Sweet Rain

Anyone that knows me knows that one of my favorite actors in the world is Takeshi Kaneshiro...and surely if you have seen any of his movies, you are a fan as well. I think it's safe to say he is the Johnny Depp of Asia?! He is definitely one of the most versatile actors I have ever seen... it's too bad in a way that he does not want to be a "western" film actor, he would probably be very big in the USA, but I respect him for wanting to remain faithful to Asia as well. At the moment I am trying to find his latest film, Sweet Rain, on dvd ...I don't think the english subtitled version is out yet though :( How much longer will I have to wait?! That's one of the bad things about being a fan of asian cinema...waiting for the US releases {boo}. But, this movie is a must have since I have managed to collect all of his films thus far, and this one has a dark theme to it which I tend to love.
Here is the trailer with English subs from you tube:

Synopsis of the film from amazon.com :

"Sweet Rain" is the recent most popular movie in Asia. The story is about the life of a handsome shinigami (Japanese for "death god") whose sole purpose in life is to be the deciding factor between those who die in the mortal world and those who deserve to survive. Over the years he has barely ever met anyone whose life he has spared, and his outlook on human beings is one of disinterest. The only thing he likes about the mortal world is music. However, that is all about to change when one day the shinigami meets a young woman...

It is hard to say which of his films are my favorite, so I will list my top 5

If you'd like to know more about Takeshi, these websites have the best info:

*And did I mention he is the new face for Armani? Move over David Beckham! Stay tuned for the winter ads coming to a magazine near you...


Year of the Rat....or Pig?!

With the twins 1st birthday approaching, I realized that I didn't even know what their Chinese Zodiac is?! How could this be? I think time tends to get away from you fairly easily when you have 2 little babies, not to mention the first 2 months of their lives is kind of a blur! So, I went on my favorite resource, Wiki, and did some research. I found out that the kids sign was the Rat. The Year of the Rat is also considered The Year of the Mouse, because of how it translates in their language :) I also found out that the Rat is most compatible with Dragons and Monkeys...which is mine and my husbands signs, so this is a good sign, right?

Now for the plot twist... upon further investigation, I found out the kids are actually born in the year of the Pig/Boar! WTH?! The year of the Pig goes from Feb 18 2007 - Feb 06 2008, and the year of the Rat goes from Feb 07 2008 - Jan 25 2009 . So, if you think just because you were born in a certain year that your are automatically the sign listed on your Chinese menu....check the dates carefully, especially if you were born in the months of Jan/Feb! It's funny because we bought the kids golden Chinese pig banks months ago, now they have a little bit more meaning to them :)

According to the Chinese horoscope,the Boar type is usually an honest, straightforward and patient person.

Ideal Job for the Pig: Researcher, Scientist, Chemist, Technician, Musician, Restauranteur, Social worker, Fundraiser, Builder, Chef, Delicatessen owner, Personnel manager, Administrative officer, Civil servant.
Lucky Numbers: 1, 3, 4, 5, 8, 16, 18, 34, 41, 48
Equivalent Western Sign: Scorpio
Element: WATER
Color: BLACK
Yin/Yang: YIN Direction NORTH-NORTH-WEST

Positive & Negative Capability

Positive: The Boar can be sensible, sensual and sensitive, sweetly naive, caring, self-sacrificing, erudite, talented, open-handed, candid, outgoing, amusing, charitable, obliging, graciously hospitable and virtuous.

Negative: The Boar can also be hot-tempered, pessimistic, outrageously epicurean, earthy to a fault, sardonic, snobbish, snide, authoritarian, competitive, know-it-all, stingy, victimized and sometimes downright criminally mad at the world.

Pig Compatibility
Compatible with : Rooster, Ram
Less Compatible with : Pig, Rabbit, Horse, Ox, Rat, Tiger, Dog, Dragon *sniffle*
Least Compatible with : Snake, Monkey

Oh well, the compatibility is not so great news, but we will do our best to make it work for us!!!!

