Monday, March 31, 2014

Japanese Beef Curry

Dear Readers,

I love Japanese Beef Curry but I have never cooked it myself.  It's apparently a staple in Japanese cuisine and it's like the comfort food by excellence loved by kids and adults alike.

So popular that Re-ment has created many incarnations of this fabulous dish!  Here below is only a few of them!  (yes, there are even more curry miniatures! O_O)

Re-ment Curry Pot from the "Is Dinner Ready?" Collection

Re-ment Curry Plate from the Strawberry and Bean Collection

Re-ment Curry Pot from the Hello Kitty Kitchenware Collection

Re-ment Curry Plate from the Hello Kitty My Meals Collection

Re-ment Curry and Rice from the Doraemon Collection

Re-ment Hawaiian Curry Meal from the Airplane Meals Collection

Aren't those awesome miniatures?  I especially like the Hello Kitty Curry Pot and Plate!  What's your favorite?

All these photos were making me crave for a sweet Japanese curry plate with steamy hot white rice... so I decided to cook some!  It was a lot easier than I thought.  I used the recipe from this website: Japanese Cooking 101.


The recipe says to let it simmer for 45 minutes but I think 1 hour would make the meat more tender.  I also used a pre-packaged curry paste from S&B Golden Curry Sauce Mix which I found in a Korean grocery store (although I bet you can find it in the International Food section of any grocery store as well).  

It comes in four different level of "hotness" : 
  1. Mild
  2. Medium Hot
  3. Hot
  4. Extra Hot

I don't mind eating spicy food but I wanted the kids to try it out so Mild was the safest option.

Well it was a success!  All the children loved it, even my super picky boy!   

I will probably try to be more adventurous next time and make my own curry roux from scratch instead of using the pre-packaged one.  I will also try to substitute the beef with chicken or tofu to make a change :)

Do you like curry? 


Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Joy of Cooking

Dear Readers,

How was your weekend?  Mine was simply fabulous!  The weather was perfect! The sun came back and it was finally warmer.  I took my children to a kite festival on Saturday located in a beautiful park downtown.  And on Sunday, we went to another park and took our bicycles along.  The children's cousins were there as well so they just ran around and played for 4 hours each day.  We came home exhausted but happy.  Everybody slept very well at night.

The running and fresh air did good to my old body LOL  My cough is still there but I feel less dizzy than usual and it was a good workout to run around with the kids.  

I came home more energized than ever and did something I don't do often: cooking!  I am not a good cook and I dread cooking meals because I am so afraid it will turn out bad.  I grew up never learning to cook because my mom didn't want me to "waste" my time in the kitchen while I should be studying to earn my university degree instead.  So she never taught me and never wanted me in the kitchen with her.  She firmly believed that cooking could be learned later.

She unfortunately passed away before teaching me any of her wonderful recipes.  I don't know if that's why I was always reluctant to want to cook, because it would always remind me of my mother and how I'll never know how to cook the meals she cooked for me.

Also, I used to have to share my home with other people and my kitchen was never really my kitchen.  The "others" cooked ALL THE TIME so I didn't feel it was my place at all to cook and I didn't even have any space left for my own food.  But there are excuses really.  I am just a failure at cooking!

I am lucky to live next to my relatives who cook for the whole family and my children are always eating at their cousin's house where they stay while I am at work.  But my boy is getting increasingly picky with his food and my baby girl is growing up quickly and wanting to eat adult food now.

So I finally decided to buy a good cookbook: the JOY OF COOKING by Irma S. Rombauer.  There are so many cookbooks out there so I didn't really know what to get but I trust Melissa's advice from JULIA'S BOOKBAG because she often shows wonderful pictures of food she cooked based on the recipes from that cookbook.  

Photo credit : Amazon.com

I didn't think getting a cookbook would matter.  I always relied on recipes found on the internet or recipes from colorful cookbooks I already have at home.  But I lacked the technique and I also lacked the inspiration.  Joy of Cooking if a very heavy book, full of tips and information on how to cook almost everything you could think of.    

