Mochi Doughnuts with Dipping Jellies for Hanukkah

To symbolize the miracle of the oil that lasted for eight days instead of one, Hanukkah foods are fried in oil. Fried foods can often taste really heavy, so I like to swap out all purpose flour with mochi flour (Japanese glutenous rice flour)…

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What Happens to Ritual Between Marriage and Babies?

From my conversion to our Japanese and Jewish wedding to my bat mitzvah at 33, I’ve been fortunate to have celebrated many happy lifecycle events in a few short years. While my life has only seemed to get fuller and go by faster in the last couple of years, I’ve found that there are fewer lifecycle events and therefore seemingly fewer rituals to write about here post-wedding…

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11 Things to do after the Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting

This is a photo of my place of worship. The thought of a gunman opening fire on us while we are at our most vulnerable, in prayer, terrifies me and breaks my heart into a million pieces to even fathom. Here 11 suggestions of actions to take in the coming weeks, so we can hold each other up during this frightening time in our history.

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7 Matcha Secrets & Tips from a Student of Traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony

When I was growing up as a Japanese-American-Californian, matcha was not as popular as it is today. But when I stopped drinking coffee a few years ago, a matcha craze was beginning to brew. I rediscovered matcha (like many of you) in the form of matcha lattes…

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Quick Gyoza Kreplach (Dumpling Soup) for Sukkot

To start the Sukkot meal, I’m making a comforting bowl of chicken kreplach (dumpling) soup. I’ve read that kreplach is a symbolic new year food in some Jewish communities, because the filling is sealed in the noodle like judgement is sealed in the Book of Life on Yom Kippur. But my first thought as a Japanese American Jew was: “It sounds like gyoza soup!”

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Japanese-Style Apple and Honey Roll Cake for Rosh Hashanah

The most famous dish of all on Rosh Hashanah is perhaps the simplest; apples dipped in honey, an edible prayer for a sweet year. Here's my updated take on a classic apple and honey cake for dessert: Light and airy Japanese sponge cake with whipped cream, spiced apples and honey rolled in. The end result is an unexpected take on a classic with a beautiful presentation and just a touch of sweetness to last all year.

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Obon Interview with Buddhist Priest Elaine Donlin

When I was growing up, I looked forward to a festival at my Japanese school and local Japanese American Buddhist Church, called Obon. Very simply put, Obon is like the Japanese version of Dia de los Muertos. It’s a time when we celebrate and honor the spirit of our ancestors through dance.

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Star Spangled Berry Labneh Dessert for 4th of July

Last year, when my husband Bryan and I visited Israel for the first time, I was naturally very excited about the food. I had heard about how amazing the hummus is there (it is), but what I was really blown away by was the labneh- a tangy Middle Eastern strained yogurt that’s both impossibly smooth and luxuriously creamy. It’s like a way better version of cream cheese! While it’s usually served as a savory side dish, I thought it would make an excellent base for a light summer dessert.

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Travel Guide to Montgomery, Alabama

While a trip to Montgomery may not be high on your list of places to visit (it wasn't on mine), I found it incredibly healing to visit in our current political climate. It's the heart of where so many of the divisions in our country started, and visiting is an empowering way in which we can begin to take ownership and responsibility for our shared history. 

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Squeezing Light Out of Dark in Montgomery, Alabama

How do we get to the core of racism and begin to heal? I think it's through confronting and acknowledging our history. Bryan and I recently visited Montgomery, Alabama- the heart of where so many divisions in our country started. I found it surprisingly healing to visit in our current political climate, and I came back a different person. I know Montgomery is not high on most people's travel lists, but I really encourage everyone to visit.

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