have very dry steak

7. While steak is resting, start working on the vegetables* (recipe follows)

8. Slice steak at about 1/4″ thickness,and place them on the bed of sauteed vegetables, and drizzle Zesty Teriyaki Jack Daniel’s sauce over it,
and grate the toasted sesame seed over the plate

9. Serve the dish with extra Zesty Teriyaki Jack Daniel’s sauce as dipping sauce.

Makes; 2 – 3 servings

<Zesty Teriyaki Jack Daniel’s sauce>

1. In the sauce pan,add 1.5 tbs soy sauce, 3 cloves of garlic grated, and 1 tbs grated onion, and cook them at medium low heat until it gets fragrant

2. To that, add 1 tbs Mirin (Japanese rice wine),2 tbs sake, 1 tbs white sugar,1/2C pineapple juice, 1/3C dark brown sugar, 1 tsp lemon juice freshly squeezed, 1/8 tsp Gochujang (Korean red pepper paste), and let it simmer to dissolve all the sugar into the sauce and thicken a bit


** You can find this Gekkeikan sake at packaged sushi station or at wine section.


** You can find Morita brand Mirin at Asian stores or at local grocery store International food aisle..

** Gochujang
is Korean hot pepper paste.You can find them at the International food
aisle at local grocery store,or at Asian store.Here is how it looks like.


In a pinch, you can substitute with Indonesian pepper paste “sambal” (recommends Oelek brand),also available at International food aisle.

3. Add 2 tsp Jack Daniel’s Whiskey into the sauce,stir, adjust the taste and turn off the heat

Makes:About 8 -9 tbs sauce

<Sauteed vegetables>

In the skillet,add 1/2 red onion sliced, 1/4 red pepper sliced, 1/4 green pepper sliced and season them with Morton’s Nature’s seasons and stir

2. When vegetables got softer, add 1 tbs of Zesty Teriyaki Jack Daniel’s sauce and stir and serve it as the bed for the steak


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Apr 18, 2013 | Comments are off | Uncategorized

Palette’s spring treats diary;April 16th,2013

 For Palette, last month was another eventful month.

 For one thing, I did a lot of baking,making Jerky treats for Yassy’s Gourmet Dog Kitchen, plus I had baked Irish soda bread, 20 hour proofing Dutch oven bread,and I also made Vietnamese style Gyoza dumplings etc for our family.Therefore,there was a lot of interesting activities for her in the kitchen.

 Every St.Patrick’s day, I make Irish stew and Irish soda bread.

 I personally love to experimenting flavors of ordinal things,and this year, I thought what if I make the Irish soda bread with Chocolate flavor.

 I am chocoholic and,I love everything chocolate unless it is super sweet.

 Here it is, my made up Irish soda bread with chocolate flavor. It got Whiskey in it and, my husband really loved it very much. Of course,Palette wanted nibble of the bread but,she did not  get any.

 It is because chocolate is toxic to dogs. Palette enjoyed the smell of it.

Chocolate Irish soda bread..

 Since it came out good, I would like to share the recipe with you. Please do not share with your dogs.

 If you like to see the regular Irish Soda bread at our house, you can find the recipe of “Irish soda bread with Orange liqueur raisin” here.


1/4C    dried cranberries
3/8C    golden raisin
7/12C   Whiskey for soaking
chopped hazel nut
2 tbs     butter
1 tbs     dark brown
1 tbs     whiskey for toasted Hazel nut
1 tbs    
heavy cream
        unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/8C
unbleached bread flour
1 3/4C Dutch processed coco powder
1/4C    white
1 tsp    baking soda
1 tbs    baking powder
1/4 tsp table salt
8 tbs    margarine

3 tbs     butter
1            egg
1 3/4C   buttermilk
Ghirardelli dark 72% cacao twilight delight bar-dark intense 4 squares chopped to 1/4″ pieces
1/2C     Whiskey to mix in the dough
2 tsp     espresso powder
confectioner’s sugar for garnish

1.In the small container, add 3/8C golden raisin,1/4C dry cranberries and pour 7/12 C Whiskey (It is easier to pour 1/4C whiskey plus 1/3C whiskey to make the total whiskey added gets 7/12C) and soak over night

2. Preheat oven at 375F

3. In the skillet, add 1/2C chopped hazel nut,and toast them in 1 tbs butter,1 tbs dark brown sugar,and when it got fragrant, add 1tbs butter,1 tbs whiskey,,1 tbs heavy cream,and let it come to boil and stir and cook for 30 seconds and pour it over non stick foil to cool

4. In a large bowl, add 3C unbleached all purpose flour, 1 1/8C
unbleached bread flour,1 3/4C Dutch processed coco powder,1/4C white sugar,1tsp baking soda, 1 tbs baking powder,1/4 tsp table salt and mix well

5. Cut  8 tbs margarine right
out from the fridge into about 1/2″ thick slice and add them to the
flour mix and blend the butter with your hand to about pebble size

6. In another bowl add 1 egg and 1 3/4 C buttermilk, and whisk well

7. To the flour mixture, add toasted hazel nuts, egg-buttermilk mixture small
amount at a time and mix well with your hands to form a ball

8. Add whiskey soaked cranberries,golden raisins as well as whiskey itself used for the soaking, Ghirardelli Dark 72% Cacao Twilight delight bar-Intense Dark 4 square chopped to about 1/4″ pieces

**Dough should be sticky,but not too sticky. If the dough were too sticky,dust some flour to the dough

9. In the small container, add 1/2C whiskey, 2 tsp espresso powder and mix well

10. Add espresso-whiskey mixture to the dough and mix well

11. Knead the dough just enough to form the dough and shape the dough to round ball

** If you over kneading the dough,the bread will come out tough

12.  Line the baking sheet with non stick foil

13. Place the round shaped dough onto the non stick foil lined baking sheet

14. Dust the bread with flour,make “X” mark slit on top at about 1″ deep

15. Bake the dough about 65-75 minutes or toothpicks inserted in the center comes out clean

** Also,you can use meat thermometer to take the inner temperature of the bread. Often times, when meat thermometer reached to 200F to 205F, the bread is done baking.

16. Let the bread sit on the baking sheet about 5-10 minutes and transfer the bread to cooling rack

To reheat the bread, slice and toast the bread or wrap the amount of
bread you like to reheat with foil and warm them up in the oven at 350F
for about 15 minutes or so

17. Cover the 4 top portions with paper towel so the “+” mark gets exposed,and sprinkle confectioner sugar over the bread using kitchen sieve


Makes; approx 10″ round Chocolate Irish soda bread

 Then, we had UPS/FedEx guys visiting us often last month since I had many treats to restock. It was kind of busy month for me.

