Saturday, April 30, 2011


My mom is awesome.

At first glance, my mom is a small and silent Japanese woman. In most social situations, she is very quiet. Maybe it's her lack of self-confidence in carrying on a conversation in English (even though she's lived in the United States for more than half of her life and she is perfectly capable), but either way she is usually observing and soaking in her surroundings.

For those that know my mother, she is quite a character. She's a wonderful cook, a fan of any baseball team with a Japanese player, a Tetris/old school Super Mario Bros. master (SERIOUSLY!), and an amazing mother. Oh, and she's beautiful.

My mom with my sister and me (I'm the baby!)

It wasn't until recently that I started thinking about how amazing my mom really is. You see, I'm 23 years old now, and I've been really thinking about how I'm such a homebody. I'm the type of person that could never leave my hometown of Montebello. My family is here, it's 7 minutes away from CSULA (my school), 15 minutes away from downtown Los's home. My whole life is here.

On the other hand, my mother left Japan at the age of 25 to marry my dad. They met while he was stationed in Japan in the Air Force, and they continued to write to each other even after he moved back home. She says that you can tell a lot about someone's character based on their words, and that's what she fell in love with. She fell in love with a man halfway across the world, and she left everything and everyone that she knew behind, all based on my dad's words. And here they are, married more than 30 years later and still going strong.

Sometimes it's easy to forget how brave and amazing my mom is. Her bravery is a quality that I wish I could have.

Anyway, today was her birthday (her 21st birthday, apparently), and since I've been in the baking mood recently, I decided to bake her a cake for her big day! I decided to bake a basic vanilla cake, with alternating layers of matcha cream cheese and banana buttercream in between. I finished it off by covering the cake with a simple whipped cream, strawberry halves and slices of banana.

It was delicious...

Vanilla Cake with Matcha Cream Cheese and Banana Buttercream

お誕生日おめでとう、お母さん <3

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Try, try, try, try...and try again.

It seems that during my 5 month hiatus from the kitchen, I forgot how to bake macarons.

Of course, the thought of pulling macawrongs from the oven flashed through my mind as I walked to the kitchen, but I had already baked nearly 20 batches - surely it would be like riding a bike for the first time in years?

All the motions felt right. Sifting the ingredients over and over still felt tedious. My wrist and shoulder still ached as I whipped my egg whites until they defied gravity. I still felt the anticipation as I skillfully succeeded in tried really hard to pipe perfect rounds of batter on my Silpat, followed by the embarrassment and defeat as I actually pulled not one, but four failed macaron batches out of the oven yesterday.

Well, fifth time's a charm...kind of. The trademark frilly feet were there fresh out of the oven, but they kind of disappeared over night. Either way, I had one ugly batch for every month I neglected my macaronage technique.

Unfortunately this semi-pretty batch only yielded 11 macarons, so I'll have to take some chocolate macawrongs to Easter lunch with me.

Strawberry and Chocolate Macarons with Rose Cream Cheese Filling

...hopefully, my family doesn't mind too much :)

Happy Easter, readers :)

Sunday, April 10, 2011

To my Dad on his birthday

Oh hello, blogspot. I'm so glad I didn't forget my password to this.

Thankfully, life has been a little less crazy since I got into my accident, but it has also been really busy. I have a new car, I started and finished my student-teaching, and I'm on my way to clearing my preliminary Music teaching credential!!! I'm so thankful and blessed that I've been able to finish in a timely if only I can finish my Masters, find a teaching job and start my career... :)

Since I've been occupied with school and work, I've had virtually no time left for baking, but today was such a special day that I knew I needed to change that.

As you might have guessed by the title, today is my dad's birthday. Of course, all fathers are special, but mine is truly amazing. For starters, he has ALWAYS been there for both my sister and me. He's the man that snuck my sister and I a few extra bites of ice cream while mom wasn't looking; he's the one that read to me after tucking me in at night; he's the one that taught me how to play tennis; he's the one that volunteered countless hours as a die-hard band parent; he's the one that encouraged and inspired me to pursue a path in music...for all this and more, I am blessed.

The least I could do was to bake him a cake today. :)

He really loves carrot cake, so I decided to attempt my very first carrot cake - wait, my very first cake EVER.

I love you dad. Happy birthday, and here's to many more :)


Carrot Cake with Maple Buttercream Filling and Cream Cheese Frosting