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Udon noodles with creamy egg

Here’s an awesome lunch Jeff and I had on Sunday. We had very little food in the house but I still managed to make something special out of some basic items that I usually have lying around.

Udon with creamy egg

I buy pre-cooked udon noodles that come in a vacuum-sealed package with a packet of soup mix. If you’ve ever had ramen noodles you’re probably familiar with that little seasoning packet it comes with. These are like that except that the seasoning packet is actually full of delicious wholesome freeze dried real food as opposed to just salt, MSG, and bouillon.

Boiled up a few eggs to add on top using the same hard-boiled egg method that I used for the Chinese tea eggs I made recently. I only needed two, the other two became snacks for later. :)

Trying new hard-boiled egg technique

Liam was perched on top of the refrigerator the entire time. Whenever eggs, fish, butter, or cheese are present, he’s sure to be lurking around nearby hoping for a windfall.

Liam on the fridge

See how he tries to be cute so I’ll give him a boiled egg? Weirdo.

Liam loving on the cabinets

I am so bad at peeling eggs…

Peeling underset eggs

The udon only really needs to heat through, if you cook it too much it will get soft and fall apart. Never mind that I did exactly that…

Udon noodles in broth

I swear I can get no peace from these two. Liam promptly moved himself directly under my feet as I started to slice the eggs and Lucas alighted to the top of the fridge to glower at me for not giving him any.

Lucas, I realize now that you have yet to have an egg in your life. No wonder you’re so upset! I’m obviously a bad mother.

Lucas disapproves

I am such a sucker for these creamy under-boiled eggs. They tend to soak up the flavors of the broth, so yummy!

Topped it with toasted sesame seeds and shichimi togarashi, a spicy Japanese condiment made specifically for topping soups.

Eggs in udon broth

Udon noodles with creamy egg

An instant soup is dressed up with perfectly cooked eggs and fresh scallions.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes


  • 2 eggs
  • 1 package prepared udon noodles with seasoning
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 thinly sliced scallions
  • top with sesame seeds and togarashi

Cooking Directions

  1. Hard boil eggs. Peel and slice.
  2. Boil noodles in water with seasonings according to package directions.
  3. Top with sliced scallions, sesame, togarashi spice, and sliced egg.

Creamy yolk and sesame seeds

This was a great way to make a special lunch out of a bunch of odds and ends. There is no shame in using packaged noodles and instant broth so long as you can find one with wholesome and authentic ingredients.

What is your favorite way to eat noodles?


Seattle: Japanese gardens and Arboretum

Finally getting around to writing about our recent Seattle vacation. Jeff and I have both been really jet-lagged and not sleeping well because we got a little spoiled by the super-comfy hotel bed! It’s safe to say a new mattress is in our future.

So anyway — general attitude towards the city of Seattle: I LOVED IT.

The whole frickin’ city felt like it was personally hand-crafted with me in mind. Everywhere we went we were completely blown away by how good the food was, how the vibe was just right, how polite and friendly the people were, how clean the air smelled, how interesting the trees were, how easy it was to get around, how distinct the neighborhoods were, how fresh the fish was, how beautiful the mountains were……..I could go on and on.

Seattle Space Needle

I mean, I wasn’t even off the plane before I was in awe of the landscape. Check out this view of Mount Rainier peeking up over the clouds from our plane window.

Mt. Rainier from plane

And beneath us rolled more blue-colored mountains with white-capped peaks covering the landscape like a wrinkled satin bedsheet. It was an amazing welcome.

We spent our first full day walking through literally miles of nature paths. Our first stop was the Japanese Gardens, approximately 3 acres of minutely manicured traditional gardens surrounding a lake full of enormous glittering koi.

Seattle Japanese garden statueCherry blossoms in Japanese GardensJapanese Garden tea house Seattle

stream in Japanese GardenJapanese garden small waterfall

Lake in Seattle Japanese gardenSleeping turtles in Japanese gardensleeping duck in Japanese garden

Crutch tree Seattle Japanese garden

Koi in Japanese garden

Golden koi in Japanese garden

I could have watched those koi for hours….if not for being distracted by this little guy….

Yoga turtle Seattle Japanese garden

And these guys…

Steampunk in Seattle Japanese garden

Apparently there was a steampunk convention going on that day and there were around 20+ people in full garb. Awesome.

Lurve in the Seattle Japanese gardensWide view of Seattle Japanese garden

After the Japanese Gardens we took a break for lunch and then headed back to the Arboretum. An arboretum is essentially a “tree garden.” This one was over a mile wide and absolutely covered in trails that lead you through many different species of local foliage.

Entering arboretummossy path in arboretumRed Japanese maple treeMe in Japanese maple tree

I was so inspired by all the beautiful things around me that I even started putting together an art project! I took a bunch of photos from around the park to include in a “texture study.”

mossy bark texturered smooth textureveined leaf texturegreen bark texturebroken red bark texturefuzzy green mossgrey vertical stripe texturemold spot texturelichen bark textureRed Japanese maple texturemoss and lichen texturegray bark texture

I haven’t felt inspired to create art in a long time. I can’t wait to use those images in a real-life piece!

