Tag Archives: sushi

Splash ~ A Mermaid Party


Another birthday party down in the books…this makes party number twelve between the two kiddos. I LOVE planning their little parties ~ this year for Elliott we decided to do a small sleepover to celebrate turning SEVEN.

She decided on a mermaid theme and I was immediately on board! Give this mama a theme and she’s immediately in action…scouting out little goodies, trinkets and treasures.

I found the invites at Marshall’s for $3.99! They came with 8 invites and 8 thank you notes…since we were keeping party small this year, these totally worked.

Elliott wanted to go to the pool with her friends which totally made sense. The weather here had been HOT for weeks, but the day of her party was supposed to be in the high 60s/low 70s! I thought about canceling the pool, but the mermaids suited up and spent about 2 hours swimming, jumping, splashing and diving.

{Matching nightgowns from Target for 50% off were part of their goody bag…they showered, shampooed and got in their jammies before we headed home}

{I also found some cute shell bracelets at our local drug store for 75% off months ago}

{The seahorse bowls and plates were from a random Kmart visit ~ 75% off before Christmas. These also went home with each guest}

{Above the table, on a big branch, I hung some Dollar Tree paper lanterns and a few jellyfish made and handed down from my friend, Mia}

{my mom made these seashell jars last summer and I filled them with Dum Dums}

The food was fun and easy…

{eating sushi after the pool}

{my four-legged [octodogs] didn’t quite look like the ones on Pinterest}

I invited the mamas over for drinks and appetizers, too. I threw together a quick 7-layer dip and picked up a sushi platter at Trader Joe’s. My neighbor, Sun, brought some Korean BBQ on a skewer ~ yum!

The mama mermaids sipped what I called Mermaid Tail Martinis ~ Vodka, Malibu, pineapple juice, blue curacao {shake that in a cocktail shaker and pour into a martini glass} add a splash of Sprite and float a mango mochi on top. I premixed a pitcher of the drink and then shook it with ice as needed. Do not add the Sprite before shaking because of the carbonation. Ratio: 2 cups vodka, 2 cups Malibu, 2 8.45 ounce cans {or the equivalent} pineapple juice, 1 ounce blue curacao. Makes 8-10 servings. The mochi can be found at Trader Joe’s and is like a little ball of ice cream.

The mochi sort of melts into the drink and makes it creamy. One mochi lasts for about two drinks…there are only six mochi to a pack so I needed to stretch them out and it worked perfectly for each guest to have one.

The cake was just a four layer cake with vanilla cream cheese buttercream. The girls also had Elliott’s favorite cotton candy push pops.

{candy sushi made with halved powdered donuts and rice krispie treats topped with a Swedish fish and then wrapped with a strip of fruit by the foot [I used Market Pantry brand from Target]}

{they drank blue lemonade out of little plastic coconuts from Dollar Tree}

The mamas left around 9:00 or so and then we were on our own to get the girls to bed! I cleaned up the kitchen while they watched their favorite Disney Channel shows and all four were asleep by 11:00pm ~ I was shocked.

7:00am wake up call courtesy of Holden!

I told Elliott she could choose any cereal she wanted and she decided on Fruit Loops…a special birthday treat. She also wanted monkey bread, but wanted to call it {mermaid bread}.

After breakfast, they lined up and I did glitter nails with polish from her friend, Emilie…

I also borrowed a mermaid cardboard cutout that my friend Mia also did for her twins’ recent mermaid luau party and we took some fun pics before the girls headed home…


Not gonna lie…I was exhausted at 11:00am Sunday morning when the little mermaids swam back to their mamas!

But it was the perfect little homespun birthday celebration and I loved every minute of the planning.

Screaming/giggling/singing/dancing first graders are lots of fun.

Jay & I survived our first sleepover!

Tomorrow is the REAL birthday for my {almost} Memorial Day baby.

Where do the years go?

