Friday, March 5, 2010

Spendorexia Nervousa

I'm trying to cut back on my spending. Today I came up with some new rules to cut back and added them to the old ones:

1. No drinking alcohol.

2. No buying coffee, coffee grounds, tea, or soda. Only water, juice, and tea bags or loose tea.

3. No eating between meals unless I'm hungry.

4. No eating dessert, chocolate, or candy.

5. No buying clothes.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Skillet Skones!

This afternoon I came home during my lunch break and made a recipe for "Basic Bannock" from a backpacking book I made photocopies of because I'm too cheap to buy my own copy. Anyway, the recipe was really easy and you just put the little dough patties on a greased skillet and cook 'em till they're brown on the top and bottom and cooked through.

They were good.

When I went back to work, I started thinking, as those who love bread but don't have an oven will do, if I could make more bread-like things on the stove. I really love scones, but to buy one in Japan that is decent really takes a chunk of change. Could I combine my favorite scone recipe with this bannock recipe to make a bread worthy of breaking my fast every morning?

Tonight, I answered that question with what I have dubbed "Skillet Skones."

1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar (any kind)
1tsp baking powder
1/2tsp salt
1/4 cup milk
2Tbs butter
hand full of dried fruit (opt.)

1. Mix all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Slowly add milk until dough is binded (bound?).
2. Melt butter on skillet over med or med-low heat.
3. Divide dough into 4 equal parts and form them into balls. Then squish the balls onto the hot, buttered skillet until they're about a 1/4 inch thick.
4. Keeping the heat not-too-high so you don't burn them, lightly brown one side and then the other by flipping the skones. When you think the middle has lost it's dough-y-ness eat. Enjoy. Tell your friends without ovens.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Roma Numa

Drip Pot Woodneck

A friend gave me drip coffee maker. I finally used it the other day with overwhelming results. Overwhelming because I made coffee so strong Magic Carp was up all night.

Here's a photo.
Thanks, Mrs. Olson.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Lake Yamanaka Camping

The snow on Fuji-san in the distance was a beautiful back-drop for the weekend. I was camping near Yamanaka Lake in Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan.

View Lake Yamanaka in a larger map

At nearly 1000meters above sea level Lake Yamanaka isn't so high up, but at the base of Fuji-san it's a lot colder than where I live! Last year at this time, the campsite was covered in two feet of snow with temps dropping below freezing... even during the day! This weekend it wasn't that cold and there wasn't snow, but I was still uncomfortably chilled at night. During the day, there was so much to do, we were too busy to feel the cold.

This being my first big camping trip with the Boy Scouts organization and because I was not as prepared as I would have liked to have been, I was unsure of what the weekend would be like and a bit apprehensive. Fortunately, I need not have worried.

The trip was to a Boy Scouts of America (BSA) Klondike Derby. Unfortunately, without snow it is impossible to race sleds on skis. The organizers had plenty of other events for the scouts and crew members to do on Saturday, including first aid and throwing hatchets (the best-liked activity of the weekend for the scouts and crew members and the most nerve-wracking for me).

It was really nice to get out of the crowds and into the country. The only thing I didn't enjoy was sleeping in the cold on Saturday night. My mummy sleeping bag was too large and roomy. Even with all my clothes stuffed in under and around me, there was too much dead air space for my body to heat up. Another problem I had was my sleeping pad. Since I sleep curled up in a ball, most of my body just wasn't on it (= conductive heat loss). When I stretched out, I lost my pocket of warm air around my chest. Sometimes, you just can't win.

What did win, however, was the campfire. When everybody got together for the campfire, I was unsure what would happen. Every group was supposed to present two songs or skits. It was no youtube, but the theory behind the program is pretty exciting. Presuming groups don't just throw something together last minute (my group did), I saw great potential for shenanigans rivaling post-game ultimate cheers.

All in all, a stellar weekend. Wish you were here. Even though there were somethings that I could have planned better, next time I'll remember: Be prepared.