Jake the Cook

So….

Jake and I have this thing, when we have time in the morning he helps me make pancakes.  I don’t have a recipe for pancakes, I am a huge fan of just add water, I also am not really a fan of measuring things out.  I suppose because I like to make 8 pancakes in the morning not 6 or 10-12 or whatever that measuring business works out to be.   Anyway, Jake helps me make pancakes…sometimes.  He also has helped me make bread but that is slow and boring with all the time it takes to raise and blah blah blah.  Anyway, we do a bit of cooking.

The other day I say to him.  “Hey, let’s make some cookies tomorrow.”  This was not only a plan to make cookies but also a bit of a bribe so he and Quinn would be good for the evening and go to bed nicely.

The next day came and boy did I ever hear about the cookies.  I looked for my mom’s famous recipe, which strangely enough came off the bag of the Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chip bag, and couldn’t find it.  As I was about to head into a frenzy to get myself to the story to get my mom’s recipe, Joelle, wonderful wife that she is, gets online to Pioneer Woman’s website tasty kitchen and finds some peanut butter chocolate chip cookie thing….  Look, it’s not my mom’s chocolate chip recipe, which strangely enough came off the bag of the Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chip bag, so I am skeptical about everything at this point.  I’m not particularly adventurous, nor do I like new things, but I am committed, Jake is expecting me to make some cookies with him and I am expecting to spend some good quality time with my little boy.  Would you like to see….

Jake got all the stuff out

Jake got all the stuff out

Honestly, since Jake can’t read very well yet I told him what to get and he got it out and brought it over to the counter so we would have everything we needed.

We got ready to attack the ingredients

We got ready to attack the ingredients

Does he look ready?  I thought so, and oh boy was he ever excited about it.

sugar

sugar

He measured this out all by himself, all I did was clear a bit off the top.

Jake was having fun.

Jake was having fun.

I had to pack the brown sugar for him, he didn’t quite get it, he tried, of course but ended up with a lot of sugar on his hand which had, HAD to be licked off.

Getting ready for some mixin'

Getting ready for some mixin'

Once all the sugar and fat were in we did a bit of mixing, just to get things started combining.  I suppose I could go and rewatch that episode of Good Eats where Alton Brown makes 3 very different cookies for his “sister” using the exact same recipe but varying the order of ingredients, but we decide to try it on our own.  Anyway, also on good eats I saw this neat measuring cup thing that telescopes to varying capacities….  Jake wasn’t strong enough to push it down and hold it at the same time so all I did was hold it for him, he managed to get the thing down.

Can't quite make it Dad

Can't quite make it Dad

Gettin' it

Gettin' it

Got it

Got it

This one is just funny

This one is just funny

After a bit of mixing we got ready to add some flour.

get back in the bowl.

get back in the bowl.

Then he added the flour.

Oh, and the chips got added

Oh, and the chips got added

Then of course after you get done making the cookies you get to lick the paddle you mixed all the stuff together with, ya, ya, I suppose you could just toss it in the sink and wash it, but where’s the fun in that.

Concentrating on the paddle

Concentrating on the paddle

I was having a time getting him to actually look at the camera instead of how good the paddle was going to taste.

This is the serious one

This is the serious one

…aaaaaaaannnnd, the smile?!?

I managed to make a joke and he did make a goofy face, we'll call it a smile.

I managed to make a joke and he did make a goofy face, we'll call it a smile.

Here’s the before.

Before

Before

And after.

After

After

They always give you a range, 8-10 minutes or something like that, and that’s when you have to experiment with the time cooking until they’re golden brown and delicious.

The finished product

The finished product

A bit of a change in the recipe, I put in extra crunchy peanut butter rather than creamy.  I personally thought the peanut butter could be a bit more, and of course a few more chips would make them perfect.  All in all I would say Jake did very well on his first batch of chocolate chip cookies.  Sorry mom, that I couldn’t teach him your famous chocolate chip recipe, which strangely enough came off the bag of the Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chip bag,  but I guess we have to believe he is going to be making wonderful chocolate chips cookies for the rest of his life until he finds his Dad’s chocolate chip recipe, which strangely enough came off the bag of the Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chip bag.

