Miso Salted Caramel Topping and Orange Chocolate Swirl Cake #GlutenFree

When you go to sushi you expect an offering of miso soup, right?  Taken for granted miso was once on par with a gift of silk. Miso was a precious seasoning reserved for royals.

Two schools of thought prevail on the history of Japanese miso. One thought is that a form of miso was used to preserve food as early as the Iron Age. Another touts the idea that miso trailed in on the tails of Buddhism texts from China.

Better than Pumpkin Pie Vegan Coffee Cake

Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother knew or thing or two about finance. “The Chinese believe the pumpkin symbolizes prosperity, abundance, descendant's luck, illustrious children and enchantment,” says Feng Shui expert, Bette Steflik.

The princess-to-be’s godmother must have chosen the pumpkin coach on purpose. Bette adds, “This supreme [pumpkin] fruit draws up earth energy to manifest gold. Make magic at your front entry and see your wishes bear fruit.”

So, before you put a pumpkin in a pie, place one or two near your doormat. See what happens.

If you want tangible, tasty magic right away, make my Better than Pumpkin Pie Vegan Coffee Cake. It’s perfect for brunch and will be done almost before you can say bibbidi-bobbidi-boo!

The Orville Season 2 Bourbon Cake

Seth MacFarlane of Family Guy fame has elevated the FOX TV lineup to greater heights. In 2017 he launched The Orville. The TV show is an updated Star Trek with moments that tickle the funny bone. Although Seth is known for comedy, content of The Orville contains heart-stirring stories and commentary on society. (See The Orville Season 1 About a Girl and Majority Rule.)

My darling husband David Watkinson was nabbed to handle graphics for the show. Thanks to him I’ve enjoyed The Orville cast and crew parties. Each one feels like I’ve been plopped into the middle of a dream. A good one. I suspect the parties are over-the-top glamorous and exciting thanks to Seth and his dream team of assistants.

How to Travel in Japan Without Speaking Japanese

Godzilla captured the attention of an eight-year-old English lad named Rob Dyer. “A history buff like Dad,” from a young age Rob was an avid reader of books about Asia.

A business trip brought Rob as a young man to Tokyo in 2000.  He enjoyed the tourist sights. Still, he desired to learn about the Japan beyond the clichés of Japanese manga, geisha and Godzilla. In 2015 after countless trips, Rob established The Real Japan. The web site was a way to introduce foreigners to the heart of Japan.

Over a Skype chat about Rob’s latest e-book, How to Travel in Japan Without Speaking Japanese, he made the point that Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara – all the typical tourist spots – are terrific. And there are rich experiences to be enjoyed in other Japanese towns.

Arima Hot Springs and Angels #JapanTravel

Nestled within the Mount Rokko range, angels abide at the Arima hot springs. The divine assignation is not unique to yours truly. The oldest chronicles of Japan (Nihon Shoki) tell of Shinto gods who witnessed the healing of three crows bathing in the golden Arima springs. Legend also says Arima is protected by the Medicine Buddha. Emperors, Kabuki actors1 and other celebs have visited Arima hot springs. It’s one of Japan’s top three onsen (natural hot springs.)

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