Squeeze Some “Summer Water” into your Day

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As tempting as it was to ruin the headline with an ex-squeeze me joke, I resisted. 100% by accident this post can be considered a #throwbackthursday. Like my last bit on matcha back in May (because June was a whirlwind with nothing gracing the blog), I’m poaching a bit from my writing published elsewhere.

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Everything except growing the melons, right before your eyes. P.S. hello my reflection.

Squeezers has been juicing since 2012 on their mission to provide a healthy way to get hydrated. The juice stand can be found situated as part of the Alamo Eat Bar food truck park in Southtown.

The menu features cold-pressed and raw juices squeezed right before your eyes with no syrups or preservatives added. “Summer Water” —  a blend of watermelon, pineapple and mint, was recommended as the most popular flavor for the season. The lightly sweet, but refreshing and subtly minty flavored beverage is aptly named, straddling somewhere between a heavier juice and fruit infused water.

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Battalion Italian Restaurant in the restored historic FH No. 7, across the street from Squeezers.

Unfortunately, 99F is the standard for a cooler day this Alamo City summer. If there’s something I don’t think I’ll ever adjust to in San Antonio, it’s the long dry heat. Four seasons were something I absolutely took for granted before coming this far down South – it just didn’t occur to me that it would stay this hot this long.

To set the record straight for anyone thinking I’m a frail Yankee – it does get equally hot in Arkansas. Just not for 10 months.

My point being – Squeezers is right at home with all their hydrating vitamin-filled goodness in this parching heat.

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Mucho Matcha, Mushipan and More

 

Today my piece on what do with matcha purchased at Minnano Japanese Grocery here in San Antonio debuted on the SA Current’s website. At the time of writing the article, I had yet to even consider matcha might go in lemonade. It makes sense – tea + lemons = very normal combo, hot or cold – but it just never occurred to me to make it. That was until I stumbled into Cha Cha Matcha this Monday in Manhattan’s Little Italy. Coming off a day of the BRAT diet, the fresh mint, fresh lemon and antioxidant rich matcha green tea felt like a tonic for my soul. Plus the interior was very Instagrammable.

All that being said, making mushipan (蒸しパン) steamed cakes are another fun way to use your matcha in a way that isn’t just drinking it old-school style.

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Below is the recipe I provided here, just with pictures:

Green Tea Mushipan
Recipe makes about three 4-inch inch round size cakes, or about 10 muffin size mushipan

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Special equipment needed:
Bamboo steamer
Vessel for batter (I used creme brulee ramekins, but any baking vessel that fits into the steamer should work. Minnano carries some cookware so ask the staff for the mushipan advice if you have concerns).

Ingredients
3 teaspoons matcha green tea powder
¾ cup steamed bun or bao flour (can be substituted with cake flour)
¼ teaspoon baking powder
3 eggs
½ cup sugar
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon water

Begin by sifting together the matcha, flour and baking powder.


Afterwards, separate the yolks and whites of the eggs. Be especially careful not to get any yolk in the whites, as it will prevent the whites from whipping properly.

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Put the yolks in a large bowl along with the vanilla, water and sugar. Beat the ingredients until they take on a pastel yellow hue, then fold in the flour mixture. Continue reading

Because who has time to drive to Houston for Chinese Food

Everyone says you have to go to Houston if you’re eating Chinese in Texas. Or at least they used to say, apparently – after all this is all anecdotal. But also anecdotally, apparently that’s not the case anymore.

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Pork and Chive Dumplings

Kung Fu Noodle isn’t the only fairly new (last couple years) authentic Chinese restaurant in San Antonio that is supposedly halting the Houston food runs. Sichuan House is another wonderful contender (especially when going out with a large group to split and share their huge portions) but the pictures I have ready to go are of Kung-Fu Noodle so that’s the topic today. Maybe next time Sichuan House.

The interior of Kung-Fu noodle is quaint in a good way and is filled with wood tables that might even make you forget you’re in a strip mall. Probably not but I love them anyway. The menu is simple, and why shouldn’t it be when everything is heavenly?

