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The first time I had a bagel was when I home-stayed in Riverside, California, as part of a summer ESL program organized by my Christian college in Japan.

I was probably 18 years old at that time, and it was my first time to visit the U.S.

The bagle served for breakfast at my host family’s house came with cream cheese and various jams, and I fell in love with this chewy wonderful bread.

It was over 20 years ago and at that time bagels were hard to find in Japan.

When I came home, I told my mother, who was a great baker, and she got quickly interested.

We did some research and found an American style diner in the city and decided to try their bagel.

It was exactly the same as I remembered.

The great thing is that as soon as we came home, my mother somehow got a recipe and made homemade bagels!

A few years later I came back to the U.S., and ended up living in Boston for a few years.

That’s where I began eating bagels more regularly.

My favorite way of eating my bagels was with plain cream cheese and peanut butter.

I know it’s a bit unusual, and as you can guess, it’s definitely sticky, but I really enjoyed it.

Now I live in Minnesota, and I hardly ever eat bagels.

It could be a regional thing, but I think it’s mostly because of the overall national trend of cutting down on carbs.

I don’t see many people eating bagels around me, so I usually don’t think about it.

But I do have to confess.

Whenever I hear or see bagels, it does bring back the pleasant memories.

Just recently I have happened to have several occasions to see or hear about bagels, and I impulsively decided to make some myself.

I found a recipe that says you can make bagels in 30 minutes!

So I followed the recipe, which was not difficult.

I made plain and sesame versions, and they both turned out beautiful!

I was going to make my old favorite (cream cheese x peanut butter), but today I was rather in a mood for something else.

So I spread my homemade lemon cashew cream and World Market’s strawberry-rhubarb jam.

It was delicious!!

It’s almost absurd that I was buying bagels when you can make such delicious bagels so easily at home.

Love the simple ingredients as well (you know how much I hate long lists of ingredients of store-bought baked goods).

Bagels – plain / sesame
I used this recipe (in Japanese).

Lemon Cashew Cream
– 1 cup cashew nuts, soaked in hot water for a few hours
– 120 g soft tofu
– 30g soy milk
– 20g refined coconut oil
– fresh lemon juice from 1/2 lemon
– a pinch of salt

1. Combine all the ingredients. Puree until smooth with a hand blender.

Tempeh Ragu Spaghetti with Eggplant

Spaghetti is one of my absolute favorites.

We had lunch served everyday at elementary school when I was growing up in Japan.

It was not a cafeteria style they have in the U.S., but a set menu was served to everyone, so there were no choices available.

We can certainly talk about pros and cons about this system, but today I want to focus on what were served.

You may think we had a lot of rice because rice is the most important food item in Japan; when we learned early, maybe in st or 2nd grade, that Japan would never import rice, even a piece (my google search today, however, indicates that they now do import some from other countries).

Surprisingly, we had bread 70% of the time, rice about 20% of the time, and some type of noodles 10%.

I so looked forward to non-bread days, and it made me so happy when we had spaghetti.

It was always served with ragu type meat sauce, and it was forever associated with my happy mood (lol), I guess.

Things have changed since the time, including my diet.

Because I don’t eat meat anymore, I use tempeh sausage.

I make my own tempeh sausage, which leads to an extra step but it’s so worth it.

Doesn’t it look tasty?!

I happened to have this beautiful eggplant from the local farmers market and decided to fry and add them to the sauce.

Eggplant is one of my favorite vegetables and whenever I see slim eggplant like this one in the picture, I buy them.

They are similar to the Japanese eggplant I grew up with and I like that their seeds are much smaller.

Lots of sauce please.

Tempeh Ragu Spaghetti with Eggplant

tempeh sausage
– 1 package tempeh, crumbled into small pieces with hands
– 75ml soy sauce
– 75ml maple syrup
– 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
– 1/4~1/2 teaspoon paprika
– 1/2~1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
– 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
– salt and pepper
olive oil
1 eggplant, sliced
salt and pepper
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, chopped
salt and pepper
1 28-oz whole tomato can, pureed with hand blender
3 oz tomato paste
a pinch of baking soda
crushed red pepper
salt and pepper
2 bay leaves
Italian seasoning
cooked spaghetti
Chopped basil, for serving

1. Make tempeh sausage. Marinade crumbled tempeh in the marinade overnight. Drain and pat the tempeh with paper towel to remove excess liquid. Fry it in olive oil until browned. Salt and pepper if needed.
2. Cook eggplant in olive oil. Salt and pepper.
3. Cook garlic and onion with olive oil. Salt and pepper. Add the rest of the ingredients. Boil and then turn down to low heat. Simmer. Add tempeh sausage and sauteed eggplant. Serve over spaghetti with freshly chopped basil.

Have a great rest of the weekend everyone!

Avocado Toast with Crunchy Tempeh and Slaw

I love avocado, and avocado toast is one of favorites.

I use my homemade crusty whole wheat bread and toast it lightly.

Creamy avocado on crusty toast is so good as it is, but I decided to go a bit further this time.

I got crunchy teriyaki tempeh strips and fruity slaw prepared for this one.

The slaw got usual suspects, such as cabbage and radish, but I also added fruit like mango and apple and herbs like cilantro and mint to this one, which makes the slaw a bit special and super refreshing.

Whenever I make these tempeh strips, I make extra as they freeze and thaw well.

These are so tasty and can be a great snack when you want something salty but not fried food.

