3 Easy Ways to Make Gluten-Free Chocolate Party Treats, #Glutino

Pretty party fare in a pinch:
All it takes is a bag of Glutino gluten-free chocolate cake mix and a box of Glutino Vanilla Crème Cookies.

It’s almost hilarious isn’t it? Technology was/is supposed to be a time-saver. I thought mobile telephones, text messages were designed to provide freedom; and assist in the pursuit of happiness. Instead of more time with friends, family and fill in the blank hobby – mine is dancing –  it seems I’m spending more time online. It’s hard to put down that mighty phone. Don’t get me wrong; thanks to the online community I’ve met some truly stellar and inspiring fellow humans. Maybe I’m the only one who has yet to figure out the work/life/fun balance thing. Please do share your secrets to harmonious living in the comments section.

Sweets Shop to the Stars: Erin McKenna’s Bakery

Put your sunglasses on! Erin McKenna’s Bakery in LA, NYC and Disney World is a great place for serious stargazing. The bakery’s roster of celebrity fans include Oscar winner Natalie Portman and FOX TV’s New Girl Zoe Deschanel.  The pull to the popular sweets shop is three-fold. Executive Baker and Owner of Erin McKenna’s Bakery channels her flair for fashion and passion for tasty Non-GMO, vegan treats into her namesake stores. Every item in Erin McKenna’s Bakery is made with organic products. Each dessert is beautiful to behold. And exquisitely palate-pleasing!

ニューヨークのモデルや有名人に人気がある ケーキ屋さん、エリン・マクケーナズ・ベーカリーが遂にロサンゼルスにもオープンしました。(最近フロリダのディズニーにも開店しました。)遺伝子組み換え食材を使わず、無農薬材料でグルテンフリーにこだわった、ヴィーガンにもお勧めのケーキ屋のオーナー、エリン・マクケーナ、は高校生時代からお客様に食事を満足していただくことに喜びを感じながら、ウエイトレスの仕事を楽しんでいました。学校を卒業して子供の時から

5 Beautiful Ways to Celebrate Spring, #InMyKitchen

Spring winds birth sakura cherry blossoms. In Japan, sakura petals carpet parks. Lanterns sway gently from the branches of cherry blossom trees. Picnickers clink sake glasses as the sun sets on this pink fairyland.

Even with the California water shortage, gardens burst with color and fragrance. The smiling flowers fill me with gratitude. Sometimes it’s the simple things. Like sunshine on the face after bursts of cold is sublime. Or a whiff of jasmine as I scurry to an appointment. My spirits lift in springtime. A whisper of hope touches my shoulder.

Yes, each season brims with beauty. Since spring is present, I’ll celebrate the gift…#InMyKitchen! In any month, I lift my glass to Maureen of OrgasmicChef.com.  She’s a queen of cuisine; the hostess of #InMyKitchen; and a woman whose wisdom and strength are #inspirational!

Greek Chirashi Sushi, #SundaySupper

Chirashi sushi is a super easy to make Japanese meal. It’s also the solution to little time and lots of people to feed. Like a My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 potluck party. Nichole Crews of Casa de Crews has arranged such a Sunday Supper feast. Scroll down and get inspired to celebrate the opening weekend of the Greek wedding extravaganza movie. Or at least grab some Greek-inspired scrumptious suppers and sweets.

Greek chirashi sushi - my contribution to today’s Sunday Supper – is a combination of Japanese chirashi sushi and Greek salad. Traditional chirashi sushi is a sprinkling (literally scattering) of fish and Japanese egg crepe over vinegar sushi rice. (The egg crepe can be made in minutes. Click here for the recipe.) When at a sushi restaurant and you can’t make up your mind, chirashi is a great choice. You get a sample of a variety of fish.  Plus the artistic arrangement of the sushi and egg are always lovely to look at.

Japanese Egg Crepes (Kinshi Tamago) #SundaySupper

The political skirmishes on the world stage and/or in the office can be ugly. My escape is to make pretty. In the kitchen, I whip up comfort foods like kinshi tamago – Japanese egg crepes. I also go bike riding on Santa Monica beach. And thank God I’m a docent at the Peace Awareness Labyrinth and Gardens. What’s your RX for finding beauty?