 Palette gets so excited when she saw their truck backing up to our driveway, because she knows they will bring boxful of yummies…most of the time.

 This month,I had one box coming to our house but,it was full of bakery bags. When she saw the UPS truck coming in to our house,she was so excited and I could see her nub was going 1,000mph moving side to side.

 However, once she was allowed to investigate the box, and knows that it was not treats inside, she got so disappointed and excused herself,walking back slowly to her favorite bed room as if to say “why I got so excited for this non food stuff!”.

 Palette thinks that the UPS/FedEx guy should bring treats all the time

 When the box had something interesting for her,such as bully sticks, she will be staying right next to me,staring at the box,staring at me and waiting patiently for the opportunity of nibbles.

 Sometimes, she gets lucky, and she gets one when treats comes. Sometimes, she gets small treats from her own treat box because she was patient.

 Once treats were taken out from the shipping boxes, I start flattening the shipping boxes so we can put them in the recycling bin.

 When I was in the process of flattening the shipping boxes, I have found Palette on the flatten boxes. She says she is helping me, but is she?

Mom,I am helping to flatten the boxes!

Mom:I need to put one more box to that. Can you move?

Palette: Um..I am being comfy on the cardboard bed..

 Another event Palette enjoy was the snow.

 We had snow 2 -3 days in the last month. It was not as heavy snow as Palette would have hoped it to be,but she had a good fun with it.

 She loves snow,and her face lights up when she sees the white snow covered yard. When snow happens, she does not want to come back into the house right away when she goes for potty so, it becomes a bit of play time as well.

 One thing she enjoys with snow is to sniffing the ground by sticking her nose as deep as possible and also she loves to enjoy grass-icle.She has her favorite spot as her own salad bar so, she visits there to enjoy the grass-icle on snow days.

 Because of snow days, Palette did not get to go for walkie some days but,when we do, she enjoys her walkie time very much. She enjoys reading up the missed doggy daily news on the ground,of course,but one thing she really is looking forward to is to meet people on our walk, and she gets lots of petting.She loves when people says “Oh,pretty girl”, and she cannot get enough of being pet.


 Now I will pass a pen to Palette to write a dairy here.

April 16th,2013

 Last month was super exciting month for me.

 Lots of boxes were delivered by UPS/FedEx guys,and mom baked many canine treats, and she also made my favorite bread!

 Hmm,I miss the crunch of crusty bread she made last month.It was so good that I kept going back to the kitchen to sniff the floor to make sure no bread crumbs were left behind.

 That bread needed 20 hours long proofing time so,my nose was tortured for that long but,when it came out from da oven.. Ugh,so good.

 I love freshly baked bread.

 Da bread was baked in da oven inside da dutch oven mom calls it and, it was her first time to experiment the method but both me and my dad loved da bread and,I was everyone’s best friends if one had a slice of mom’s bread.

 I whined,whined next to da dining table with drool bubbles around my mouth. When my dad finally finished his dinner and decided to give me small piece of bread,I was very ready to catch it in da air.

 Hmm,it was soo good! I chewed to enjoy da every bite of it.

 After a couple of days later, when mom still had leftover 20 hour dutch oven bread, mom decided to make bruschetta.

 Good idea! Dad loved da bread very much and, I am sure mom would make it again.

 Here is da Bruschetta picture. Doesn’t it look yummy?

Zesty garlic chili Bruschetta..

 I love homemade bread or homemade pizza night. It is da days I get naughty.I become whiny dogs and, hope for da nibbles!

 I usually sit near dad for that because dad is easier for me to get itty bitty nibbles from.It is da trick that I learned over da years.

 Other than that.. yes, we had snow days.I love snow! Very much. I love sniffing da ground.I love munching on da grass-icles.. I have my special spot for that.

 One day,when I went to potty,this was what I saw.

Snow..March 2013

 Snow fairy! She must have known I was missing snow so much! My face lighten up with da view.

 I did not like snow truck that came that day.. too loud for me to feel da peace.. I had to woof at them.

 Sniffing out da snow..

 Because of da snow, we did not get to go for walkie but,when we went, I enjoyed da every minutes of it. I love walkie!I get to read daily doggy news on da ground, I get to meet new people..I get to see my Miniature Schnauzer boyfriend sometimes..

 Then, I get to enjoy mom’s cool down treats too!I love them very much!

 It is
something mom made me since I was a puppy . It is basically a frozen
yogurt treats without fillers and,she gave me after walkie,after bathing
time,after workout that makes me woofy hot.

 Mom has been introducing variety of frozen yogurt treats for furriends here,but have you tried any of those?

 It is very yummy and highly recommend it!

 Anyhow, the cool down treats mom made this time is frozen Kiwi Roasted green pepper  yogurt treats.

Frozen Kiwi Roasted Green pepper yogurt treats..

 Here is how you can make Frozen Kiwi Roasted Green Pepper yogurt treats.

1. Wash the sweet green pepper under the water,make sure to peel the produce seal on them and, place it on the non stick foil lined baking sheet without wiping off the water

2. Set the oven “Broil HI”

3. Roast the green pepper about 15-16 minutes or until all sides of the pepper gets wrinkly and gets blisters all over

** Make sure to rotate the pepper time to time so all sides gets blisters and bubbly

The roasted pepper should look like this.

Roasted green pepper..

4. Take it out from the oven,and place it in a Tupperware with the lid on.Wait till the pepper gets cool enough for you to handle

5. Peel off the skin, remove the seed,and wash it under the running water,and rough chop them,and set it aside

6. To the mixer, add 2.8 oz peeled,seed removed rough chop roasted green pepper,3 oz fresh Kiwi, peeled and chopped, and 5 oz of
Stonyfield organic
plain yogurt and puree them.

 5. Pour those onto ice cube tray and freeze them

yield; 11 block of frozen treats

** Frozen Kiwi roasted green pepper yogurt treats whole amount is roughly
about 178 kcal (you can see more detail at
website here ).So, each ice cube given is about 16 kcal.

**Mom wanted rough kcal to be as close to real one, and she used
Nutrition fact food label on the back of yogurt she used. She typed in
the information provided in the nutrition label on the yogurt.

Nutrition profile for this treat was calculated using  “boiled sweet
green pepper without salt” since there was no profile for roasted pepper.

I know that some moms like to fill da Kong with peanut butter, but did
you know that small size kong can hold approx 5 tsp of peanut butter?

creamy peanut butter 1 tbs is 90 kcal, so it means you are giving
158kcal (out of the 158kcal, 117 kcal comes from fat) just by filling
the small size kong for your dogs to lick them each time.

 I think it is way too much kcal from treats.

 This frozen yogurt is much healthier to fill in the kong and, dog love them.

