Recently in Food Category

It's 2:16 a.m. and Aislee is sleeping in my lap.  She's growing amazingly fast and is really active these days.  It's been challenging for her fighting her first real cold.  She'll wake up several times frustrated with her stuffy nose.

I've been thinking how incredibly different life has changed with the baby.   I wouldn't have it any other way.  It's almost frightening how much I love this tiny human.  The funny thing is, before she was born, my dear friend told me that it's important to not neglect the husband when the baby arrived.  It's been non-stop taking care of her that there really is no time to pay attention to Naoki or really myself these past several months.  Taking a shower uninterrupted is a luxury and I'm thankful when papa is able to take Aislee for a walk while I handle a few household chores.  He spends most of his free time caring for the house and garden.  What's interesting and a little funny, is that after you have this cute little one with small everything and inquisitive expressions, anything that was remotely cute or appealing in your partner ceases to be...well, cute.  Suddenly, the baby has taken control of all that is cute.  Not even Lucky, our comedic bird, can compete.

Other observations of life with baby...  Buying new clothes, shoes, makeup is no longer a necessity.  It has been replaced by buying food, toys (for baby), and diapers.  I wear mostly what's comfortable now.  Her comfort and well-being is my top  priority.  So far, I've been blessed with clients who are baby-friendly. She comes with me everywhere -- even to tour properties.

I never thought becoming a mother would incur so many changes.  The pressure cooker Naoki purchased is a lifesaver.  It makes healthy baby food in minutes!  I'll try chubbing Aislee up with avocados, sweet potatos, and bananas.  She loves Japanese pumpkin, kabocha, which cooks beautifully in the pressure cooker.  I add a little cinnamon sometimes.  She seems to enjoy it.

Finding time to eat for myself has been difficult while juggling caring for the baby and working.  Making sandwiches enables me to eat and have a free hand while eating.  My current addiction is Trader Joe's Garlic Cheddar Sourdough toasted and smothered with avocado on one side and thinly sliced cucumbers and cream cheese.  Sometimes I'll slather raspberry jam and a savory speadable cheese on the same bread which is super good as well.

Ok, time for us to move to the Sun Room to sleep.  This is where we now have our bedroom.  The Star Room is our library/office, the Moon Room is also an office (that's in serious need of cleaning).  I work in the Fire Room most of the time and the Sky Room (aka the dining room is used for gatherings.  We'll be hosting Aislee's first birthday in July and hope to see some of you here at our gingerbread house.

As I sit under the warmth of the much appreciated kotatsu (heater table) with my daughter sleeping peacefully in my arms, I can't believe a half year has already passed since living in our home.  For nearly three weeks two months ago, we dealt with uncomfortably cold weather and met with the challenges of staying warm in an older (109 yrs old) home while making an effort to keep the PG&E expenses down.  With all my complaining and grouching, our last two bills came in under $100 dollars!  Even while living in our tiny condo, our electricity bill usually fluctuated around $150.

I've really come to love this house with it's beautifully painted rooms.  Naoki finished the Venetian plaster in the sun room and recently the star room.  He did a wonderful job and they look wonderful and bring a warmer feeling to the house.   

Life has been busy with family and business.  We've been blessed in both areas.  Naoki's mother and sister came for a brief nine day stay. They really enjoyed all the tasty fruit (navel oranges, pummelos, fuji apples, and oro blancos) that are in season from the farmers market in Campbell.  I made a garlicky spinach pasta with fresh Meyer lemons from our yard one night.  It came out very well, though I would have liked it to be spicier...recipe to follow.

In business, I feel very fortunate and again blessed to be working with so many incredible people.  My listing in San Bruno thankfully sold and the seller is buying a lovely place to call home in Sacramento.  Four deals have closed this year so far and with another in escrow, there is much to be appeciative for.  Although the news is always painting a bleak outlook, they are usually behind in reporting how things are looking up.

Back to talking about home...  We have nearly 50 fruit plants/trees in our yard now.  The potatoes are sprouting in the crop circle Naoki made.  The blossoms are radiant on Aislee's white peach / white nectarine tree and on the Georgia Peach tree we adopted from a home in Palo Alto.  I'm looking forward to making fruit pies if the fat squirrels don't get to them first.

The old avocado tree that came with this house bears California Diablo avocados.  They're smoother and creamier than Hass and have a thinner skin.  They take two weeks to ripen once picked from the tree.  Hopefully we'll have more growing as I love avocado sandwiches on toasted bread with Japanese mayonnaise (Kewpie brand) and slices of cold cucumber! So good!!  I could go off on a tangent when it comes to avocados...  Actually it looks like I did.

