Salamander and Eggs

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Found this salamandar and its eggs under a brick in my yard. We kept the salamander for about eight weeks and I let him go before I went to visit Tom in the UK. I love that my children enjoy little creatures like this, and help to take care of them. Salamanders like to eat ants. Every time we found ants, Leah would grab the salamander jar and put as many into it as possible, pushing them back in as they tried to scale the walls to escape. “No, you are Salamander food! Get back in there!”

Low-carb Japanese Curried Scrambled Eggs with Mushrooms and Nori (Seaweed)

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This is one of my favorite egg dishes, which I concocted while living in Northern Japan. I’m thankful for the International food aisle at our local grocery store, so I can still enjoy this while living in Pennsylvania!

Not only is this an amazing, easy, flavorful meal… it’s Atkins friendly :) By individually adding the ingredients into My Fitness Pal, I found this recipe has 312 calories, 21 grams of protein and 4 carbs.

Recipe

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Whisk together:

  • 3 large Eggs
  • 1 tsp of quality soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp Japanese curry powder
  • 3 small sliced sautéed *mushrooms
  • Pour into a pan, and sauté like ordinary scrambled eggs. Do not overcook.

    Top with snips of nori.

    *Shiitake mushrooms make this dish taste more authentic, but any kind will do. Brown button mushrooms were used for the batch in the photo.

    January Giveaway : Learning Perseverance From Making Tamagoyaki

    If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again! – Children’s Proverb

    One of the hardest things to teach children is to try again when they’ve failed their first attempts at doing something. Failure is often met with tears and protests. Tying shoes, snapping fingers, blowing bubblegum bubbles, riding a two-wheeler without training wheels, and learning the nines-family in multiplication are some of the recent examples that come to mind.

    How exciting it is, though, when a child finally succeeds! They are so excited, they want to keep getting it right over and over and over….. well, you know what it’s like to hear a kid whistling the same prolonged note until you have to politely ask them to go outside and see if the birds can understand their new skill :)

    Making tamagoyaki, a sweet, rolled Japanese style omelet used for breakfasts and bento, is a skill I haven’t mastered. I haven’t attempted enough times to be comfortable making it for guests, but I’ll get there! I always seem to get impatient and turn the burner up too high when I make eggs.

    Representing perseverance in this month’s five-item giveaway is the bane of my existence : a 18×12 cm makiyakinabe or the “roll-bake-pan”. These deceptively cute little pans are coveted by Japanese foodies as they prove to be tricky to find in the States. This one is coated with a dark, non-stick coating. I’m also including a two-set pack of 33cm bamboo Japanese Kitchen chopsticks, two floral linen pot gloves and an adorable cotton pocket apron. At least you’ll look cute while you flop… I mean flip…. those omelets! (I’m not bitter…. really!)

    To enter, in the comments of this post, please leave a story about perseverance or thoughts on encouraging others to keep trying when they feel like giving up. You must leave a pertinent comment to win!

    My hope is that this giveaway will help others to keep trying whatever it is they are working on, be it making new food, learning a language, trying to pass an important test, getting published or even persevering in grace through a difficult relationship.

    NEW!! Up to three bonus entries:

    Want to improve your chances of winning? Add these skills to your giveaway repertoire :

  • Add SarahJoyAlbrecht.com your blogroll and leave the link to your blog with your comment
  • Write a post about this giveaway and leave the link to your post with your comment
  • Tweet about this giveaway (via @mrsalbrecht) and mention it with your comment
  • Please leave your comment and complete bonus entries by 9PM EST, February 3, 2010.

    The winner will need to provide their mother’s maiden name, social security number, and a valid US credit card number + three digit secret code. JUST KIDDING! I will, however, need their name and mailing address which will be kept strictly confidential.

    If they’re agreeable, I’d like to interview the winner and feature them in a future post. I would consider including links in the post to the winner’s blog, favorite cause, home business, etc.

    Winning contestants may not enter my subsequent monthly giveaway contests for a year following their win. In other words, if you win in February, 2010, you cannot enter again until February, 2011.

    From Christine, last month’s giveaway winner: Thank you, so much, Sarah, for the origami paper and books! We are having a blast with it. I am so glad that you included book number one because that is about as advanced as my origami skills are. ;) Maybe one day I will advance to book #6. Thank you, again, so much for the great fun you sent us and for praying for my baby! I hope you are having a blessed day!

    Tamago: Eggs in Japan

    In a grocery store where seasoned dried fish bites eclipse potato chips on the snack food aisle, familiar food is always comforting.

    The egg, a.k.a. tamago, is one such item.

    Eggs are easy to prepare, versatile and healthy to eat.

    More importantly, though, eggs are identifiable to this American mom without having to break out the katakana and hiragana charts. (Unlike trying to discern the regular milk from the “yogurt milk,” which are sold side by side in nearly identical cartons, and will alarm taste buds if one accidentally buys the latter and pours it unsuspectingly on breakfast cereal).

    Japan utilizes the metric system. The application to egg storage and sales are no eggception ;) (Couldn’t resist!) Eggs in are sold in clear plastic cartons in quantities of ten instead of twelve, unless you purchase them on a military base, where a little Japanese grandma in a back room unpacks Japanese eggs repacks them by the dozen in gray cardboard cartons and finally breaks even when she’s filled 120 cartons. (Kidding!)

    Eggs are sold in a variety of sizes, and in a Japanese grocery store ten small eggs will cost about 150 ¥, 160 ¥ for medium eggs and 170 ¥ for large eggs.

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    Because hard boiled eggs store easily, they are a popular bento appetizer. Just about every store has an aisle dedicated to making bento beautiful. At “The Great Superstore” we discovered florescent plastic egg molds that turn the ordinary egg into an extraordinary lunchtime creature pal. Simply place the hard boiled egg into the clamshell creature mold, latch the mold shut, and throw it back into boiling water for a few minutes and presto! The once-oval chicken egg pops out looking like a kawaii (cute) sakana (fish)!

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    One of our favorite ramen shops at the Elm Mall in Goshogowara serves an oversized bowl of shell-on boiled eggs to enjoy with table shio (salt) while waiting for the delicious main course.

    Other restaurants, such as the Sukiya, an inexpensive Japanese-style curry chain, serve a raw egg to crack open and add as a condiment to gyudon. (After dining at the previously mentioned ramen shop, it should be noted that two of our children (with my uninformed blessing) ordered the raw egg from Sukiya’s ala carte picture menu and quickly discovered that they were not the hard boiled eggs they were craving, resulting in two very large globs of egg goo on our table. It may be a while until we go back again. Just sayin’! )

    Here are a few eggcellent Japanese tamago dishes everyone should try. Please note that I’ve linked to episodes of my favorite Japanese cooking show in English, “Cooking With Dog,” wherever possible :

    Omurice (Chicken Rice Wrapped with Fried Egg)

    Okonomiyaki (Japanese Assorted Pancake) (Similar to egg foo young, but grilled instead of fried)

    Tamagoyaki and Tamago Nigiri

    Katsudon (Tonkatsu Deep Fried Pork and Egg Bowl)