Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pancake Taiyaki

Okay, all that whining I did over pancakes got to me, and I went out and bought some pancake mix.
I put my taiyaki mold on our gas stove, sprayed it with a bit of PAM, and warmed it up.
We tried three different "innards" with whatever we had around the house.

First - peanut butter. Batter, peanut butter and more batter on top.
Close and cook a few minutes on each side until brownish.
So cute!
But really, no. Melted peanut butter is nasty. Never again.
Second, we used a 78% cocao bar lying around. Sak is a bitter-choco man only, so that's all we ever have.
It tasted good, but there was no sugar in either the choco or the pancake batter, so I had to dip it in fake maple syrup to make it tastier. I think milk choco would be perfect though.
And finally, I put some maple syrup directly in the fish.
Which was weird, because it cooked into the batter instead of staying liquid in a pocket. Gave the taiyaki a nice, subtle maple flavor though.
Bottom line - I need to find better fillers. What's lying around your house I could try?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Force of Pancakes

Ever since Japan and that delicious Twinkie-ized pancake of fat and sugar, I've had cravings for pancakes. Nearly every single day. It's just not right, folks.
Pancakieeeee! I miss you.

And if it wasn't for my laziness when it comes to cooking, and the fact that frozen pancakes are usually soggy and not so tasty, I'd probably be up 20 pounds instead of the five I've gained post-Japan.

And then look!

I don't know what's more random - the fact that there is Vader shaped molds, or the fact that it's Williams-Sonoma selling them. They both blow my mind.

Anyway, there's no way Sak would let me get them. I'm a kitchen gadget collector who doesn't cook.

I bought frozen mini pancakes a while back thinking it was pancake minus all the calories since I would obviously only take a few to work at a time to prevent overeating. But mini pancakes just aren't the same, there's not enough pancake flavor/fluffiness/magic in the little things! So I fed them all to Sak's brother when he was here. He didn't mind.

I think I just have to go with making them myself. And when I say by myself I mean from a pancake mix box.  Do you think I could cook pancake mix in my taiyaki mold? Sak's a little peeved at me for buying it in L.A., making him check his luggage just because of my giant pan, and then not using it once. Ehh..
(source) Same pan that I have!
I think it'll work. Then I can fill it with maple syrup and butter! Or nutella! Or bananas and melty choco! Mmmm.

Custard flavor!

How do you like your pancakes?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Craft Room: Clean and Tidy

Dude. I cleaned my room!

(Demotivational Poster says "Blogging: Never before have so many people with so little to say said so much to so many")


It took awhile, but it's so much better than before. All my crafts are organized! I made myself a guide for easy reference. Or a map for potential thieves to easily find the expensive crafts. (Pro tip: Go for the button maker. $$$)

Now, I'm not totally finished. I have several drawers of "action figures" that I don't know what to do with. I think I'll just leave them there until we move somewhere bigger, then I'll get some display cases?

I also have a makeup and jewelry drawer I need to go through, and I'd like to fix up my "ribbon and stringy things" drawer a little nicer. Oh! And I need to put more posters and art up on the walls. It looks sad and uninspiring as is.

Likewise, Sak has three boxes, one bin, one basket and one drawer of "cords, controllers and CDs" to organize. He hoards media and electronics like I hoard, well, everything else.
Some of his "stuff". Though I admit the Star Wars CDs are mine, I'm uh, "gifting" them to him.
In any case, I'm excited that the house is (mostly) clean. This means I can do projects again!

How long does your house stay clean after a good scrubbing? I think we average about a week. Sad!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Greetings, not Gratings!

It's funny, I think the biggest change I've seen in myself over the last year is the ability to "bite the bullet and decide". I used to be notorious for never finishing anything I started, simple because I was never satisfied and could always think of ways for the item (whatever it was) to be improved.

Thanks to too-much-responsibility-at-work and wedding-planning, old Penga is no longer! Now I finish said item, and if it's not the best - well, at least it's something rather than nothing. I'll consider it a character improvement to not be as wishy-washy.

That said, here is the design for my slightly random Christmas postcards. (Postcards, because I am cheap.)
Get it? Get it?

It's uh, a holiday food pyramid/Christmas tree. My favorite is the yams since it's kinda creepy looking and has something of a poop shape. Plus I love yams. Candied yams. Mmmm.

I tried to think of classic holiday type foods, but I'm sure I've forgotten some. Did I encompass your favorite? And the green and yellow rectangles are green bean and corn casseroles. I just had to point that out because it's hard to draw a casserole and I think they look kinda whack.