Advertisements

My first time

So….

It all started when I was listening to Animal, Vegetable, Miracle:  A Year of Food Life,  by Barbara Kingsolver, with Steven L. Hopp and Camille Kingsolver.  A book on CD my wonderful wife got for me so I would have something to listen to on my way to and from work.  Well…she also got it before we took a trip back to the states so we could listen to it while we traveled around the country visiting to several National Parks.  Anyway, Steven L. Hopp, Barbara’s husband, makes bread.  He has a bread maker, I don’t, but he makes bread for their family.  The book really affected us and helped us to realize that there are other options, more helpful/healthful options to our health and the environment.  (While I don’t believe global warming is a thing, I do know that our supply of fossil fuel is finite and we should conserve what we have, but that is another post)

Steven L. Hopp makes bread almost daily, according to the book.  I’ve only ever seen Mrs. B make bread, my mom also had a few attempts but I never really got into eating that kind of stuff.  Hmmmm.  Since we are trying to know where our food comes from and pay a bit more attention to Organic and Local foods I started, also, making bread for my family.  I’ve had pretty good success, experimented but not to much, added some stuff took some stuff out, in fact I would say today was the first time I really screwed up.

The AC is on in my house all the time because it is so dang hot here, which makes my kitchen cold.  I have to turn on my oven for a minute so it is warm enough to help my bread to rise.  Aaaaaauuuuuugh, I put the bread in to rise and thought I had turned the oven off but didn’t.  Just now when I went to pull it out after the first rise, the heat hit me and I realized I hadn’t turned off the oven….

Trying to salvage something out of that but I don’t know how successful that will be.  Of course it’s fresh bread…how bad could it be?  Uneatable?  Probably not.

Reconnecting with people

So….

This guy from college died recently.  Being overseas and away from family and friends my wife had a hard time with the news of his passing.  It really made her take stock of her life and her connections with past friends and acquaintances.  She felt that she needed to get back in touch with some of the folks from home.  A discussion ensued about the merits of Facebook(FB), possible pitfalls for our marriage, benefits to home and family and that kind of stuff.  We decided that she would get on and see what all the hubbub was about.

Since then, I’ve heard about this friend or that friend, she’s asked me if I remember so-and-so from PUC, she has told me about how FB takes this friends list and your list and compares and then asks you if you want to be friends with someone on the space shuttle because you watched Star Trek when you were growing up with giant robots, and Cobra was trying to take over the world or something like that.  It sounded interesting and so after a month, or so, of sitting and listening to her talk about it….

Last night I took the plunge into FB.  Yes, I am now on FB.  I have my own FB.  I’m FBing, an FBer, I don’t even know what the proper term is.  I’m not quite sure how I feel about it.  I feel so exposed for some reason on FB more than I do on the blog.  I guess it’s the part about not seeing someone for 20 years then all of a sudden I’m showing them…what?  My blog?  Some pictures?  Stories about my life?  It’s not like they’re all crazy?  Could it be there are millions of people on FB and some guy had FB e-mailed me asking me if I knew who he was and threw out a couple of names and HALO and I’ve got no idea who this dude is but how did he get my name?   Could there be another Brent Yamada out there?  Do you mean to tell me that my parents weren’t the very first people to put Brent and Yamada together, or maybe they were the first, but they weren’t the last.  I guess with the blog, it is me in my living room putting something together so the boys can look back  or the family can keep up with us being so far away from them.  On the FB my ever so original name is just 1 out of 4 different Brent Yamada’s, and that makes me realize how small I am in the grand scheme of things.

Maybe through the discomfort of being so small in FB I will be able to reconnect with some folks I haven’t spoken to or seen for 10 or 20 years.  That and if I can get it figured out.

So…What ABOUT Bob??

So….  While GranDee was here, we got to go to this place called “The Cottages at Ourawan Beach”.  It is way up at Camp Schwab, now way up  can mean a couple of different things.  Consider, in this case, that I’ve lived on an island for my last 3 duty stations, that is 10 years or so, and in that time things have gotten a bit skewed.  Like if I have to be in the car for 45 minutes…whew…man…what a drag…such a long trip.