Ok, on to the pasta recipe -

Boil your preferred pasta al dente (slightly undercooked) as you'll be adding it to another pan to mix in with the garlic lemon sauce.

1. In a large sauce pan drizzle a tablespoon of grapeseed oil (olive oil is fine too) and a pat of butter, heat on medium flame.
2. Add crushed garlic, approximately 5 - 7 cloves
3. Sprinkle a teaspoon (or more depending on your heat preference) of red pepper flakes
4. Add a few pinches of salt to meld flavors, more can be added later to adjust
5. Careful not to burn the garlic, give your mixture a few pushes around your pan.
6. Once garlic is crisp, add spinach and pasta.
7. Mix everything well til spinach is cooked, adding a touch more oil or butter as needed.
8. Finally add thinly sliced lemon wedges of one lemon or juice lemon and add it's zest.

When we first saw the sour cherry tree at God's Little Acre Nursery (located on Almaden Road in San Jose), I thought the fruit was for birds only.  It was the prettiest dwarf tree laden with branches of tiny bright red cherries -- perfect for eating off of the tree or baking in pies.  The owners of the nursery, Phil and his beautiful wife, Dolores, became our friends and we've enjoyed several trips to their gorgeous place to purchase fruit trees and a Silver Dollar Eucalyptus.  If you purchase six or more trees, Phil will give a 10% discount...of course, Naoki could not resist such a deal! 

The ones you see in this cup were a few of the last cherries, before our guests and bird, Lucky, finished them.  We'll have to wait until next Spring for the new harvest.  I wonder how the cherry blossoms will look.

One of the biggest perks of living close to my mom is having access to her wonderful home cooking! During my first trimester, I experienced a loss in appetite and could barely eat anything that wouldn't make me nauseous. The only dishes I could truly indulge in were prepared by my mother. Garlic and onions would turn me green, which is strange since my mom used both of those ingredients to make her lasagna. My baby is probably made of 80% lasagna / 5% oatmeal cookies / 10% white peach cobbler / 5% pickles. Of course, I've made it a habit to take my vitamins, extra calcium (w/magnesium and D), folic acid, plus a consistent amount of omegas for her development. I falter a few times a week when it comes to eating low-glycemic, and really try to monitor my sugar intake. At nearly eight months, I've gained 18 pounds and will continue to watch the scale and what I eat to insure this little girl is getting proper nutrition and gaining weight in a healthy way. In other news...we finally closed escrow on our home last Friday. It was a challenging experience purchasing a bank owned fixer upper, but the lovely little gingerbread craftsman was well worth the wait and huge pile of paperwork! I've dealt with many REO (real estate owned) properties this past year and am always amazed at what they previously sold for and how much attention or lack of was spent on maintaining the home.
After an excellent appointment with my midwife's assistant/doula in Menlo Park, my friend and I headed to downtown Los Altos to indulge in something light and sweet at Satura Bakery. If you've not yet been, I highly suggest taking a trip there on a Thursday afternoon. After eating one of the best choux creams in my life, we walked over to the farmers market. This is one of the rare markets that stays open later in the day. We sampled different types of flavorful cherries that were sweet and not the least bit sour, hearty Jersey Brand milk cheeses, super sweet sweet peas, and dark juicy red strawberries. I left with five small, but crisp and sweet, organic white peaches from Kashiwase Farms, organic Spring Hill Farms garlic curds (made from fresh mozzarella), and also one of their pesto jack blocks, melt-in-your-mouth roasted rosemary fingerling potatoes (we ate those there), and a small basket of unusually pointy, but remarkably sweet strawberries!! Oh, and I also purchased five of Satura's choux creams for Naoki -- three vanilla and two green tea flavored. Forgive all of these foodcentric posts. Occupying my mind most of the time is food, house hunting for friends/clients and ourselves, and this baby.
White nectarines are fine too.  Well, maybe they're preferable since they don't have that fuzzy skin which I could do without.

Current fruit obsession - muscat grapes (available for a limited time at Nijiya Markets, Bristol Farms, and Whole Foods), oranges from Twin Girl Farms (available at our local farmers markets), and strawberries.

I'm sorry, nothing really new to report other than my food cravings.  I won't look for and include photos as that would just cause me to go out unwrap my truck, which takes 20 minutes to get the buckles, lock, and cover taken off, and drive through the Cinco de Mayo traffic on my street to battle rush hour traffic to buy fruit.

Hello and welcome to my latest obsession...fresh strawberries, dunked in lowfat sour cream, then swiped in light brown sugar! 