Rummage Sale

A random pile of facts from our weekend…

1. Made {Baked Oatmeal} for our Saturday breakfast.

{followed the link above, but subbed almond/coconut milk and coconut extract}

Such a fun twist on regular ‘ol boring oatmeal…next time I’m adding some fresh berries to the mix.

2. We had an impromptu garage sale on Saturday morning. It was more like a rummage sale. I just threw a bunch of stuff out there and came up with a price when they asked!

Made about $20 an hour for stuff that I would have driven to Goodwill…I’ll take it!

3. Holden cried when a woman walked off with his Baby Bjorn potty chair. He said, “You’re selling all my stuff!” About broke my heart, but he wasn’t about to coax me into keeping stuff that I’m trying to get rid of, so he went inside and watched a movie while mama purged!

4. Fun bowling birthday party with this delicious pizza for lunch.

5. Little Church and my scripture study were cancelled for Sunday morning, so we went to Saturday evening mass instead.

6. Made Rachael Ray’s Buffalo Chicken Chili Mac for dinner.

Super yum and lowfat. I used reduced fat cheeses for the top ~ blue cheese and mexican blend.

7. Sunday morning was lazy with clouds, rain and Pioneer Woman’s Super Sonic breakfast burritos!

I think I got a little too aggressive with the fillings, but they were to-die-for.

8. Kids talked me into taking them to Elliott’s new dance studio’s grand opening in the POURING rain just to jump in the germ infested bouncy….


Waste. Of. Precious. Gas.

9. Jay didn’t like the quote the dealer gave him for new brakes on his Jeep, so he did it himself.

{We did have to make one minor trip to a “professional” for a quick fix-it, but other than that we saved a ton of cash. Thanks Pep Boys for the parts and YouTube for the brake changing tutorial!}

10. Had the Sushi Bake again for dinner last night. We’re hooked.


And that was our weekend, folks.

Hope yours was just as random and nice!


Shortcut Sushi

Happy day after V-day!

Weekdays are obviously hectic with homework and stuff, so I decided to keep dinner semi-simple, yet special last night.

Last week my cousin, Gia, posted something on Facebook about a sushi bake…I immediately commented that I needed the recipe ASAP.

When I was pregnant, I ate lots of baked rolls since everything is completely cooked. Before you get your sushi feathers ruffled, hear me out. Most serious sushi-ers would probably say that a {sushi bake} is NOT sushi…I agree that it is an extremely westernized version, but IT IS GOOOOOOD.

We’ve made sushi at home plenty of times {here too} and while it does save lots of cash, it isn’t the easiest thing to prepare and prep alone can take hours. So when I heard about this, I immediately thought it could become an easier week night way to enjoy this Japanese favorite.

It’s also a fantastic way to serve sushi at parties…instead of spending all your time rolling, you can set this out with quartered sheets of nori and let your guests help themselves. Instead of being in roll form, this is eaten more like a hand roll {in cone form}.

Here is the recipe from my cousin that I referred to. I did make some adjustments, however.

I used a 20 ounce package of imitation crab meat and mixed it with just 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. mayo {the recipe called for 1 cup mayo AND 1 cup sour cream!!!} and this was plennnnty for the 20 ounces of crab! I also added A LOT of Sriracha sauce {like 4 big squiggly lines worth}, about 3 green onions {sliced} and just about 3 drops of toasted sesame oil. Mix that up and let it sit for an hour or so in the fridge while you make your sushi rice.

To make the sushi rice ~ 2 cups sushi rice rinsed WELL [until water runs clear] and drained. Add 2 cups water and let it sit for 30 minutes. After 30, turn burner on high and wait for it to come to a boil and let it boil for 1 {one} minute before turning it down to low. Put the lid on and leave on LOW for 20 minutes. After 20, turn off burner and move from hot burner and let it sit for another 10 minutes leaving the lid ON. After 10, you will want to add the warm rice to 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 2 tbsp. sugar and 1 tsp. salt {I put these 3 ingredients into my glass 9X13 Pyrex pan while the rice is sitting to let the sugar & salt dissolve a little before adding the rice}. Stir the rice around and get it coated in the vinegar mixture.