In Japan, artistic presentation is key: The plating of food, the packaging of products, the sculpting of flowers. Japanese bentos are another example of Japan’s penchant for pretty meals. (Just take a look at Pinterest!)

Japanese egg crepes (kinshi tamago) are often sliced super thin and sprinkled over rice in bento boxes. One of the great pleasures of travel in Japan is picking up a bento at train stations. The ekiben - station bento boxes - reflect the specialties of the region. Shimizu Station is famous for it’s sakura (cherry blossom) shrimp, which are complimented by kinshi tamago, tofu, peas, and lotus roots.

Tofu Nuggets, #SundaySupper

Japan is famous for amazing Kobe wagyu beef. Exceptional taste (thanks to the marbled fat) and exceptional cost (thanks to the methods - such as massage - used to raise the cows.) Beef certainly was not taken for granted at our dining room table in Tokyo.

Tofu was always in our refrigerator. Not the kind of packaged tofu in an American supermarket. Sure, the contents looked similar, but in Tokyo (circa 1960s, 1970s) fresh tofu was purchased from the tofu store. No kidding. Right next to the vegetable grocer, stood a tiny store selling tofu. Tiny is an apt adjective. The tofu store was smaller than a hallway in an American office building. White blocks of tofu swam in wooden vats. My nanny would point to the tofu she wanted. The tofu seller would scoop up the bean curd and place it in a plastic bag. Not an easy feat as anyone knows who has handled tofu. Tofu crumbles very easily…The very reason I chose firm tofu to make tofu nuggets for Sunday Supper.

5 Secrets to Serenity and Girl Power, #InMyKitchen

I'm delighted Maureen of OrgasmicChef.com peeked #InMyKitchen and invited me to share. Maureen is the epitome of serenity and girl power. Despite Life’s curve balls, she stands tall. (To read her story go to OrgasmicChef.com.) Maureen also proves her prowess in the kitchen with do-able gourmet-ish dishes and desserts. I’m grateful for Maureen’s inspiration and invite to her #InMyKitchen party.

Serenity and – firmly standing in my feminine self – Girl Power – go hand-in-hand. When I’m being nice to myself, I notice giving to others comes from a fuller place. By the way, Maureen and Japanese (March 3rd) Girls’ Day inspired contemplation of serenity and girl power. (Currently called Children’s Day by those who are especially PC or politically correct.)  So, here are the 5 Secrets to Serenity and Girl Power found in my kitchen.

1. Celebrate Victories…Even the Small Ones.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cherry Pie, #SundaySupper

Visit Japan and you’ll see symphonies of artistic sweets. The eye follows an unbroken rhythm of desserts composed into perfect rows. Each piece influenced by the natural beauty of the season. In springtime, both traditional Japanese sweets shops and Parisian-inspired patisseries celebrate cherry blossoms.

To revel in the warm March winds blowing spring our way, I decided to make Gluten-Free Chocolate Cherry Pie Minis.  I’ve baked cherry blossom cookies and cherry chip blossom cupcakes. But I’ve never made a cherry pie. Plus it’s one of my gluten-sensitive husband’s favorite pies. So, I created a Gluten-Free Chocolate Cherry Pie. Motivation to make the pies minis came from translating for fashionistas from Japan the other day. As I assisted the talented young ladies navigate an American restaurant menu, I was reminded how petite and pretty are priorities.

5 Delightful Facts About Lavender, #GalentinesDayParty Ice Cream

What in the world is a Galentine’s Day Party? As inspired by the popular TV show, Parks and Recreation, the idea is to celebrate gal pals. Today’s hosts are Nancy of Gotta Get Baked and Courtney of Neighbor Food. Scroll down and you’ll see a sumptuous buffet of recipes designed for this sensational soirée. Luscious Honey Lavender Ice Cream is my offering.

Lavender was on the top of the shopping lists for the likes of Queen Elizabeth I and Cleopatra. The Queen of England relieved work stress and headaches by downing cups of lavender infused tea. In Egypt, Cleopatra dabbed lavender scented perfumes on her body before seducing both Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony. If lavender is good enough for the royals, I figure it’s perfect for the special attendees of this Galentine’s Day Party.