I had a colleague share this foodie tip with me recently and internally I scoffed at it.  C'mon the combination sounded to bizarre to be good; however, curiosity got the best of me after my brother said he'd tried and liked this concoction.  So, yesterday after a quick stop at Whole Foods to pick up super ripe organic strawberries (good enough to eat on their own) and tub of sour cream, I ripped open that bag of light brown sugar Naoki was waiting to use for one of his breads (that's his current obsession btw).  Together those three simple ingredients were absolutely delish!!  I had heard that it would have a cheesecake like flavor, which I am not a fan of, but was pleasantly surprised that it was even better!

If you have a chance to try this combo, I would highly recommend it (unless you're lactose intolerant, in which case contact me for the perfect enzyme supplements).

NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per strawberry: 29 calories; 1 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 2 mg cholesterol; 6 g carbohydrate; 1 g protein; 0 g fiber; 2 mg sodium; 43 mg potassium.

1/2 Carbohydrate Serving

Last week Naoki and I had one of the most delicious veggie friendly meals at a wonderful friend and her husband's home in gorgeous Palo Alto.  Their cool condo had been beautifully redone with bamboo flooring and the balcony was extended into a sunroom that added square footage to their 1000 square foot property.  What really brightened up the place was the sunflower yellow wall that held a morning glory painting of a well-known artist's, whose name escapes me at the moment. 

For dinner we had yummy tempura zucchini with a soy-vinegar dipping sauce, and braised portabello mushrooms that were marinated to perfection.  As our main course, we had tofu steaks that had pretty little heaps of mashed potato, crisp greens, and grilled sweet onions.  Served on the side was a garden fresh mix of salad with juicy citrus and crisp pears.  A deep purple, sticky sweet rice was also served.  Everything was absolutely tasty and you could tell cooked with care.

We moved to the sitting area for a cup of light flavored chamomile tea from Korea and special treats prepared by my girlfriend.  More crisp Asian pears and sweet oranges served with tiny whale toothpicks added just the right sweetness, and to make it even more perfect, she prepared a cake that wasn't too sweet and had bits of pistachios that added crunch and a complimenting flavor.  See recipe below...

2 cups of sweetrice cake powder
2 cups of milk
1/2 cup of sugar
half can of red bean (azuki bean)
1 tsp Baking soda
1tsp Baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
just mix all ingredients and bake it at 350 F for 45 minutes.

I hadn't seen my friend in two years, so this get-together was a very special one.  It was our first time meeting her absolutely charming, talented and interesting husband.  It was a blessing to meet a couple that pair together so well.  Both are musically inclined, share a passion for traveling and fine food, as well as seem to be very in love with each other (after being together for 10 years).

~ pictures to follow at

Not so sweet afterall

I am one of the world's biggest chocolate lovers, though I usually try to refrain from going overboard especially during Halloween. When going to Walgreens I'll sometimes pick up a bag of bite-sized Twix or Snickers to share; however, if the recent email I received from PETA a few days ago (please see below) is even a little bit true, I'll stop buying every single product this company makes and encourage my friends and family to do the same. It's sickening and just doesn't make sense to torture and kill animals for food testing (or almost any testing for that matter). Forget the flavanol health claims if it means harming these tiny creatures. If it's humans that are supposed to benefit from this antioxidant, shouldn't they test these products on people? ---------------------------------- PETA has uncovered gruesome evidence that candy giant Mars has been paying experimenters to conduct deadly tests on mice, rats, guinea pigs, and rabbits. We're launching a worldwide boycott of Snickers, M&M's, Twix, Milky Way, 3 Musketeers, Starburst, Dove, Skittles, and other Mars-made products until the company has a heart and stops hurting animals. Right now, Mars is funding a study at the University of California, San Francisco, in which experimenters force-feed rats by shoving plastic tubes down their throats. The animals are then killed and cut open. Mars has also paid experimenters to do the following: * Force mice to swim in a pool of water and paint and find a hidden platform to avoid drowning—only to be killed later * Surgically attach plastic tubes to guinea pigs' carotid arteries and inject cocoa ingredients into their jugular veins to induce dramatic decreases in blood pressure * Force rabbits to eat high-cholesterol diets with varying amounts of cocoa and then cut out and examine primary blood vessels to their hearts Not one of these tests is required by law for candy. Mars' chief competitor, Hershey's, has already signed PETA's statement of assurance pledging never to conduct or fund tests on animals. We need your help to end Mars' cruel experiments! Visit our new campaign Web site to find out what you can do to help. Sincerely, Jason Ullman Anti-Vivisection Campaigner PETA -------------------- PETA boycotting Mars candy co. over animal cruelty Fri Dec 7, 9:25 PM ET People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is calling for a boycott of M&Ms, Twix candy bars and other snack foods made by Mars Inc, claiming the company funds experiments that kill mice, rats, guinea pigs and rabbits. "In violation of its own written policy, the candy company is currently funding a study at the University of California, San Francisco, that uses rats. The rats are force fed by having plastic tubes shoved down their throats, and they are then cut open and killed," PETA said in a statement. "In response to this new information, PETA is filing a legal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over Mars' false statement," the group said in a statement. The FTC investigates claims of dishonesty in advertising. Mars spokeswoman Alice Nathanson said regarding the University of California experiment: "I can't speak to any information that PETA may or may not have. I can't speak to any experiments." But, she said that the privately held company "would never issue or post a statement that we were not 100 percent confident in." PETA spokeswoman Kathy Guillermo said in an interview the experiments seemed aimed at developing health claims for chocolate because it contains flavonoids. Health studies have found that flavonoids protect against heart disease and cancer. Guillermo said the boycott would start on Monday. Mars says on its Web site that it bars animal research "involving euthanasia, vivisection or the suffering of any animal" in developing its snacks, drinks and pet products. But the Web site also says that a separate business unit, Symbioscience, would undertake "limited forms of animal testing" when required to demonstrate the safety or efficacy of "pharmaceutical and therapeutic food products." PETA said in its statement that Mars paid for experiments in which mice had to swim in a pool of water and paint and find a hidden platform to avoid drowning and were killed later. The group also accused Mars of funding an experiment in which plastic tubes were surgically attached to guinea pigs' carotid arteries and cocoa ingredients were injected into their jugular veins to cause a sharp drop in blood pressure, and another experiment in which rabbits were fed high-cholesterol diets with varying amounts of cocoa and later the main blood vessels to their hearts were cut out and examined. The University of California, San Francisco, confirmed in a statement that it was conducting a Mars-funded study of the potential health benefits of cocoa flavanols involving testing on rats. "UCSF takes seriously the responsibility of working with animals and is committed to maintaining the highest standard of humane treatment in animal care and use," Clifford Roberts, interim associate vice chancellor for research said in the statement. (Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Toni Reinhold)