On the back it says "Season's Gr-eat-ings", which Sak says no one will understand because they will pronounce it like "gratings" instead of "greetings". Whatever!
Anyway, I ordered them nearly free from Vistaprint. I just paid the ~3ish dollars for uploading my own design, and the cost of shipping. A total of ~10 dollars for 100 postcards. Yay!

I frakked up though, and made the image too small, so the actual size on the postcard probably won't be very impressive. Ah well. I just hope they don't come out too pixelly. The preview screen in Vistaprint always bugs me because it makes the image look more pixelated than it actually is. And considering I uploaded a full-fledged photoshop file and not some compressed Jpeg means any lacking quality is not my fault. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Anyway, anyone want a postcard? (If I already have your address you can just assume you'll be getting one. Unless you don't want my cheap postcard. We have an opt out program, no worries.)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Star Wars Pop-Up Cards

Last time we spoke a little about Christmas cards, and I'm still no where near close to an idea yet. Boo.

It also doesn't help when there's amazing, AMAZING cards like this out there:

Star Wars pop-ups! And you can get free templates from here. All ready to color and everything!
Boba Fett!
A Jawa. Sak was one for Halloween as a kid once.
What? Star Wars not your thing? (Of course it is, denier.) Well the master-pop-up-creator also has other types of cards, like this lovely lotus flower:

Or a crazy shark:

And many others!

Though I will definitely be making some of Robert Sabuda's awesome cards, I think they are bit too intensive for mass-produced Christmas cards. So the hunt continues!

Did you like pop-up books as a kid? I used to ruin mine by playing with the paper pieces too much. :P

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Stamp Rally Riot!

When Sak and I first arrived in Japan, we noticed these random Pokemon signs placed around the train stations.

Sak, somewhat capable of reading Japanese, led us on a hunt to where the sign was leading. Along the way we found more posters.

Eventually we found the posters led to stamp booths. It was a stamp rally! So we grabbed some booklets and started hunting Pokemon stamps at the different stations we visited. Like Harajuku, for example:

We had to collect six different stamps, and once we finished we turned them into a "goal station" for a prize!
We won paper Pokemon hats (of the three new starters for the Black and White games) and a Pikachu train pass holder. I now use the train pass holder for my Clipper card during my commute, it works perfectly!

Anyway, the Pokemon stamp rally wasn't the last we saw - it appears that Japan is obsessed with commemorative stamps! They were everywhere!
Along other train lines (this one was themed for small children).
At castles.
At shrines. Sak didn't have a paper, hence the sad face. I still think it's weird that there's collectable stamps for shrines though. But I guess they were pretty famous shrines!
For Maple Story! I was so excited for this one, but unfortunately we could never find the actual stamp booth. Such a bummer.

In the monkey cage at monkey mountain in Kyoto.

Naruto themed stamp rally around Hakone.
Shinkansen stamp machine! So fancy.

Up in Tokyo Tower.  Another sad face because of lacking booklet for stamping.

At the Ueno Zoo.

Ultraman themed stamp rally.
Heck, even in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. Which again I thought was weird like the shrines. Disrespectful maybe? Maybe I don't have a good enough understanding of Japanese stamp culture.
One thing we found though, is that you really have to read the "terms" on some of the stamp rallys.  We were refused one finished quest because we were too old, which sucked butt! No foreigner leniency for us, it seemed. We should have known better, I guess!

The good part was that even though we didn't win prizes for most of the quests, it didn't cost us extra money to do, and it was fun to look for stamps! And I still have all the booklets to uh, scrapbook with..or something!
Anyway, it seems that stamp rallys are a big part of Japan, so next time you go bring a stamping book with you!

Have you ever participated in a stamp rally? I don't think they are all that common in the US, but maybe they should be, they are fun!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Christmas Card Concepts

The holidays are coming! The holidays are coming!

Time for some inspiration, because I'm on point for Christmas cards this year and I have no idea what to do!
(source) Fractal snowflake.

(source) Bears are always popular.
(source) He looks happy!

(source) A little Portal by the fire.
(source) For all you HTMLers.

(source) I love this one. But the anal in me thinks they should have been snowtrooper helmets!
(source) More Hetalia love!
One good way to use up seemingly useless star paper! But I think it would get smooshed in the mail.

Ohhh, so many options! This is barely scratching the surface.

I asked Sak what kind of card we should have, and he said he didn't care - as long as it wasn't a physical photo of the two of us.  So I'm thinking either doodling something, or taking a weird photo with our action figures. Or maybe a card that turns into something useful? Origami?

Bah. No idea! But I better figure it out soon if I want to order any this year!

If you're doing them, what will your holiday cards look like?