I’ve been keeping busy doing some housekeeping at the blog and at my house.  I’ve been getting rid of obsolete links and tidying things up around here.  I’m sure I am overlooking something, but I am making progress.  One of my “cleaned up” pages is about books.  It isn’t quite finished.  I hope you will stop by and check it out from time to time.  I’ve also started a list of books I’ve read as a form of accountability to keep me reading!

The Lord very graciously provided us with a new dining set and dish cabinet.  I am thrilled!  I have been busy sorting and rearranging cabinets and shelves.  I have so much more room now, more room for storage and more floor space!!  It makes such a difference in our tiny 900 square foot house.  The table will seat 6 as is, or I can pull out the end and add a leaf and seat 8.  It’s perfect!

new table_cabinet

As a result of this new table, I had a tablecloth that needed altering. It was a favorite that I didn’t want to part with.  It was a 70″ round tablecloth, but I was able to square it off, sew a new edge around it and pull out threads to make fringe so that it fits the table nicely.

new tablecloth.JPG

I’ve also been wanting some new runners for the shelves that run under my kitchen windows, but couldn’t find any to my liking.  I bought some fabric and finally got around to making them.  I thoroughly enjoyed being in the sewing room again.  🙂  I was surprised that the fabric I bought matched the tablecloth perfectly!! It wasn’t planned on my part, but God knew.

new runner

Thanks for stopping by!  Until the next time…

Gluten-free Raw Apple Cake

love Amish recipes.  Having said that, Amish and gluten-free are not usually used in the same sentence.  Raw Apple Cake has always been a family favorite, but I haven’t made it for quite a while.  My mother-in-law made an apple cake for me that was gluten-free, so I felt inspired to try this Amish recipe with a few modifications.  I used my favorite rice flour combo for the regular flour and replaced the whole wheat flour with oat flour.  I also added some xanthum gum since this always seems to help make things raise better.  If you’re gluten-free, give it a try.  We think it’s a keeper!


1 cup sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1.5 cups of rice flour combo

.5 cup of oat flour

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. soda

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. xanthum gum

5 cups of raw apples, diced (about 4 large apples)

.5 cups of nuts, chopped

.5 tsp. cinnamon

.25 cup sugar

1.  Blend first 4 ingredients together in mixing bowl.  Add the next 5 ingredients and stir well.

2.  Fold in the apples and nuts.

3.  Spread batter in greased 9″ x 13″ baking pan.

4.  Mix together cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle over batter.

5.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Enjoy!! RawAppleCake2a

*I apologize for the poor quality of my photos.  I will spare you the sad details, but I broke my good camera.  These were taken on my iTouch.  =/

Come and share a pot of tea…

…my home is warm,

and everything is gluten-free!

I know I have mentioned here before that I am now gluten-free.  It has been for a whole year.  That is so hard to believe.  It has been a miracle cure for some of the health issues that I was dealing with.  I also know that I mentioned that I do not want to turn this blog into a gluten-free one when there are others that do so well at it.  I am a novice for sure.  It is a very real part of my life, so I do want to mention it from time to time.  I like to have a treat every now and then, but most gluten-free recipes call for 5 different kind of flours and sometimes as many as 25 ingredients to make a dozen cookies!!  First of all, I don’t have the time for that.  Second of all, I live in Japan and can’t get those ingredients if I wanted to.  One advantage I do have living here is that rice flour is plentiful and cheap!  I have also discovered the wonders of xanthum gum and it is easy for my mother to ship to me from time to time.

My basic gluten-free flour of choice is 2 parts white rice flour, 2/3 part potato starch and 1/3 part corn starch.  These are all easy ingredients for me to get here and I have had good success with each recipe that I have tried using this.  There may be a first time for a flop, but it hasn’t happened yet.

On my tea tray you will see Flourless Oatmeal Cookies, Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies and Lemon Cream Scones.  The recipe for the scones was adapted from a recipe at  I used my rice flour mix in place of regular flour and added 1 tsp. of xanthum gum.  I also substituted dried cranberries for the raisins.  They turned out wonderful.  My guest was so surprised that they were made with rice flour.