Ever since returning from Taiwan in 2005, I've really enjoyed the ritual of having a cup of tea after dinner. There was a particular mulberry tea from there that I loved, but finished off within the first few weeks after our return. If I have the chance to visit again, I will make a special trip to purchase the same brand again. Other mulberry teas just don't seem to have that same deep flavor. Mulberry leaf tea is known to be good for lowering blood pressure and maintaining blood sugar levels.

The tea I had this evening was made with ginseng and dried pink rose hips. I was a little put off when I first opened the teabag as it smelled like potpourri, but after brewing it for a few minutes it made the prettiest and most aromatic cup of tea. Rose hips are high in vitamin C and can also be eaten. The ginseng teabag that you add separately has a flavor that takes getting used to. It's definitely an earthy tasting brew.

Addicted to Kabocha (pumpkin)


KabochaUncooked.JPG cookedKabocha.jpg

Ever since returning from Japan a few weeks, I'd been craving the simmered pumpkin that Naoki's mother made many times while we were there. Luckily, I found that Nijiya, our local Japanese food market carries organic Kabocha! The first time I purchased one, I selected the smallest (in case I made any mistakes in cooking it).

> It was simple to cut, scoop out the seeds, and slice into 1 1/2 inch or so pieces.
> To finish, place pieces of the pumpkin into a large pot, fill one third of the way with filtered water, soy sauce, and mirin (Japanese cooking wine).
> Sugar is optional, but I usually leave it out, as this vegetable is sweet enough (to me).
> Heat on high until boiling, then reduce to a simmer until the pumpkin is easy to cut through.
> Add a small drizzle of olive oil towards the end (my mother-in-laws suggestion) and serve hot or cold.

* My dear friend, who has the most amazing cooking skills, recommends adding butter. I have to agree that I love that richness it adds, but can do with out the extra fat, salt and calories.

* This lovely little dish makes a welcome addition to a packed lunch. It is rich in beta carotene, with iron, vitamin C, potassium, and smaller traces of calcium, folic acid, and minute amounts of B vitamins. <= last part pinched from

We sat in the middle of two firework shows. One side rapidly shot off many smaller fireworks while the other side shot off larger ones. Half way through, we were hit with a thundershower that left everyone drenched and two inches of water collected on the pavement. It was definitely a memorable event!

Eating Healthy in Japan


MieDinner_1stNight.JPG MieBreakfast_1stMorning2.JPG MieDinner_1stNight2.JPG MieBreakfast_1stMorning3.JPG

We just arrived in Japan yesterday after a long journey by car, plane, speedboat, and minivan!