The arboretum was really amazing. It was a very relaxing way to spend our first full day in Seattle. Touring gardens is probably one of our very favorite things to do on vacations for just that reason.

Mallard in Arboretum

Tomorrow: The Olympic Sculpture Gardens and the Music and Sci-fi Museum!


Honeymoon part 4: Tokyo

And here we are on the last leg on the trip, Tokyo! Actually, it was the first and the last leg of the trip. We flew into Tokyo and pretty much went straight to bed the first night, and the next day we managed to get a little sightseeing in before we had to get on the Shinkansen bound for Osaka.

We took a train out to Mitaka to see the Studio Ghibli museum! I don’t know if you guys know this but I am a huge Hayao Miyazaki fan. He is one of Japan’s greatest animated film directors. You may know of some of his work, like Ponyo and Spirited Away, but there are many many more too.

We weren’t allowed to take photos inside the museum, but we got a few out in the gardens. Here’s Jeff sitting on one of the cubes from Castle Laputa from the movie Castle in the Sky.

And the gentle robot…

One thing we had trouble with in each city was adjusting to using the subway. The system is really pretty easy to understand once you get the hang of it. Basically you find where you want to go on the map and it will tell you how much it costs to get there, then you just purchase tickets at that price and you can travel to anywhere within that price range.

The trouble happened when there weren’t any English maps around and you had to find your stop on a map like this…

There were a couple of times where we would have been totally stuck without an iPhone to look up the Kanji character for the stop we wanted. Surprisingly, we had this problem in Tokyo most often. I would have thought that the Tokyo subway would be covered in English maps since so many foreign people are there on business, but we got hung up a few times.

It’s still a very efficient system. The trains really do run exactly on time all the time and everything is clean and orderly.

We saw the famous Hachiko statue outside the Shibuya subway. Hachiko is a symbol of faithfulness. He waited outside this subway for his owner to return from work each day, but the owner died while away and Hachiko waited here each day for nine years for him to return as he had so many times before.

It’s now a popular meeting place to get together with people because it’s so recognizable.

We did a lot of shopping in Shibuya…

And we even stopped at a cat cafe! I know it sounds weird, but cat cafes are a part of Tokyo culture we wanted to experience. Often people are not allowed to have pets in the apartments in Tokyo, so they pay to come spend time petting cats elsewhere!

These little guys were going nuts watching the leaves rustle on the trees outside! They were all very well cared for and sweet cats. We spent about 20 minutes there petting cats and sipping drinks. There was a guy taking a nap in one of the chairs. I think it’s common to use cat cafes to take naps, it’s cheaper than a hotel!

Let’s not forget the food!

We had yakitori and beer several times. Here’s an assorted plate of chicken parts, I loved the gizzards!

And we had crab-stuffed mushrooms, conch, and even more gizzards…

One day we went for Thai food at a Thai buffet restaurant called Mango Tree Cafe. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a buffet, but this ended up being one of the best meals in Tokyo!

We heard about a great tempura restaurant that we had to try. The tempuras were served along with vinegar dipping sauce, grated daikon, and three flavors of salts.

There were also some pickled turnip tops to put on the rice, a salted fish roe cordial, and a miso soup with tiny clams. Everything was spectacular washed down with copious amounts of sake!

We did manage to make it to Tsukiji fish market on one of the last days for a sushi lunch.

There was so much wasabi under each piece of fish that I was tearing up. The chef gave me a free ice cream cone to cool me off!

Then we checked out all the foods for sale in the market…

Our breakfasts were usually junk food. We always woke up starving from all the walking we did on the previous day and just needed to get energy in us quickly. I probably ate 6 or more of these red bean filled buns…

But just because we had sweets for breakfast doesn’t mean we didn’t have room for dessert!

We bought some hand-made mochi in a confectionery. One green tea filled with red bean paste and the other plain with whole red beans.

I loved this sweet waffle stand we found in a subway. There were at least 20 different flavors to choose from.

I got green tea with pieces of strawberry, mochi, and red beans mixed in and Jeff chomped down on a mocha flavored one. I wish we had found these sooner so I could have tried other flavors too.

The morning before we had to leave for our flight home we set out to do some shopping, but for some reason everything was closed. So instead, we headed over to Shinjuku Park and I’m so glad we did.

Around the park there were several trees with bandages and crutches. It made me happy to see this care taken to heal these broken trees, the reverence and respect for nature was refreshing.

What a peaceful way to end our trip. I hope I can have a garden even half that beautiful some day.

I hope you enjoyed looking through these pictures as much as I have. I have guest posts lined up for the next two days until we get back from Seattle, then I’ll make sure to fill you in on what we did there too!