 My cool down treats usually is ice cube
size, and it is around 15 kcal to 30 kcal depending on what I will be
using but, they are much low calorie cool down treats, and they do not
contains added sugar or high calorie ingredients such as peanut butter.

 If you were not familiar with kong,
it is a non toxic dish wash safe rubber chew toy that you can fill the
hole in the center with food.

 Dogs are to chew/lick the Kong toy to get
to the treats inside the hole and, it is popular classic interactive

What is that! My nose is getting wet.Smell so good!

Me interested! Can I nibble?? Please?

 I was very surprised to see how much Palette got excited over the roasted green pepper

 When Palette saw the frozen Kiwi Roasted green pepper yogurt treats, it made her much more excited.

I want one!I want one!

I will climb you up to get my prize!



Oops, da treats broke into 3 pieces..

I am enjoying the one piece,but keep my eyes on the prize…

I really loved them!

 If you have dogs with Arthritis, night shade family vegetables such as sweet pepper is something it would be best to avoid,since they aggravate the inflammation in dogs with Arthritis.

 Palette does not have Arthritis, but since she has limping history, I do not feed night shade family vegetables often,and I tend to focus more on feeding menu that are great natural source of glucosamine/chondroitin such as poultry paws,trachea,cartilage and gullet.

 Lastly, here is the last picture I took after taste testing Frozen Kiwi roasted green pepper yogurt treats.

 Attention to her nose;very wet!

 Attention to muzzle; Palette got a Yogurt mustache!

Got Yogurt mustache!

Apr 16, 2013 | Comments are off | Uncategorized

Yassy’s Japan Trip Diary November 2012; Day 4 Part 2

 4th day in Japan, we have headed to visit the most popular tourist spot in Nagano prefecture; Zenkoji Temple.

 On the way to the temple, we saw many beautiful Japanese maple trees with deep red leaves..

Japanese maple leaves (Momiji)..

 The scenery was breathtaking.

 The picture above is Japanese maple leaves and,it changes its color to deep red in the autumn. When maple leaves changes its color to the deep red, it is the season of autumn to us Japanese and, we call the change of the color of the leaves “ko-yo”.

 Many people across Japan come visit Nagano prefecture to enjoy beautiful ko-yo scenery during the autumn.Viewing the koyo is very popular activity in Japan during the autumn.

More Japanese maple trees…

 When spring comes, we visit popular spots for the cherry blossom trees to enjoy the beautiful cherry blossoms and, we have Hanami (viewing the flower).

 Some families have a picnic under the beautiful cherry blossom tree.They sit on mats under the cherry blossom trees, and enjoy eating,drinking,singing and of course enjoy viewing the blossoms under the cherry blossom trees.

 From March through May,when flowers bloom at best,many places hold Hanami festivals (Cherry blossom festivals) and sometimes, you will find various street vendors near the cherry blossom tree spots.

 I think we Japanese enjoy the nature very much as one of our customs.

 The day was very sunny day but at the same time, it was a bit windy and chilly.

 However, when you walk up to the Zenkoji Temple and welcomed by the beautiful maple trees,you will forget how cold it was. It just was beautiful maple trees welcoming you at the entrance area.

Zenkoji temple entrance area, with beautiful Japanese maple trees as a background..

Zenkoji temple main building..

 Zenkoji temple is the most popular tourists spot in Nagano prefecture.

 The Zenkoji temple was built about 1,400 years ago,about 6th century, and this temple is one of the oldest temples in Japan.

 The temple said to have the very first Buddhist image (Ikko-Sanzon Amida-Nyorai) ,which is also called “hi-bu-tsu”,a hidden Buddha statue, that has never been on public display.

 Every 6 years, replica of “Hi-bu-tsu” is on public display for a few weeks.

 According to Japan guide website, the next opportunity to see the replica of “Hi-bu-tsu” is in 2015.

 You can read the full article on Zenkoji temple at Japan guide website here.

 The main hall of Zenkoji temple is one of National treasure.

 What makes interesting about this temple other than the secret statue “Hi-bu-tsu” is the story behind it.

 According to website, the “Hi-bu-tsu” was brought to Japan in the 6th century by a delegation sent by Korean prince arrived at the court of the Emperor of Japan.

 The Koreans brought an image of Amitabha Buddha, and a letter from the Korean prince praising the dharma. This was the official introduction of Buddhism to Japan.

 To read the full article about Hibutsu at website,please click here.

 We have visited the main building and prayed by tossing the 10 yen coin (US 10 cents value coin) into the box in the lobby,and we asked the security guard to take a picture of us in front of the main building at the temple.

 Before going down the stairs, I took the picture the view from the main building to show you how crowded it was.


The view from the main building..

Family picture with Zenkoji temple main building as background..

 You may wonder what kind of smoke it is behind my family. It is the smoke coming from the lion statue (incense burner).

Lion incense burner..

 My mother told me that if we catch the smoke by hand, and rub the smoke on wherever you would like to get better, it is believed that the lion smoke will give you the blessing and help you get better on the area.

 Therefore, I lined up around the incense and rubbed the smoke on me too.

 In the past entry on Yassy’s Japan trip diary, I wrote that Nagano prefecture hold 1998 winter Olympic.

 The bell that rang the start of the winter Olympic in 1998 was the bell from Zenkoji temple. Did you know that?

The bell that rang the start of the winter Olympic in 1998..

 We also found “Roku jizou”. “Ro-ku” means “six” in Japanese and “ji-zo-u” means “guardian deity of children and travelers” in Japanese.

Ro-ku Ji-zo-u..

 In Japan, Ji-zo-u is believe to save people from suffering and,these 6 guardian deity a.k.a. “Ro-ku Ji-zo-u” are believed to give up their own enlightenment to help others achieving the salvation.

 Also, according to Japanese Buddhism website,they are believed that they could commune with 6 realms; hell, starvation, beasts, carnage, human beings, and heaven.

 You can read more on Zenkoji temple at Japanese Buddhism website here.

 Then,it was about lunch time so,we decided to have a lunch somewhere at Sando street,which is the street that lead to the temple. You get to see many souvenir shops and eatery places along the street.

Sando street..

 On the way to eatery place, we strolled a little bit more in the Zenkoji temple and snapped a bit more picture before leaving.

Scenery at the Zenkoji temple court yard..

 The Nagano prefecture is famous for noodle so we dined at the noodle shop and,headed back to our home in Aichi prefecture.

 It was short family trip but,we all enjoyed the time spent with our family in Nagano prefecture.

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Apr 14, 2013 | Comments are off | Uncategorized

How to keep track of Pet food/treats recalls

 January 2013, 2 cases. February,2013 5 cases. March,2013 7 cases, April 1 case.

 Do you know what this number is for?

