Cookie Policy Privacy Policy

Where to find Japanese home cooking recipes

Where to find Japanese home cooking recipes

This post contains affiliate links, which means I get a wee bit of money if you click on a link and buy something. This helps me defray the costs of creating this blog, so thank you!

Happy Birthday to me!

Not much in the way of exciting party times, but a good solid selection of Japanese food delivered for dinner. I thought I’d share some of my favourite recipe sources for making Japanese food at home, since it’s been such a favourite. Pop My Neighbour Totoro on the television and plan your meals!

Just One Cookbook

Just One Cookbook is an extensive recipe blog by a Japanese ex-pat living in California. She’s got a great newsletter as well, so it’s worth signing up. Her video recipe series is exhaustive!


This is one of my [amazon_link id=”1568363931″ target=”_blank” ]go-to cookbooks[/amazon_link], and it’s driving me crazy I can’t find it. Don’t ignore it because it seems like it would all be lunch box food – it’s not. Really simple recipes for all sorts of homey Japanese food that makes terrific leftovers, ready to go in your bento.


I’ve just discovered Hana Etsuko Dethlefsen who is based right here in Vancouver. She teaches Japanese homecoming at the University of British Columbia, and if you live in Canada, you can catch her on One World Kitchen on Gusto TV. Her self-published book, Let’s Cooking, is available on her site. And I really want to do one of her cooking classes.



A really good paper airplane book

A really good paper airplane book

This post contains affiliate links, this means when you click through and purchase, I receive a fee. This helps defray the cost of maintaining this blog. 

paper airplane book

If you’ve got a small child between 3 and, well, I’m not sure there’s an upper age limit here, paper airplane construction becomes a critical life skill. I wrote about a great online resource for paper airplane plans here, and it’s one of my most popular posts. As my son’s appetite for paper airplanes only grows, I decided to invest in an actual book. The [amazon_link id=”0761143831″ target=”_blank” ]World Record Paper Airplane Book[/amazon_link] is a pretty good one.

Along with plans for many different types of planes, there are pages to cut out that produces really cool looking planes, and a hangar to park them on. There is also many pages of seriously deep information into why each model flies and how, discussions of drag and lift. So if you have an older child who is into Knowing Everything, this is great. You can safely ignore those chapters otherwise.

I particularly liked the troubleshooting tips that go along with each plane model. After you’ve finished following along with the clear diagrams, they provide some help for diving planes, planes that go up quickly and then dive, or veer in a particular direction. This is handy when your child wails, ‘Mummy! This plane DOES NOT WORK.’

What are your best paper airplane resources?


The Day the Crayons Quit

The Day the Crayons Quit


The day my son had his first ear infection, I found a new book on our doorstep.

After the screaming, the run down the road to the walk-in clinic a block away, the half hour in the waiting room with a wailing preschooler that felt like a year, the dash home again, the medicine and everything, I opened my apartment door to find a big envelope there from Penguin. It could not have arrived on a better day.

The Day the Crayons Quit is a beautiful book illustrated by Oliver Jeffers (Lost and Found, Stuck, The Incredible Book Eating Boy, and This Moose Belongs to Me) and written by Drew Daywalt. If you’ve never heard of Daywalt, as I hadn’t, it’s probably because you’re thinking of children’s books. He’s an accomplished writer for TV and film, and currently ruling YouTube in the creepy horror genre with his short films according to Salon.

This book, however, is funny not scary.


Crayons have opinions, you see, about how they are used. Beige is feeling slighted by Brown (all those puppies and horses Brown gets to do), and Red and Orange aren’t even speaking to each other over who is the appropriate hue for the sun. Blue is overworked, and Pink is irritated at being left out. The crayons have written their grievances to their owner, Duncan, in a series of letters they left in his desk. I think my favourite is the crayon whose wrapper has been peeled off, and is now naked! My son thought this was absolutely hilarious, of course.

Duncan does his best to appease the crayons, and draws the most colourful picture he can.

It’s a lovely book, and a patient three year old would enjoy it. My four year old liked it. Each letter is written out on a different kind of paper, together with a drawing in the requisite colour.