To assemble, use one 9X13 pan or two smaller oven safe dishes {as I did}. I made the heart shaped one and another one in an 8X8 dish…it makes A LOT! Just layer the rice first, followed by the crab mixture {you can also use shrimp, real crab, salmon, scallops, etc. just make sure the fish is fully cooked first} and then finally top it off with the furikake {seaweed & sesame seed seasoning}. The recipe called for 2 jars of this, but one was definitely enough! I picked up the furikake at Ralphs so no need to find an Asian market.

Bake in a 350* oven for 20 minutes.

I cut some thin slices of cucumber and avocado ~ some other recipes I referred to said that they added these things as a layer in the bake. I preferred to have them on the side, however.

Take either a half or quarter sheet of nori, add a couple cucumber and avocado slices, a scoop of the sushi bake, some highly wasabi-fied soy sauce, roll up and enjoy!

This was a hit with 75% of the family. Elliott was curious after she finished her Valentine’s Day dino chicken {ha!} and tried one. She loved it. It’s a great way to introduce sushi to the little ones and they will love assembling the roll themselves.

Don’t forget to grab some Sapporo or Kirin to go with your sushi bake!


And since I was into shortcuts yesterday, I decided to put a no-bake blueberry cheesecake mix to use that has been sitting in our pantry. I picked up some Keebler mini graham crackers crusts and followed the directions on the package, but decided to add some fresh lemon zest to brighten the flavor up a bit.

I don’t really know how I feel about no-bake cheesecakes, but these turned out pretty darn good and cute, too!

Last Valentine’s Day I made this cheesecake…no comparison. No comparison, at all!


Hope your day was filled with lots of LOVE…..and maybe a little something SWEET!


Stick With Love

Today is the official LAST day of winter break.

I told the kids last night that they were going to be fed, bathed, teeth brushed, books read, excuses for more milk done and IN bed tonight at 7:45.

Watch me.

I am NOT looking forward to tomorrow morning…

With that negativity out of the way, I must say that we had a nice, family weekend to say goodbye to the past three and a half carefree weeks.


While my car was being serviced in Lawndale on Saturday morning, we all piled into Jay’s Jeep Wrangler and headed due west to the Manhattan/Hermosa Beach area and searched for a breakfast joint. We settled on Brother’s Burritos and were pleased with the casualness and local vibe at this little place. The kids shared Hawaiian Bread French Toast squares…

I was bad and had the egg, avocado, bacon and jalapeño burrito with spicy salsa. We ended up not eating lunch so I didn’t feel so bad.

After breakfast we let the kids play on the beach for a bit to kill time. Jay shot some great pics ~ it was overcast and a bit cloudy ~ perfect picture taking conditions.


The fam also took a last minute trip into Hollywood for an appointment yesterday afternoon and then ended up at a new {to us} sushi restaurant right in our own backyard here in Valencia ~ Sushi One. Yelp gave it great reviews so we gave it a try. Jay and I shared a Sapporo and some rolls and the kids devoured the bulgogi {Korean beef} and steamed rice! Here they are with their after dinner lollipops…


The kids played dress up and came up with this concoction:

Reminded Jay and me of LMFAO ~ the hair. Love it!


Trying to be better at meal planning…cuts down on a lot of problems like not knowing what’s for dinner at 5:00pm, unnecessary trips to the market and going over budget on groceries.

I decided to keep it easy with familiar/already tried recipes this week since it will no doubt be hectic trying to get back into the swing of things routine-wise.

Here’s what will be on our table this week…

Monday : Half of a grilled beer can chicken {Jay’s off today so he can grill}, zucchini fries and TJ’s Harvest Grains blend {Israeli couscous, orzo, baby garbanzo beans & red quinoa}

Tuesday : Chopped taco salad with spicy sour cream ranch

Wednesday : Moo shu pork burgers w/ fruit salad

Thursday : other half of the grilled chicken in soft taco form with roasted butternut squash

Friday : Leftover moo shu pork burgers & tbd side dish


I hope you had a splendid 3-day weekend {dreaming} of equality and kindness.