Once you’ve had fresh noodles it’s hard to go back. There is just something about them that absorbs the flavor of whatever they accompany, be it dumplings or broth. This is comfort food.

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Handmade Noodle and Pork Soup

There was a lot hype surrounding this place, so my hopes were high. Not only were they met, they were exceeded. And though it took a couple of visits to get a table without a wait, it was absolutely worth it.

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Dumplings Prior to Being Devoured

All this being said, I’ve never actually been to Houston. I do want to go and the growing choices for Chinese food in San Antonio aren’t going to stop me, but they will probably slow me down.

 

Year of the Rooster

It’s becoming more apparent with each colorful festival, parade and event here in the Alamo City that my cellphone just isn’t going to take pictures that do these things justice. Especially when it is drizzling like it was yesterday at San Antonio’s 30th Annual Asian Festival at the Institute of Texan Cultures.

So far every picture in this blog was taken by me with a cellphone. Editing can do a world of good but I think it’s about time I get my DSLR looked at (might need a new lens) and back in commission.

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This man is sporting a turban supplied by a booth manned by Sikhs. They allowed festival goers to try on turbans for the day. You can find out more at the Rivard Report.

That being said, walking in the high 40s/ low 50s from our apartment to the festival wasn’t something we non-native Texans were complaining about. After all, it’s going to be about 90 here on Tuesday. It’s February by the way, if you don’t recall.

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Spot the photo-bomb.

Scheduled to fall around the Chinese New Year, the Asian Festival hosts booths, performances, food, and vendors from all over the continent and beyond to the Pacific Islands. This year I encountered pieces of Pakistan, Turkey, India, Malaysia, the Philippines, U.S.A. (Hawai’i reppin), Japan, China, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and Bangladesh.

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Suman, Filipino rice-cake steamed in banana leaves (pictured with the hands of an authentic Pinoy).
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Malaysian tandoori chicken.

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It was absolutely wholesome, refreshing and mentally healing to spend a day surrounded by the good energy of diverse people coming together to coexist and celebrate each other. There was no room to be an outsider. Sikhs invited the audience onto the stage during their performance, the young group that volunteered to learn sumo were the poster children of diversity, the only thing the girls (and one boy) doing choreographed K-Pop dances had universally in common was a trendy Korean street style wardrobe.

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Enthusiasts of all backgrounds represented the various martial arts, regardless of the country of origin. The day could have been a Coke commercial.

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If it looks like a duck

.. swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it still might not be a duck.

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When I wear these to the doctor and they give me a blanket, I feel like the Wicked Witch of the West.

I think this is why I’ve dealt with skeptical doctors for so long now. I look healthy, eat healthy, walk 20-30 miles a week, and I’m young. Not exactly checking off ticks on the risk factor chart.

However, I think 2017 just might be my year because after eight years of doctors, specialists, a couple endoscopies, ultrasounds, x-rays, a little ER fun, and a whole bunch of maybe, maybe, maybes – I’ve finally gotten something to go on. Well, four diagnoses to be exact. Jackpot!

If you really want to know, by all means ask away. But usually I blog about cookies and sushi, so I don’t want to shock anyone coming here for not medical details. Still, I wanted to give this public update. It really has been a struggle to find out what the heck is going on Continue reading

Last Minute Christmas Cookies

Happy Winter Solstice, though having been able to break out the coat a few days back for a drop below freezing (which I find remarkable and wonderful in the Alamo City) it does feel like winter got a start already. Earlier this year, somewhere between summer and autumn I noticed that the squirrels seemed more active this year. Hoarding more nuts, as though they expected the foraging season to be cut short. I mentioned to a few that I thought it was a sign of a truly cold winter ahead, and I’m happy to say that compared to last season that has been the case so far.img_1073

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The best part of winter is smelling like a fire.