 This is the number of recalls via FDA related to pet food and treats,mostly due to possible health risk of salmonella.

 In these 4 months alone, already 15 recalls were made.

 This will be more than enough reasons for many to switch their diet to raw diet or homemade diet so you can control the quality of food you would provide to your pets,and making sure that the food served are properly handled and chilled until you will need them.

 If you feed your dogs raw diet or homemade diet, then, you will be going through all the steps from sourcing the food,handling the food,storing the food to serving to your dogs.

 Therefore, you will know more about the food served to your dogs, and much more easier for you to tweak the menu if necessary according to how your dogs do.

 This is the virtue of the homemade diet and raw feeding.

 Your dog’s food are always fresh, you know where the meat is coming from, you know how they are stored, you know how they are handled prior to the feeding, and most of all, you can make their menu tailor towards each individual dog’s needs.

 On and off, I see people asking specific pet food they offer to their pets are effected by the recall or not.

 For those who wonder, I thought I will introduce you how you can keep track of all the recall made through FDA for pet food/treats.

Sign up for the recall alert through FDA website..

 When you visit FDA website here, you can find the section you can choose the topic you would like the alert for,and then you can sign up for the recall alert when you would like to get notified via e-mail.

 Since you would be interested in pet food/treats recall, you would click on “Recalls and safety alerts”,and you would land the page here.

 Then, you would click “Recalls,Market withdrawals, and safety alerts”,and you will land on e-mail sign up page here.

 Now all you need to do is to enter your e-mail address there to get the alert from them and you can keep track of all the recalls made through them.

 I understand that some people get notified via other different online source for recall alerts, but FDA is the ones that releasing the alerts.

 Therefore,you will get notified via FDA sooner than other online resources for the recalls, and its information will be accurate especially when you need to check the lot numbers and more detail in depth.

Bookmark the recalls and safety alert page..

 If you do not want to clog up your e-mail Inbox with recalls and safety alerts from FDA, one thing you can do is to bookmark the FDA’s recall page here.

 You can then make a habit to check the page to check the recall yourself.

Check the recall by typing in the brand name of the food or treats..

 You can also bookmark this FDA page to check the recall information.

 When you go to the FDA’s Pet food recall list page, you can find the blank box on your right hand side,and you can type in the brand name of the pet food and it will show you whether the brand you have entered in the box has been recalled or any recall history.

 Another way to keep track of recall on treats/food without clogging up your e-mail Inbox is that, you can subscribe their page via RSS feed.

 RSS stands for Real Simple Syndication.

 To do so, visit FDA website here, and scroll down to the bottom,and you will find the orange icons with 3 lines in the button.

 When you move your cursor over to the icon,you will see that it says “subscribe to RSS feed”.

 Click the orange RSS feed icon, and it will bring up the list of topics you can choose from.

 Click the “Pet Health”, and it pops up a small window that says “subscribe with live bookmark”, and click “OK”.

 Then, you will find the folder under the bookmark on your computer, and when you click the FDA folder, you will see the pet food related recall press release with RSS feed orange icon next to it.

 Once you click it,it will take you to the press release page for the specific recall alerts.

 Once the press release article is read, the RSS feed icon will turn to gray.

 As they update their recall release,you will find new ones on top.

 On the talk of Pet food/treats recall, some of you would be remembering the recall of variety of dog treats manufacturered by Kasel due to possible health risk of salmonella.

 For me,it was most memorable recall by far so far.

 You may wonder why.

 When the Kasel recalled variety of dog treats sold through many online/offline stores, I came across the information that the manufacturer’s processing plant was inspected by Agency back in September 2012, and they had issued recalls 3 times already.

 What makes me cringe is that, if you read the press release report on FDA’s website, you can see that when Colorado department of agriculture sampled their dog treats and 48 out of 87 environmental swabs collected during the facility’s inspection tested  positive for salmonella.

 Not only that,they had found more than ten different species of salmonella in their products and the manufacturing facility!

 According to efoodalert website, FDA released the inspection report Form 483 on Kasel (to view the PDF format report,please click here), and I was shocked to read the full 9 page report; unsanitary facility environment, bugs, flies, rodent poop, beetles-like insects etc..

 Wouldn’t this make you feel cringe?

 Knowing how treats/food were processed at facilities like this, would you offer these treats to your dogs?

 I think you wouldn’t.

 Knowing how environmentally unacceptable, would you offer treats to others if you found yourself as a seller,who is unfortunate to carry their brand of treats without consciousness?

 I think you wouldn’t.

 If it were me, even if the “in-stock” item’s lot number was not on the recall list,I would still take it off from the shelf.

 I am sad to see that some of the pet supply places still carry the treats made by Kassel, probably because the lot number they had in stock did not match with the numbers they had, and they might have thought it would be ok to offer.

 I am also sad that specific pet supply place did not mention about the recall information on their main website front page although I saw they were replying back with lot number information on their facebook page.

 If things like this happen, I think as a responsible seller of the pet supplies, they should place the message on the main front page so everyone can find the information easily with link to FDA website or something similar, and reassure them that the products they purchased was not made by kassel etc..and they should have don
e more to customers to give more clear information on the topic.

 What are your thoughts on Kassel’s “voluntary recall” case?

Note: If you feed your dogs kibble, best way to store their food is to keep them in the freezer.

Every time you will open the bag, the food gets expose to air,and it starts oxidize.

Make sure to keep the dog food bag,too until you finish feeding the bag so you know the lot number and best by date etc..

Since all the dog food recall information is released with lot number and best by date,you should have your dog food’s bag to be able to check the lot number affected by the recall if the brand of kibble you feed to your dog got recalled.

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Apr 09, 2013 | Comments are off | Uncategorized

Cheesy Baked Kurobuta Pork Chops with vegetables

 About a month ago or so, I have made cheesy baked Pork Chop for dinner.

 I knew that my husband is not a big fan of pork chop but, when I saw beautiful marbled “Kurobuta Pork Chop” at the meat counter, I wanted to try one and I decided to make a meal with it a week later.

 When I first saw “Kurobuta Pork Chop”,I immediately thought that it must be Japanese Pork breed product because I knew “Kurobuta” was in Japanese.

 “Kuro” means “black” in Japanese. “buta” means “pork” in Japanese. Therefore, I thought that it was black pig meat products,which also known as ” Heritage Berkshire Pork” here in the states.

 If you place the regular pork chop and Kurobuta pork chop side by side, you would notice that the color of the meat is tad darker with Kurobuta pork chop.

 I did not have regular Pork chops to show you the difference of the meat color but,here is the picture of Kurobuta pork chop.

Kurobuta Pork chop..

 Kurobuta is known for its tender,juicy, flavorful taste and best of the best in the pork products in Japan.