Avocado Toast with Tempeh and Slaw

crunchy teriyaki tempeh (makes extra)
– 1 package tempeh, sliced
– 1/4 cup soy sauce
– 1/4 cup maple syrup
– canola oil
– 1 cup julienned cabbage
– 6 radish, julienned
– 1/2 mango, julienned
– 1/2 apple, julienned
– chopped mint leaves
– chopped cilantro
– salt and pepper
– 1 tablespoon sugar
– 1 tablespoon white vinegar
– 1/2 tablespoon canola oil
2 slices crusty bread, toasted
1 avocado sliced
crushed red pepper1. Make crunchy teriyaki tempeh. Marinade tempeh slices in a mixture of soy sauce and maple syrup. Marinade for at least a few hours to overnight. Preheat an oven to 400F. Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes each both sides or until browned while occasionally baste with the marinade.
2. Make slaw. Combine all the ingredients. Mix well. I make it at the last minute as I like it taste fresh on my avocado toast.
3. Place avocado slices on toasts. Lightly mash with a fork. Sprinkle salt and crushed red pepper.
4. Place crunchy teriyaki tempeh and slaw on top.

Bean and Veggie Stuffed Corn Cakes

I liked Eureka Compass Vegan Food’s Corn Masa Cake so much that I decided to make something similar myself.

First I cooked black beans and all different veggies (cabbage, kale, onion, garlic, and green peppers) to make the filling.

I just wanted to take a picture of this black bean can.

Isn’t it cute?

Trader Joe’s often has cool cans but this one is from Fresh Thyme.

I only made five, so our new Breville toaster oven was perfect to bake them.

Although the dough is apparently very different from Eureka Compass’, but mine turned out really good too.

These are perfect for breakfast or a snack.

I like to take these with me to work and I usually eat one in my car.

I also like to grab one when I know we will be out for a while so that I know I’ll have a good healthy snack if I need one.

Veggie Stuffed Corn Cakes – makes about 5

– canola oil
– 2 garlic cloves, chopped
– 1 small onion, chopped
– 1 cup jullienned cabbage
– 1 cup kale
– 1/2 green pepper, chopped
– salt and pepper
– 1 tablespoon sugar
– 1 tablespoon molasses
– Louisiana hot sauce
– Japanese vegetable and fruit sauce (semi-sweet)
– 2 cups Maseca corn flour
– salt
– water
canola oil for flying1. Make filling. Sautee vegetables with oil.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients. Combine well.
3. Make corn cakes. Preheat oven to 400F. Combine corn flour and salt. Add water slowly while mixing well, until the dough achieves your preferred consistency.
4. Divide the dough into 10. Make balls and then flatten them to make a disk. On five disks place the filling, and then cover them with another disk.
5. Fry both sides in a pan until golden brown.
6. Finish cooking them in the oven for 15 minutes or so until cooked through.

These corn cakes can be so versatile.

I already have some other filling ideas including sweet versions!

Almond Pancakes with Fresh Blueberries

Now we have non-dairy butter, and I thought it was time to put pancakes on the table for the weekend breakfast.

Terry and I both like thin pancakes, so that’s what I made.

Light and fluffy.

Don’t forget coffee.

So glad that Terry just made a new batch of cold-brew.

Fresh blueberries.

People usually add blueberries to the pancake batter, but I like my berries fresh.

Maple syrup is a must!

The pancakes are ready!

Since these are so thin, it doesn’t take too long to cook.

And I take my homemade vegan butter out.

This is a post to show off my butter as well as my pancakes.

Can you tell this vegan butter melts perfectly?

How I take my blueberries?

Fresh please.

And lots of them.

Almond Pancakes with Fresh Blueberries

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
3 tablespoon cane sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup grated apple
1 1/2 cup soy milk
1 tablespoon canola oil

canola oil for cooking

1/3~1/2 cup fresh blueberries
homemade vegan butter
maple syrup

1. Combine all the ingredients.
2. Lightly coat the griddle surface with oil. Cook pancakes for a few minutes each side.
3. Serve with fresh blueberries, vegan butter, and maple syrup.

Homemade Vegan Butter

Since we switched to the 100% plant based diet from 95% about two months ago, things have been going very well.

I really don’t miss non-plant food, but there was one thing that I would occasionally wish I could have.


Especially when I have my freshly home-baked bread, I wish I could spread that rich smooth buttery thing, which is basically butter (lol).

I’ve learned that stores sell vegan butter, but I just don’t like the idea of including this type of “processed” food in my new diet.

So when I found Ms. Mel’s Vegan Butter recipe, I jumped on it.

I’m typically a rule-follower (boring, right?), but when it comes to recipes, I’m a bit defiant, and I’m notorious for not following recipes.

However, with this vegan butter recipe, I did.

I followed it very well.

I went shopping with a list specifically for this recipe, and I got all the right ingredients.

You want to know how it turned out?


Absolutely awesome!

It looks like butter, feels like butter, and tastes like butter.

Then we should probably call it butter, right?

Terry said if I didn’t tell him it was vegan, he wouldn’t know.

Thank you, Ms. Mel for this wonderful recipe.

Vegan Butter

Follow this recipe!
*I used almond milk for non-dairy milk. We didn’t taste any strong almond milk in the final product.
*I didn’t use turmeric. I liked the color I ended up with.
*I used a hand blender. It was easy and quick.

Check out my next post where I’ll show you how wonderful this butter is when served with one of my favorite breakfast foods!

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