Our first place to visit was my in-laws in Mie. My lovely mother-in-law, Misako-san, prepared a wonderful assortment of dishes of different types of sashimi, homegrown edamame (soybeans), lots of fresh vine-ripened veggies from their garden, and mixed rice loaded with yummy bits of shitake mushroom, tofu, and other greens. In addition to their green tea, they also have a huge garden of tomatoes, cucumbers, shiso (a type of basil), grapes, and much more.

For breakfast this morning, we had grilled mochi (rice cakes) wrapped in seaweed, miso (w/tofu, seaweed, and more mushrooms), fishcake stuffed with cucumber, and more melon and white peaches...yum!

The following information has been circulating for a few years. It's copied from an email I received awhile ago. If you have any interest in learning more about genetically-modified food, please watch the documentary "The Future of Food" and visit


Unfortunately this is only for North America!

I didn't know until I read it that the little stickers on loose fruits and vegetables have valuable information on them! According to a letter from 'a scientist knowledgeable in the field of genetically modified organisms (GMOs)' in the October 2003 issue of Gourmet magazine:

"A useful tip to the consumer [would be] a primer on how to read the little stickers on loose fruits and vegetables. Besides providing the store's cash registers and computers with product identification and price information, these stickers can tell you a lot about the food you are buying. A label with four digits indicates conventionally grown food. Labels with five digits starting with an 8 indicate that the food is genetically modified. Labels with 5 digits starting with a 9 indicate that the food is organically grown."

Well as soon as I read this I looked at all my little stickers and it's true! All my organic food had stickers with 5 digits beginning with 9 and all the conventional food had stickers with four digits. There were no five digits beginning with 8, nor do I plan for there to be, but what a great thing to know! Am I the last one to know this?

omurice.JPG This is "omurice" (Japanese-style omelette rice topped with demiglace sauce) from Clover Bakery in San Jose.

Last night I found two teabags of my favorite organic mulberry tea and enjoyed it alongside my pastries filled with spicy fish roe (mentaiko) this afternoon. The flavors brought back memories of our travels to Taiwan and Japan two years ago. Taipei is where I purchased this wonderful tea. Naoki and I often ate Japanese style pastries/bread while we were running around Japan hosting presentations and promoting our business.


The movies and dramas I enjoy most involve food. I love stories that center around cooking and people coming together to eat. It's even better when they take time to admire the dishes or ingredients.


I'm so excited about the opening of Nijiya here in San Jose! It will be the closest market to us that sells locally grown, organic produce, Japanese/Asian food items, delicious cooked lunch box sets, and yummy desserts!! We've been traveling to the Mountain View location to purchase their special organic brown rice and to Mitsuwa off of Saratoga Avenue to find other ingredients. This is so much more convenient.

Hopefully there will be other wonderful retail stores and restaurants that come to San Jose's Japantown!

Birthday Dinner


Last Saturday on the 27th of January, my wonderful and dear friend, Sophie (who has thrown a birthday celebration for me every year that I've known her!) hosted a fabulous dinner with an unending array of dishes presented family style at Buca di Bepo (sp?) in Palo Alto for both Mina and me! Although dessert was to be included, she went out of her way to pick up a cake from one of my favorite bakeries. To make it even better she chose the white vanilla fluff frosting which I adore!! It was like biting into vanilla clouds with a slight hint of coconut... >_< so good!

I actually thought dinner was going to be a simple affair with everyone sitting down to a meal, but it was much more fun with all the different dishes to try, the diverse company and interesting conversations going around the table. I am really blessed to have such truly special people as friends.

Orange Creamsicle


ORANGEDRINK.JPG This past weekend, I had the worst craving for an Orange Julius drink. Do you remember those? There are still some stands in select malls around the Bay Area. This super sweet orange drink is like a liquid creamsicle, the orange popsicle with vanilla cream center. I know we could have probably stopped at the grocers to purchase the mix, but due to it's high sugar content, artificial flavoring and color, I passed.

To satisfy my fix, I blended two scoops of French Vanilla low-glycemic shake with one heaping scoop of naturally flavored orange fiber/energy mix (no, not Metameucil for those of you wondering!) along with a cup and a half of cold filtered ionic water and a handful of ice (also made from the same water). The taste and flavor was spot on, and the plus side was that this frothy drink was low-glycemic, high in protein and fiber.

This same concoction makes a lovely sorbet if blended til smooth then placed in the freezer for 30 minutes! Yum :)


One of our friends from Oklahoma sent us the most heavenly pieces of dark chocolate truffles! I would not be able to describe how decadent and delicious they are. They arrived in a modest looking pale wood box and were set in a gold foil tray wrapped beautifully in red tissue. Each of the 15 pieces of chocolate were well dusted with cocoa powder and melted almost instantly on the tongue. Every bite flooded the mouth with the most intense rich chocolate taste.

