Things That Make You Go *Drool*

What does a month of food pictures look like?  Keep reading to find out!

I know many of you are just as busy as I am, and I know many of you have had those times where the pictures just pile up.  This morning as I was uploading new pictures to my computer I realized I have a ton of unposted random food pictures.  These span from Christmas break (Ryan and I were both off work for 1 week) through last week.  There are plenty of goodies for me to share with you.  Some are home cooked creations, while others are awesome Japanese treats.  

So without further ado, here are things that make you go *drool*...

First up are some meals using one of my favorite veggies-broccoli.  First is a broccoli and cheddar (I am on a massive Tillamook cheese obsession right now) omelet with some potatoes on the side.  In the Azores the breakfast potatoes were almost always from our neighbors garden, but here in Japan these are harder to come by.  Just the other day the commissary manager was explaining that Japan has restrictions on some foods that come in, so potatoes are left to be only Japanese, which is fine with me, but they don't have regular white potatoes (again fine with me, I love the sweet potatoes, but sometimes you just want some variety, especially plan potatoes for breakfast) for hash browns, so we got excited when we saw they were carrying the Ore-Ida frozen breakfast potatoes.  It made for a very tasty meal.  I will also confess this was my very first time ever making an omelet in the true omelet fashion.  I have never had one stay intact when folding it over before.  Turns out, it was not as hard as I was making it out to be.  Patience and handling with care resulted in some beautiful omelets.
Next up was out New Years Eve meal.  We stayed in.  We usually stay in.  This is the one night of the year where everyone gets crazy, so it's just a little safer to stay out of everyone else's way.  It is an easy lesson learned from living in Las Vegas.  I did the strip once because you really just have to try it once, but after that it was either stay in or head to the movies with friends, and face towards the strip at midnight to catch the fireworks.  So, for this year, we stayed in, and watched movies, and I cooked dinner.

I love spaghetti squash, so I was happy to find some in the commissary, and really happy to see they were not super huge.
I cut mine in half and baked in the oven.  I know there are a few ways to do this, but I usually do it this way, so that's what I stuck with.
Next up was cuttin' up some broccoli.  I really bought it for the omelets, but I knew there would be left overs, and I couldn't let it go to waste.
Also for my "spaghetti sauce" I used some canned tomatoes.  I always try to buy a no added salt product.
Then the squash was ready to be scooped out.
I love this squash!  Seriously, it does not get any more fun than this.
Looks just like spaghetti!
My sauce was made with garlic, broccoli and tomatoes.
Then I just served it on top of the squash.  It was awesome!  Even more awesome was that Ryan really enjoyed it!  Plus, I loved it too.  
Next up is homemade pizza.  I must say, one thing I don't miss about the Azores is the humidity and temperature of our place.  I was so excited to actually see dough rise again.  I was starting to take it personally, so I was glad to know it wasn't me, it was just the house.
Lesson learned, no need to make the largest dough from the recipe.  We decided it was too much just a tad to late and wound up with a super crusty pizza.  But, it was tasty, so of course we still ate it.
Sauce time.  We often make our own sauce, but this was a bit of a last minute decision so we just used some jarred sauce.
Fresh mozzarella on top.  We were hoping they carried buffalo mozzarella like we could get in the Azores (it was imported from Italy), but no such luck.  At least they had some other mozzarella we could use.
Then we added some garlic on top, and it was ready to go.
Out it came, and we enjoyed a nice cheesy, and crusty, pizza.
Next up are some Japanese baked goods that we picked up at a bakery at the mall (in the grocery store, which is also at the mall, which I really love).  Here for New Years Day and the week after they have major sales.  By major sales I mean everyone, and I do mean everyone, goes to the malls and stores to go shopping.  They sell grab bag deals, where you can get a full outfit in a bag for a good price, and just about everything not in a bag deal is on sale 30-70% off.  Trust me, it was crazy, and there is no way to explain this.  You really have to see it for yourselves.  

As we were leaving the mall, we noticed the bakery line was about 5 times longer than usual.  How could we resist!  I don't think there was anything truly special about the bakery that day, it was just that the mall was at least 5 times busy, so more people probably just wanted more baked goods.  But we weren't going to sit this mad house out, so we grabbed some goodies and waited patiently in line with everyone else.

Here is what we found:

This is a melon roll.  The green on the outside is actually separate from the inside, which is really just a white bread roll.
In addition to the plain roll inside, was the not so plain banana cream.  Yep, banana cream inside a melon flavored roll.  You know what?  It was really good!
Next up is a blueberry loaf.  You may think on first glance this is like a crumb cake, or at least cakey, but it wasn't.  It was actually a loaf of white bread, with blueberry filling.  Almost like someone put the jelly on for you, but better.
This was the strangest one we picked up.
No idea what was inside, but it was cheesy, buttery and/or eggy.  All I know is that it was good!
I could get into some serious trouble in the Japanese bakeries.  They make some really good stuff.

