Thursday, February 17, 2011

Harajuku, Horses, and Other Stuff

Things have been moving at the speed of life around here, which means we've been busy.  Home repairs continue toward the move, but life does go on around the various projects underway.

A number of years ago my nephews introduced Maia to a little thing called Pokemon.  Perhaps you've heard of it? Little did we know that this would be a gateway into everything Japanese for all of our family.  Maia has always been a fanatical drawing artist and once she discovered Pokemon and Manga style, she'd found her true love! In fact she hopes to pursue this kind of art in college.  But  before we get ahead of ourselves (!), in our present lives Japanese pop culture is ever-present - for both my girls. In fact, as I write this post, my younger daughter, Eve, is on the couch with a virus  and is studying Japanese on her own with her little Japanese dictionary at her side and papers on which she is practicing Katakana.

The girls are also influenced by Harajuku style.  I didn't even really have a name for it until I heard Gwen Stefani's song, "Harajuku Lovers" just the other day.  Obviously, my girls are not the only ones loving what they see across the Pacific.




Last week Maia mentioned again that she wanted to dye her hair red. But not a natural red; she wanted bold red. Having had purple hair, magenta hair, and black hair myself at various times, I understand the desire to count your hair as an accessory.  So, off we went to the beauty supply store and picked up a demi-permanent shade to try out in case she didn't like it.  Eve picked up a magenta shade with a semi-permanent color.  It wasn't as strong and just mostly ended up showing up on her highlights from last year. Maia suggested some before and after shots:

Before:

(For the record, I love both their hair JUST the way it is and told them so... a few times, in fact.  But, I understand the urge and it's just hair...)



After! Pretty, pretty! She loves it and will be picking up some permanent color in a few weeks!


I have to say that I actually really love Harajuku style.  It actually reminds me some of the way I used to dress, but there are just even more layers! The Japanese, if you don'k know, have a "thing" for CUTE. And trendy styles for teen girls there consist more of big bows in the hair, school uniforms, and lots of ruffles.  I was watching one of the videos Maia likes today and told her that the band members looked like teen 6 year olds. American girls tend to end up in styles that say "sexy" as they get older, rather than "cute".  So the fact that my girls are into going with cute is just fine with me! :)



Last Sunday after church, Eve and I attended her first horse show.  She is learning to ride English style and students and her trainer from their club were competing.  I love that she brought along her own horse for the show...



Below is her trainer, Jillian, on her horse, Myakka.

And I thought I'd share a couple of easy dishes with you. Eating a vegan diet is so second nature to me at this point that I don't think about it at all and things are easy-peasy, just the way I like them. I'm not a foodie, because I simply don't have time and don't really like spending lots of time in the kitchen.  However, I do like good food that is good for me and that means that I probably do spend more time in the kitchen than someone who doesn't cook with whole foods.  Still, to me, these are quick and delicious dishes that you might want to try.

This morning I had oatmeal that I love, love, love. I use whole, rolled oats (not instant, though it really takes hardly any time to cook anyway). I don't like my oatmeal very runny or gummy.  In fact, I often eat it raw as a cold cereal.  But when I do cook it like I did this morning, I only add 1/4 cup more water than the oatmeal that I use.  This morning I was the only one who wanted oatmeal, so I used 3/4 c oatmeal and 1 c water.
My favorite sweetner for my oatmeal is pure, maple syrup.  I always add a pinch of salt and usually also add 2 t of vegan margarine (Earth Balance is my favorite) and almond milk.  Then there are the wonderful options that make homemade oatmeal so wonderful:

Add apple chunks, cinnamon, and raisins while the oatmeal is cooking.
Add walnuts and craisins while cooking or after it's done.
Add a T of peanut butter... If you add raisins to this, it's like pb&j oatmeal!
Chopped banana and pecans are lovely.

This morning I added chopped almonds and strawberries from our CSA farm while the oatmeal was cooking too.  SO yummy and so fast and so much better than those little, individual packages!



Since I'd gone to the farm yesterday to pick up our share, we had fresh kale on hand for my husband's and my favorite kale salad. To think that Paul used to not like kale at all. I didn't mind that, because that always meant more for me.  Seriously, I could eat a whole head of kale by myself. But alas, now he always hopes for leftovers!
Kale Salad

Toast some pine nuts or walnuts in a dry skillet over med heat until browned and aromatic.  While toasting make a marinade of tamari, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and lemon juice in a large bowl. Pull leaves of kale away from stem and tear into large, bite-sized pieces (they will shrink when cooked) and then rinse.  When nuts are done toasting, add to marinade.  Add kale to skillet (still over med. heat) and add 1/4 c water. Put a tight lid on and steam for one minute. Toss and steam for one minute more. Drain and add to bowl with marinade. Toss and GOBBLE! You can eat this hot or at room temperature.  Yum, yum, yum!


And I just wanted to show you these beautiful, yellow beets from the farm.  I did nothing but steam and eat them, so there's no recipe to share, but they're just so pretty. :)  Well, that's all I've got for you today! Thanks for stopping by!
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