{the above pic and info found at http://www.gotohoroscope.com/chinese-zodiac-pig.html}



I think that I have mentioned the Manila Bakery in a recent post? My hubby went there while me and the kids were waiting for our food at Pho Van (btw, the kids had their fried tofu for appetizer, they loved it!) . He brought back some really tasty treats! Is it possible to be in love with food? He got the pan de coco, which looks like a dinner roll but inside is a mix of coconut and brown sugary goodness. I am drooling just thinking about it....how could he buy just 2?! Is this his way of torturing me? I will certainly be going there next weekend to stock up on some more. It looks pretty easy to make, but I think I will wait for Oma to get here over the holidays to assist me! He also bought some Chicken & Pork Empanada's....it was very tasty, but I would've preferred it without raisins! This one I may try to make on my own...I found a recipe for it at http://www.pinoyrecipe.net {see below}. I would definitely leave out the peas too, blah! I don't know what a good replacement would be though? I will have to think about that one....

Dave also got some coconut and raisin bread at Lee Lee's, thankfully the raisins are on top so I can pick them off! The kids really liked it, but it was not very exciting for me after just having eaten the pan de coco! Also, it is not freshly baked right there like at Manila, so it was only so-so, not anything I would want again. I think I have been spoiled now....

For those of you in the Arizona area, check out the Manila Bakery, you will not regret it! It is located at :
2095 N Dobson Rd in Chandler # (480) 917-2350

Chicken Empanada Ingredients:


* Pinoy Empanada300 g (2 1/2 cups) flour, plus extra for dusting
* 3 tablespoons sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 65 g (1/3 cup) chilled solid vegetable shortening
* 125 g(1/2 cup) butter
* 6-7 tablespoons iced water
* 1 egg, lightly beaten
* 1 tablespoon water


* 1 tablespoon oil
* 1 tablespoon butter
* 1/2 medium onion, minced
* 3-4 cloves garlic
, minced
* 450 g (1 lb) chicken breast or thigh meat, deboned and cubed
* 1 small potato, diced
* 1 small carrot, diced
* 250 ml (1 cup) water or chicken broth
* 100 g (1 cup) green peas (thawed, if frozen)
* 100 g (1/2 cup) raisins (optional)
* 2 teaspoons salt
* 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Chicken Empanada Instructions:

To make the Crust, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl.

Cut in the butter and shortening with a knife or pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Stir in the iced water, a little at a time while gathering the mixture to form a soft dough.

Form the dough into a ball. Sprinkle some flour onto a sheet of waxed paper and wrap dough in the waxed paper. Chill 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

To make the Filling, heat the oil and butter in a skillet. Add onions and saute about 1 minute, then add garlic and saute a further 1 minute. Add the cubed chicken meat and stir-fry until the chicken browns.

Add potatoes and carrots and cook 2-3 minutes. Stir in water or broth and simmer until potatoes and carrots are tender and chicken is fully cooked.

Add peas and raisins and simmer a further 2–3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. With a slotted spoon, drain ingredients and transfer to a bowl, letting excess liquid drip. Set aside for 30 minutes to cool.

Preheat oven to 200° C (400° F). Remove chilled dough from refrigerator. Lightly flour a pastry board or clean table top. Using a rolling pin, roll out dough on a pastry board until it is 3 mm (1/8 in) thick. Don’t roll it too thin or it will break when baked. Cut 10 cm (4 in) circles using a cutter and a small bowl.

Gather the scraps and re-roll them so they can be used again. You should get about 20 pastry circles.

Spoon about 1-2 teaspoons Filling into the middle of each pastry circle. Fold the circle so the edges meet and filling is sealed. Press the edges of the pastry with the tines of a fork.

Combine lightly beaten egg with 1 tablespoon of water. Brush surface of each folded puff with egg mixture. Arrange on a greased baking sheet. With a knife make 2-3 slits on the surface of each puff to allow steam to escape while baking.

Bake puffs in preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Set aside for a few minutes to cool before serving.