Sunday Josh and I were invited to Six Flags to enjoy the park in its holiday state. It seemed like good time to end up in a theme park decked for Christmas given we were married in one four years on the 15th.

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We picked the location of Silver Dollar City and date because I love holidays, celebrating, decorating and festivities in general. My Christmas tree went up before Thanksgiving this year, and Halloween decorations started before October. I celebrate holiday seasons to their fullest Continue reading

Thanksgiving in Hill Country

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Despite the fact that my phone fell from a tall bed Wednesday night finally finishing it off along with most of my recent photos, as well as the fact that half of my visiting family (and I) were varying degrees of sick all throughout the weekend, Thanksgiving 2016 went by smoothly. The perfect weather lured us outside each day to hike, stargaze, and walk beneath trees of twinkling Christmas light-lit oaks.

By popular demand: the link to the recipe for the “Rosemary Corn Cake with a Honey and Brown Butter Buttercream” is further down, along with some of my own notes.

About a five-minute walk from my apartment on South Flores in San Antonio is the 1851 Guenther House. Known for brunch and being home to the Pioneer Brand baking mixes, I usually see a lot of people coming and going around noon when I walk by. Yet before this weekend, I had not visited myself.

Maybe it was the menu or maybe the clientele, but we ended up dubbing it “fancy Cracker Barrel” complete with outdoor heaters and afghans for the mild autumn chill. Unfortunately my pictures of the grounds along the river and replica gingerbread house in the museum were lost when my phone bit the dust later that evening.

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Keeping with the theme of outdoor fancy heated seating, we visited Hotel Emma at the Pearl while on a mission to get the sea salt dark chocolate ice cream from Lick that my sister had fallen in love with during her stay in the summer  (though it cost as much as the five paletas we bought at El Paraiso for lunch). We also took time to visit the Japanese grocery store, the Japanese tea gardens, Southwest School of Art (to keep with theme of places established in 1851), and the Denman Estate Park pictured above.

Did I point out all the aforementioned activities went down on same day? (along with seeing the lights of “Light the Way” at University of the Incarnate Word and dining for supper at wood-fired all local Il Forno just past Southtown).

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As such, arriving at the peaceful 1851 Opa’s Haus in Kingsbury, Texas was the perfect foil to a full day on the town.

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“The house was originally built by German immigrants who used ‘fachwerk’ (half timber) construction with which they were familiar in Germany. Some of these original walls have been exposed to show the structural beams held together with hand-whittled pegs instead of nails. Between the beams you can also see the handmade bricks.”

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We heard a range of creatures during our stay – the cows that live in the field beyond this bathroom window, an owl, yipping foxes and definitely probably a few ghosts.

We did find that most (all but one) of the windows did not have full curtain coverings, maybe the German way?

Less than twenty minutes to Landa Park in New Braunfels, it was easy to stop by the Comal Springs, once home to the Natives who called it “Conaqueyadesta, meaning “where the river has its source”, for a little hike post Thursday’s dinner/brunch.

Not pictured is the very old Founder’s Oak, a tree with its on webpage.

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Because we had our turkey dinner while watching “Christmas Vacation” at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin Thursday evening, even featuring Aunt Janet-style green bean casserole and pecan pie – Thursday morning was host to a lunch/brunch centered around ham and hashbrown casserole.

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You can find the recipe for dessert at The Bees’ Knees. The batter makes a three layers rather the two pictured, and personally would recommend halving that recipe. Furthermore, I found the buttercream to be a bit grittier than I prefer, but I did mix it by hand. Browning the butter is wonderful idea however, and brown butter could incorporated into any buttercream recipe I believe.

An #optoutside hike on Enchanted Rock and a drive through the Christmas-ready town of Fredericksburg to the soundtrack of live polka music in the square capped off our Friday in Hill Country. There were plenty of leftovers to be had at Opa’s Haus for the meals that day.

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Needless to say, I slept 15 hours straight Saturday night – almost as long as drive for my family returning to Arkansas.