The first time I opened the book, I read it like it was an encyclopedia.  Very interesting read and not dry like I thought it would be.   I cooked a few recipes and my family seems to respond well.  I will have a lot to learn still so I can't say I am a good cook (yet) but this book sure helps me getting a decent meal on the table for my family :)

I have JULIA'S BOOKBAG to thank for this change in my life!  Big hugs to you Melissa! xoxoxo



This post contains affiliate links.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Hurry Up Miss Jane Photography

Dear Readers,

When I first found out about Licca dolls, I was immediately smitten by their sweet face!  I became even more a fan once I found about the Licca Castle dolls.  

Since there were no Licca fans around me, I turned to the Internet to find more information about Licca dolls.  Flickr then became a place for me to admire Licca dolls and to see how other collectors display their dolls.

And that's how I found out about the wonderful photographic world of Hurry Up Miss Jane!!!!

I have been an admirer of Hurry Up Miss Jane since Day One!  She is not only an incredibly talented photographer but she is also a very creative person who transforms everything she touches into ART!  Dollies and toys come to life under her lenses and transport you into her magical land!

She has nicely allowed me to post two of her recent pictures on my little blog!

Photo Copyright : Hurry Up Miss Jane
Photo Copyright : Hurry Up Miss Jane

Not only did she created the trees herself, she also needle-felted the rabbit and painted the Licca's closed eyes.  I don't know about you but so much talents just leaves me speechless!

I feel quite unworthy actually to post her pictures here on my little blog!  Please do her photos justice and go check them out in their full size glory.  She has many other pictures that have continuously inspired me to cherish my Licca dolls!

Thanks to Hurry Up Miss Jane, I have embarked on another adventure which I will let you know about in a future post.  My project is not yet finalized so I can't post about it yet but hopefully it will be ready soon :) 

I hope you will marvel and find inspiration in the photography of Hurry Up Miss Jane like I did :)


Of infection and pretty cards

Dear Readers,

On the first day of Spring I found myself feeling aches all over my body and a strange pain in the throat.  It was a stormy and cold day so I blamed it on the weather and thought a good night sleep would make it all better.  The next day I was shivering in bed with a 102 F fever.  The doctor confirmed it was a throat infection and gave me antibiotics. 

The weather is warmer today and I am already feeling better although my throat still hurts.  At least the fever is gone but not the body aches and head aches.  Last week was plagued with baby's ear infection (yet another one but this time with pus discharge and a very distressed baby) and it was finally clearing out when it was my turn to get sick.

So I skipped work for two days, unable to get out of bed.  This is my second day and I think I am strong enough to return to work tomorrow.  I got really mad at my husband for giving the babysitter a day off yesterday because he thought I could take care of the baby since I stayed home.  O_o  Can somebody tell me if that sounds logical?  Even when I am sick with a bad cold, I still drag myself to the office.  If I have to take a day off, it means I am too sick to work!  But the top is my boss emailing me some works he needs me to do today.  Like really?  >.<

Somethings did cheer me up immensely though.  I received a pretty birthday card from Jennifer at PlushPussyCat.  Thank you so much Jennifer.  It is a really thoughtful gift!  This one is a photo of her Strawberry Shortcake dolls.  If I remember correctly, the backdrop is from the Hello Kitty dollhouse that Jennifer blogged about HERE and HERE.   I just love how she decorated that house!  One can usually buy postcards and birthday cards from Jennifer's Etsy Shop or you can get them from an actual storefront shop too.


This is all for today's blog entry.  I am back to bed so I can be up on my two feet tomorrow.  Let's hope the good weather will stay and we won't deal with stormy cold days anymore!

Have a good week y'all!


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

MimiWorld Dolls

Dear Readers,

Do you make emotional driven purchase?  I sure do.  Once I forgot to bid on a set of Petite Jenny dolls which I really wanted because they were so rare and usually quite expensive.  I was so upset that I went ahead and bought somewhat similar looking dolls >.<.

