The Journey Within Blog Hop: Holiday Food Drawings + A Giveaway!


Hey there!

Welcome to my bonus blog post this week! If this is your first time visiting, I’m happy you’re here πŸ™‚ I’m Yuko Miki, an artist, blogger, and a Creative Coach in Seattle Washington. I normally post blog article about motivation and creativity every Sunday.

If you haven’t’ heard yet, I’m going to be guest teaching in Kiala Givehand’s The Journey Within: A Year of Handmade Art Journals in 2016! I’m super pumped for this opportunity and can’t wait to put an awesome teaching material together for you all πŸ™‚

TJW 2016 Teacher Image Yuko flat

To kick it off, Kiala has asked each of the 16 teaching artists to give her a drawing challenge for the month of December. Kiala has been posting her December challenge on her blog here, and you can view each teaching artists’ blog hop on there too.

For today’s blog hop, I gave her this prompt: “Draw your favorite holiday or winter foods!” You know how much I love eating and drawing food… πŸ™‚

For those of you who don’t know, I grew up in Japan, and the biggest holiday of the year is New Year’s Day. We typically eat mochi (rice cake) and all kinds of good foods (“osechi”) our moms have prepared from January 1st through 3rd and visit with the relatives and go to the shrines etc. I haven’t been able to go back home for the New Year’s for many years and miss it every year.

Photo of Osechi from Looks so delicious!

To prepare Osechi is quite involved. It consists of many vegetable, fish, and meat dishes that each signifies good luck, happiness, and prosperity. I remember my mom and grandma working on it throughout the week before the New Year’s. Our house would be filled with the aroma of black beans being cooked in the crockpot and other sweet-soy sauce-y smells.

And I couldn’t wait to eat mochi in so many different ways! We eat them in soups, dip them in sweet soy sauce, soybean flour, or sweet bean paste… Ohhh…. I’m drooling just thinking about it!!!

Mochi sketch from my 365 Day Happiness Project.
Here is another sketch from the New Year’s Day 2015! Obviously, I was very excited about mochi πŸ™‚

I’m fortunate to be living in Seattle, where we have easy access to Japanese food. But it’s still not easy to put together your New Year’s Osechi here. It can get pricy, and I just don’t have the patience to cook hundreds of different little things!

So I normally settle for eating mochi dishes on the New Year’s Day and a few days after that. It does a pretty good job of making me feel like I’m celebrating the holiday Japanese-style πŸ™‚

Another culinary tradition I’ve kept up for the New Year’s is to eat soba (buckwheat) noodle soup on the New Year’s Eve. I don’t know any historical background of this tradition, but I’m wondering if people were gearing up for all the rich foods to come for the next 3 days? Anyway, my family would sit down for a bowl of soba noodle soup every New Year’s Eve. It’s an easy dish to prepare, so I’m able to do it almost every year!


This year, I was feeling a bit concerned about my holiday food tradition, though, as I’ve been on a special diet of low-sugar and low-carb for the month of December. Yes, I know if I cheat a little bit, it won’t kill me, but I’d like to stay on top of it as much as possible.

Most of the soba noodles you can find nowadays have wheat in it (note: buckwheat is actually not wheat/grain, so it’s OK to eat on my diet.), so I’ve almost given up having the soba soup for the New Year’s Eve.

But I found out our local natural food grocery store carries soba noodles made with 100% buckwheat! Granted it’s more expensive, I was very happy to find an option πŸ™‚

Behold 100% buckwheat noodle from Eden Foods.

What is your winter holiday food tradition?? What makes it special?Β If you decide to try the challenge I gave to Kiala, be sure to leave a comment with a link to your blog or a webpage so I can look at your beautiful work! AND, if you post your comment by Tuesday 12/29, I’ll choose one commenter to win a free quarterly enrollment! Woo Hoo!

Thank you for joining me on the Journey Within Blog Hop today! Be sure to check in with Kiala tomorrow to follow along!

And I look forward to seeing you in the class! If you haven’t signed up yet, follow this link to enroll πŸ™‚ Give yourself a gift of art and creativity this coming year ❀

Talk to you soon!

xoxo Yuko


13 thoughts on “The Journey Within Blog Hop: Holiday Food Drawings + A Giveaway!

