Lately on Instagram…

Lately, my life has been filled with cooking, learning new crafts, and planning a party for this weekend! :)  Here’s some snapshots from this month:

Tokyohamster Instagram snapshots of Tokyo

  1. Homemade BBQ Sauce for Valentine’s Day Gifts
  2. I came across this adorable book on kuttari that I couldn’t put down!
  3. A new ramen shop opened by my place
  4. Peach blossoms are in season and on sale – perfect for the upcoming Girl’s Day on March 3rd.
  5. Beautiful saucers from Kappabashi – I wish I could take them all home!
  6. I found a little smiley face on my wine glass.  I love this idea for casual place cards.

Follow me on Instagram here :)

 

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Very Personal 3-D Chocolates

3-D Chocolate Replica of your Face

It might be too late to personalize your chocolates for Valentine’s Day this year, but for next year, how about gifting 3-D chocolates of your face?  Leave it up to the Japanese to take this sweet Valentine’s Day tradition and turn it a bit too personal!  For just 6000 yen (about $68), 15 winners joined a 2-day workshop in Shibuya to make chocolate replicas of their faces using 3-D scanners, printers, and personalized silicon molds.

3-D Chocolate Replica of your Face

3-D Chocolate Replica of your Face

3-D Chocolate Replica of your Face

3-D Chocolate Replica of your Face

I’m not narcissistic enough to want my own facial mold, but I can see how this process would be great for making custom favors or decor. Personally, I find the idea of opening a box of chocolates to find my friend staring up at me a bit frightening.  And if you actually do eat the chocolate, does that mean that you really like or hate your friend?

Wishing you all a lovely Valentine’s Day :)

[all images via FabCafe]

Strawberry French Toast

English-Muffin-French-Toast

Lately, I’ve been searching for new breakfast recipes to change up our morning routine. Mornings are always difficult because I wake up with a head filled with to-do lists and hope-to-do lists, and there’s nothing I love more than getting some of those checked off asap.  So when it comes to breakfast, I usually just whip up something easy peasy within 10 minutes tops to satiate our stomachs until brunch lunch rolls around.  My husband works from home more these days, and those quick meals just weren’t cutting it anymore since we have more time to sit down together and enjoy a nice breakfast.  So off I went in search for recipes!English-Muffin-French-Toast Filled with Strawberries

It’s amazing how many unappetizing-looking breakfasts there are out there – especially if you search for healthy ones.  No judgement here since it’s great to have breakfast at all, and I definitely understand the need for beauty sleep and health.  But when my search efforts ended in oatmeal, buckwheat, muesli mixed mush and tons of shakes and blends, I just couldn’t handle it.  The thought of those liquidized and mushy foods make me think of hospitals.  I found so many of those ‘healthy’ foods that I jumped at the first sweet and sugary recipe I came across – french toast.

English-Muffin-French-Toast Filled with Strawberries

French toast is an oldie, but I thought I’d change it up using English muffins.  To make it a bit healthier, I lightened the sugar and fat content a bit and topped it with tons of Japanese strawberries!  Because fruit makes everything healthier, right?  Plus, the color looks fabulous and the sourness of the strawberries balances well with the sweetness of the syrup.

This would make a great Valentine’s Day breakfast for your loved one.  If you can’t find strawberries, feel free to substitute it with any fruit you can find.  Berries, nectarines, and peaches would work beautifully too, and you can also mix and match!

English-Muffin-French-Toast Filled with Strawberries

Strawberry-Filled English Muffin French Toast
Serves 2
Prep 10 minutes – Cooking Time 15 minutes

2 tbsp canola oil
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp sugar
Dash of vanilla
2 English Muffins
1 cup strawberries, diced
Powdered sugar, Whipped Cream, and Maple Syrup (for serving)

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Whisk egg, milk, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl until sugar dissolves. Cut or separate each of the English muffins. Submerge the muffin halves in the mixture, ensuring both sides are saturated. Drain slightly before transferring it to a clean plate. Repeat for all 4 halves.

2. Heat the oil in a pan on medium heat. Place the 2 muffin halves onto the pan at a time for 2-3 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Flip and repeat.

3. Place the muffins on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place it into the oven for about 5 minutes, or until they’re no longer wet.

4. Transfer the muffins to 2 plates, top generously with strawberries, a dollop of whipped cream, and a dusting of powdered sugar. Serve with maple syrup.

Valentine’s Day Free Printables

It’s that time for last minute DIY projects for your loved ones!  Here are some great free printables that have been circling the blogosphere.  Enjoy!

Je T’aime Coffee Cozies and Mini Cards from Eat, Drink, Chic

Card with Matching Coupons and Chocolate Bar Wrappers from Love vs Design

ABC Valentine’s from Oopsey Daisy

Stationery from Walnut Paperie

Conversation Heart Clip Art from Martha

Valentine’s Day Cards from Pumpkins & Posies

Gift Tags and Wrapping Paper from everyday occasions

Hershey Kiss Stickers from Shindig Parties To GO

Love Prints by Daffodil Design

Message in a Bottle – Wine Bottle Clip Art from Martha

Valentine’s Day in Japan

(here)

Valentine’s Day is celebrated differently here than it is everywhere else.  No gifts, chocolates, nice dinners, or flowers for Japanese women!  In Japan, women give gifts to men on V-Day.  The gifts are usually something sweet like candy or chocolates, and they are typically homemade!  For the past week, all of the baking shops have been bustling full of women preparing to make their Valentine’s Day gifts.  They’ll beautifully package them individually to give away to all of the guys that they care about including friends, coworkers, and significant others.  I love seeing all of the women toting their bags of treats around the city.  In March, the guys will return the favor on White Day. More to come on that!

P.S. Thanks to all who voted for their favorite dessert!  The winners were the Raspberry Chocolate Mont Blanc and the Strawberry Trifle.  The review will be coming soon!

Help me shop for desserts!

It’s time to vote for your favorite dessert for the chance to win one… million… awesome.. dollars review!  I’ve been waiting for interesting desserts from my grocery delivery service (Co-Op Deli), and since Valentine’s Day is coming up, they’ve finally arrived!  Here’s how it works:

Vote for your favorite dessert featured here by Thursday in the poll below.  I’ll order the most popular one (or two) and review it here when it arrives next week!  Still confused?  Take a look at the last voting and review.  And away we go!

1. Cherry Blossom Jello

2. Strawberry Layered Cheesecake

3. Strawberry Yogurt Trifle with a hint of orange

4. Raspberry Chocolate Mont Blanc

Happy voting!  I hope you had a great weekend!