Monday, April 20, 2009

Homemade Powdered Sugar!

Who knew you could MAKE powdered sugar!?!?! Living here in Japan, where powdered sugar is sold by the Tablespoon, I pass over any recipe requiring it. Today I stumbled across a site that has a RECIPE to MAKE powdered sugar - using potato starch (katakuriko) that IS available here in Japan. So - here it is!

Passover Powdered Sugar

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Rice Krispie Egg Treats

When Tana sent the big box of yummies, there was a hug box of Rice Krispies included. While trying not to hoard them, I have been holding out on using them till I found the perfect idea. And...Easter came! We invited our friends over to celebrate. Their little girl is about six months younger than jun. I wanted to decorate and hide eggs, but...didn't want the mess in my living room of decorating without a kit. So, I decided we would use Rice Krispie treats instead.

I used the standard recipe for

and spread them out on a pan a bit larger than recommended, so the Treats were about 1/2 inch thick. I pushed them down pretty firmly, as I wanted a firm cookie-like Treat.

The next morning, I printed off an egg shape from the internet and Ryu used the kitchen scizzors to cut the Rice Krispie Treats into egg shapes. They were the PERFECT size.

I bought a jar with 6 different kinds of sprinkles in it...some time ago. Jun was SO eager to use these sprinkles. I thought the kids could put them on the RK Treats and they would stick. Luckily I tried this out before the party. They didn't stick! But, then I barely moistened the top of the RK Treat with water, and the sprinkles stuck fine and the Treats quickly dried out! They turned out GREAT! See the pic below!
Incidently, I use this same recipe with cornflakes, granola, choco krispies (sold in Japan), and other cereals to make treats. But, having the regular Rice Krispies was a treat as they AREN'T sold here!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Menu 2009

A Japanese friend was asking how we celebrated Easter this year. She is a Japanese Christian, but our church really doesn't have a lot of traditions around Easter at this point, so she really didn't know how to celebrate.

So, I told her I'd post on the blog here about the menu part of our celebrations. For all reading, this is not necessarily a traditional Easter spread!!! But it was special for our day, easy to make, and yummy! I'll get recipes posted as soon as possible!

  • Italian Sausage and Cheese Bread (instead of ham and scalloped potatoes!)
  • Hot Cross Buns (A TRUE Easter food - the cross symbol reminds us of the cross Jesus died on! Thanks for the inspiration, Heather!)
  • Raspberry and Blueberry Clafoutis - can't wait to read THAT recipe, I'm sure!
  • Strawberry Jello (jelly) with a ton of strawberries and a bit of banana in it. - I grew up on this!
  • Rice Krispie treats cut in egg shapes for decorating - I'll post some tips and pics.
  • Mugicha - barley tea, and Iced Tea

It was a simple menu because I could make it all the day before, and just enjoy our friends.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Peanut Butter Granola

Thanks to Tana for the idea of peanut butter and oatmeal! When I ran across this recipe for PB Granola, I didn't run away screaming! I really changed the recipe to fit my oven and larder (or any larder in Japan - I think.) Jun LOVES it! My Japanese friends at church all want the recipe, and their kiddos loved it too. So, I guess I'd better write it down before I forget it! I SURE want to make it again and again!

My Mom wasn't awed at the idea, but ... this isn't your standard C____ granola. It is easy on the teeth! Crunchy and tasty. I like the fact that you can adjust the sweetness/saltiness, etc. to fit your likes. You could even substitute other grains/flours if you wanted.

Peanut Butter Granola

2 cups regular oatmeal
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup crushed genmai flakes (a whole rice cereal flake. Could use a bran cereal.)
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/6 cup sesame seeds
1/3 cup chopped peanuts
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon

Combine the above in a large bowl. Heat the following BRIEFLY, stirring til blended.

1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup water
1 tsp. vanilla

Pour the PB mixture over the oats mixture and mix well with your hands - till it is all coated and wet. Put the mixture in a broiler pan and bake at 130 degrees C or 250 F for one hour - stirring every 20 minutes. Turn off oven and leave granola in closed oven till cool.


1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried other fruit (I used dried cranberries.)

Store in an airtight container. This made just enough to just fill my oven pan in my tiny oven. Around 4 cups or so. Next I will have to make this into granola bars for on-the-go snacks!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Reason #1 Why I Will Never Be A Great Cook

Lately, as I have been cooking or baking, it has come to my attention, once again, why I will never be a great cook.

I absolutely HATE to touch most "raw" foods. Raw meat is at the top of my "hate to touch" raw foods. And chicken is at the top of that list.

I also dislike getting my hands dirty baking...anything. So, while I will roll the occasional cookie into a ball, and lightly knead the rare scone or biscuit...when I was introduced to a batter yeast bread that I don't have to TOUCH, I was so happy. (More on THAT bread soon!)

This dislike of dirty hands keeps my gardening nice and simple too. Gotta use that shovel!

Wonder where this "dislike" came from?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Peanut Butter Cookies (With Chocolate Chips)

Ryu didn't grow up on American cookies and cakes. Poor guy! Probably why he was as skinny as a rail when I married him. But he loved my chocolate chip cookies! So, those were the cookies I made. Then, and I don't remember why, he asked for a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie. So, I tried. I added peanut butter to the chocolate chip cookie recipe. Nope. Then I added chocolate chips to the peanut butter cookie recipe. Nope. Ryu was "happy," but I was not satisfied.

Then, a few weeks ago when I was looking for an egg-less peanut butter dessert (and found the lovely recipe for Peanut Butter Shortbread), I also ran across this recipe. And, it is the winner, hands down! I love it. Ryu loves it. Jun? She just likes cookies!

I made the cookies according to the recipe. I bought "coffee sugar" to roll the cookies in, but lost it as soon as I brought it home. Oh well, I'll be making these cookies again! Also, I had a cosmetic debate. REAL peanut butter cookies are rolled into balls and then imprinted with a criss cross of fork tines. These aren't REAL. So, I first dropped some dough into some regular (wet) white sugar and flattened it out gently with the bottom of a glass. Then, I rolled the rest of the dough into balls and rolled them in sugar and flattened them out too. I kind of liked the look of the "dropped" cookies. Kind of rustic. But, Ryu loved the ones I rolled into balls. Something about the uniform size and shape.

This recipe is a keeper! (As long as you have a nice big quantity of peanut butter!! Thanks, Tana!)