Santa Cookies, #SundaySupper

Santa Claus beckoned. Game face on, I approached the jolly man in the red suit. Securely seated on his velvet lap, I whispered my wishes. Cinnamon spices and pine cones scented the air with Christmas. The photographer’s camera flashed and the elf firmly escorted me off Santa’s lap. In a daze from the magical encounter, I’d grasp my Japanese nanny’s hand. Would Santa bring the desired dolly? My nanny, Kawaji-san, assured me with a sweet smile that all would be well. Sigh. Priorities of childhood have shifted. As they should.  Still, I want to believe that a Santa Clause – a benevolent grandfather - will bring presents and reward me for being good.

Pick up Happy, #Pretz

“Pick up happy. Pick up Pretz!” So goes the commercial for the popular Japanese savory snack stick.

Pretz is a newcomer on most American market snack aisles. But Japanese have munched on Pretz since 1962. The “lightly salted”  (asari shio) original version is found in US markets.  Hawaii is the exception. The 50th state has a pineapple flavor Pretz in their supermarkets. In Japan, Pretz comes roasted and dipped in soy sauce. A new sweet potato Pretz made its debut in August 2015.

Like its cousins Pocky and Pejoy, the Pretz biscuit snack is kid-friendly. No need to wash greasy, salty potato chip hands after snack time…One of many things to be grateful for when rushing to get Thanksgiving dinner on the table.  I enjoyed an early celebration this year. I giggled to see my nephew and his son, (my great-nephew) sneaking Pretz when they thought Auntie K wasn’t looking!

Gluten-Free Grateful Thanksgiving, #Glutino

Thanksgiving – a mostly gluten-free one – came early this year. Close family gathered around the table. We said Grace. Each person then shared memories of my mother. Mom crossed over a few weeks ago. She was born in Northern California. It’s fitting that 90 years later, the last stop on her Wimbledon tennis star adventures was Novato, California.

My six-year-old great-nephew, Ethan, summed it up best. When told of my mother’s passing, he asked his parents, “Did she meet her goal?” After hearing an affirmative answer, he said, “Well, that’s good.”

Cafe 212 Pier: Superfoods and Supernovas

Café 212 Pier: Superfoods and Supernovas

*Note: Superfoods are naturally vitamin laden and rich with minerals.

Imagine Christmas, Thanksgiving and the 4th of July all rolled up into one holiday. India’s days-long Diwali, the Festival of Lights is that kind of spectacular celebration. Goodness presides over Indian neighborhoods. At least for the month of November.

Thanks to Café 212 Pier owner, Roopinder Bhullar, Diwali is celebrated year-round in Santa Monica.

Pocky Halloween Cupcakes #Pocky #Giveaway


Spooks and black cats may soon alight upon your doorstep demanding a Halloween treat. Given the Star Wars revival, Stormtroopers and Princess Leias will also inevitably appear. (Probably a Trump or two, too!)Want to make the Halloween mini monsters happy? Present Japanese Pocky. Any flavor Pocky in the hands of a trick-or-treater will prompt huge smiles. Maybe even a “May the Force be with you” from the Star Wars gang.

歴史的にハロウィンはケルト人のお盆と考えられます。死亡した親戚は地球に遊びに来る祭りでした。 大抵のアメリカ人は歴史を忘れております。伝統的にアメリカでパーティーを開いて魔法使いとか黒猫の衣装を着ました。今も人気がある衣装ですが毎年新しい衣装とか面が出てきます。今年大統領になりたいトランプの面が確かによく売っております。子供の為にTrick or Treat?(いたずらか美味し物?)の伝統もあります。意味はお菓子をあげないと人自宅に卵を投げる、いたずらをすることです。ポッキーを上げると安全です。(笑う)ポッキーは本当に素晴らしいトリトです。どんな種類でも子供のTrick or Treatersイトリクオトリターズ)を喜べさせます。カップケーキの上にも飾ることができます。完璧な風蝶草にもなります。ハッピーなポッキーハロウィンを過ごして下さい。


Lemon Coconut Loaf Cake, #TheCakeSliceBakers

Life is not always a slice of cake. Right? How do you turn lemons into lemonade?

Meditation works to shift perspective.  Here are a few highly recommended resources for finding serenity in the storm.

Meditation works to shift perspective.  Here are a few highly recommended resources for finding serenity in the storm.

Hay House Radio
Head Space
Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness

Gluten-Free Almond Joy Cupcakes, #SundaySupper

Joy! Chocolate Almond Joy! Ah, that coveted American candy bar with the luscious coating of chocolate over coconut and almonds.

In Japan, Almond Joy slipped into my hands on 3 occasions.

  • A military connection sneaked the Almond Joy off base and into my hands.
  • A stop at Guam (an American territory) en route to our Christmas holiday on Saipan. (One of the Micronesian Islands.)
  • Summer vacation in the States.

Living in health conscious California, the Almond Joy combo still seduces the senses. Bravo to you if you disdain rich chocolate...Or abhor chocolate mingling in your mouth with crunchy almonds and coconut flakes. 

Japanese Moon Gazing Potatoes, #FoodieExtravaganza

Pausing between clouds
the moon rests
in the eyes of its beholders

~17th Century Haiku Master, Matsuo Basho
(Translated by Michael R. Burch)

Moon gazing is a Japanese tradition, which predates rice cultivation. Traditionally, the full moon is admired on the 15th night of the 8th month. (Lunar calendar time. Translation: September 27, 2015.)  Noshing on snacks to accompany moon gazing is also a tradition.