Summer Bento — Cheese Ravioli, Tamagoyaki, Garlic Butter Shrimp

It is mid-week and I managed to come home in time to cook today. I made cheese ravioli with mushroom tomato sauce. The sides are tamagoyaki (my first attempt!) and garlic butter pan-fried shrimp. It was pretty delicious! 

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Summer Bento Box

This afternoon, I’ll start working on my handmade jewelry project – something I’ve wanted to do for a while now but never found the time. Updates soon! I am also planning a little surprise for the kids at the art camp tomorrow, we’ll see if I can pull it off! 


❤ Joy

Yummy Smoothie

Today was an awesome day! I was helping out at the kids art camp and I had such a blast. I made sculptures and paper mache pinatas and mixed paint for the kiddos. I learnt how to use a saw and shared my fear of glue guns with the children. I was covered in paste at one point and had kids hanging off me at another. I became best friends with the little boys and girls and talked about godzilla, fire-breathing turtles and superheroes. I was surrounded by imagination and creativity unbounded and it made me so happy. I think this might be one of the happy places I can later picture when I am sad.

I then got a nice phone call from someone important and it made me even happier to be able to share my joy and excitement with somebody. 🙂 So, to cap off my happy day, I decided to make myself a happy smoothie. This is not at all healthy and is loaded full of fattening stuff. It was filled with yummy things and reminds me of childhood, candy and bliss. It also was one of the most tasty ways to drink my daily collagen powder, so that’s a plus. I wouldn’t drink it every day, but once in a while, just to cheer myself up, I would indulge in this yummy treat.

I named it “bliss” because that was the feeling it invoked. It was also the emotion I feel when I don’t over-analyze things and simply enjoy what life has to offer. It captures that “let-it-go” feeling. And here is my “bliss”:

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“Bliss”: Made from 2 tablespoons of nutella, 1/2 cup of milk, 1 large scoop of local maple cream, daily serving of Meiji collagen powder & plenty of happy thoughts.

Enjoy your “bliss”!

❤ Joy

Spring Fling (In Summer)

Happy Saturday, everyone!

I woke up wanting to cook something. I thought of flowers and settled with the theme of Spring Fling. No, no unicorns this time… 😛

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Yes I actually cook in a tiny pink apron and my stove has a little mat with teddy bears on them. I told you I live in a dollhouse. ^^

I basically cut all the vegetables into various shapes of flowers and even tossed in their borders which still look really pretty (what is left over after you cut the vegetables into different shapes). I cut the carrots into alphabets because the carrots I used were too narrow to cut into flower shapes. Cooking itself was easy, I just tossed everything with a little bit of soy sauce. Didn’t want to overcook vegetables.

I’d been craving fish for a while so I decided to cook the small fillet I had in my freezer. I cut it into a heart shape but it wasn’t too successful. Which is fine. That’s how I learn, when things fail and fall apart (the heart literally fell apart and I had put it together after it was cooked). I rubbed the fish with a little bit pink himalayan salt and left it for a bit, then cooked it in the leftover soy sauce and added a dash of oyster sauce and sesame oil (a little goes a long way with both of these).

Finally, it was the assembly of the bento box, which I love because it was about decorating! I was that kid who spent extra time on her handicraft assignment to make sure the stickers were pasted in a different way from her classmates (not wanting to be normal is pretty big with me) and had glitter only in the right places (and not all over the place). So anyway, here, I stacked all the border vegetables at the bottom of the bento box and placed the fish on top, made sure the words were clearly visible and tossed in that one extra carrot flower I could make.

Ta-da! Lunch.

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Spring Fling (In Summer)!

Enjoy your weekends, people!

❤ Joy

Art Day

I am realizing more and more that these 6 months are going to be such an important period of my life. I am taking time off for myself, to recuperate, to take stock of my life. Just to breathe. To be. To live. I will go back to school in February, but right now is the time to heal my soul and to re-define myself. To find new hobbies, explore, volunteer, let go and take in what life has to offer right this moment.

I started with taking art classes. I have always wanted to do that, to paint, to draw, to unleash all that creativity and imagination inside of me. I have always had a creative streak but never really got to explore or develop it. However, with my current finance situation, I am not exactly rolling in it. So I decided to volunteer at the local art studio in exchange for free art classes. Donna, who works at the art studio seemed thrilled to have help and was so excited about the whole thing. I am starting to help out with the art camp next week, in exchange for 3 hours of studio time. Yay!

Art is extremely therapeutic for me. just healing in so many ways. I have the queen of aesthetics,  even though I never trained in any sort of decorating or art school. I love all things pretty, all thing imaginative and it is definitely in my nature to be that sensitive to beauty. To be surrounded by paints and possibilities is a dream come true. I love getting messy too, and today I painted in an art class with just my fingers. I created some pretty 3-series mini paintings and the 3 hours just flew by. Helen, who was helping us, was wonderful. She was encouraging and allowed us free reign to go wild with the colours.

Nobody cared that I had never done art in my life, even though I was sitting next to a girl with a higher degree in painting and a local painter who was doing amazing still life oil paintings. We were all so engrossed in our own world. We would encourage each other and admire each other’s work as we went to get more paints or tools. And it was just a wonderful calm creative energy in that room and I thrived in it.

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This has been a good week for me, in general, just meeting people, having some fascinating conversations that inspire me and touch my heart. I had some girl time with Paige and Audrey, which was awesome! I love talking to people around town, smiling at random strangers, playing with cute pets that jump up at me, and just walking down Main Street enjoying the small town vibe. I am so meant to be here, right now, and who knows how long I’ll stay?

