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I got my first paycheck on Friday and do you remember what I said would be the first thing I spent it on? Food! I've become kind of addicticed to steamed buns with sweet red bean paste in them (and a plus is that I don't have to worry about anyone else sneaking some out to eat since they don't like them) and I wanted to try making some of my own. I've found a recipe for the paste, or anko as it is also called, and bough some red beans from the Asian Market on my way home from work and made this:


Might not look like much, but considering I was paniking when I began adding the sugar because it looked too watery... I'm just so happy it came out alright; it tastes a bit sweeter then I usually like it, but that can be easily fix by adjusting the sugar added next time. I also bought both glutinous and non-glutinous rice flour to make dango to go with it and I also want to try making daifuku with it as well.

Can you tell that Just One Cookbook is my new favorite site? I'm seriously tempted to begin trying eBooks for the sole sake of the digital recipe book.

The rest of my family doesn't like anko (except maybe my brother, but it's been years since he had a chance to taste it so he doesn't know if he'll like it or not) but I'll also try out some other flavors for the dango and daifuku that would better suit their tastes. My dad is actually diabetic and he began having to take insulin a couple of years ago. On Friday, he and my mom went to a nutrition class for diabetics and finally, after months of Mom and I trying to get through to him, he is finally understanding the importance of counting his carbs. Of course, this translated into him trying to lecture me when I was making pancakes (non-gluten, non-wheat pancakes, mind you) yesterday and Mom had to remind him that, no, I'm not the one needs to count carbs, especially considering Bro and I are the ones who are the most mindful of what we eat >_<

But it gives me an excuse to try to be healthier. I bough some almond flour, which has 6 grams of carbs of which 3 of them are fiber, and he wants to give it a try. I also want to look into sugar substitutes; just how beneficial is agave and how could I substitute it into recipes? Another thing is that I have a bit of a sweet tooth and prefer baking, but I think its time for me to venture out into trying more savory recipes that might have me not being as depended on the oven.
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Erhhh, I'm so tired. We were babysitting two of my cousins yesterday and it ended up turning into a sleepover. Both of the boys were so excited but that meant that they didn't go to sleep until around 1:30 in the morning or so. And then they get up early and are so full of energy 0_0

Since they love Lego's, my mom brought out my brother's old Bionicles from the storage shed to play with. Only they kept calling the Bionicles 'Hero Factory' XD I heard Bionicles might be getting a reboot soon and their birthdays are coming up, so that may be a good gift idea for them.

They were staying with us because their youngest brother ended up staying overnight at the hospital with their mom. They thought he might have type-1 diabetes, but I guess the tests for it came back negative? I don't really know, only they haven't figured out what's wrong with him. Since he was throwing up a lot, we thought he might be dehydrated since this is Arizona, but they ended up finding keytones in his urine and a raised white cell count. But, again, they were able to rule out diabetes, so what could it be?

On a more pleasent note, my mom and I made my Grandma's pound cake yesterday. Mom put me in charge of measuring everything, because she has a horrible tendency to forget how many cups of flour she puts in, leading to the cake being too doughy the last time she tried making it. This time, though, it came out perfect! The boys loved it, and when we made sure to leave a piece for the youngest (who always reminded us of that when we talked to him on the phone). And between my family and my cousin's, its all gone, so we'll have to try to make it again some time.

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We had a blackout on Saturday when all four of my little cousins were over. It happen just as my mom was going to put Frozen on for them to watch. And then their parents came over, like, ten minutes later at around seven, so the kids weren't scared. In fact, they thought it was so cool once we brought out the candles and flashlights. One of my cousins had her birthday earlier in July and still had glow sticks left over, so we got those out for the kids. The younger two had fun making bracelets and necklaces with them, while the older two loved throwing them in the pool and diving after them, under our watchful eyes and flashlights of course! And Lily was happy because us being out on the patio meant that she could night-swimming as well. 

Then my sister pointed out that we never got around to making s'mores on Fourth of July and the fire pit was right there, so we got all the s'more making stuff out for some fun. Surprisingly, the fire felt nice. Or maybe it wasn't so surprising, since it has been monsoon season over here. There's a reason why Arizonian's always point out that we have a dry heat, because humid heat is horrible!

Then the kids went home and Dad and I agreed to stay the night to take care of Lily-dog and Sophie-cat. Poor Momma has been experiencing bad hot-flashes ever since she finished her chemo, something about her hormones or medication making her have heat flashes. There was no way she could stay the night in the house and it was expected that the power wouldn't be back on till five in the morning. Sis and her went home with one of our cousins and then Dad and I retired to the patio where it was slightly cooler. I had a flashlight and a book handy while Dad went to fold up the patio umbrellas. I hear the 'clank-clank-clank' of the crank and once it clears, the power came back on! I burst out laughing, asking dad what he did to make the power come back on.

Of course, whatever they did to fix the power must have been a temporary fix, as the we had another blackout tonight. It wasn't for as long, just an hour and a half or so, but it happen around the time my sister was getting ready for bed, since tomorrow is her first day of high school and she has to be at school really early for band.

...Allow me a moment to try to get use to the fact that my baby sister is starting high school 0_0

This brings up the point about dry heat vs humid heat; tonight wasn't humid at all, so I took Lily and a flashlight out and went around the block to see how our neighbors were faring. I'm a desert kid through and through; some where complaining that it was hot out, but to me it was wonderful. And Lily was happy too, since she got to see some of the neighbor dogs. She actually doing really well around new dogs, as she doesn't bark or try to bite them, just smell them quietly. I wish she would act the same way with new people, as she gets all hyper and jumpy when she's around them >_<

Also, I got around to finally making this pie yesterday. I had most of the ingredients but kept procrastinating on it because 1) we didn't have cocoa powder and 2) my enthusiasm for making the recipe deflated after Mom reminded me that she can't have anything soy. But I had already bought most of the stuff and the expiration date for the tofu was coming up, so I got off my butt, got the cocoa powder, and finally made her.

The funny thing is that the cocoa powder was a bigger obstacle then I thought. Storytime: when Acara was, oh, nine or so, she wanted something sweet to eat, but there wasn't anything like that in the house. Then I remembered the container of cocoa powder on the baking shelf and figured, hey, that's probably pretty good. It might be a bit bitter, but I love dark chocolate so I figured I could bare it. So I got the biggest spoon I could find and filled it with cocoa powder.

If you never tasted cocoa powder before, DON'T DO IT! You know the cinnammon challenge? My reaction was just like that as I tried not to spit the nasty stuff everywhere. So I kind of have had a bad association with cocoa powder since then and the fact that I couldn't easily find it in the store made me just want to make the recipe without it more.

Childish, I know, but the worst part was that, as I was making the pie, I though that maybe I had overreacted that day. After all, everything in moderation and all that, so maybe just a small sample would taste better? There was a light dusting of it on the teaspoon I used, so I wiped some of it on my finger and licked it. AND IT TURNED OUT I WAS STILL HORRIBLY WRONG!

...You know that scene in Avatar the Last Airbender where Sokka licks the gunk they find inside that one rock cave in the desert? And how he says he did it because he's so naturally curous? Yeah, I am just like that. Remind me to tell you guys the story of when I touched a cactus for a dollar sometime.

Still, the pie came out wonderful! I'll have to see if it will last till Bro comes home this weekend; at least with him I know he'll appreciate it!

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