 Kagoshima prefecture in Kyusyu island (southern island in Japan) is famous for Kurobuta pork.

 Here is the Japan island map. Kagoshima prefecture is #46

 Interesting fact though about the Kurobuta Pork, I learned that the Kurobuta pig can be brought in from outside Japan, to be raised in Japan but, to be able to sold its meat as the “real” Kurobuta pig products, the pigs must be certified purebred under Japanese ministry of Agriculture,Fisheries,and Food rules.

 You can read more about Kurobuta pork at cooksinfo website here.

 Kurobuta Pork chop is not something we can indulge everyday,but it is really tasty meat and,great to cook them on special occasion

 Anyway, my husband is not a big fan of pork chop,but I knew that Kurobuta is highly prized in Japan,and I thought I would give it a try a week later to see how he likes it.

 As I thought, he loved the Kurobuta Pork chop and also he loved the way that I cooked.

 I think the quality of the meat made a difference and also,I think breadding that I used was something he really really liked and, a month later, he still talks about the pork chops and its breading and gives me ideas of dishes using the same breadding I used for the pork chop.

 Overall, the dinner was successful,and I am glad he loved them.

 After the pork chop is served, some weeks later, I have served steak with horseradish crust topping and,he loved them too.

 In this entry, I would share the recipe of Cheesy Baked Kurobuta Pork chop but later, I am planning to share the steak with horseradish topping recipe as well.

 I think you would love them.

Cheesy Baked Kurobuta Pork chop..

Ingredients for Cheesy baked Kurobuta Pork chop;

1/16 C Kosher Salt (for brine)
2           Kurobuta Pork Chop
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 tbs     grated Parmesan
3/8 tsp kosher salt (for breading)
1/2C     Panko bread crumbs
1/2 tsp chopped
fresh thyme
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tbs Extra virgin olive oil
1/2C     unbleached all purpose flour
1            Egg lightly beaten

Morton’s Natures Seasons
1.5 tbs  Horseradish Mustard per chop
shredded Mozzarella cheese
Shredded Provolone cheese
Chopped green onions

<Cheesy baked Kurobuta Pork chop>

0. In the gallon size freezer bag, add 1/2C water and 1/16C Kosher salt and p;ace the Pork chop in the brine and let it sit for about 30 minutes

1. Preheat the oven to 425F

2. While chops are in the brine and oven is preheated, prepare the breading working station on the counter

3. Place 1st container on the far left and pour 1/2C unbleached all purpose flour, place another container in the middle and crack 1 eggs and lightly beaten, and place another container at far right and pour breading mixture* (breading mixture as shown below)

** Mix 1/2 tsp ground black pepper,2 tbs grated Parmesan cheese, 3/8 tsp kosher salt, 1/2C Panko bread crumbs, 1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme,1/4 tsp garlic powder,1/2 tbs Extra virgin olive oil in the 3rd container to use as breading for the chops
4. Take out the pork chop from the brine and pat them dry with paper towel and place on the plate

5. Season the chops with Morton’s Natures seasons both sides

6.  Coat the chops all sides with 1.5 tbs horseradish mustard per chop

7. Coat the chop in the flour ,dredge them into egg and them bread them with the Parmesan Panko bread crumb mixture and coat the chop all sides,and let it set on another clean plate

8. In another small container mix shredded Mozzarella cheese and shredded provolone cheese with ratio of 50%-50% and mix well

9. Line the cookie sheet with non stick foil, place pizza pan with holes in the bottom upside down, wet the paper towel with bit of extra virgin olive oil and wipe the bottom of the pizza pan.Then, place the chops on top and bake them for about 20 minutes or until meat thermometer shows 147F*

** You may wonder why I do not simply use cookie sheet or cooling rack on top of the cookie sheet but there is a reason for that.

 When I baked pizza last time to recreate Domino Pizza’s pizza dough, I noticed that the pizza pan with holes on the bottom really baked the pizza nicely to crusty texture.

 Most baked chops or ribs recipe uses cooling rack on top of the cookie sheet so the bottom of the meat gets raised to get the heat can go under the meat and also cooks well.However, if I use the cooling rack to do so, the meat surface would not touch with metal with larger surface and I was not sure how well I would get nice crunchy bottom I was after.

 Thus, this is how I came up with. Use the pizza pan with holes on the bottom in place of the cooking rack to give more heat to the meat for the very crunchy coating bottom.

 It looks odd visually,but it worked out well.

After the chops were baked..

** Notice very crunchy coating bits on the pan?

** In the past, recommended pork products’ internal temperature was between 170F-185F.However, recent years, the recommended temperature was down to 150F-160F for tenderness,and juiciness;slightly rosy pink.

Trichinosis organism will be destroyed at 137F

 I have pulled out my pork chop at 147F because I knew that I will be broiling them,and as you know, the meat still be cooked even after taking out from the oven and often times, the temperature rises from 5F to 10F while meat is being rested.
10. When chops were baked to 147F, sprinkle some shredded mozzarella cheese and shredded provolone cheese mixture on top,and place the chops on the non stick foil in the cookie sheet

11. Turn the broiler on “HI” and broil the chops for about 70 seconds or the cheese gets bubbly and crumbs gets brown up a bit more.

12. Garnish the chops with chopped green onions and serve them with Carrot grasse and sauteed snow peas

Makes; 2 servings

<Carrot grasse>

1. Peel carrots and cut to about 1/2″ pieces

2. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil in the skillet and cook the carrot to about just about getting soft,seasoning them with Morton’s natures season

3. Add 3/8C water and 1 tbs butter,1/2 tsp white sugar and turn the heat to medium, put the lid on the  skillet and cook to tender

Makes: 1-2 servings

<Sauteed snow peas>

1. Trim off the string on the peas (top and bottom)

Snow peas, Sugar snap peas both have string on them. Remove the
string by breaking the tip of sugar snap pea/snow peas and gently pull
the string down.

2. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil in the skillet

3. Cook the snow peas,season with Morton’s Natures Season



Apr 07, 2013 | Comments are off | Uncategorized

Smart cat playing guessing game..

 Do you train your dogs daily?

 If you follow my blog entries, you will notice
that I love teaching Palette fun tricks besides basic obedience tricks
such as sit-stay etc with clicker training.

 I enjoy training her because she is very
eager to learn the new thing, and she gets so excited when she gets it
right. She gives me huge Corgi smile on her with her tongue hanging out
as if she is very proud of herself.

 Palette has been trained with clicker since the puppy-hood.

like the clicker training because dogs are much more eager to learn
things,and clicker’s unique sound can deliver the exact moment dogs did
right, and it has no miscommunication between us as to what behavior got
rewarded. Thus, it results in fast learning.