But I appreciate my alone time too, just being in my own space in the dollhouse and enjoying the moment, whether I am cooking or singing, or cleaning. I am grateful for life today and am so thankful for artistic people in this town.

Honey Mustard Chicken & Noodles

I have had a couple really interesting days, meeting people and getting to know them. I bounce from being really sociable to really just wanting to be alone. It really depends on my mood and the people I am spending time with. I don’t think I could just sit by myself all day long, but at the same time, it is nice hanging out alone and doing my own thing too. 

Aaanyway, going out more means cooking at home less and this is my first homecooked meal since the last post. I made a really simple lunch today because I was just… not quite in the mood for an elaborate meal. I basically cooked some thin udon noodles, tossed it in some sesame oil and oyster sauce, then cooked some honey mustard chicken with mushrooms and onions. It was okay, you know, not my best dish, but certainly fills the tummy.

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Pandas and bunnies come out to play on this dish. 😛

I am excited about more company tonight and hopefully later in the week. I feel like life is finally… changing direction and catching a new wind. I find myself smiling more, sighing happily more… it’s good. I’m blessed. 

❤ Joy

Green With Envy

Morning smoothie time!

Today, I made a new beauty blend because I have been trying to come up with new ways to drink my Meiji collagen powder (which I used to drink a lot when I was living in Japan and it made my skin really good). I named this new blend “Green With Envy” for the simple fact that it was green. It is a tangy citrusy mix (so much Vitamin C!), so for those who do not enjoy sour food items, add as much honey as you possibly can to combat that.

Here it is:

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Green With Envy


1/3 of a cucumber

1/2 a lemon

1 lime (I added 1.5 limes and it was a little too much)

1 spoonful of Meiji collagen powder (using the provided measuring spoon)

1 cup milk

As much honey as you desire (it is pretty sour otherwise)

1/2 cup home brewed green tea (mine was refrigerated overnight)

Blend away~! 

As you might have figured out by now, I usually blend all my smoothies from whole fruits, peel and all. That retains a lot of the goodness from the fruit/vegetable. However, retaining the peel is great only if the fruit/vegetable is organic, or that you have washed the fruit/vegetable REALLY well. The nearest grocery store to me is the Food Co-Op, which almost exclusively sells organic products. As such, most of my fruits/vegetables are kinda organic by default, so I don’t give it much thought. If I do pick up anything from that one shelf of “conventional” food items (yes, there is actually one shelf, in the corner of the store, labeled “conventional”), though, I would make sure I wash the peel really well, or simply peel the fruit before blending.

Alright, let’s drink our smoothies and here’s to a pretty Friday!

❤ Joy

Dinner Bento

I started off making dinner. I wanted sushi, so I went ahead with preparing rice. I decided then that I should try my hand at making one of those cutesy bentos. And it begun… and halfway through I had completely forgotten I was preparing dinner. I was having so much fun creating animals and whatnot with the rice balls that I lost track of time, or my original intention.

I also ended up using only 1 of the moulds I had – to make the panda. Beyond that, everything else was shaped by hand and cut free-hand, which explains the crooked lines hahaha… 

But here are the results:

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I started off with penguin, panda and bunny sushi…

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Then sleeping bear happened and this is my favorite creation so far! 🙂

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“Do you wanna build a snowman? It doesn’t have to be a snowman~~~”

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And to use up the rest of the sushi rice, I made some American-style sushi (cream cheese!) and a big heart-shaped rice-ball (which I sprinkled with wasabi furikake afterwards).

Now that I finally finished ‘playing’ with my food, I should eat, about… now (To be fair, I was eating all the extra portions of nori + rice throughout the process anyway).  Especially that sleeping bear – the brown portions were made by mixing the rice with sesame oil and oyster sauce. YUM.

Hope everyone had a good day!

❤ Joy

Tea Time

Tea time in the dollhouse! A little bit of cutting and a couple cookie cutter moulds later… 3 mini sandwiches were born (if the tiny words count as a sandwich of sorts). I think small touches like this are the remnants of my year in Tokyo. 🙂

I know most people cannot be bothered to decorate their food, but it is a fun activity in itself, making tea/sandwiches this way. It could come in handy, too, if you have a kid who’s a picky eater! And no worries about food wastage, because all the borders that were cut out were eaten/made into something else pretty too~ 

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Here we have: – Sourdough bread: with cheese (piggy), with nutella (panda) and with cream cheese (J-O-Y) + Home brewed and refrigerated iced green tea.

Happy Tea Time, everyone!

❤ Joy

Bright Sunny Day~

Hello! Today was a bright and sunny day. I was out briefly for a walk, but came home to continue with the unpacking. It’s all work in progress and I never imagined all the work a new place could bring. I figure I’ll be jumping over boxes for at least a month as things slowly come together. But I am in no rush so I shall take my own time to settle in.

Here are some details…

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Kitchen corner all set up! Love this cozy spot by the window…

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New turquoise wall clock to contrast the happy yellow walls in the kitchen.

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View out the cute window… blue skies ahead!

❤ Joy


Snowflake Fairy Lights

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So today, I received the snowflake fairy lights I’d ordered for the kitchen corner. They are so pretty and even in the summer heat, I am reminded of how pretty VT is in the winter. I love catching snowflakes on my eyelashes or on my hair in the winter. I would stare at them and be incredibly fascinated by the intricate and original design each of them are. God is really some kind of awesome, proven again and again through his creations.

I can’t wait for the gorgeous white winter again. Right after the stunning Fall, of course. Nobody wants to miss a New England Fall because that is just another incredibly stunning sight.

❤ Joy