I ended up with 5 little dolls from a South Korean company called MimiWorld.  The dolls I bought are the small size dolls but the company also offers taller Barbie-size dolls.  MimiWorld Official Website is HERE.


The small dolls are usually priced at $15 including shipping.  But sometimes they are put on auctions and you can get them for about $8 each.  In my case,  I bought them as a 5-pack Fairy Tales Set for only $7 each including shipping (all the way from South Korea!).

I don't recommend anybody buying on emotional impulse because they sometimes result from bad financial choice and/or regrets.  But to be honest, in this case, I was very happy getting the dolls!  Here below is a close-up of each of the box.

Rapunzel

Alice in Wonderland

Snow White

Little Red Riding Hood

Cinderella

They are very pretty, their costumes are so cute and they have interesting accessories.  For this blog post, I will only review the Cinderella doll.  Here she is out of her box but still attached to her backdrop.  She is tied by three ties.  One behind her hair, one at her waist, and the last one at the hem of her dress.  She comes with shoes, a headband, dress, underwear, a hairbrush and a mirror.


She was rather easy to unbox but it was more tedious than for Licca's sisters or the Petit Jenny dolls.

Here she is completely unboxed.

Her dress is so long you can't see her shoes so I lifted her dress up to show you her "glass" slippers.

Here hair is tied in the back in pony tails with big rubber rubber bands.

The dress is beautiful and retains its shape well.

Similarly to the Licca and Petit Jenny dolls, the garments are closed with a velcro closure.

The tag says "Made in China" and "Mimi World".

The headband is made of fabric and is tied by a rubber band.

I chose to unbox Cinderella because she reminds me so much of Miki-chan!

But the Mimiworld doll's face-up is less detailed than the Licca's doll.  Notice how Miki-chan's eyes are much more defined and her cheeks are more rosy.

Their naked body also looks almost identical.



And Cinderella has a flaw on her body like this white speck on her right arm.  It's not a flat blemish, it's like a slight bump.  Her body's seams are not as smooth as Miki-chan's.

Their feet are the same size.

And their shoes are the same size too but Miki-chan's shoes are softer and bend more easily.

I made them swap clothes and you can see they fit each other's clothes perfectly.

I do like the Mimiworld Cinderella very much because she has nice feature and very great hair!  If you remember, I had a bad experience with my Aoi doll and I disliked her thin and crinkly hair!

A major difference I see between the two dolls is the scent!  The MimiWorld doll has a strong chemical scent that I hope will disappear now that I have unboxed her.  It's unpleasant but not overwhelming.  The price of the doll is cheap enough that I would probably by another one but I must admit, it would be more for the clothes than for the doll itself.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Through the Looking Glass

Dear Readers,

If you are new to this blog, then you probably don't know that I love Alice in Wonderland from Lewis Carroll, the Disney movie, the dolls... well almost anything regarding Wonderland.



I quite liked the 2010 movie from Tim Burton although it was definitely more dark than I had thought.  Well I jumped in happiness after I came across THIS:  there will be a sequel!!!

Not directed by Tim Burton this time but with many of the original actors, notably Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter!

It will be directed this time by James Bobin (Muppets Most Wanted) and the screenplay will be written by Linda Woolverton who was responsible for the screenplay in the first movie as well.

The sequel's title is apparently "Through the Looking Glass" but I wonder what it will actually be about since the first movie already included many parts of "Through the Looking Glass".  I  wonder if it will be about a romantic relationship between Hatter and Alice.

Do you remember watching the 2010 movie and have this weird realization that there was something more between Tarrant and Alice?  Like the way the actors smiled at each others, not just with their lips but with their eyes as well? 

And when Hatter said "Why are you always too tall or too small?" as if he wished he could have kissed her.  Don't believe me?  Watch it again HERE (around 0:58).

And the farewell scene.  I was like "KISS THE GIRL ALREADY!"

I thought I might have been fantasizing too much about this but then I read about other viewers having the same reactions to the movie.  SO I AM NOT MAD AFTER ALL! 