Yes, if I ever had to choose death by chocolate, I would choose to do so with these tiny pieces of happiness... (I'm speaking figuratively and not literally, of course.)

cranberryorangerelish2.JPG Ok, not the best picture, but this cranberry/orange relish is delicious with turkey. The color is off in this photo and it's actually a deep dark red with flecks of orange.

I used two containers of fresh cranberries, one navel orange cut into small pieces, xylitol, and pure blackberry honey. All of the fruit and honey is organic. After using the chop feature on the blender, I stored the contents in a jar for this Thursday's Thanksgiving dinner. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and/or a light dash of ground clove can be added.

To keep from overeating during the holidays, I'll usually have a light meal two hours before consisting of food that I'm used to eating on a daily basis, such as brown rice, fish or chicken and a dark green veggie on the side. When we arrive at my family's place, I'll use a small plate to keep portions under control. If I'm too lazy to fill a second serving, I've probably had enough to eat.

My sweet-loving family also always have a variety of desserts to gorge upon. Mom's pecan pie is my weakness, so I'll have a sliver and a nice hot cup of cinnamon tea to accompany it. This time I'll bring a lovely chocolate port from Sonoma Port Works (I blogged about this earlier) for my sister. It's heavenly drizzled on vanilla bean ice cream.

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This weird, but interesting looking citron is called a "Buddha's Hand" and was purchased at today's farmers market at the Ferry Building in San Francisco. It's scent is similar to a Meyers lemon, but more intense and slightly sweeter. I brought one home to show Naoki, since he has an interest in photographing strange things (you'll probably see it on his blog later)

Along with my buddha's hand lemon, I picked up one "pain epi" wheat bread (it's shaped like a stalk of wheat) at Acme Bread Company, and two organic oranges to make cranberry/orange relish. While walking back to the office, I broke my bread in half to share with someone on the street and stashed the other half in my bag containing the buddha's hand. The aroma of the fresh baked bread and citrus together created a wonderful smell!

The best part of eating that bread this evening was the light lemon taste it took on from the oils in the citron. It was perfect alone, though I did eat it with a small piece of pepper jack.


There are always treasures to be found at each of the local farmers markets in the Bay Area. Today was our first time exploring the one held in downtown Campbell. We decided last Sunday while at Santana Row's Farmers we'd follow one of the friends we made at the Twin Girls Organic Fruit Stand to his new location and purchase some of their fresh pressed, organic pomegranate juice. As usual, we arrived 30 minutes to closing. We found our friend, Isaias, and puchased a bag full of Fuyu persimmons, red/black pluots, two pomegranates (cracked, how Naoki likes them), and two bottles of the pom juice.

If you've ever tried and liked POM at your local grocers, you will LOVE Twin Girls freshly pressed pomegranate juice! The first sip will make you pucker, but after your initial taste it really becomes so deliciously sweet. It would make for a wonderful popscicle, drizzled atop vanilla ice cream or even a fruity vinegarette dressing. One thing to keep in mind though, it's best to drink it in a small glass. While it is preferable to drink after it's just been pressed, it does contain a high amount of sugar. There's also a potent amount of antioxidants, but a little does go a long way.

More on the health benefits of these jeweled fruit -

- High in potassium, vitamin C, folic acid, fiber and polyphenols
- lowers risk of heart disease by preventing the formation of plaque
- preserves nitric oxide, a chemical that regulates blood flow and maintains healthy blood vessel health
- combats free radicals that may cause stroke, hypertension and Alzheimer’s disease
- high levels of antioxidants may prevent premature aging
- polyphenols may slow or even prevent the development of cancer

Last weekend on Saturday, October 21, the ANA (American Nutraceutical Association) held it's annual Nutraceuticals and Medicine Fall 2006 Conference in Memphis, Tennessee. The focus was on the role of nutraceuticals, diet and nutrition in disease prevention. This continuing education program provided CME credits for physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dentists and other medical practitioners.

The cover of the program featured a DNA strand interlaced with fruits and vegetables, quite similar to a recent Newsweek cover that discussed the same topic.

Can what we eat/consume influence our genetic makeup and can we take a preventative approach to developing the diseases that are coded in our genes?

Nectarines during the Fall?!



Fresh and delicious, but not so pretty to look at, Artic White Nectarines were had at this past Sunday's farmers' market in Santana Row. We arrived for the last 30 minutes and most of the more asthetically pleasing fruit had been taken. Still those yummy, organic white nectarines from Kashiwase Farms hit the spot! They were sweet and still firm, although they were a little bruised. I've heard (and I don't know if it's true) that the ugliest fruit are often the tastiest. In this case, it was true. The two red pluots I purchased from them were also excellent and still lovely to see.

