Dec 7

Cranberry Butter

We moved into a new house last month.  Mr. Fuji and I designed it, then worked with an architect to make a reality and have spent the past year anxiously waiting for it to be done.  It has been so fun to see our creation materialize!  [Read More…]


Nov 30

Sponsored by the JNTO (Japan National Tourism Organization).

Welcome to Hakodate Sign

Hakodate, Japan

Like all of the places we visited on this trip, I kept wishing I had weeks more time in Hakodate because we only had time to scratch the surface on everything that there was to see and do (and eat!).  We caught a shinkansen (a bullet train) from Hachinohe to Hakodate, which is on the northern island of Hokkaido in Japan.  To get there by shinkansen you have to go through the Seikan Tunnel, which connects the Japanese mainland to the island of Hokkaido.  The turnnel is the world’s longest undersea tunnel—33.5 miles long, and descends to a depth of 787.5 feet.  I’ve taken the train through the undersea tunnel from France to England, but this was way more fun.  The ride on a bullet train in Japan is so smooth that you could forget you’re even moving half the time unless you looked out the window.  Plus, at bullet train speeds (maximum operating speeds of 200 mph and a speed limit of about 161 mph inside the tunnel) the trip is quick.

Hakodate is in the center of the Kameda Peninsula, which stretches out from the southwest end of the island of Hokkaido.  It’s a particularly interesting city to visit because of its unique history.  It was Japan’s first city whose port was opened to foreign trade in 1854.  Japan was closed to contact with most outside countries starting in the mid 1600s until July of 1853 when United States Navy Commodore Perry arrived with four warships, sent by President Millard Fillmore to force the opening of Japanese ports to American trade.  In March of the following year the “Japan-US Treaty of Peace and Amity” was signed declaring mutual peace between the US and Japan, and among other things, opening the ports of Shimoda and Hakodate for trade.  The influence of the west is much more evident in Hakodate than other places I’ve been in Japan, which was fascinating! [Read More…]


Exploring Hachinohe, Japan

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Sponsored by the JNTO (Japan National Tourism Organization). Hachinohe, Japan Before leaving Aomori Prefecture, we made a quick stop in Hachinohe, Japan.  Hachinohe is the second largest city in Aomori Prefecture and sits on the southeast coast of Aomori Prefecture, facing the Pacific Ocean.  Hachinohe was one of the cities hit by the March 2011 tsunami, which […]

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No-Bake Peppermint Tofu Cheesecake with a Beet Cracker Crust

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Sponsored by RW Garcia. Do you realize that we only have 15 days until Thanksgiving Day? And only 46 days to go until Christmas Eve?  Aaack! Have you started thinking about what you’re going to serve or bring to share for those days?  I’ve started, but need to get more serious about it because it’s […]

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Exploring the Oirase Gorge & Lake Towada, Japan

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Sponsored by the JNTO (Japan National Tourism Organization). Towada, Japan The next stop on my Japan adventure was to the city of Towada which sits in the foothills of the Hakkoda mountains in Aomori Prefecture.  The city includes part of the Towada-Hachimantai National Park, one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.  First stop on […]

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Harvest Salsa

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Sponsored by RW Garcia. It’s falllll!!!!  Some of my favorite flavors are in season, like pumpkin, sweet potato, and apple, so you know that I can’t help myself and am putting those ingredients in everything.  I have partnered up with RW Garcia, makers of my favorite crackers, to whip up something fall-inspired for you.  I dreamed up […]

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Exploring Aomori, Japan

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I returned a couple of weeks ago from a dream trip to Japan, sponsored by the JNTO (Japan National Tourism Organization).  You all know that Japan is my happy place, so to be asked to go and explore a new (to me) part of Japan so that I could share it with you? Yes please, […]

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Fall Issue of Twist Travel Magazine—Bento Tips!

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Do you have any fun fall trips planned?  This fall I am mostly planning trips in my head.  We are in the middle of building a house and are down to the last few weeks, so leaving town isn’t a very good idea!  Whether you’ve got a trip planned or not, the fall issue of […]

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Avocado Pineapple Agua Fresca

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Last week was Squirrel and Bug’s first week back to school.  Squirrel is in the fifth grade and Bug is in the third grade.  (How did they get so old?!?) Usually I am just as excited for those first few days of school as they are.  I look forward to the return of routine, but […]

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Summer Bibimbap

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Written in partnership with California Avocados. Bibimbap (“bee-beem-bawp”)…saw that 4 times fast and see if it doesn’t put a smile on your face.  It does mine!  It’s just a fun word.  But it’s an even better dish and one of my all-time favorite foods!  It’s a Korean rice bowl, and I’ve got a reimagined version […]

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