Well it turned out Woolverton original had intended for Hatter to kiss Alice a few times!

From the Mad Hatter description on Alice Wikipedia : HERE.

It is implied he has a crush on Alice, although Johnny Depp, who portray the Hatter, said in a Facebook featurette (also found on youtube) that Tarrant and Alice "complete each other as a brother and sister would. He is very protective of her and she is very protective of him." In a draft by Linda Woolverton, there was a romance between the Hatter and Alice that included two kisses. However, in spite of the fact that Woolverton had written the Hatter's character with Johnny Depp in mind, once the actor was actually cast the script was rewritten to exclude the romance and the character rewritten to suit Depp (Disney's Alice in Wonderland: A Visual Companion, p. 35-38).

What did I tell you?

I just can't wait for the sequel to come out!!!!


EDIT: The sequel will be released on May 2016.  It seems like such a long wait.







Sunday, March 16, 2014

Petit Jenny Dolls

Dear Readers,

Did you ever wish for a particular doll or toy but knew you had zero chance to get it because it was not on the market anymore?  Well that's how I felt about the Petit Jenny Dolls - Set A and Petit Jenny Dolls - Set B made by Takara.  To add to the difficulty, they were only released in Japan and even there it was difficult to find them at a reasonable price.

Well about six months ago, I did see one set for sale on Ebay but could not buy it because I was busy at work and missed out on the bidding.  I nearly cried.  I didn't but I was really not happy.  I thought I would never see them again until a few weeks ago another seller put them up for sale!  

I am truly trying to not spend too much on dolls anymore but I knew I had a very slim chance to find them on the secondary market again so I plunged and bought Set B.  After I got them, I wished I had bought Set A as well because they are really incredibly cute!


The back of the box shows the dolls in their "older doll version".

Here they are outside of their box but still attached to the backdrop.

It was fairly easy to unbox the dolls.  The back of the box is very bare compared to many other doll boxes.

Here is the backdrop without the dolls.  It reminds me of Burberry's trademark plaid design.

The dolls have a plastic wrap around their head to keep their hair in place.  Each doll wears a school uniform and comes with shoes, socks, white underwear, and their own mini doll stand.

There were only two ties.  One around the neck and the other around the ankles.

The first doll wears a navy blue sailor top with a tie and pleated skirt.  Her shoes and school bag are black.  She also has an English book made of cardboard.  She has an elaborate hairstyle and her hair is smooth and silky.


Notice her blue eyes and eyeshadows.  Her lips are full and red.

The second dolls wear a graduation gown and hat with a black dress underneath, with black tights and black shoes.  Her accessories are a diploma and a red ribbon to tie around the diploma.


Her hair is a little messy but they are smooth and feel nice.  She has dark painted lips and her eyes are blue with red eyeshadows.

The third doll wears a white top attached to a plaid pleated skirt.  She comes with a white sweater and brown vest, blue socks, brown shoes, brown school bag, glasses and a book.

Her hairstyle reminds me of my Licca's hairstyle.  Her eyes brown and her lips are very pale.

Here she is without her vest.  Her school uniform is so pretty!

Here she is wearing the white sweater.


Here she is with glasses.  So cuuuute! ♥


The Petit Jenny dolls remind me a lot of Licca's little twin sisters Maki-chan and Miki-chan.  I took a few close-up shots of Miki-chan with each of the Petit Jenny dolls to show you their resemblance and difference.


I think Miki-chan is much cuter than the Petit Jenny dolls because she is a toddler doll whereas the Jenny Dolls are like miniature version of the older Jenny dolls. 

There is a naked body comparison.  They look almost perfectly similar.


Their feet are also the same size.

But Miki-chan's shoes are much smaller.  I think the Petit Jenny's shoes are bigger because they wear socks whereas Miki-chan is barefeet.

They swapped clothes and you can see they fit each other's clothes and shoes without any problem.

I am very happy with my purchase and I think Miki-chan is very happy to have new friends :)