 I also like the fact that the training is not like a doggy boot camp.

 By using clicker training principals, you can teach variety of animals from chicken,fish,dolphins, etc other than dogs, wide variety of things.

if you will take only 5 minutes training session daily with your dogs,
it is worth it. The key for the good training is to be consistent and be
patient. Clicker training is fun for both of you,and it is good for
your dogs too.

 Training is a great mental exercise for your dogs
because especially with the clicker training, the dogs “think” and try
act accordingly to see if any of their behavior gets us to click the
clicker to earn the reward. In a way, clicker training is a thinking
game for them.

 Just recently, I came across the youtube video of
cat playing a little “guessing game” on the table with upside down walnut shells and, I thought it was very cute video.

 I think it is one of those good interactive games you could play with your dogs too.

 Watch how smart this cat is.

Cat playing guessing game..

If you are a blog subscriber,please click here to watch the video.

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Apr 04, 2013 | Comments are off | Uncategorized

Yassy’s Japan Trip Diary November 2012; Day 4 Part 1

 The 4th day in Japan, our family woke up with beautiful sunrise you could see through the hotel windows in Nagano prefecture.


Sunrise in Nagano prefecture..

 Me and my husband, my sister’s family had our own room to stay at the hotel, we have set up the time to gather at my parents’ and my grandmother’s room before heading to the breakfast room.

 If you stay at the hotels in Japan, often times, you could find traditional Japanese breakfast menu such as fresh cut up fruits,white steamed sticky Japanese rice,miso soup, broiled/grilled fish, boiled egg,scramble eggs,rolled omelet (Ta-ma-go yaki in Japanese),Tsu-ke-mo-no (pickles), nori (seaweed), natto (fermented sticky soy beans), dairy such as yogurt and various kinds of bread plus regular white bread for toast with selection of spread from butter to jam.

 As for drink,usually you find green tea,coffee,British tea,and fruit juice.

 You will hand the breakfast ticket you got at the front desk when you check in to the hotel staff standing at the door to the breakfast room, and you will receive the food tray to put the plate on.

 After that, you will pick up a clean plate, and put what you like to have on the plate and you can go back to get more of what you had on the plate if you wanted to.

 There is no reserved tables so,you can sit at anywhere you like.

 It is a buffet style breakfast with a choice of Japanese/western food menu although it would not have pancake,waffles,french toast,biscuits or bagel where many people here have it for breakfast.

 Also, we do not have the food similar to “breakfast style sausage” in the states. When you tell Japanese people “sausage”, they would understand the word because there is a food called “sausage” but the sausage we think is what American people call “wiener”.  We do have Frankfurt as well,and it is one of popular ya-tai (small food street vendor) at the festivals.

 Our breakfast is savory meal, not sweet desert-like breakfast menu.

 My husband often says that our typical breakfast is more like a small portion of dinner because even if we eat a slice of toast, we eat cut up fruits,salad,and some savory side dishes to go with it.

 For school kids,and family members who commute to work,as you have read in the previous entry titled “Bento box culture in Japan“, mothers will be making homemade lunch for them (Bento box) every morning waking up at very early in the morning.

 In Japanese, lunch
box is called “Bento”. It is part of Japanese culture and,usually,
parents get up early and make Bento box for kids to bring to school.

 School usually have Bento box day once in a while and when they have
special events like sports festival, parents bring the Bento box for
family members and when kids got lunch time break from events, kids and
parents sit around the Bento box and eat them.

 School lunch system continues up to junior high school year and, when I
was a high school students, we students brought Bento box every day.

 High school did not have cafeteria. Instead, vendor visited school
around lunch time and offered drinks ,pre packaged Bento box, Onigiri
(rice ball) or sandwich for those who could not bring own bento box.

 At university I went to had cafeteria, and staff cooked meals there, and
also we had vendors coming to offer drinks,pre packaged Bento
box,Onigiri (Rice ball), and bread.

 At university years, I lived on my
own close to university. Therefore, at lunch time, I went back home and cooked
lunch and relaxed till next class time and I went back to class.

 Bento box culture does not stops at University years.

 Many people who
go to work also bring Bento box. My father brought mother’s homemade
lunch box every single day. Mother woke up very early in the morning and
when I needed Bento box to bring to school as well, she made 2 Bento
boxes for us.

 She made Bento box for years and years. Very long time. I
make Bento box for my husband too. I do not make cute artistic Bento box,
but he does bring homemade lunch everyday to work.

 What are in the Bento box depends on each family, but ours were usually
rice ball or bed of rice, some meat dish, some vegetable dish and
fruits. When I was very little, I remember mother put piggy faced flan
for Bento box as special desert. Or I remember seeing bunny apple as
fruits;sliced apple peeled like bunny. .

 Octopus shaped or crab shaped grilled wiener was also popular lunch box menu.

 I came across youtube video where you can watch how to make mushrooms,heart,and cute octopus with eyes and nose on,and I thought it is fun to share it with you.

 If you have a kid, you could make them go “Wow”

How to make Bento box lunch – Octopus sausage and more..

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

 Typical American breakfast sure was one of culture shock for me too,when I visited my friends in the states during summer or winter vacation from school long time ago.

 I had pop-tarts,bagel,waffle,sugary cereal mixed with canned fruits,pancakes..

 My very first time visited the states was at high school year (10th grade). I did home-stay in Washington state.

 Each high school in the prefecture was asked to pick 1 student to go for the home-stay program and,I was the one from our high school.

 There were several more high school students from other high schools, and we were paired up with a  student from different high school, and each pair was assigned to stay at local family house for 2 weeks.

 I had so much fun!

 I thought American breakfast was very different from typical Japanese breakfast.

 This is the picture of what we had as breakfast.

 It might be a little hard to see but, since I am a big fan of croissant, I have put it on my plate,and thought I would have croissant,egg, fruits,salad and drink.

 However, I found some broiled/grilled mackerel in sweet teriyaki sauce,which I loved so much.

 Therefore, my tray looked very strange because I had bread and a bowl of rice with several vegetables,fish,potato salad,fruits and croissants

 I did enjoy them though.

Hotel breakfast meal..

 The lake Suwa view from breakfast room was beautiful.It was nice sunny day although it was a bit chilly day.

Lake Suwa view from the hotel’s breakfast room..

 After the breakfast,we have headed to visit 1,400 years old historical temple “Ze-n-ko-u ji”.

 You will read about it next time. Stay tuned!

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Apr 02, 2013 | Comments are off | Uncategorized

Palette’s note: Grass-fed Australian beef bully sticks 18″

 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
the video so that you can actually HEAR and feel the treats’ textures?