In my earlier posts, I showed a chart from EWG. When purchasing peaches and nectarines, going organic is best, as they absorb the most pesticides in conventional farming. These fall into the medium/moderate category on the the glycemic index. Consuming fresh fruit is often preferable over drinking fruit juice, which can raise blood sugar levels. Fiber from fruit can help time-release the sugars found in natural fresh fruit, making it easier for the body to digest and keep blood sugars at a healthy level.

Stop that Gas Attack!


It pains me to write about this subject, as I find it difficult to maintain composure as an adult when discussing the subject of ..well, flatulence. You know, passing the gas, tooting, cutting the cheese, etc. I could go on, but then the point of this blog entry would be lost.

Many of us have issues with digestion, either with acid reflux (heartburn), gas of some sort, constipation and/or diarrhea. Going from an unhealthy diet of junk/fast food to a super healthy eating plan can also cause an "uproar" in our system. What may be lacking are the necessary and beneficial enzymes need to properly breakdown our food, as well as a quality probiotic supplement to assist with the complete digestive process.

* 100% Pure Organic Blackberry Honey from Oregon. - My dear friend introduced us to the best honey that makes everything you put it in tastes dreamy! That's not an exaggeration either. She is also able to get other wonderful natural bee products like propolis and royal jelly from the same beekeeper. Honey is currently on hand, so if you'd like to make a purchase let me know.

* All Natural Gelatin-free Gummy Bear Snacks - These contain a blend of freeze-dried fruits and veggies, along with other added essential nutrients. (No colors, fillers or preservatives) They are so tasty, I find them hard to resist eating by the handful.

* Natural and Super Fresh Tasting Japanese Green Tea - Brewed hot or cold, this is honestly the best green tea I've ever had. Most of the tea we buy at the supermarket has been sitting forever on the shelves or have been overprocessed. This tea is actually green and makes the perfect substitute to coffee in the morning. Does contain caffeine, but does not cause the jitters like coffee.

* Travel size Aloe Gel
- Oftentimes most aloe products do not contain the active ingredients that fresh aloe does. This easy to carry gel is soothing to burns, cuts, and irritations. The healing ingredient of aloe has been stabilized in this product. Sunburns, papercuts, scrapes and bug bites are a few of the things we use this get on.

* Preservative/Paraben-Free Skincare - This line will launch in the U.S. in March of 2007; however, we are able to have our family ship it to us from Japan. It isn't anything like what is currently on the market and the results are remarkable! Did I mention I love the eye cream?

Please contact me directly via email at jeanette337 at


Nothing beats the taste of a freshly picked strawberry or tomato grown in your garden, or in our case, balcony planter. I never believed it til actually trying it for the first time! Our local farmers market carries a fabulous assortment of tasty, organic produce, which I believe probably tastes even more amazing right after it's picked.

We purchased organic baby tomato seedlings and wild strawberries plants from Whole Foods in Campbell earlier this spring. It was the first time I'd ever grown something edible.

Well, I'm not sure if this could be counted as "healthy" eating, but if you wanted to indulge in something wickedly delicious, a custard/cream puff from Beard Papa might do. That is if you don't mind waiting for a few to 30 minutes in line.

This chain originated in Osaka, Japan and has several shops in various parts of Asia and is now scattered in

Gazpacho is one of my favorite dishes, especially on hot summer days! This is an easy recipe that I modify to my taste using spicy peppers, more garlic and sprouted wheat toast (instead of the stale white bread). Since this is a cold soup, you can add Phyto-Aloe powder to enhance the nutritional value and taste. Enjoy!


Beautiful white peaches from Kashiwase Farms (Organic, specializing in stone fruit, almonds, and Asian pears (yum!))

Today we headed to the Farmers Market at Santana Row. Thankfully the crowd was light, as I believe most people were swarming around downtown San Jose for the Grand Prix racing event. There were quite a few certified farmers there and a handful of organic vendors as well. We left with decent sized bags of delicious white peaches, white nectarines, shiney red plums, juicy strawberries, and one crisp, j-shaped Armenian cucumber - all organic of course!

Afterwards we made a quick stop over at the Great Mall in Milpitas for something to eat and to get a bit of exercise in. Window shopping at a mall that's the size of four football fields definitely counts as exercise.

This particular mall has a mix of really cool and some seriously junkie stores. I usually have a lot of fun visiting the accessory shops that sell all types of sparkley stuff. It's a bad case of "Magpie Syndrome", being attracted by things that glitter and catch the light. Maybe it was from being full or from shopping the day before at the Gilroy Outlets, but I couldn't find anything to purchase even though there were some excellent sales going on.