Next is my Hanukkah present from my dad and step-mom.  They sent us many goodies.  Thanks!
We headed again, on a not as snowy day, to Aomori.  This time we checked out the mall.  I was excited to find St. Marc Cafe, which we had across the street from us when we went to Tokyo.  We decided to sit down, enjoy some coffee and snacks.  I ordered a latte, and I am trying so hard to remember what flavor this is.  All I know is that it was really good.
We both got chocolate croissants because you just don't say no to a chocolate croissant as it is being pulled out of the oven, especially when it's their signature treat.  I will casually mention that portion sizes in Japan are smaller in the US, so in the US this regular Japanese sized pastry would probably be referred to as a mini-croissant.  For me, I think this is just the right size.
I ordered a shrimp sandwich.  I have no idea how this happened,  but I checked at one end under everything to make sure there was no meat, but by the time I got halfway down the sandwich I tasted something funny.  I looked and discovered the half I did not check had some kind of strange mustard, which appeared to have some ground meat in it.  Well that was the end of that sandwich for me.  I was even careful, as I have been for years and years of not eating meat, and I checked, but someone did a sloppy job of adding the spread and it was only placed apparently on one side.  Oh well!  Now I will make sure to always check both ends!
Ryan ordered this?  Not sure what that is?  Either were we, but we discovered it was close to a stuffed French toast.  It was filled with apples and cinnamon.  Very yummy!  Plus, they used real apples, which around here means extra yummy because Aomori is the apple capital in Japan.
Wanna see something funny?  Check out this burger promo they have going on at McDonald's in Japan.
Let me make a confession.  I had never had a chili dog before.  Why?  Probably because I never liked hotdogs, and I stopped eating them and most other meat by the time I was 11, so I never had a chili dog. One weekend while we were walking through the commissary, Ryan got a craving for a chili dog.  Since you can't just go somewhere and get a chili dog in Japan, you need to make them at home.  So he quickly grabbed the essentials: some hot dogs, chili and buns.  I had already picked up some veggie hot dogs (which I think spurred his craving), so I was excited when the light bulb went off.  I remembered spotting vegetarian chili by Hormel with the other chilis.  I will say that I never look in that section, but one day out of curiosity, I did stop.  I wound up looking at some food labels, and noticed they had a vegetarian option, and it was low fat (I think maybe 99% fat free), and I thought, other than the sodium, that it sounded pretty good.  So flash forward to Ryan's craving.  I immediately ran to the chili aisle where we was debating his options, and I pronounced "I can have a chili dog too!", to which he stared at me for a second, and then I proceeded to grab the veggie chili and show him my veggie hot dogs.  I was very proud of myself for my awesome idea.  This way we could both eat the same thing for dinner (actually it was lunch and dinner by the time we got around to the meal).

I started off with some veggie hotdogs, which I won't lie, are definitely an acquired taste.  Like I said, I never really liked hot dogs, so I have been eating these since I was a teenager.  The taste has grown on me.
We even turned them into chili cheese dogs using some Tillamook cheddar.  So what did I think of my first chili dog?  It was awesome!  I will definitely be doing this again, and next time I will be using whole wheat buns, which I discovered the commissary carries after we made these.
Next up is another Japanese baked good.  It was a bun filled with vanilla cream, almost like a pudding.
This was a roll filled with chocolate, similar to the one above.  It was really just like eating a chocolate pudding filled roll, but tasted much better than that sounds.
Last up is another melon flavored bun.  Melon is a big flavor in Japan, and other Asian countries too.  This had a melon cream filling.
We picked up some Japanese goodies to send in gift packages to friends and family back home, but while we were getting things for them, we picked up a few things for us to try.  One of those things was this Meltykiss candy bar in run raisin flavor.  I am not kidding, this thing was strong!  I may have gotten a little tipsy off this.  Also, to mention one more thing about the Japanese and portions on food, I loved that this candy bar was individually wrapped inside.  In the US when you open a candy bar, the whole thing is unwrapped at once, but with this, when we opened it there were 4 (or maybe it was 6?) individually wrapped sticks.
Last week Ryan had a bad day.  It was pretty bad.  The dentist fixed the wrong cracked filling, and by this I mean he didn't fix the one that was cracked/lose.  Yes, the dentist drilled on the wrong tooth and refilled the wrong tooth.  I'll just leave it at that and say that really sucks.  So when he came home he asked if we could bake some cookies.  Of course!  Homemade cookies always work to cheer you up.  For something a little different we used the chocolate chunks instead of chips.
Yum!  They certainly did the trick.
Plus, while the cookies were backing, I had a nice veggie and bean soup on the stove.
Yum! Yum!
The soup was great, and the cookies were awesome for dessert.

So, there are all (ok, mostly all) my drool worthy pictures for the month of January.  As you can see we had a lot of good eats, mixed between home cooked and bakery bought goodies.  It's hard to pass up some of the Japanese treats because we are still relatively new here and I just want to give everything a try.  I just try not to go overboard, but thankfully Japanese portions are smaller and they are not fans of added sugar.  I just try to keep it to a reasonable amount, and split things as often as possible because I am really just looking for a little taste so I can try things.

QUESTIONS:  What was your most drool worthy food during January?  Have you ever had a chili dog?  What is one food that is usually non-vegetarian that you have created in a vegetarian form?  Do you ever get the urge to bake cookies when you have a bad day?


Gina; The Candid RD said...

That pizza looked amazing! And, I agree, i love spaghetti squash too. We have some of the largest spaghetti squash at our store right now, it's crazy.
The most drool-worthy food I have had has to be the peanut butter cannoli we had for Nick's b-day!

Lori said...

What a line up! I have yet to find a culture that had pastries I didn't like. These look so interesting. You have some serious pizza skill, that is perfectly round and baked up beautifully. We are hooked on Tillamook as well. We visited a few years back and buy it here in KY when we can. I just picked up some aged cheddar the other day and it is delicious.

Astra Libris said...

DELICIOUS post!! :-) I LOVE veggie chili dogs... :-) and we bake cookies all the time - they're so comforting! :-)

Melanie Flinn said...

Yum- now I'm hungry. When we lived on Oahu I used to go to the Japanese bakeries in the mall. They did make such great stuff. P.S. I found the group you mentioned on facebook and sent in request to join :)

Kristen (swanky dietitian) said...

That pizza looks delicious! I still have yet to make homemade dough. Definitely need to get on that.
I love baking cookies when the weather is cold and dreary (and definitely when it's been a not so great day).

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