My only issue is the end – Duncan is praised by his teacher by being given an ‘A’ in colouring and an A+ for creativity. I get the intent, but kids doing colouring in school are not being graded like that so it won’t mean anything to them. Aside from whether the child understands, the concept of being graded on colouring and creativity didn’t sit well with me. They spend so much of their school lives trying to measure up, do we really have to drag it into preschool as well? And for such subjective things? Maybe this is my French Canadian Catholic preschool and kindergarten experience rearing its ugly head (getting told off for colouring outside the lines, only colouring in pre-drawn sheets, etc) but it just struck me as an odd way of ending such a lighthearted book. I get it was well-meant, but we just changed it to ‘and his teacher was so impressed with his colouring and creativity’ and left it at that.

It’s a beautiful book, and fun to read. A little tweak to the ending and it will be a regular at storytime.

[amazon_link id=”0399255370″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Day the Crayons Quit / Drew Daywalt, Oliver Jeffers[/amazon_link]



This post contains affiliate links.


Lions fighting unicorns, and other rhymes

The book I remember with total clarity from my own childhood is one of nursery rhymes. My mum passed it along to me, and I’ve been reading it to Elliot.

I can see by the ancient price tag The Magic of Rhymes: A Collection of Nursery Rhymes was $2.40 from Woolworths, and it was printed by Brimax Books, Cambridge, England in 1976. The beautifully complicated illustrations seem to set most of the characters in the early 19th century, most with improbably long toes on their shoes.

It wasn’t until I mentioned knowing the full twelve verses to London Bridge is Falling Down when I was older, did I realise not everyone had grown up with this particular collection of nursery rhymes. If you’re curious, the rest of the verses detail how to rebuild the bridge and in what material, including the plan to have a man watch all night in case someone tries to steal the final sturdy bridge built of silver and gold.

Elliot has taken to the book as well, particularly to the one pictured above, whose text reads:

The lion and the unicorn
Were fighting for the crown;
The lion beat the unicorn
All around the town.

Some gave them white bread
And some gave them brown;
Some gave them plum cake
And drummed them out of town.

I, too, was fascinated by this one, with the fanciful creatures wearing old boxing gloves, and their pile of assorted baked goods. So many of the rhymes detail food and the eating of it – another favourite being:

The fiddler and his wife,
The piper and his mother,
Ate three half-cakes, three whole cakes,
And three-quarters of another.

It would begin a long obsession I had with ‘cakes’ described in English children’s books – from Alice in Wonderland to The Five Children and It.

I was vindicated when I started attending nursery rhyme singalongs at the local library in London when Elliot was about eight months old, in that I knew quite a few of the songs that hadn’t made it over to Canada. Though there were times it was me and the Polish ladies in the back row trying to mouth the words and raising our eyebrows at each other when we came to one we didn’t know.

I’ll leave you with one of my favourite illustrations from the book, of the Man in the Moon. I was always fascinated by the labyrinthine tangle of his shoes. The rhyme that goes with it is:

The man in the moon
Came down too soon,
And asked his way to Norwich;
He went by the south,
And burnt his mouth
With supping cold plum porridge.


Win Michelle Carchrae’s new parenting e-book

Playful self-discipline. The name caught my eye, and Michelle Carchae’s posts on her blog The Parent Vortex, detailing her attempts at making it work were intriguing. I think what really kept me reading was her tone of voice. It wasn’t hectoring, it wasn’t smug. Far from it – she wrote about shouting too much, about not paying enough attention, about how things were not going how she imagined they would. Yet, it was her realistic and positive approach to the whole thing that kept me reading. A good balance of ‘No I’m not perfect’, and ‘Here’s what I’m trying to do’.

I’ll be honest, whilst aspects of attachment parenting appeal to me, the attitude of the people who practice it (and talk about it nonstop, which is probably who I mean in particular) winds me up. It’s a bit like people who love Wes Anderson films or Haruki Murakami books. I have trouble liking the cultural output because their rapid fans annoy me so much. And anyone who blogs exclusively about a parenting style are often one of those rapid fans.

That’s what drew me to Michelle’s blog, it was real and it wasn’t like that at all.

When she mentioned she was working on an e-book and was looking for help editing, I emailed her to offer my services, partially for the selfish reason of reading her book straightaway. Much like her blog, Michelle’s new book The Parenting Primer, is full of helpful and straightforward advice about doing this raising children thing in a caring yet practical way that takes into account brain developmental stages.

Michelle has kindly offered a copy of her e-book to one of my readers for free.

a Rafflecopter giveaway