 Some of you may have already
recognized that I have been putting up treats /toys taste testing videos on youtube so that
people can hear the sound,see Palette in action and get more detail on
each product we offer at our store.

 With “Palette’s Note” series,I like to put out Palette’s taste test videos. This time, “Grass fed Australian beef bully sticks 18″“.

 In the previous entry titled Long lasting chews/recreational bones for dogs,
I talked about what Deer Antlers is, and how much I love (and of
course, how much our stumpy k9 executive chef “Palette” the Corgi loves) these Deer
Antlers for long lasting chew.

 Then, in the previous entry titled “Palette’s note;Deer Antlers“,
I talked about her Antler lasted more than 1 year despite the fact that
she chewed on it daily about 15 minutes or so each time.

 If you were looking for long lasting chew, I would recommend Deer Antlers.

 With our Corgi “Palette”- moderate chewer, with L size Deer Antler, it
is with her for more than one year with the same Antler. She religiously
spend about 15-20 min 2 sessions per day but still gnawing the same

 Antlers are more economical overall, and one Antler lasts much

 Since she now got a few kinds of Deer Antlers:Regular Antlers, Antler with some velvet left on, and Antler bottom,
plus Caribou Antlers, Moose Antlers, the time she spend on regular Deer Antlers is less than before (she seems to
gnaw one by one alternating among the Antlers) , but she enjoys
her gnawing time.

 No matter how long/thick the bully stick is, one bully
stick will be gone much faster than Deer Antlers would. 

 In the previous entry titled “Palette’s note; Free Range Moo! Supreme bully stick“,I
wrote that for medium chewer “Palette”, one supreme bully stick 6″ lasted
about 3 days,while average bully stick usually be gone within 20

 For a bully sticks with the same length, that bully sticks was
long lasting bully sticks for her.

 Recently, manufacturer of Moo! line products has added another category of their popular odor free bully sticks,and thickest category of bully sticks they offer is Grass-fed Moo! Odor free bully sticks “Super Monster. They are available in 2 sizes; 6″ and 12″.

 With Palette, her staple chews are Antlers and she also has Himalayan Dog Chew (Hard Cheese Stick Chew),which I give her back everyday and so far, I can tell you that the L size Himalayan Dog Chew lasted 38 days for her.

 When the chew got to about 1.5″ long chunk,I have decided to follow
maker’s suggestion and try and see if Palette would like it that way.

 Palette loved the puffed Cheese cracker ball (a.k.a. microwaved
puffed Himalayan Dog Chew.I have microwaved about 40 seconds to 60 seconds,and it started
puffing up at about 40 seconds.). You can tell how much she loved them.

Ohh..! I love da puffed cheese cracker ball!

 It becomes very crunchy texture,almost like
cracker when microwaved. That is why, I told Palette it is puffed cheese cracker ball

 To read full taste testing entry on Himalayan Dog Chew with taste testing videos,please click here.

loves bully sticks. Many dogs adore bully sticks. Palette is one
of them, but don’t underestimate her. She actually is a tough judge.

gave me nosed up,paws down on some of bully sticks I got her to try out.
Paws down bully sticks did not make it to the store to offer others.

 After all, she is k9 executive chef who control the quality of menu to
be served to others, along side with me. We are the team.

 She will be responsible for the taste testing and I will be doing her leg work and check its texture,origin of the treats, checking the details on treats.

 This team work makes the treats we offer to be various variety of selected healthy,drool-gnaw worthy treats you can give to your dogs.

 I should add that only Palette’s approved
menu is served to others.

 If you browse through what we carry,what we do not carry, you would notice
that most of all our treats are single ingredient treats without
fillers and,we do not carry anything everything just because the treats
might sell well.

 We are picky
for selecting treats we offer to other furriends,and before taste
testing the treats with Palette, we ask questions to vendors and, I
think they might see me as customers with lots of questions, but I think
it is for good for our furriends after all.

 I personally gives bully sticks as occasional chew.

 For her, it is not a daily chew but, she gets it now and then. She loves it so much that when she gets the bully sticks from me, she hold it horizontally in her mouth and trot to her doggy bed designated for eating chews,and collapse on the doggy bed to start chewing right away.

 When I give this 18″ bully sticks though,it is so comical to see this stubby dog is holding such a long chew in her mouth and trot with it.

 She is very cute with it. 

 This Grass fed Australian beef bully sticks are made in Australia, and made from Grass fed beef
that received no antibiotic or growth hormones in their life.

 For her, 18” one lasts longer than 15 minutes partly because her paws are
short, and the long bully sticks like 18” one is hard to hold for her, and she
uses her bed or wall to support her bully sticks and it looks awkward
for her to chew on.

 Until it gets down to about 6″ long, she most likely to be chewing on them hand free style or one paw hold because of that

 What I like about this bully sticks is
that,although these are not odor free line bully sticks,it is not stinky at all
and,I can still sit right next to
her while she is working on her bully sticks.

think this bully sticks are not super thick like Moo! Odor free bully sticks “Super Monster” but they are not super skinny like chopsticks and,for the average thickness with these bully sticks, they are still great chews to provide good amount of chews.

 Some customer with older dogs has mentioned to me once that their dogs can enjoy this bully sticks and they love them.

 This bully sticks are probably not for aggressive chewers if you were specifically looking for the bully sticks that lasts longer, but for chew fun, it will be fun chew since they are super long compared to the regular popular size bully sticks,and it still can provide good amount of chew fun.

 Ingredients: Beef

 Let’s watch Palette in action with Grass fed Australian bully sticks taste test. If you are a blog subscriber,please click here to watch video Part 1, please click here for Part II video.

Palette and Grass-fed Australian bully sticks 18″ Part I

Palette and Grass-fed Australian Bully sticks 18″ Part II

the Part I video, she started off with free hand chew style since her
paws are too short to hold the bully sticks at good angle for her to

 Sometime later, she decided to use the bed to hold the
bully sticks so she can chew the bully sticks at good angle without it
being sliding around while she tries to chew it.

 Can you see she is working very hard to work on her Grass
fed Australian beef bully sticks? She worked on this bully sticks nonstop to finish it up on the day!

bully sticks is one of my favorite bully sticks to give to Palette because it does not stink up the
room, and this is also Palette’s favorite as you can see in videos and

 By the way, I asked Palette to ring the potty bell so she does something to get something yummy,but as you could see,she was way too excited and she was not ringing the bell as she normally would although she did made the bell ring.

 When she rings the bell in calm manner, she would ring the bell like this.

Palette rings the potty bell..

 If you are a blog subscriber, please click here to watch the video.

 While she is working on the chew, she is being very very very quiet.

Wish I had longer paws…

Hands free chew style Corgis way

Pausing for da camera..