Anyway, as you could’ve probably guessed it is at a beach, a small beach, but nice enough especially during the week…all the marines are at work during the morning/afternoon.  So we were pretty much alone the 6 of us.

I don’t really know how this came about, but Quinn and GranDee came back from down the  beach with Quinn holding a hermit crab named Bob.  And it wasn’t just a hermit crab named Bob… it was that all hermit crabs ARE Bob.

DAD:  Hey Quinn, whacha got there?

QUINN:  Bob

DAD:  Oh, I thought it was a hermit crab.

QUINN:  (Head shakes no) Bob

DAD:  So the hermit crabs name is Bob?

QUINN:  (Head shakes yes) Bob

An unknown quantity of time passes(Like 5 minutes) and we are back at the water.

DAD:  Hey Quinn, where’s Bob?

QUINN:  (points in the general direction of mama)

JAKE:  Hey dad, look it’s Bob.  Quinn it’s Bob.

QUINN:  BOB!!!!!!

JAKE:  Dad, another Bob.

QUINN:  Bob!!!!

This is Bob

This is Bob

Another Bob

This also is Bob

Look, it's Bob.

Look, it's Bob.

And....Bob

And....Bob

I was walking along with Jake when all of sudden I see this little thing on the sand skitter away from where I was walking.  I looked real fast but it was to late to see so I just kept on my merry way…there it is again…hmmmmm, I wonder what that could be?!?  Certainly not Bob.  The next time I see the movement I stop and look, really fast ’cause this time I’m prepared.

Could this be Bob's cousin....Mike, or Tom?

Could this be Bob's cousin....Mike, or Tom?

I don’t know but he was hard to see and he could run in bursts really, really fast.

There were some rocks nearby the boys got to go and climb around on…it was a super good day.

Handsome boy

Handsome boy

Grrrrrrrrr

Grrrrrrrrr

We had a couple of days there at the Cottages, they are pretty nice.  It’s a short walk down to the beach, during the week you pretty much have left over people from the weekend, or the early weekend starters.  The night scenery is nice, there is a light house you can see and a hotel across the bay.  The boys were great, I got to grill and make pancakes, and not be at work, and Jo got to rest, and GranDee got to play with the boys, and Kira…  well, she slept and nursed and pooped.

A great time was had by all.

Ridin’ the bike

So….

Last week, on the 26th, we went outside to do a little playing.  The neighbors were out with their kids and Jake had the Skuut out.  Now I don’t know if you have heard of Skuut, it is something my parents saw in the SkyMall magazine the first time they came to Okinawa to visit us.  Basically it is a wooden bike with no pedals…2 wheels, a seat and a handlebar.  It is meant to help kids learn to balance so they don’t have to use training-wheels on their pedal bikes.

We just had one of our friends PCS(Permanent Change of Station) back to the states.  He has a boy about 2 years older than  Jake, who was learning how to ride a bike with training wheels.  The back tire had a hole because G had learned how to skid, so I replaced it and filled it up with air, put the whole thing back together again, with very few left over parts, and Jake got on.

This is the result of practicing with the Skuut.  This is the first time he’s ever been on a bike with pedals.

STEP 1:  Have Dad help with balance to get started.

STEP 1: Have Dad help with balance to get started.

STEP 2:  Start pedaling, maybe have Dad push a little.

STEP 2: Start pedaling, maybe have Dad push a little.

STEP 3:  Have Dad act like he's pushing but in reality he isn't, it's like a fake out.

STEP 3: Have Dad act like he's pushing but in reality he isn't, it's like a fake out.

Jo actually wrote a bit on the Skuut awhile back because the President of Skuut contacted us to see if they could use some of pictures on their website.  Pretty sweet.  She also got a video of him skuutin’ around.

Since then…that makes it sound like it’s been months…he has been riding and practicing and really doing great, riding like a professional.  Lance you better watch out…if you were 4…and in Japan…and a…well, you get the point.  I’m a proud father what can you expect.