“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” ~ the brilliant Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Road To Sushi Is Never Long

On Saturday after Jay picked up his race bib, we had a couple hours to spare so we decided to have lunch ~ just the two of us.

Since we were downtown, we wanted to go to The Old Spaghetti Factory, but the parking situation was a little crazy.

We thought about going to Hash House A Go Go, but the line looked a little too long.

Then all of a sudden sushi sounded good, but we couldn’t change lanes fast enough to get to one of our favorite places in Hillcrest.

Then we remembered {our sushi place} in La Jolla…a little hole in the wall that, honestly, we didn’t even remember the name of. We ventured up that way. Being almost 6 years since we left SD, we managed to take a wrong exit off the 52 which ultimately led us to two {road ends in 500 feet} signs.


We got back on the freeway and back on track only to roll into the parking lot and find that {our sushi place} was no longer…

Jay was quick to remember tried and true, Niban, which was close to our old HSBC offices in Clairemont.

It was worth the hour plus it took for us to make a decision and get there…

Saturday sushi + sunny San Diego = perfection

{Thanks, Gramma for keeping an eye in the kiddos!}

Wii & Sushii

Lately the kids have been loving the running/jogging game on Wii Fit. No wonder Holden isn’t gaining weight!

I love the movement with her hair.


I took a sushi making class at Japengo in San Diego a million years ago.

The prep work is the worst. For me, the rice is a nuisance, but essential to the texture and taste of the sushi.

Start with 2 cups short grain rice, well rinsed until the water runs clear. Add 2 cups water and let soak for 30 minutes.

Once the rice has soaked for 30 minutes, put on high heat and bring to a boil for 1 minute before turning to low for 20 minutes. Cover. Keep covered and do not lift lid. After 20 minutes, remove from heat and let sit for 10, covered.

In the meantime, mix these 2 ingredients along with 1 tsp. salt:

1/4 cup rice vinegar, 2 Tbsp. sugar and 1 tsp. salt

Mix in a small bowl and stil until sugar begins to dissolve.

Pour into the bottom of a glass 9X13 or another shallow dish and then add the rice~spreading it out to cool.

Like this:

Next, prepare the fillings:

Slice these bad boys up in nice long thin strips.

Then onto the crab mixture:

I use my small food processor to chop the crab. Then add just a bit of mayo, sriracha and a touch of sesame oil.

Mix well until it looks like this:

Next, cover your bamboo roller with Saran wrap:

Place a piece of nori onto roller:

Place some rice on the nori and pat down with wet hands:

Sprinkle on some toasted sesame seeds and then flip over so the nori side is up.

Add some crab mixture, cucumber and avocado:

Then roll into a “log”:

Slice with a wet knife into about 9 pieces:

Drizzle with some spicy sauce: mayo, sriracha, Hungarian paprika (mine is from Vons! LOL), cayenne pepper and a squeeze or two of lemon. (Teague’s recipe…thanks, Teague!)

For the teriyaki chicken roll, I just marinated and grilled up some frozen chicken tenders in sesame teriyaki sauce from TJ’s. Slice it into long thin strips and then repeat the above process and you will get this:

This roll was inspired by a roll at our favorite sushi joint in Gilroy ~ Ninja Sushi. It’s a good one to get the kiddos used to this Japanese cuisine! It’s also yummy with Teague’s spicy sauce!

And you can’t forget Mr. Soy and his sidekick Mr. Wasabi:

Then, as if that wasn’t enough, Jay decided to make veggie tempura!

This is super simple: 1 cup flour, 1 egg, beaten and one cup ice cold water. Mix, add veggies and coat. Tonight we used asparagus, sugar snap peas, baby carrots, red onion and red pepper.