Staying cool as a cucumber


During the hot summers, my favorite things to eat are foods that cool the body.

The wise Chinese view seasonality of foods in a more complex light, through the application of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) wisdom to dietary habits. In short, certain foods are considered too yang, or hot to eat in excess during the warmer months, while others are prized for their yin ability to cool the body, useful in the heat of summer. If all that sounds a bit too wacky for you, simply try to avoid eating things like beef tripe or sauteed snake meat in summer. Much too much yang! Save it for Spring Festival, or your next trip to Iceland, or something. Overall, the goal is internal balance between yin and yang forces within the body.

I learned this while on one of our travels last year to Taiwan. It was such a treat to enjoy grass jelly desserts, fresh island fruits (pineapple, dragonfruit, guava, and lychee). The vegetarian restaurant our friend introduced to had the best selection of cold noodle salads, veggie sprout handrolls and blended ice drinks!

Slices of crisp English cucumbers between lightly toasted wheatbread, slathered with seasoned cream cheese are especially wonderful since they require little work and have lots of flavor. Fish, mushrooms, watercress, and chilled salads are also great at helping beat the heat.

Blessed by beautiful sunny skies and warmer temperatures, I set out to attend this year's "Rivers of Chocolate" event in Saratoga, California. It was held at the picturesque Mountain Winery nestled high in the hills. We arrived early and were given tasty chocolates from Rocky Mountain Chocolates while we waited. Upon entering the event, we were handed commemorative wine glasses (to try the different spirits).

Since this was my first time visiting the winery, I anticipated a bunch of businesses lined up in an auditorium of sorts handing out samples of their chocolate specialties. What greeted us there was a lovely chateau, pitched white tents along the Plaza (including a few poolside), and a rustic two floored building, all housing the most delectable chocolate treats, savory dishes, and/or decadent icy dessert!

Warm bread pudding with white chocolate sauce from the talented young pastry chefs at Mission College, ahi tuna tartar on crisps from Spago, a variety of skewered items (cream puffs, rice krispie treats, strawberries, marshmallows, shortbread, brownies, etc.) to dunk under the white or dark chocolate fountains, tiramisu tarts, latte slushies, delightful cheeses from The Grapevine (Willow Glen - San Jose), Vemeer Dutch Chocolate Cream vodka over ice (two of the nicest ladies served these!), truffles laced with rose essence by Cacao Anasa, and the perfect chocolate coated marshmallow lollis by Schurra's Candy Factory were a few of the most memorable pleasures I indulged in.

On one floor, I fell in love with the Epoisses, a delicious and extremely soft French cheese, and on the second floor I went crazy for the chocolate port (Deco Port) from Sonoma Valley Portworks. Those two paired so wonderfully together, my dear friend was gracious enough to bring me to Beverages and More to pick up a bottle. (Yes, yes the true wine/cheese connoiseurs are probably balking at the combination, but my God I love it!) Now I need to wait til Tuesday to find my way to The Grapevine to buy that cheese!



Epoisses + Deco Port = LOVE

Never thought it would be possible to find good pizza in the Bay Area and was actually looking forward to my March trip to Fort Worth, Texas where there's a NY-style pizzeria with the most amazing pie that I think about that cursed, delicious cheesy piece of heaven almost a few times a week since I was there last year.

Last night, a friend and I (she's a native east coaster), dined at Tony Soprano's pizzeria in downtown San Jose. After that first bite into a simple slice of hot cheese pizza, I was in total bliss. The sauce and melting cheese were pure perfection! Don't even get me started on their crispy (not oily) calamari, hearty and generous servings of Chicken Marsala over a bed of linguini or their golden toasted garlic bread. The only thing that outshined the food, which wasn't an easy thing to do, was the service. Everyone from the patrons to the employees were so happy, wonderful and nice. Did I mention it was a Monday night? Anyway, my friend told me that their pizza was the closest she's come to what she's had back east and that's saying a lot! Her next quest is to find the perfect cannoli here...

The restaurant is a few months old and they will be getting their liquor license by the middle of this month. Drop in and take a look at their menu, bet you'll have a difficult time deciding what to order. My next visit will be to indulge in their seafood pasta laden with wine drenched mussels, clams, shrimp, and scallops in your choice of white or red sauce. Portions are extremely generous and can be shared or saved for the next day. Oh and pizza can be purchased by the slice!

Tony Soprano's Pizzeria Ristorante
87 E. San Fernando Street (btwn 2nd & 3rd Street)
San Jose, CA 95113

Worth visiting Monday thru Saturday when the incredibly talented Chef Marvin is working!!

Tell Richard J says hello!

yum. If you love vanilla (real vanilla) is a site worth visiting!

Jeanette Lee Hada

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