Thursday, March 26, 2009

Your trousers are going to burst!

Zubon ga panku shichau!

Any way you count it, the in-utero Pumpkin Prince is 39 weeks. Ultrasound estimates his weight at around 3100 g, which is 6 pounds 13 ounces. He's done baking, he's just kind of hanging out.

Yesterday morning, I was changing out of my pajamas into my street clothes with the Pumpkin Princess watching. She looked at my belly and said, "Mommy, your pants are going to burst!"

I'd say a 3 year-old telling you your pants are going to burst is a good sign you're freaking huge.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

It's easy!


Idiot resistant Soy egg

Hard boil and peel egg.

Place egg in ziplock bag.

Add packet of instant ramen broth (preferably shoyu flavor) to bag. Close bag and shake. Toss bag in fridge and let sit overnight.

When cooking your instant ramen the next day, pour the water into the ziplock bag and rinse off the sides of the bag, and then pour the contents, egg and all, into the pot. You'll get a perfectly seasoned soy egg to go with your ramen, with pretty much no loss of flavor to the broth.

Oh, and no baby yet, by the way.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

I've never seen it before.

Hajimete mita.

This morning, when we were getting ready to leave for day care, the Pumpkin Princess opened one of the kitchen drawers she never opens on her own. I'd hidden a small package of Oreos there, planning to use them to make Oreo Truffles, but I hadn't been able to find chocolate bark (or anything similar) at the local supermarket.

I immediately began a mental debate over whether or not an Oreo before heading out for day care was a battle worth fighting. However, the Pumpkin Princess's reaction was completely unexpected.

"It's my Very Hungry Caterpillar plate!" (Said plate is kept in this drawer.)

"Yes, it is. Close the drawer and put your smock on, it's time to go to day care."

"Yes, Mommy." She did as she was told without any fuss whatsoever.

I was amazed. Then it hit me. I've never given the kid an Oreo before. I'm not a food purist who insists upon 100% homemade, preservative free snacks. I've given her various kinds of junk food, just never Oreos. She doesn't recognize Oreos as being something attractive.

I'll give her one (or more) eventually. Preferably with milk. In the meantime, more for me (btw, I haven't got around to making Oreo Truffles. I ate a couple of them, so I have to buy another package, in addition to finding something to coat them with).

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

That's another way to do it.

Sou iu yarikata mo aru.

There was an alternative recipe for curry in my geeky cooking book, so I tried it yesterday.

The basic premise is that you use half the prepackaged curry squares you would usually use in the same amount of water, and use lots and lots of caramelized onions as the substitute thickening agent.

This is the curry base that we use in the Pumpkin Palace, simply because it is the least spicy one I can always find in the local supermarket.

You start by stir frying a couple cloves of garlic and red pepper in oil until the garlic is golden brown. If you're using half the package of curry base (that is, you want as much curry as you would if you were using the entire box), you should use three or four cloves. I wanted half a package worth, so I did two cloves of garlic, and I also skipped the red peppers for the Pumpkin Princess's sake.

Then, to the garlic, you add thinly sliced onions. Lots. There's about 300 grams (2/3 pounds) of onions in the pan.

Sautee over high heat until caramelized. Then, deglaze the pan with the usual amount of water as instructed on your box of curry base.

Add thinly sliced carrots, and bring to a boil. Simmer for about five minutes. Let cool to a temperature that won't melt your blender (for me, this involved leaving it on the stove while I left to pick up the Pumpkin Princess from day care), and blend until you have a smooth puree.

Pour back into pan, add potatos cut in the usual bite size pieces, and cook until the potatos are soft. When the potatos are well cooked, add sugar, butter, and salt to taste.

You may have noticed there is no meat in this curry. You're supposed add something like pork cutlets or pork stir fry (I did unfrittered cutlets).

The taste was, well, different. It tasted less like curry and more like a stew. My family liked it, and I'll be cooking this again, but only when I have the time. The usual method of following the package instructions but using chicken stock is far easier.

Alternative curry recipe (makes equivalent of 1 package of curry base)

3 or 4 cloves garlic
4 dried red peppers (seeds removed) (optional)
2 T cooking oil
600 grams (1 1/3 lbs) onions, thinly sliced
1 large carrot
as much water as the instructions tell you to use for your package of curry base
2 large potatoes
2 T butter
2 t sugar
1/2 package curry base
2 t salt

Cook garlic and red peppers in oil in a large frying pan or pot until garlic is golden brown. Add onions and sautee over high heat until caramelized. Remove red peppers, saving them for later. Add carrots, deglaze pan with water, and simmer for 5 minutes, then cool. Process in blender in batches until completely smooth. Pour back into pan, add potatoes and cook until tender. Turn off heat, add butter, sugar, salt and curry base, and mix well until the curry base is evenly melted into the curry. Put red peppers back in mixture. Serve with rice and whatever meat you have.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Not yet!

Mada da yo!

Still no baby! Today we had a gardener come in a trim our trees and pull our weeds. We'd do it ourselves if it weren't whole the whole pregnancy thing. Oh, and not having any decent hedge trimmers.

Note to self: stop buying stuff online like you are still earning money the way you used to. Oh, and while you are at it, stop eating like you are working ten hour days and start eating like a very slightly anemic pregnant mother.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Sorry about yesterday

Kinou ha gomennasai

I didn't have a phrase yesterday!

Today's accomplishment: putting the dolls away. Tradition says having them out too long will mean the girl they're for won't get married until late in life, a disaster in the days before female neurosurgeons and attorneys were acceptable. I don't think getting married late in life is bad in the least, but I figured I should get going while the Pumpkin Prince is still in utero.

Accomplishment #2 is getting started on sorting the Pumpkin Princess's baby clothes into things that can and can't be used by the Pumpkin Prince and laundering the former.

Yesterday's routine check showed that his estimated weight, at 2500 grams (5 1/2 pounds), no longer qualifies him as a low birth weight infant by Japanese standards. At 36 weeks, he can come to us any time he darned well pleases.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Head made of sawdust and glue cast in a mold, face hand painted by a master craftsman. Hair formed from silk and man-made fibers. Dress made of silk and man-made fibers, new at time of production. Estimated to be about 37 years old at time of photo.

Head made of quail's egg, face formed by tiny pieces of nori applied with tweezers. Hair also made of nori. Dress made of thin omlette and proscuitto. Body made of rice. Sits on a large chirashizushi garnished with steamed shrimp, ikura, egg and mitsuba. Estimated to be about half an hour old at time of photo.

Face drawn by 3 year-old Pumpkin Princess. Dress made of origami and probably folded by teacher. Estimated to be about three days old at time of photo.

I think I like the last one best.

You'd buy it, too!

Kacchau desho!

Say you were a Pumpkin Mommy, and you went to your favorite pastry shop and they had this in the showcase.

Do you think you could resist buying it? I sure couldn't.

I mean, a strawberry and a blueberry with anime eyes? On a delicious custard pudding with caramel sauce?

Some forces are just not meant to be resisted.