Heat oil on medium for a few minutes and then drop veggies in. Leave in for about 5 minutes (carrots take a little longer). Remove and place on a paper towel lined plate and add a little salt while they are HOT! Mmmm mmm good.

Next time we’ll add green beans and sweet potatoes to the mix.

{Again, goes well with Teague’s sauce!!}

Phew! That was a long post! Hope you’re still awake.

But if you haven’t tried sushi @ home, give it a whirl. It’s a lot of work, but tastes just as good as your favorite sushi restaurant and a lot cheaper! Next time we’re going to do spicy salmon and shrimp tempura rolls.

Stay tuned!

Now I’d better get off the laptop and onto some Wii Fit and work off some of that fabulous Japanese dinner!


Out With The Old, In With The Shoe!

Hello? Is anyone still out there in Blogland? I know… I’m a blog abandoner! My apologies to my reader(s)! I promise to be around more now that we have the holidays behind us. I’ve missed doing my little posts and am looking forward to getting back into a routine.

Just to recap, I think that this past holiday season was one of the BEST ever for me. I tried my best to stretch it out, slow it down and take in as much as possible. And you know what? I think it worked!

We packed a lot in, but at the same time, managed to have time to sit back and reflect on a great year.

A Disneyland trip kicked off our holidays. Turkey in San Diego. 3:30 a.m. wake-up call on Black Friday. 4 foot tree from Home Depot. Token Santa visit at mall. H1N1 mist up the nose. Holiday card send-off. Road trip to Vegas for Jay’s 40th milestone b-day. Holiday play dates. Intuit holiday party. Visited friends in Newport. Peppermint mochas. Neighborhood lights on foot. Crafting delicious holiday treats. Listening to E&H sing Christmas songs on car rides. Late night shopping excursions. Wrapping paper. Tape. Curly ribbon. Tissue paper.

It’s all gone. Lurking around the corner to make an appearance again in what will be a short 11 months.

Superbowl ~ Valentine’s Day ~ Holden’s 3rd b-day ~ St. Patrick’s Day ~ Easter ~ Elliott’s 5th b-day ~ Last day of school ~ Summer ~ First day of school ~ New routines ~ My fortieth! ~ Pumpkins ~ Halloween ~ Annual Disneyland trip ~ Turkey Day ~ Repeat most of above paragraph and we’ll be in the same spot in 2011 as we are now!

My “resolutions” this year are: 1) No excuses 2) Keep it simple

To get off to a running (literally) start in 2010, I bought these:

Yes, the tag is still intact, but these will be getting put to use this week. My goal, again, is to do the Las Vegas Rock N Roll Half Marathon in early December…I am still positive, but seeing that I can barely run a half-mile, I have a few hesitations! Especially when I see a woman who looks to be in fabulous physical shape wearing a half-marathon finisher t-shirt! Uh, do I need to look like that in order to complete 13.1 miles? If so, then I have a LONG way to go and may need more than 11 months to complete my goal! BUT, since this is the year of “no excuses”, I will hit the pavement in the above pink and silver numbers and see what comes of it! Don’t worry, you will hear about every pain and blister along the way!

Jay decided he wanted to start the new decade out with a nice bottle of tequila! Ay caramba! So, there I was on New Year’s Eve @ BevMo in the L-O-N-G line extending to the back of the store getting this:

We rang in the New Year locally (meaning ON our street!) which was awesome since we were able to cruise home on foot around 2:30 a.m. from about 20 yards away!

We used the above square bottle for some Pomegranate Margaritas ~ recipe here.

This bottle DID last us 2 nights as we continued to welcome in 2010 last night with a wonderful sushi spread provided by our lovely neighbors Bob & Sun.

Check out this spread:

and this spicy salmon hand roll:

Let me just say that 2010 is off to a great start!

Thank you to ALL our family & friends for an epic 2009! Looking forward to new friends, new traditions, new discoveries and new adventures in the upcoming year.

Wishing you peace, love, health and happiness in the next 361 days!