On another note, I made what we call Snowball Cookies the other night.  My husband ate one and commented on how good they were.  Then he asked, “These aren’t gluten-free, are they?”  I just smiled.  Maybe the days of cooking two meals, one for them and one for me, are over and I can just cook for us!  =)

After Thanksgiving…

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration.  It was a special time of food, fellowship, relaxation and thankfulness.  Now, I am moving on to Christmas.  There is much to do.  I’m getting older, so things take longer than they use to!  HA!  Today, I thought I would share a recipe with you that I found on Pinterest.  Tomato Basil soup is wonderful!  It is real comfort food on those cold, dreary days.  Hope you will give it a try.  

Look for me on Pinterest.  I’d love to “find” you there.  It’s a fun place to be.

A Day in the Kitchen

I have been longing for a day in the kitchen to try out some new scratch recipes.  When in Japan, I have to cook from scratch if we want to eat some American food.  We don’t have the convenience foods in Japan that we have in the USA.  I have to say that I am sorely missing rotisserie chicken.  Today, I mixed up a few of our favorite salad dressings.  I also made peanut butter and powdered sugar.  I had a couple of disasters until I got my bearings.  I tried to make gluten free bread in the bread machine in the past and it turned out like a brick.  Today, I used this recipe and it was a great success!

My biggest excitement for day was the making of roasted red pepper hummus.  I became quite addicted to this while on furlough and have greatly missed it.  I did some research and came up with four different recipes that looked promising.  I don’t have tahini yet since that was shipped by boat and we are still waiting for it, among other things.  I found one that called for sesame oil and sesame seeds.  Since those items are readily available here, I used that recipe as my starting point.  I roasted 1/2 a red pepper and the garlic cloves.  I cut the cloves in half for easier blending.

  I added all the ingredients to the vita-mix and blended away.  The results were better than store-bought!!

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

2 cans of garbanzo beans, drained (save liquid)

½ roasted red pepper

2 roasted garlic cloves

2 T sesame oil

2 T crushed sesame seed

2 T lemon juice

1 t salt

1 t cumin

Add ingredients to blender and blend.  Add bean juice until you reach your desired consistency.  Another option is to add 1 T chili powder.  I haven’t tried this yet since my chili powder has not arrived yet.


A side note:  I was bemoaning to a friend that I missed hummus and how much garbanzo beans cost here.  They can be quite costly.  The average price is $3.46 (278 yen) per can.  Yikes!  I was food shopping the other day and “just so happened” to find some on sale for $1.23 (99 yen)!!  I bought 10 cans!!  =}  It brought to mind one of my favorite verses.

“And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake, Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.”

~Luke 18:29-30

Comfort Food

One of my favorite foods is chicken and dumplings.  A few years ago, I found a wonderful recipe in the Diane magazine that is published by Curves.  My whole family loves it!  Now there is a small problem.  It has been determined recently that I need to be gluten-free.  I don’t want to go into all the details and I don’t want this blog to be about that.  There are so many that have been down this road that know so much more than I do.  So yesterday, I was in dire need of some comfort food.  I wanted…actually I needed chicken and dumplings.  =)  I decided to give it a try substituting the flour with my favorite gluten-free mix.  It worked!  I had to add a little more oil and broth to the dough mix.  Next time, I may add an extra egg.  The peas are not in the recipe, but I added them just because we like them.  That would change the nutritional information a little.  My family enjoyed this as much as I did.  I’m so glad, because I hate to have to cook two different meals.  My goal with this new direction in my diet is to try to cook what I can eat with an extra side dish or two for the rest of the family.  So far, so good…


•               1 Tbs. plus 4 tsp. canola oil, divided

•               1/2 cup chopped onions

•               1 cup chopped carrots

•               1/2 cup chopped celery

•               4 cups low-sodium chicken stock or broth

•               11/3 cups all-purpose flour

•               1/2 tsp. salt

•               1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

•               1/8 tsp. baking powder

•               1 whole egg, lightly beaten

•               2 Tbs. low-sodium hot chicken stock

•               3 cups pulled cooked chicken meat, such as leftover roasted or rotisserie chicken


Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook about 2 minutes or until soft and clear. Add carrots and celery. Cook 1 minute longer or until vegetables smell fragrant. Add 4 cups stock and increase heat to high. Bring to a simmer and cook until vegetables are just done. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.
2. For the dumplings, combine flour, salt, pepper, and baking powder in a small bowl and mix well. In a separate bowl, blend egg, 2 tablespoons stock, and 4 teaspoons oil and mix well. Add dry ingredients to egg mixture and stir with a fork until just mixed together. (It is important not to overmix the dough as it will become tough.) Transfer dough to a well-floured cutting board and spread out as thinly as you can by hand. Keep your hand and fingers well dusted with flour so dough does not stick. Lightly flour dough surface and finish rolling to a thickness of about 1/16″ to 1/8″.
3. Return stock with vegetables to the stove and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cut dough into noodle shapes the size you like and drop them into the simmering stock. Be careful to drop a few at a time and to stir the stock to prevent the dumplings from sticking together. Cook 6 to 8 minutes or until dumplings are cooked through and tender. Add meat and cook 1 minute longer. Turn off the heat and let stand 3 minutes before serving.

Nutrition Info:

Calories: 286; Fat: 10.0g; Saturated Fat: 2.0g; Protein: 24g; Carbohydrates: 25g; Fiber: 2g; Cholesterol: 7Mg; Sodium: 322Mg

In the Kitchen

I have fallen in love with the Pioneer Woman’s cooking blog.  Recently, I tried the recipe for Sloppy Joes and we were not disappointed.  I used a little less butter and ground chicken instead of beef.  It is another keeper!  If you like cooking and swapping recipes, you might like her site, The Tasty Kitchen.  It is like Facebook for cooking enthusiaists!!  If you decide to register, look me up…my name is Senkyoushi.

In the Kitchen

It’s been rainy here lately and I decided to spend the day doing some things I haven’t had a whole lot of time for.  I saw a recipe for Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas the other day.  I love Mexican food and can’t get it here unless I make it, so I decided to give it a try.  I had to make my own enchilada sauce and salsa.  I used plain yogurt instead of sour cream.  I can’t get cilantro, so I used parsley.

Looks like it’s a keeper!

Nabe American Style

One of my favorite things to eat in the winter here is Nabe (gnaw-bay).  When the Japanese make it, they use a special pot on a portable burner on the table.  I make it like American stew.  If you are Japanese, you might not want to read this post.  If you do, you will know that I need help!  😉

The first thing you need to do is buy your broth.  This is already prepared and there are many flavors.  My favorite is the one on the right.  Japanese would never mix 2 different broths, but I am American and we do things like that…

The next thing you need is a good meat.  You can use anything.  Shrimp, beef, chicken, meatballs, sausage, etc.  I chose a nice pork.  The Japanese buy the meat shaved, a little thinner than bacon.  This pork was a good price without a lot of fat, so I am cutting it up like stew meat.  The Japanese would never do this, but I am American and we do things like that…

Next, I put the meat and some diced onions in the dutch oven with a little oil and saute until the meat is cooked.  When this is finished, I add the broth and bring it to a boil.  The Japanese add the meat to the boiling broth.  Since it is shaved thin, it cooks instantly.

Next, I slice and dice vegetables.  You can add anything you like.  I am using shitake mushrooms, red pepper, carrots, cabbage, potatoes and kabucha (acorn squash).  The Japanese would not dice or use kabucha, but I am American and we do things like that…

Next, add all the veggies to the Dutch oven with the boiling broth.  Stir, put on the lid, turn down the heat and simmer until the veggies are tender.  That’s all there is too it!

When the Japanese make this, they arrange it so very nice (no stirring) in the pot on the portable burner as in the diagram below.  They all sit around the table and take what they want out of the pot  and place it in a bowl and eat the veggies and meat with chopsticks and drink the broth.  It’s nice and cozy, but I don’t have a portable burner or a Nabe pot and I am American and we don’t really do things like that…I will say that when I am at a restaurant or someone’s house and I eat Nabe this way, it makes me feel all nice and warm inside!

This is the most delicious “stew” you will ever eat!