Look! Wet Nose! You can see how much I love these!

Trying to be cute..


I can finally hold da bully sticks!

I am getting close to finish..

I am a bit getting tired from all da chews…but tasty tweats!

Ask your mom/dad to get one for you too.You may love these!

 Please note that due to natural products,
thickness of the bully sticks can vary.

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

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Mar 31, 2013 | Comments are off | Uncategorized

Japanese/Chinese cooking:Honey lemon chicken

 When I came to the states, I noticed that you can find Chinese eatery place everywhere just like back home in Japan,but it was not easy to find the decent one until I get to know the Chinese restaurant “PF Chang’s“.

 The taste of the dish at PF Chang’s reminds me of Chinese restaurants we normally go to when we go back to Japan to see our family although some of the dishes were unfamiliar to me.

 In Japan, you can find Chinese restaurants with equal or better quality to PF Chang’s from the states much more easily and, often times, chefs are from the regions in China and the dishes taste quite good.

 Chinese restaurants are quite popular back home in Japan as well,and some of the dishes average family makes are influenced by Chinese dishes and,there are popular Chinese-Japanese dishes (Japanese version of Chinese dishes) such as Chin-jao rosu (Beef and Green peppers) and Toriniku no karaage (Deep fried chicken), Gyoza dumplings (Pot stickers), “Buta man” (steamed bun with pork filling), Subuta (sweet sour pork), Kani tama Don (Omelet with crab with brown gravy sauce over rice) etc…

 If you visit Japan, and if you would like to experience great tasting Chinese food, you should visit Yokohama city in Kanagawa prefecture and Kobe city in Hyogo prefecture.

 Yokohama city in Kanagawa prefecture,which is located right next to Tokyo, has huge Chinatown and very famous for great Chinese food.The area has more than 200 Chinese restaurants as well as famous Chinese restaurants that served region specific dishes from Beijing, Cantonese,Szechuan,shanghai etc..

 In Nankin machi in Kobe city located in Hyogo prefecture,which is western part of Japan right next to Osaka prefecture, has smaller but 2nd largest China town in Japan. The area is very colorful and clean and, nice area to visit.

 If you are a huge fan of Iron chef TV shows, you can also check out Iron chef “Chinese” Chen Kenichi’s Chinese restaurants.

 Chef Chen fought 92 battles,67 wins,22 lost,tied 3,and he won 14 times back to back.

 He has restaurant called “Shisen Hanten” in Tokyo,Tokushima prefecture, Hiroshima prefecture,Fukushima prefecture,and Ehime prefecture.The restaurant specialize in Szechuan region dishes.

 You can look beef menu at his restaurant here, shrimp menu here just to see what kinds of dishes he offers as menu.

 Someday, I would love to visit restaurants run by famous chefs in Japan

 At the same time, the chef “Chen” seems to teach cooking classes there,and it would be quite interesting to participate the class and learn more about Chinese food and cooking technique.

 In the states, if you hear “Orange chicken”,”Orange shrimp” etc, you would know what the dish is like,how it taste etc and it seems to be one of popular dishes, but those dishes were one of the dishes I had never heard of back home in Japan.

 My very first time to eat the orange chicken,orange shrimp was at PF Chang’s after coming to the states and, I found it very tasty and,I make Orange chicken now and then now.

 Looking at what I had in the fridge to plan the menu for the next week, I decided to make Lemon chicken, but with Japanese version of it.

 Chicken is very budget friendly protein source,and quick to be cooked through. Therefore, this dish maybe good dish for those who would like to spend less time in the kitchen.

 I think this dish is budget friendly,quick and easy Japanese-Chinese dish.

 If you did not have chicken in the fridge, you could make sauce only in the small container and warm it up so the honey in the sauce gets evenly combined in the sauce and you could use that as sauce for skillet fish, seared scallops, grilled shrimps,grilled steak, or use as stir fry sauce .

 If you turned out to have more than you needed, you could use that to season the rice when you make fried rice next day.

 My version of Lemon chicken is not sticky sweet and, it got variety of vegetables, and it goes well with hot steamy white rice.

 In this entry, I would like to share the recipe of “Honey Lemon Chicken”.

Honey lemon chicken..

 Ingredients for Honey lemon chicken sauce;

3 tbs
3 tbs rice vinegar* (recommend Marukan brand.)
tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 tsp soy sauce

Ingredients for Honey lemon chicken;

5 strip chicken tender cut into bite size pieces
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/3C unbleached all purpose flour
sesame oil
1 clove garlic chopped fine
2/3 carrot sticks peeled,diagonally sliced
1/2 celery sticks,diagonally sliced
Morton’s Natures Seasons
1.5 tbs sake* (recommend Gekkeian brand sake)

1/8 Italian cubanelle pepper rough chopped
1/8 Sweet red pepper rough chopped
3 snow peas trimmed strings, cut them into half

freshly grated lemon zest

<Honey lemon chicken sauce>

 1. In the small bowl, add 3tbs honey, 3 tbs rice vinegar* (recommend Marukan brand.You can find them at Asian stores, at International food aisle, or website), 1 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice, and 1/2 tsp soy sauce and stir and set it aside

<Honey lemon chicken>

1. Cut 5 strips of chicken tender into bite size pieces, and put them into the small bowl that has 1/4C water mixed with 1 tsp kosher salt and 1/2 tsp ground black pepper and let it sit for 20 minutes

2. Drain the salt water,and add 1/3C unbleached all purpose flour and coat the cut-up chicken pieces well

3. In the skillet, drizzle sesame oil and put the skillet on medium high heat and drop 1 cloves of garlic chopped fine and stir

4. When it got fragrant, add flour coated chicken tender pieces onto the skillet and let it brown one side

5. When one side got brown up, flip each pieces over to cook the other side

6. When chicken got cooked up about 80%, add 2/3 sticks of carrot diagonally sliced, 1/2 stick of celery diagonally thinly sliced, and sprinkle Morton’s Seasons Nature and stir

7. When chicken got almost no pink, add 1.5 tbs sake and shake the skillet and let it evaporate

8. Add 1/8 Italian cubanelle pepper rough chopped, 1/8 Sweet red pepper rough chopped,and 3 snow peas cut them into half

9. Season them with Morton’s Natures seasons and stir

10. When vegetables are almost cooked through, add Honey lemon chicken sauce and stir

11. As the sauce gets bubbles, you will find that the sauce gets thicken and evaporated little by little

12. Turn off the heat when sauce got almost absorbed but it got some small amount of sauce on the bottom

13. Grate lemon zest a bit over the dish and stir and serve along with hot steamy white rice

14. Enjoy!
Makes: 2-3 servings

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Mar 26, 2013 | Comments are off | Uncategorized