  1. this is awesome! Amanda, my partner, just finished making my favorite christmas dessert, her family’s chocolate roll. We have been waiting to make and eat since getting back to London after our Seattle visit. Her grandma made it every year, and amanda despite being forbidden from the kitchen until she was 21 in her family home has become the official chocolate role maker! its pretty awesome. this year because we live in london,it was difficult to figure out how to make the cream stuffing because the milk products are called different things here. in seattle we would get whipping cream and whip it up to fluffy perfect peaks like at the portage bay fruit bar (mmmmm…) but here we got 3 different milk products to experiment. They were called single cream, creme frachie “half fat” and clotted cream. the single cream is what amanda uses in her coffee, kind of like half and half. the creme frachie tasted like sour cream and i think once i was served it on a bagel, we are going to use in the chilli we have. the clotted cream famously goes on scones and is utimately is what we ended up using after whipping it up!

    the cake itself is made mostly of egg whites and can easily be made gluten free, we have used special certified gf oat flour before and then we frost it with nutella that this year we cut with cream cheese! very excited to eat once the baby is all the way asleep!!

    Xx (as they say here in London)!

    1. Hi Deann! I love hearing about all of it! Amanda’s chocolate roll sounds amazing…! clotted cream, huh? that’s so interesting how even though it’s in the same language (well, for the most part…) I’d have no idea what that would be if I had to find my way in the dairy shelf! I need to know more about why Amanda was banned from the kitchen till 21 when you have a chance…:) Enjoy your chocolate roll!! xoxo Yuko

      1. I’ll post a pic of the chocolate roll to your fb post! Amanda was banned from the kitchen after catching the toaster on fire offensive #1 I think she was 14, then leaving cookies in the oven for 12 hours I think it was when she was 16. She moved out at 21 so that’s why it changed. My siblings moved in when she was 24 & I was working night shift at new beginnings shelter thus prompted her cooking endeavors. Now she’s the household cook!

      2. OMG that’s funny… I mean catching the toaster on fire isn’t really funny but that’s definitely a story to tell!! yes please post your pics πŸ™‚ yum!! xoxo

  2. This article is a wonderful endorsement of family/cultural traditions. in the African American culture black eyed peas are a New Years Staple. i think I will make some in 2016. We also have greens with ham hocks, fried chicken and corn bread a meal of comfort foods to start out the year. You have inspired me to journal about this tradition.

    1. oh thank you so much for your kind comment and for sharing your New Year’s food tradition with me πŸ™‚ I never appreciated the food culture of Japan until I left… It’s not just a nourishment for your body but also for your mind and soul too! xo

  3. One of our holiday traditions is my big sister making a huge batch of Chex Mix to snack on while we visit on Christmas Eve. And it’s so funny, because just yesterday she was telling me about her recent visit to Japan, and how much she loved mochi (so much that she’s trying to figure out how to make it herself).
    Thanks for the chance to win – the journaling class looks fantastic! I would love to win a spot.

    1. Hi Wendy!

      Thanks for your comment πŸ™‚ oh mochi is so good! I only wanna eat it during New Years though because it does get old if you eat it every day:) hope your sister finds a way to make her mochi dream come true! Xo

  4. The gluten free diet completely changed my life (and my health)! Congratulations to you for taking that challenge on for December. There is no part of the body or mind gluten does not (negatively) affect, and so you may wind up feeling wonderful if you try and extend it into 2016! Peace.

    1. Hi Laura! I’m glad to hear you found a diet that works for you πŸ™‚ Removing sugar and carbs from my diet made me feel crappy for the first 3 days, but after that I feel great! It’s not really working for my eczema, though, sadly so it sounds like I’m going to be getting food allergy test down the road. But I want to keep eating well as much as I can πŸ™‚ It’s pretty amazing! Yuko

      1. It took care of my eczema for the most part, and lots of other things too. Keeping a food log is helping me figure the rest out. I didn’t have any food allergies, just intolerances, which are harder to discern. I wish you the best!

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