Japanese Tea Ceremony & The Naha Market


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Last week, a friend invited me to go with her to Naha to a Japanese tea ceremony. Though we've had tea countless times while living out here, I've never actually been to a formal ceremony. It was incredible.  Every detail had meaning and there were months of preparation that went into it. I wish I had more photos, but it was so dark in the tatami mat room. When we arrived, we walked through a small Japanese garden to where we took off our shoes and ceremonially washed our hands & took a sip of water from the garden basin above. The traditional thick green tea we drank was prepared infront of us and was... um, not delicious at all. Haha, it was awful! But the experience was amazing. From the ideology read to us, to the clothing worn, every detail in tea ceremonies stem from Zen Buddhism. That's why I was so surprised to find that our host and her husband are actually Pastors and she turned her ceremony into something beautifully Christian. Scripture was read. Purity, Faithfulness, Respect & Humbleness were the four themes she stressed. It wasn't what we were expecting at all, and it brought tears to my eyes to witness how she worshiped the Lord through it. 

Jamie and I spent the rest of the day on Kokusai Street exploring the markets. It's such a fun place in Naha: you can find everything from fish markets, pig heads, flowers and textiles, to Okinawan breads, meats, and fruits.
{Through the window: sweet ladies having tea together in an upstairs shop}
My lil finds. A pretty glass jar for olive oil and a print of a parrot fish that Cam always spears, to be framed for him.

Happy Tuesday!

Summer Weekend & A Refreshing Watermelon Smoothie


Monday, July 30, 2012

{Busena Terrace beach}
This smoothie was perfect this weekend... Especially after a bike ride in the blazing hot 100 degrees sun with 100% humidity. By the time we made it home, we were drenched, and this smoothie couldn't have been more refreshing. I threw it together with mostly fresh watermelon + frozen peaches & pineapples and a little coconut water.  I made a little extra, put it in a mason jar with a lid, and stuck it in the freezer for a slushy later.  It could also make a good snack to grab and take to work, too. 
 *As much watermelon as you'd like
*1-2 cups of frozen peaches
*1 cup of frozen pineapple
*Coconut Water to blend
*Chia Seeds if you have them

Hope you all had a relaxing & fun weekend!

Summer Arugula & Prosciutto Pizza with Melone


Friday, July 27, 2012

{and more flowers & biking of course}
This pizza is amazing! It's very simple, but with the richness of the pecorino and fresh mozz, plus the saltiness of the prosciutto and the peppery arugula on top, there is tons of flavor. 
For the dough:

*4 Cups of Flour
*1/3 Cup of EVOO
*2 Tablespoons Sea Salt
*1 Teaspoon Active Dry or Instant Yeast
*1/4 Cup of Raw Sugar

Sprinkle the yeast into 1 1/2 cups of warm water. Stir the flour, salt and sugar & drizzle in the olive oil. I don't have my mixer out here so this was done by hand. Pour in the yeast/water mixture until combined. Lightly coat a large bowl with olive oil and form the dough as much as you can into a ball, coated with the EVOO. Cover the bowl and store in the refrigerator for atleast a couple of hours, the longer the better. It will make two doughs. 
Guess who taught me the next part? My Cam! His pizza making days in high school are really paying off in our marriage. (; Spread out the flour on a surface and on the dough, and begin working it with your hands until you can spread it out on a baking sheet. Drizzle with EVOO, place the sliced mozz on top and then add about a cup or so of either freshly grated parmesan {not the packaged!} or pecorino romano. Stick in a 500 degrees preheated oven for about 10-14 minutes, or until the crust starts to golden. After it's out of the oven, drape prosciutto on top and heap on the peppery arugula.
I love prosciutto e melone and it went absolutely perfect with this pizza.
Even Stella agreed.
Hope you have a beautiful weekend watching the Olympics!

He Bought Me A Bike!! Jiggidy-jig.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

My last hybrid bike didn't survive a recent wind storm and sadly saw her last days. So the other night, my amazing husband brought me home this beauty! Isn't she adorable!? 
I can't decide if I should name her Chardonnay or Pinot Griggio, but being turquoise, she seems to be a white wine kind of girl. {That laughter you hear loud and clear is coming from the direction of my husband, getting a total kick out of me yet again naming our inanimate objects}
I rode around all evening smiling like a fool. So happy! There's miles of sugarcane out past our neighborhood where all you hear on the backroads is cicadas and farmers working, 
and smack in the middle of it on the side of the road, Ash and I found a field of wild sunflowers. 
Naturally, we had to stop and admire and pick some to take home.  Riding around on a turquoise bike, picking wild sunflowers. It's so silly sweet it's kind of hilarious.

My pretty bike got even prettier with long stems of sunflowers in the basket, and I realized I had a huge smile on my face as all the farmers driving by had one on theirs too,  chuckling and waving as they passed by the funny American.  It's the same feeling when on a run -- heart and adrenaline pumping, out in the hot sun, so very thankful to be alive that you can't help but smile.
I was trying to think if there was anything that could possibly make that afternoon any better. The two things that came to mind?   Having Cam there, and a huge icy margarita.

Sweet Rosemary Chicken Over Parmesan Orzo


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Good friends, good food & good wine make us so happy.  A couple of our friends came over for dinner and let me experiment a new recipe on them I recently thought up. Good, trusting friends they are. 

The sweet, grilled chicken was so yummy on top of the parmesan orzo and the fresh rosemary added a delicious savory touch to it, and also made the meal very fragrant.
 It was such a great night. Just how outdoor summer nights should be!
Sweet Rosemary Chicken Over Parmesan Orzo {Serves 4-5}:

*4-5 Chicken Breasts
*Fresh Rosemary Sprigs {about 10}
*1 Red Onion
*1/3 Cup of Honey
*1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard
*1/4 Cup of Raw Sugar

*2 Cups Orzo
*2-3 Cups Fresh Grated Parmesan {not the packaged version!}
*Olive Oil
*Sea Salt
After you've rinsed the chicken breasts, place them in a freezer bag. Add the honey, dijon, and raw sugar, making sure the chicken is well coated in each. Add the sliced red onion & a few sprigs of fresh rosemary. Refrigerate for atleast a few hours. {I've made this a few times now and it comes out best when it's refrigerated for atleast 24 hours.} Grill on the bbq in a grilling pan if you have one, or directly on if you don't. Watch the red onions closely, as they'll cook faster than the chicken. 

Cook the orzo according to the box, in well salted boiling water. Drain, but do not rinse. While it's still warm, toss with a generous amount of olive oil and the cups of freshly grated parmesan.

Scoop some orzo on a plate, add a chicken breast on top along with grilled red onions, and top it all with a sprig or two of fresh rosemary {for beauty and to eat the leaves!}. You can also grate some more fresh parm on top as well. Enjoy!!

Katsuren Castle Ruins


Out of all the castle ruins on island, Katsuren is definitely our favorite. It's perched up a steep hill on a peninsula so it has the turquoise Pacific on both sides. My goodness it's beautiful!
We hiked up to it at the best time of day, just before sunset,
and found a shady, peaceful spot to just take it all in.

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